Tag Archives: Fort Harrod

Main Street in Harrodsburg – 1904 and 113 Years Later!

Let me introduce you to my town!  Harrodsburg, located in Mercer County, was laid out June 16, 1774, by Captain James Harrod and his band of men.  It was first called Harrodstown, then Oldtown, and finally Harrodsburg.  In the very early years there were Indian attacks, and many settlers were killed.  But the rich and fertile land of the Bluegrass area was too profitable to give up.  As more and more families moved to Mercer County, and the Indians gave way to Ohio and Indiana, life became more peaceful.

In the 130 years since the site was laid out, and this picture was taken, there is no comparison to the log fort and this photo from 1904.  Fort Harrod, and the cabins within, fell into disuse and decay.  This is a photo of a bustling little town!  Power lines dominate the picture, large buildings, churches, horse and buggies, men and women on the streets – with no worry of Indian attacks!  Progress was here.

And if we go an additional 113 years forward to today, we see a modern, small town, but with a few signs from the first photo.  The brick building on the right side of the street, in the middle of the photo, is still standing.  For many years it was used as the home for the County Clerk’s Office.  Directly across the street is the courthouse, which cannot be seen in either photo.  A new courthouse was built a few years ago, and the county offices were moved to a building on Lexington Avenue.

The yellow house is still there, with a bit of renovation.  In the original photo the Christian Church stands beside it.  The church, which has been rebuilt, is hidden by the tree, but can be see in the above photograph.

I wanted to show you a close up of the old photo.  You will have to imagine that the first two buildings on the right (the church and store front) are now the large Christian Church from the modern photo.  The brick building begins with what was the County Clerk’s Office.

Past the building that housed the clerk’s office is The Kentucky Fudge Company – one of our favorite places to eat!  Studio G is next, with local music and talent.  Several other businesses are located down the street.  The building at the end – blue, with a turret – is the office of Dr. Tammy Hoskins, my optometrist.  You can see this building in the original photo!

Power lines are now underground, giving a nice, neat Main Street appearance.  I love small towns – and I especially love living in one!  Come visit – I’ll show you the replica of Fort Harrod, with the huge Osage orange tree in front, that has been the center of many school photos.  We’ll visit The Kentucky Fudge Company for lunch.  The Harrodsburg Historical Society on Chiles Street is a must for genealogy research.  There are many old cemeteries to visit.  And Shaker Village is just a few miles away – they serve a lovely dinner.

 

The Old Fort on Seminary Hill

Several days ago I shared the name of a book Ritchey and I found when we were at Glover’s Bookery in Lexington – Historical Sketch of Mercer County, Kentucky.  Today I share with you one of the photographs included in this book – and a re-creation we attempted.

The above is a picture of Captain Philip B. Thompson standing on the spot on old Seminary Hill where once stood the log house which constituted part of the old fort.  Captain Thompson, now in his eighty-first year, attended school on the old Seminary Hill, also called Old Fort Hill, as early as 1828, and at that time there remained two buildings of the Old Fort, one being two-story, the other a one-story addition.  The number of cabins in the fort or its dimensions either way is nowhere preserved.  A census was taken on the second day of September, 1777, at which time the population of Harrod’s Fort was 198.

The little white house beside the church is the home of a sweet woman of 84 years – we met her today for the first time while we were taking photos.  She looks about twenty years younger!  She has lived in that house all her life and told us much about the history of the area.  The church burned quite some years ago, and was rebuilt, resulting in the building we see today – therefore different from the first photo taken in 1904.  The fort actually stood in the parking lot that is to the left of the church.  I’m not sure exactly where Captain Thompson stood to get the church and house in the old photo.  But let us just say our photo is a close representation!  Ritchey is standing in the yard of the recreated fort, with the cemetery behind him.

Kentucky Fudge Company – Harrodsburg’s Historic and Culinary Treasure

The Kentucky Fudge Company in the early years – when it was Dedman’s Drugstore.

If you have never visited the small town of Harrodsburg, I heartily recommend you do.  Located in central Kentucky, we have so much history to offer since we are the oldest town in the state, founded in 1774 by a group of pioneers led by James Harrod, of Pennsylvania, who built Fort Harrod.  It was the only colonial city and the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.  I am proud to call Harrodsburg ‘home’.

Originally Kentucky was called Fincastle County when it was part of Virginia.  In 1776, after Harrodsburg had been a town for two years, it was renamed Kentucky County, Virginia.  Four years later Kentucky County was divided into three counties – Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln.  Harrodsburg was the county seat of Lincoln County, and remained so until 1785 when Mercer County was formed, Harrodsburg becoming the county seat for Mercer.  Kentucky became a state in 1792.

With our county clerk’s office that has records back to the very early years, our wonderful public library that has its own genealogy room and the Harrodsburg Historical Society located on Chiles Street, it is a genealogists dream.

But today I want to talk to you about the Kentucky Fudge Company located on Main Street.  It is located in the old Smith and Dedman Drugstore building that opened in 1868 at 225 South Main Street.  C. M. Dedman bought out his partner and it was known as Dedman’s Drugstore, and continued as a pharmacy until 1983.  The James Harrod Trust eventually acquired the property through the generosity of a local citizen, and restored the first floor of the drugstore.  The Kentucky Fudge Company was opened in 2006 and is a wonderful gathering place for adults and children – to enjoy ice cream in huge waffle cones or lunch or dessert – and to spend time talking and visiting with friends.

As you come through the front door it seems as if we’ve walked back in time.  From the original soda fountain, stained glass windows and the original cherry cabinets of the pharmacy to the ceilings and floors, history is in present time.  Drugstore memorabilia, old photos and such are on display.

But let’s talk about the food – you know how much I love to eat!  The menus are written on blackboards and the list is filled with yummy sandwiches, soups, salads, ice cream, bakery items.  The Saturday after five menu can be anything from a Roast Beef Manhattan to Pot Roast and Horseradish to personal pizzas and quesadillas.  On St. Patrick’s Day weekend we enjoyed Bangers and Mash!

My personal favorite lunch is their Triple Scoop – I always choose chicken salad, potato salad and olive nut spread.  Served with crackers, this is heaven on a plate!  The chicken salad is filled with chunks of chicken, grapes and celery; the potato salad is wonderful (tastes like it is made with baked potatoes); and the olive nut is by far the best I’ve ever eaten – pecans, green olives and cream cheese!  My mouth salivates just thinking about it!

And Saturday at 6:30 the Trivia begins – tables are filled with locals enjoying food, drinks and answering those mind-boggling questions!  Such fun!

And what about the fudge?  Oh, my!  One taste and you are hooked!  It is creamy, smooth and delicious!  Last time I tried the peppermint schnapps – now a personal favorite.  They also have buckeye (chocolate and peanut butter), milk chocolate and walnuts, bourbon, and several others.

Any visitor who stops by the Kentucky Fudge Company always returns!  We have friends from Canada who can’t wait to come back to to KFC to have lunch and some pie!  My sister loves the food so much she said the tea room is unnecessary.  And for any genealogy enthusiasts who visit, I always take them to the Kentucky Fudge Company!  Come to Harrodsburg and I will take you!

Mary McMurtry Rose Buried At Memorial Acre – Is She, or Isn’t She?

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I have been working on the Rose Family Cemetery that is located on Maude Lane in the small town of Burgin, in Mercer County, Kentucky.  The land has been owned by the VanArsdall family for many, many years, and is still owned by descendants of the same family.  What is so remarkable is that when my parents moved to Burgin in 1983, they lived next door to Roger and Geneva VanArsdall.  Their home was on Main Street, but Roger and his brother owned the farm at the back of my parents and the VanArsdall’s.  This cemetery was sitting there, waiting for me to find it, but until this fall I never knew it existed!

When a few members of the Lewis family came to Harrodsburg to search for their families, they were also interested in the Rose family, and through research we found the cemetery!  I shall stop at this point on the Lewis Cemetery.  That will have to be a blog for another day, as I am still trying to read the old gravestones and decipher what I can.  But in looking through the records it has led to a conundrum.

In 1937 Captain Lewis Rose, his wife, Mary Hatton McMurtry Rose, and son Charles Rose were exhumed from their burial spot on the VanArsdall farm, and interred in the small plot of land next to Fort Harrod Pioneer Cemetery, which is known as Memorial Acre.  This I had found previous to the Lewis family research, and I was eager to share this with them.  But as I sit here today, trying to piece together who was buried in the Rose Cemetery in Burgin, jogging dates, pieces from family bibles, wills and other bits of information, it occurs to me that the woman who is buried beside Captain Lewis Rose in Memorial Acre could not be his wife Mary – the dates on the above ground gravestones show she was born in 1779.  We know that Mary Todd Hutton was first married to Captain John McMurtry, about 1761.  Their first child, James, was born in 1771, so she had to be born before 1779.  After the death of John McMurtry, Mary married Captain Lewis Rose in 1793.  On the marriage bond is written she is the widow McMurtry, and that she and Captain Rose have grown children.  This definitely eliminates her birth date as 1779.

The gravestone in Memorial Acre reads, ‘Mary McMurtry Rose, wife of Lewis Rose, born February 4, 1779, Mercer County, Kentucky, died November 24, 1854, Mercer County, Kentucky.  A true pioneer mother, lived where Shakertown, Kentucky, now is, defending self and children against Indians, while husband held war captive.’

I am sure the intention was to move Mary McMurtry Rose’s body to this site, and commemorate her, along with her husband, Captain Rose.  There was another Mary Rose in the cemetery on the VanArsdall land – the wife of Charles Rose, son of Captain Lewis Rose, and daughter of Alexander Lewis.  She was born February 4, 1779, and died November 24, 1854.  Was her body moved to Memorial Acre?  Or were the dates just mixed up between the two women with the same first and last name?

How will we ever know?  The re-interment was in 1937 – probably everyone that had anything to do with it are long dead.  It could be that the correct body was moved, but the dates taken from another grave.  However, I think this unlikely.  DNA testing would possibly reveal information if we could find direct descendants, but I’m not sure the body could be exhumed, even if there would be DNA left after such a long time.

So in conclusion what should we say?  Possibly Mary Hutton McMurtry Rose IS buried beside her husband, Captain Lewis Rose, but the dates are incorrect on the gravestone.  Or, Mary Lewis Rose is buried beside HER husband, Charles Rose, with the wrong last name and information on the gravestone.  What do you think?

 

Aged Couple Go To Their Heavenly Reward

Richard Henry Bohon and wife, Mary Ellen VanArsdall Bohon, were descendants of the very early pioneers of Mercer County.  What a long lineage of history flowed through their veins. 

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Richard Henry Bohon, 1829-1912.  Mary E. Bohon, 1830-1924.  Spring Hill Cemetery, Mercer County, Kentucky.

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Friday, November 29, 1912

On Sunday morning last, at one o’clock, Mr. Richard Henry Bohon, a lifelong citizen of this place, and the oldest member of the Assembly Presbyterian Church, passed away at the ripe age of 84 years. He was on the streets the preceding Wednesday, apparently in his usual state of health. On Friday he went to bed, but was not complaining of anything beyond a somewhat unusual weariness which continued until Sunday morning, without pain or suffering of any kind, and at one o’clock death came to him like the sleep of an infant.

At the close of the Revolution, Watt Bohon emigrated to what was then Kentucky County, Virginia, and located at Harrodsburg Station, and John Bohon, father of the deceased, was born in the old fort, so that Mr. R. H. Bohon was a direct descendent of one of the early pioneers, and his name is connected with the beginnings of Harrodsburg. Sixty-three years ago in 1849, he married Miss Mary Ellen Vanarsdall, who survives him, and all these years their lives have been in a marked degree happy and blessed, filled with the sunshine of peace and contentment. Mr. Bohon was a good man, a good neighbor, a good citizen, commanding the cordial respect and friendship of the community, and the confidence and love of his household and relations. His aged wife, now in her eighty-third year, who divided his sorrows and doubled his joys, has been an equal partner in all the blessings which this home has received and conferred, and now, crowned with years and blessings, she awaits the time when she shall take up the broken thread of life where partings are unknown.

Besides his wife deceased leaves three sons, Daniel, of Monticello, Illinois; George, of Appleton, Wisconsin; and Joseph, of Los Angeles, California. The first two of them reached their father’s bedside before his death. The funeral service, conducted by his pastor, Dr. M. V. P. Yeaman, was held at the Assembly Presbyterian Church and the interment took place in Spring Hill Cemetery.

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Friday, April 11, 1924

Mrs. Mary Ellen Bohon, widow of the late R. H. Bohon, died on College Street in this city. She was stricken with pneu­monia in both lungs a few days before, and owing to her advanced years had not the strength to combat the disease. Her funeral was held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 at the United Presbyterian Church, conducted by her pastor, Rev. S. S. Daughtry, and the interment was in the family lot in Spring Hill Cemetery: The pallbearers were Messrs. James Isham, Hanly Bohon, Bush W. Allin, H. C. Bohon, Nat VanArsdall and Frank D. Curry. Mrs. Bohon was next to the oldest member of the congregation and Mr. Daughtry paid a brief but beautiful tribute to her.

One of the few remaining links of the past with the present was broken with the death of Mrs. Bohon. She was 93 years old, having been born in Mercer County, November 28, 1830. It is doubtful if any women whose life’s span was lived in this community ever left a better record of true womanhood. She was the daughter of Daniel VanArsdall and Leah Stagg VanArsdall, and is a descendant on both sides of the early pioneers in Kentucky who settled in this region. On October 28 — her nineteenth birthday — she was married to the late Richard Henry Bohon, who passed away in 1912. She was a devoted and helpful wife, a loving and tender mother and a friend above the price of rubies. Her life has been spent in unselfish devotion to her family and those about her, and also in her younger days, to activities in her church. She is the last of a family of seven children, and she leaves with those who knew her the memory of a beautiful and useful life.

Three daughters have been waiting with their father in the Land Beyond, and three sons remain to mourn her. They are Dan V. Bohon, Harrodsburg; Joe Bohon, Los Angeles, California, and George R. Bohon, of Appleton, Wisconsin. Mr. Joe Bohon has recently been seriously ill and was not able to make the long trip here.

Mercer County Clerk

IMG_0272I want to share with you today one of my favorite places – the Mercer County Clerk’s Office in Harrodsburg (about ten minutes away from my home – a little more if you are caught by the train)!  I could spend hours and hours in here – there is just that much history!  The picture above shows the older records in one section of the very large room.

A few years ago our old courthouse was torn down to build a new one – and most of the offices (circuit clerk, sheriff, judicial, etc.) were transferred to what used to be the old Gateway building, a former grocery store.   The County Clerk was housed in what was known as the Court House Annex, across the street from the original court house.  Once the new building was completed the Judicial Courts and the Circuit Clerk moved into the new court house, and the County Clerk was moved to the Gateway building.

IMG_0273This room is filled with old records!

IMG_0274Marriage bonds, court orders, wills, deeds, guardianship bonds, minutes – numerous records from about the 1780’s!

IMG_0276This drawer holds the oldest marriage bonds and parental consents.

IMG_0277Inside it looks like a jumble of old papers – but what information those papers hold.  I would like to organize this one day – perhaps the clerk will allow me!  These precious pieces of paper must be handled very carefully!

IMG_0278This is the marriage license for Don C. Dixon and Mary J. Allin – Mary Jouett Allin, who is the daughter of the man issuing the license – Thomas Allin, County Clerk – first clerk of Mercer County – and who continued until June of 1833 due to his death during the cholera epidemic.

IMG_0285This is a marriage return by Jesse Head, minister.  Some were excellent about turning in their marriages, some not so good!

IMG_0287This is a little later marriage license and certificate – 1866.  It was printed on very thin paper, almost like tissue paper.

IMG_0289One of my goals for this day was to copy of the will of Lewis Rose.  If you remember he was included in a blog I wrote about Memorial Acre at Fort Harrod.

IMG_0290As you can imagine this will be a future blog!

Always remember that the county clerk’s office is a valuable source for genealogy research.  In almost every county the clerk has been very helpful to me – and will be to you!  They realize that some of us have been at this a long time – and some are brand new to genealogy research!  Which County Clerk’s offices have you visited?

 

 

Memorial Acre at Fort Harrod

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Isn’t it amazing when you find something in your own back yard that you never knew existed?  I had been to the Pioneer Cemetery at Fort Harrod in my hometown of Harrodsburg several times, but didn’t realize there was an addition at the back!

It’s known as Memorial Acre, dedicated on June 16, 1930, by The Kentucky Society Daughter’s of the American Revolution.  The plaque reads ‘A sacred spot of ground adjoining the first cemetery of Kentucky, for pioneers whose graves are being destroyed by the effects of time.  Immortals of the wilderness whose moccasin feet have impressed themselves on the destiny of America.  The Love of Liberty, With Life Is Given.’

Let me share with you the stones that were erected here:

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Garrett Terhune, New Jersey, Sergeant, Seely’s Regiment, New Jersey Militia, Revolutionary War.  July 25, 1756 – February 8, 1821.

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George Buchanan, born 1744 in Augusta County, Virginia, died May 5, 1813, Mercer County, Kentucky.

George Buchanan was a son of James Buchanan and his second wife, Mary Reside.  He married Margaret McAfee, daughter of James and Jane McMichael McAfee, about 1765 in Washington County, Virginia.  George moved his family to Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1780.  He was an elder at New Providence Church and was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

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James Ray, Captain, Virginia Militia, Revolutionary War, 1758-1810

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Three members of the McGohon family – the stones have not weathered well.

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Mark McGohon, Jr.  Revolutionary War soldier, Kentucky pioneer, Christian patriot.  Born in Ireland in 1750, died in Kentucky, 1848.  first to be buried in Memorial Acre in 1930.  When a lad he emigrated to America and fought in the Battles of Paoli, Boundbrook, Brandywine and Germantown.  Served under General George Rogers Clark and General Josiah Harmer; also in other campaigns against the Indians.  A defender of Fort Harrod in the westward seep of advancing civilization.

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Elizabeth Dunn McGohon.  Sacred to the memory of the wife of Mark McGohon, Jr.  born in Pennsylvania, emigrated to Kentucky with her husband following the Revolutionary War.  Pioneer woman who heroically met the toil and danger of the frontier, and nobly did her part in maintaining domestic life within For Harrod, when surrounded by peril and attacks from Indians.  Her efforts aided in establishing the Presbyterian Church at Harrodsburg.

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Nancy McGohon, daughter of Mark McGohon, Jr., and Elizabeth Dunn McGohon.  Born in Fort Harrod.  Buried in Memorial Acre in 1930.

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These three stones for the Rose family are much easier to read.

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Captain Lewis Rose, born October 11, 1749, in Bingen, Germany, died February 20, 1829, Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  Buried on Old Rose Farm, three miles east of Harrodsburg,  Came to America in 1764.  Christian patriot, devout elder of the Presbyterian Church, donated five hundred dollars to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.  War Record – Soldier in Revolutionary War, 4th Virginia, 1777.  In Indian Wars, famous Battle of Blue Lick, taken prisoner, August 9, 1782.  Run gauntlets, exchanged and returned July, 1783.  Fought Shawnees, 1786.  Wea Indians on Wabash. Erected July 16, 1937, by Leslie M. Rose, Yakima, Washington, sponsored by Jane McAfee Chapter, D.A.R.

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Mary McMurtry Rose, wife of lewis Rose, born February 4, 1779, in Mercer County, Kentucky; died November 24, 1865, in Mercer County, Kentucky.  A true pioneer mother.  Lived where Shakertown, Kentucky, now is, defending self and children against Indians while her husband held war captive.  Erected by Leslie M. Rose.

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Charlie S. Rose, son of Lewis Rose, born October 6, 1778, died February 28, 1845.  Was prominent in civic work, an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

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To Honor and Commemorate the Men Who Fought in the American Revolution and Sleep in Mercer County, Kentucky.

  • General James Ray
  • General John P. Van Nuyce
  • Colonel John Bowman
  • Colonel Thomas P. Moore
  • Lt. Colonel James Robinson
  • Major Thomas Allin
  • Major William Ver Bryck
  • Captain William Alexander
  • Captain John Armstrong
  • Captain Abram Chapline
  • Captain Michael Humble
  • Captain John Lillard
  • Captain Lewis Rose
  • Captain John Smock
  • Captain James Stagg
  • Lt. James McAfee
  • J. P. Board
  • John Bohon
  • William Bowles
  • Daniel Brewer
  • Nathaniel Burrus
  • James Cardwell
  • Robert Coleman
  • General Coovert
  • Henry Comingore, Sr.
  • John Comingore
  • Joseph Debaun
  • Lawrence Demott
  • Peter Demott
  • William Deshazer
  • Thomas Graham
  • Peyton Graham
  • Thomas Green
  • Edward Houchins
  • Peter Huff
  • Dominic Thomas Kyle
  • Peter Leyster
  • George McAfee
  • Samuel McAfee
  • James McCowan, Sr.
  • James McCowan, Jr.
  • John McGee
  • Mark McGohon
  • John Meaux
  • William Nourse
  • Augustine Passmore
  • James Sandifer
  • Abraham Sharp
  • John Sharp
  • Abraham Tharp
  • Cornelius Vannice
  • Cornelius A. Van Arsdale
  • Cornelius O. Van Arsdale
  • Peter Van Arsdall
  • Tobias Wilhoite

How fortunate to live in a county that appreciates and applauds the actions of our forebears.  And to live in one that has such a long history!

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To the wilderness dead, those without graves, unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.  This cenotaph here placed by a not forgetful commonwealth.