Tag Archives: Muhlenberg County Kentucky

‘The Godfather of Muhlenberg County’

A few days ago, I introduced you to Henry Rhoads, known as the ‘Godfather of Muhlenberg County’.  In 1913 Otto A. Rothert published his A History of Muhlenberg County, and gives us much information on the early settlers and up to the present day – that is, 1911 present day.  Most of my information is taken from that book.

As mentioned in the earlier blog, Henry Rhoads came to America, with his brothers, from Germany.  He fought in the Revolutionary War under General John Peter Muhlenberg, who commanded soldiers mostly from Germany and Holland, and in whose honor, Henry Rhoads later named the county in which he lived.

At first the Rhoads families settled in what is today Calhoun in McLean County, and was originally called Vienna, but the title to the land was lost by the brothers in a court case.  They moved to what is now Browder in Muhlenberg County.  ‘When Henry Rhoads came to this part of the Green River country he stopped at Barnett’s Fort, on Rough River, above Hartford.  He first located his claim for land at the site of the present town of Calhoun and laid out a town in 1784 and called it Rhoadsville.  When Rhoads was defeated by Captain John Hanley, agent for the Dorsey’s, of Maryland, the name of the town was changed to Vienna.  Rhoads then went back to Barnett’s Fort for a short time and soon after located in Logan County, the bounds of the present county of Muhlenberg, five miles from Paradise on Green River and a mile for the present town of Browder on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

‘Simultaneously with the departure of the Germans to the south side of the river, they erected a fortification about five miles south from Rumsey for refuge in case of Indian attack.  This was called “Pond Station.”  This was in Muhlenberg until the territory embracing it was made a part of McLean County.  About the same time such of the residents of Fort Vienna as owned slaves quit the fort and opened up farms north of the river, where some of their descendants are still to be found.’

After a long struggle with the courts Henry Rhoads received 2,000 acres of a 7,000-acre tract he had surveyed for General Alexander McClanahan.  Not until October of 1801 did he receive a deed to his property.  It was on this tract that the family lived, and the farm was passed from father to son for more than a century.  The graveyard for the Rhoads family is near the historic house.  The small stone for Henry Rhoads reads – H. R., B. J. 5, 1739, D. M. 6, 1814.

We all having those interesting tidbits handed down through the generations, and the Rhoads family is no different.  The following story is from Mr. Rothert’s book – ‘When Henry Rhoads settled on his tract of land, Muhlenberg was practically an unbroken wilderness.  Many wild animals, large and small, held sway.  A number of stories are told about the game that roamed over these hills in olden times.  I here repeat two of these stories, because they are characteristic of life in the wilderness and because they are incidents from the life of Muhlenberg’s first great pioneer, handed down by local tradition.

‘When Henry Rhoads was building his log house his neighbors were few and far between, but all came with a helping hand and a happy heart to take part in his “house-raising.”  These old-time house-raisings were attended as much for the sake of their social features as for the purpose of building a house.

‘One afternoon, while the crowd was busily engaged on the roof of this building, a large bear leisurely wandered into sight.  When the men saw the animal, they stopped work and immediately started on a bear chase.  Some ran after hmi with axes and others with guns.  The women of the wilderness always lent a helping hand.  In this instance one woman followed in the bear chase with a pitchfork.  After an exciting time, old Bruin was finally killed.  That night a large bearskin was stretched on the new log wall and barbecued bear meat was served in abundance at all the other meals prepared for the house-raising party.

‘But the noise made by the bear-chasers evidently did not scare all the wild animals out of the neighborhood.  About a year after that event Henry Rhoads, while walking in his wood, which is still standing a short distance north of the old house, espied a large drove of wild turkeys.  He slowly raised his flint-lock rifle for the purpose of shooting a fine gobbler strutting under a white oak within close range.  When he was about ready to pull the trigger, he heard a rustling in the dry leaves behind him.  Rhoads looked around, and to his great surprise saw a huge panther preparing to spring upon him.  Without stopping to take sure aim he fired at the threatening beast.  Luckily the bullet hit the animal between the eyes and killed it instantly.  A half-hour later Rhoads walked back home with the panther skin on his arm and his trusty flint-lock on his shoulder.

‘These old flint-locks were, as a rule, fine-sight and unerring.  They were slow but sure, although they did not kill every panther they were aimed at.  Compared with modern rifles they were slow in all the operations that preceded and resulted in the discharge of the bullet.’

In the July 12, 2002, edition of The Messenger-Inquirer, of Owensboro, Kentucky, an article mentions that Henry Rhoads father was Heinrich Rhoads, who came to this country from Germany, ‘and was a German gunsmith, who is credited with inventing the Pennsylvania long rifle that he made for frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone, a Rhoads family friend.  The weapon was later called a Kentucky long rifle.’

Henry Rhoads was a member of the State Legislature from Logan Count when, in 1798, Muhlenberg was formed, and he was the first man to represent the new county in the House of Representatives.  In addition, he is credited with drawing plans for the first courthouse of the county.  In his later years Henry Rhoads spent most of his time on his farm, until his death in 1814.

In 1839, in Logan County, Elizabeth Linton, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Linton and Lucy Crewdson, and granddaughter of Captain John Linton and Ann Mason, married Jacob Vaught Rhoads.  Jacob’s father was David Rhoads, born in Pennsylvania in 1777.  He married Elizabeth Vaught, also from Pennsylvania.  I cannot say that Jacob Vaught Rhoads is a grandson of Henry Rhoads, but it is possible; otherwise he would be a great-nephew.

1812 Will of Henry Rhoads of Muhlenberg County

Henry Rhoads, known as the ‘Godfather of Muhlenberg County,’ was born in Germany in 1739.  He and three of his brothers came to America about 1757, and settled in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  In 1760 he married Elizabeth Stoner of Maryland.  He fought for his adopted country under the leadership of General Muhlenberg.  After the war, he and his brothers decided to move to Kentucky.  They stopped first at Bardstown, where they left their wives and children, and headed further west to build a town.  They selected a place at the falls of the Green River and began Rhoadsville.  When the land they lived on was in dispute, and after losing their court case, they moved into Logan County, in what is now Muhlenberg County.  Here the Rhoads brothers raised their families and lived fruitful lives.

When you read the will you notice a wife is mentioned, Barbara.  She is evidently a second wife as to mentioning all the property she brought with her to the marriage, agreeable to contract.  I do find it odd that he gave her the family Bible.

In a later blog there will be more information on this family, who married into the Linton family.

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Henry Rhoads, of the County of Muhlenberg and State of Kentucky, begin weak in body but of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament.

First.  I recommend my soul to the Almighty God and as touching my worldly effects wherewith he has blessed me, I give and dispose of them in the following manner.

1st.  I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Barbara Rhoads all the property she brought with her after we were married, agreeable to contract and one cow, a large heifer and one iron pot, and the common cupboard and chest, my large Bible and the law post-bed bedstead, one large and one small wheel, including all the furniture we have got since we were married.  I also give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Barbary, all that is allowed to her agreeable to the courts of a bond on my son Daniel Rhoads, bearing date August 23, 1810.

Second.  I give and bequeath all my debts, dues and demands, and all the property I own in this world, except what is especially mentioned in this my last will, to my children, namely, my sons, Jacob Rhoads, Daniel Rhoads, Henry Rhoads, Solomon Rhoads

and David Rhoads, Susannah Nighmyoir, Caty Jackson, Elizabeth Vanmeter, and Hannah Jackson, all my daughters, to be equally divided among them at the discretion of my executors at my decease.

Lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint my brothers Daniel Rhoads and Solomon Rhoads and David Rhoads, as executors of this my last will and testament, hereby ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills by me made, as witness and seal, this the 13th day of April in the year of our Lord, 1812, and in the presence of us.

Henry Rhoads

Test.  J. W. Connell, William Sumner

Muhlenberg County, August County Court – 1813

The within instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Henry Rhoads, Sr., deceased, was exhibited into court and acknowledged by the said Rhoads (in his lifetime) to be his act and deed and ordered to be recorded.

Attest.  Charles Wing, C.M.C.

Death of John K. Wickliffe – Civil War Soldier From Muhlenberg County

John Kincheloe Wickliffe was the son of Moses Wickliffe and Nancy Young.  His siblings were Aaron, William Y., Susan Jane (who married William Y. Cundiff), Benjamin Singleton and Robert McLean (twins, who remained bachelors), Moses (also served in the Civil War), Agnes Elizabeth (who married John F. Davis), Charles Bryant, and Mary Frances.

John K. Wickliffe was listed as killed in the Maysville Weekly Bulletin, of July 7, 1864.  Listed were those men who were killed or wounded from the Ninth Kentucky Infantry, from May 9th to June 1st, 1864, Colonel J. W. Caldwell, commanding.

A History of Muhlenberg County by Otto A. Rothert, 1913

In this connection it may be well to refer to John K. Wickliffe, another of the Muhlenberg soldiers who lost his life fighting for the South.  John K. Wickliffe was a son of Colonel Moses Wickliffe, and one of the most popular men in the county.  He was born in 1834 near Bevier, enlisted in Company C, Ninth Kentucky Infantry, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Hartsville, Stone River, Jackson, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and Rocky Face Gap, and was killed at Resaca, Georgia, May 14, 1864.  No soldier’s death was more keenly deplored in the county, by both Northern and Southern sympathizers, than John K. Wickliffe, who had won his way into the hearts of all with whom he had come in contact.  Lycurgus T. Reid, of Rockport, Ohio County, writing to me in July, 1912, relative to the death of this brave man, says:

‘Although I may have forgotten some of my war experiences, I remember the time John K. Wickliffe was killed.  I had my hand on his back when the fatal ball struck him.  This incident, in all its detail, is as clear in my mind today as it was the day he was shot.  I need but close my eyes to see the whole scene reenacted.  It will be impossible for me to picture to you all the details of the event.  However, I will attempt to give an outline of the facts.

‘We were at Resaca.  We had dug out shallow trenches and on top of the low embankment and the lower side of the log, through which to shoot at the Yankees should they attack us.  We had left our arms back of the breastworks while we were working on this embankment.  Suddenly the rally to arms was sounded and every mother’s son of us made for our guns.  I, being a small man, was posted on the left of Company C (the color company of the Ninth Regiment), near the flag and John K. Wickliffe, who was our second sergeant and left company guide.  Something, at times, makes me think he was color sergeant that day, but if he was he held on to his gun and accoutrements.  We fell into the slight works and began to arrange ourselves for a good, square fight.  The Yankees were in sight and coming fast.  Wickliffe lay down on his stomach and, finding his cartridge box under him, asked me to push it up on his back.  While I was attempting to do so a minie ball from the Yankee column struck the lower edge of the log, just above our heads, and glanced down, striking Wickliffe in the forehead, a little to the right of the center, passing through his head.  He suddenly rose to his feet and fell backward, outside of the works, a dead man.  He scarcely moved a muscle after he fell.  I fired a number of shots over his prostrate body at the approaching enemy.  During the course of the fight that followed I was obliged to change my position, but before doing so I took another look at my old friend and then covered his face with a blanket.  That was the last I saw of John K. Wickliffe.’


Remember the Raisin!!

This marvelous tale of Larkin Nicholls Akers during the War of 1812 is discussed in Otto Rothert’s 1913 book, A History of Muhlenberg County.  I have an original copy, which was dedicated ‘To the memory of the Pioneers of Muhlenberg, who by their resolute deeds and heroic lives made possible the achievements of a later day, this History of Our Own Times and of theirs is dedicated.’  This book was given by Bettie J. Earns, to her mother, Effie Earns McNary, on January 1, 1914.  When looking at county history books it is always best to find the early ones.  The people that wrote these early books – 1870’s through 1930’s – generally knew the people they were writing about, or knew them through their parents or an older generation.

Today I want to share information with you about Larkin N. Akers.  He is listed as a hero of the War of 1812, and is buried in Old Liberty Cemetery in Muhlenberg County.  His gravestone has been painted to represent the flag of our country, the one he served so well.  I have not seen anything similar.

Larkin Nichols Akers, born 1794, Shelby County, Kentucky, died 1865, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  War of 1812 – Private.  Old Liberty Cemetery, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

From the book –

A century has passed since the War of 1812 began.  It is said that for many years after this war accounts of daring deeds performed by Muhlenberg men were told by the soldiers who participated in some of the battles.  With the exception of a few, all of these old stories, although handed down for a generation or two, are now forgotten.  Most of the men who saw service in the second war with England passed away before the close of the Civil War.  George Penrod, who died January 22, 1892, at the age of about one hundred, was the last of the Muhlenberg veterans of 1812.

Practically all that is now told in local traditions of this war forms part of the story of the life of eight well-known local men:  Larkin N. Akers, who ran the gantlet after the battle of the River Raisin; Charles Fox Wing and Mosely Collins Drake, who took part in the battle of the Thames; Ephraim M. Brank, Alney McLean, Isaac Davis, Joseph C. Reynolds, and Michael Severs, who took part in the battle of New Orleans.

Larkin Nicholls Akers came to Greenville about twenty-five years after his miraculous escape at River Raisin.  He was a private in a company organized in Central Kentucky, where he lived at the time he enlisted.  The famous massacre of River Raisin took place in Michigan on January 23, 1813, and was one of the most cruel and bloody acts recorded in all our history.  The American forces, mainly Kentuckians, after fighting a fierce battle against a superior number of British soldiers and their Indian allies, surrendered under promise of protection from the Indians.  But the British made no attempt to carry out their promise.  On the contrary, they encouraged the bloodthirsty Indians by offering them pay for all the scalps they would bring in.  The unprotected and defenseless American prisoners, who were crowded into a few cold houses and pens, were soon in the hands of the merciless savages.  Some of them were killed outright or cruelly burned to death; a number were scalped alive.  Many were tortured in various ways, some by being compelled to run the gantlet.  In the confusion not many made their escape.  But of those few who ran the gantlet and came out alive, Larkin N. Akers was one.

Akers often told the sad story of his River Raisin experience to his family and friends while sitting around the fireside or while working in his tailor shop in Greenville.  The treatment he received during that massacre was almost beyond human endurance.  His body was virtually covered with scars.  Up to the time of his death, which occurred in July 1865, he frequently suffered intense pain from a fractured skull and other wounds inflicted by the Indians.

This surgeon’s affidavit was made in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on February 23, 1828.  It says that Larkin N. Akers was a Private in the Company of Captain Thomas Lewis in the 13th Regiment of the United States Infantry, and is rendered incapable of performing the duty of a Soldier.  It continues that on May 5, 1813, ‘being engaged in a fight with the British and Indians, at or near a place called the Rapids of Miami, in the district or territory of Michigan, he received four wounds in his head, seemingly with a tomahawk.’  He was considered three-fourths disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor.

Larkin N. Akers married Sally Harrison, who was related to General William Henry Harrison.  Mr. and Mrs. L. N. Akers were the parents of five children:  Anna Akers, who married John A. Stembridge; Jane Akers, who married William Lindsey; Matilda Akers, who after the death of her first husband, David Donevan, married Joseph Randall, both of whom lived in Hopkinsville; Thomas Akers, who married Lera Boswell, of Princeton; Sarah Catherine Akers, who married Charles W. Lovell, of Muhlenberg.

Kentucky Vital Statistics – Births – 1911-1915

Kentucky Vital Statistics – Births – 1911-1915

  • Margarie Pritchet, Hopkins County, November 23, 1914, Vol. 114, #56793, mother, Venie Winstead
  • Sallie Pritchet, Graves County, August 13, 1914, Vol. 79, #39323, mother, Annie Hayden
  • Agnes Corinne Pritchett, Hopkins County, February 15, 1913, Vol. 17, #8150, mother, Jessie Powell
  • Bert Young Pritchett, Muhlenberg County, May 2, 1912, Vol. 64, #25300, mother, Maggie Pritchett
  • Infant of Ernest Pritchett, Hopkins County, February 15, 1913, Vol. 17, #8150, mother, Jessie Powell
  • Ernest Franklin Pritchett, Hopkins County, March 8, 1914, Vol. 28, #13650, mother, Jessie May Powell
  • Eunice Marie Pritchett, Logan County, December 4, 1911, Vol. 153, #61139, mother, Mollie Bell Baugh
  • Ewell Ethau Pritchett, Calloway County, September 12, 1913, Vol. 101, #50296, mother, Minnie Hunt
  • Harold Lee Pritchett, Hopkins County, March 5, 1913, Vol. 29, #14077, mother, Nettie Ruth Critser
  • Hazel Dean Pritchett, Henderson County, February 3, 1915, Vol. 16, #7529, mother, Celia Dell Hart
  • Ida B. Pritchett, Lyon County, November 28, 1915, Vol. 118, #58891, mother, Margery Pritchett
  • Ira May Pritchett, Muhlenberg County, November 19, 1915, Vol. 125, #62345, mother, Myrtle Reynolds
  • Jethro Pritchett, Muhlenberg County, October 25, 1912, Vol. 133, #52871, mother, B. Myrtle Reynolds
  • Joe Nell Pritchett, Hopkins County, November 14, 1915, Vol. 116, #57924, mother, Jessie Powell
  • John Ford Pritchett, Union County, November 28, 1913, Vol. 121, #60176, mother, Kate Pritchett
  • Josephine Davis Pritchett, Webster County, April 16, 1911, Vol. 52, #20684, mother, Florence Walker
  • Infant of Leland Pritchett, Muhlenberg County, February 4, 1912, Vol. 23, #9047, mother, Della Baker
  • Leontine S. Pritchett, Hopkins County, November 8, 1913, Vol. 117, E58215-A, mother, Annie W. Crews
  • Mary Virginia Qualls, Webster County, September 20, 1912, Vol. 121, #48195, mother, Mamie Crowley
  • Massy Cundas Qualls, Carter County, October 13, 1912, Vol. 126, #50213, mother, Roxie Dell Brown
  • Maurine Qualls, Christian County, March 28, 1913, Vol. 67, #33449, mother, Lilly Retter
  • Minnie Thomas Qualls, Christian County, November 28, 1914, Vol. 119, #59284, mother, Hettie Ware
  • Myrtle May Qualls, Crittenden County, March 19, 1911, Vol. 29, #11424, mother, Cora Alice Blake
  • Raymond Qualls, Marshall County, April 3, 1911, Vol. 49, #19489, mother, Maude Lee Peck

Today In Genealogy History – August 30

Elizabeth Morton Rhoads died 106 years ago – August 30, 1907 – in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  She was born November 25, 1808, in Ohio County, Kentucky.  Elizabeth married Henry Rhoads.  They had at least one son:  Morton Garner Rhoads.

Julia Anne Murphy Sherrod Pace – American Indian


This blog was written by my good friend, Claudia Randolph, who loves genealogy as much as I!  I was thrilled to see this photo of her gr-gr-grandmother, Julia Ann Sherrod Pace.  Julia is very beautiful.  I mentioned to Claudia that this photo reminds me of one I have of my gr-gr-gr-grandfather, John Cotton Taylor – since it almost looks like a drawing rather than a photo.
This is my maternal G-G Grandmother Julia Ann Sherrod Pace.Birth: Jun. 2, 1831
Death: Apr. 2, 1880Julia Ann Sherrod Pace…… Cherokee Indian 1833 ,

Written by Claudia Randolph – GG-granddaughter of Julia Ann PacePer our grandmother, Linnie Edith Davis Vaughn, granddaughter of Julia Ann. Her grandfather, William L. Pace, husband of Julia Ann…told her the story about Julia Ann being Cherokee Indian. He said she was adopted by the Sherrod family as a small child.In 1833 a terrible cholera epidemic swept through Kentucky. It infected the Cherokee settlement in Todd county. Julia was the only surviving member of her family. The Sherrod family adopted her.

As for proof: I feel the story passed from WL Pace, her husband to his daughter, Ludie Oliver, to her daughter Linnie to her children and grandchildren is very compelling.  History proves there was a cholera epidemic in 1833.  Julia would have been two years old at that time.  We also have the following, transcribed from the back of the marriage bond of William L. Pace and Julia Anne Sherrod Pace, February 1, 1863:

State of Kentucky, Muhlenberg County.  I, W. L. Pace do certify that I am about 25 years of age, that I have been married once before, that I was born in Bedford County, Tennessee.  That my father, Richard Pace, was born in North Carolina; that Julianne Murphy was born in Todd County, Kentucky; that she is about 31 years of age.  She has been married once before.  That her parents are native citizens of the United States.  That I expect to marry this February 1, 1863. (Signed) W L Pace

(Signed) Samuel Pace & authority – can’t read nameWe showed a professional historian and genealogist this document.  She told us, in her opinion, this meant Julia Ann’s parents were native Americans.DNA Report of Jane Latham Springer, Great granddaughter of Nannie Roma Pace. Daughter of Julia Anne Pace. Sunday, September 12, 2010.

” I have been working with mtDNA test results. My maternal line – which I believe would be the same as yours – tested with the Haplogroup J. Native American heritage tests with Haplogroups A, B, C, D, and sometimes X.”

— with Jerry Garrett.