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A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
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Penrod, H. C.
Prowse, Mark L.
Prowse, Isaac S.
Putman, Jesse M.
Reno, J. H.
Reno, Lewis.
Reynolds, Thomas H.
Rhoads, David E.
Rice, Moses M.
Riley, Higerson.
Roark, M. J.
Robinson, William E.
Roll, David B.
Rust, Erastus P.
Ryan, James Buckner.
Sandusky, William H. H.
Scott, James H.
Stokes, Thomas R.
Sullivan, John K.
Sweatt, Dr. Edward.
Short, C. W.
Ward, William Flam.
Whitmer, Warren P.
Wickliffe, William B.
Williams, John A.
Williams, Daniel H.
Wood, John H.
Woodburn, Dr. Benjamin W.
Yost, Dr. W. H.
Collins' "History of Kentucky," as stated, is the only book in which is preserved a history of Muhlenberg County. Collins' first history was published in 1847, by Lewis Collins, and reprinted in 1850. In 1874 Richard H. Collins revised his father's work, enlarged it to a two-volume edition, and brought it down to date. A third edition appeared in 1877, a fourth in 1882, and a fifth in 1910. The last three editions are printed from the same plates, and do not include any history later than 1877. In all four of these editions by Richard H. Collins the first half of the work (Volume I) is devoted to a history of the State, while the second half (Volume II) deals with the histories of the counties, which are arranged in alphabetical order. The short sketch published of Muhlenberg in 1847 and the one published in 1874 are here reprinted. Although they are not much more than an outline of the county's history, and notwithstanding the fact that both contain a few errors, they will in all probability always be of great interest to readers of Muhlenberg's history.
In the preface to the 1847 edition Lewis Collins acknowledges his indebtedness to "Charles F. Wing, Esqr., of Muhlenburg," for information regarding the county. With the exception of a few lines giving a biography of General Muhlenberg. I here quote in full the first data ever published on the history of the county.
Lewis Collins, in 1847, on Muhlenberg County. 1
Muhlenburg county was formed in 1798, and named in honor of Gen. Peter Muhlenburg, of the revolutionary army. It is situated in the south-western middle part of the State, and lies on the waters of Greene river: Bounded on the north and north-east by Greene river, which separates it from Daviess and Ohio; east by Butler south by Todd and Logan; and west by Hopkins. In the southern portion of the county the surface is broken, and the lands comparatively poor; while the middle and northern divisions are undulating, and the soil productive. Corn, pork, and tobacco, are the staples. The county abounds in coal and iron ore. The "Henry Clay Iron Works," four miles from Greeneville is supplied with ore of a superior quality from the contiguous high grounds, which, as the quantity is inexhaustible, has obtained the name of the "Iron Mountain." There are several mineral springs in Muhlenburg; and salt, in small quantities, was at one time manufactured in the county.
Number of acres of land in Muhlenburg, 274,809; average value of lands per acre, $1.93; valuation of taxable property in 1846, $1,298,019; number of white males over twenty-one years old, 1,366; number of children between five and sixteen years old, 1,744; population in 1840, 6,964.
There are five towns in the county, viz: Greeneville, Lewisburg, Rumsey, South Carrollton, and Skilesville.
Greeneville, the seat of justice, is one hundred and twenty miles from Frankfort. It contains, besides the usual public buildings, one Presbyterian and one Methodist church, six lawyers, three physicians, one seminary, six stores, one grocery, two taverns, one wool carding factory, two tobacco factories, and eight mechanics' shops. Population, 400. Established in 1812, and named after the distinguished revolutionary general, Greene.
Lewisburg is a small village, situated on Greene river, nine miles from Greeneville, containing two stores, one warehouse, and about 50 souls.The Short Road Leading From the Boat-Landing to South Carrollton
Rumsey lies on Greene river, at lock and dam No. 2, about twenty-five miles north of Greeneville--contains one Union church, one lawyer, two physicians, two taverns, five stores, tow groceries, one school, two saw-mills, two grist-mills, one carding factory, and six mechanies' shops. Population, 300. Named after James Rumsey, for whom the honor is claimed of having built the first steamboat in the United States.
South Carrollton, situated on Greene river, two miles below Lewisburg--has two stores, three warehouses, one Cumberland Presbyterian church, one physician, one tavern, and four mechanics' shops. Population, 75.
Skilesville is situated on Greene river, at lock and dam No. 3, fourteen miles east of Greeneville, and contains one physician, two stores, and about 15 souls. Named after James R. Skiles, who introduced the first steamboat upon Greene river, and who spent a fortune in promoting the navigation of the river.
Lewisburg, or Kincheloe's Bluff, on Green River (one of the five towns referred to by Lewis Collins), was a landing-place before 1798, and according to one tradition was declared "a port of entry" about 1800. James Weir, and practically all the other pioneer merchants in the county, received their merchandise from the East at the "Bluff," and also shipped their produce, hides, and pork south from there. It was from this point that pioneer James Weir embarked for New Orleans in 1803, his account of which trip is given in Appendix B. The place was so called in honor of pioneer Lewis Kincheloe. Although the town had been laid out and a plat of it had been recorded in January, 1817 (Order Book No. 4, p. 118), the place was not established by an act of the Legislature until January 12, 1825. There is a vague tradition to the effect that some time during the early part of last century Lewisburg made an effort to become the county seat. After South Carrollton was started, about 1838, Lewisburg gradually lost its business and finally became little more than a ferry crossing. An old brick residence, a frame house, and a small abandoned drift coal mine and tipple are all that is now standing on the site that in early days seemed destined to become one of the largest towns in the county. A short distance below the old "Bluff" landing, which is still used by a ferry-boat and some of the steamboats, is the pumping station of Central City's waterworks.
Rumsey, another of the towns referred to, is in that section of McLean County which up to 1854 was a part of Muhlenberg. Its population to-day is only about thirty per cent larger than it was in 1847, or at the time referred to by Collins. When, in 1834, work was begun on Lock and Dam No. 2, the small settlement that lay near by, on the left bank of Green River, began to develop into a village. Before 1837, when the gates of the lock were opened, the place had assumed the proportions of a town, and was called Rumsey. It was incorporated February 11, 1839. It lies opposite Calhoun--the Rhoadsville or Fort Vienna of the olden days. From 1840 to about 1855 Rumsey was larger than Calhoun, but to-day it has a population of only 413, while Calhoun has 742. One of the first steamboats ever built on Green River was built at Rumsey in 1846 by James and Philip Jones and named for a Greenville girl, "Lucy Wing."
A number of well-known Muhlenbergers were identified with the early history of Rumsey. Some of them lived and died in or near the town. Those who left the place and established themselves elsewhere always regarded Rumsey as their "old home." Many of the sons and daughters of its earliest citizens are still living, and point with pride to the fact that they at one time lived in "old Rumsey."
Doctor John M. Johnson, the father-in-law of Colonel Ed R. Weir, was a citizen of Rumsey. He represented Muhlenberg in the Legislature in 1837. About the year 1855 he moved to Paducah, and from 1859 to 1862 represented McCracken County in the Legislature, from which (according to Collins) he was expelled February 15, 1862, for "leaving his seat and taking position in the Rebel army." During the Civil War he settled in Atlanta, where he died in 1886. His second wife was a sister of General Howell Cobb, of the Confederate army. General Richard W. Johnson, the distinguished Federal soldier, was a brother of Doctor Johnson. General Johnson spent the greater part of his youth in Rumsey with Doctor Johnson and was living in the town when, in 1845, he entered West Point as a cadet, from which military academy he was graduated in 1849. Another brother was James L. Johnson, who moved to Owensboro. There he studied law and was elected to Congress for the term 1849-1851. On the resignation of Honorable Martin H. Cofer, Mr. Johnson was appointed circuit judge by the Governor. He married Miss Harriet Triplett, daughter of Honorable Philip Triplett, a distinguished lawyer and former Congressman.
Doctor John M. Johnson's co-worker was Doctor Rufus Linthicum, the father of Doctors William A., Rufus, Edward, and Daniel A. Linthicum, Doctor Daniel A. Linthicum practiced medicine at Helena, Arkansas, and during the Civil War ranked among the best-known surgeons in the Southern army. Edward is now a prominent physician at Evansville, Indiana.
Dillis Dyer laid out the town of Rumsey, and continued to live there for a number of years; he frequently served as guide to pilots. He practiced law at Hartford, for some years. He was secretary of the State Board of Commissioners under whose superintendence the locks and dams were built. He represented Ohio County, in the Legislature from 1840 to 1846. His only son, Honorable Azro Dyer, of Evansville, is a distinguished member of the Indiana bar, and was elected and served as judge of the Superior Court in that city.
Alonzo Livermore, Russell McCreary, and Ezekiel Fleming were among the civil engineers who had charge of the lock and dam during their construction. Russell McCreary continued to live in Rumsey a few years after the work was finished. In 1843 and 1844 he represented the county in the Legislature, and a few years later returned to his former home in Frankfort. His son, Russell McCreary, is a well-known and prominent citizen of Frankfort.
Livermore, in McLean County, was so called in honor of Alonzo Livermore, who planned and superintended the construction of the lock and dam at Rumsey. In his day he was one of the best-known civil engineers in the country. He came from Pennsylvania in 1835, where he had served as chief engineer of the Pennsylvania canal. He left Rumsey in 1855, did engineering work in Arkansas and other States, and died in Mendota, Illinois, in 1888, aged eighty-seven. One of his sons, Alonzo Skiles Livermore, in 1880 established the Livermore Foundry & Machine Company, of Memphis, Tennessee. Another son was Doctor H. B. Livermore, who for many years lived at Macomb, Illinois. Robert S. Howard, one of Rumsey's most highly accomplished citizens, married Fidelia Livermore, a daughter of Alonzo Livermore, Robert S. Howard and William T. Short kept a general store in Rumsey for a number of years. Short remained in the county, but Howard moved to New Orleans, became a well-known wholesale merchant, and later engaged in business in Portland, Oregon.
Elisha Baker and Samuel M. Wing conducted a large store in Rumsey for some time; the former then returned to Greenville, and the latter was long in business in Owensboro, where he spent the remainder of his days.
Douglass Little made plows and built wagons in Rumsey from 1844 to 1851. His shop was in its day the largest in the county. His plows and wagons were hand-made, and had the reputation of being the best ever sold in Muhlenberg. He was a Whig as long as that party was in existence. The opposition to the Constitution of 1850 came mostly from the Whig party; nevertheless, he voted for the new constitution. He removed to Calhoun (then in Daviess County) in 1851, and was there elected justice of the peace. When McLean County was cut off from Daviess in 1854, he was again elected a justice. At the election in 1858 he was chosen county judge, and re‰lected in 1862. In 1874, after an intermission of two terms, he was elected to the same office for the third time, and was serving at the time of his death, which occurred at Calhoun in April, 1877.
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 A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Source Information: A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2001. Original data: Rothert, Otto A. A History of Muhlenberg County. Louisville, KY, USA: 1913.

Compiled by Otto A. Rothert, this book details some general information about the county, including information on the local facilities. Family historians will find the wealth of information on the first settlers of the county, and their decendents