History of  Gallatin County, Part 21


New Emigrants Come from Virginia at Beginning of
Nineteenth Century to Form Settlements of Poplar Grove
and Napoleon, Writer of Early County History Reveals

In the fall of 1800 and the spring of 1801, two more settlements were formed, Napoleon and Poplar Grove (Owen County being a part of Gallatin until 1819, when it was formed out of portions of Scott, Franklin, and Gallatin, being the 67th in order of formation).  Many emigrants coming from Virginia by way of the gap in the Allegheny named by Dr. Thomas Walker, in honor of the English Duke, thence by Braddock's Road to their destination in Northern Kentucky.  The roads were now practicable for wheeled vehicles, and overland transportation was made by means of pack-horses, although the paths across the mountains were difficult and often dangerous.  In some places they were barely passable; at other points they ran along the brink of a precipice, where a misstep would involve great danger, if not destruction or were overflowed by streams which were difficult to ford.

Many came by way of Redstone, formerly of Fort Brownville, Penn.  This was the place of embracement on the Ohio.

Twelve families arrived in the spring of 1801 at a point on the ridge later known as Napoleon and and an equally large number stationed at Poplar Grove.  Within the next two years many people who had lost their fortune in the Bluegrass section came to the hills as the price of land in the Bluegrass had advance beyond their means.  By 1804 the settlements had grown until they realized the need of a church and a school.  In the year 1804 a log church was erected on the present site of Ten Mile Church [no, it wasn't - see the complete Ten Mile Church History here].  This also served the purposed of a school house.  The first pastor was Rev. Bledsoe, but we were unable to learn the name of the first school teacher, who was a disabled Revolutionary War Soldier.  Dillworth's Speller and the Testament were the sole text books; geography and arithmetic were taught orally.  In those days the teachers were not confined to text books and were privileged to give full scope to his peculiar theories, which generally expressed his mental limitations and peculiarities of temperament and habits, and seldom failed to include a liberal use of the rod.

This school was supported by subscriptions and the teacher, being a man of necessities, accepted his salary in pork, corn, hides, etc. The great occupation of these settlers was clearing away the forest and cultivating the soil.  They had access to no market, produce had no commercial value at home.  They found that all their necessities could be supplied from nature through their own skill and industry.

Among the parties were blacksmiths, carpenters, tanners, shoe and harness makers, while the women supplied the place of weavers and tailor.  Coopers made tubs, churns, pails, noggins, etc.  The first loom used in the county was made by Jacob White and used in the house of Wm. Crisemberry.  The first blacksmith shop erected was that of Elijah Anderson who also manufactured barrels, churns, and tubs  and employed several coopers.  Before these industries were established they grew gourds (as most farmers know that virgin soil grows large gourds) for the purpose of storing lard, sugar, salt, etc.  Also, they used the small ones for drinking dippers or cups.  Wooden spoons and forks were articles of household use.

There were no mills and corn was converted into bread by means of a hominy mortar, made by burning and scraping a block of wood into the shape of a bowl.  The grain was placed into this wooden bowl and beaten with an iron wedge (that had a handle attached) until it became coarse meal.  It was then cooked in the ashes in the form of a pone and known as “corn pone.” Another method was by the use of the grater.  The corn was grated by hand, thus turning it into a meal while it was still soft.   Just after the silks became dry it was ready for grating.

Later, the hand mill was brought into use, and then a still greater invention, the “Horse Mill,” which we shall discuss later.

The housewife made soap from lye passed thru their own constructed ash hopper and used the fat of the black bear for soap grease.  She caught rain water from eaves in a wooden trough; she washed, picked, carded and dyed the wool; pulled, broke, hatchelled, and bleached the hemp; spun the thread, and wove the cloth; designed the style, cut and made the garments; reared the children and nursed the sick, for there were no doctors in Gallatin for nearly a quarter of a century after Gallatin became a county.

Emigrants were now coming down the Ohio like migratory birds.  The boat was now in use, which was an improvement over the flatboat, but the flatboat was still used.  The population of Gallatin in 1800 numbered 1291 including Owen and Carroll, which were still a part of Gallatin.

The boundary was as follows: Beginning 6 miles above the mouth of Corn Creek  [now Trimble County], thence up the Ohio to the mouth of Big Bone, then south with the Campbell County line, 16 miles.  Thence to the Kentucky River at Rock Spring near Clay Lick, thence down the river within 2 1/2 miles of the mouth of Eagle Creek, thence a direct line until is strikes the line from Shelbyville to the mouth of the Kentucky River two miles north of Henry Doughtery's thence a direct line to the beginning.

All this vast territory contained less than 133 people and the most densely settled portions were near the mouth of the Kentucky River at Port William.  Henry Doughtery, mentioned in the survey, was one of the earliest large land owners of the county, a son of “Erin” who came among the early settlers and took up claims on the Kentucky River and had them established.  His son Robert S. Doughtery served in the House of Representatives 1827, 35, 36 and also served as Senator, 1830-1834.