"Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune.
Daniel Boone


Thursday, April 24, 2008

McConnell Springs Lexington,Kentucky

In June 1775, William McConnell and his fellow frontier explorers camped at a natural spring in the wilderness of the Virginia territory known as Kentucky. Word came from nearby Fort Boonesboro that the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts. In honor of the battle, the group named their future settlement “Lexington”.

McConnell Springs is located off Old Frankfort Pike inside New Circle Road near downtown Lexington. From either direction on New Circle Road, take Old Frankfort Pike toward Lexington. Turn right on McConnell Springs Drive (directly across from the Fire Training Center). Turn left at the dead-end onto Cahill Drive, then turn right on Rebmann Drive and enter The Springs parking lot.

Jenny Wiley Grave:River, Kentucky

Jenny Wiley (born Jean "Jenny" Sellards in 1760 in Pennsylvania - Died 1831) was a legendary pioneer woman who was taken captive by native Americans in 1789 in Virginia. Wiley endured the slaying of her brother and five children and escaped after 11 months of captivity.Her husband Thomas Wiley fought in the Revolutionary War and they returned to Kentucky in 1800 to raise a family in a cabin near her grave site in rural River,Kentucky(Johnson County).

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, Kentucky is named in her honor.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Penn's Store & Privy in Gravel Switch, Kentucky

Penn's Store is the oldest country store in America run by the same family since 1850. The age of the store is not actually known. It can be traced back to 1845 when William Spragens at age 21 ran the store; however, others are known to have run it before Spragens.

Gabriel Jackson "Jack" Penn was the first Penn to own the store. In c.1870 ownership and operation of the store was transferred from Jack Penn to his oldest son, Martin Wilson "Dick" Penn. Dick Penn was born the second child of nine children on February 19, 1852. He married Isabelle May and they had one son, David Martin Penn. Dick and Isabelle lived in a little house next to the store.

Dick Penn was truly a man of many talents. Among his professions were being a surveyor, dentist, druggist, and postmaster. He was the community's first postmaster and Penn's Store was site of the first post office in the area known as Rollings, Kentucky. In c.1910 the post office moved to Gravel Switch to be close to the train, which would stop in the town to get gravel from the creek.

Dick Penn was given a grant by the governor of Kentucky to administer drugs. Penn's Store carried a wide assortment of drugs which Penn sold to the local people. Penn was also known to have a cure for skin cancer and treated many people with such afflictions. He was given the cure by a foreign doctor. It is believed that he came to the area to meet with Dr. Cleaver who had an office near the store. Dick Penn swore to secrecy the formula and never divulged its ingredients. Since no one in the family held Penn's love for medicine, on July 4, 1913, after a hot day of surveying, Martin Wilson Penn died from a heat stroke on the store porch. Thus, the cancer secret went with him.

Dick's son, Martin Penn, at age 36 became the new store keeper. Born March 24, 1877, Martin married Nina Sue Kirkland and they had 10 children. Five boys and five girls: Daisy (b.1899), Evelyn (b.1901), Theol (b.1904), Paulette (b. 1906), Haskell (b.1908), Gerald (b.1911), Jeane (b. 1913), Alma (b.1915), Hunter (b.1919), Miles (b.1922).

Penn's Store looked quite different in its younger years than it does today. There were many buildings that surrounded the store. There was a spirits shop to the right of the store, a poultry coop used to house chickens and assorted fowl that people brought to the store to trade for goods, and a storage building that Dick Penn used to keep his surplus drugs. Dick and Isabelle's house was to the left of the store, complete with a rock walk leading to the store. After Dr. Cleaver left the area, his office and house became the home of Martin and Sue Penn. The store then carried a wide variety of goods. There were shoes, fabric, farming tools, lanterns, and just about any thing that was needed by a rural inhabitant.

Martin Penn, with the help of his five sons, farmed while also tending to the store. However, one day in 1933, while raking hay with a team of horses, the team got spooked and ran off with him. Martin's legs were entangled in the reins and he was dragged along the creek bed near the store. Shortly thereafter he died from massive injuries.

Sue Penn, "Mammy" as she was affectionately called, became the new storekeeper. Along with all of the children she kept the store running. By this time, some of the children were married and had moved to other states, but some of the children had moved nearby and came daily to help. Haskell, who never married, stayed with Mammy to help work the family farm and help tend to the store. Alma, "Tincy", came daily to help with the store and do the "women's chores" around the house. In 1972, at the age of 92, Mammy died in her sleep.

This left Haskell as the next storekeeper, along with help from Tincy, who still would come and do the "women's work" plus stay in the store on occasion. Haskell tended the store for many years. He lived alone in the family house. Penn's Store had changed little over the course of the years. It was still the place to come to in the community and new residents would always make themselves known to Penn's Store. Haskell kept the store open seven days a week, rain or shine.

In 1993, after suffering a stroke, Haskell passed away. He was 84. He passed the store on to his youngest sister Tincy, who kept everything just as it was with little changes. Tincy received help from her daughter and grand-daughters in keeping the store open every day, seven days a week, rain or shine.

In June 2000, one of Tincy's granddaughters, Dava, passed away from a heart condition. In December 2001, Alma 'Tincy' Penn Lane passed away. She passed the store on to her daughter Jeanne Penn Lane and grand-daughter, Dawn Lane Osborn.

Irish Acres Nonesuch,Kentucky

Irish Acres is located on Fords Mill Road (KY 1965) eighteen miles from Lexington.The 32000 square feet antique gallery is housed in a 1930s school building that was used as an elementary school until 1981.The Glitz restaurant is located in the lower level of Irish Acres and is a delightful dining experience before or after antique browsing and reservations are recommended.Irish Acres is a unique experience along Kentucky's rural back roads!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ashland-The Henry Clay Estate in Lexington

The magnificent two-story brick house is the centerpiece of the Henry Clay estate. Its status as a National Historic Landmark reflects the prominence of the great statesman who developed this beautiful property and resided here for more than forty years. After Henry and Lucretia Hart Clay married in 1799, they moved into a residence on Mill Street purchased from Lucretia's father, Col. Thomas Hart. By 1804, Henry and Lucretia Clay had four children, making for quite a crowd in the downtown house.

In 1804 Henry Clay acquired the first 125 acres of what would become the Ashland estate. It has been said that Col. Hart provided the funds for the purchase of the property. Later that year the central section of the house was built. The wings, designed by Benjamin Latrobe, were added by Clay in 1813-1815. The house became the focal point of the 600 acre Bluegrass farm. Henry Clay christened the farm "Ash Land" due to the great number of majestic ash trees that stood on the property.

For more than forty years, Henry Clay lived at Ashland, the place he loved best. When he was at home he could be seen frequently pacing the "Henry Clay Walk" that still runs through the trees behind the main house. Many of the great speeches which he delivered in Congress were composed along these peaceful walks.

Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate has undergone several changes since it was first developed by Henry Clay. Today the estate includes the main house, outbuildings, and a formal garden situated on a twenty-acre lot.

The mansion stands on the site of the original Ashland, home of Henry Clay from 1806 to 1852. The present Italianate style house was completed by Clay’s son James in 1857. The interior was remodeled in the Victorian style by Anne Clay McDowell, one of Clay’s granddaughters, in the 1880s.

Ward Hall: Antebellum Mansion

"...the finest place in Kentucky at that time, a veritable palace surrounded by a fairy garden."

So Ward Hall appeared to Henry Viley Johnson, nephew of it's builder, Junius Ward. It since has continued to inspire many admirers, many whose admiration has been along much more technical lines.

Junius Richard Ward and his brother, Robert Johnson, inherited large estates from their father, Col. William Ward, and early settler in Scott County, and they took as their brides two of the fairest women of the Bluegrass, Matilda Viley and Emily Flournoy. Emily, who was only fourteen when she married, was the daughter of Matthew Flournoy whose home was Walnut Hall.

Junius established a cotton commission business in the South and as his fortune became greater his mansions became more royal. His ancestral estate on Lake Washington was one of the great plantations of Mississippi, and in 1856, his Georgian mansion in Scott County was ready for occupancy.

The land on which it was built was part of a grant to Patrick Henry which was bought by Ward's grandfather, Robert Johnson, in 1780. His son, William Johnson lived in the original house until his death in 1813, and Madison Conyers Johnson, Lexington lawyer, was born there.

Fifty thousand dollars in gold was paid to Buffington, the contractor, and an additional five hundred was presented to him in appreciation of the perfection of his work.

Junius Ward used his Kentucky estate as his summer home, making the deep South his permanent residence. His brother Robert was reputed to be the wealthiest man in Kentucky, and it was his beautiful daughter, Sallie, the most noted belle of the South, who was frequently guest of honor at the grand balls at Ward Hall.

After the Civil war, Junius Ward found his fortune gone. He was forced to sell Ward Hall, which was advertised at the time of the sale as the "finest country residence in this section of the country." A later owner, Colonel Milton Hamilton, offered the house with 250 acres, plus $50,000, to the Kentucky Legislature should it agree to use the property for the state capitol.

Ward Hall is located on US 460 just outside Georgetown in Scott County.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Old Kentucky Home in the Bluegrass

Our home at 2305 Hartland Parkside Drive in Lexington. We moved back to Kentucky from Jacksonville,Florida in 2005.

Iroquois Hunt Club,Fayette County

Located on Grimes Mill Road off Athens-Boonesboro road.

The Iroquois Hunt Club membership is comprised of a diverse group of about 150 families that share an interest in hounds, land conservation and the historic traditions of foxhunting in America. Some of them are farmers and hunt country landowners and some live in Lexington and the surrounding area. A number of hunt members do not ride with the hunt, but enjoy the many social activities offered throughout the year.

Community Tradition, Animal Welfare
The Iroquois Hunt Club is an integral part of the farming community in southern Fayette County. Although it is called a foxhunting club, the main function of the hunt is to keep the coyotes dispersed so they do not become a threat to livestock and house pets. The hunt country is a ten square mile area of land used for many different types of farming. The land owners allow the hunt club to put up jumps and gates in their fence lines so horseback riders can follow the hounds who are bred and trained to chase coyotes by scent. Because of the hunt, the coyotes are less apt to form packs and attack livestock, and farmers are not forced to eliminate them by poison or shooting. Coyotes are allowed to survive, and the hounds provide wonderful sport for hound, horse, coyote and fox lovers throughout the winter months.

Iroquois Hounds
The life of an Iroquois foxhound is a dog's heaven on earth. They live in a clean comfortable kennel, get the best dog food available, receive excellent veterinary care, have hundreds of humans who love and adore them and all are provided with a comfortable retirement when they can no longer hunt due to age or injury. They are one of the few canines in this day and age that actually get to do what they were bred to do. Each of the eighty hounds supported by the Iroquois Hunt are as friendly as house dogs and love to go hunting.

Old Kentucky State Capitol,Frankfort,Kentucky

Completed in 1830, this national historic landmark introduced Greek-Revival architecture to the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. The building served as the capitol of the Commonwealth of Kentucky from 1830 to 1910. Here Kentucky's leaders decided the course their state would take through the tumultuous nineteenth century.

Gideon Shryock, an early Kentucky architect, designed the Old State Capitol when he was only twenty-five years old. Shryock used architectural symbolism to connect the vigorous frontier state of Kentucky with the ideals of classical Greek democracy. The building is widely recognized as a beautiful masterpiece of nineteenth-century American architecture.

This was the only pro-Union state capitol occupied by the Confederate army during the Civil War. Plans to swear in a Confederate governor and establish a Confederate state government were ruined by the approach of the Union army just days before the Battle of Perryville in 1862.

In the aftermath of the bitterly contested gubernatorial election in 1899, the state legislature met here in 1900 to decide the winner. An assassin, hiding in an office in the Old Capitol Annex next door, shot the Democratic claimant, William Goebel, as he approached the capitol. Armed citizens and State Guard soldiers occupied the grounds, and here for a time Kentuckians threatened to fight their own miniature civil war.

Replaced by the New Capitol in South Frankfort early in the twentieth century, the building has served as the home of the Kentucky Historical Society since 1920. The subject of extensive restoration work since the early 1970s, the Old State Capitol looks today much as it did in the 1850s.

Architectural Features
Unique architectural features include a famous self-supporting stone stairway within the Old State Capitol, re-created to bring to life the building as it was in the 1850s with fine paintings, sculpture, prints, and furniture.

Goebel’s Assassination Site
Outside the Old State Capitol is the site of the assassination of William Goebel, the only governor in United States history to die in office as a result of assassination.

Maysville On The Banks Of The Ohio River

My Hometown

Maysville,formerly known as Limestone,is the county seat of Mason County, Kentucky, United States.As of the 2000 census, the population was 8,993, making it the fiftieth largest city in Kentucky by population. Maysville is on the Ohio River, 66 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky. Two bridges cross the Ohio River from Maysville to Aberdeen, Ohio: the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge built in 1931, and the William H. Harsha Bridge built in 2001.

Maysville was historically important in the settlement of the Kentucky bluegrass region. Frontiersmen Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone were among its founders. Later Maysville was an important port for the northeastern section of the state, exporting the region's production of hemp and tobacco.It was once a center of wrought-iron manufacture, sending fancy ironwork down the Ohio to decorate the buildings of New Orleans, Louisiana.Other small manufacturers located early in Maysville, and manufacture remains an important part of the modern economy.For most of the twentieth century, Maysville was home to one of the largest tobacco auction warehouse systems in the world.

Maysville was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, as the free state of Ohio was just across the river.Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the area in 1833 and witnessed a slave auction in front of the county court house in Washington (then the county seat, since annexed to Maysville).Stowe included the scene in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852.

Birthplace of Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed and entertainer Rosemary Clooney. President Ulysses Grant attended school here as a child.

Daniel Boone' & Gov. William Goebel's Grave in Frankfort Cemetery

John Breckinridge's Law Office at Cabell's Dale

Cabell's Dale was the ancestral home of Kentucky's Breckinridge family and was located on what is now Castleton-Lyons farm off the Paris Pike

Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Troy,Kentucky

The Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized by Reverend Adam Rankin between 1793 and 1798**. The original church was a log meeting house located on one and one-half acres of land owned by Ephraim January, and which he and his wife Sarah deeded to the church for ten dollars. In 1803 the log house was replaced by one built of stone.

Reverend Rankin served as pastor of the church until 1803 when Reverend Robert. H. Bishop was brought in from Scotland. Rankin was opposed to Bishop to the extent that Bishop's ordination was prevented until 1808. Other confrontations occurred between the two, resulting in Bishop's leaving Ebenezer in 1814 and Rankin's suspension from the ministry in 1814. Between 1814 and 1841 the church was supplied by a variety of traveling ministers. In 1841 Reverend Neal Gordon became minister and remained through 1870.

Among Ebenezer's first members were: Mr. and Mrs. William Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Woods, Mr. and Mrs. William Garrard, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Guyn, Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Tanner, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Read, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Black, Mr. and Mrs. James Black, Hugh Garrett, Robert Lowrey, Mrs. Nancy Drake and the Lambkins, Beattys, Longs, Scanlands, Reamers, Hedges, Phillipses, and Logans.

Reverend Gordon's death along with a change of roads and lines of travel that rendered Ebenezer's location unsuitable, contributed to the decline of the stone church.

Church Members of the Ebenezer Church and the nearby Clear Creek Church congregations formed the Troy Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1875.

(Approximately 20 members continued to faithfully meet in the old Ebenezer Church for a number of years. Those members founded the New Ebenezer Church which was constructed in Woodford County in 1883. After 1909, the membership of the New Ebenezer Church began to decline. The New Ebenezer Church building was sold off and razed in 1951.)

The old Stone Ebenezer Church building was abandoned by 1883. Due to neglect, the stone building collapsed sometime before 1922. In that year the Ebenezer Cemetery Association was formed. The association, formed by friends and descendants of the Ebenezer congregation, is dedicated to preserving and maintaining the church and grounds. In 1953 the original stone building was restored.

Next to the building is the cemetery which contains graves of many of the church founders and their descendants: Guyn, Lowrey, Lowry, Gordon, Black, Moffett, Mahin, Woods, January, Crutcher, Young, Garrett, Steele, Beach, Montgomery, Renick, McCauley, Davis, and Simpson.

The Ebenezer Church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

**Bennett H. Young reports in his 1898 History of Jessamine County that the church was organized between 1785 and 1790.