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Image 41 of Union County, past and present

Part of Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications

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e 8 THE ERA OF SETTLEMENT 1 e IKE THE REST of Kentucky, which is nationally j' known as an old American stock State, the names _ of most of Union County’s first settlers savor of _ Old England, Scotland, and Ireland. The quality 3 ‘·*~\·~~ A ~` ‘ of its settlement and development suggests, more ‘ than any other word in the English language, that of 6 "yeomanry." There are no dramatic proportions; the permanent occupation of the land was seemingly uneventful; the pioneers { _ who first pointed their plowshares into the virgin soil were 1 unassuming in their ways. They cleared and tilled the land, and reared sizable families. Their children in turn married, and with each generation the land became more widely settled and ’ stamped with the features of agricultural progress. Union ’ County’s was and is a society solidly and exclusively established ’ on domestic virtues. l I There were churches and schools; villages sprang up at con- ` ' venient or determined points; crossroads stores sold dishes, - ` tallow candles, cloth, coffee, sugar, salt, and the few other things V that the farmers in the community found necessary to their ‘ simple way of life. But there is a beginning to the story-—-there are the first travelers, the scouts and hunters, the land preemptors, and then the sturdy yeomen who, by hard labor and the fortitude of simple lives, moulded the agricultural design of the county. It is a story that in the main is akin to so much of the rural American scene, yet often different in meaningful detail. Before the first permanent settlements were made in the terri- tory now embraced by Union County, that restless, ever-moving frontier vanguard composed of adventurers, hunters, ne’er-do- i wells, and fugitives filtered through the wilderness. Some stayed for a while and then either returned to the more settled com- munities or pushed on westward. In a sense they cleared away ’ the primeval cobwebs. _- Two Early Travelers and Several First Settlers { Fortescue Cuming, an Englishman who journeyed down the Ohio in 1808, wrote a journal recording his observations on the r trip. He was not the first to jot down a description of the country z r