Tag Archives: Harrodsburg Historical Society

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.


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!

The Mysterious Lewis Rose Cemetery On VanArsdall Farm In Mercer County

Photo taken by Roy VanArsdall in 1952.

I have mentioned several times since November the finding of the Rose Cemetery in the little town of Burgin, in Mercer County, where my mother lived for thirty plus years.  Her best friend and next door neighbors, Geneva and Roger Vanarsdall, owned a farm at the back of the two homes, along with his brother Roy.  I did not realize until I helped the Lewis family with research that the Lewis Rose family is buried on this farm.  Members of the Rose family married into the VanArsdall family, and the property eventually was handed down to the two brothers.

In November two members of the Lewis family, Patricia and Gerald, and I went to this cemetery.  The bodies of Captain Lewis Rose and his wife, Mary McMurtry Rose, and his son, Charles Rose, were moved to Memorial Acre in Fort Harrod, in Harrodsburg, in July of 1937, but the original markers were left on the farm.  When we arrived at the Rose Cemetery we realized that after the exhumation there was built a rectangular monument, about two feet high, eight feet wide and two feet deep, with the gravestones affixed on top, two rows of six, for a total of twelve stones.  As you can see from my photo above, a lot has changed in 64 years!

Charles Rose, October 6, 1778 – February 29, 1845.  Son of Lewis Rose and Barbara Thair.

When you realize how long the stones have been out in the elements you can understand that it is difficult to read much that is written on them.  Through additional research on those who visited the cemetery in the early days of the nineteenth century, Bible records and a couple of early photos, I believe we can determine who is buried in this small cemetery.

David R. Rose, died December 2, 1814, aged 21 years.  Son of Lewis Rose and Mary McMurtry

Roy VanArsdall wrote to the Harrodsburg Historical Society in a letter dated March 16, 1993, ‘There is an old cemetery on our farm (VanArsdall Brothers Farm) just west of Burgin.  Sixty years ago it contained three or four carved sandstone markers and one of marble.  In addition there were several markers of simple slabs of field stone set on end.  The distances apart indicated that most buried under these field stone markers were children.’  He names two people buried in the cemetery and describes another stone – David Rose, Jemima Rose McMurtry and a third stone with the dates February 4, 1779 – November 24, 1854, but no name.  This last stone is evidently that of Mary Lewis Rose, wife of Charles Rose.  When we visited I could also read the names of Captain Lewis Rose and Charles Rose, bringing our total to five.  In the cemetery books of the Harrodsburg Historical Society they list Samuel McMurtry, husband of Jemima Rose McMurtry, as buried in this cemetery.  And elsewhere is listed a Rebecca Rose McMurtry as also buried there – probably a granddaughter, who died at the age of sixteen.  And even though there is no actual proof, I’m sure Captain Lewis Rose’s two wives are buried there – Barbara Thair Rose, his first wife, who died about 1788, and his second wife, Mary Todd Hutton McMurtry Rose, who died after 1828.

Mary Lewis Rose, February 4, 1779 – November 24, 1854.  Wife, of Charles Rose, daughter-in-law of Lewis Rose.

Mary Lewis Rose, in back, and in front, possibly Mary Todd Hutton McMurtry Rose in front.

This is a very interesting family since Captain Lewis Rose and wife Barbara Thair had six children; and Mary Todd Hutton and husband Captain John McMurtry had eight.  The older children were grown when Lewis Rose and Mary McMurtry married in November of 1793, but they had six children under the age of ten living in the household.

In back, Charles Rose, and in front possibly Rebecca Rose McMurtry

In memory of Mrs. Jemima McMurtry, born October 12, 1782, died September 14, 1840.  Daughter of Lewis Rose and Barbara Thair.

Mrs. Jemima McMurtry – taken by Roy VanArsdall in 1952.

Jemima Rose married her step-brother, Samuel McMurtry.  Catherine Rose also married into the McMurtry family – her husband was John.

If you look carefully you can see the fourth stone over, in the back, is identical to the photo taken by Roy VanArsdall.  The name and most of the dates have flaked off, but it is definitely Jemima McMurtry’s stone.

Samuel McMurtry, July 18, 1776 – April 17, 1815.  Son of John McMurtry and Mary Todd Hutton, son-in-law of Lewis Rose.

Behind Jemima’s stone is the one for her husband, Samuel McMurtry.  Since they are similar I believe it must be so, although the top portion of Jemima’s stone has broken off.

Both of the fifth stones are foot stones – they are smaller than the other gravestones.  In front is David R. Rose, and the one in back is unreadable.

The sixth stones – the one in back is probably a foot stone and the one lying on its side is unreadable.

Patricia and Gerald were ecstatic at finding the cemetery where their ancestors are buried.  More on this family at a later date!