Chapter 2: From the Earliest Settlers to
the Granting of a Town Charter in 1814

In 1795, John Sanders, great grandfather of Mrs. N. C. Brown, Mrs. B. D. Parker and John Sanders, removed to the locality known as McCools Bottom, on the banks of the Ohio River. Mr. Sanders owned the tract of land on which the town of Ghent now stands. This land he bequeathed to his son, Sam Sanders. John Sanders grave is on a small enclosure just back of Dudley Griffith’s house. In 1809 a number of families came over from Virginia. Mr. Sanders laid off the place and sold in lots this plot of land and a charter was at once applied for from the Legislature, which granted in 1814, and Henry Clay named the new town Ghent in honor of the old town Ghent in Belgium; from the date it will be seen that it was just about the time the treaty was signed at old Ghent.

 [Note: More on Treaty of Ghent is at here, and a page about the Belgian city of Ghent today is here. Both at Wikipedia.]

In 1817, Lewis Sanders, son of Sam Sanders, who at that time owned the place known as Gruss Hill, now owned by Curtis Montgomery, imported from England, the first herd of full-blooded Durham cattle ever brought to Kentucky. No 1, Garcia, No. 2, Lucilla, No. 3, Flora, No. 4, Sultan, No. 5, Tecumsah, and No. 6, Henry Clay, together with 4 head of long horn cattle.

To Ghent belongs a very interesting piece of history. In 1844, George N. Sanders got up a mass meeting at Ghent held in a tailor shop, with perhaps a baker’s dozen of persons, including himself, present. Resolutions were passed in favor of annexing Texas and a committee was appointed to correspond with each of the candidates for President. Mr. Clay was a prominent Whig candidate. Mr. Polk, Democratic candidate, Cass, and Van Buren; Mr. Sanders who took care to be the committee addressed letters to each one. Mr. Polk responded emphatically in favor of annexation; Mr. Clay responded that although he personally favored the plan yet felt bound as a statesman and a patriot to oppose it. The other two candidates evaded the answer. The United States immediately declared in favor of Texas, which brought on war with that state. It is said that Mr. Polk’s answer turned the balance in his favor and was the primal cause of his election. Ghent in the early day furnished two members of the legislature, Sam Sanders in 1841 and John P. Tandy, 1846.