Tag Archives: Locust Grove

George Rogers Clark and Locust Grove – Jefferson County

Locust Grove decorated for Christmas in the traditional manor of the 1810’s.

Information on the family of George Rogers Clark is taken from articles written for The Filson Club History Quarterly 1935-1940, by Rogers Clark Ballard Thurston.  In his latter years, General Clark lived with his sister, Lucy, who married William Croghan.  Their home was Locust Grove, located on Blankenbaker Road near the Ohio River.  Ritchey and I love to visit Locust Grove – in addition to being open all year, special events are held – a spring garden show in May, a Jane Austen festival in July, an 18th Century Market Fair the last week in October and Christmas at Locust Grove in December.  I will share some photos we’ve taken.

Tea during the Christmas festivities.

George Rogers Clark was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1752.  Within a few years his family moved to Caroline County, Virginia.  Parents John Clark and Ann Rogers had ten children, all born in Virginia:  Jonathan; George Rogers; Ann; John, Jr.; Richard; Edmund; Lucy; Elizabeth; William and Frances Eleanor.  Some of the general’s family moved to the Louisville area of Kentucky – including his parents.  His parents home, Mulberry Hill, was on the eastern outskirts of Louisville, on Beargrass Creek.  Of the six sons of John and Ann Clark, five served as commissioned officers and the youngest, William, was one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo whose famous expedition to the northwest was made 1804-1806.

Cooking Carolina rice and his Lordship’s beef – delicious together in a bowl – at the 18th Century Market Fair!

With bread and cheese we had quite a sumptuous meal!

George Rogers Clark was a surveyor and as early as 1772 made a trip down the Ohio River.  By 1776 he stayed in Kentucky and became the one to whom others in the state looked to for advice and leadership.  For a short time Clark was at Ford Harrod in Mercer County.

Ritchey talking about cannon and shot.

The general and I discussing his last visit to Washington City.

And jugglers!

In 1809 General Clark stumbled and fell at the fireplace and one of his legs was burned.  Erysipelas set in and his leg was amputated above the knee.  It was at this time that he came to live with his sister and brother-in-law at Locust Grove.  He lived an additional nine years, dying February 13, 1818.  Immediate survivors were his brother William, in St. Louis, and three sisters, Ann Gwathmey, Lucy Croghan and Fanny Fitzhugh.  He was buried in the Croghan family cemetery at Locust Grove.

General George Rogers Clark, November 9, 1752, died February 13, 1818.  Croghan Family Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

In 1869, from a bequest from Isaac Clark, son of Jonathan, lots were procured in Cave Hill Cemetery, and many of the graves were moved to that location, including General Clark’s.

General George Rogers Clark’s burial spot at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.



1780 Will of Silas Harlen

During our time at the Lincoln County Courthouse last week, while actually looking for marriage records, I had to copy a few of the oldest wills.  This will of Silas Harlen, written in 1780 and produced in court in 1783, is the first will of the county.  If you will notice Silas evidently is not married and has no children, his bequests are to his brothers.  Another interesting point, in the three years between the time the will is written and then produced in court, two of the three subscribing witnesses have died.  The very early years of Kentucky history were hard times, Indians still roamed the land and were not happy to have the newcomers take over their land. 

At the beginning of the month Ritchey and I attended the monthly lecture series at Locust Grove, in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was a performance by one of the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Chautauqua performers.  Betsy B. Smith gave a wonderful talk/performance about Jemima Boone, daughter of Daniel Boone.  She WAS Jemima Boone and took us along on the harrowing journey of coming to Kentucky in the mid 1770’s.  Her expressions, her descriptions of life in Fort Boonesborough and of the Indian attacks, the hardships due to little food, etc., let us ride the journey with her through this bit of Kentucky history! 

After reading this will and then the deaths of two of the witnesses, it brought back to life the story of Jemima Boone.

Will Book 1, Lincoln County, Kentucky (Virginia, at the time!)

pp. 2-3

scan211In the name of God amen.  I, Silas Harlen, of the County of Kentucky and Colony of Virginia, being of perfect mind and memory, make this my last will and testament.  My estate I bequeath and dispose of in manner and form following.  First to my brother Jehu Harlen I give and bequeath all that is due to me from Stephen Harlen of my father’s estate.  Also to my brother Elijah Harlen my part of the tract of land that he is now in possession of.  Also to my brother James Harlen all the remainder of my estate, real and personal, who I do hereby constitute and appoint the whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament.  And I do hereby utterly revoke, disavow and disannul all former bequests, wills and legacies by me heretofore in any wise left or made declaring ratifying this and no other to be my last will and testament, in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this seventh day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty.  Signed, sealed, published and declared by the within named Silas Harlen to be his last will and testament in the presence of us – Jeremiah Briscoe, Charles Fergueson, Jacob Harlen

Silas Harlen

scan212At a Court held for Lincoln County the 22nd day of January, 1783, this instrument of writing was submitted in Court as the last will and testament of Silas Harlen, deceased, and proved by the oath of Jeremiah Briscoe, the only surviving witness, and ordered to be recorded.

Test. William May, Clerk

1789 Marriage Records – Jefferson County, Kentucky

Included in today’s marriage records is the marriage of Major William Croghan and Lucy Clark – Lucy was the sister of George Rogers Clark, and William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame.  The Croghan home is now known as Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky, and is an excellent historical site to visit.  Ritchey and I usually attend their 18th Century Market Fair the last weekend in October.  May is the month for their garden show, and December a candlelight Christmas with the Croghan family.  Please go if you are able.  You might be able to have a conversation with George Rogers Clark himself!

1789 Marriage Records – Jefferson County, Kentucky

  • William Brodie married Sarah Ricker, widow – February 5, 1789
  • James McKinley married Jemima Kendall – February 21, 1789
  • John Applegate married Phoebe Thompson – February 25, 1789
  • Basil Prather married Fanny Meriwether – February 26, 1789
  • Thomas Downs married Priscilla Steward – March 2, 1789
  • Jacob Owen married Nancy Ross – March 13, 1789
  • Samuel Kirby married Ruthy Erickson – March 17, 1789
  • John McDaniel married Margaret Shike – April 4, 1789
  • John Churchill married Matilda Slaughter – April 13, 1789
  • William Rodman married Elizabeth Newland – April 20, 1789
  • Elisha Quertermous married Susanna Warford – June 8, 1789
  • Samuel McKinley married Elizabeth Louden – June 26, 1789
  • Sylvester Stauts married Lorina Letherman, widow – June 29, 1789
  • William Johnston married Susanna dunn – July 7, 1789
  • Major William Croghan married Lucy Clark – July 13, 1789
  • John Rogers married Margaret Dunnee – July 13, 1789
  • James Ferrell married Hannah Kennison – August 3, 1789
  • David Skoonover married Ann Strader – August 15, 1789
  • John Rose married Elizabeth Seaton – August 17, 1789
  • Joseph Cline married Eleanor Sinkler, widow – August 19, 1789
  • Coleman Daniel married Nancy Brackett – September 15, 1789
  • Jacob Smith married Susanna Dement – September 18, 1789
  • James Chambers married Amelia Sebastian – October 30, 1789
  • William Neeld married Jemima Merifield – November 18, 1789
  • James Hunter married Jenny Sebastian – December 5, 1789
  • Benjamin Newkirk married Mary Hawkins – December 18, 1789