The following article by Charles Hartley was published on 22 May 2016.
Have you ever wondered what people a hundred years from now will think about us? That thought crossed my mind as I read through newspaper articles from a century ago. These 1916 articles reported on many things that we still read about today in our papers (or online, more and more); things like deaths, and county fairs, and road construction, and presidential visits, and, well you get the picture. But there were also reports of things we seldom read about today.
Today, I'm going to share with you some of those reported events; at least bits and pieces of them. See how familiar or unusual they sound to you.
Of course there were always obituaries, often of folks best known locally; folks like John King, a 77 year old farmer living near Mt. Washington who was found dead in his coal shed, a victim of heart failure; and W. T. Jasper, also 77 and of Mt. Washington; and Mrs. Henrietta McKenzie, a native of Mt. Washington who taught school in Louisville for 40 years.
Another death with Bullitt County connections was that of Sister Susan Murray of the Shakertown colony. She was one of the last five members of that colony still living.
And then there was G. W. Simmons who died at his home at Paroquet Springs; John J. Bradbury, father of Bullitt County Attorney C. P. Bradbury; Joseph A. Brooks, a Confederate veteran who died at his Brooks Station home, John Hough, two term sheriff of Bullitt County; and William J. Phelps who, at 97, was reputed to be the county's oldest citizen.
Turning from death to life, there was the story about the friendly quail. It seems that late in January a flock of quail flew into Shepherdsville and tried to make themselves at home. One flew into the Troutman Bros's store, and another entered the Maraman & Sons' store across the street. The paper reported that J. B. Monroe, C. P. Bradbury, Charles Bridwell, and Carl Smith rounded them up and took them to the edge of town and set them free.
In February, the Fiscal Courts of Bullitt and Hardin counties met together and agreed to finance the construction of a bridge at Woolridge's Ferry across the Rolling Fork River. This bridge would open a direct route between Shepherdsville and Elizabethtown.
In March the paper reported that Bullitt County Road Engineer W. C. Herps had been holding meetings around the county, along with the county judge and Fiscal Court members, to promote new road construction. Thirteen miles of proposed road had, by then, been surveyed and bids had been received.
And in May, County Judge A. E. Funk, Road Engineer Herps and the four Magistrates of Bullitt County spent a few days at Gallion, Ohio, where they purchased $6,000 worth of machinery to be used in bettering road conditions.
Not all the news was good, however. It seemed that Eugene Mitchell, who had been accused of stealing a horse, had managed to break out of the Shepherdsville jail, and was believed to be heading toward Louisville.
And, while the blacksmith Charles Bridwell and his helper, Rad Wilson, were repairing an automobile, the gas tank exploded. Bridwell received some facial injuries, and Wilson "was blown fifteen feet across the shop but was not seriously injured."
Then in June, Hewett Harned lost nine fine steers when they were run over and killed by a train on the Knoxville Branch at Wilson's Creek in Bullitt County.
June was a good month for H. H. "Jack" Deacon. He had spent a year locked up for the murder of a baseball umpire with a baseball bat; but was pardoned by the governor at the behest of petitions by county officials, members of the jury that convicted him, and a relative of the deceased umpire.
In July, the Louisville Automobile Club sponsored a meeting in Mt. Washington. The impetus for the meeting was to bring about improvement of the road between Louisville and Bardstown before September, when President Wilson was expected to be taken over the route to the Lincoln farm at Hodgenville.
As it turned out, Wilson's party took the train through Shepherdsville to Elizabethtown, and then to Hodgenville. However, many folks from Louisville did take the Bardstown Pike for the ceremony in which the Lincoln cabin, and the memorial hall that sheltered it, were deeded to the federal government.
In August, The Courier-Journal reported that "there was nobody at home all day yesterday in Bullitt County. Likewise in adjoining sections of Hardin, Nelson, Spencer and Jefferson counties. They were all at the twenty-second annual fair in Shepherdsville; at least the turnstiles indicated an attendance of well over 5,000 persons yesterday, which was 'Louisville Day.' Officials estimated the fair will show nearly 11,000 people this year. Over $1,500 will be awarded in premiums."
And then, in September, there was the school reunion for former students of the Pitts Point Academy which was mainly held in honor of Professor William D. Gwynn who had been the school's leader during its first ten years.
From all reports, it was a joyous occasion, attended by many former students, their families, and many other folks who wished to honor Professor Gwynn. Once again the nearly abandoned community was filled with the sounds of children and the memories of their parents.
Reading about it made me wonder just who this Professor Gwynn was who had earned such admiration. Next time I'll share with you what I have learned about this remarkable man.
Copyright 2016 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.