Casper Herps and his son, William Casper Herps held the office of Bullitt County Surveyor for the best part of half a century. Michael T. Herps, a great grandson of William Casper Herps, has provided the following transcribed obituaries for these two gentlemen. They are presented here with his kind permission.
An Old Citizen Passes Away
Casper Herps, after a long illness died of a complication of diseases at his home in Leaches last Wednesday, aged 77 years, 8 months and 15 days. In many respects Mr. Herps was the most remarkable man that ever lived in Bullitt, and the fact that he held public office in the county for an unbroken period of forty years shows in what high esteem he was held by his fellow citizens.
He was born Rugheim, Germany, Aug. 26, 1822, and came to America in 1841. His father who was also named Casper, (Kasper Hirbst is the German way to spell Casper Herps) and lived in Rugheim near the large stone government building. The original Kasper Herps was a doctor and surgeon and served in the French German war under Napoleon. He was also a surgeon in the Prussian army when Napoleon was taken a prisoner and banished to the isle of Elba; and subsequently went to Paris with the army under Lord Wellington.
After coming to America Mr. Herps went to Nelson County and lived for a while with Jack Truman, accepted a position at Dooms' tanyard at Cane Spring, this county, in 1842 where he remained ten years. In his younger days he had a fascination for the chase, and spent much of his time deer hunting. On one occasion, while hunting deer his gun was accidentally discharged, sending a load of buckshot through his left hand, crippled him for life.
At the August election 1854 he was elected County Surveyor of Bullitt County and held that office continuously until 1894, except for one term of four years when Capt. Abbott was elected. During his incumbency in office he surveyed every farm in Bullitt county and was frequently called to find lost boundaries and corners in other counties. He was an expert surveyor, and a fine mathematician, having graduated in the high school of Germany at the age of 18. He was a great student of economics and a man of very wide information.
In 1861 he was married to Miss Susan Shoptaw and lived in Shepherdsville during the greater part of the civil war, in the house now occupied by Chas. Carroll, having been driven away from his farm by guerrillas. His wife died in 1887, since which time he has steadily declined in health. Mr. Herps was an honest, upright man, a good citizen, and was very kind to the poor.
Mr. Herps adds, "Casper Herps died 11 Apr 1900 at 5:45 PM. I found this obituary on July 31st, 1997 in the Bullitt County court annex on the floor of the plat cabinet taped to the inside cover of an empty plat book that belonged to Casper's son and my great grandfather, William Casper Herps."
William Casper Herps
Mr. William Casper Herps, County Surveyor of Bullitt county died at the home of his son, 909 4th street, Thursday, July 22nd, 1926, after a lingering illness of many months. His death was caused by Bright's disease. His remains were brought back to his home in Shepherdsville, and on Saturday, July 24th, were laid to rest in Hebron Cemetery after services at the Baptist church, conducted by Rev Burkhalter. The pall bearers were: John B. Summers, W. C. Morrison, Lindsay Ridgway, David J. Buckman, W. F. Monroe and J. R. Zimmerman. There were many beautiful tributes. Mr. Herps is survived by his widow, Mrs. Anna Pierce Herps, one son, W. C. Herps, Jr, one sister, Mrs. George Swearingen of Louisville, and three brothers, J. M. Herps of Bondville, Mercer county, Kentucky, L. V. Herps of Pennsylvania and George Herps of this county.
Mr. Herps was a man of varied talents and a high order of intellect. In fact, he could do so many things and do them well, that one was constrained to wonder if he had not received more than his share of talents.
He was the best surveyor Bullitt county has possessed since the days of Mr. Schultz, before the civil war, and his maps and plats master pieces. Among the title experts of the Federal Land Bank, and Joint Stock Land Bank, he was considered the best plat and map-maker in Kentucky.
Many years ago, he was a cartoonist of considerable ability. He was the best penman Bullitt county has produced since the death of Charles R. Samuels. He was a natural mechanic, a good musician, and an abstracter of the first water. In retort and repartee, he was the equal of an Irishman.
For many years, he did much writing for the papers. He was a writer of much ability. He was liked by all because of his sunny smile and good humor. He was retiring and modest, and this kipt him out of his rightful forefront. In the ebbing and flowing of humanity's ceaseless tides, men come and men go. They are in our midst today; tomorrow they are gone. Many are soon forgotten, but men of the stamp and calibre of "Billy" Herps, are not soon forgotten. Not until those who have known him have passed from the stage of life, shall his rare fellowship and lovable qualities cease to be remembered. We tender our sympathy to the afflicted ones.
Additional comments by Mr. Herps: "This obituary appeared in the Friday, July 30th, 1926 issue of The Pioneer News. I transcribed it exactly as published. The only factual mistake I found is that home of his son was actually at 809 S. 3rd Street."
This is a picture of Casper Herps' house taken in 1997. It is located on Deatsville Road.
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