Pioneer Settlers of Allensville

To what one of the brave pioneers who came to this portion of the county should be given the honor of first carving out a new home for himself, and then fighting out the possession of it with the savages and the wild beasts, cannot be ascertained by the present historian. The first settlement dates back so far that it is lost in the unrecorded annals of the past. At present there are none of the descendants of those few brave men who first entered these unbroken wilds living in this district, and but little can be ascertained concerning them. In 1808 Bernard Edwards came to this county, and found the following parties living here: George and Thomas Cross were living on the farm now owned by Dr. I. N. Walton. George died here, and lies buried on the place he had settled so many, many years ago. Thomas finally moved to Clarksville, where he died. A son of his is now living in Elkton Precinct. John Hill lived on Elk Creek on part of the farm now owned by Thad Coleman. He lived here for a number of years, and raised a large family of children, but they too have passed away. James Lowry had also made a settlement on land owned now by William Mimms. Three of this pioneer’s grand-children are still living: R. M. Lowry in Christian County, S. M. in Elkton and Dr. Lowry in Texas. Isaiah Boone, a nephew of the famous Daniel Boone, was living on the farm now owned by George Johnson. A Mr. Bainbridge was also living in the district on land now owned by N. B. Penick. He sold out his farm to Ben. Parish, who came here in 1810. The latter resided here until his death, and now lies buried on that farm. The estate was sold in 1847 to Nathan Penick, the father of the present owner of the farm. A Mr. Valindingham resided on the north line of the precinct, between this district and Elkton. A grandson of his is now living, in the person of Dr. Valindingham, of Owensboro.

Rev. John Graham was also living in this district on the farm now owned by Col. T. M. Adkins, of Clarksville. This gentleman was a native of North Carolina. He was a local preacher in the Methodist Church, and held services for a number of years in this and adjoining counties. He died here in 1840, leaving a family of ten children, none of whom survive him. We have mentioned above that Bernard Edwards came here in 1808. This pioneer was born near Lynchburg, Va., and coming to this county settled on the waters of Elk Fork. His improvement forms a part of the farm now owned by John Russell. In about 1848 he bought the farm now owned by his son, P. G. Edwards, where he resided until his death. He enlisted in the war of 1812, but subsequently hired a substitute and did not go. He was the first Magistrate elected in this precinct, after the formation of Todd County. In 1809, Estley and Horatio Muir, two brothers, came to this county from Fayette County, Ky. Estley. settled on the farm now owned by his son, John R. Muir. Horatio settled on the old Hill farm. Mrs. Maggie Wisdom, his daughter, is now living on the old home place within the corporate limits of Allensville. In 1810 John Small came to this. county and settled on the edge of the district between this precinct and Logan County. He was a native of Maryland. When a boy he came to Shelby County with his parents, who died there. He continued to reside there until his removal to this county. While a resident of that county he ran flat-boats from there to New Orleans for a number of years, the return trip always being performed on foot. In 1815, when soldiers were being procured to send to New Orleans, he enlisted with troops that were being gathered in this county, but finally procured a substitute and did not go. He resided here until his death in 1840. At present a large family of his descendants are residents of this county. In 1815 there were several families that immigrated to this district. A Mr. Lumsden made a settlement on the farm now owned by his daughter, Mrs. Elisabeth Gill. George McClaine settled on the farm now owned by J. H. Johnson, and there resided until his death. Samuel Johnson also came to this district in that year. This gentleman was born in Maryland, and came with his parents when a boy to Fayette County, Ky. Coming to this district he settled on the farm owned by J. W. Johnson. He purchased from the Government an improvement of 400 acres, but only resided there two years when he sold out. He then bought the farm now owned by his son B. D. Johnson. He was a very successful farmer and at one time owned about 1,200 acres. Three of his sons are still living in the district. He died in 1861. Squire Boone, another nephew of Daniel Boone, was an arrival in the district in 1815. He did not live here long, his death occurring two years afterward, but several of his descendants are still living here. In 1818 the first pioneer of a family that to-day stands very high in this precinct, made a settlement here. We refer to James Gill. This gentleman was born in Culpeper County, Va., and came to Logan County, Ky., in 1815. While a resident of Virginia he enlisted in the war of 1812, and served as Captain in that conflict. Upon, his arrival here he settled first near Allensville, and there resided until 1823, and then moved to the farm now owned by Milton Gill. Here he resided until his death, which occurred in 1843. In 1819 John Bellamy came to this district from Fayette County, Ky. He was originally a native of Dinwiddie County, Va., and came to the State in 1810. In Fayette County, Ky., he followed the carpenter’s trade. While living in that county he was drafted into the war of 1812, but having procured a substitute he was permitted to stay at home. After his arrival in this district he turned his attention to farming. He also built a distillery in the Daysville Precinct, which he ran for a number of years. He also put up a distillery on Elk Fork, and bought the grist-mill which had been erected on that stream in an early day by George Cross. He followed both milling and distilling for a number of years, and was at the time of his death (which occurred in 1860) one of the wealthiest men of the county. He was for many years one of the Magistrates of the district, and at the time of the adoption of the new Constitution was next to the senior Magistrate of the county. In 1829 Joseph Watkins (from whom a large family of the people of this district now claim descent) came to this county and settled on the farm now owned by his grandson, J. H. Watkins. In his life-time he was one of the foremost men of the county. He ran a mill on Elk Fork for a number of years, and was otherwise engaged in promoting the county’s prosperity. In 1837 three more settlers arrived here. F. A. Anderson came to the State in 1835, from Dinwiddie County, Va., and first settled in Logan County. After a two years’ residence there he came here. James Bibb came here from Lincoln County, Ky., and settled near the depot. E. W. Hughes came here from Powhatan County, Va. All of these gentlemen are still living in the precinct, and consequently need no mention at the hands of the historian. This comprises the early settlement of Allensville as far as we have been able to learn, though there may be other names equally entitled to mention in these pages. Their early struggles and hardships and trials, incident to the pioneer’s life, are but a repetition of those experienced by all settlers in a new and uninhabited region. Many daring deeds by these unknown heroes have passed into oblivion, and many of the foregoing list who labored hard to introduce civilisation into this part of the country now lie in obscure graves unmarked by the simple epitaph. Those of the number who still live little thought, as they first gazed upon the broad waste of prairie, the unmolested grove, tangled with brush and brier, that all this wilderness in their own day would be made to blossom as a gar-den. Little thought had they of seeing beautiful homes, waving fields of grain, green pastures and grazing herds, where the bounding deer and crouching wolf then held unmolested sway.

“All honor to these gray old men,
For they’ve conquered stubborn soil.”

Clustering around the settlement of many neighborhoods the historian finds incidents that form an interesting background for the hard struggles and many privations of the early settlers. In this precinct we find nothing of the sort. As it is remarked in the beginning of this chapter, the early settlers found but little timber, and the land being so rich they were early led to give their entire attention to the cultivation of the soil. The pioneers here were pre-eminently an agricultural people, so that we find the absence of the many startling incidents that are generally recorded in narratives of this character. Consequently the scenes of wild beasts and wild men that form interesting details in other histories are unrecorded here.

1 thought on “Pioneer Settlers of Allensville”

  1. My great great great grandfather was William Mimms. I have visited his cemetery in Allensville, KY. My grand father Frank H m. Sallie Gill

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