Meade County: Facts and Fiction also Pages of Memory

CHAD HOBBS

Messenger Staff


 Once again, we will continue to run William Miller Boling’s 1946 column from the Meade County Messenger, and his unique view on county history from a viewpoint 75 years ago.


WILLIAM MILLER BOLING


Part 3


The old trails of 150 years ago followed the line of least resistance as they wound up hill and down over the uneven terrain, which accounts for the winding directions of our early roads.

These trails were first dimly defined through the “Barren Grass” by wild animals in their search for food and water, and upon the coming of the pioneers were used as roads through the new country. It is said that during the early period of pioneer occupation in Meade County one could ride horseback from Severn’s Valley or from Hardin’s Fort to Brandenburg’s Ferry without finding a twig large enough to be used as a riding switch. Deer, Bear, wild turkeys and other denizens of the wild were plentiful in this region and were often encountered by the early settlers as they traveled the crooked trails through the tall grass.

Meade County is rich in vistas of scenic beauty and possesses a social atmosphere of genuine hospitality and cultural uplift.

There are many places of attraction for tourists and comfortable and pleasing resorts for those seeking physical relaxation and mental enrichment. “The Old Buckner Home” an ancient, ante-Civil War, residence sits, as if in retrospective reverie, atop the high hill overlooking the winding and beautiful Ohio, “The Hudson of the West.”

This old home of an architecture more than a hundred years old is replete with antiques, furnishings, costumes, etc. that depict the customs of the days long since gone and is well worth a visit for its historical and cultural benefits.

The Doe Run Hotel on Doe Run Creek, 5 miles south of Brandenburg is one of the famous summer play grounds of Kentucky. The Hotel building is made of the rejuvenated “Old Oakland Mill,” the old stones and original rustic appearance being retained. This old mill began operation more than a century ago and has a hand made wooden beam supporting the first floor that is more than one hundred years old, being one of the largest and most perfectly hewn timbers to be seen in Kentucky. At this spa all the modern recreational diversions may be found and enjoyed and the cuisine and sleeping appointments are of the very best. The Fourth of July each year is the occasion for a great home coming of former Meade Countians upon the spacious hotel grounds and it is doubted whether any other spot in Kentucky witnesses such a magnificent reunion of old friends as the ground adjacent to the Old Oakland Mill. Two years ago the author saw autos from 16 states and met folk from 22 states on the grounds during this famous homecoming.

The Otter Creek Recreational Park is a marvel of design and workmanship and represents the last word in engineering ability for recreational purposes. It draws thousands of visitors and must be seen and inspected to be properly appreciated. Every convenience and privilege desired by the summer “nomad” is provided at this Federal play ground.

Diversified farming, stock and poultry raising are the chief industries of Meade County.

The farm crops are valued at about $1,000,000 annually. A ten year average of annual crop production in the County is about as follows; corn 416,000 bushels; wheat 21,000 bushels; oats 11,000 bushels; hat 8,000 tons; tobacco 1,400,000 pounds; Irish potatoes 12,000 bushels; apples 15,000 bushels; peaches 7,000 bushels.

The ten-year average of livestock valuation is about as follows annually: cattle $175,000; mules $122,000; horses $113,000; sheep $46,000; hogs $68,000; poultry and eggs $209,000; mild and cream $128,000. From these statistics it is readily seen that poultry and eggs, milk and cream are the chief “money crop” of the county.

The Louisville and Nashville Railway enters Meade County near the Ohio River on the north eastern boundary and follows the river “bottom” to Doe Run Creek. After crossing this stream on one of the most modern railroad bridges in the United States the railway veers towards the south and crosses the county in a southwestwardly direction near its center leaving the county a short distance east of Irvington. The L & N has about 22 miles of track in Meade County. The extreme eastern end of the count at a point 4 miles south of the Ohio River is entered by the Illinois Central Railroad, with the town of Muldraugh as the only station on the line within the county. The Illinois Central owns about 3 miles of track within the county. Scheduled bus service is maintained between Brandenburg and Louisville and other points east, and to Owensboro and other points west.

Trucks make daily trips from all Meade County Points to Louisville and to other places when necessary.

The unincorporated town of Flaherty is situated in the south eastern part of Meade County.

The town takes its name from Mike Flaherty, a blacksmith who conducted a shop many years ago at the cross roads when the town was more imaginary that real. Flaherty is in one of the best diversified farming sections of the county and is an important business center of “Upper Meade.” A hard road 3.68 miles in length connects the town with U. S. Highway 60 on the west and a recently built McAdam road 3.67 miles in length gives it connection with U.S. 31 via Vine Grove.

Flaherty enjoys three unique distinctions viz:---

It has one of the largest country stores in Kentucky. This store carries a stock of general merchandise comparable, both in size and quality, with many metropolitan stores. Here is located the only flour mill within the confines of Meade County, a concern which not only makes fine flour, but the very best of a variety of feed products. St. Martin’s Church, located here has one of the largest memberships of any rural Catholic Church int the entire South.

The Community Building, a modern and handsome structure, is one of the best of its kind in rural Kentucky. Flaherty also possesses one of the best schools, both elementary and high, to be found in the State.

Garrett near the center of the county 8 miles southeast of Brandenburg is bisected by U.S. Highway 60 and is a trading central part of the county, having point for a large section of the two, up-to-date general stores.

Fifty or sixty years ago, long before the days of easy transportation, Garrett was known throughout the county as an educational center, having a school excelled by none, and institution from which there went out some of the great names of the professional and business world.

About 2 miles northwest of Garrett near Highway 60 is historic Buck Grove Church one of the oldest Baptist Churches in the section of Kentucky.

The old church building and the old oak trees are much the same as in my youth, but the rapidity with which the church cemetery has grown within the past fifty years is amazingly awful and thoughtfully sobering. (continued next week)

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