The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt Memories Articles

Charlie Hartley wrote these "Bullitt County Memories" articles for The Courier-Journal that appeared in their Neighborhoods Section. The articles are listed here in chronological order. Click on the article title to go to its page.

Worst Train Wreck in Ky. History
Vehicles pass daily through the railroad underpass on Joe B. Hall Avenue in Shepherdsville, but most people are unaware of the tragedy that occurred here more than 100 years ago. On the tracks above this underpass sat a local passenger train on December 20, 1917, its passengers unaware that a larger express train was bearing down on them. (First published: 8 Feb 2012)

Henry Crist and the Battle of the Kettles
If you've traveled through western Bullitt County, up and down the hills traversed by the roads in this area, you can sympathize with poor Henry Crist who had to pass this way on his hands and knees. (First published: 15 Feb 2012)

Iron Manufacturing in Shepherdsville
On most days, people who visit the Shepherdsville City Park down by the Salt River find it a quiet, peaceful place. It's hard to imagine the sounds they could have heard here more than 180 years ago. Instead of river water lapping against the bank, or skipping over rocks, they could hear the roar of water racing beneath a paddle wheel. Instead of birds chirping, they could hear the crackle of billows-fed fire, and the banging of hammer on metal. (First published: 22 Feb 2012)

John Floyd and How Floyd's Fork Got Its Name
In 1774 John Floyd led a group of surveyors into Kentucky with the task of surveying tracts of land for men back in Virginia who had received land grants for military service in the French and Indian War. On June 13 one of the surveyors, James Douglas laid out 1000 acres on the north side of Salt River for William Christian. It included the large salt lick that would become known as Bullitt's Lick. (First published: 29 Feb 2012)

The Land that Became Paroquet Springs
When Thomas McGee laid claim to 450 acres on the north side of Salt River in 1782, it is possible that he knew it included a small salt lick, but he could never have imagined what would develop there over the next century. (First published: 7 Mar 2012; revised 5 Mar 2021)

Father Bertello and the St. Aloysius Church
While some may know that St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church of Shepherdsville celebrated the anniversary of its founding more than a century ago, not many know about the young priest under whose leadership it was founded. (First published: 14 Mar 2012)

Getting Rowed up Salt River
Here we examine the phrase, "rowed up Salt River" which has a long and colorful past, perhaps more legend than history. (First published: 21 Mar 2012)

How Bell's Mill Road Got Its Name
Parts of Bell's Mill Road itself were newly established near the end of the Civil War. But before that, in November 1855, Charles Bell purchased 60 acres of land from Rufus King Summers that was located in a loop of Floyd's Fork at Cedar Creek. The deed stated that the land included "a water saw and grist mill and other improvements." (First published: 28 Mar 2012)

James Henry Huber & Huber's Station
A quiet stretch of Coral Ridge Road (Highway 1020), to the west of the CSX railroad tracks, parallels a residential street to the east named Huber Station Road which enters East Blue Lick Road near where recent train derailments occurred. The road is named for a forgotten train station. (First published: 11 Apr 2012)

World War I Memorial Plaque
An exhibit case in the Bullitt County History Museum in Shepherdsville contains a display of World War I items including a bronze plaque that lists the names of 18 Bullitt County men who lost their lives while in service to their country during that war. (First published: 25 Apr 2012)

Bob Zimmerman, a Renaissance Man
Born on a small farm in Virginia in 1867, James Robert Zimmerman learned early how to cut stone for construction of buildings and bridges. He arrived in Louisville in 1888 where he took a job with the McDonald Jail Building Company. In 1891 his skill led the company to send him to Shepherdsville to superintend the construction of the stone jail that still stands today behind the courthouse. (First published: 9 May 2012)

Professor Jack Sanders
In a time when an eighth grade education was considered good enough for many folks, Professor Jack Sanders believed that every student should finish high school, and college if it could possibly be arranged. He believed that the main purpose of education was to develop good citizens. (First published: 23 May 2012)

Bullitt County's First Jaycees
In late 1965 there was a call to organize a chapter of the Junior Chamber of Commerce for young men in the county. Better known as Jaycees, the purpose of the organization was the improvement of the local communities, and the personal development of its members through a variety of projects. (First published: 6 Jun 2012)

A Train to Mt. Washington
In March 1890, the Kentucky General Assembly approved the formation of a corporation of eleven men under the name, 'The Louisville Southeastern Railroad Company.' The business of this company was to construct and operate a railway line from Louisville, through Jefferson and Bullitt Counties, to pass near the town of Mt. Washington, and on to Smithville near the Salt River. (First published: 20 Jun 2012)

Raymond Nute's Amazing Peach Orchard and Turkey Farm
When 52 members of the families of descendants of Raymond and Alice Nute visited this area from across the country for a reunion, they wanted to visit the place where their grandfather maintained an orchard and turkey farm, but all they knew was that the farm was near Medora in Valley Station; and that the family was listed in the 1930 Bullitt County census. They contacted the Bullitt County History Museum in the hope that we might be able to help them find the farm. (First published: 11 Jul 2012)

Remembering Tom Pack and Robert McDowell
Someone asked me how I became interested in the history of Bullitt County. Having been here only about a half century, I'm a newcomer to some whose ancestry dates back to the very beginnings of the county's history. So why am I so interested in my adopted county's past? I guess I can credit it to two men, and I'd like to tell you about them. (First published: 18 Jul 2012)

1899 Lebanon Junction Smallpox Epidemic
Approximately half of Americans today were born after smallpox was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980, but many of us still remember being vaccinated for the virus, and some remember seeing its awful effects. (First published: 1 Aug 2012)

Charley Kurtsinger, the Jockey
Charley Kurtsinger's first Derby win was astride Twenty Grand in 1931, and then he won again in 1937 aboard War Admiral whom he rode to the Triple Crown that year. Some sources say that Kurtsinger was born in Shepherdsville, others say in Louisville, but we do know that he lived with his family in Bullitt County on a farm near Pitts Point for several years while he was growing up. (First published: 15 Aug 2012)

Charles Lehr, Civil War Telegraph Operator
The Civil War produced many stories of heroism and bravery including at least one that happened right here in Bullitt County. It featured a telegraph operator named Charles Lehr who volunteered for a dangerous assignment in September 1862. (First published: 29 Aug 2012)

John Ratliff's Civil War Tale
A year before the Civil War began, the Kentucky legislature made provision for an active volunteer State Guard, and seven companies were established in the Louisville Battalion including one known as the Bitter Water Blues of Shepherdsville. Philip Lee, a Bullitt County lawyer was the company captain. Forty-six years later, John W. Ratliff, a member of that company, wrote a letter to the editor of the National Tribune of Washington, D.C. in which he told a fascinating story of how so many of the state guard ended up in the South in 1861. Let's hear it in his own words. (First published: 12 Sep 2012)

The Cruises and Harness Racing
The name Cruise has been associated with harness racing for three generations, and it all began on a farm off Chapeze Lane near Bardstown Junction. Here Hardy Cruise's love for fine standard-bred horses, especially one named Bruno Munson, resulted in repeated victories on the ovals at the Bullitt County fairgrounds, then located in Shepherdsville on the west side of Highway 61, just north of town. (First published: 26 Sep 2012)

John Marshall Harlan's Civil War Service at Lebanon Jct
John Marshall Harlan, a Kentucky native best remembered for his service on the United States Supreme Court, was twice instrumental in the defense of Lebanon Junction during the early part of the Civil War. (First published: 10 Oct 2012)

Shepherdsville First Baptist Celebrates 175 Years
175 years ago (when this was first published), Shepherdsville was in the midst of a revival meeting that resulted in the establishment of 'The United Baptist Church of Jesus Christ of Shepherdsville,' the forerunner of today's First Baptist Church of Shepherdsville. (First published: 24 Oct 2012)

Four Long-Term County Clerks
Bullitt County's clerk, Kevin Mooney, is the twentieth clerk to serve Bullitt County over its 222 year history; but 96 of those years belonged to just four clerks: Noah C. Summers, Lindsay Ridgway, Theodore L. Cook, and Nina Mooney, Kevin's mother. Today we will take a brief look at the careers of these four; as well as mention some of the others who served. (First published: 7 Nov 2012)

Ridgway Memorial Library
Today the Bullitt County Public Library system has libraries in Shepherdsville, Lebanon Junction, Mt. Washington, Hillview, and the Nichols area; but it all began in 1924 when William Troll donated 500 books to the Bullitt County Woman's Club to form the basis of a library. (First published: 14 Nov 2012)

The Barton-Fox Family at Huber's Station
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the stretch of railroad between Brooks and Shepherdsville became a mecca of summer homes for prosperous Louisville families. Others found it a place of retirement. One was Frances Barton Fox, a novelist who was born in Bullitt County. Miss Fox was a granddaughter of Professor Samuel B. Barton who moved to the Huber's Station area around 1874 after a distinguished career in education. (First published: 28 Nov 2012)

Looking Back 100 Years to 1912
Readers of a numerological bent will note that today (when this was first written) is 12-12-12, a date that appears only every 100 years. That reminded me of a column that sometimes appears in the newspaper that tells what happened 10, 25, 50, and even 100 years ago; and so today I'm going to take a look back 100 years to the year 1912 in Bullitt County. (First published: 12 Dec 2012)

The Meadows, Part 1
The coming of the railroad opened up access to miles of formerly isolated land, and attracted wealthier Louisville citizens who wished to escape the summer heat and mosquitoes that plagued the city. Among the earliest was the Coleman family. In April 1860, Thomas Cooper Coleman and his brother-in-law, Peter Donigan, went together to purchase 327 acres from Richard H. Field. This land lay north of Shepherdsville, next to where the railroad passed between two knobs. (First published: 26 Dec 2012)

The Meadows, Part 2
Ben and Anna McAdams had a small dairy farm on lower River Road, and Ben supplemented the family income by working for the K & I Railroad. They had 20 acres and rented about 150 more for their dairy operation. With Ben Jr. just out of the service, and their other son Norman almost finished with school, the family was looking for a place to build their dairy farm, and 'The Meadows' seemed to be a good location. (First published: 2 Jan 2013)

J. D. "Jiggs" Buckman
They were dancing on Shepherdsville's main street that Friday night in August 1955 in celebration. Earlier an army band from Fort Knox led a parade down Main Street that included cars carrying the day's dignitaries. All of the excitement was over the dedication of a new 56-foot wide main street which was about to be renamed in honor of the man whose efforts had largely made it possible. (First published: 16 Jan 2013)

The Carrolls of Bullitt County
Tarlton Combs Carroll, better known locally as Tot Carroll, came from a family of distinguished lawyers. His father, Charles Carroll, was one of three brothers who each became a successful attorney in his own right. (First published: 30 Jan 2013)

Dingley Dell
In 1897 John Henry Linn bought a worn-out farm just north of Huber's Station. He tore down all the old buildings and had a fine new home built. Using the latest farming techniques, he restored the land and turned the farm into one of the most productive in the area. With new barns and outbuildings, his farm resembled a miniature village that he named Dingley Dell. (First published: 20 Feb 2013)

Sarah O'Brien - A Life Well Lived
Sarah O'Brien's life came to an end a week after she celebrated her seventy-eighth birthday. To honor her life, J. R. "Bob" Zimmerman, a local lawyer, writer, and resident of Sarah's small hotel, wrote a moving tribute to her. He wrote, "Mrs. O'Brien was a remarkable woman in many respects. She was really remarkable for her great industry and indefatigability." (First published: 6 Mar 2013)

Fires in the 1920s
As darkness settled over the town on Thursday evening, February 23, 1922, most of the town's citizens were soon asleep. However, two men, Winfrey Spears and Urey Tucker, were sitting up with the remains of Mrs. Nellie Shepherd at the Tucker Hotel. They happened to notice light reflecting off the side of a newly painted wagon bed that sat on Second Street just outside the Lutes implements store. (First published: 20 Mar 2013)

Frank Hatfield, School Financial Reform Pioneer
The Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), passed by the General Assembly in 1990, has had a significant effect on how Kentucky's schools are financed, and how they are evaluated. While there have been, and continue to be bumps in the road, there seems little doubt that its greatest impact has been on equalizing spending for education throughout the state. What is less well-remembered is how KERA came to be, and who the people were who we might call the pioneers of the effort that eventually led to KERA. (First published: 3 Apr 2013)

The Corner Drug Store in Shepherdsville
Folks who lived in or around Shepherdsville three score and more years ago will remember getting their prescriptions filled at the little drug store on the corner of Second and Main Streets across from the Bullitt County Bank. For nearly 40 years it was the only drug store in town. (First published: 17 Apr 2013)

Alma Wallace Lesch, A Remarkable Artist
Hundreds of people pass by the Alma Wallace Lesch historical marker in Shepherdsville each day with little awareness of its message; and I must confess that, until I began preparing this article, I knew very little about her either. However, after talking with her Lesch cousins and her close friend and student, Dennis Shaffner, and after reading what others have written about her, I realize just how accomplished an artist she was. (First published: 1 May 2013)

Froman's Ferry at Pitt's Point
A century ago, crossing Salt River in Bullitt County anywhere downstream from Shepherdsville meant you either rode in a boat or got wet; there were no bridges. Today, with Fort Knox occupying most of that stretch of river, there's almost no civilian traffic in that area, but a century ago there were numerous rural roads, and occasionally one of them intersected with the river. (First published: 15 May 2013)

Woodrow Masden
Woodrow Masden's Bullitt County heritage goes back to his great-great grandfather, James Masden, a Pennsylvanian who found his bride here in Bullitt County, marrying Elizabeth Howlett in 1811. Two generations later, John Mackelvany Masden, known to family and friends as Mack Masden, married Elizabeth Roby and they had a son they named Leslie who married Isophane Porter. They were Woodrow's parents. (First published: 29 May 2013)

Judge Charles Preston Bradbury
Charles Preston Bradbury grew up in the Leaches precinct, southeast of Shepherdsville. He was one of four brothers and a sister born to John and Frances (Mathis) Bradbury. His grandfather was Henry Bradbury who was a native of England, and a teacher by trade; and his great-grandfather, John Bradbury, was one of the first two professional naturalists to explore any part of the Louisiana Purchase (the other being Thomas Nuttall). (First published: 12 Jun 2013)

Indian Projectile Points
Have you ever found an arrowhead? It is really quite amazing how many projectile points (for arrows, darts, spears, etc.) have been found over the years. About forty years ago, I was helping to turn some ground for a garden spot when I spotted one. We kept looking, and by the time we were finished we had found eight different ones in various conditions. (First published: 26 Jun 2013)

Troutman Bros Mammoth Store
The Troutman and Maraman names have been associated with retail trade in Shepherdsville for much of the last 140 years. Over the next three weeks, we will focus first on the Troutmans who once operated Troutman Bros Mammoth Store; then on the Maraman family business, followed by the Roy Troutman family whose descendants still do business in Shepherdsville today (First published: 10 Jul 2013)

The Maramans' Store in Shepherdsville
A century ago, one of the two largest stores in Shepherdsville was George W. Maraman & Sons. This is the story of that business. (First published: 17 Jul 2013)

Troutman's Dry Goods Store
When we moved to Shepherdsville in the mid 1960's, almost all local businesses were located either on or just off Buckman Street, the town's main thoroughfare. This included Troutman's Dry Goods store located next to the county courthouse. Roy and Ida Troutman stocked everything from the hat on your head to the shoes on your feet, and while the store was fairly small, they always had a nice selection of goods. (First published: 24 Jul 2013)

Judge William T. Morrow
Later in life, Judge Morrow would relate the story that he was a water boy for the Louisville and Nashville railroad when it constructed its main line from Louisville in 1854 after his mother died. He drew the water from an old well on what became the Troutman Bros store lot with an old fashioned windlass, and carried two buckets of water each trip. He received fifty cents per day and was paid every Saturday evening. (First published: 21 Aug 2013)

Ora Lee Roby
I wonder how many of the students who pass through the entrance to Roby Elementary School in Shepherdsville notice the picture of the grandfatherly-looking gentleman who seems to be watching over them? That was Mr. Ora Lee Roby. (First published: 4 Sep 2013)

Isaac Wolfe Bernheim
Visitors to Bernheim Forest today marvel at the natural beauty of its grounds, and the more adventurous revel in the rustic trails that meander through its forests. Yet while some know the name of its founder, few really know much about his life and his many generosities. (First published: 11 Sep 2013)

The Lee Family
When John and Elizabeth Thompson Lee brought their young family to settle along the Rolling Fork River, not far from Goodwin's Fort in what is now Nelson County, they arrived near the time that Indian attacks were frequent in the area, and they were occasionally required to take refuge in the fort which hampered their efforts to make a home of their own. (First published: 2 Oct 2013)

The Field Family
Abram Field left home on account of the tyranny of a step-mother, when quite a small boy. He went to Mann's Lick Salt Works, seven miles south of Louisville, Ky., and hired out to drive a horse around a sweep at twelve and one-half cents a week and board. He remained with David L. Ward, the owner of the salt works, until grown, and with what money he had saved, and Ward's endorsement, he went into the merchandise business, and remained in it until he retired in 1849, having accumulated a handsome property. (First published: 16 Oct 2013)

A Mysterious Stranger - Halloween Story
I thought I'd share a story that appeared in several 1870 newspapers, some as far away as Tennessee, Ohio, South Carolina, and California. I'm pretty sure it's just that - a story; but you will have to decide for yourself if it really happened. Here it is just as it was published. (First published: 30 Oct 2013)

Shepherdsville High School in 1914
When I first saw the 1914 Shepherdsville High School group picture shown here, my first thought was 'I wonder what became of these people?' Fortunately, Miss Sallie Pope wrote names on the back along with some details, giving us a head start. Starting with that, we've come up with the following on each of them. One thing to note is how many of them became teachers, perhaps a reflection of the influence of their teachers. (First published: 13 Nov 2013)

Thanksgiving has long been a time to bring families together to celebrate the holiday, and give thanks for the blessings of the past year. Unfortunately it can also be a dark time when death, disease, or great need intrudes. (First published: 27 Nov 2013)

A Day to Remember - December 7, 1941
Friday, December 5, 1941, was a pleasant day with the temperature approaching 60 degrees. The front page of our local paper, contained much of the kind of news that you would expect, including three death reports and one marriage. Two days later, all that would change. (First published: 4 Dec 2013)

Christmas Letters to Santa
Letters to Santa have been written since at least the 1870's. Thomas Nast was a famous caricaturist and editorial cartoonist for the Harper's Weekly, and in the December 1871 issue he drew an image of Santa reading these letters and stacking them in two stacks, the "naughty children" and "good children." (First published: 25 Dec 2013)

Jackson Family Cemetery
One particular cemetery sits just beside a busy road. Many of you pass by it almost every day, and perhaps have cast an eye its way in curiosity. This Jackson family cemetery, surrounded by a black metal fence, contains just seven burials, all of whom were laid to rest between 1871 and 1883. (First published: 8 Jan 2014)

Lawrence Bishop - Revolutionary War Veteran
Quite a number of former Revolutionary War veterans settled in Bullitt County in later years, and the Bullitt County History Museum recently posted a list of 26 of them on its web site. Heading that list alphabetically was Lawrence Bishop, and I immediately thought of David Bishop and wondered if the two men were kin. It turns out that David is a great-great grandson of Lawrence Bishop. (First published: 26 Jan 2014)

Rev. Davison and the Methodist Church
According to Robert McDowell, Rev. Learner B. Davison was appointed pastor of the Shepherdsville circuit in 1881. His name was spelled indiscriminately with and without the second 'd' (Davidson/Davison). He was reappointed to the Shepherdsville circuit again the next year, and then moved on to other stations. (First published: 9 Feb 2014)

Eckstein Norton Institute
Eckstein Norton Institute opened in 1890. Named for its main benefactor, it was situated on 75 acres near the Cane Springs Depot on the railroad line that ran from Bardstown Junction eastward. That first year the school enrolled but 24 students; however over its lifetime it provided some level of education for over 1,800 students. (First published: 23 Feb 2014)

The Trunnell House
One of the oldest structures in Shepherdsville sits opposite the library, and just west of the railroad. It began as the home of former County Judge James F. Smith and his family. The Smiths purchased a brick house on Shepherdsville lot 44 in 1870. Thirteen years later they added lot 43, and when fire destroyed their brick home in January 1896, they wasted no time in erecting this two-story frame dwelling in the middle of the combined lots that same year. (First published: 9 Mar 2014)

The Spanish Influenza
As World War I entered its final year, a new deadly influenza threat was making itself felt first in Europe and then later in our country. To maintain morale, wartime censors held back early reports of its effects in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States, but newspapers could report on its effects in neutral Spain, leaving the impression that Spain was especially hard hit. Thus it became known as the Spanish flu. (First published: 23 Mar 2014)

Louisville & Nashville Railroad
In March 1850 the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company was granted a charter by the state to construct and operate a line between Louisville and the Tennessee line. The optimistic hope was that the line would be finished in five years, but but first they had to choose a route. (First published: 6 Apr 2014)

Adam Shepherd
Today one of the busiest streets in Shepherdsville is Adam Shepherd Parkway, and many of those who use it likely know that Shepherdsville is named for him. However, most know surprisingly little more about him. Today we will try to change that. (First published: 20 Apr 2014)

Benjamin and Elizabeth Chapeze
When the Marquis de LaFayette left France in 1777 bound for America he brought with him a number of chosen companions, one of whom appears to have been a young doctor named Henri Chapiers, whose Anglicized name became Henry Chapeze. Benjamin was his son. (First published: 4 May 2014)

Adam and Ben Chapeze
Benjamin and Elizabeth Chapeze were blessed with ten children, born over a period of 22 years, most born in their Bardstown home. Of these, only two, Adam and Benjamin Jr., would spend the greater part of their lives in the Long Lick Valley of Bullitt County. Our story begins with them. (First published: 18 May 2014)

Cliffa Foster, Title IX, and Girls' Basketball
Cliffa Foster has always loved basketball. She remembers her sixth Christmas when her parents gave her a ball and basket, and her Dad nailed the basket to an old Mulberry tree. For several years that hard-packed dirt was her basketball court. Her basketball career might have ended on that dirt floor, but Title IX opened the door to her first organized basketball experience in the sixth grade at Roby Elementary. (First published: 8 Jun 2014)

An Abandoned Cemetery Restored
Mention cemeteries and most people think of the sprawling, well-manicured ones like Cave Hill Cemetery or Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, and we have a few fairly large cemeteries in Bullitt County as well. But as any genealogist will tell you, there are a lot more small family-sized graveyards scattered about, often in remote places, and many times largely forgotten by the descendants of those buried there. (First published: 29 Jun 2014)

Shepherdsville High School 1929 Annual Staff
In 1929, at the high school in Shepherdsville, twenty-seven seniors were approaching graduation day. Led by their "friend and instructor" J. H. Sanders, they were proud of what they had accomplished. (First published: 13 Jul 2014)

How Cahill's Knob Got Its Name
Poor Adam Cahill. More than a hundred years ago, J. W. Croan wrote that Cahill was so ugly the Indians wouldn't take his scalp, and that's the nicest thing I can find that anyone said about him. (First published: 27 Jul 2014)

Taking a Sunday Drive
Remember when gas was cheap, and a drive in the country was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon? When we first moved to Shepherdsville nearly fifty years ago, we'd pick out a road we hadn't traveled to see what lay along it. (First published: 10 Aug 2014)

Railroad Wreck at Gap in Knob
As valuable as the railroad has been to Bullitt County down through the years, it has taken its toll in injuries and deaths. Our story today is about one of those times. (First published: 24 Aug 2014)

The History of Bullitt's Lick Saltworks
Native Americans had known about salt licks in Kentucky for centuries, and French explorers were in the region as early as 1739. So by 1773, when Captain Thomas Bullitt visited what would become known as Bullitt's Lick, the licks' locations were common knowledge. (First published: 7 Sep 2014)

This Land is My Land!
"Possession is nine-tenths of the law." Like most such statements, it isn't always true. For example, consider the early days in Kentucky when surveyors were tramping through the woods, marking trees, and measuring boundaries. While thry did a remarkably good job of plotting boundary lines, these surveys had a habit of overlapping one another, with multiple claims being made on choice locations. (First published: 21 Sep 2014)

A Stansbury Family Legacy
Sometimes it's just amazing how one generation's choices can inspire the generations that follow. Just ask Christy Coulter. To really appreciate her choice of careers, you have to step back three generations to the family of Emmett and Mabel (Bell) Stansbury. (First published: 5 Oct 2014)

The Legacy of Hardin Harrison Columbus Quincy James
Horace Walpole coined the word "serendipity" in the the 1700's to describe a "fortunate happenstance" or "pleasant surprise." It certainly applies to Don and Margie Jones' good fortune when they learned, after they had already purchased their house, that it had belonged to her great-great-great uncle, Hardin James. (First published: 19 Oct 2014)

What Time Is It?
This annual ritual of "springing forward" and "falling back" seems like it's been with us forever, but in fact its practice began only sporadically less than a century ago in Europe. (First published: 2 Nov 2014)

Judge Wilhite Carpenter
Wilhite Carpenter served as county judge 4 times, and was one of the commissioners who supervised the construction of the Eddyville prison. His early life was spent at the Shaker village at Pleasant Hill in Mercer County. (First published: 16 Nov 2014)

The 1937 Flood
With all the talk recently about a change in the flood map, and the need for folks to obtain flood insurance, I've been thinking about times when flooding has submerged parts of Bullitt County, and particularly about the worst one of all in 1937. (First published: 30 Nov 2014)

Bardstown Junction
The valley of Long Lick Creek had been the center of a growing population for several decades when a spur railroad line passed through it from Bardstown, and connected to the main Louisville and Nashville line in March 1860. With this the small community around where the tracks met took on the name Bardstown Junction. (First published: 7 Dec 2014)

Foot and [or in the] Mouth Disease a Hundred Years Ago
Clem and Sophie Moening worked a farm in northern Bullitt County along Cedar Creek. Immigrants from Germany in 1881, they were proud when they became naturalized citizens in 1908. As law-abiding citizens, they were certainly shocked and confused when state inspectors demanded that their small herd of 18 cows be destroyed just before Thanksgiving in 1914. (First published: 4 Jan 2015)

Thomas Daniel and His Civil War Adventure
Thomas Jefferson Daniel was born in Owsley County in 1836, and died in St. Cloud, Florida in 1922. In between, he led a varied and productive life, including over three decades here in Bullitt County. (First published: 11 Jan 2015)

Thomas and Alexander Scott Bullitt
While Bullitt County was named in 1796 for Alexander Scott Bullitt, the Bullitt name first appeared in these parts twenty-three years earlier when Alexander's uncle, Colonel Thomas Bullitt led a party of surveyors down the Ohio River to the future site of Louisville. (First published: 25 Jan 2015)

Brashear's Station
As the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in 1776, there were perhaps fewer than 200 of their fellow Englishmen beyond the mountains in what would become Kentucky. Some were there to hunt, others to find land they could call their own. Two of the latter were Joseph and Marsham Brashear, cousins in an extended family. (First published: 8 Feb 2015)

When the Civil War Came to Mount Washington
In late September and early October 1862, Mount Washington experienced a taste of Civil War action when Confederate pickets advanced from Bardstown along the Louisville Pike. While Confederate General Bragg's forces rested and resupplied themselves at Bardstown, Union General Buell's forces reached Louisville where they were reinforced and readied for an assault on the Confederates. (First published: 22 Feb 2015)

William W. Sweeney - A Remarkable Conductor
In 1888 The Courier-Journal published a feature article on William W. Sweeney titled "A Remarkable Conductor." With the article was the sketch of him you see here. (First published: 8 Mar 2015)

Easter in the 1920's
Today, we'll step back about a century to see how some folks around here celebrated the Easter season. Most of what we'll talk about comes from the pages of The Pioneer News, our county paper. (First published: 5 Apr 2015)

Greenup Miller's Will
Greenup Miller was born in 1868 in the Knob Creek Valley in western Bullitt County. His parents and grandparents before him had spent their lives there, and most of them found their last resting place in the Miller Cemetery located just west of where Martin Hill Road joins Knob Creek Road. But we remember him best by the strange result of his last will and testament. (First published: 12 Apr 2015)

Joseph Aud and the St. John's Chapel
Joseph Aud's ambition was to construct a church next to his property, so that the faith might be extended into Bullitt County, and his family might have a local place to attend, and sacred ground for a cemetery. (First published: 26 Apr 2015)

Levi Magruder's Family
In the 1850 census, there were 35 people in Bullitt County bearing the name Magruder, 29 of them direct descendants of Archibald and Cassandra (Offutt) Magruder, and the other six married into the family. And that doesn't count the many daughters and their families including a passel of Troutmans descended from Eleanor Magruder who married Abraham Troutman, or Ursula Magruder who married Jacob Troutman. If there is one thing that could be said about Archibald's offspring, they were prolific. (First published: 10 May 2015)

Jean Casey, A Courageous Teacher
If you or your children attended Roby Elementary between 1966-1979, or Bullitt Lick Middle School between 1980-1987, chances are that you remember Ms Jean Casey who taught social studies to seventh and eighth graders. Perhaps you recall the unusual way she got up out of a chair without bending her knees, or the twisted condition of her fingers brought on by rheumatoid arthritis. (First published: 24 May 2015)

Christian Barclay - A Venerable Lady
Mrs. Barclay had been a devoted Catholic from early life, and was noted for the purity and excellence of her character and her exalted virtues. For many years her birthday has been celebrated by a dinner party, and on her hundredth anniversary she yielded to the wishes of the company by engaging in a dance. (First published: 7 Jun 2015)

Cholera in the 1800's
In 1854, Shepherdsville was almost depopulated when cholera swept through the town. On July 2, The Nashville Union and American Sun reprinted an article from The Louisville Courier that described how high water had flooded every cellar in town, contaminated the water supply, and provided a breeding ground for the cholera bacteria. By July 8, The New York Times was reporting that as many as forty persons had died in and around that community. (First published: 21 Jun 2015)

The Barralls of Knob Creek
For more than a century the Barrall name was prominent in Bullitt County. It began when Christian Barrall married Elizabeth, a daughter of Martin Harshfield, and settled next to the Harshfields along Knob Creek. (First published: 5 Jul 2015)

The Legacy of Dr. Emmet Field Horine
Dr. Emmet Field Horine and his wife Helen left us a legacy that many can enjoy, especially those who enjoy a good walk in the woods. (First published: 19 Jul 2015)

John D. Colmesnil and Paroquet Springs
We've written about Paroquet Springs before, and for those who don't recall, it was a mineral springs spa located just east of Shepherdsville near where the Paroquet Springs Conference Center is located today. The spa really got its start when a Frenchman named John D. Colmesnil saw its potential in the early 1830's. (First published: 9 Aug 2015)

An Alleged Bigamist
It was a typical July day, heading for ninety degree temperatures and a cloudless sky, when Charles V. McGaw and Mattie Belle Maraman rode the train into town and headed for the parlor of the Willard Hotel on Jefferson Street. Charles was all smiles, and Mattie was beaming with excitement. Arrangements were made, and they were to be married that day. (First published: 6 Sep 2015)

Frederick William Spence Grayson
Frederick William Spence Grayson was in Bullitt County as early as 1803 when he was appointed as the county's second Court Clerk, a job he would hold for a dozen years. He appears to have grown up in Bardstown where his father was Nelson County's Court Clerk. In fact, it appears that Fred was postmaster in Bardstown as early as July 1800. (First published: 20 Sep 2015)

The Beckwith Saga
When Martha Williams Beckwith made out her will in January 1843, she was approaching her 88th birthday, a widow who had outlived all eight of her children. Martha was 18 when she married John Beckwith in Prince George's County, Maryland. It was 1773, and the colonies were already in turmoil. (First published: 4 Oct 2015)

The Creation of Bullitt County
In 1796, John Adams was elected President of the United States, James Garrard was elected as Kentucky's second governor, and the Kentucky legislature met in Frankfort to conduct the Commonwealth's business. Creating new Kentucky counties was part of that business. (First published: 18 Oct 2015)

The McAfees of Mt. Washington
For three generations and then four, and a century and more, the name McAfee was known and respected in and around the town of Mt. Washington. It began quietly enough when young Wade Alexander McAfee came to town. Alex, as he would be known to his friends, was born in 1845 in south-central Tennessee near Fayetteville to Jesse and Eliza McAfee. He was the third son of a large family. (First published: 1 Nov 2015)

Hardy Family Roots, Old and Deep
When we moved to Shepherdsville, we soon found ourselves buying our groceries at Harold Hardy's store, doing our banking with Bill Hardy at the Peoples Bank, purchasing our insurance from Bud Hardy, buying furniture from Jimmy Hardy at Henderson-Hardy, and getting auto supplies from Sam Hardy at Hardy & Mooney. (First published: 15 Nov 2015)

Frank Hatfield - A Man of Integrity
By now you've likely read one or more obituaries for Frank R. Hatfield, former Superintendent of the Bullitt County Schools. You've read about his service to the school system, his leadership of Kentucky retired teachers, his long service as a member of the Lions Club, and with the American Cancer Society. Perhaps you even have your own memories and stories about Frank. I want to take this opportunity to share my memories with you. (First published: 29 Nov 2015)

James William Hardaway
In 1903, William Simmons, then president of The Peoples Bank of Shepherdsville, hired Jim Hardaway as a bank teller. This is Jim's story. (First published: 13 Dec 2015)

Annie Mitchell Reed - A Survivor
On December 20, 1917, the lives of almost a hundred people would be violently battered, with nearly half of them dying before Christmas Day. One of the survivors was Annie Mitchell Reed. (First published: 20 Dec 2015)

New Henry Crist Book
Henry Crist was a fascinating character, and I can well understand why Burlyn Pike wanted to tell his story. You see, Burlyn was a history buff, particularly local history, and the story of one of Bullitt County's earliest, and most important men would have been just the kind of thing that excited him. (First published: 10 Jan 2016)

Dr. John Elias Johnson
John Elias Johnson was just shy of his sixteenth birthday when he showed up at New Haven and lied about his age to enlist in the Fifteenth Volunteer Infantry Union Regiment in September 1861. The company he joined was recruited by Dr. Henry Frederick Kalfus, a Shepherdsville native. (First published: 24 Jan 2016)

Ida Matilda Holsclaw - World's Oldest Newspaper Correspondent
Today, if you want to keep up with the doings of your friends and neighbors, you may turn to social media. But before the Internet came along, many folks turned to their local newspapers to find out who was being visited, who was hosting get-togethers, who was sick or in the hospital, who was traveling or returning home, who was seen courting his favorite girl, and so on. (First published: 7 Feb 2016)

A Letter Written During the 1937 Flood
While some retain vivid memories of the devastation wrought by the 1937 flood, for most of us it is a story handed down, and we can only imagine how it must have been. Today, I want to share with you excerpts of a letter written at the time of the flood, along with some pictures that show a bit of what it was like. (First published: 21 Feb 2016)

Franklin Pierce Straus
Franklin Pierce Straus was born and reared near the waters of Plum Creek in Spencer County in the little community of Waterford. It appears that his parents, Simon and Marana (Collings) Straus, named him for the nation's newest president. The fifth of their seven children, Frank grew up in a household that favored hard work and a sound education. (First published: 6 Mar 2016)

Lebanon Junction High School Seniors - 1937
Sometimes when I come across an old group picture in our museum's files, I wonder what in their lives brought these people together, and what became of them afterward. Often these pictures present us with faces frozen in time with no names to identify them. But sometimes we're lucky, as in the case of this picture of high school seniors of the 1937 class at the old Lebanon Junction School. (First published: 20/27 Mar 2016)

BUZZ - S.H.S. Newspaper, 1948
This week's article is a bit different, and will include lots and lots of names. It is taken from the November 1948 issue of the Shepherdsville High School newspaper titled BUZZ. (First published: 17 Apr 2016)

A Serious 1882 Train Smash Up
In the early 1880's, life was complicated enough for a railroad engineer hauling freight though Bullitt County. Coming from the south he had to be aware of potential slowdowns or stops by other trains at eight different places, beginning at Lebanon Junction and continuing northward past Belmont, Bardstown Junction, Salt River, Shepherdsville, Gap-in-Knob, Hubers, and Brooks. (First published: 8 May 2016)

1916 - Headlines a Century Ago
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. (First published: 22 May 2016)

The Brothers Gwynn
This is the story of three brothers, Joseph, Frank, and especially William Gwynn, who overcame great odds to lead successful lives. They were three of eight children born to William and Angeline (Kean) Gwynn. Along with their older sister Ruth, they had to grow up quickly when their parents died of pneumonia within ten days of one another in April 1870. (First published: 29 May 2016)

The 1790's - A Dangerous Time
It was May 1793. Our nation was in its infancy. President Washington was beginning his second term in office, and Isaac Shelby was in his first year as Kentucky's governor. The town of Shepherdsville would not be established until December, and Bullitt County's existence was still four years away. But plenty was happening along Salt River, with the salt works at Bullitt's Lick well established, and a ferry in operation between Dowdall's Station and Pope's Cabin just upstream from the future site of Shepherdsville. (First published: 12 Jun 2016)

Remembering to Vote!
Tomorrow, 240 years ago, a group of men, representing the American colonies, pledged their lives, fortunes, and honor to a declaration of independence from British rule. In that declaration they declared, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (First published: 3 Jul 2016)

Colonel William Christian
Colonel William Christian may have felt a premonition of his impending death when he made out his last will and testament on 13 Mar 1786. Less than a month later, on April 9th, in the wilderness above what would become Jeffersonville, Indiana, he would be mortally wounded by a ball fired by fleeing Indians. (First published: 17 Jul 2016)

A Marker for Adam Shepherd
We've written about Adam Shepherd before, but now is a good time to remind ourselves of who he was, what he accomplished, and why we should honor him with a historical marker. (First published: 31 Jul 2016)

A History of Shepherdsville's Oldest Building
For as long as I've been in Shepherdsville, and longer by far, the stone building that presently houses the First Bank Beauty Salon has traditionally been considered the oldest bank building in town. But was it ever a bank? (First published: 14 Aug 2016)

A Memento From the Old S.H.S. Gym
It's hard to believe that it has been 50 years since the old gym at Shepherdsville High School burned to the ground; but Curt Hart reminded me of it just recently. (First published: 28 Aug 2016)

Beulah Lee Fontaine - A Remarkable Lady
I came across Beulah Lee Fontaine quite by accident recently while researching someone else for a future article, and became fascinated with her remarkable life. She was born in 1903 on her parent's farm near Belmont, and along the Wooldridge Ferry Road, in Bullitt County. (First published: 11 Sep 2016)

The Railroad Comes to Shepherdsville
We've written about this historic railroad before, and about the terrible wreck that occurred at Shepherdsville in 1917; but today I want to spend some time sharing those very early days when the railroad first arrived in Shepherdsville. (First published: 25 Sep 2016)

Names and Faces
How often have you found an old family photograph and been unable to say with certainty exactly who was in it, or tell anything about their lives? It seems like it's a rare photo that comes complete with names. Today we're going to focus on one such picture, a picture of 14 men dressed in their Sunday best, who have come together to celebrate the dedication of a new church sanctuary. (First published: 9 Oct 2016)

William Thomas Lee
William Thomas Lee, better known as Bill Tom Lee, grew up on his parents' farm near Belmont. His parents were Orleans and Mary (Cundiff) Lee, and he was the fifth of their nine children. His great-grandparents were John and Elizabeth (Thompson) Lee, the ancestors of so many Lees and related folks in our county. (First published: 23 Oct 2016)

Recognizing Our Voting Workers
Like many of you, on election day I go to my polling place to cast my vote for the candidates of my choice. I walk in, am greeted by friendly people, sign my name on the roster, take my ballot, fill it out and deposit it in the machine, get my little 'I voted' sticker, and leave, satisfied that I've done my patriotic duty. I give little thought to the time and effort, and the people who made it possible for me to vote. (First published: 6 Nov 2016)

Bullitt County Communities in 1883
Today, if we want to find a business, we either use an Internet search engine, or turn to the phone book's yellow pages. But before there were either of these, there were city directories, and state-wide gazetteers and business directories. The latter were often published biannually. (First published: 20 Nov 2016)

The Bleemels
When Matt and Wava Bleemel posed for a wonderful picture about the time they were married in 1920, little could they know that fifty years later they would find themselves pictured again, this time with ten of their twelve children and their spouses. (First published: 4 Dec 2016)

Bidding You Adieu
It's been fun (most of the time) writing these articles. If my count is correct, this is my 128th one. I'm very grateful for the many kind and generous comments and compliments that have come my way as a result of these efforts. But all good things must come to an end, sooner or later, and so I bid you adieu. (First published: 18 Dec 2016)

Here are additional articles written by Mr. Hartley for publication on the museum website.

Judge A. E. Funk
Judge A. E. Funk was described as a man of brilliant mind and much ambition, a splendid speaker, witty and eloquent, who rendered yoeman service in his party’s behalf in many hard fought political campaigns in Bullitt County. (Revised and republished: April 2023 in The Pioneer-News.)

Attorney General A. E. Funk
At his death, The Courier-Journal described Attorney General A. E. Funk this way: "In Funk was combined unusual ability in both the civil and criminal branches of law. He was rated as one of the best trial lawyers in Kentucky. His dry, rasping voice, plus a facility to simplify the complex, impressed juries with gimlet-like precision." (First published: 16 Dec 2017)

A Look Back at the Bullitt County Fair
The first Bullitt County Fair took place in Shepherdsville 125 years ago in 1895, and it must have been successful for the City newspaper reported that "after paying for the buildings and fences, the Bullitt County Fair Association has a surplus of $400 left over from the receipts of the first fair."

The Bowman Sisters
Mattie and Alma Bowman, daughters of Henry Clay Bowman, were two Bullitt County sisters whose lives took decidedly unconventional turns more than a century ago. [First published in The Pioneer-News in March 2023.]

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church History
The Catholic Church with the longest history in Bullitt County is St. Francis Xavier in Mt. Washington. Read about it here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in May 2023.]

Over the River - An Early Ferry Near Shepherdsville
Adam Shepherd first began this ferry, and later John Griffin was its proprietor. Read about it here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in June 2023.]

Over the River Again - Another Early Ferry Near Shepherdsville
Francis Maraman and his sons maintained another ferry across Salt River that largely put the earlier one out of business. Read about it here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in July 2023.]

Remembering the Ridgway Memorial Library
With the opening of the new Central Library on Conestoga Parkway in Shepherdsville, the former Ridgway Memorial Library building now quietly stands, awaiting its future role in the community. Read about it here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in August 2023.]

Before Camp Shantituck
While Girl Scouts have been camping in the bend of Cedar Creek at Camp Shantituck since the summer of 1929, few likely know the site's history before that time. Read about it here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in September 2023.]

The Bridges of Pond Creek
In the early days Pond Creek rose from the Wetwoods that once lay just north of Fairdale. It flows southwestwardly until it reaches Salt River just a short distance above that stream's entrance into the Ohio River. Along the way it also serves as part of the boundary between the two counties. In that stretch that serves as a boundary, two roads cross the stream, requiring bridges. Read about them here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in October 2023.]

A Good Place for an Historical Marker
A school, a church, a cemetery, and a road, each contributed to the history of intersection of Hebron Lane and Old Preston Highway. Read about them here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in November 2023.]

A Collection of Memories
Remembering the old Shepherdsville High School and the old, old one too. Share our memories here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in January 2024.]

The Immigrant Casper Herps
Casper Herps came to America in 1840, and by 1854 he was Bullitt County's Surveyor. Read about this man and his family here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in February 2024.]

Murder Times Three
County Attorney T. C. Carroll found himself dealing with three different murder trials in the late 1920's. Read about them here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in March 2024.]

Tom Pack's Tree
In the Fall of 2003, a mere sprig, was planted as a memorial to the late Tom Pack. Today it stands tall alongside the oldest building in Shepherdsville. Read about it and about the man it honors. [First published in The Pioneer-News in March 2024.]

The Name of Nichols
We have the Nichols School and Nichols Fire Department, but do you know how they and the whole Nichols Community got its name? Read here to find out. [First published in The Pioneer-News in April 2024.]

A Brief Encounter on Plum Street
County Surveyor Bill Herps was called upon in 1898 to do an unusual kind of drawing. Read here to find out why. [First published in The Pioneer-News in May 2024.]

Judge Morrow's Treasure Box
Judge Morrow was certain his treasure box was gone for good. Read here to find out what happened. [First published in The Pioneer-News in June 2024.]

Maraman Family Reunion Photo
Sometime in the late summer or early fall of 1919, Susan Henderson Maraman gathered her family together for a group picture. Read about it here. [First published in The Pioneer-News in July 2024.]

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 15 Jul 2024 . Page URL: