Tag Archives: Shelby County Kentucky

Rev. Philip W. Taylor Dies At The Age Of 93 – Shelby County

The Louisville Daily Courier, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wednesday, February 6, 1856

A correspondent of the Frankfort Commonwealth furnishes that paper the following:

Rev. Philip W. Taylor, a native of Caroline County, Virginia, a soldier of the Revolution, and one of the early pioneers of Kentucky, died on the 24th, in Shelby County, Kentucky.  He was present at the surrender of Cornwallis, a soldier in Col. Mathews’ regiment.  In 1781 he came to Kentucky.  On his way down the river his boat was attacked by the Indians twenty miles above Louisville, and several of his companions killed and wounded, himself among the latter.  he knew, personally, Boone, Kenton, Todd, Harlan, and indeed all the pioneer heroes who settled the state.  He was for many years a justice of the peace in the county of Shelby, for two years its high sheriff, and for sixty years a minister of the gospel.  He was, perhaps, the last of the pioneer fathers, and in him was severed the last link that bound the busy, bustling generation of today to that stern old warrior race who conquered and settled our beautiful state.

Mr. Taylor’s death was listed in the deaths of 1856 for Shelby County.  Philip W. Taylor, 93, January 24th.  Cause of death – fell off porch?  The last word is very hard to read.

Thank goodness for old newspapers who have been saved – they give us glimpses of life from long ago.

Monument to Col. John Hardin

Monument to Col. John Hardin, erected by his son Mark Hardin.  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky.

Col. John Hardin was everything mentioned in the following article – pioneer, soldier, patriot and Christian.  He owned land in what was originally Nelson County, Kentucky, but in 1792 became Washington County.  His will and further information was in a former blog.

The Louisville Daily Courier, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, November 20, 1856

Monument to Col. John Hardin

Mr. Edgar Needham, marble cutter of this city, has executed for Mark Hardin, Esq., a marble monument 20 feet high and of very fine finish, which is to be erected in the new cemetery at Shelbyville, in this state, to perpetuate the memory of that notable and patriotic pioneer Col. John Hardin, of Shelby.

Col. John Hardin, born October 1, 1755, killed Mary 1792, whilst bearing his country’s flag of peace to the Indians N.W. of the Ohio.

Col. Hardin was one of the most distinguished of that noble band of pioneers who drove back the aborigines from the forests of Kentucky, and founded the glorious institutions of this Commonwealth.  He richly deserves to have his memory perpetuated in marble.


The monument of Col. Hardin is a Doric Pedestal with its capitol surmounted with a blocking course, on which is raised in Alto Relievo, four original and characteristic emblems representing the Pioneer, the Soldier, the Patriot and the Christian.  Upon the blocking course is a column with a capitol of palm leaves, upon which is perched the glorious American eagle.  On the front of the monument is the following inscription:  ‘Col. John Hardin, born 1755; killed May 1792, whilst bearing his country’s flag of peace to the Indians N.W. of the Ohio.’


This is unquestionably one of the finest private monuments ever built in Kentucky, and the representation of the ‘old Kentucky Rifle’ with its old-fashioned flint lock has been universally admired by all who have seen the work.  We understand that the blocks containing the emblems can be seen today and tomorrow at the establishment of Mr. Needham, on Jefferson Street, previous to their being boxed up for shipment.


We are happy to add that in this instance the designing and the execution of the work has been confided to our own citizens.


If this policy were more generally adopted by our men of means, we should hear far less about the low state of the mechanic arts in Kentucky.  What our mechanics and artisans need is a fair chance for the work which legitimately belongs here.  This they ought to have and this they must have, if Louisville is to make any progress in manufacturing and mechanical industry.

Jane, wife of Col. John Hardin, died May 31, 1823, the mother of Sarah McHenry, Martin D. Hardin, Mark Hardin, Davies Hardin, Mary Estill, Lydia Ann and Rosanna Field.


William Shannon – Revolutionary War Soldier

Shannon Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

This little cemetery sitting at the back of the new Wal-Mart on Hwy 55 in Shelbyville, is the sight of much history.  The Shannon family, led by William Shannon, came to Shelby County, Kentucky, very early in the state’s history, settling on his large tracts of land received for fighting in the Revolutionary  War.  His brothers and sisters soon followed, many of which are buried with him in this small cemetery.

Samuel Shannon, Captain, Pennsylvania Militia, Revolutionary War, April 15, 1750 – Mary 14, 1813.  Martha Shannon, May 10, 1765 – February 23, 1838.

Samuel Shannon, who married Martha Bracken, born April 15, 1750, died May 14, 1813, early followed his brother to Kentucky.  The first record of land to Samuel is dated 1787.  He was closely related to his brother William in business matters; and was one of the chief legatees and the executor of William’s will.  His descendants often speak of his disregard for land, stating that he traded some off for a song, while some he let go for taxes.  Both of these men figured in the early Kentucky legislature.  Both had more or less to do with the early Indian wars and with the Revolutionary War.

William Shannon, Captain, Virginia Line, Revolutionary War, 1740-July 5, 1794.

History of Shelby County, Kentucky, George L. Willis, 1929

William Shannon

The name Shannon, in its different forms is widely distributed throughout the United States.  Although they are supposed to run back to a common ancestry in Ireland, there are several stocks in this country which seem t have no connection with one another.  So far as can be discovered at the present time, the earliest member of the branch to which the subject of my sketch belonged, was Thomas Shannon, who died in Sadesbury Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in April, 1737.  In his will, filed in the office of the Register of Wills, in Lancaster, he names five children, Samuel, John, Margaret, Anna and Thomas.  His farm was divided between his sons, John and Samuel, with the provision that his wife, Agnes, should be supported for the remainder of her life out of the share falling to Samuel.  The other children are variously provided for.

John Shannon is the only one of these children of whom any further record can be found.  He was one of the executors of his father’s will and presumably spent his life on the farm which he inherited.  He seems to have been a man of some standing in the community, for in June 1746, he was given a commission as captain to organize a company of men for an expedition against Canada.  The company was formed and sent to Albany, New York, where they spent the winter.  They were finally discharged, October 31, 1747, the attack upon Canada having been postponed.

John Shannon married Sarah Reid, the daughter of John Reid, of Delaware.  He probably died in the latter part of 1767, for on January 7, 1768, his son John, appeared before an orphan’s court at Lancaster, and asked for a division of the estate.  He was the father of eleven children, one of whom was William Shannon, whose life and adventures are the subject of this paper.

The exact date of the birth of William Shannon is not known, but he is understood to have been the oldest of the family.  His sister, Agnes, was born in 1744, which would place his birth somewhere about 1740.  Not much is known of his early life.  He seems to have settled in Virginia, at an early age, for his name appears on a roster of the militia o Augusta County, in 1758.  There is reason to believe that he was a member of Braddock’s expedition against Fort Du Quense.

During the war of the Revolution, his name appears in the records of the War Department, as ensign and lieutenant in Captain William Lewis’ company of the first Virginia regiment.  The company muster and payrolls carry his name until November 30, 1777, when they show that he had resigned, date not stated.  He probably served again at a later period for he is called Captain Shannon, in the family traditions.  There was a Captain William Shannon, who served as quartermaster under George Rogers Clark in his western expedition, but it has not been ascertained whether it was this one or not.

There is a tradition that he was a captain in Colonel Lochry’s regiment, which was sent down the Ohio River in the summer of 1781, to join General Clark, in his intended expedition against Detroit.  Captain Shannon was sent ahead with seven men to carry a letter to Clark, announcing the approach of reinforcements.  Near the present site of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, they were attacked by the Indians.  Several men were killed, and the rest, including Captain Shannon, were made prisoners.

Lochry, unaware of their capture, was attacked at the south of Lochry’s Creek, a short distance below Aurora, and defeated.  Forty-two were killed, including Colonel Lochry.  Shannon was carried north some distance, but was released or made his escape.

A difficulty arises in connection with this story from the fact that in the Pennsylvania Archives, Volume XIV, Page 698, the Captain Shannon of Lochry’s expedition is called Samuel.  Heitman’s Historical Register of the Officers of the Continental Army, speaks of a Captain Samuel Shannon, who was captured by the Indians on the Ohio, in 1781, carried north and put to death.  Whether this was same one or another is not known.  It is hoped that something may be discovered which will verify the story.  William Shannon is said to have been very much liked by the Indians, and they showed kindness to him on several occasions.

About the close of the Revolution, he settled in Kentucky.  He was a member of the Virginia Legislature (Jefferson County), in 1790, and of the Kentucky House of Representatives (Shelby County), in 1793.  He was an engineer and surveyed his own land, which he received from Virginia while Patrick Henry was Governor.  He took up large tracts of land in Kentucky – two hundred thousand, it is said.  The present city of Shelbyville, Kentucky was laid out on his farm, and he gave it a plot of ground for a public square.

He was preparing to go as an officer with Wayne on his expedition against the Indians of Ohio, in 1794, when he came to his death in a quarrel with John Felty.  He was struck on the head with a stone and died the next day, July 5, 1794.  He was never married.  His quarrel with Felty, resulted, his descendants say, from his resentment at language used by Felty in the hotel dining room.  In their difficulty he threw a dirk knife at Felty, inflicting a wound from which Felty also died.

Col. John F. Wight Obituary

In the 1880 census of Shelby County, John and Martha Wight had the following children:  Duke (Martha), 19; John F., 17; Sarah B., 15; J. Albert, 14; Mary, 12; and William A., 8.

John Fletcher Wight, son of James and Sarah Wight, born in Frankfort, Kentucky, 1832, moved to Shelby County 1836, graduated at Dartmouth College 1853, married to Martha Jane Oglesby in Panola County, Mississippi, 1859, member of Kentucky Legislature 1869-71.  Died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, September 27, 1908.  ‘All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come, though shalt call and I will answer there.’  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Monday, September 28, 1908

Col. John F. Wight Dead

Shelbyville, Kentucky, September 27 – Col. John F. Wight, a wealthy retired farmer, died at 8 o’clock this morning at the King’s Daughters’ Hospital in this city after an illness of bladder trouble.  Col. Wight was prominent in Democratic politics for a number of years and at one time represented Shelby County in the Legislature.  He is survived by his wife and several grown children.  He was a member of the Centenary Methodist Church.  The funeral will take place Tuesday morning and the burial will be in Grove Hill Cemetery at this place.

Martha Jane Wight, daughter of Albert A. and Agnes Abernathy Oglesby, born in Surrey County, North Carolina, February 29, 1840.  In early life removed with her parents, five brothers and three sisters to Panola County, Mississippi, died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, April 1, 1935.  “I give unto them eternal life.’

Gilbert Ratcliff – WWI Soldier Killed Day Before Armistice

All casualties of war are sad, not only for the parents and family, but the rest of the country.  No one wants to lose a child, spouse, sibling, relative or friend.  But to be killed the day before the armistice took effect must have been an extra blow to the loved ones of Gilbert Ratcliff.  Since his parents were not informed until December 6, I’m sure they were ready to welcome their hero home from the war, sure that he had made it through. 

My uncle, Robert Carrico, was killed in Sicily in September of 1943.  My mother, her parents and siblings, never got over his death.  Even in her last years she would tear up talking about Robert.  I’m sure Gilbert Ratcliff’s photograph was hung on the wall, in prominent view, for all to see and remember – I know Uncle Robert’s was.

Gilbert Ratcliff, Co. L, 11th US Infantry, born August 22, 1890, killed November 10, 1918, in Argonne Forest, France.  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, December 7, 1918

Six Gold Stars on Shelby’s Honor Roll

Gilbert Ratcliff’s Death Makes Total of 26 Casualties From the County

Shelbyville, Kentucky, December 6th.  Shelby County has given its sixth life to the cause of liberty and freedom.

Mr. and Mrs. Logan Ratcliff were notified by the War Department today that their son, Gilbert, who was in his twenty-seventh year, was killed in battle in France, November 10, the day before the armistice was signed.

Ratcliff went to Camp Zachary Taylor May 28 and sailed overseas the following August.  He was attached to a machine gun company.

Shelby’s other hero sons are:

Corporal Jesse N. Martin, who died April 7.  Private Luther Stevens, whose death occurred some time in July; Sergeant Frank Jesse, death reported July 23; Corporal Aaron Devine, who died in August, and Noah Wilmott who died October 14.

In addition to these six fatalities, four Shelby boys have died in France from disease, fifteen in training camps here and one in an airplane accident, making the county’s honor roll, unofficially, twenty-six.

James C. Miller Biography

from History of Daviess County, Kentucky, Inter-State Publishing Company, 1883

Masonville Precinct

James C. Miller resides on the same farm in Masonville Precinct where his father settled in 1824, and where he was born August 26, 1830.  His father, Fleming Miller, was born in Henrico County, Virginia, November 1, 1791.  He followed teaming until the outbreaking of the War of 1812, when he enlisted in Captain De Val’s company.  After the war, he returned to Virginia and married Elizabeth Ally, and they came to Shelby County, Kentucky, where they had a family of four children, one living – Pleasant J., a tobacco merchant of Owensboro.  The mother died in Shelby County, and Mr. Miller then married Rosa Boswell, and then moved to Daviess County in 1824; soon after his arrival here she died.  He then married Sallie Crawford in 1829, a native of Shelby County, Kentucky.  He died June 28, 1860, and his wife died December 23, 1844.  James C., subject of this sketch, was the oldest of their eight children.  He was married to Amy S. Miller, January 23, 1852.  She was born in Ohio County, Kentucky, and was a daughter of James and A. (Anderson) Miller.  After his marriage, he settled on the old homestead with his father one year; then moved on a farm in Ohio County, Kentucky.  His wife died July 22, 1854, leaving one daughter – Sallie C., born February 27, 1853, now the wife of Dr. J. C. Sutton, residing in Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky.  After his wife died, he returned to Daviess County with his father.  He married Frances Y. Haynes, February 12, 1856.  She was native of Ohio County, Kentucky, born December 20, 1832, and was a daughter of Josiah and Frances Y. (Howard) Haynes.  After his marriage Mr. Miller settled on his farm in Ohio County and remained until 1870, when he returned to Daviess County and settled on a farm, two miles east of Whitesville, in Boston Precinct, where they remained until December 1878, when he purchased the old farmstead farm in Masonville Precinct, where he and family still reside.  Mr. and Mrs. Miller have had seven children, six living – Emma N., born March 14, 1857; Josiah H., born April 12, 1860; Henry C., born June 26, 1862; Fannie R., born July 12, 1866; Mary E., born January 27, 1869, and Amy B., born Jun 11, 1872, all residing with their parents except the eldest son, Josiah H., who is teaching school in Western Kentucky Normal School at South Carrollton.  Mr. and Mrs. James C. Miller are members of the Baptist church at Bethabara, as are all their children.  Mr. Miller is a member of Hodges Lodge, A. F. & A. M., at Whitesville.  He was Justice of the Peace in Ohio County four years; was appointed in Daviess County in 1880, to fill out an unexpired term, and elected in 1882 for whole term.  He was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Daviess County in 1875, and held that office three years.  He has held various other local offices of trust in his precinct.  Mr. Miller owns a fine farm of 165 acres where he resides, 125 under cultivation.  In politics, he is a Democrat.  He is of Irish and German descent.  Mrs. Miller’s family was English and Welsh decent.

Gilbert Ratcliff Buried in Grove Hill Cemetery

Gilbert Ratcliff, Co. L, 11th U.S. Infantry, born August 22, 1890, killed November 10, 1918, in Argonne Forest, France.  Hill Grove Cemetery, Shelby County, Kentucky.

Gilbert Ratcliff was the youngest son of John Logan Ratcliff and Lucinda A. Sleadd, born August 22, 1890.  His parents were married in 1867.  Gilbert’s grandparents were William Sleadd and Sophie Vannatta.

In the 1900 census for Shelby County, Logan Ratcliff was 56, married for 33 years, and a farmer.  Lucinda was 52, a mother of 14 children, with 11 living.  The following children lived in the household – William, 28; Jessie, 21; Homer, 20; Newel, 17; Virginia, 15; and Gilbert, 9.

Gilbert’s draft registration card for World War I lists his home address as R.F.D. #3, Waddy, in Shelby County, Kentucky.  He was a natural born citizen, a farmer and worked for his father.  He was single.  Gilbert was medium tall, stout, with blue eyes and light hair.

How tragic that Gilbert died the day before the Armistice was signed.  How many lives were lost in that last day before the World War I ended?