Historical and Biographical
HOPKINSVILLE CITY AND PRECINCT—THE TOWN SITE—BARTHOLOMEW
WOOD—OTHER EARLY SETTLERS—JAMES PURSLEY, DR. STEELE, MA.T.
LONG, PETER CARTWRIGHT, CAPT. WOOD ETC.—TOPOGEAPEY OF HOPKINSVILLE PRECINCT—ITS BOUNDARIES AND EXTENT—WESTERN LUNATIC ASYLUM—LAYING OUT THE TOWN OF ELIZABETH—THE NAME CHANGED TO HOPKINSVILLE—GEN. HOPKINS—EARLY MERCHANTS AND
MECHANICS—GANT, THE HATTER—TWYMAN, TEE BEICKLAYER—TAVERNS—G ROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT—THE POSTOFFICE—CITY PRESS— COMMUNICATION OF JUDGE LINDSAY—MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES— BANKING—THE BUTTER COMPANY—GENERAL BUSINESS - FINE BLOCKS,’
RESIDENCES, ETC.— LOAN ASSOCIATION — CITY GOVERNMENT — FIRES
THE founding of Hopkinsville dates back into the last century. Its earliest settlement was made without regard to its ever becoming a town or city but was more the force of accident than. of any pre-arranged or definite plan. The beautiful site, with the fertility of the surrounding country and the abundance of game, arrested the attention of an old hunter, who saw in all these attractions an eligible place for a home, and he halted upon the banks of the placid little stream and at once proceeded to rear his lone cabin “afar from the busy haunts of men.” This was not less than ninety years ago, and from this settlement properly dates the history of Hopkinsville, and the magisterial district in which it is located.
Cities are generally founded with regard to some great commercial advantage, either as seaports possessing deep harbors adapted for trade with foreign countries; as manufacturing depots convenient to labor and fuel or water-power; or as agricultural centers in the heart of for tile regions where the products of the soil must be exchanged for those other commodities necessary for human comfort, enjoyment and health. If to any of these conditions Hopkinsville owes its birth, it is to the latter, for certainly no finer country lies out-of-doors, than that surrounding the thriving little city. This, added to the accident of its early settlement by the pioneer—Bartholomew Wood—may have prompted the founding of a town here, or at least have contributed largely to that end.
Bartholomew Wood.—The first settler upon the 8ite of Hopkinsville was Bartholomew Wood, more familiarly known among his friends and acquaintances as “Bat Wood.” Just when he came to Christian County no one knows; why he came, perhaps lie did not know himself. It is related of his settlement, that when on his way to Kentucky, with no definite point in view, he was so favorably impressed with the abundance of game in this locality, that he stopped and built himself a cabin. He figured conspicuously in the early history of Hopkinsville and of Christian County, and at one time owned a vast amount of land around the embryo city. He was a man of strong, practical common sense, but rather deficient in book learning; a rough diamond and marvelously adapted to the period in which he lived. In his buckskin hunting shirt and leather breeches, he hunted and trapped a great deal, and enjoyed himself as only a hunter could. He belonged to that sturdy class of pioneers whose iron frames had been hardened by exposure, whose muscles were toughened by exercise and toil, and whose bodies seemed invulnerable to disease and pain. The wilderness, with its wild beasts and savages, was their element. They sported with danger, and if need be met death with fortitude and composure. To such men, Kentucky in a measure owes her present glory and greatness. Bartholomew Wood was originally from North Carolina, and emigrated to Tennessee soon after the Revolutionary war. Some years later and prior to the close of the last century he came to Kentucky, but in what year is not known. He was here when the county was organized, and donated five acres of land for public buildings. He entered a great deal of land in his own name and in the names of his children. The following is told of his land speculations: He had entered a body of land in the name of one of his daughters, who afterward married Levi Cornelius. After her marriage Mr. Wood went to her to transfer the land back to him, but her husband would not allow her to do it. In spite of all arguments and importunities, Cornelius held to the land, and finally sold it to Young Ewing.
Mr. Wood had a family of several sons and daughters. The names of his sons were Bartholomew, Hardin, Carter, William and Curtis, the latter the only one now living. He is a man over eighty years of age, and is a resident of the county. One of his daughters married Levi Cornelius, as already stated; another married ‘William Roberts, and one or two were still single when the old man moved back to Tennessee, which he did some years before his death. Most of his children went with him, except Bartholomew, but after the death of their father they came back here, and many descendants are living in the county to-day, among whom is the son already mentioned (Curtis), and Dr. Wood of Hopkinsville, a son of Bartholomew, Jr., and a grandson of the old pioneer.
The original cabin of Mr. Wood stood near the corner of the present Nashville and Virginia Streets. Where the latter street now is was then a marsh or lagoon for quite a distance back from the river. This lagoon was covered with innumerable ducks and wild geese, and is said to have been one of the strong arguments which induced Bartholomew Wood to settle here, that he might enjoy the shooting of them, as well as other game to be seen everywhere in the most plentiful profusion. Much more will be said of Mr. Wood in the progress of this chapter, as he is sq inseparably connected with early Hopkinsville that we meet with his finger-marks in almost every page of its history. Among other early settlers of the immediate vicinity, and what comprises the present Precinct of Hopkinsville, so far as can now be obtained, are the following: Benjamin Eggleston, John Pursley, John Gibson, Dr. Moses Steele, Thomas Long, Jeremiah Foster, William Nichol, Francis M. Dallam, John Clark, Young Ewing, James H. McLaughlan, Judge Benjamin Shackelford, Benjamin York, Dr. A. Webber, Samuel A. Miller, Capt. Harry Wood, Samuel Finley, Solomon Cates, Peter Cartwright, Nehemiah and Jeremiah Cravens, Harry K. Lewis, Thomas Alisbury, Gideon Overshiner, James Bradley, William Clark, Joshua Cates, Henry Allen, Carter Wood, John Carnahan, the Boyds, Samuel Allen, William R. Tadlock, William Pad-field, Mrs. Bell, Larkin Akers, Laban Shipp, Matthew Patton, Rev. James Nichols, George Campbell, John H. Phelps, Nicholas Ellis, and others perhaps whose names have long since been forgotten. It is utterly impossible at this late date to get the names of all the early settlers up to 1810—15, as many have passed away, and there is no one here who remembers them.
Capt. Harry Wood was a noted man, and may be considered one among the earliest settlers in this portion of the county. He came from South Carolina some time prior to 1800, and settled the place two miles north of Hopkinsville, now owned by Col. S. M. Starling. Capt. Wood was a large and powerful man, a great hunter, and carried with him wherever he went a long rifle. Many stories are told of him, some of which may be taken with allowance. We relate one as we heard it, without vouching for the truth of it at all. it is said that his father was killed by Tories, a squad of nine, in South Carolina, and Capt. Harry vowed vengeance upon them for the deed. When the war was over he armed himself with the long rifle above described, and set out upon the trail of the Tories, and as he discovered one of them he dropped him, until he had, according to the regular yellow-back literature of the day, cut eight notches in his gun stock. In his wanderings and search for his father’s murderers, he came to Christian County, about the time or a little prior to its organization. He used to drink sometimes to excess, but it is said would never remain in Hopkinsville until dark, always striking out for home a little before night-fall. He finally died, and was buried on the place where he settled; his wife sleeps beside him, only a few rods from the house in which Col. Starling now lives. He was of a different family from Bartholomew Wood, and not at all related to the pioneer of Hopkinsville. Capt. Harry Wood had a son named Franklin, another named John H. and one also named Lemuel and another named Carter. All are now gone ; even his sons were old men when first remembered by the oldest citizens now living. Solomon Cates was an early settler here, but was no relation to Joshua Cates so extensively mentioned in a preceding chapter. Solomon, was poor and obscure, and never looked any further beyond than from one meal to another’. He was a good worker, but never accumulated any property, not even a home.
John Parsley was a character, and also a very early settler. The Baptist Church of Hopkinsville was organized at his house. He was quite a land trader, and by some “ hocus pocus” became possessed of considerable landed estate; there are vague hints that he sometimes was just a little sharp in his real estate speculations. Be that as it may, he has long since passed to an account of his stewardship. He was very large and fleshy, with a corporeal rotundity that Falstaff would have envied, and which Judge Long declares made him sit a horse with as much grace as a bag of sand. He spoke with a drawling tone and a peculiar accent which rendered his conversation a source of great amusement to the boys. He was very illiterate, but shrewd and keen in a trade, and usually got the best end of the bargain. John Gibson lived near where the Insane Asylum stands, and was a very early settler. He was a quiet man, attended strictly to his own business, and possessed very little notoriety in any way. He was born in Virginia in 1777, and died here in 1844. John Wilcox-son came here perhaps about 1817, and died but a few years ago. John Long came from South Carolina in 1804 and settled about three miles from the present city of Hopkinsville. He was a great hunter, and it is said killed 272 deer in one winter shortly after he came here. Thomas Long, a son of his, is still living in the county, an old man now eighty-eight years of age. He says when his father came here Hopkinsville was “like Walker’s cow, of no age at all,” consisting of the court house, a blacksmith shop, a tavern and a few cabins.
Dr. Moses Steele was a very prominent physician in the early history of Hopkinsville, and was a brother-in-law to Judge Rezin Davidge. He had several sons; one of them, Moses Steele, Jr., was a physician like his father, and died some years ago. Another son, John Alexander, was also a physician, and died in New Orleans in 1847. Rezin Steele, another son, and the only one now living, resides in Trigg County. Benjamin Eggleston came from Virginia, and was one of the early tavernkeepers in Hopkinsville. He died in 1819, and his family, after remaining here a number of years, returned to the Old Dominion from whence they came. Samuel A. Miller was an early merchant, and was a son-in-law of Dr. Edward Rumsey. Harry K. Lewis built a mill in an early day, a little north of Hopkinsville. He did not have the best of standing among the people. It is said he would cut timber wherever he found it, regardless of whose land it might be on. He had a saw-mill in connection with his mill, and to supply it made inroads upon timber whether he had a legitimate claim upon it or not.
John Clark was the first Clerk of the County Court, and was called “Black “ John to distinguish him from several other John Clarks in the county. The Clarks were numerous, and there was “Pond River” John Clark, "Singing Fork “John, and several other Johns, and each of necessity had a 8obrzquet peculiar to himself. “Black “ John was of a swarthy complexion, and hence his name. He was stern and imperious, and what he purposed had the will to perform. William Clark was a deputy in the Clerk’s office at the time of his death. Nicholas Ellis was a plain farmer, and lived some four miles south of Hopkinsville in the southern part of the present precinct. George Campbell came about 1816, and was originally from Ireland. He came from Virginia to Christian County. Dr. Alexander P. and George V. are his sons. John H. Phelps was an early settler and one of the early Circuit Clerks of the county.
Peter Cartwright, the eccentric old Methodist preacher, a kind of second edition of Lorenzo Dow, was an early settler in Christian County, and lived near where the asylum now is. His father came from Virginia to Logan County in 1793, and settled near the Tennessee line. After Peter became a minister he settled near Hopkinsville, where he lived until his removal to Illinois. He is so well known, and there has been so much written about him that it would almost seem superfluous to say anything of him in this chapter. A few words, however, may not be wholly uninteresting. He belonged to that old school of pioneer ministers, whose sermons were measured by their length, and the brimstone odor of the awful thunderbolts they let fly at the heads of the poor frightened, credulous congregations. Mr. Cartwright was a God.fearing, good man in his way, but could picture hell so vividly that the startled sinner in his imagination could see the fiery billows roll along, one after another, hear the ponderous iron doors open and creak upon their rusty hinges, and the rusty bolts slide back and forth as the lost and doomed were shut into the seething lake of burning brimstone. Among other things written of him is the following: “Mr. Cartwright belonged to the Church militant, fought gallantly for his religious dogmas, and had the rare good fortune to conquer in all his battles. Baptists, Reformers, Unitarians, New Lights, Universalists, Mormons and Shakers, all fell under the blows of his battle-ax. Nor did it fare better with the blackguards, ruffians and rowdies that hung around his camp-meetings. They, too, sooner or later, were doomed to come to grief. He did not see the necessity of theological schools and an educated ministry, since, to use his own words, ‘ God, when He wants a great and learned man, can easily overtake some learned sinner, shake him awhile over hell, as He did Saul of Tarsus, knock the scales from his eyes, and without any previous theological training, send him to preach Christ and the Resurrection.’ A powerful conviction and a sound conversion were held in high estimation by him, and these might be begun and finished in a few hours, where the good work was progressing with energy and power.”
Peter Cartwright finally removed to Illinois on account of his views upon the question of slavery. He there lived out a long and useful life devoted to the cause of his Master. He died only a few years ago, and calmly sleeps amid the scenes of his earthly labors. Requiescat in pace.
Judges Shackelford and Davidge were early settlers of Hopkinsville, but are noticed in a preceding chapter, and anything further here would be but repetition. Francis M. Dallam was also an early settler, and is noticed elsewhere. He was a man of considerable prominence, and raised a large family, many of whom attained to prominent positions. Thomas Alisbury was an early citizen of Hopkinsville, and one of the early tavern-keepers. He made up a company and went from here into the war of 1812, and joined the Northwestern army. A man named Howard kept bar for Allsburv, and is said to have been a man of the most unblemished character and unswerving honesty, so much so that when one wanted to make a comparison of somebody being very honest it became a saying that “he is as honest as Zeb Howard.” Nehemiah and Jeremiah Cravens were here very early. They were an altogether different family to the Cravens family who settled early in the west part of the county— now Union Schoolhouse Precinct. Rev. James Nichols, a local Methodist preacher from North Carolina, settled in Christian a few miles from Hopkinsville, prior to 1800, and died many years ago. Laban Shipp was originally from Virginia, but settled in Bourbon County, and afterward came here and located near Hopkinsville.
Maj. Thomas Long came from Virginia, and with his father’s family settled in Logan County in 1803, and three or four years later came to Christian County and located on the west side of Little River, where Mr. Jesup now lives. His father, Gabriel Long, was a Revolutionary soldier, but he did not live in this county. Maj. Long has one son now living in Hopkinsville, Judge A. V. Long, and a daughter, Mrs. Jesup. Mrs. Bell, sister-in-law of Bell of Bell’s tavern, was an early settler of Hopkinsville, and died in 1818, and rests in the old graveyard in the southwest part of the town. Joseph, Thomas and Benjamin Kelly were farmers, and settled south of Hopkinsville very early. James H. McLaughlan, Young Ewing, Dr. A. Webber and Matthew Patton were early citizens of Hopkinsville, but have been extensively mentioned elsewhere. Many others who perhaps lay claim to being early settlers will be mentioned in the particular departments where they figured, while ethers still are noticed in the biographical department of this volume.
Hopkinsville Precinct.—The Magisterial District in which the City of Hopkinsville is situated, and known as Hopkinsville Precinct No. 1, possesses little of interest outside of the city except the mere fact of its settlement. And this is usually the case. In most counties the history of the district, precinct or township in which the county seat is located centers in the town, leaving the remainder of the precinct barren of historical incidents.
The Magisterial District or Precinct of Hopkinsville lies in the central part of the county, and topographically and geologically partakes of the same nature of the best part of Christian. The north part of the precinct extends into the thin, broken country, but by far the larger part is of the limestone soil, underlaid by red clay. The monotony is broken by gentle undulations, which render artificial drainage wholly unnecessary. Two branches of Little River meander southward through the precinct, and unite in the extreme south part; there are no other streams of any note. A large portion of the precinct was originally “barrens,” but the north part and along Little River produced considerable fine timber. It has Hamby and Fruit Hill Precincts on the north, Mount Vernon and Casky Precincts on the east, Longview and Lafayette Precincts on the south, and Union Schoolhouse Precinct on the west. The early settlement of Hopkinsville Precinct in connection with the city has already been briefly given, and other allusions to the precinct will be made as we progress with our sketch of Hopkinsville, though, as already stated, there is little of interest beyond the fact of its settlement.
The Western Lunatic Asylum.—This institution, located in the Precinct of Hopkinsville, some two miles from the city, should properly be noticed here. Though a State institution, the history of the county would not be complete without a sketch of it. The following is compiled from Collins’ History of Kentucky: On the 2Sth of February, 1848, the Legislature of Kentucky provided for the location and erection of a second lunatic asylum. The Spring Hill tract of 383 acres of land (which proved to be of indifferent quality) on the turnpike road east of Hopkinsville, was purchased for $1,971.50 (only $5.14 per acre). This sum was refunded by the citizens, and $2,000 additional paid by them. There was expended upon the buildings and other improvements in 1849 $43,052; in 1850, $43,484; the additional outlays for these purposes do not appear in any documents before us. The Legislature appropriated
$15,000 in 1848, $20,000 in 1849, $45,000 in 1850, $35,000 in 1851 $43,000 in 1852, $44,017 in 1854; total, $202,017. September 1, 1854, the first patients were received. By December 1, 1857, 208 had been admitted, but only 102 were then in the institution, the others having died, eloped, or been restored and discharged under the care of the Superintendent, Dr. S. Annan. The number admitted in 1858, 106; and in 1859 to December 1st, 129 ; total for two years, 235 ; during the same time 133 were discharged, of whom 65 were restored, 56 died, and 10 escaped.
On the 30th of November, 1861, the main building was destroyed at mid-day by fire, which caught from sparks from a chimney falling upon a shingle roof. The 210 patients escaped uninjured, except one, who fastened himself in his room, near where the fire originated, and perished in the flames. The court house and other buildings in Hopkinsville were kindly tendered for the use of the unfortunates; twenty-three hewed log-cabins were speedily erected at about $90 each, and everything done that could well be to mitigate the sufferings of the patients. The walls being mainly uninjured it was estimated that $50,000 would replace the brick and wood work, and $67,000 more (including $3,856 for tin roof and gutters) would complete the building. In February, 1861, the Legislature made an appropriation to begin it, and before January 1, 1867, had appropriated in all $258,930 to complete the rebuilding. This, added to the manager’s probable net valuation of the property after the destruction by fire of the interior of the main building $145,420 (exclusive of the enhanced value of the land itself, makes the total value of the improvements at that time (1867) $404,350, providing comfortably for 325 patients.
Some time in the year 1863 the present able and successful Superintendent, Dr. James Rodman, took charge of the asylum. The total number of patients received and treated up to October 10, 1871, was 1.273. of whom 321 were then in the asylum. Calculated upon the number of patients received, 50.847 per cent were discharged restored, eight were discharged more or less improved, two were unimproved, one escaped and twenty-two died. There is (nearly) one insane person (October, 1871) in every 1,000 persons of the population, at least 1,400 in Kentucky, of whom there is room in the two asylums for only 850, and both are full.
Since the above article was penned for Collins’ History, the asylum at Anchorage has been built, and some changes have been made in the one located here, so far as relieving it of a crowd of patients it was unable to accommodate. As a conclusion to this sketch, we give the officers and board, which are as follows: Dr. James Rodman, Superintendent; Dr. B. W. Stone, First Assistant Physician; Dr. B. F. Eager, Second Assistant Physician ; Frank L. Waller, Steward; John B. Trice, Treasurer; George Poindexter, Clerk of Board. The present Board of Commissioners: S. E. Trice, Chairman; S. G. Buckner, John N. Mills, James E. Jesup, J. C. Tate, George 0. Thompson, R. T. Petree, John Feland and Charles M. Meacham. The commissioners are appointed by the Legislature—three at each session. The term of the first three mentioned will expire in 1886; that of the next three in 1888, and that of the last three in 1890. The institution bears the name of being one of the best-managed in the United States. The present Superintendent, Dr. Rod-man, has been in charge of it for over twenty years; no other words in his praise are needed—his long period of service denotes his fitness for the responsible position.
Laying out Hopkinsville.—The laying out of a town on the present site of Hopkinsville, as we have said, may have been prompted by the want of a town in the midst of a fertile region. The prime cause, however, was more probably the necessity for a seat of justice for a newly-created county. At the November term of the County Court held in the year 1797, the records show that the court proceeded to “appoint a place to affix the seat of justice, and after deliberating thereon, do appoint and determine on the land whereon Bartholomew Wood now lives; therefore ordered, that the seat of justice be fixed at the said Wood’s, he having agreed to give five acres of land for public buildings, timber for building the same, and half of the spring.” Although this order was made in November. 1797, there is no record of the town having been laid off for nearly two years later, as the original plat is submitted to record September 13, 1799. As shown by the records, it was surveyed and platted by John Campbell and Samuel Means, deputies for Young Ewing, County Surveyor, and the plat recorded as above (September 13, 1799). The following entry appears upon the records soon after the recording of the plat: “The court proceeded to lay off the present bounds as follows:
Beginning at the southeast corner of the court house, then a straight line to the east corner of Bartholomew Wood’s house, including the house; thence a straight line to the mouth of the public spring; then up Little River to the upper line of John Clark’s three half.acre lots; then a straight line to the place of beginning.” This seems to have been the original boundary of the town, though there is nothing in the record to designate that such was actually the case. The newly-created city was named “Elizabeth,” but just how and why it was so called is a matter of some discussion. The name sometimes appears in the records as “ Elizabeth,” sometimes as the “ Town of Elizabeth,” and sometimes as “Elizabeth Town,” but never as “Elizabethtown.” At the April term of the court, 1804, is the first time the name Hopkinsville appears in the records, and then without any explanation as to the cause of a change of name.
General Hopkins. --From local authority it is ascertained that a change of the name of Christian’s seat of justice was necessary on account of Hardin County having adopted the name of Elizabethtown for her seat of justice, and being some four years the senior of Christian, it naturally fell to the latter to make the change. The name “Hopkinsville “ was then adopted in honor of Gen. Samuel Hopkins, a gallant officer of the Revolutionary army, and a native of Albemarle County, Va. No officer bore a more conspicuous part in the great struggle for freedom; he fought in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth, Brandywine and Germantown, in the last of which he commanded a battalion of light infantry, and was severely wounded, after those of his command had nearly all been killed and wounded. He was Lieutenant-Colonel of the Tenth Virginia Regiment at the siege of Charleston, S. C., and commanded that regiment after Col. Parker was killed until the close of the war. In 1797, Gen. Hopkins removed to Kentucky and settled on Green River. He served several sessions in the Legislature of Kentucky, and was a Member of Congress for the term commencing in 1813. In October, 1812, he led a corps of 2,000 mounted infantry against the Kickapoo villages in Illinois; but being misled by his guides, after wandering over the prairies for some days to no purpose, the party returned to the capital of Indiana. After the close of the war Gen. Hopkins served one term in Congress, and then retired to private life on his farm near Red Banks.
To go back to the beginning of Hopkinsville, and give a true detail of every branch of business and industry, when it commenced and by whom, is a task beyond the power of any man to accomplish. There are very few persons now living in the county who were here when the town was laid out, and those few were too young then, or are too old now. to remember anything about it, and the chronicler is forced to depend mainly upon “hearsay evidence” for the first few years of the early life of Hopkinsville. Thomas Long, an old man now living in the north part of the county, says when his father came here in 1804, all the town there was of Hopkinsville was a blacksmith shop, a tavern kept by a man named Crow, and the court house, with a few cabins of settlers who then lived in the place. It is believed by those who have a pretty good chance of knowing, that Carter Wood, a son of Capt. Harry Wood, was the first merchant of Hopkinsville—the first at least who kept anything like a general stock of merchandise. Others who opened stores soon after, and are still remembered by some of the older citizens, were John Bryan, William Murrell, Charles Caldwell, etc. In those days goods were bought mostly in the East, and sometimes hauled in wagons all the way from Philadelphia, but generally to Pittsburgh, and shipped from there down the Ohio, and up the Cumberland River to Canton or Clarksville. Groceries, such as sugar, coffee and molasses, were bought in New Orleans and brought up the river, sometimes being on the road (or rather on the river) three or four weeks. A merchant bought about two stocks of goods a year—spring and fall—and had no means of replenishing his stock every thirty days, as now, through the medium of traveling salesmen. It is not known who erected the first brick house. Among the first remembered was one occupied by Strother Hawkins, where Hiram Phelps now lives; one where Samuel Buckner lives—it had a Masonic lodge in the second story; a small brick opposite the last named; another where John P. Campbell lives; still another where Henry Gant lives, and another on a back street which belonged to the Glass estate, and several store houses in the main business part of the town.
Among the early tradesmen, some of whom afterward became the most prosperous merchants, were Daniel Safferance, Archibald Gant, Jeremiah Foster, Benjamin York, M. T. Carnahan. Jefferson Bailey, John Wilcoxson, etc. Daniel Safferance was a tin and coppersmith; Archibald Gant was the first hatter in Hopkinsville. Hats were then made to order by men brought up to the trade, and a merchant thought as little of buying a stock of hats with his other goods as he would think now of keeping in stock railroad locomotives. Mr. Gant made a fortune in the hat business, and “Gant, the hatter,” became known throughout the Green River country. He made hats of rabbit skins, with fur on them an inch long, sold them for $10 apiece (the hats, not the rabbit-skins), and one would last a man his life-time. In fact, the leader of the advertising troupe for the “ Great Indian Remedy” was, upon a recent visit to Hopkinsville, supposed to be wearing one of them, still in an excellent state of preservation. Mr. Gant bought a farm in the county for which he gave $5,000, and it is said paid the whole sum in hats, or in money made from their sale. Jeremiah Foster was the first silversmith in the town, and M. T. Carnahan the first gunsmith. The latter gentleman went to Mount Vernon, and., and rose to considerable prominence; represented Posey County in the State Legislature several times, and was also a member of the State Senate. Bailey was an early bricklayer, and John Wilcoxson a carpenter; Benjamin York, one of the early blacksmiths, if not the first one in the town. Of all the old mechanics who knew Hopkinsville in an early day, perhaps Kirtley Twyman is the oldest living representative. He has laid more brick and built more houses in the town doubtless than any man that has ever lived in it. The spectacle, it is said, has often been witnessed and commented upon of this veteran brickmason, his son and grandson, all laying brick upon the same edifice. It is a fact worthy of record, and withal, highly commendable that he trained up his boys to follow in his footsteps, and it is nothing to their discredit that they have imitated their worthy sire in his honest calling.
Taverns.—At the first term of the County Court (March, 1797), Obadiah Roberts was granted a license to keep a tavern. Where this tavern was to be kept the records do not show, and as that was more than two years before Hopkinsville, or Elizabeth, rather, was laid out, it is not probable that it was for a public house here. Nothing is known of Mr. Roberts and his tavern beyond the fact that the court granted him a license for that purpose. A man named Vail was probably the first tavern-keeper of Hopkinsville. His tavern stood where the city bank now is. He was succeeded by a man named Crow, who was keeping a tavern upon the same site as early as 1804. Thomas Alisbury kept a tavern prior to the war of 1812. Another early tavern was kept by John Burgess; another by a man named McGrew, and still others by Henry Hawley, Abraham Stites, John P. Campbell Sr., William Murrell, etc. The village tavern in those days was an important place, where the old men would meet at their leisure, sip their grog and swap stories. On the subject of taverns, an incident of one kept for some time just beyond the city limits by Curtis Wood is appropriate. Curtis Wood was the youngest son of Bartholomew Wood, the pioneer of Hopkinsville. He was born in 1801, and is said to have been the first white child born within the limits of the present city, and is still living in the eastern part of the county, a feeble old man. He, for a long time, kept a tavern (on a very small scale) just beyond South Kentucky College. near where Wood’s mill now stands. his unique sign is still remembered by many, and was as follows Rest for the weary, food for the hungry, liquor that is good, by C. D. Wood.” This is only equaled by the Dutchman who opened a lager beer saloon in Carlinville, Ill., just after the close of the war, and mounted a tasty sign over his door—” You fights mit Sigel, and drinks mit me.” The pertinency of the sign is seen when it is known that a large proportion of the people around Carlinville are Germans. many of whom fought in the late war under the gallant old Franz Sigel.
Growth and Development of the Town.—Of the first few years of the existence of Hopkinsville, as we have said, but little or nothing is known. Whether it grew rapidly and developed into a town, or remained for years a straggling hamlet, none can say. It is not probable, however, that it grew with the rapidity that towns and cities spring up now in the great West. The country was much newer than it is now, and there was but little necessity for towns; there was no market within hundreds of miles for what little produce the people had to dispose of, and equally as little demand for goods and merchandise. A few small stores and shops were all there was in the way of business for several years, and the growth of the place was naturally slow. But as population increased, business grew and developed with the demands of the time. Stores were opened, the number of shops were increased, and houses were built—a better class of houses than the original cabins of the first corners. Schools were established and churches organized, and the place began to wear the appearance of a town. Roads were laid out to the mills in different parts of the country. and as “ all roads lead to Rome,” so all the early roads centered in Hopkinsville, and the hopes of its friends and projectors for its future glory and prosperity were, if not extravagant at least flattering.
Bartholomew Wood, if not an energetic and wide-awake man in building towns, seems to have evinced a spirit of liberality quite commendable in that early day. He not only gave five acres of land, and timber for the first public buildings, but when the wants of the community required it, he gave a lot of ground for a cemetery, and another lot for a Baptist Church. In his quiet, unassuming and unostentatious manner, he left his imprint upon many portions of the struggling town. Mr. Wood, from the traditions concerning him, seems to have thought a great deal more of hunting, fishing and trapping than of building up a town. He owned a great deal of land, however, and from the abundance of his acres did not hesitate to contribute of it to laudable and praiseworthy objects. We have no record of his religious inclinations or beliefs, yet the fact remains without question that he gave the ground for the first Baptist Church.
The Postoffice.—It was a pathetic and strangely human sentence of Dr. Johnson, when be said, “ we shall receive no letters in the grave.” There is no power in that silent dominion to appoint postmasters ; there is no communication open. and no mail contracts can -be made with the grim passenger boat. There were very little mail facilities or communications here when the first postoffice was opened, eighty years ago. We learn that the postoffice was established in Hopkinsville, April 9, 1804, and by a strange coincidence, this portion of this article is penned April 9, 1884. just eighty years after the establishment of the postoffice. George Brown was the Postmaster, and no doubt his duties were light, particularly when we remember that the colored people did not then receive letters, and hence did not require half a dozen clerks to wait on them. as in this enlightened age. There were not half a dozen newspapers published west of the Alleghenies; a letter from the old home cost 25 cents postage in coin, and when we remember how scarce 25-cent pieces were in those days, in a new and unsettled country, we find ourselves wondering what use the people had for a postoffice. But all things must have a beginning, and the postoffice now, although a considerable institution, was, three-quarters of a century ago, a very small affair. The old citizens of to-day might apostrophize somewhat after this fashion
The postoffice, too, is wonderful now,
With its lock-boxes and that;
Why, I can remember just how
Brown carried the thing in his hat.”
Postmaster Gen. Gowan would require a gross or two of Mr. Gant’s hats in which to stow the mail that passes through the Hopkinsville postoffice now in a single day. No better illustration of the growth and development and of the changes wrought is needed than is seen in the postoffice. At one time the pony mails passed through the county weekly, or semimonthly, when they were permitted by the streams to go through at all. There are no records by which it can be ascertained how much mail matter now comes daily into the county, but an approximation might be reached by reference to the large bags of letters and papers received at Hopkinsville by every train, and by stage, and the old-fashioned horseback mail. This increase in mail matter, however, is not merely the measure of the growth of population in the county, and a measure of the spread of intelligence or education, but it is a mark of the age, an index in the change of habits of the people, and applies to the whole nation.
The newspaper press is another illustration of the city and county’s growth and development. A newspaper, the Kentucky Republican, was established in Hopkinsville in 1820. But as an extensive sketch of the press has been given in another chapter, upon the county at large, nothing additional need be given here. Reference is merely made by way of noting the growth and improvement peculiar to the age. The press of the county, comprising the New Era and South Kentuckian, are happy illustrations of the county’s growth. development and prosperity.
At a later period in the history of Hopkinsville there were the following merchants additional to those already mentioned : Daniel Park, Robert Patterson, William Nichol, Robert Martin, James Richey, Samuel Finley, Wilson & Sinton, Francis •Wheatley, Anderson & Atterberry, Samuel and Jacob Shryock, Richard Poston, James and Thomas Moore, Alexander McCulloch, John McGarvie, George Ward, etc. These have passed away, and a younger generation fills their places. But it is impossible and would scarcely be interesting to trace the mercantile business through all its growth and prosperity. Among the merchants of Hopkinsville years ago, were William E. Garvin, Thomas Quigley and William Bell (father of John and Robert Bell), who afterward became prominent wholesale merchants of Louisville; Wayman Crow and John Agnew, who became prominent merchants of St. Louis.
Of the learned professions Hopkinsville has known some as brilliant men as any city in the State, perhaps. The early members of the bar have been noticed in a preceding chapter. Of the medical profession there were Dr. Moses Steele, Dr. James H. Rice, Dr. Augustine Webber, Dr. Short, and others whose names cannot now be recalled. They were men learned in their profession, and faithfully performed their duties to their fellow-men. Dr. Webber receives extended notice in connection with the Baptist Church, and the others are mentioned elsewhere in this volume. Just at this point in the history of Hopkinsville a communication is pertinent and of interest, from Judge Livingston Lindsay, of La Grange, Tex., and late Chief Justice of that State, many years ago a resident of this city, and still remembered by many of the older citizens. It was written to his nephew here, Mr. Lindsay, who requested his recollections of Hopkinsville as a contribution to our history of the county. It is devoted principally to Hopkinsville, though in one or two instances touching upon the county at large, and the reader will find it of interest throughout. It is as follows:
Communication of Judge Lindsay.—” Oral tradition upon the topics to which you invite my attention, is not very reliable at best. But it is still more uncertain when it is wholly dependent upon the treacherous and failing memories of very old persons. And I have always regretted the neglect of American society in its failure to adopt in an early period of its history some methods, as a system, for the preservation of family records, containing not only all the names of families, but such incidents in connection with them as might be useful to their immediate posterity, as well as of interest to the public at large. In the progress of our social system, possibly, this defect might be remedied. It certainly would conduce to the improvement of society.
“In regard to what I may know and remember about the early history of Christian County: I emigrated from Orange County, Va., in the fall of 1828, and stopped at my brother’s, Lunsford Lindsay, in the borders of Todd County, which county had, not a great while before, been formed out of a part of Christian and Logan Counties, where I remained nearly a year, teaching a country school ; though I then had my license (obtained in Virginia) to practice law. But by reason of the paucity of my finances, I was deterred from adventuring then upon my professional career. I did adventure upon it, however, shortly after the close of my school, and moved to and settled in Hopkinsville; and not long afterward married my wife, and boldly, if not judiciously, took upon myself the charge of a family. This, too, was done without having first achieved anything professionally. This new obligation assumed, together with the emptiness of my exchequer, awakened me to the necessity of devising some expedients for the immediate wants of my family, besides the precarious reliance upon the professional success of a briefless lawyer, a mere novice just entered, or passed over the threshold of one of the learned professions, without means and without practical experience among strangers, with a strong and already well-established bar to compete with. Under these inauspicious circumstances I concluded to purchase a printing press with its appurtenances, which had been established in Hopkinsville some years previously by David S. Patton, Esq., and commenced the publication of a weekly journal under the not very taking name of the Spy, which I continued about two years, when I sold out the establishment in consequence of a call I received from the Trustees of Cumberland College, at Princeton, Ky., to the position of Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, which, though the salary was small, the duties of the position were more congenial to my taste than the turmoil and the common reckless spirit of journalism. I preserved no copy of that publication, nor indeed do I know where one could be found. By mere chance. it may be that some patron of the paper in that county preserved one. But village newspapers were in those days too unimportant and ephemeral to secure any special care from their readers. I regret that I cannot furnish a copy, as it might show somewhat of the temper and tone of the community of those by-gone days, and be of some interest to the present generation of the locality.
“When I settled in Hopkinsville]e in the year 1829, it was a small village comparatively (I don’t recollect the number of the population precisely. I don’t think it much exceeded 1,500 inhabitants), but it was inhabited by an intelligent and interesting population. It was a cultivated society for what might still be called a sort of frontier settlement; as in the following year, in my travels through Illinois I found that now magnificent and grandly developed State in all its material, social and moral elements was still in a crude and uninviting condition. Then even the great city of St. Louis, which I visited also, contained a population of only 5,000 souls. What a mighty change in the last half century!
“ Hopkinsville at the time adverted to, in her social, moral and intellectual condition, could justly enter into rivalry with any community west of the Alleghenies. The manners of her people were polished and refined; her public as well as private morals above reproach; and so little disorder among her people, both in town and county, as falls to the lot of the most favored communities. Her meed of prominence, character and standing, considering the number of her population, equal to any. When I arrived in Hopkinsville 1 found these distinguished gentlemen of the legal profession: Charles S. Morehead, Fidelio C. Sharp, W. W. Fry, Gustavus A. Henry, J. B. Crockett, Gwynn Page, the first three of whom were then in the full tide of practice, with well-established reputations, and the three latter rapidly budding into notice, and very soon developed into full bloom. Two others, Benjamin Patton and Robert P. Henry, had both died a year or two before, and their fame was still echoing through town and county at the time of my arrival, and not confined to town and county, but reverberating throughout the State. But in the hurry of writing I pretermitted two other prominent gentlemen of the profession about that time, James Breathitt and James Ewing, neither of whom lived a great while after. Besides, James F. Buckner was there equipping himself for the struggle. It may be that I have omitted to mention others of that period, but if so, it is a lapse of my memory. Besides these gentlemen of note of the legal fraternity, the medical profession was not less famous for its learned physicians. Dr. John F. Henry, who was afterward professor in several medical colleges, and a man of unquestioned ability ; Drs. ‘Webber, Bell, Glass, Montgomery, men of considerable literary attainments, and of undoubted success in the practice of their profession. I cannot now call to mind the names of others, some of whom were just pluming their feathers for the adventurous flight, in addition to these professional celebrities, there were literary gentlemen not a few, of which a modest sample was found in the person of James Ramsey, who was as guileless as a child, and intellectually as brilliant as the most favored sons of genius. In the private walks of life could be seen men of exalted character and of personal worth, a public spirit worthy of all imitation, a specimen of which was plainly manifested in the bearing and conduct of John P. Campbell, Sr., whom I always looked upon as one of Nature’s noblemen, and whose memory I shall always revere as a generous friend. These worthy specimens of the male population of the community, which were much enlarged by many in the county, were supplemented by many high-toned, intelligent, refined women, of whom I will not be guilty of the bad taste of particularizing, but who contributed largely to the many excellencies of the community.
So much in regard to the general view of the town of Hopkinsville and the County of Christian during my short sojourn among their people, from some time in 1829 to the spring of the year 1832. With my imperfect and failing memory I would not venture upon details. I might compromise myself by doing injustice to some of those early citizens. But be assured that I have a lively sympathy with those who may desire to have a full and accurate history of the town and county, which might afford some material for the future historian of the State and nation.
Manufacturing Industries Hopkinsville has never been anything of a manufacturing center, and why it has not is a problem. With the finest timber in easy reach, coal enough underlying the county for all manufacturing purposes, good railroad facilities—what more is needed? Only energy and enterprise. The early enterprises of this kind have been confined to flouring-mills, carding and woolen mills, tanyards, distilleries, brickyards, etc. There is no distillery in the city, nor in the county we believe, unless it is a “moonshiner,” which is a credit mark to both city and county. The manufactories now consist of flouring-mills, a foundry, planing-mills, carriage and plow factories, an ice factory. brickyards, etc. A development of the coal fields of Christian and adjoining counties will make Hopkinsville what she deserves to be, a manufacturing city. Upon the future of Hopkinsville Mr. Mercer, a few years ago, thus wrote in the Hopkinsville Republican: “The geographical position of Hopkinsville, its vantage ground as the center of a fertile region possessing various resources, all demanded a fast advancing civilization, warrant the belief that a safe exercise of enterprise and industry on the part of its citizens, merchants and manufacturers will double its present population and wealth in a few years. An Illinois, Indiana or Ohio town under like conditions would not require more than five years to reach a population of 10,000 souls. The country wants farmers, wool-spinners and weavers, farm.implement makers, pork-packers. dairymen, tanners, and skilled mechanics. Nearly every competent manufacturer who has given strict personal attention to his trade in Hopkinsville, has prospered.” When we consider the amount of money that crosses the Ohio River every year for farm machinery alone, the above paragraph comes home with considerable force, and brings pertinently to mind a Biblical phrase that the way (to prosperity) is so plain that “even fools should not err therein.”“L. LINDSAY.”
The Crescent Mills Without going into details of enterprises that have long since passed out of existence, a brief space will be devoted to some of the present manufacturing industries of the city. One of the great flouring-mills of Southern Kentucky is the Crescent Mills of Rabbeth & Brownell. This establishment dates back to 1876 and stands on the railroad north of the depot, and is a large frame building. It has six runs of buhrs and three sets of the celebrated Stephens rolls, with a capacity of 200 barrels of flour per day; the whole valued at $30,000. They do a merchant and custom trade, and ship largely to Southern markets.
The Eugene Mills.—The sketch of these mills is from the South Kentuckian of February 26, 1884: This mill is a frame structure with four stories and a basement, with 75-horse power, and is propelled by water and steam, water being used six months in the year, and is one of the best built, local, new-process mills to-day in Christian County, and is supplied with all the latest improved machinery from top to bottom. The capacity of this mill is 100 barrels of flour every twenty-four hours, and it is kept in motion the year round from early dawn till dewy eve. Mr. Eugene Wood, its proprietor, has been engaged in the milling business since 1872 at this place, at which time he took charge of an old structure and ran it until 1879, when he remodeled and built the present handsome structure, and by his energy, perseverance, as well as a thorough knowledge of the business, has built up a wide-spread local trade second to no other mill in this or adjoining counties, and “Eugene’s Best” has long since become a household word throughout the city and county. He makes a specialty of exchange work, and is constantly receiving grain for which cash payments are made. Mr. K. J. Ensminger is the miller, and is thoroughly qualified to fill that position, as he has almost devoted his entire life-time in this capacity.
Hopkinsville Mills.—This mill was erected in 1868 by Thomas & Linden, who brought much of the machinery from Cadiz, all of which has since been removed and replaced with the latest improved. It is now owned by F. L. Ellis & Co., and is a most excellent mill, with a capacity of 150 barrels per day. It has three sets of the Stephens rolls and seven runs of buhrs. The mill is located on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, and is valued at $30,000. In 1874 William Ellis purchased the Edmunds interest, and in 1876 F. L. Ellis purchased Linden’s interest. They ship their flour principally to Southern markets.
The Hopkinsville Planing-mill was erected, in 1866, by John Orr and Martin Miller. It was then but a small building 30x40 feet, and they could only operate on a small scale. Miller was finally succeeded by F. J. Brownell with whom Mr. Orr did business under the firm name of Brownell & Co. Mr. J. S. Torrey, the present partner, succeeded Brownell, and the firm is now John Orr & Co. They do all kinds of work common to an establishment of the kind, and work, upon an average, about fifty men.
Ducker & Dryer’s carriage factory is a considerable establishment. They succeeded the old firm of Poindexter & Baker, with whom Mr. Ducker had learned his trade. In 1876 he went to Fairfield, Ill., where he was associated with F. R. Dryer; he remained nearly a year. They then returned to Hopkinsville, where they have continued the business as successors of Poindexter & Baker. They make a specialty of repairing, but also put up considerable new work.
There are several other establishments, viz.: McCarny, Bonte & Co., carriage manufactory; Forbes & Bro., planing-mill; Hanna & Co., foundry and ice factory, but of these we have no information. The grain trade of Hopkinsville is large, but is principally conducted by the mills already noticed. The tobacco trade is perhaps the most extensive business of Hopkinsville, but as a sketch of it is given by Mr. Abernathy in a preceding chapter, anything here would be a repetition.
Banking .—T he first bank in Christian County was established by an act of the Legislature, approved January 26, 1818, called the Christian Bank, with a capital of $200,000 divided into 2,000 shares at $100 each. Subscriptions were opened in Hopkinsville, under the direction of A. Webber, Charles Caldwell, Charles W. Short, Samuel A. Miller, Joshua Hopson, Robert Patterson, Francis Wheatley and John Burgess, a majority of whom were empowered to superintend the subscriptions of stock. Young Ewing was the first cashier of this bank; a man then in the zenith of his glory and popularity. It is not known just how long this bank continued in existence. There was another bank here, but whether a private affair or a branch of the Bank of the Commonwealth, we do not know, as few now remember anything about it.
The Bank of Kentucky or a branch of that bank was next established in Hopkinsville, and was for many years the principal banking institution in the county. It occupied the old Christian Bank building, in which Merritt & Gwynn now are, but which has been remodeled and modernized since then. It existed until the commencement of the war, when its business was wound up. Among the Presidents of the bank were John H. Phelps, Strother J. Hawkins and John B. Campbell. Rewlen Rowland was Cashier from its organization until his death; William H. Sasseen succeeded him, and then came John H. Van Culin. There was no other bank in Hopkinsville until after the close of the war, and the establishment of the Bank of Hopkinsville, one of the leading banks in Southern Kentucky, and the principal bank of the city. John C. Latham is its President, and has been since its organization. There are two other banks in Hopkinsville.
The Great Butter Company.—Probably the most gigantic enterprise that ever agitated Hopkinsville, and which was equal to, if it did riot surpass any scheme ever conceived by Col. Mulberry Sellers, was the great butter company. The following explanation is necessary to fully understand the ponderous bubble, and how it ultimately bursted: A patent had been secured by a Mrs. B. H. McGregory, of Detroit, Mich., for making two pounds of butter out of one pound, and one pint of milk. This patent she sold to J. H. Fields and R. T. Coffey, of Ashley, Ill., for the United States. These enterprising gentlemen issued a circular which they scattered broadcast over the country, and some of Hopkinsville's alert business men bit at the tempting bait, and of course were in the end themselves “bitten.” The circular was as follows: “BUTTER.—.--An improved method of making butter, for which letters patent No. 68639 were issued to the inventor, dated September 10, 1867, consists in compounding certain well-known and simple articles with common butter and milk, in the following proportions: one pound of butter to one pound (or pint) of milk, producing in from six to ten minutes’ common churning a little over two pounds of ‘sweet, fresh and wholesome butter,’ appearing like ordinary new butter, proving the same unadhesive character, so that it will come from the churn freely, leaving nothing behind as a residual product. Nothing is contained in the preparation but simple articles of diet, which are used by every family in the country at almost every meal, and are entirely harmless. As the cost of producing good butter by this method is but a trifle over half the price of common butter,’ and as butter is one of the great staples of the country, costing every family more than flour, wood or meat, it is not difficult to comprehend the utility and great value of this invention. Any one desiring to purchase State or county rights, can see samples of butter manufactured on short notice, or can make it themselves under our directions,” etc. This was signed by Fields and Coffey, of Ashley, Ill.
The right for the State of Kentucky was purchased in Hopkinsville, and a company formed known as Brown, Glass & Co. The incorporators were, J. R. Merritt, B. M. Harrison, John P. Glass, James C. Glass, J. A. F. Brown, J. D. Steele, E. L. Folks, James E. Jesup, T. H. Harned, F. B. Harned, T. F. Brown, H. W. Killen, John W. Mills, G. W. Rives—fourteen all told, which at $250 each amounted to $3,500 for the State. A pretty good thing for Messrs. Fields & Coffey, of Ashley, Ill., but a rather poor investment for Brown, Glass & Co., as it turned out. They sold a number of county rights, and were on the point of selling Louisville and Jefferson County for $6,000, when the thing exploded. Some of the agents of Fields & Coffey traveled South and were about to sell a State right to some large dairy company, but who first proposed to test the matter thoroughly. They did so, and sure enough the pound of butter and pint of milk made two pounds of batter, but upon fully testing and working it, it went back to the original state—one pound of butter and one pint of milk. And upon similar tests similar results were produced everywhere.
When the result of practical teats became known, the great bubble burst, and Brown, Glass & Co. sat down and wept (metaphorically speaking) over the ruins of their castles in Spain. Mr. T. F. Brown, who was the Treasurer of the concern, has a picture—a photograph which he preserves with great care, as a relic and souvenir of the defunct butter company. It represents him in conversation with Mr. L. A. Waller, who is sitting upon his horse in front of Mr. Brown’s store door, and who had purchased a County right for which he had given the horse upon which he sat. What prompted them to have the picture taken we do not know, unless to keep as a memento to the folly of speculation. And if it is a remedy for that evil—an evil that is running riot everywhere, and ruining thousands upon thousands of people—it would be well to have the picture copied, and place one in nearly every house in the country.
General Business.—Hopkinsville makes no pretensions to a wholesale trade, and does but little in that way. But in its retail trade it will compare with any town of its size in the State. Its stores and business houses are large and of a much better class than may usually be found in a town of this size. The Thompson Block, the Opera House Block, the Bank of Hopkinsville’s building, the Hopper Block, the McDaniel Block, Anderson’s building, and a number of others that are a credit to the city, among which, one erected and owned by Peter Postell, a colored man, is not the least magnificent. These buildings are handsome and show the energy and enterprise of the inhabitants. Others are now in course of erection that will compare favorably with those already constructed, and still others are contemplated, which no doubt will be built during the coming year. This spirit of improvement denotes a healthy business and prosperity, and it is no wild or extravagant prediction to suggest the probability of Hopkinsville becoming the leading city in Southern Kentucky.
The handsome residences should not be overlooked in the general summary of the city’s elegant buildings. Many palatial residences. situated in beautiful grounds, and surrounded with grand old trees, ornamental shrubbery and fragrant flowers, are seen along the principal streets, and would be creditable to much larger and more pretentious cities. But of the many we will particularize none, for fear of omissions that might appear unjust to the owners, and also for the lack of space to notice all. Other ornaments to the architectural beauty of the town are the churches, school buildings, colleges and court house, which find appropriate mention in other chapters of this volume.
The Hopkinsville Building and Loan Association is not the least factor, perhaps, in the fine improvements of the city. Its name and title denote its character and business, which need no explanation. Its officers and board are as follows: J. D. Russell, President; .J. I. Landes, Secretary; Thomas W. Long, Treasurer; Landes & Clark, Attorneys. Board of Managers—George C. Long. J. D. Russell, F. J. Brownell. F. R. Dryer and H. C. G-ant. Its semi-annual exhibit, October 1, 1883, showed the following:
First mortgages on real estate . 25,400 00
Delinquent dues, $131;
fines, $15 211 50
Cash on hand 4,293 82
242 shares first series, at $61.20 $14,810 606
425 shares second series, at $27.20 11,560 162
272 shares third series, at $8.16 2,219 552
Loans not paid 1,075 00
Advanced payments on stock 240 00
City Government.—Originally the government of Hopkinsville was under a Board of Trustees, provided for by legislative enactment. By an act of the Legislature, approved March 5, 1870, the town was granted a charter as the City of Hopkinsville. Under this charter the limits were as follows: Beginning at a stake on the west edge of the Madisonville road, northeast corner of a small tract of land on which Samuel A. Means now resides. and southeast corner to a tract of land formerly owned by Zachariah Glass, deceased ; thence south 53 east, passing through the land of Mrs. Stevenson, Mrs. McCarroll and the heirs of N. E. Grey, deceased, and crossing the Town Fork of Little River at 109 poles, and passing through the land belonging to the heirs of M. Sharp, deceased, and through the fair grounds, and through John Tandy’s lot 347 3/4 poles, to a stake on the north edge of the Russellville turnpike; said stake is in the direction north 59 east, 2 poles from John Tandy’s southeast corner and A. Palmer’s southwest corner; thence south 26 west, passing through the lands of John B. Knight and R. T. Petree, and between the residences of Claiborne Buckner and James Coleman, men of color, and passing the house occupied by Peter Quarles, and including the homes of the said Coleman and Peter Quarles within the boundary of the city; passing through the lands of John B. Gowan and Hardin Wood, 259 poles to a stake on the north edge of the Nashville road ; said stake is south 21 1/2 east, 2 poles and 10 links from Hardin Wood’s well (formerly Curtis Wood's) ; thence south 71 west, passing through Mrs. Sharp’s land, including a house now occupied by Kitt Humphrey; passing through Richard Durrett’s land, crossing the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville Railroad at 184 poles, and the Clarksville road at 201 poles; passing through Louis Waller’s lot, including said Wailer’s tobacco stemmery and cooper shop, 288 poles to a stake in Mrs. Bryan’s field; said stake stands in the direction south one and one half east 15} poles to a black oak in Dr. R. H. Kelly’s line, marked as a pointer; thence north 50 west, crossing the Palmyra road at 41 poles, passing through Wallace W. Ware’s lot, including his residence, 120 poles to a stake on the north edge of the Cox Mill road, at a hickory marked as a pointer ; thence north 15 west, passing through the land of John P. Campbell, Sr., deceased, 110 poles to a stake and black oak on the north edge of the Canton road; thence north 111 west, passing through the lands of H. A. Phelps, crossing Little River at 173 1/4 poles, in all 219k poles to a stake on the west side of G. B. Long’s yard fence, and with a sugar tree marked as a pointer; thence north 22 east, passing out of said Long’s premises, including the residence of said Long within the limits of the city, and crossing the Princeton road, in all 188 poles, to a stake in William M. Shipp’s field; thence south 84 east 198 poles, to the beginning.
The territory embraced in the foregoing boundary, and the inhabitants residing therein, are hereby declared to be the City of Hopkinsville, a body politic and corporate, etc. A number of amendments have been made upon this charter, but without materially changing its features. The government consists of a Board of Councilmen, of which the chairman of the said board is invested with all the powers and functions of Mayor. Without tracing it through the different boards, we give the following officers and councilmen, as at present in office: John C. Lath-am, Chairman of the Board; B. P. Campbell, F. J. Brownell, William Ellis, Max Lipstine, H. F. McCarny and David R. Beard. H. R. Lit-tell is Clerk of the Board and Auditor and Treasurer of the city; Joab C. Brasher is City Judge; John W. Payne, City Attorney; Felix Bigger-staff, Chief of Police; Walter Garnet; City Tax Collector. It is laudable in Hopkinsville that she puts her best men in office to control her affairs. When a city does this, a pure and uncorrupted government is the result.
Fires.—Hopkinsville, like many larger cities, has been deluged in fire. As was said of Chicago after her great fire, she has been “born in fire and raised in power.” The new Hopkinsville that phoenix-like rose from the ashes of old Hopkinsville is far more beautiful and magnificent; it is the eye of southern Kentucky, as Damascus, the oldest city of the world, is the eye of the desert. Illuminated by the flame of its fall and transfigured by the divinity of its resurrection, its new growth is a picture of beauty.
From its birth it has had its fires, as other towns and cities have, but the greatest—its baptism of fire—occurred on the 25th of October, 1882, when seven blocks in the very center of the business district went down in ashes.
Says the South . Kentuckian: “Forty-five business houses, fifteen offices of professional men, three livery stables, one bank, the New Era and Hews offices, the postoffice, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Mozart Hall, Central Hotel, and many of the finest buildings in the city were consumed in less than three hours, and the west side of Main Street was only saved by the sudden changing of the wind.” By this disastrous fire a loss was sustained of $285,000, and 100 people turned homeless into the streets. Unlike the Chicago fire it was not the result of an old cow kicking over a coal oil lamp, but it did originate in a stable, and is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary. One year after the fire, the South Kentuckian gave a diagram of the burnt district, showing what portion had been rebuilt, and describing the character of buildings erected thereon, and among others, mentions Campbell’s store, the Thompson Block, the Bank of Hopkinsville, the Henderson & Pritchett Block, Kelly’s building, Mrs. A. J. McDaniel’s Block, the two large brick livery stables of Polk Cansler and T. L. Smith, Anderson & Cheaney’s store, J. C. Hord’s store building, M. Schmidt’s two store buildings, John Dinneen’s building, R. M. Anderson’s brick store, etc.
The town has had several pretty severe fires since that of October, 1882. One of these occurred in November. 1883, and another in December following, in the latter of which the loss was set down at $17,000; and during the winter of 1883—84, but few weeks passed without the alarm of the deep-toned bell and the startling cry of fire. They were generally small and insignificant, however, and confined to small buildings with the exception of the one that destroyed South Kentucky College, described elsewhere. All these, though of loss to the people, have been beneficial to the city, and the means of the erection of much handsomer and more imposing buildings than otherwise would now adorn the town. They were really blessings in disguise, as much as they appeared the contrary of blessings at the time. But for them Hopkinsville would not wear her present comeliness and beauty.—Perrin.
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