Tag Archives: Harrodsburg Kentucky

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!

Jeremiah and Martha A. Peavler Claunch Obituaries


Jeremiah Claunch, April 9, 1844 – May 28, 1914.  Martha, his wife, March 16, 1849 – February 21, 1930.  Deep Creek Baptist Cemetery, Mercer County, Kentucky

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Friday, May 29, 1914

Mr. Jerry  Claunch, one of the best known men of the Rose Hill section, died Thursday morning of apoplexy. He was about 70 years of age, and a member of the Baptist faith, having been identified with the congregation of Deep Creek church for many years. He was highly respected by everyone and was well and favorably known all over the county. His funeral will be held this (Friday) morning at 11 o’clock at Deep Creek church and the burial will be in the nearby cemetery. The officiating ministers will be Rev. W. D. Moore and Rev. Ray. Besides his wife, Mrs. Martha Claunch, he leaves five children; Rev. Calvester Claunch, who is preaching at Middleburg; Mr. Magoffin Claunch, Mrs. Mary Frances Randolph, Mrs. Lillie Patterson and Miss Louisa Claunch.

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Friday, February 28, 1930

Mrs. Martha Claunch, 81, widow of Jerome Claunch, died February 21 at her home on Perryville Street in this city. Truly a good woman was taken when she passed on. At the age of sixteen she united with the Baptist church at Deep Creek and her long life has been a fine example of her Christian faith. Her funeral was held Sunday morning at the Deep Creek church, conducted by the Rev. W. D. Moore and the Rev. W. S. Scantland. Burial was in the Deep Creek cemetery. Surviving are the fol­lowing children: Mr. Magoffin Claunch, Rev. C. T. Claunch, Harrods­burg; Mrs. Will Tyler, Mrs. Marion Patterson, Mrs. Thomas Randolph, all of Rose Hill; a sister, Mrs. Nannie Lawson, and a brother, Mr. Leonard Peavler, also of Rose Hill.

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?



Dr. Alex A. Farris Obituary

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Thursday, May 18, 1905

Was At Perryville

The death of Dr. Alex A. Farris at Hickman, Kentucky, Monday, was received here with much regret.  When quite a young man he entered the Confederate service and was severely wounded at the Battle of Perryville.  He was brought to Harrodsburg and then taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Coleman on the Lexington Pike, where his arm was amputated and where he hovered between life and death for many weeks.  He finally recovered, went to Missouri, graduated in medicine and became one of the foremost physicians of that commonwealth.  About six years ago he wrote here asking about his former friends who had cared for him in his hour of need.  Learning that both were then alive he paid them a pleasant visit of several days.  In the terrible yellow fever epidemic that visited Hickman in 1878 the courage and devotion to duty, which made so good a soldier, prompted him to remain with and serve his people.  Of the six home physicians all died except Dr. Farris, who seemed to bear a charmed life through the scourge.

W. A. Jackson Obituary

from The Sayings, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Wednesday, March 31, 1897

Mr. W. A. Jackson, who lived 3 1/2 miles southwest of Harrodsburg, departed his life, Friday, at 11:20 o’clock of pneumonia and rheumatism.  He was born December 8, 1822, in Cumberland County, but spent nearly all his life in this county with the exception of a few years in Kansas.  On July 2, 1846, he married Nancy Jane Tewmey, who, in her 71st year, survives to mourn the departure of a kind and affectionate husband.  Six children blessed their union, to wit:  John Jackson, who died in infancy in Johnson County, Kansas; W. E. Jackson, a successful merchant of this city; O. F. Jackson of Lexington; James Jackson, of this county; Mrs. Ellie Prewitt, of Nevada, this county; and Mrs. Charles Wigham, who resided with her father.  The deceased was an industrious citizen, a farmer and merchant, and overcome many reverses in the struggle of life.  He was for many years a member of the Christian Church, later joining the Soulsleepers whose house of worship is at Laurel Hill in this county.  The only member of the immediate family of deceased now living, is a brother, Mr. D. J. Jackson who resides at Nevada.  The funeral services, at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, at Bethel Church, where conducted by Rev. W. T. Corn and interment took place in the adjacent cemetery.

Oswald Thomas Family at Emminence Cemetery

IMG_1933Several members of the Oswald Thomas family lie buried in Emminence Cemetery, in Henry County, Kentucky.  Imagine my surprise when researching this couple I found they married in Harrodsburg, Mercer County!  Oswald Thomas, son of Morris and Mary Thomas, married Mary Elizabeth Poage, daughter of William Poage and Ann Kennedy, April 13, 1793, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  Their first three children were born here before their move to the Shelby/Henry County area.

IMG_1932I can’t say I have seen this on any of the older stones, but a list of the children of Oswald and Mary Thomas is on one side of the large stone in their burial plot.  The thirteen children are Cassandra, Morris, Ann, Betsy, Lindsey, Paulina, Wilson, John A., Harriet, Preston, Edwin, Martha D., and Mary P.  What a find for genealogists researching this family!

In the 1820 census of Shelby County all children are included – including the youngest, Mary P., who was born in 1818 – females, 2 under 10; 3, 10-15; 3, 16-25; and one 45+.  Males, 2, under 10; 2, 10-15; 1, 16-25; and 1, 45+.  Oswald owned 4 male slaves, 2 under 14; 2, 26-44; and 4 female slaves, 2, under 14; 2, 26-44.

Sadly, nine of the thirteen children died before their parents – Cassandra, Ann and Edwin in 1831; Martha in 1838; Harriet in 1839; Betsy in 1840; John in 1843; Lindsey in 1850; and Mary in 1852.  What a loss!

IMG_1930Oswald Thomas, born September 10, 1769, died August 12, 1853.  Mary Thomas, born May 10, 1775, died May 30, 1854

Oswald and Mary lived very long lives for the time period!  Oswald’s year of death is incorrect on the large stone – there are also smaller stones for Oswald and Mary – which were very likely placed at the time of their deaths, the larger stone added by the remaining children some years later.

IMG_1934Oswald Thomas, born September 10, 1769, died August 12, 53, aged 83 years, 11 months and 2 days

IMG_1935Mary, consort of Oswald Thomas, born March 10, 1775, died May 30, 1854, aged 79 years, 2 months and 20 days

IMG_1931Morris Thomas, born April 13, 1796, died February 23, 1871

Morris Thomas, named for his grandfather, does not have an additional stone, but a record of his life is on one side of the large stone.

IMG_1936Paulina Thomas, wife of William Crawford, born April 23, 1804, died July 12, 1889

Paulina is buried next to her parents.  As for the children who died before the deaths of their parents, I don’t know where they are buried.  It could be they are buried in this cemetery since we did not take photos of all the gravestones.  I do know that Cassandra Thomas married a Crawford – perhaps a sibling of the man Paulina married.

As with any family we research, there is so much history.  Although Oswald and Mary would have been listed in the 1850 census I could find nothing.  Well, let me explain.  I tried looking through the 1850 census for Shelby County, since there had been a hint of them living there in 1850, but an initial was given for each first name – how disappointing for anyone who is looking through that census!  Not a first name for anyone!  Couldn’t the census enumerator have realized how important that would be to all of us now?  Happy research!