The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 15 Oct 2009

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum E-Newsletter
October 15, 2009 (Volume 5, Number 12)

Dear Friends,


>>No Genealogical Society meeting this month.

In order to allow our members to attend the annual Louisville Genealogical Society book fair on the same date, the Bullitt County Genealogical Society will not meet this month. Our November meeting will feature U.S. Marshall Rick McCubbin, known for his great stories about researching his family history.

>>Family History Seminar and Book Fair.

The annual Louisville Genealogical Society Family History Seminar and Book Fair is this Saturday, October 17. It's a great event! So good that we, as mentioned above, do not have our meeting so that everyone can attend. It is held 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Road in Louisville. Check out their web site for details.

>>New 1917 Train Wreck book is ready.

As announced last time, this final version of The Train Wreck, December 20, 1917 Shepherdsville Kentucky is the culmination of two years' work by author Charles Hartley. It incorporates the earlier booklet versions, plus more photos, full index, letters, additional official reports and larger text format, among other things. This fuller version sells for $20 ($15 for Bullitt Genealogical Society members). Postage and handling is included, though if you can pick it up at the museum, more of the money can go to the museum. As before, Charles has donated his work to the museum. All profits go to the operation of the museum.

>>New Betty Darnell book.

Intrepid author and Wilderness Road editor Betty Darnell has published another book. This one is Bullitt County, Kentucky Marriage Records, 1836-1845 (Bonds, Consents, Licenses, Minister's Returns, Registers). Cost is $30 plus shipping and handling. We have them at the museum, or you can order directly from her. Contact her at bettyd0150 AT for details.


>>Happy Anniversary!

Museum Volunteers Bob Cline and Judy Richardson mark three years of service with us this month. Thank you so much Bob and Judy!

>>Our Anniversary Too!

This month also marks the fifth anniversary for our little museum. In that short time we have won numerous statewide awards, became widely recognized and respected, collected and preserved dozens of endangered artifacts, developed thousands of pages of historic and genealogical documentation, and helped hundreds of people from nearly every state and Canada. Quite a feat, and we're so proud! As a Friend of the Bullitt County History Museum, you should be too!

>>Web Site Additions.

Many new additions to our web site since last time. Check our Latest Additions page to see what's new.

>>Bob Hill article on Floyd's Fork:

I reported a couple of newsletters ago that I was working with former Courier-Journal newspaper columnist and author Bob Hill on a history of Floyd's Fork, a pretty major waterway that starts in Henry County, winds through Oldham and Jefferson Counties, and empties into the Salt River just above Shepherdsville. Well, as part of that work, Mr. Hill has published the first of what will hopefully be a long series of newspaper stories about the river and its namesake. The article can be found at this CJ page. You can also find out more about the related effort of preserving much of the Floyd's Fork area as a park by going to Some info about John Floyd can also be found on our own web site.

>>Book donated.

The Buckman Family of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri by Mary Louise Donnelly has been donated by William Smith. The Buckman name is prominent in Bullitt County history, with Shepherdsville's own main street bearing that name.

>>Good Civil War book added to library.

At the request of Volunteer Jose' Rosario, who has been researching local Civil War Medal of Honor recipient Henry Mattingly, our great public library has purchased the book The 10th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, a History and Roster by Dennis W. Belcher. We hope to get a copy of our own pretty soon. By the way, it turns out that the author is the brother of our local State Representative Larry Belcher, who, sadly, passed away not long ago.

>>New tombstone authorized.

In direct relation to Jose's research work, we received some great news just today. The government has agreed to provide a new burial marker for Henry Mattingly that will recognize him properly as a Medal of Honor recipient. More news on that as we move forward with that project.

>>Busy time of year at the museum.

Thanks (thanks?!?) to property tax time, the museum will see its busiest time of year for the next few months, as people come in to the courthouse to pay their annual property taxes. The museum, housed in the county courthouse, both benefits and helps in many ways at this time, as most of those people visit the museum display rooms and the research room while they are in the courthouse.

>>Computers wearing out.

One of our two main computers broke down this week. All of our computer system, which we installed (used) five years ago when we opened, is getting quite worn and overloaded and needing replacement. One option we are looking into is getting a new server-based system with one central computer and maybe five work stations that would better serve our growing number of visitors as well as our volunteer researchers. I hope to give you more details on this next time. Of course, that will cost some real money, so please consider donating to the museum to help us make this happen.

For Your Information...

Friend Charlie Newton sends us this suggestion for Civil War photos. Try this web page.


The Tale of a Wayward Tombstone

[A separate page has been created for this story. See it here.]

We received an odd call at the museum last week. Mt. Washington police officer Scott Ballman had a small tombstone (about 12X18X3 inches, rounded on top) at the police headquarters. If I have the story correct, the stone had been found a couple of years ago in an empty rental house. The police saw it, and, not knowing just what to do with it, but also not willing to let it just be lost, had stored it at the police station.

Officer Ballman, assigned to straighten up the property room, had rediscovered that tombstone, and called us.

This is where the story really gets rewarding.

The name on the stone could be clearly read, "Ethridge L. Stith, husband of L.B., July 31, 1876 - November 25, 1903". It was in tact except for the crooked edge at the bottom where it had been broken off its base

But who in the world was Ethridge Stith and where in the world did the stone belong?

Well, thanks to good, devoted local genealogical & historical volunteers over the years, many counties have books of cemetery readings for which those workers went to each cemetery and methodically read each tombstone in that cemetery and patiently wrote down what was written on each one of those stones, and where each little cemetery was located.

Bullitt County has been fortunate to be one of those counties with past workers such as Mary Sabetti and Doris Owen. Indeed, we have a whole team of new workers that have been re-documenting our nearly 300 Bullitt County cemeteries over the past two years.

But Mr. Stith was not to be found in any of those local books.

So we sent out an e-mail request to several of our local researchers, and Lynn Eddington quickly solved the mystery, or at least the main part of it.

She found the exact reading of that tombstone in a Hardin County book she had, titled Hardin County, Ky., Cemetery Inscriptions, Vol. II, by Mary Josephine Jones and James Allison Jones. There it was, in black and white, recorded as being at the Kasey Cemetery in 1979.

The Kasey Cemetery is in far southwestern Hardin County, actually just across the county line in Breckinridge County.

I picked up the stone from officer Ballman Saturday. My father and I were to be generally in that area, a good hour drive south of Bullitt County the next day for a church 150th reunion service. So, we took the tombstone with us and drove over to find the cemetery, which turned out to be WAY back in the country. A few miles of gravel road after getting that far, we actually drove right up to the cemetery, thick weeds only recently cleared.

Using the inscription book, we found the other Stith burials, and there, right where it should be, was a base of a tombstone. I anxiously went to the car and retrieved my part of the stone. Sure enough, when I sat my stone on the base, it matched perfectly. Mr. Stith's tombstone was back where it belonged.

Such a long shot at finding the proper burial place of someone so far away! It was exciting in some strange way.

And it would have been impossible without the long work of people so patiently recording old inscriptions from almost forgotten stones in almost forgotten cemteries.

The mystery still remains, though, as to how the stone had come to be in a Mt. Washington rental property. One can only guess. Many of the stones at the little isolated cemetery were broken and vandalized. Perhaps some (I'll restrain my words) "person" had stolen the stone as some weird souvenir and then lost interest in having it. Perhaps there was some more honorable reason that we can not guess.

Who knows. But hopefully the stone, and the man buried beneath it, rest a bit easier now that the stone is in its proper place.

By the way, perhaps you can fill out the missing words on the inscription at the bottom of the stone. Some words are lost at the cracked edge. The words read:

"On that bright morn,
And? _______????? (this line unreadable)
We shall meet to
Part no more"

Thanks again to the good work of good and caring volunteers over the years that make such otherwise impossible mysteries solvable. And thanks to Mt. Washington Police Officer Ballman and to Volunteer Lynn Eddington for caring enough to right a probably otherwise ignored wrong.

And 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: