Tag Archives: Harrodsburg Kentucky

The Civil War Battle of Perryville, Kentucky – 150 Years Ago

Confederate Memorial outside the mass grave at the battlefield site.

“The spectacle presented by the battlefield was enough to make angels weep.  It beggars all description” – the day after the battle, Henry Fales Perry, 38th Indiana Infantry.

The Battle of Perryville, the largest Civil War battle fought on Kentucky soil, began in the early morning hours on October 8, 1862.  Usually at that time of the morning we have fog in central Kentucky – did the troops experience that?  Or was it a clear, crisp fall day?  Either way, after General Braxton Bragg, with 16,000 Confederate troops, invaded Kentucky with the purpose of taking the city of Louisville, on the Ohio River, Union General Don Carlos Buell, with 20,000 men, was forced to pursue.  And they met at Perryville, a small town with a population of roughly 300.

Note the cannon atop the hill.

The fighting was severe – even weathered veterans said it was one of the fiercest battles in which they had fought.  One said the ground became slippery with blood.  7,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded.  With such a small town, the citizens were overwhelmed with the dead and injured.  Every available space – homes, businesses, schools, churches, barns and sheds – became a makeshift hospital.  Due to a drought, there was very little water to be found, and lack of anesthesia took its tole on the severely wounded.

Confederate plot at Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, KY.

There were so many wounded they were shipped to hospitals and churches and homes in nearby Danville and Harrodsburg – and other areas.  Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg has a plot for Confederate soldiers – most unknown.

William F. Grimsley, Private, Co. F 16 Tennessee Infantry, CSA 1836-1862

D. L. Richardson, born at Bethpouge, W.V. December 4, 1842, died at Lebanon, Kentucky, July 5, 1863

Captain Gabe S. Alexander, Co. H, 2 KY Cavalry, CSA, April 5, 1829 – July 23, 1863

In memory of Private James W. Powers, Co. G, 1 Tennessee Infantry, CSA, 1841-1862

To the memory of William Nance, Company I, 2nd Tennessee Regiment, CSA, 2nd son of Elder Josiah C. Nance and Bethenia H. Nance, born April 3, 1834, wounded at Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862, died at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, October 25, 1862.  Greater than Lee, he did not surrender.  Erected by his sister, Bethenia H. Nance.

In memory of Prussian volunteer Baron Robert Von Massow, 1839-1927, Mosby’s Rangers, CSA

In memory of 2nd Lt. Chat Renick, Sgt. John Barker, Pvt. Foster Key, Pvt. Henry Noland, Pvt. James Noland, Pvt. William Noland, died January 1865, Quantrill’s Missouri Cavalry, CSA

The muffled drums sad roll has beat
The soldiers last tattoo.
Nor more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.

I suppose you could say these are the lucky ones – they had a proper burial.  I am reading Stuart W. Sanders’ Perryville Under Fire, an excellent book not only about the Battle of Perryville, but also the result it had on the wounded and dying that were left there – some as many as six months or more – and the consequence of such a small town having to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the soldiers that remained behind.  The town was decimated in the areas of food, water, medical supplies and firewood.  Many people’s stores for winter was used to feed the soldiers, and as mentioned earlier, a drought made water extremely scarce.  The armies had not planned well and little medical supplies were on hand.  Fences, furniture and lumber from barns were used as firewood.  After five hours of battle, not only were there many dead soldiers to immediately bury – 1,426 total – this number grew as many of the wounded died due to their wounds, lack of medical care or disease.  Shallow graves and mass graves were dug, but many of the dead, especially Confederate soldiers, were left as they lay for several days.  Henry P. Bottom, a farmer whose land was included in the battle, buried many soldiers.  Such a sad, sad time in our history.

In making my list of baptisms of St. Rose Church from Washington County, Kentucky, there are several baptisms listed as ‘baptized in a hospital near Perryville’.  Evidently the good fathers from St. Rose did their part during the war to bring comfort to those wounded in the battle.  I have no way of knowing if these soldiers recuperated and eventually made it home to their loved ones, or if they succumbed to their wounds and were buried in this area.  The following is a list of these soldiers:

  • William Beard, age 24 years, with Co. K, 32nd Regiment Mississippi, Vol. CSA, baptized November 7, 1862
  • Bright Byrd, age 24 years, of Dale Co., AL, CSA, baptized October 13, 1862
  • Wesley Pike, Co. B, 75th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, USA, baptized October 14, 1862
  • Samuel Riles, CSA, native of Coffee Co., Alabama, baptized October 14, 1862

At our Mercer County Library there is an excellent exhibit of items found at Perryville after the battle – shells, swords, buttons, cannon balls, money from the period.

And this weekend nearly 2,000 re-enactors gathered at the battlefield in Perryville to recreate what happened 150 years ago.  Most are avid historians, trying to make history come alive.  But they also want to try to understand what happened and why it happened.  The Lexington Herald-Leader had a nice article with some great pictures.  As for the Confederate army, except for a few visits by John Hunt Morgan and his raiders, they gave up hope of taking Kentucky and making it a stronghold for the South.  The horror of a battle so long ago remains with us today.  Hopefully we have learned a lesson from it.

To the valiant soldiers of the army of the United States, who bravely fought and heroically fell in the Battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862. This monument in grateful memory of their loyal service and noble sacrifice has been erected by the reunited republic they died to save.

John Cecil Davis Obituary

from SWS, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Mr. John C. Davis, a prosperous farmer, residing five or six miles north east of town, committed suicide, yesterday morning, about 6 o’clock, by shooting himself in the heart with a shot gun.  He had been, for a month or more, afflicted with the grip and was demented at the time he took his own life.  At the February term of the Mercer Circuit Court, he attended as one of the trial jury, and the exposure during the cold weather was too great for his constitution.  He was sixty-three years old and leaves a wife and six children, four daughters and two sons.  A brother, Mr. George Davis, of Perryville, and a sister, Mrs. Malinda Ashford, survive him.  He was in good circumstances and his family relations most pleasant, and dementia, produced by the grip, is the cause of his lamentable act.

Mr. John Cecil Davis is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

John Cecil Davis, November 2, 1835 – March 31, 1899

Belle Nooe Obituary

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Thursday, September 25, 1902

A sad and distressing death was that of Mrs. Belle Nooe, wife of Mr. J. B. Nooe, last Thursday morning.  She had been complaining for several days, but was not thought to be seriously ill, and the morning of her death her husband had gone to the country, at her request, to make the final arrangements for moving to their farm on the Bellows Mill Pike.  A short while afterward, one of the neighbors dropped in for a few moments and she seemed very bright and insisted that she did not need any one to stay with her, but when the neighbor returned in about a half hour, she was dead.  The physicians said death had been instantaneous and without suffering.  The funeral occurred Saturday morning at ten o’clock, conducted by Rev. M. G. Buckner.  The deceased has been for many years a devoted member of the Christian Church and many are the kind and generous deeds left with her memory.  She left no children, but the bereaved husband has the sympathy of the community.

Sister Nancy Rupe of the Shaker Community Died Saturday

Shakertown – or, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill – is one of the most peaceful places on earth.  The village has been restored and is about a ten minute drive from our home!  As often as possible we take advantage of the slower pace that envelopes you as soon as you drive on the grounds.  Many times we come just to walk the many pathways around the village.  We also love to eat in the Trustees Dining Room – wonderful Shaker meals of fresh food prepared lovingly!  Their Shaker Lemon Pie is to die for – made with paper-thin slices of whole lemons!

The day we visited the cemetery to find Sister Nancy Rupe’s grave was a hot one – over 100 degrees!  Unfortunately we found no stone for Sister Nancy – perhaps there were such few members in 1907, and aged at that, that there was no one to provide a gravestone for her.  The last Shaker, Sister Mary Settles, died in 1923.

We did fine this beautiful stone – the inscription is as follows:

Our brother, Francis M. Pennebaker, born January 16, 1837, died December 31, 1902

There are buildings to tour, farm animals and gardens, and a riverboat ride!  I encourage anyone close to Mercer County to spend a day – or weekend! – in this lovely place.  You will be refreshed in both mind and body!  And they will make you ‘most kindly welcome’!

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Thursday, November 21, 1907

Old Saint Gone

Sister Nancy Rupe Has Been Crowned in the Kingdom Above

Sister Nancy L. Rupe, one of the best known members of the Shaker community, died at Shakertown Saturday from the infirmities of age.  The funeral services were conducted there Sunday afternoon by Rev. Lon Robinson, of the Methodist church, and she was laid to rest in the burying ground on the hill-side where the greater number of her brother and sister Shakers lie.  In his remarks Mr. Robinson beautifully likened those that are left in the community to the autumn leaves, ready to fall at the slightest touch.  Sister Nancy was but one of these leaves, the summer of her life was gone, and gently, softly, she drifted away to join the many that have already fallen.  Nearly all her life was spent in the Shaker village.  She had seen it rise from a struggling band to a prosperous and wealthy colony, and then watched the decline with a sore heart when adversity overtook her people.  She was a native of Louisville, one of several motherless children, whose father was one of the early converts to the Shaker faith.  Louisville was but a little river town in those days, with few side-walks, and narrow unlighted streets.  A missionary from the newly established Shaker community up the Kentucky River, came down the stream to the larger settlement, preaching the idyllic life of his people, where each shared with the other as members of one family.  Many gave up the struggle in the frontier town, and cast their lot in with this brotherhood, among them the father of Sister Nancy Rupe with his half-orphaned family.  And so she came to Shakertown seventy-six years ago as a little child of ten and all her love and work has been given to the community.  She grew to be a woman of culture and literary attainments, and is lovingly known as “The Poetess of Shakertown”.  She has written many poems and sketches, most of them relative to her people.  She was also a great reader, and out of her wonderful memory could repeat verses and snatches of the works of world-renowned authors.  Several years ago when rural free delivery routes were established, many of the small post-offices were done away with, among them “Pleasant Hill,” the name of the Shaker village, and this called forth a heart-felt protest from Sister Nancy Rupe.  It was one of the last things she ever wrote, and now as she, too, has passed away, the poem takes on a deeper interest.

In Commemoration of Her Many Virtues

This beautiful memorial in Spring Hill Cemetery, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, is one of the most beautiful by far.  Dr. J. Addison Thompson put this as a memorial to his loving wife, Amanda Singleton.  The inscription is as follows:

In commemoration of her many virtues, this monument is dedicated to Amanda Singleton, wife of Dr. J. A. Thompson, February 4, 1819 – March 9, 1878

When the doctor died three years later, an inscription was added to the back of the monument:

J. Addison Thompson, A.B., M.D., Fellow of the Ohio Medical Society, July 4, 1805 – April 2, 1881

But when we consider, whether it is a tall stately monument, or a small, simple stone, it’s the love of the two people – and other family members – that make it a beautiful memory.  Let’s always carry those we love in our heart, and keep their memory burning brightly.

Obituaries – Thomas and Martha Houchins

Thomas O. Houchins, November 3, 1829 – August 19, 1903
Martha H., his wife, July 30, 1823 – July 24, 1906

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Thursday, August 27, 1903

Mr. T. O. Houchins, a highly respected citizen, died at his home, near Burgin, last Wednesday night, aged seventy-three years.  Funeral services were held at the house Friday and the interment took place at Spring Hill Cemetery, this city.

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Thursday, July 26, 1906

Mrs. Oliver Houchins, a venerable and highly respected woman living near Burgin, died early Tuesday morning.  The funeral took place Wednesday and she was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery.  She leaves three sons, Messrs. John and James Houchins, of this county, and Rev. William Houchins, of Kansas.

Priscilla Stagg Obituary

from The Sayings, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Saturday, September 18, 1897

Mrs. Priscilla Stagg, widow of the late Simon Stagg and mother of Messrs. Elwood Stagg, of this county, and G. A. Stagg, of Louisville, died of general debility, Thursday, in the sixty-ninth year of her age.  Her father, Mr. John Adams, was twice married, she being a daughter of the first marriage and sister of Messrs. Adam and David Adams.  Messrs. John Ebenezer, Caleb, Joshua and William Adams are her half brothers.  She was a lady of strong mind and good judgment and a true Christian.  For many years she was a devout member of the Presbyterian Church and now enjoys the rest that is reserved for them that love and serve the Lord.  As daughter, wife, mother and neighbor, she knew her duty and nobly did it.  The funeral was conducted, yesterday, at 3 o’clock, p.m. at the Assembly Presbyterian Church, by her pastor, Rev. W. O. Goodloe, assisted by Rev. J. G. Hunter, D. D., of the First Presbyterian Church; and interment was in Spring Hill Cemetery.