top of page

Civil War History Road Trip Part 3

By Trish Turner

 After Gerry Fischer and I breezed through the downtown section of Bloomfield we turned onto Bloomfield Road, U.S 62. About 3 miles out of town we came upon a historical marker for Camp Charity. This camp was a place where recruits for the Confederate Army would rendezvous, train, and then travel to Bowling Green to form into companies. One of the early recruits was Henry Clay "Billy" Magruder. Billy enlisted at age 17 and trained at Camp Charity under Major Jack Allen. Magruder later became a guerrilla and was captured in Meade County along with Sue Mundy. I will be devoting my next article to Billy Magruder and the history of his life, and will share details about his final resting place.

 In Lexington, Kentucky in 1857, the company of Volunteer Militia called the "Lexington Rifles" was organized, with John H. Morgan as captain. In September1861, John Hunt Morgan arrived at Camp Charity. The residents of Bloomfield's sympathies lay with the South and they could be counted upon for support and recruits. A branch of nearby Simpson's Creek (presently known as Camp Charity Creek) provided fresh water and the Bloomfield area residents supplied food and other items without accepting payment. The charitable acts of the Bloomfield citizens earned the camp the name Camp Charity.

 Approximately 2 miles down the road from Camp Charity is a historical marker for the site of Kincheloe's Station. The marker reads: "Near here is site of Kincheloe's Station. Named for Capt. William Kincheloe, one of the leaders who established station in early 1780's. Later called Polke's Station for Chas. Polke, who claimed the land. Indians made a surprise attack in Sept. 1872, and massacred many men, women, and children. Known as 'Burnt Station' after Indians captured and burned it." The details of this attack is too terrible to relate. About 15 pioneer men, women, and children were brutally murdered. The Indians dragged several women and children from their homes and took them to Detroit to be sold. Along the way they killed some of the children who were crying, and their mother who tried to protect them. The English governor of Detroit purchased the women and children and were able to reunite them with their families who had been searching for them.

 When we reached the outskirts of Bardstown we headed down John Rowan Boulevard/New Shepherdsville Road towards the town of Samuels. Nearby in an area called Cox's Creek is a white brick 2 story mansion that is undergoing renovation. It was built in 1798 and is known locally as the James Safe House. During the Civil War it was the home of Mrs. Fenetta Sayers and her family. Frank and Jesse James' parents, Robert and Zerelda, were from Kentucky before they moved to Missouri. A little known fact is that Robert James was educated at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky and became a well respected Baptist minister and revivalist in Missouri. He traveled to California in April 1850 with the intention of preaching to the gold miners there, but he died of cholera in August 1850. His boys and their sister were still quite young and Zerelda later married Dr. Reuben Samuel, who had family in the Nelson County, Kentucky area. While Frank & Jesse were part of William Clarke Quantrill's guerilla raiders, and following the Civil War during their outlaw years, they often visited their relatives and friends in the Samuels area.

 Gerry told me a story about how Frank James hid at that mansion, known at the time as the Sayers' house. Two men that had ridden as guerrillas from time to time with "One Arm" Sam Berry, Texas and Brothers, raped a well respected woman, Mrs. Clark, who was from the area of Bardstown and New Haven. In that Victorian era such a crime as this was un