History of the Forks of Elkhorn Kentucky

This article provides information about the Forks of Elkhorn area in Franklin County, Kentucky. It discusses early settlers, churches in the area, and various burying grounds and graveyards, including their locations and notable features. It also contains a table of the 1870 landowners of the Forks of Elkhorn Precinct, Including Duckers, Switzer, Woodlake and Jett.

The Forks of Elkhorn is located at the forks of the Elkhorn Creek a few miles east of Frankfort. The area borders the counties of Woodford and Scott. Situated in a bend of the Kentucky River, the Elkhorn became a main source of navigation for early settlers to this area. In 1819, the Legislature approved an act to establish a group of men to survey the conditions and improve navigation on the Elkhorn.

Legend has it, once there was an Indian maiden in love with a young brave, although she was betrothed to his father, the chief. The young brave, determined that she was his, wrapped her in his blanket. They mounted the back of a friendly elk and fled. They rode for days, always pursued by the angry chief. When they reached Kentucky the elk was shot by the old chief’s arrow. As the elk lay dying, he used his horns as a shield and the chief gave up the pursuit. The young couple would spend their lives in this valley. As years passed, the elks horns sank into the ground forming indentations that filled with a flowing stream of water the Indians called Elkhorn.

1870 Property Owners in Forks of Elkhorn Kentucky

1870 Property Owners in Forks of Elkhorn Precinct, Including Duckers, Switzer, Woodlake and Jett.

NamePost OfficePlace of BirthOccupationSettlement
Ayres, E. W. Duckers Woodford County,Ky Farm & Horse Breeder 1875 445
Bedford, H. Duckers Franklin County, Ky Farm & Stock Raiser 1851 240 1/4
Bedford, S. Spring Station Franklin County, Ky Farm & Stock Raiser 1852 224
Bedford, T. H . Duckers Bourbon County, Ky Farm & Horse Breeders 1848 153
Black, S. Frankfort Franklin County, Ky Farm & Coal Dealer 1827 343
Bowen, J. H. Forks Elkhorn Franklin County, Ky Farm & Stock Raiser 1855 260
Brown, A. D. Duckers Franklin County, Ky Farm & Stock Raiser 1857 226
Carter, B. D. Switzer Franklin County, Ky Farm & Stock Raiser 1853 100
Carter, J. A. Switzer Franklin County, Ky Farm & Stock Raiser 1814 330
Carter, J. W . Switzer Scott County, Ky Farm & Flour/Feed Dealer 1829 87
Coharn, G. W. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Merchant & Blacksmith 1840 4
Donaven, C. Woodlake County Cork, Ireland Gatekeeper 1859
Donaven, Maggie Woodlake Pennsylvania Gatekeeper 1853
Frazier, J. C. Woodlake Fayette County, Ky Farmer 1859 134
French. J. W. Forks Elkhorn Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1823 203
Head, B. F. Forks Elkhorn Scott County, Ky Farmer 1838 63
Holton, J. A. Forks Elkhorn Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1856 162
Holton, J. L. Forks Elkhorn Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1859 56
Hopkins, G. W . Switzer Scott County, Ky Miller 1880 4
Hughes, G. C . Forks Elkhorn Mercer County, Ky Merchant 1852 22
Hughes, J. W. Forks Elkhorn Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1836 300
Jones, B. F. Switzer Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1832 172
Jones, J. J. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1838 101
Lewis, W. H. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Farmer
Lewis, W. J. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1840
Lucas, M. B. Forks Elkhorn Scott County, Ky Farmer & Tobacco Dealer 1865 120
McDowell, H. C. Woodlake Bottetourt County, Va Farmer 1870 585
Macklin, A. W. Forks Elkhorn Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1844 587
Oliver, J. W. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Merchant & Blacksmith 1840 6
Owen, L. A. Jett Station Franklin County, Ky Farmer & Stock Raiser 1853 160
Pryor, William Forks Elkhorn Bourbon County, Ky Farmer & Physician 1860 134
Scott, J. E. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1841 250
Scott, Robert W. Frankfort Scott County, Ky Farmer & Stock Raiser 1826 550
Scott, T. W.Duckers Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1843 230
South, Eudora L. Frankfort Gallatin County, Ky Teacher 1876
South, J. K. P. Frankfort Breathitt County, Ky Minister 1859 49
Stedman, A. T. Forks Elkhorn Fayette County, Ky Woolen Manufacturer 1833 6
Suter, B. F. Switzer Owen County, Ky Farmer 1865
Switzer, J. H. Switzer Franklin County, Ky Merchant 1856
Wilson, R. A. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1833 200
Wingate, I. Woodlake Franklin County, Ky Farmer 1834 231
Wood, J. B. Woodlake Fayette County, Ky Farmer & Stock Raiser 1862 236
Wood, J. M. Woodlake Fayette County, Ky Farmer 1862 507

Some Early Settlers

Charles C. Black, a wagon maker and horse trader, born in Madison County, near Richmond. As a young man, Charles left Kentucky for South Carolina. In 1818, he married Jane Roach, who was previously married to Jesse Cox. By 1821, Charles had returned to Kentucky with his bride and purchased land on North Elkhorn three miles from the forks. Charles became well known for his fine horse flesh. After living in South Carolina for a number of years, Charles Black had established relationships with local plantation owners, who became some of his best customers. Charles drove his horses South, a practice he continued to his death in 1839.

John Henry Burdin, is listed on Franklin County census 1880-1910 in the Forks of Elkhorn District.

William Haydon, established his station on the Kentucky River at the mouth of Yeatman’s Branch. In 1776 he built a cabin and raised a crop of corn. William married Ann Ballard and had at least three known children.

Daniel James a cabinet maker from Virginia, was born about 1750. Daniel appears on the Franklin County tax list August 1800. He lived on a farm at Haydon’s Station with his wife, Sarah Richard, and their six children. Daniel and Sarah were members of the Mount Pleasant Church. In 1824, he sold his farm at Haydon’s Station to Benjamin Branham.

John Lewis was born about 1784 to Zachary and Ann Terrell Lewis of Virginia. In 1808, he married Jean Wood Daniel. They came to Woodlake, where for many years ran a school at Llangollen. Their son Caldwallader, was a minister, who preached throughout the county. He played an important part in the organization of the Providence Baptist Church, where he was a minister from 1858 to his death in 1882.

Anthony Lindsay was born in 1736. He married Rachel Nellie Dorsey in 1758. He brought his family to Kentucky in 1784 and settled at Haydon’s Station. Hugh Macklin was in Kentucky on the Elkhorn by 1801. His family was of Irish descent, migrating to Franklin County from Maryland. His son A. W. Macklin operated a slaughter and pork packing house.

Bennett Pemberton, son of Charles and Sarah Pemberton, migrated from Caroline County, Virginia to Woodford County, Kentucky. Bennett and his wife Mary Tureman resided on Georgetown Road across from the Silver Lake farm of the Black Family. In 1803 they sold their land to Samuel Moxley and moved to the Benson area of Franklin County.

Nathaniel Sanders, Sr. was born in 1742 to Hugh and Catherine Sanders of Spottsylvania County, Virginia. Nat established at mill at the forks in 1789. It ceased operation by 1809. And in 1792, Nathaniel petitioned the Franklin a new mill on the North Elkhorn. In the old Franklin County deeds Sanders’s tavern and fish dam are mentioned. The old road connecting the forks with the Frankfort-Versailles Road was known Sanders Mill and Steele Ferry Road. Some years later Nathaniel moved to Gallatin County, where he died in 1826.

James Tate migrated from Augusta County, Virginia. He married Mary Lloyd and had children; Elizabeth, Thomas L., who married Mrs. Nancy Taylor Gray, Arminta, Sally and Martha. His in-laws, the Lloyd’s, were living between the forks and Woodlake in 1796.

Reverend John Taylor, known as “Daddy Taylor”, was born in 1752. He was the son of Lazarus and Anna Bradford Taylor. John married Elizabeth Kavanaugh of Orange County, Virginia in 1782. They came to Kentucky and settled for a few months on Gilbert’s Creek in Woodford County. Taylor was a preacher in the area for years.


Bartlett-Featherston Graveyard – A small cemetery located at Switzer near the railroad crossing at the Forks of Elkhorn.
French Cemetery – This cemetery is located about 2 miles on U. S. 460 East on the Georgetown Road.
Taylor Cemetery – Locate on the Macklin farm at the Forksof Elkhorn.


Buck Run Baptist Church

Organized in January 1818, at Isaac Wilson’s. Dismissed from the Forks of Elkhorn Church were: John and Susanna Price, Isaac and Lucy Wilson, William Forsee and wife, Frances Castleman, Nancy Triplett, Sarah Head, Lucy Nall, Love Fuler, John, Elizabeth and Benjamin Taylor, Presley and Fanny Neal, Julius and Elizabeth Blackburn, John and Catherine Graves, Elizabeth Gatewood, Lewis and Jane Nall. Dismissed from the Forks of Elkhorn. The first church building was located on the Wilson farm near Spring Station and Georgetown roads. John Taylor preached at Buck Run once a month for five years. Other early ministers were: William Hickman, Silas M. Noel, James Suggett, John H. Ficklin, Mordecai and Theodoric Bouleware and Addison M. Lewis. In 1888 the building at Spring Station was taken down and removed to the Forks of Elkhorn.

Calvary Baptist Church

In the late 1940’s a group left Buck Run Baptist Church and began Calvary and located on the opposite side of the creek. This congregation was almost directly across from Buck Run.

Providence Baptist Church

In 1855, Buck Run selected B. T. Quinn as pastor. Evidently, this was not agreeable to Cadwaller Lewis and twenty-four of the members. They left Buck Run and moved a few miles down the road at Woodlake and formed the Providence Baptist Church.


  1. Atlas of Frankfort and Franklin County 1870-1880, by J. L. Drake & Company
  2. Capital on the Kentucky, by Kramer
  3. Church and Family Graveyards of Franklin County, Kentucky, by KGS
  4. Forks of Elkhorn Church, by Ermina Jett Darnell
  5. Frankfort 200 Celebration 1786-1986, by Frankfort’s 200 Birthday Historical Research Committee

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