This week we continue to follow William Miller Boling’s column from 1946 in the Messenger, offering a unique view of Meade County history from 75 years ago.
WILLIAM MILLER BOLING
Ekron is near the geographical center of Meade County. When the railroad – The Louisville, St. Louis and Texas – designated this point as a station more than fifty years ago, the name “Lone Oak” was suggested as appropriate because of one, lone oak tree standing on the level terrain, but the name Ekron was finally selected and adopted.
The work “Ekron” is a Hebraic name taken from Holy Writ and liberally translated means “to pluck up by the roots or utterly destroy.” (Read your Bible carefully and you will find Ekron mentioned three times). The town is on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and has a state road 2.86 miles in length connecting it with U.S. Highway 60. To the west there is a Rural Highway one mile in length which connects with a Rural Highway at Salem Church, thus Ekron has an outlet east and west by improved roads and north and south by rail.
The town has three churches and an elementary and high school surpassed by none.
This school occupies a peculiarly cherished spot in my heart for the Principalship there graduated me into the General Assembly of Kentucky as Representative of Meade County (1920).
Thirty years ago when there were no metal roads in Meade County, Ekron was the greatest shipping point of the county. The author while a resident of the town in 1917, conducted a business census there and was surprised to learn the $302,668 worth of varied commodities were shipped from Ekron during that one year. The commodities included live stock of all kinds, poultry, eggs, cream, tobacco, wool, pickles, roots, apples, saw logs, railroad ties, piling, lumber, etc. I recall that the item of turkeys alone was more than $32,000.
The idea of a net work of improved roads for Meade County was born in Ekron inn 1916.
Here is located the only whiskey distillery between Louisville and Owensboro.
Ekron is still quite a business center, but does not have the trade volume of 25 years ago.
Guston on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in the southern part of the county is a trade center for an extensive territory and is connected by a new Macadam road with Highway 60, three miles to the west.
The town is named in honor of Gus W. Richardson (The Red Fox) who served Meade County in many honorable capacities in years gone by.
The town has two churches, one of them being Meade County’s only Presbyterian Church.
It was near the site of Guston during the Civil War that the notorious brigands, Sue Mondy, Henry C. Magruder and Henry Metcalf were captured by Federal soldiers and taken to Louisville for execution.
Two miles north of Guston, near the old Concordia-Elizabethtown Road, is the spot where Bradas, Brooks, Blincoe and Holmes were executed by Union soldiers in retaliation for the death of a Meade County citizen – David Henry.
Payneville in the west-central section of the county is connected by a hard road 5.45 miles in length with Highway 60, four miles south of Brandenburg. The town was originally called “Caseyville,” but due to another post office – Caseyville being already established in Union County – the name of the town and post office changed to Payneville.
Fifty years ago during the days of the old, dirt roads, Payneville enjoyed the largest trade of any rural town in Meade County.
At this time nearly all the merchandise and produce from and to Payneville was transported by wagon from and to Brandenburg at the town’s outlet and the inlet was the Ohio River.
I clearly recall the days when I worked on the wharfboat at Brandenburg. Upon one occasion I made out Bills of Lading for commodities from Payneville and the aggregate amount was stupendous. The consignors were Brown and Brown.
I gave bills to Louie Connor, Purser of the steamer Tarascon with Capt. D.L. Penny standing near by who ran his eyes over the bills and said, -- “Young man that is the largest consignment of miscellaneous freight I ever remember handling during my forty years of steamboating between Louisville and Evansville.”
Payneville has tow churches, a good elementary school, general stores and garages and does considerable business, but the days of her business supremacy are gone.
Brandenburg Station 2.98 miles east of Brandenburg on U.S. Highway 60 is the railway depot for the County seat and is the most important railway station of the county. The original depot, when the railroad was the Louisville, St. Louis and Texas, was located one mile to the north east of the present station and was named “Weldon” in honor of Cromwell and Herndon tow engineers who helped in locating the railroad through Meade County. The word “Weldon” was formed from the last syllable of each man’s name.
Within a radius of 1 ½ mile of Brandenburg Station are located five church buildings, representing five different denominations, making this community the most populated “church area” within the county, also the territory two miles to the north and east of Brandenburg Station is the most densely populated rural section of the county.
Midway on Highway 60 between Brandenburg and Irvington and Sirroco on Highway 84 are convenient trading points for a large territory in central Meade.
Andyville on State Highway 84 four miles west of Payneville is an important post office and business point of the “Lower End” of the county.
The “Rhodelia Flats,” a fine farming region traversed by Stat Highway 84 is rich in history and tradition. Here is located St. Theresa Church one of the older Catholic Churches in this section of Kentucky.
In former years St. Theresa Academy, a large building located near the church structure, was a training school for boys, notable throughout the nation. One year, some decades ago, this school had boarding pupils from 18 states.
Rhodelia with a general store and post office and Buren’s store at “Cross Roads” on the “Flats” are places of trade.
Concordia is one of the older river towns of Meade County and in days gone by was an important trading port.
It is at the end of the “spur” on State Highway 84.
Before passing from the central section of “Lower Meade” I desire to review, briefly, a little history I shall never forget the days when a metal road to penetrate this region was under discussion.
By undeserved good fortune the author, at this time, (1920-22-24) was trying to represent Meade County in the General Assembly of Kentucky and the idea of good roads was being industriously cultivated and had begun to bear fruit. It is fitting to recall some of the individuals of the “lower end” who gave much attention and able support to the suggested program of a state highway traversing the central section of the western part of the county. A few of these individuals whose help and faithful cooperation may be pleasantly recalled, some of them yet with us, others gone to their reward, -- C.H. Morgan, John Pike, D.C. Gray, Wilman Hardesty, Rev. B.I. Doherty, C.M. Smith, Frank Grenwell, W.A. Adkisson, Victor Greenwell, Floyd Hall, Mike Flaherty, Cale Brown, Rev. Odendohl, J.F. Vessels, Victor Humbert, Lee Rhodes, John Flaherty, J. Ernest Buren and Paul D. Whelan.