Guthrie, Todd County, Kentucky

In about 1867 the Louisville & Nashville road, which had been building, drew near completion, and in the early days of 1868 the cars commenced running on it. The road passed through the land owned by Mr. J. C. Kendal, and he conceived the plan of having a town here, and also to have the shops of the road located here. He accordingly laid out a town to which he gave the name of Guthrie, in honor of James Guthrie, of Louisville, who was then President of the road and Member of Congress from that district. Mr. Kendal was born in Trimble County, Ky., and came with his parents in 1812 to this county, and settled in the Elk-ton District. In 1819 he began clerking in his father’s hotel. He after-ward carried the mail for some time between Russellville and Hopkinsville, and from 1832 to 1837 he merchandised in Elkton. He then went to . Mississippi where he remained ten years; returning to this county he settled in this district, on land which he had inherited through his wife, who was a daughter of Maj. John Gray. On this farm he has continued to reside. A day of sale for the town lots was appointed, and it was advertised far and wide. On that day a large crowd gathered, and under brisk bidding it is said that over $10,000 worth of lots were sold. However, as time passed, the excitement died out, and from a half to two-thirds of the . bidders never made their purchases good. The shops too, instead of being located here, went some place else, and the boom so fairly started very nearly died out. But in 1869 the track of the Memphis Branch of the

Louisville & Nashville, which had previously run through Tennessee below Guthrie, was taken up, and the village made the crossing of the two roads, and since then it has become a thriving little place.

About the first man to open a store in the new town was Thomas A. Carnell, who had been selling goods on his farm for some time before. He opened a store within the present limits of the town in 1866, but remained only a short time. William T. Spaulding came here in 1866, and until 1883 he was one of the leading merchants of the place. John Laninhan came in about 1868, but remained only about two years, and then moved to Irvington. Branch & White opened a store here the same year, and did business three years. Hughes & Bibb commenced merchandising at this point in 1870, but after one year’s experience they re-tired.

In 1869 the Misses Grant opened a hotel and railroad eating-house at this point and are still engaged here. The hotel is at present the finest in the county and is having an excellent patronage. In 1872 White & Parker began to operate a hotel here, but continued in business only a short time. As early as 18138 Mr. Jeffcott opened a hotel here and continued in business here until 1874.

In 1873 T. P. Norris opened a store here, first with Mr. Bibb, then with Morgan C. Cunningham. This firm did business for about four years, when the store closed. In 1880, however, Mr. Norris commenced merchandising again with W. T. Tate. They are still doing business here under the firm name of Norris & Tate. In 1868 P. O. Duffy commenced selling goods here, and continued in business until the beginning of this year. In 1871 S. Platowsky opened a general store and is still here. From 1870 to 1872 W. W. Coleman merchandised here. In 1878 John Choat opened a hardware, furniture and implement store, and is still doing business. Mr. J. O. Linebaugh came from Logan to this point in 1877, opened a drug store, and is still here.

At present the town contains about 300 inhabitants, and is constantly improving. When the road from Guthrie to Elkton is completed it will become the leading point in the county, and bids fair to become a place of some prominence.

Town Organization

We suppose that the town was first incorporated soon after it was laid out, but from the records we see that the charter was granted in June, 1879, and the trustees elected under it were W. T. Tate, W. T. Spaulding, S. E. Burbe, T. Covington, W. T. Kincaid. Since then the trustees have been as follows :

1880- Wesley Flood, C. W. Greenfield, S. E. Burbe, T. P. Norris, W. Lewis.
1881- N. Johnson, M. W. Worley, R. Waggener, J. I. Arrington and J. L. Phelps.
1882- A. F. Rogers, Robert Bigbee, Joseph Linebaugh, W. F. Tate and R. V. Williams.
1883- R. V. Williams, Robert Bigbee, A. F. Rogers, M. Hall and Thomas M. White.
1884- Thomas White, R. V. Williams, R. T. Barry, Joseph Linebaugh and A. F. Rogers.

Guthrie Baptist Church was organized in 1850 by Dr. Robert Williams. The first sessions were held at Old Graysville. Among the early members were Mrs. Kendal, Marion Carney, Reuben Manion, the Misses Grant, Mrs. Salmon, T. Covington, Frank Tate and several others. The church continued to meet at Graysville until 1873, when the present house was built at Guthrie at a cost of about $2,000. The membership is now about forty-five. The present officers are: R. O. Manion and Allan Bryant, Deacons; T. P. Norris, Clerk; and W. H. Salmon, Treasurer. Among the pastors of the church the following might be mentioned: Dr. Robert Williams, Sandy Holland (who was pastor at Graysville ten years), L. J. Crutcher (pastor when the church was moved to Guthrie), W. W. Gardner, Shannon, Marion Carney, John Kendal and Rev. W. H. Rials.


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

1 thought on “Guthrie, Todd County, Kentucky”

  1. My great grandfather was Samuel R. Johnson also known as Tomato Johnson of Guthrie “Todd” Kentucky. I am seeking any information on his family or those who may have known them. I know he had many children who worked on his farm including my grandfather Edward who left when he married my grandmother and was then disowned. There was also a “Victor” and perhaps a “Roy or Ray.” He lived into his 90’s and died in the 1950’s and outlived his wife who we believe was named Luilla or Lulla or a variation of that name. All information appreciated. Thanks in kind.

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