Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky

District organization as formed in Kentucky is by no means similar to the township organization of the Northwest, and does not afford so reasonable nor obvious a division of the historical interests of the people. But in an attempt to supply the fullest details of the county’s history for which there is any data, the necessity for some such division becomes apparent, and these arbitrary lines have been seized upon to aid in such systematic treatment as the best result seemed to demand. These lines, however, are expressive of something more than the convenience or whim of the authority by which they were run. Neighborhoods form natural centers of their own without reference to political divisions, and are earliest formed. Dividing lines are subsequently drawn to suit the tastes or conveniences thus created, and while the ” district ” lacks much in individuality, a community of interest is subsequently developed to suggest the plan here followed.

The centralized character of county organization makes the county seat the seat of power and importance, toward which the activities of the whole county tend, and, with rare exceptions, to which commercial enterprise is attracted. This is eminently true of Elkton, and with the completion of the projected railroad from Elkton to Guthrie its predominance over other villages in the county will be more marked. The district known as No. 4, the lines of which are drawn about the county seat, is centrally located, but owing to the narrowness of the county, the village is placed rather in the western portion. On the east it extends to the Logan County line, where Daysville affords a voting place for those placed at an inconvenient distance from Elkton. It is bounded on the north by District No. 2 (Sharon), and District No. 7 (Bivinsville); on the east by Logan County; on the south by District No. 6 (Allensville); and on the west by District No. 3 (Fairview). The surface is drained by Elk Fork of Red River, which rises in the northwestern portion of this district, flows generally in a southeasterly direction into the Allensville District and thence to the Red River. Besides this stream, there are two or three smaller creeks which flow into the main one. The surface is hilly in the north, rolling through the central portion, and comparatively level in the south. From the south extending toward Elkton, the general surface continues to rise, the land near Elkton, according to the recent railroad survey, being 113 feet higher than the surface near Guthrie. Along the banks of the creek the land is very low. The surface in the northern part of the precinct is considerably diversified, there being two or three ranges of hills with valleys between them. The soil of the valleys is composed of the red clay subsoil, over a limestone formation, and this characteristic is also noticeable in the soil of the central and southern portions of the district. The soil of the hills is mostly of a yellowish clay, and considerable surface is composed of the ” clifty ” limestone formation, which makes up a major part of the northern portion of the county. The timber in the district in an early day was mainly in the northern portion of the district, although in the south there was a very fine grove some two or three miles in length, by a mile and a half in width. The original timber was mainly of several varieties of oak, among which might be mentioned black, pin and red, with an occasional tree of white oak, also cottonwood, maple and an undergrowth of hazel. Through what was known as the ” barrens,” was a thick growth of ” scrub ” hickory, which almost every season would be burned to the ground. In an early day in the more open places in these ” barrens ” grew the most luscious of wild strawberries, and the early pioneer often made his daily meal from this most healthy appetizer. The first settlers in this district made their cabins in the timber and along the creeks, as they thought that starvation would be their reward if they settled in the ” barrens,” and thus it was that the richest portions of the county were settled later than the timbered land. Today the once neglected ” barrens ” of this district form a part of the northern boundary of the area comprising the famous Clarksville tobacco district, which comprises the most valuable farms in southern Kentucky.

To the searcher after the curious and the wonderful but little of interest is presented in this district. In the northern part on the farm now owned by Mr. Gordon there is a cave of some note. It is entered by going down some ten or twelve steps, and it has been explored about one mile. There are two or three comparatively large caverns in the cave, and here the average height is about seven or eight feet. In one of them there is one column which has been formed by the dropping of the water from the roof. There seems to be no especial history connected with the cave, which is at present pursuing the even tenor of its way and is doing duty to the people of the surrounding neighborhood as a cellar. The early pioneers found, in plowing up their lands, many traces of the pre-historic races and early Indians in numerous specimens of arrowheads, tomahawks, stone knives, pestles, etc. On the farm now owned by William Hadden is a very perfect Indian mound, and in an early day the pioneer in plowing over this mound, it is said, uncovered the bones of a gigantic race of people. All the human bones found were very much larger than those of the skeletons of people of to-day, and in connection with the bones many interesting implements were also discovered.

We cannot, in commencing to write of the early settlers of this district, tell with certainty who was the first white man that made a home in what is now Elkton District. Some years ago Mr. Urban Kennedy published a series of sketches in one of the papers in Elkton. In looking them over we find that he refers to several persons as living here when his father settled just on the outer edge of this district in Fairview, in 1808. Of the names he mentions none live now to tell of their trials and hardships, and but few of their descendants are present to inform us of their nativity. In this connection we deem it best to use Mr. Kennedy’s own words. He says: ” A ditch field composed a part of the town of Elkton, extending from the court house to the creek, and there was a small cabin where the Rathburn House stood, and here a hunter by the name of McIntosh lived, holding the land for Gray. Gray and Garvin both claimed the land, and Gray saw fit to have a man live on it. Jesse Irvin lived on the creek west of Daysville. James Millen was on an improvement between Daysville and Elkton on the farm now owned by the Millen heirs. Here was a spring that had been used by buffaloes in an early day as a drinking place. On John Bell’s farm, Andrew and John Mann were living, and a man by the name of Davis on land now owned by Aaron Williams, and there he died. Peter Furgerson came the following year after his father, but soon sold out to Robenson Burrus, the father of Col. Nat Burrus. Burrus was from Virginia, and wore his knee breeches and buckles, and was fond of his guns and hounds. William Daniel settled where Caleb Bell now lives. In 1811 Armstrong Bailey, Jesse Irvin and Farrow White were living where Daysville now stands.” Thus briefly the first settlement of the district can only be noted. The first authentic settlement in this region that we have any record of was in 1809. In that year Henry Maben came to this district and settled on the farm now owned by his children Matthew and Elizabeth Maben, both of whom are now over seventy years of age. This early pioneer was born in Bellamony County, Ireland, in 1760. He came to the United States when he was nineteen years of age. He landed in Charleston, S. C., and lived there some eight or ten years, and then moved to Chester County, S. C., where he remained until his departure for the West. Upon his arrival here, he settled five miles south of Elkton in the fine grove of timber which still forms part of the Maben estate. He first entered 150 acres, which he afterward increased to 550 acres, and here he resided until his death, which occurred in 1840. While he was living in South Carolina, he enlisted in the Revolution and was under Gen. Washington. It is said that many were the hours he spent in relating stories of this great man to his listening children. Of his descendants but two are now living. A third child, Thomas Maben, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was with Gen. Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. Returning to this county he resided here until his death in 1872.

Accompanying Maben to the then ” Wilderness of Kentucky ” were several other sturdy yeomen of South Carolina. They were Archibald Cogell, James McKee and Isaac Bean. Cogell and McKee were both natives of Ireland, and came to South Carolina with Maben. Bean was born in South Carolina. Cogell settled on part of the farm now owned by Matthew Maben, where he lived many years. Both he and his family have now passed away. McKee lived in the same neighborhood for twenty-five years and then moved to Ohio, where he remained a short time and then moved to Illinois, where he died. Bean settled on the farm now owned by Alex Chestnut, where he resided until his death in 1840. We have spoken of James Millen as living here in 1808, and in 1809 his two brothers, William and Archie, came here from South Carolina. William settled on land now owned by Baxter Porter, and here he ran a horse-mill for many years; some of his children are now residents of the Purchase. In 1810 Thomas Park made a settlement on land now owned by Ben Parish. He only lived there a short time and then moved to Illinois, where some of his children are now living.

In 1809 John P. Brown came to this district and settled on the farm now owned by T. Foster. This gentleman was born in Virginia, and was of English descent. After his arrival in this district he only lived on his first settlement for two years, and then moved to the southern portion of the district, settling near Pinchin, near the line between this district and Guthrie. Here he entered about 400 acres, a part of which forms the land now owned by the widow Wolf. In this district he resided until 1833, and then moved to Macoupin County, Ill., where he died. His son, Preston Brown, who was four years old when the father came here, grew to manhood in this district and then settled in the Trenton District, where he remained some time. He afterward moved to the Hadensville District, and sold goods there in 1838-39. Turning his attention to farming he resided in that district for many years, but is at present living near Elkton, at a hale old age. As early, probably, as 1810 Charles Russell of Virginia came to this county. He had come to the State some years prior to this, and had been living in Logan County. After his arrival here he followed the trade of a shoe-maker, and never had any regular place of residence in the county. There are a number of his grandchildren still living in the southern portion of this district.

In a very early day, exactly when we cannot say, there were several settlements made in the northern portion of the district. John Harrison was one that was living here prior to 1812, and a grandson of his is still living on the same farm. Thomas Allender also came here quite early from Virginia, and settled on land now owned by Thomas Fox. On that farm he lived for many years, but finally passed away, and his children have all emigrated into other States. Thomas Fielding, a son-in-law of Allender, came here with him, and was a shoe-maker here in ‘a very early day. In 1810 John Chestnut came to this district from North Carolina and settled on the farm now occupied by Franklin Chestnut. While en-gaged in building a house two years afterward he fell and was killed, leaving a widow and a large family of children, who are now with their children scattered over this county, and all unite in doing the old pioneer honor. We are not exactly able to state the time that Samuel Coleman came to this county and made a settlement in this district, but it was in a very early day. The farm on which he resided is now owned by the Bailey heirs. After residing here for many years he died, leaving two sons, James and John. The former continued to reside here until his death, and his children are still living in the district. John moved to Missouri, where he raised a large family of children, and in the late war five sons of his were in the Confederate Army under Gen. Price. Among other settlers who deserve to have their names enshrined in the annals of time were two brothers by the name of McKinney, Collin and Daniel, and their brother-in-law, Ambrose Douthitt. They lived here many years, and in about. 1828 the three families moved to Texas. There Collin Mc-Kinney became one of the most prominent men of that new region. He was an officer in the revolution for independence from Mexico. In the first convention after the Republic had gained its independence he was a delegate, and upon its admission to the United States he was one of the first Members of Congress to represent that Commonwealth at Washing-ton. To-day a county and a city both bear his name in the State of his adoption. Joshua Shreves came here also in an early day and settled on the farm now owned by Perkins and Terry. A son-in-law of his, Daniel Garton, settled on a part of the farm now owned by the Bailey heirs. About 1808, or perhaps a year or two later, Anthony New came to this county from Virginia, where for many years he had been a member of the Assembly of that State. Upon his arrival here he settled on part of the farm now owned by Mrs. Lucy E. B. Greenfield, building the house that she now occupies. Soon after the separation of this county from Christian he represented Todd County in the Legislature, and before this, when Christian and Todd were together, he went to Congress from this district. After a life of usefulness he died, and now lies buried on the farm that he settled over seventy years ago. His son, R. D. New, also represented this district in Congress later on. On the farm now owned by Peyton Simpson, two miles west of Elkton, John Standard and his son Sherard made a pioneer settlement. The latter was for many years the leading auctioneer in this part of the county. Probably the first physician in this region was Dr. Sappington, who made a settlement four miles northwest of Elkton and set out the celebrated ” France ” orchard, which was known far and wide through this portion of the State. Valentine Wolf is now living on the old farm. In 1824 the Doctor moved to Missouri, settling in Saline County. In that State he afterward became quite noted as the inventor and proprietor of Sappington’s Pills.” Gov. Jackson, one of the first Governors of that State, married his daughter. In 1812 James Kendal came here and settled at the town of Newberg. This pioneer deserves more than a passing mention in the history of this district, and we deem it proper to insert the following brief notice of him at this point: He was born in the State of Virginia and came to Kentucky when a young man. Coming to this county he settled first four miles from Elkton; there he resided until 1816, and then settled near Newberg. Here he farmed and kept a hotel; the place being the half-way point between Russellville and Hopkinsville, the inn became quite an important point. In 1819 he came to Elkton and commenced running the Nick and Will House. He remained in this business until 1827, when he re-tired and resided in Elkton until his death in 1835. Elisha B. Ed-wards came to this district in 1816, having come from Nelson County to this point, and to that county from Maryland. After his arrival here he opened a grocery store at Newberg, at which point it was thought the county seat of Todd County would be located, it being in what is now the center of the county. He remained at this point but about two years, and then moved to Christian County. He settled near Garrettsburg, but only resided about one year, and upon the formation of the new county he returned to Elkton. He was elected the first County Court Clerk of this county, and served in this position until his death in October, 1823. Urban E. Kennedy is authority for the statement that Gideon Thompson came to this district prior to 1809, and settled about two miles and a half from Elkton, on the farm now owned by James Chestnut. This pioneer was a very plain, blunt sort of man, but withal was as sharp as the many sharp ones of that day. A rather good story is related of him, which we insert in this connection. Some time after he came here a bone was found on the farm near him and brought to the county seat. The doctors at this point pronounced it to be the bone of a child’s fore arm, and it was immediately surmised that a murder had been committed. A special detective was about to be sent to the scene of the “find,” when Thompson, who happened to be in town, took the liberty of looking at the bone, and upon examination he pronounced it to be nothing more nor less than the bone of a dog’s fore leg, and so it finally proved. Probably in this same year Joseph Black came to this county, and settled two miles northeast of Elkton, on the farm now owned by S. K. Mallory. Here_ he resided. for many years, but finally passed to his reward.

In 1809 Hazle Petrie came to this district and settled on the present site of Taylor’s Chapel. This gentleman was born in Chester District, South Carolina, came to Tennessee in 1807, and subsequently came to this county. He lived on his first settlement only one year, and then purchased from Maj. John Gray a tract of land three miles southwest of the present site of Elkton. On this land he built a dwelling house, and resided there until his death in 1869. Mr. Petrie was a man widely known in this county. For many years he was a member of the County Court, and at one time represented Todd County in the General Assembly. He raised twelve children, four of whom preceded him to the grave. He left fifty-four grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren.

Probably the most important character in the early history of this district was Maj. John Gray, who came here in 1816. He was born on the eastern shore of Maryland, his ancestry being Welsh. He came with his father, Drakeford Gray, to this State in an early day. The latter settled on Corn Creek in Gallatin County, where he died. Maj. Gray came to . Centerville in 1805. This point -was at that time the county seat of Christian County. He was a lawyer and practiced his profession generally in southern Kentucky. In 1812 he came to Hopkinsville and resided there until he came to this district. Here he entered thousands of acres of land in this and other districts, and was one of the most important factors in early land speculations. He, however, turned his attention mostly to farming, and was considered to be one of the largest land-owners in the county. In the fall of 1820, soon after Christian and Todd Counties were divided and Elkton became the county seat, he laid out quite an extended addition to the town. Two years prior to this he commenced the erection of the Nick and Will House, which is still standing. In 1828 he commenced to run a system of stage lines all through southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. Altogether he ran some ten different lines, and owned some 150 head of horses. Graysville in Hadensville District which bears his name, was the crossing of some six lines of stages, and here he built a large hotel and stables for the accommodation of the public. Maj. Gray was withal a very wealthy man, as well as a philanthropic one. It is said that he never let his right hand know what his left hand did. The following incident is related of him: In an early day there was a very great dearth of corn one season, but Gray had plenty. One day a man came to him and wanted to get some corn. Gray asked him if he had the money to pay for it, and the man replied that he had. Gray then told him that he could not let him have it, but told him to go to the next neighbor who would sell him some. He then gave his reasons for refusing to let the man have the corn. He said there were plenty of men in the county who were without corn, and who had no money to buy it with, and his corn was being kept for them. And it is said that he after-ward gave hundreds of thousands of bushels away. He died here in 1833, after a long and useful life. In 1817 Charles Mann, Matthew Thompson, John M. Harns, Willis Hardwick and Joseph McBride all came to this district from Buckingham County, Va. They were all of English descent, and were as sturdy a set of pioneers as one generally finds. Upon their arrival here Mann purchased Park’s improvement, and the latter moved West. The other families settled near Mann’s improvement, and the descendants of these pioneers are still .to be found in this neighborhood. When Mann arrived here, a man by the name of Pritchett was living on the farm now owned by Mr. Grumley, and a family of Brindles were living on the adjoining farm; both settlers and their descendants have now passed away, and hardly any trace of them is now found in this district.

In 1820 Benjamin Edwards came to this district and made a settlement one-half mile south of the present site of Elkton, on the farm now owned by Rev. Gill. This gentleman was born in Maryland, and in 1798 he moved to Nelson County, in the northern part of this State. In 1821 he wrote to William King, in Nelson County, describing his settlement here, and as it is a true picture of pioneer life in those days we reproduce it here. The letter is dated January 21, and he says: ” There was not a bush cut down here in June. We have since cleared and cultivated thirty acres of land and built a brick house 60 feet long by 30 feet wide, with four good fire rooms about 18 feet square, and a passage 10×10, with two cellars 20 feet square, one of which is our kitchen, with a cellar in it, with a good closet. We have got two good fire rooms with one coat of plastering and all the joiner’s work completed. We shall have another fire room completed in about two weeks, which we will call our dining room. The last year was the driest year I ever saw, or we should have made corn enough, but as it is I have, and still have, to buy nearly 200 barrels, I expect; and as the winter is so unusually severe, I fear we shall be much difficultied to support our stock with fodder. Corn blades now sell at 7s. 6d. per ct., and hay about the same, 6s. in the meadow, and pork from $3 to $4 per ct., about 4,000 of which I have bought. We have a good house of hewn logs; with shingle roof and brick chimney, planked below and above, with potato cellar under it, and also a good brick smoke-house, 14 feet square and 10 feet high, besides other small houses. We have 30 acres in meadow and also 10 acres on lot of 25 acres adjoining town. This detailed improvement will cost of about $4,000.” Mr. Edwards continued to reside on that farm until his death, in about 1826. He was a brother of Ninian Edwards, the first Governor of Illinois, and lies buried on the farm he first settled. His son, Elisha B. Edwards, the father of Dr. Edwards, is also interred at this place. In 1820 Mike Mackey came here from Virginia and settled on a farm about a mile south of Maben’s, and is still living there.

In 1821 David M. Russell came to this district and settled two miles southeast of Elkton. Mr. Russell was born in Scotland, and came to the United States about 1805 on a visit, but was not permitted to return on account of the Embargo act. He first settled down in Maryland, but coming to Kentucky soon after he made an improvement near Auburn, Logan County. He came to this county and district in 1821, as we have stated above, and resided here until his death, which occurred in 1852. Four children are still living, one of whom, James A., is the present Circuit Court Clerk.

Accompanying Mr. Russell to this district was Carl Mario, who was known in his day as the ” best man in the county.” He was born in Jutland, Denmark, and was for eight years the Secretary for that Government on the island of Santa Cruz. In 1809 he came to New Orleans, and being hindered from returning home on account of the Embargo act he finally started northward. In 1812 he drifted to Logan County, and meeting Mr. Russell a friendship sprung up between them, which lasted until the hand of death dissolved it. Upon his arrival in this district he opened a shoe-maker’s shop in a building erected by Mr. Russell on the latter’s farm, and lived there until his death in about 1840. He was a man of very fine education, speaking three languages fluently. He was also a fine conversationalist, and in every pioneer house in this district ” Charles Murray,” as he was called, was a welcome guest. Thomas Philips came here in 1820 with the Edwardses from the northern part of the State, and settled on the farm now owned by Samuel Coleman. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and came to Kentucky in a very early day. He was a silversmith by trade, but never followed his vocation after he came to this county. He died here in about 1840. A grand-daughter of his is still living in the person of Mrs. Dr. J. O. McReynolds.

In Mr. Kennedy’s sketches a man by the name of William Blackwood is spoken of as being here as early as 1809, but as no trace can now be found of him we can simply insert his name in this connection. Mr. H. G. Boone, who is still living one mile north of town, came to Elkton in 1823, and found the following named parties living here, in addition to those mentioned above. As we can find no accurate date of their arrival we simply insert their names and locations: Hugh B. Wilkins was living four miles west on the Hopkinsville road, on the farm now owned by William S. Crouch. George L. Harrison was living on the north edge of the district on the farm now owned by his son, William B. Harrison of Elkton. John Taylor lived near Harrison on the farm now owned by the Campbell family. Taylor was an early magistrate here, and under the old Constitution was Sheriff of the county at one time. William Hopper and his brother-in-law Mr. Martin were also living in the northern part of the district. Hopper had a tan-yard, and made a for-tune out of the business. Frank Whiting Drew was living on a farm ad-joining Hopper, and was also running a tan-yard on the farm now owned by Mr. Miller. Brison Ervine was living north of town near the bridge on the Greenville road. He was also a tanner, and was engaged in that business for many years. James McCormick was living on the farm now owned by McCullouch. He was a native of Ireland and came to this county from Shelby. He was originally a weaver, but did not follow his vocation after his arrival here. David and Jones Stokes were living on the farm now occupied by their descendants, as were also Edmund and William Keeling, on a farm that is now owned by their heirs. Robert Baylor was living on the farm now occupied by Dr. Russell. He was one of the foremost men of early Todd, and was a Chief Commissioner and Trustee in laying off the town of Elkton. He married a daughter of Hon. R. B. New, but died in rather early life, and left a widow and seven children, all of fine character, but now scattered far apart.

In about 1820 Darvett Brockman made a settlement in this district about three miles northwest of town, where his son Isevel also lived for many years. The latter, however, finally died near town. In about 1821, John, Jephtha and Thomas Hollingsworth came to the district. John settled on the farm now occupied by S. H. Perkins; Jephtha on a farm two miles east of Elkton, on the Russellville road, and Thomas still to the east of him. Jephtha was a Magistrate here for many years, and Thomas was Constable and Deputy Sheriff. All of the brothers have now passed away, but some of the family are still living here. About the same time William Omblevaney made a settlement two miles northeast of Elkton. He remained here for some years and then moved to Missouri, where he now has a large family of children living. William Hurt came here in about 1823, and settled on the farm now occupied by his widow. In 1824

Daniel France came he and settled on the farm which had previously been occupied by Dr. Sappington. There he lived for many years, and now lies buried there. In 1830 there were quite a number of immigrants came here from Tennessee. Among them were Mr. Trout, who settled on the farm now occupied by his son Jolla Trout. Capt. Jack Munday came about the same time, and settled near the Highland Lick road. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and after his arrival here he was one of the foremost citizens of the county, and now has passed to his reward. James Rickman was another one that came here about the same time, and is still living. The oldest man now living in the county is Pleasant Martin, who came here in 1833. He is still residing on the same farm he first settled, at the age of ninety-six. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, going out in a Virginia company. Rev. Thomas Porter, a minister of the Presbyterian faith, came to this county from Hopkins County, in 1839, and settled on the farm now owned by F. M. Byers, where he died the same year. His son Baxter is still living here. This is but a brief and meager sketch of some of the pioneer families who settled this division of the county. The list, no doubt, is very incomplete, as the means for obtaining the information of the ” long ago period” are few, and year by year are becoming lessened. With all the disadvantages under which the historian must necessarily labor, it is not strange if many names together with important facts and incidents are overlooked or omitted altogether. The hard life of the early settler is a theme often discussed. There is no question but that they did live a hard life; but there were exceptions then just as there are now. There was then as now, great difference in the forethought and thrift of the people. Many, in even the early days of the county’s existence, lived in generous plenty of such as the land afforded. True, the pioneers had to have powder, tobacco and whisky, but for everything else they could kill game. Meat of a superior quality and in varieties that we cannot get now, was within the easy reach of all. For hunting was one of the chief amusements of the pioneer. Game of all kinds abounded here. The first settlers tell of very pronounced buffalo trails that extended through this district from north to south, and running convenient to the ” licks ” that were situated along the streams, but no one ever heard a pioneer tell of having killed a buffalo. Bears were said to be plenty here in those days, and Daniel Garton, whom we have mentioned above as being one of the early settlers, was also a great hunter, and his dog and his rifle were his inseparable companions. Many people now living have heard this old hunter tell many a tale of rare sport and adventure. Deer were also found in abundance in this district, especially in the groves in the southern part, and many herds of them have been killed here. The early settler also found panthers here, and Matthew Maben, who is still living in the south part of the district, was chased a long distance by one when he was a boy.

There were many traces, very indistinct, through this wilderness in an early day, but probably the first road which was regularly surveyed through this district was what is known as the Highland Lick road. This road is known better as the Russellville and Madisonville road, and forms part of the northern boundary of this district. The next road of importance to be surveyed was the Russellville and Hopkinsville, which was a trace as early as 1798. Following the survey of this road, the next thoroughfare opened was the Greenville road, and in about 1820 the Elkton, Allensville and Keysburg road was opened, followed by what is known as the Davis Mill road. The first bridge probably ever built in the district was the one across Elk Fork, just north of town, on the Greenville road. The bridge on the Russellville road east of town was probably the next, followed by the one on the Allensville road across Elk Fork, and another across the same stream at Reeves & Bradshaw’s Mill. At present there are no turnpikes in the district, although there is a project on foot to pike the Elkton, Allensville and Keysburg road, between Elkton and Allensville. As yet, however, nothing definite has been decided about the matter. As yet the district has no railroad facilities, but the prospects are that before a year has passed away trains will be running from Elkton to Guthrie. Some years ago a charter was granted by the State Legislature for the purpose of building a railroad between these two points as soon as $25,000 worth of stock had been subscribed. But it was not until last January that any definite arrangements were made for the promotion of this idea. Some time in that month several of the leading men of Elkton met at Judge Petree’s office, and decided to open a subscription book and try to raise the amount necessary to build the road. This was accordingly done, and by April 20 a sufficient amount had been subscribed to comply with the requirements of the charter. On that evening a meeting of the stockholders was held for the purpose of electing the directors of the road, with the following result: Ben T. Perkins, President; H. G. Petrie, Dr. J. O. McReynolds, Willis L. Reeves, G. Terry, S. H. Perkins, A. F. Rogers, Directors, and John O. Street, Secretary and Treasurer. The amount of stock already subscribed to the enterprise is $35,325; At present a surveyor has already made two surveys for proposed routes, and is now making estimates as to the probable cost of each. As soon as the cost is ascertained and the right-of-way purchased, work will be commenced, and it is now prophesied that before next May trains will be running between Elkton and Guthrie.

Among the early settlers, corn was the chief grain that was planted, and almost as soon as the corn was in the ground, these pioneers turned their attention to the erection of a mill. These early mills were very crude structures, and the first one ever built in the district was that of John Carson, which stood on Elk Fork, where Reeves & Bradshaw’s Mill now stands. According to Kennedy, it was standing there as early as 1809. It had only one pair of runners, and when wheat was ground the bolt was turned by hand. A jocular old fellow was the miller here. Once when asked how the new mill was doing, he said, She is doing a brisk business, for as soon as she gets one grain smashed, she instantly hops on another.” Carson sold the mill to David Bail, who ran it for many years, and then sold out to Reuben Ellison. This man was a blacksmith in Elkton in a very early clay. He sold the mill in turn to Jesse Russell, and the latter disposed of it to David and Joseph Russell. These parties ran it for many years, and the mill finally came into the hands of Reeves & Bradshaw. These gentlemen some years ago put in steam power, and are still running the mill. As early as 1812 Joseph Robertson put a horse-mill on the Trenton road, south of town, on the farm now occupied by Tandy Foster, but it only ran a short time. About 1818 Thomas W. Garvin put up mill on Elk Fork, near the bridge on the Russellville road. This stood probably until about 1823, and was then pulled down. Somewhere about 1825 some of the Russells put up a horse-mill near the Reeves & Bradshaw Mill. It was used for some years, and then becoming neglected soon rotted away. In 1840 Joseph Black built a horse-mill on the farm now owned by William Shanklin, and ran it for fifteen years or over. In 1880 George B. Lewis put up a steam flouring-mill at a cost of about $8,000. It is still standing, and is one of was the seminary in connection with the Presbyterian (Old School) Church, which was built in about 1827, north of town at the forks of the Greenville and Kirkmansville road. Here a seminary was conducted for some years, one of the main teachers being John Peirce; who taught there about 1832. Soon after that the building was burned down.

Soon after that the Green River Female Academy was started in Elkton, and as that institution is still in existence, it will receive due notice in the town of Elkton.


Battle, J. H., W. H. Perrin, Counties of Todd and Christian, Kentucky : historical and biographical, Chicago : F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884.

2 thoughts on “Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky”

  1. Please anyone on information of old yellow castle on south main st in elkton kentucky as when built. I know it was in mid to little latter in 1800 thank you.

  2. Very informative on early Todd County. I enjoyed learning. Found out things that probably could not have anywhere else.

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