The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 12 Oct 2010

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
October 12, 2010 (Volume 6, Number 10)

Dear Friends,


>>Bullitt Genealogical Society meeting canceled for October, so we can all go to the Louisville Family History Seminar and Book Fair.

This was said in my last newsletter but bears repeating. The Louisville Genealogical Society's annual Family History and Book Fair falls on the same day as our normal October Bullitt Genealogical Society meeting. The special Louisville event is so good, we voted to not have our meeting, so that everyone can go there.

The seminar and book fair will be held at Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Road, in Louisville on October 16, from 8:30 to 4:00. Check their web site for more info.

By the way, we'll have a booth there. Come see us!

>>Bowman Valley School info?

The Bowman Valley School, located just south of Shepherdsville off Highway 61, was apparently the last African American school in Bullitt County, closing in the early 1950's with the end of official segregation.

The old frame school house still stands, and a few good people are looking into saving and restoring the old building, and maybe moving it to a better location, such as maybe next to the old restored Woodsdale one-room schoolhouse, which is next to the county public school board offices. Tammy Ott, Bud White, Daniel Buxton, and others are exploring the possibilities.

If you have any information that might be helpful, or want to be of help in other ways on this worthwhile project, please contact them or me.

>>HistoryMobile and Walking Tour in Mt. Washington October 16.

Mt. Washington visitors and residents will have an opportunity to explore "Kentucky's Abraham Lincoln" when they visit the HistoryMobile in the First Baptist Church parking lot next to the city plaza in downtown Mt. Washington from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. This experience, which is free and open to the public, is provided by the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), and hosted by the volunteers of the Mt. Washington Main Street Program and Mt. Washington Historical Society.

The KHS HistoryMobile is a mobile museum featuring exhibits on Kentucky history. Housed in a 45-foot tractor-trailer, the 300-square-foot exhibit explores Lincoln's frontier childhood, his career from log house to the White House and his struggles to end slavery and lead the nation through the Civil War.

In conjunction with the HistoryMobile visit, the Mt. Washington Main Street and Historical Society volunteers will be offering historic walking tours of downtown Mt. Washington from 1–4 pm. Both the HistoryMobile tour and the historic walking tour are FREE of charge! A great experience and educational opportunity for all ages!


>> New Book.

Our genealogical society bought a book from our most recent guest speaker, George Earl Meyers. The book, Lincoln & Clark, Kin and Kentucky Pioneers, which is about the Lincoln and Clark families in early Kentucky and long before, also relates some information about them and the Bullitt County area.

>>Adventure to Lee Family Cemetery.

Thanks to Volunteer Jose Rosario arranging it with the military, Ed Lee, along with Daniel Buxton, and Jose, were allowed last week to visit a Lee family cemetery in the heart of Ft. Knox Military Reservation. Though itself protected, this particular Lee cemetery is located so near a firing range that people are very rarely allowed in. In this case the trip was strictly regulated, on short notice, with only the three people allowed, escorted by a military liaison driving a military vehicle. It was a VERY rugged trip, with only a short time frame for the trip.

In fact, they had to be out by 10:00 a.m., when firing would commence again.

Now THAT's incentive to be on time!

>>Web Site Additions. Our Web Master, Charles Hartley, has been so active adding things to our web site, I can hardly report them fast enough. Follow this link to the page of Latest Additions.

>>Copies of "A History of Bullitt County" will soon be available again.

We have long had an excellent small, green booklet about Bullitt County history that was produced during celebrations in 1974. After all these years, there seems to me no more copies available, so we have been looking into printing more. Thanks to scanning by Daniel Buxton and a whole lot of computer work by Charles Hartley, we may soon be able to offer a new printing. The booklet has its flaws, such as some outdated 1970's information. But history seldom changes, so the booklet is still very useful. Especially until we get a more definitive history produced. And it will now be available to us to print out as needed.

I just received the digital copy from Charles today, so I will tell you more in the next newsletter.

>>Brookland Cemetery documented.

Led by Daniel Buxton, and with an unbelievable amount of work and countless hours by Volunteer Wilma Lemons, we now have the huge-and-growing Brookland Cemetery documented, complete with digital photos of each tombstone, and 172 pages of grave listings. The first version of this document is in our research room. A decision hasn't yet been made on whether to produce the book for sale. But this was a massive amount of work on one of the biggest cemeteries in the county.

Many hundreds, if not thousands of grave sites. Another fantastic job by our Volunteers!!

>>1959 Death Certificate Microfilm arrived.

As many of you know, our research room has microfilm of all Kentucky death certificates since records began in 1911 up to 1958 (there is a fifty year privacy rule in Kentucky that prevents local groups from having more recent death certificate records). The 1959 records recently became available and we purchased them right away, and we have them in our research room now.

>>Illinois Salt Researchers in town.

Some researchers from Illinois contacted me about a month ago wanting to find local salt making sites. Seems that the water from our salt licks that gurgle out of the ground, and were an important resource to Pioneers, might originate from the Illinois area, slowly traveling through rock a thousand feet underground before finally coming back up in Kentucky, laden with salt.

The researchers wanted to test our salt lick water, and I arranged for them to sample the mother source that was once known as Bullitt's Lick. They were very happy when they dug a small hole a few feet down and it actually filled with salt water, just like pioneer days. Mr. Panno, the leader of the expedition, tells me the concentration works out to almost exactly what the pioneers described it as: "A good salt well would provide a bushel of salt from 300 gallons of water." Check our web site for more information about salt making in Bullitt County.

For Your Information...

>> Oil Well Information.

In my July 2010 newsletter I wrote about exploratory oil wells that were drilled around Bullitt County in the 1930's. I was not surprised to recently learn that oil wells have been drilled at other times as well. To my knowledge there were no really successful wells; most of the wells, if they struck anything, usually only contained a mixture of sulfur water with a bit of oil and gas mixed in.

According to a new web site sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas, there have been some seventy-five registered wells drilled in Bullitt County over the years. This is a great web site, by the way, with lots of information, maps, etc. about each well.

If this subject interests you (it's interesting to me to just see where all the wells are located) you might want to check and explore.

Kentucky government has some very informative web sites. At the web site you can find a lot of information on wells, mine maps, and all sorts of things that I am only beginning to discover.

>> Update on "Jew Peddlers."

Please forgive the offensive term Friends. It is simply a quote from an old newspaper item I told about in the last newsletter, that reflects the times. That story titled "Vigilante-ism in the 1800's, told about how local citizens lynched a person who they thought had murdered a "Jew Peddler".

Well, Friend and Newsletter reader Ed Barrall II wrote to me from his California home with this interesting memory from his Bullitt County childhood:

Ed wrote in part, "The 'Finally....' story about the Jewish peddler was interesting. These folks brought dry goods on either a push cart or a mule wagon (that was the upper class version) over the dirt roads of the county. My grandmother dealt mostly with" Mr. Sol "who would bring special yard goods to Mrs. Thursday's girls. Can you imagine pushing a two wheel cart over a Bullitt County gravel road? It was a different world." Ed goes on to relate how, though some people "were incredibly antisemitic," the Jewish peddlers were respected and very welcome.

>>Many resources from other organizations at museum.

Our museum and genealogical society receives many mailings of magazines and quarterlies from other related organizations. Be sure to check them out when at the museum. They can be great resources.

One recent example for me came from Gary Kempf in the Ancestral News quarterly from Hardin County. Gary wrote about Robert S. McNamara, the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968. I had always noticed how McNamara used that middle initial, but not the middle name. Well, Gary tells us that the middle name was actually and really "Strange." Robert Strange McNamara, after his mother's maiden name of Strange.

Poor guy. As a Strange myself, I can understand the jokes he would face with that as a middle name. But this story gives me a hint that I might actually be related to him.

Hmmm. I wonder if his side of the family has money. And I wonder if I could start calling myself "David Lee S". [grin]


Birds in a Dry Fountain

I was watching some birds the other day. A birdbath in my yard has been a habitual place for them during this record hot, dry Kentucky summer. But on this particular day the birdbath was dry. Before I went out to replenish the water, I noticed how these birds just kept hanging around the bath, pecking at the dryness. They'd look and peck; scratch around the bowl with their feet; fly off; come back; and do it all over again. Over and over again.

"Dumb birds", I thought. It's obvious there's not a drop of water, yet they can't seem to accept it and move on.

Then I went out to my mailbox to get the morning newspaper, as I do every morning.

But it wasn't there.

"What's going on?", I wondered. "The paper is always there at this time of day."

I looked in the box; I looked again; I reached in with my hand to feel for it; I looked again. I went back to the house, but quickly returned and checked the box again, just in case I missed it somehow. I felt inside the box again, verrrrry thoroughly.

This just couldn't be.

Then I laughed as a realized the comparison.

"Dumb birds indeed."

Thank you for being a Friend of the Bullitt County History Museum.

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: