Town of Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky

The town of Trenton was laid out originally in about 1819, by Lewis Leavell. The plat consisted of fifty-nine lots lying immediately around the intersection of the Hopkinsville road and Clarksville Street. In 1867, after the coming of the railroad, Lawson & Col-well’s addition of some thirty lots was added on the north and east. The Legislature of 1883-84 also increased the corporate limits of the town by about one-half. This latter addition has not as yet been laid off into lots. Mr. Leavell at first gave the name of ” Lewisville ” to the town in honor of himself. But there being another post office in the State by the same name, he changed it soon after to ” Trenton.” It was his desire to have the county seat located at this point upon the formation of the new county, and before the matter was finally decided in favor of Elkton, he and Maj. John Gray had a very severe contest in the matter.

Early Merchants

Probably the first men to do business at the new town were Reyburn & Woods, who merchandised here until 1825, and then moved to Clarksville. Soon after the laying out of the town John H. Poston opened a store here. He engaged in business by himself until about 1825, and then took in as a partner Granville W. Garth. This firm continued in operation about five years, when the senior partner retired, and Garth continued the business here until his death in 1840. In 1822 Moore & Broadus opened a store here, and remained in Trenton until 1837. In about 1830 Stokely T. Waggoner came to this point. He first opened a tailor shop, but soon after turned his attention to merchandising, and until 1859 he was one of the leading merchants at this point. From here he went to Russellville, where he is still living. Henry Wisdom purchased Waggoner’s store and continued operations here about ten years. He then went to Clarksville, where he was elected the Cashier of a bank. He afterward went to Paducah, where he is still engaged in business. In 1837 William II. Barksdale and Col. E. G. Sebree purchased the store of Moore & Broadus. This firm continued in business about two years, when Sebree retired. Barksdale continued in business until 1846, and then went to St. Louis. In 1840 Col. Sebree began merchandising again, and continued in business five years. In 1846 he sold to John Billingsley, who merchandised here until his death in 1869. In about 1845 Monroe Graves began merchandising here, but soon sold out. Samuel Brockman sold goods here from 1847 to 1850. Charles Ware purchased Wisdom’s store, remained in business about eight years, and then turned his attention to farming and tobacco speculating, and is still living at this point. C. R. Rutherford began merchandising here in 1852, and is still engaged in business. He was first associated with his brother James Rutherford, and the two remained in business until 1867, when the latter died. In 1867 the L. & N. R. R. was projected through Trenton, and the village has since that time made considerable progress. Among some of the merchants who have been engaged here might be mentioned J. Billingsley, who continued here until his death in 1873. In 1867 G. W. Center came here, and is still engaged here. James McElwain opened a store here in 1868, and is still merchandising. Webb & Bro. began here in about 1879, and continued here a short time. Logan Webb came here in about 1877, and remained here about five years. O. C. Hord began merchandising here in 1874, and continued here until his death in 1878. Hord & Talley controlled the business about four years, and since that time J. A. Talley has been carrying it on. P. A. Painter came here in 1877, and sold out to James G. Cavendish, who is still here. Russell & Chesnut came here in 1881, and are still here. Rutherford Bros. have been merchandising here for some time. In about 1871 Webb & Grady came to Trenton and began merchandising. In two years this firm . was succeeded by Grady & Pendleton, and were in business about three years. They were succeeded by Cook & Pendleton, who remained here about two years. George A. Yost opened a drug store in January, and is still in business here.

In about 1854 Mr. Waggoner and D. Christian built a tobacco-stemmery here, which they ran for some years. It is now rented, and is still in use.

In 1874 the Bank of Trenton was organized. Among the original stockholders were Mrs. Stigger, Mrs. Perkins, Mrs. Simms, Col. Sebree and Charles Day. The original capital was about $50,000, which was afterward lowered to about $35,000. Philip Bacon was the Cashier. In 1881 the bank retired from business.

In 1878 the Trenton Academy was built. It was of brick, and cost about $5,000. It was built by a stock company, among which were Charles Ware, Dr. Dickinson and Elijah Garth. In 1881 Col. Sebree purchased a larger part of the stock, and is still running it. The first teacher was Philip Painter, who taught about three years, and he was succeeded by a Mr. Vineyard, who is still here. It is a subscription school, and has an attendance of about sixty.

Trenton Baptist Church was organized in about 1859, the members coming in from the Lebanon Church. Among them might be mentioned D. M. Christian, W. P. Arnold, S. H. Bradley, Z. Billingsley, Dr. J. S. Dickinson, J. C. Hancock, Newton Moore, J. M. Williams, Jack Williams and Henry P. White. A brick structure was erected at a cost of about $6,500, and is still being used. At present the church has about 170 members. The officers are as follows: W. S. Dickinson, A. H. Moore, C. D. Runyon and H. S. Lowry; Trustees, C. W. Ware and Q. D. Waller; Clerk, W. S. Dickinson. Among the Pastors who have presided over the flock have been Revs. A. D. Sears, S. P. Forgy, R. A. Massey, G. F. Bagley, Dr. W. W. Gardner, A. F. Pearson and R. H. Lockett. The preaching services are held here on the second and fourth Sundays in each month. A Sunday-school is also held in connection with the church, which meets at 9:30 A. M. It has about seventy-five members. The present officers are: H. S. Lowry, Superintendent; Austin Dickinson, Secretary and Librarian; Teachers, Mrs. J. C. Hancock, Miss Lou Arnold, Miss Brenda Vineyard, Mrs. M. A. King, Miss Lydia Lockett.

Trenton Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized in the spring of 1874. Among the constituent members were Andrew J. Center, Mrs. McGuire, Mrs. Gray, John Basford, Mrs. Tranum and J. J. Basford. The fall previous the erection of a church had been commenced, which cost when completed $2,025. The church at present has about thirty-five members. Preaching occurs on the first and third Sundays. The Ministers who have preached here might be mentioned Revs. William Alexander, Patten, Brandon, Virgil Elgin, Thomas Bottlemy, Frasier and Valentine Thomas. The officers are: Stewards, J. Basford, J. C. Dycus, Silas Bennett. A Sunday-school was organized a short time since with Mr. George Yost as Superintendent and Mr. McCowan Assistant Superintendent F. S. Tyler.


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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