Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hopkinsville, KY in 1847

A thriving town

Dennis acquired an 1847 history of Kentucky for me: Historical Sketches of Kentucky by Lewis Collins. The title is short, but the subtitle goes on and on -- "Embracing History, Antiquities, and Natural Curiosities, Geographical, Statistical, and Geological Descriptions; With Anecdotes of Pioneer Life, and More Than One Hundred Biographical Sketches Of Distinguished Pioneers, Soldiers, Statesmen, Jurists, Lawyers, Divines, Etc."

The book that Dennis brought home is only about 50 years old. It's a 1968 reprinting of the 1847 original. Unfortunately, it is just a loan, so I will have to give it back before long. The original version of the book can be viewed at Google Books, and it's free to download.

Here's what this book says about Hopkinsville:

Hopkinsville is the county seat; situated near the centre of [Christian County, Kentucky], on Little river, in a gently undulating, fertile valley, and presents a neat and flourishing appearance[.]

[The town] contains a large and commodious court-house, market-house, branch of the Bank of Kentucky, six churches, (Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian, Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopalian), a part beautiful and well finished edifices; two male and two female academies; one printing office, (the Hopkinsville Gazette), eighteen dry-goods stores, three drug stores, five groceries, three hotels, with nineteen lawyers, thirteen physicians, and the following mechanics' shops, viz : four blacksmiths, four saddlers, seven tailors, six carpenters, four cabinet and chair makers, two tinners, two hatters, five shoe and boot makers, four wagon and carriage makers, two silversmiths, three house and sign painters, one gun smith, two tanneries, one barber, one carding factory, and three large tobacco factories. Population 2,000.

Immediately in the vicinity of the town is a beautiful botanic garden and nursery, containing six acres, and supplied with choice fruit, shrubbery, plants, etc., together with a fine fish pond, well stocked with fish, the water of which is conveyed five hundred yards through pipes, and flowing up in the centre, forms a beautiful fountain. This garden is a place of very general resort.

Hopkinsville was laid out in 1799, on the lands of Mr. Bartholomew Wood, and called Elizabethtown, by which name it was known for several years. It was incorporated in 1806, by its present name, in honor of General Samuel Hopkins.

Quoted from Historical Sketches of Kentucky by Lewis Collins, p. 282.

The courthouse that is mentioned is the one that was burned during the Civil War.

I wonder if the "beautiful botanic garden and nursery" and the fish pond might have been somewhere near the intersection of modern-day South Virginia and Bryan Streets (near the "Keyhole House"; also see this article.). There was once a large pond in that area. In the early 1900s, the pond was filled in, and houses were built.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.