The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 3 May 2007

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum E-Newsletter
May 3, 2007, (Volume 3, Number 6)

Dear Friends,

(LOTS of activity this month, so forgive the extra long newsletter).

>> Seminar on Cemetery/Tombstone preservation change in plans.

In the last newsletter, I announced that Ann Johnson, of The Kentucky History Museum, was setting up a seminar on cemetery and tombstone preservation at Bardstown for around the last of May.

That doesn't seem to be working out at this time, though a class is scheduled at Campbellsville May 16.

The one-day course features discussion of laws related to cemeteries in the morning. After lunch the class goes to a cemetery and does some hands-on training on cleaning tombstones.

There seems to be a real interest for such a class in our area, and Ann is a great teacher, so I am hoping to arrange with her to come to Shepherdsville, probably meeting at the new Ridgway Library and then going over to the nearby "Pioneer Graveyard" for the hands on. I am thinking in June. If that doesn't work out, we may have to wait until after summer.

My one concern is if many people can get away on a weekday for such a seminar.

Let me know if you are interested so I can gage the possible attendance.

>>Mt. Washington Spring Festival May 11 & 12.

The annual Mt. Washington Spring Festival is coming soon and we'll be there again with our history museum booth! The fair is May 11 (4-9), and May 12 (9-9) at Mt. Washington Middle School off Old Bardstown Road in the middle of town.

>> Red Crow Indian Council POW WOW June 2nd and 3rd.

The annual Red Crow Pow Wow will be meeting in the Shepherdsville city park by the river again this year. It will be June 2nd (10-9) and June 3rd (10-6). Besides the fascinating Native American dances and exhibits, there will also be Buffalo burgers and Elk burgers to eat. There will be crafts and rock painting. Call 502-543-8582 for information.

>> Memorial Day Visitation of Ft. Knox Cemeteries.

For one day a year, Ft. Knox Military Reservation lets down its guard a bit and opens up the grounds for civilians to visit the old cemeteries. Some people do not realize that there are actually hundreds of small cemeteries still on the base. They are remnants of towns, communities, and family farms now long gone.

On Memorial Day, most anyone is allowed to come follow the old roads back to the now maintained-but-lonely graves. You can go too, but there are a few things to know.

For example, there are several entry points and it will be helpful to know which entry is best for the particular cemetery you want to visit.

The Bullitt County History Museum has location maps and listings of who is buried where. Thanks to Friend Gary Kempf, we now have new, better ones than before.

The back roads can be quite rough, especially if it has rained recently. A regular car might not be allowed in, though trucks, four-wheelers, and even horses and tractors are. Details can be found through the cultural resource manager Criss Helmkamp at 502-624-6581 or e-mail Richard.Helmkamp@Knox.armymil, or Matthew Rector, Historian Preservation Specialist at 502-624-7877 or e-mail

Museum Activity.

>> Looking for Photos of Past County Sheriffs.

The county sheriff's office is wanting to place a series of photos of past county sheriffs in its lobby. I applaud their interest in history and am trying to help them find the photos. Here is a list of past sheriffs that might interest you in itself. Ones that we have photos of have a ">" next to it. Please help us find photos/drawings of the others.

Sheriffs of Bullitt County, Kentucky

Drawn from several sources researched and gathered by Betty Darnell, Charlie Long, and David Strange

  • 1796 Benjamin Summers 5
  • 1798 Joseph Saunders
  • 1804 Joseph Saunders
  • 1810 Nicholas Crist
  • 1811 Christian James Saunders
  • 1840 J. Peacock
  • 1841 H. F. Kalfus & John Graham
  • 1842 Wilford Lee
  • 1846 James Samuels & Thomas J. Joyce 3
  • 1847 H. C. Thomas
  • 1850 William Wallace Swearingen 2
  • 1851 H. C. Thomas
  • 1863 Wesley Phelps 1
  • 1875-76 W. N. Simmons
  • 1877 Warren Smith
  • 1878-80 James H. Hays (Hayes)
  • 1881 James Q. Hughes
  • 1881-82 Warren Smith
  • 1883-86 William Dawson
  • 1887-90 J. W. Rogers
  • 1891-94 W. B. Cundiff
  • 1895-98 J. B. Monroe
  • 1898-1901 James Franklin Collings
  • 1902-05 Bert Hall
  • 1906-09 W. B. Campbell
  • 1910-13 J. B. Myers
  • 1914 R. S. Rouse
  • 1915-17 W. S. Rouse
  • 1918-21 J. W. Croan 6
  • 1922-25 A. L. Roby
  • 1926-29 W. F. "Frank" Monroe 4
  • 1930-33 P. H. Croan
  • 1934-37 R. E. McAfee
  • 1938-41 W. F. "Frank" Monroe 4
  • 1942-45 Fred Smith
  • 1946-49 Hobart L. Roby
  • 1950-52 Allen R. Hawkins
  • 1953-57 H. G. "Jack" Bleemel
  • 1958-61 Tom Hibbs
  • 1962 H. G. "Jack" Bleemel
  • 1963-66 W. R. French
  • 1967-73 L. J. Light
  • 1974-77 Buddy Shepherd
  • 1978-81 George Rummage
  • 1982-93 Lloyd Hill "Shot" Dooley
  • 1994-2006 Paul Parsley
  • 2007 Donnie Tinnell


  1. Wesley Phelps, sheriff during the Civil War period, is buried behind the IGA store.
  2. William Wallace Swearingen, 1803-1869, is buried in the Shepherdsville Pioneer Graveyard.
  3. Thomas J. Joyce, 1811-1879, is buried in the Shepherdsville Pioneer Graveyard.
  4. Frank Monroe, before becoming sheriff twice, was also county jailer in 1918.
  5. The first fiscal court meeting of Bullitt County was held February 28, 1797 at the home of Benjamin Summers. The county of Bullitt had been authorized by the state on December 13, 1796.
  6. J. W. Croan had been State Representative from Bullitt County in 1889-90.

>>Draper Collection of Manuscripts Six Volume Set at Ridgeway Library.

Friend Lola Fischer expressed a need for this special set of research books. When the request was made, our local public library purchased them and now has them in the Ridgeway Library genealogical room for us. The nice new library is less than a block from our museum and a real asset for research. Not to mention its just a nice environment.

>> New Books Donated to Museum.

Several new books have been donated recently to our museum. They are: Reminiscences of a Soldier of the Orphan Brigade, by Lieutenant L.D. Young; The Early History of West Point, Kentucky, by Richard A. Briggs; An Historical Atlas of Kentucky and Her Counties, by Wendell H. Rone; and Oxmoor, The Bullitt Family Estate Near Louisville, Kentucky Since 1787, by Samuel Thomas.

For Your Information...

>> Speaking of the Bullitt County Public Libraries...Video on Line.

The county library now has a new offering through its web site, It's "MyLibraryDV", an on-demand downloadable video service, and it's a free service of the library. I've tried it and it's a bit balky. It messed with my computer a bit during setup, and I still haven't quite got it back the way I want. And I wouldn't try it with a phone modem because of the massive data download. But it has good potential as a free way to download video on a growing list of subjects. Go to the web page and read all about it.

Finally...The End of a Family Line

I mentioned above that the book, Oxmoor, The Bullitt Family Estate Near Louisville, Kentucky since 1787, was donated to the museum. It is a fine, large book full of photos, documents, and genealogical information on the Bullitt family, from which, of course, our county (and therefore our museum) draws its name. Inside the book, it is graciously autographed by its donors.

Take special notice of the poignant personal autograph inside its cover. It is signed, "Barbara Porter Watkins and Lowry Rush Watkins, Jr. the sixth and last generation of Kentucky Bullitts".

The last.

The end of the line.

My goodness, that sounds so permanent.

So many famous and powerful names have followed down that path to sad oblivion over the years. Many fine blood lines have faded away, or diluted to indistinction.

Yet, I am reminded of the Biblical scripture that "your works shall live on". Notice that it does not say, "your name..." You see, I am a believer that it is not so important in life that you "make a name for yourself". It is far more important to recognize that long after that name fades away, it is the works that you do that live on.

Whether you do good, bad, or nothing at all, it effects the future in countless ways and for countless generations. Long, long after you and I have been forgotten, even the little works we do will effect someone. The kind word. The thoughtless remark.

For example, many of the artifacts and photos in our museum have been handed down because of now-unknown individuals who saw fit to preserve them and pass them on down the generations without knowing there would ever be a museum one day that would want them. On the other hand I am told that someone recently threw fifty garbage bags of rare old documents and photos away in Spencer County when cleaning out their deceased parents' house, not thinking anyone would possibly want them. Who knows what might have been discovered in those artifacts and now forever gone. Who knows what some small kindness you or I might do will cause someone else to do because of it.

The small choices we make in life do effect the generations after us. As I think scripture says, "even unto the six and seventh generation".

I suppose that is why I love the old Jimmy Stuart movie, "It's a Wonderful Life", currently playing on our museum's old 1940's TV display. Without Stuart, without you, without me, "Life" would be different for many people, whether for the good or for the bad, but always in surprising ways, and always in far more important ways than we might imagine.

So do good. At least a little.

The End will come for us all some day.

Yet Life will go on, and memory will fade away.

Who knows what the future holds, happy or sad.

We can only hope the good will endure longer than the bad.

Thank you for being a Friend of Bullitt County History.

David Strange
Bullitt County History Museum
Executive Director
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address:

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 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. 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: 12 Sep 2020 . Page URL: