History of Henderson County, Kentucky

The following History of Henderson County has long been announced as forthcoming, but interferences I could not control prevented. It was, indeed, commenced several years ago, but its prosecution has been frequently interrupted by other occupations and embarrassments, of which it is, perhaps, out of place here to speak. I have been compelled to await the indifferences of people, and, with no one to assist me, have discovered for myself that the compiling of historical matter, in book form, is a task rather to be shunned than courted. The labors of this work have been of the severest and most painful and patient character. Through the pity of some, the derision of many, the rebukes of others, and with the good wishes of a few, I have steadily pursued my course in quiet, to the goal of my ambition, and now return gratitude to God for what success has been achieved, With no guiding light or compass to direct my researches, I have plodded along through a multitude of books and papers, as best I could, in search of I knew not what. I have faced a listless auditory, and, by perseverance, have revived from the wreck of almost destroyed memories, matter that would soon have been lost to the world. Doubtless there are many incidents and many sketches of persons omitted; but the fault is not with me. I have advised, I have plead, I have done all, and more, too, than I ought to have done, and yet failed. The work is now done, and I have endeavored to execute my task with candor and fidelity, avoiding all false coloring and exaggeration. In preparing this work, that course best adapted to suit the age, has been pursued. The style of the work is not labored, but brief, plain and simple, as the purpose in writing it required. I hope it is neither barbarous nor ungrammatical, for, though I make no claim to elegance, I have endeavored to be correct, concise and intelligible. It has been my endeavor to present the series of events in a clear and artless form, rejecting whatever was deemed irrelevant, and dwelling chiefly upon those features most important. Considering the long period embraced, the multiplied number of characters and events delineated, the extent of the field covered, the preservation of historical unity has been no easy task. If any deficiencies are found, they ought to be referred rather to the judgment than a willingness to spare myself the care and tedium requisite to avoid them.


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A noted historian has said that truth comes to us from the past, as gold is washed down the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas, in minute, but precious particles, intermixed with infinite alloy, the debris of centuries. Research teaches that where the suns of many decades have shone upon a spot where events transpired among a few hardy pioneers, who manifested no solicitude about handing their names and deeds down to an admiring posterity, it is a difficult task, indeed, to separate from the infinite alloy of narration and traditionary lore, the minute, but precious particles, which are the quintessence of true history in whatever guise or form it may be given the public. Most of the men and women of pristine days seem to have entertained the idea that events of those times were matters of temporary concern, brought about alone for the benefit and amusement of those who witnessed and enjoyed them, and not intended for those who were to follow after. Written evidence of old events, reminiscences of true merit, were not made, or, if made, were not preserved, only so far as actual requirements demanded at the time. Even in records of a public character, the official in charge deemed it incumbent upon himself to write down as few words as possible, and make one sentence supply the demands of three. There were many incidents, doubtless, in the early settlement of this part of Kentucky, which, had they been carefully preserved and handed down from parent to child, would to day be treasured as bits of history beyond pecuniary valuation. Blood curdling adventures of men and women, privations and sufferings of the early settlers, who gave their lives that we might enjoy the heritage, come to us patched up by traditionary handling until we scarcely know whether the story has been magnified or deteriorated in its value and truthfulness.