Pioneer Settlers of Hadensville Precinct

Collins in his ” History of Kentucky ” speaks of some settlements which were made near Elk Fork in what was then Logan County as early as 1785. Exactly where those settlements were, he does not say. But early pioneers tell us of a fort that used to stand within 100 yards of ” Agent ” Spring, only a little way northwest of Guthrie, and which was built in the very earliest settlements of this part of Kentucky. As this is the only fort of which any trace can be found in this region, we are constrained to make this fort the basis of the settlement referred to by Collins. And’ by so doing we claim for this place the name of being the earliest authenticated settlement in Todd County. To-day there are no traces left of a fort or any settlement in this region. In 1850 an’ old bronze medal was turned up by the plowshare, which was probably lost by some occupant of the fort. On the obverse side is an equestrian figure of Frederick the Great, with the legend, ” Fredricks Rorusorum Rex, 1757,” on the margin. On the reverse side is a battle sketch and the marginal legend “Quo nihil majus.” “Rosbach, Nov. 5th, 1757. This is probably one of the medals commemorative of the victory which Frederick had struck from the metal of the cannon captured in this historic engagement and distributed among the soldiery. This suggests that some Prussian immigrant may have been among the early pioneers, but further than this nothing is known of the early community. Whether the settlement was continuous, or was driven out by the Indians, is also a matter of doubt.

Mr. Kennedy, whom we have quoted in the history of other portions of this county, has the following to say about the settlements in this district prior to 1809 :

” The next mill below Carson (in Elkton District) was Smith & Laughlin’s, on the Gallatin Road; then southwest of this mill lay the ` pony wood,’ with much timber, where lived several worthy citizens-Henry Gorin, Gabriel Roach (father of John and James Roach), Elliott Vauter. The two last named men married Maj. John Gray’s sisters, and in the neighborhood lived Uncle Jim Allen, the first Coroner of Todd County and auctioneer-general for all this country. He was of Irish origin, and cried all the sales for this new region. He would proclaim the sale and commence to sell with a bottle of whisky in his left hand and his cane in his right hand. When he would rather stall he would cry the bid and say ` fair sale, gentlemen, and a dhram to the next bidder.’ Now this was in very early times, and was the then custom and fashion of the early settlers.

” Now this beautiful barren limestone from the Russellville and Hopkinsville road was unsettled only where they could find a spot of timber, in which they would build their cabins. On Spring Creek, where it crossed the Nashville road, John Moore settled. He was the father of John Moore who yet resides there; also of Mrs. S. W. Taliaferro and Andrew Moore, deceased, and a brother of Maj. Sam Moore, who settled near Trenton.”

In what is now the Guthrie District, Maj. John Gray owned a considerable portion of land, as he did also in other portions of the county. In 1812 he gave to Mrs. Kendal, his sister, what is known as ” Leadwright,” containing several hundred acres of land in the immediate neighborhood of Guthrie. The land had to be occupied before a correct and valid title could be secured, and so Mrs. Kendal, accompanied by her husband, came to this district, intending to occupy the land. Near the spring now known as “Agent ” Spring, Maj. Gray had previously made a little cabin out of rails, and to this cabin Mrs. Kendal wended her way. When she reached the point she found the cabin occupied by men placed there by Ezeriah Davis, who claimed to own the title to this land instead of Gray. These parties refused to allow Kendal to settle, and the latter finally settled in the Elkton District. At that time Mr. Kendal states that a Mr. Byers was living on land now owned by Samuel Taliaferro, Joseph C. Frasier on land now owned by James Standard, and a Mr. Roberts on land now owned by Mr. Robert Frasier. In about the same year Col. Smith settled near what is known as the Graham Mill. He lived there for many years, and then finally sold out to a man by the name of Davis. George Isbell settled on the farm now owned by D. B. Smith, and a Mr. Ellis settled beyond Hadensville, on the place now owned by Mr. Hooser.

In about 1814 or 1815 there were several other families who settled in this district. Spottswood Smith settled near Graysville on Spring Creek; his son-D. B. Smith-was born here, and subsequently settled on the site of old Hadensville; he is to-day one of the leading farmers of the district, and in 1876-77 he represented this county in the Legislature.

Capt. Salmon came here from Virginia and settled on the place now owned by H. B. Salmon. Henry Jetter came probably from the same State, and settled on land now owned by Samuel TaIiaferro. Squire William W. Terry settled on an adjoining farm on land now also owned by Mr. Taliaferro. In an early day this worthy pioneer settler was magistrate, and finally succeeded by right of seniority to the office of sheriff. William Willis settled on land now owned by Mr. Lester. In an early day there were many other settlers here, but exactly when they came can-not be ascertained, as no clue can be given. Their coming however probably dated from about 1815 to 1820. The first one of these was Samuel Taliaferro, who settled on land now owned by Mrs. Taliaferro, and coming with him was Leroy Taliaferro, who settled on land now owned by his daughter. A Mr. Cooksy settled on land now owned by P. 0. Duffy; Nicholas and William King settled on the farm now owned by D. B. Smith; John Roach, a son of Gabriel Roach mentioned above, grew up to manhood here, and became one of the magistrates of the district. An-other early settler was Daniel Hooser, who settled on the farm now owned by his son, John Hooser, who is still living at the age of about eighty. Frank Eddington settled on land now owned by T. S. Mimms, and there a son of his, also named Frank, lived and died. Henry Meriwether made a settlement on land now owned by Mack Taliaferro, and John P. Bolon on the farm now owned by R. B. Kendal. One of the very earliest settlers here was Dr. Charles Meriwether, who made a settlement near the old town of Hadensville. Henry Barker, who came here from Virginia with Meriwether, built a house on the farm now in the possession of John Meriwether. Contemporaneous with them was ” Hock ” Madison, as he was called, who settled on land now owned by Henry P. Williams.

About 1820 William Taylor settled on land now owned by his son-William F. Taylor, and William Kay settled on land now owned by Eli Webb. A year or two after Reuben Grady settled on land now owned by R. E. Adams. On the farm on which T. S. Mimms now resides, William Randol made a settlement in about 1822, and in the same year Andrew Coulter settled on the farm on which William Mackey now resides. Probably a little prior to this James Allan settled on the farm now owned by Richard Anderson. In about 1815 Elijah Haden came here from Virginia and settled on land now in the possession of D. B. Smith. In about 1823 John C. Harlan came here from upper Kentucky, and also made a settlement on Smith’s land; this gentleman was a cousin of Judge liar-Ian, and came from one of the oldest families of Virginia, but that after-ward became noted in upper Kentucky. He was a great trader, and probably the greatest hog-buyer in this part of Kentucky; he would buy a large drove of hogs in this section of the State, and then drive them on foot through to Alabama and Georgia; his homeward trips would be per-formed in the same manner, and he was entirely fearless. It is said of him that he was six feet high, straight as an arrow, and was one of the finest looking men in this portion of Kentucky.

Nathan Martin was another settler who arrived here about 1823; he settled on land now owned by Miss Taliaferro. In the same year Pouncy Anderson came here and settled on land now owned by Samuel Lawson.

Thus briefly have we gone over the early settlements of this district. Many more names probably deserve mention, but they and their ancestors have both passed away. Of those we have given our information is meager indeed, as the people now living here are all of them of a younger generation. It is our wish to give a full history of all the early pioneers, but in some cases as here we sometimes fail. For the facts regarding those given above we are very much indebted to Mr. Kendal, who is still living in the district at a hale old age. In speaking of the early settlements of this district we have but little of interest to record regarding the pioneer incidents of the settlers here. But few wild animals of any kind lurked among the few stunted trees of the barrens in early times. No stories of hunts of wild men and wild beasts greet our ears in talking over with the people of to-day. The pioneers here were purely an agricultural people, and turned their attention at once to the cultivation of the soil. The result of their early labors and perseverance we see in the waving grain and green pastures of to-day.  


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

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