The Project Gutenberg eBook of The History of Louisville, from the Earliest Settlement till the Year 1852

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Title: The History of Louisville, from the Earliest Settlement till the Year 1852

Author: Ben Casseday

Release date: February 2, 2012 [eBook #38740]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive.)


Casseday’s History of Louisville.













Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852,
In the Clerk’s office of the District Court of the United States for the District
of Kentucky.


83 & 85 Fourth St., Louisville, Ky.



To My Father,
At whose Instance it was Undertaken.
By whose Assistance it was Completed,
This Book Is



[Pg 5]


Very little need be said by way of Preface to the present volume. Cities, like individuals, have ever found the utility of giving publicity to the advantages they possess. The respective claims to public consideration of almost all the larger American cities have already been set forth, and no inconsiderable sagacity has been displayed in the preparation and issue of these advertisements. It cannot be denied that Louisville has equal claim upon the community for a fair hearing with many of these cities, and this may serve as the apology which custom seems to render necessary for the publication of this volume.

Louisville has attained her present rank and position without having resorted to any of the factitious means so generally employed to promote the progress of cities. A singular apathy in this regard has always pervaded this community, and the present prosperity of the city is the result only of fortuitous circumstances, of individual and unorganized effort, or of local causes. The following extract from one of a series of very able articles, published several years ago in the Louisville Journal, conveys a very caustic and severe, but, at the same time, a very just and merited rebuke of this apathetic indifference to political progress which has been characteristic of this city. The author says: “In the recent book of Judge[Pg 6] Hall entitled “The West—its commerce and navigation,” it is stated that “Louisville keeps no account of its business.” Such is really the fact; we have no business organization—no chamber of commerce, no mercantile clubs—no Exchange, no place “where merchants most do congregate.” Our city Fathers keep no record of our increase or doings, and it is doubted whether the Mayor or Council, with the Assessors and Collectors to advise with, can either guess or reckon our present population within 4,000, or the number of respectable tenements erected last year within 200 of the truth. There is not a series of our newspapers or price currents to which a stranger has the right of access; if, indeed, there be an entire series of either to be found in our city. Occasionally a Directory is got up and contains a few statistics gathered without system or concert, and necessarily imperfect, and these even are rarely set before the public eye. Other cities have had for years the most skillful trumpeters and gazetteers; their men of influence and wealth have contributed largely of money and time (more important than money) not only to make their city attractive but to show off those attractions. Does anything agitate the public mind, whether religious, political, or financial—whether it relates to the commerce of the lakes, famine in Ireland, or an armory or hospital on the western rivers, they seek to be the first to write and the first to speak; they raise one committee to gather and another to publish every fact and argument which will make the excitement enure to their benefit. All this is unobjectionable. Other cities have great attractions, and there is no reason why these should not be known; the gospel itself requires publication; but in this democratic country are we to allow any other city to take a higher position than that to which she is entitled by her skill, strength and capacity? Is it not high time to advertise the cheapness and goodness[Pg 7] of our wares? If Cincinnati send a special agent to Germany with the cards of her lot-holders and a map of this country, represented as a narrow strip with New York at one terminus and Cincinnati at the other, can we not extend the survey to Louisville, and add the name of this city to the catalogue published in Europe.”

These remarks are hardly less merited now than at the time when they were published. The last two years, it is true, have awakened new energies and brought about a greater disposition to prompt and efficient action in promoting a useful business organization and in setting forth the claims of Louisville in a properly attractive light. Much time, however, has been wasted and much valuable material has been lost by the long delay in this matter. To endeavor to restore this lost time and to replace a part at least of this valuable material, is one of the prominent objects had in view in the preparation of this history.

The want of interest which is generally felt in mere statistical details, even if ever so carefully compiled, coupled with the fact that there is really much in the history of Louisville which is capable of interesting the general reader, have induced me to prefer offering to the public a historical detail of the rise, progress and present position of the city, instead of following the course which has been pursued by most writers of local history. It is no part of the design of this volume to eulogize Louisville beyond its deserts. The greatest care has been taken to prevent any tendency to exaggeration in all the statistical parts of the work, and the object constantly had in view has been to present both to citizens and strangers an authentic and reliable statement of all that is useful or interesting in the past and present history of the city. It is due to myself to state, that, as may readily be supposed from what has been said above, I have found great[Pg 8] difficulty in procuring the necessary data for even this unpretending volume. And if the town reader should find any errors or omissions in these pages I cannot help but hope for some leniency at his hands in view of the fact that this is the history of a city which has never possessed an official record of any kind, and that even the material which has been procured at divers times and in distant places has cost no inconsiderable amount both of time and trouble in the search.

The present statistics of the city were carefully collected by personal application and investigation; and I desire to express my profoundest acknowledgments for the kindness and interest with which my wishes were met and forwarded. With but one single exception, every information which I could have desired was freely furnished, and many valuable suggestions were offered which I have since found extremely useful. I also desire to express my acknowledgments to Mr. R. Harlan, of Frankfort, for his kind assistance in the tedious and laborious work of examining the census reports.

In closing a task which has occupied such moments of leisure as I could reclaim from the more serious pursuits of life for about eighteen months, I cannot but hope that the result of this tedious labor may really compass the end for which it was intended. I can claim nothing for the book on the score of literary merit; the style is one entirely different from anything which I have heretofore attempted, and the volume does not seek to claim rank as a literary production. If, however, it will serve to contribute a moiety to the prosperity of my native city; if it will serve to add one industrious and enterprising man to the number of her citizens, I shall be satisfied that this labor has not been in vain, nor this exertion spent for naught.




[Pg 9]


Position of Louisville—Falls of the Ohio 15
Advent of Captain Bullitt 16
Bullitt’s Interview with the Indians 17
Campbell’s and Conally’s Patents 21
Advent of General Geo. R. Clark 22
Clark’s Expedition to Virginia 23
"Secret orders from Patrick Henry 25
"Arrival at the Falls 28
Account of a social party in 1779 31
Account of life on the Frontier 32
The Hard Winter 43
Act for establishing the town 44
Early surveys of the town 47
Reminiscences of the Ponds 50
Advent of Colonel Geo. Slaughter 53
Incidents of the Indian Wars 54
Division of the State into Counties 58
Building of Fort Nelson 60
Battle of Blue Licks 61
Barge Navigation 62
The Boatwreckers—Colonel Plug 67
The Bargemen—Mike Fink 71
Peace declared 81
First Store in Louisville 83
Tom Paine’s book 84
First Kentucky Convention 85
Clark’s Treaty at Fort McIntosh 86
"Expedition to Vincennes 89
Mississippi Troubles 90
[Pg 10]First newspaper in Kentucky 97
Act in relation to the Trustees—Major Quirey 98
Kentucky erected into a State 102
First Paper Mill—Tax list 103
Office of Falls Pilot created—Fire companies established 104
Acts of Assembly—1800 107
Anecdote 109
Jeffersonville—Shippingport 110
First Canal Company chartered 112
First newspaper in Louisville 115
Second tax list 116
Theater 117
Establishment of a Police 118
Courthouse built—Early Steam Navigation 119
Earthquakes, description of, and table 121
Western Courier (newspaper) established 126
List of Steamboats up to 1819 128
First Catholic Church 134
First Bank—Foundry 135
Paving the Streets 136
First Methodist Church—Portland laid out—New Albany 137
Manifest of Barges—Unhealthiness of Louisville 139
List of Stores &c. 140
Trip of the Enterprize—First boat built 141
Shinplaster currency 142
Hope Distillery 143
Fearon’s account of Louisville 144
Branch Bank of the United States 146
First Presbyterian Church built—burned 147
Hospital Company incorporated 148
Dinner to Captain Shreve 150
Death of General Geo. R. Clark 151
Price Current—1818—Commercial Bank—Public Advertiser 152
Dr. McMurtrie’s Sketches of Louisville 153
J. J. Audubon—Visit of President 155
Purchase of Fire Engines 159
Tax list and Census for 1821 160
Commonwealth Bank established 162
Issue of Town Notes—Epidemic of 1822 163
[Pg 11]First Episcopal Church—Lafayette’s Visit 165
Building a Wharf—Louisville and Portland Canal 166
The Focus—Resolutions for a Charter 173
Louisville becomes a City 174
First City Officers 177
Bank Robbery—New Methodist Church—City School 179
Second Presbyterian Church—Daily Journal 182
Bank of Kentucky built—Louisville Lyceum 184
Flood of ’32—Unitarian Church—Directory &c. 185
Bank of Louisville chartered—Museum 187
Government Deposites removed 188
Water Works 189
Comical Guards 190
Death of Lafayette 191
Tax List—Table of Exports &c. 1830 192
Bridge over the Ohio—Panic of ’37 194
Notice of Amelia’s Poems 195
Medical College 197
Portland Railroad 198
Newsletter—Historical Society—Provident Society 199
Visit of America Vespucci 200
Introduction of Gas 202
Great Fire 203
Statistics of ’45 205
Opening of Louisville and Frankfort Railroad 206
New Charter 208
Louisville and its environs 209
Society of Louisville 210
Churches, Streets, &c. 216
Public Education 219
Health 225
Markets—Periodicals 227
Table of Occupations 228
Commercial Statistics 230
Louisville as a Market for Tobacco 234
""""Cotton 237
""""Pork 240
Manufacturing Statistics 241
Conclusion 247

[Pg 12]



[Pg 13]




The utility and profit of the local history of cities is no longer a matter of doubt. Whether considered solely as objects of interest or amusement, or as having the still wider utility of making known abroad the individuality of the places they describe, these records are worthy of high consideration. And although in a country like ours this department of history can claim to chronicle no great events, nor to relate any of those local traditions that make many of the cities of the Old World so famous in story and song, yet they can fulfil the equal use of directing the attention of those abroad to the rise, progress and present standing of places which may fairly claim, in the future, what has made others great in the past. And in an age when every energy of the whole brotherhood of man is directed to the future, and when mere utilitarianism has taken the place of romance, or of deeds of high renown, it is a matter of[Pg 14] more than ordinary interest and value to all, to note the practical advancement, and so to calculate upon the basis of the past, the probable results of the future of those cities in the New World, which seem to present advantages, either social or pecuniary, to that large class of foreigners and others, who are constantly seeking for homes or means of occupation among us. Nor is it to these alone, that such local history is of value. The country is beginning already to possess much unemployed capital seeking for investment; while many, having already procured the means of living well, are seeking for homes more congenial to their tastes than the places where they have lived but for pecuniary profit. To both of these, the history of individual cities is an invaluable aid in helping the one to discover a means of advantageously employing his surplus money, and in aiding the other to find a home possessing those social advantages which will render him comfortable and happy.

But it is to the emigrant foreigner that local history is of the greatest benefit. Leaving a country with whose resources, social, moral, and political, he is intimately acquainted for one of which he knows almost nothing, such works, carefully and authentically written, are to him what the guide-books of the Old World are to the wonder-seeking traveler; they present him at once with a daguerreotype view of the land of his adoption and point out to him every advantage and disadvantage, every chance of profit or of pleasure, every means of gain, every hope of gratification that is anywhere to be afforded.

[Pg 15]Impressed with these opinions, it is proposed to present the reader with an authentic and impartial history of Louisville; one which may be implicitly relied on in its calculations and statistical details and which shall present as accurate and faithful a historical survey as can be obtained from any data known to the writer or attainable by him.

Louisville lies on the Southern bank of the Ohio river at the falls or rapids of that stream, in longitude 85° 30′ west of Greenwich, and latitude 38° 3′ north. Its position is one of peculiar excellence, situated at a point where the navigation of the stream is naturally obstructed by the rapids, and where, for six miles above the site of the city, the river stretches out into a broad, smooth sheet of water a mile in width, almost without a current, and presents a safe and beautiful harbor for a great distance along the Kentucky shore; embracing too within its limits the debouchure of Beargrass Creek, which also affords a convenient and accessible resting place for barges, keel, and flatboats, sheltering them from all the dangers to which an open harbor would render them liable, it presents advantages which at once mark it to the sagacious eye as a proper location for a town of the greatest importance. Aside from all these advantages, the immense surface of level country which spreads out on either side of the rapids for so great a distance, is of itself worthy of consideration. The term “falls” which has been and is so commonly applied to the obstruction in the river at this point, is apt to produce an incorrect idea in the mind of one who does not know exactly how to apply the term. The falls are not a precipitous [Pg 16]descent of water, but simply “an obstruction in the course of the river caused by a ledge of limestone rock running obliquely across its bed, with channels or chutes through the mound, produced or modified by the force of the water.” This however is so serious an obstacle to the navigation of the stream as to create the necessity, which always exists, except at the highest stage of the water, for the debarkation and re-shipment of goods above and below this point, thus affording great commercial advantages to the city situated beside these rapids.

The peculiar attractions of such a location as this could not long go unheeded, and accordingly as early as 1770 parties came from Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh, probably sent by Lord Dunmore, then Governor of Virginia, and surveyed the lands adjacent to the falls, with a view of distributing them as bounty lands. The earliest account, however, which we have of anything like a settlement here is that of Capt. Thomas Bullitt, who in 1773, deputed by a special commission from William and Mary College in Virginia, came to survey lands and effect settlements in the then territory of Kentucky. His practiced eye perceived the advantages of this port and he moored his traveling barge in the safe and beautiful harbor of Beargrass, and here established a camp to protect his men from the weather and to shelter his stores. From this point he made surveys of much of the adjacent country as far down as Salt river, to which he gave its present title from his having there found the salt lick still known by his name. He estimated the advantages of his new settlement at their full worth, and purposed to return at once to his friends and procure[Pg 17] the means of re-visiting and establishing it. But Death sought him in the midst of his well laid plans, and it was left for another to complete what his sagacity and enterprise had commenced.

To show that Bullitt’s plans had been well matured, and also to give some idea of the prudence and intelligence of the man, it is only necessary to cite, from Marshall’s History of Kentucky, the following not uninteresting facts:

“On his way to Kentucky,” says this historian, “Bullitt made a visit to Chillicothe, a Shawnee town, to hold a friendly talk with those Indians on the subject of his intended settlement; and for the particular purpose of obtaining their assent to the measure. He knew they claimed the right of hunting in the country—a right to them of the utmost importance, and which they had not relinquished. He also knew they were brave, and indefatigable; and that if they were so disposed, could greatly annoy the inhabitants of the intended settlement. It was, therefore, a primary object in his estimation to obtain their consent to his projected residence, and cultivation of the lands. To accomplish this, he left his party on the Ohio and traveled out to the town unattended, and without announcing his approach by a runner. He was not discovered until he got into the midst of Chillicothe, when he waved his white flag as a token of peace. The Indians saw with astonishment a stranger among them in the character of ambassador, for such he assumed by the flag, and without any intimation of his intended visit. Some of them collected about him, and asked him, What news? Was he from[Pg 18] the Long Knife? and why, if he was an ambassador, he had not sent a runner?”

Bullitt, not in the least intimidated, replied that he had no bad news—he was from the Long Knife—and as the red men and white men were at peace, he had come among his brothers to have a friendly talk with them about living on the other side of the Ohio; that he had no runner swifter than himself, and that he was in haste and could not wait the return of a runner. ‘Would you,’ said he, ‘if you were very hungry and had killed a deer, send your squaw to town to tell the news, and wait her return before you eat?’ This put the bystanders in high good humor, and gave them a favorable opinion of their interlocutor. And upon his desiring that the warriors should be called together, they were forthwith convened, and he promptly addressed them in the following speech, extracted from his journal:


“I am sent by my people, whom I left on the Ohio, to settle the country on the other side of that river, as low down as the falls. We come from Virginia. The king of my people has bought from the nations of red men both north and south all the land; and I am instructed to inform you and all the warriors of this great country, that the Virginians and the English are in friendship with you. This friendship is dear to them, and they intend to keep it sacred. The same friendship they expect from you, and from all the nations to the lakes. We know that the Shawnees and the Delawares are to be our nearest neighbors, and we wish them to be our best friends as we will be theirs.

[Pg 19]“Brothers, you did not get any of the money or blankets given for the land which I and my people are going to settle. This was hard for you. But it is agreed by the great men who own the land, that they will make a present both to the Delawares and the Shawnees the next year and the year following that shall be as good.

“Brothers, I am appointed to settle the country, to live in it, to raise corn, and to make proper rules and regulations among my people. There will be some principal men from my country very soon, and then much more will be said to you. The Governor desires to see you, and will come out this year or the next. When I come again I will have a belt of wampum. This time I came in haste and had not one ready.

“My people only want the country to settle and cultivate. They will have no objection to your hunting and trapping there. I hope you will live by us as brothers and friends.

“You now know my heart, and as it is single towards you, I expect you will give me a kind talk; for I shall write to my Governor what you say to me and he will believe all I write.”

This speech was received with attention, and Bullitt was told that the next day he should be answered.

The Indians are in the habit of proceeding with great deliberation in matters of importance, and all are such to them which concern their hunting.

On the morrow, agreeably to promise, they were assembled at the same place, and Bullitt being present they returned an answer to his speech as follows:

[Pg 20]Oldest BrotherThe Long Knife:

“We heard you would be glad to see your brothers, the Shawnees and Delawares, and talk with them. But we are surprised that you sent no runner before you, and that you came quite near us through the trees and grass a hard journey without letting us know until you appeared among us.

“Brother, we have considered your talk carefully, and we are glad to find nothing bad in it, nor any ill meaning. On the contrary you speak what seems kind and friendly, and it pleased us well. You mentioned to us your intention of settling the country on the other side of the Ohio with your people. And we are particularly pleased that they are not to disturb us in our hunting. For we must hunt to kill meat for our women and children, and to have something to buy our powder and lead with, and to get us blankets and clothing.

“All our young brothers are pleased with what you said. We desire that you will be strong in fulfilling your promises towards us, as we are determined to be very straight in advising our young men to be kind and peaceable to you.

“This spring we saw something wrong on the part of our young men. They took some horses from the white people. But we have advised them not to do so again, and have cleared their hearts of all bad intentions. We expect they will observe our advice as they like what you said.”

“This speech, delivered by Girty, was interpreted by Richard Butler, who, during the stay of Captain Bullitt, had made him his guest and otherwise treated him[Pg 21] in the most friendly manner. But having executed his mission very much to his own satisfaction, Bullitt took his leave and rejoined his party, who were much rejoiced to see him return.

“He made report of his progress and success, and his comrades with light hearts and high expectations launched their keels on the stream which conveyed them to the shore of Kentucky and the landing before spoken of.”

Capt. Bullitt had high testimonials of his eminent fitness for the position he had assumed. General Washington himself, than whom no one was at once a better judge and a more valuable authority in such matters, spoke in the highest terms of his capacity in the exercise of the multifarious duties of surveyor, navigator and trader. Had not a premature death taken him away in the midst of his labors, it is certainly to him that we should have owed the earliest prosperity of the city.

Even previous to the arrival of Capt. Bullitt, however, these lands at the falls had been patented and were owned, most probably as bounty lands, by John Campbell and Dr. John Conally. Of Campbell we know little, if anything; but Conally played a somewhat important part in the early history of the West. He was the nephew of Colonel Croghan and the friend of Lord Dunmore, and was by him dispatched in 1774 to assert the claims of Virginia upon Fort Pitt, where he was arrested, before he had taken more than the initiatory step in his proceeding, by Arthur St. Clair, the representative of the proprietors of Pennsylvania in the West, and only released on his own recognizance. He did not, however, choose to return into the custody of the law,[Pg 22] but, collecting a band of followers, he came again in March of the same year and took possession, in Lord Dunmore’s name, of Fort Pitt; rebuilt it and called it Fort Dunmore. It was he who occasioned the bloody fights known in the history of border warfare as Logan’s or Cresap’s war. He afterwards, in 1775, formed a plot against the government, which was discovered, and this notoriously tyrannical and wicked man was thrown into prison and remained an unpitied captive till 1781. After the revolution he became a Tory and thus his lands, at the falls and elsewhere, became forfeit to the State of Virginia. It was, however, for him and Campbell that Bullitt surveyed the lands adjacent to the falls. The extent of their tract was about 4000 acres.

After Bullitt’s expedition had received this final check, the falls were visited only by a few hunters and traders; and it was not until 1778 that any new attempt was made toward a permanent settlement on this site. The enterprising and gallant Col. George Rogers Clark, whose name is so well known to all readers of the early history of Kentucky or of the West, comes now to be associated with this history. This city is so deeply indebted to him, not only for its earlier prosperity, but for its very existence, that it becomes alike agreeable and useful to inquire something as to the circumstances of his settlement here. He was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, and, like our great Washington, was in early life a land surveyor, and, like him too, a man of unusual talent, discrimination and forethought. He came first to Kentucky in 1772. But his history becomes first associated with that of the State in 1774[Pg 23] when he served in Dunmore’s war. In the latter part of 1775, having gained the rank of Major, he returned to his native State in order to prepare for his permanent removal to Kentucky, which took place in the Spring following. Up to this time Kentucky had been held to be a part of Fincastle county, in Virginia; but its inhabitants had no rights or protection as citizens of that State. Upon Clark’s removal to Kentucky he readily saw the advantages of the new settlement, but his sagacity at the same time taught him that a State whose very title was in dispute, and which was so far beyond the old lines of civilization, and so removed from the protection of the elder commonwealths would not attract settlers with that rapidity to which its immensely superior natural advantages entitled it. He perceived that the future prosperity of his adopted home depended upon its being under the aid and protection of Virginia, or upon its being made a separate State. The result of this deliberation and of his promulgation of these views was that he was chosen a member of the Virginia assembly and carried to them a petition for admission into their commonwealth. He had the misfortune, however, after having walked the whole distance, to find this body adjourned. This did not, however, deter him from prosecuting his plan for the good of Kentucky. He visited the Governor, Patrick Henry, and laid his case before that wise and patriotic man. The Governor acknowledged the justness of his claim, and gave him a letter to the Executive Council. This body, fearful of exceeding its powers, could or would do little for him. He demanded powder which they promptly offered to[Pg 24] lend him on his individual security; an offer which Clark peremptorily refused, and so intimidated them by his dauntless manner and his threats of consequences that finally the order was issued for the powder to be supplied to Clark at Fort Pitt. And, on the re-assembling of the delegates, after much warm discussion, Kentucky was erected into a county of Virginia. Both these objects accomplished, Clark returned to Pittsburg, procured the powder and with great difficulty and danger succeeded in bringing it down to the present site of Maysville, where he carefully concealed it and then went to the fort at Harrodsburg and sent a convoy for the buried treasure, where it finally arrived in safety. This slight outline sketch shows the first of a series of events which led Col. Clark to the falls of Ohio. The second event which bears upon this point is alike creditable to him. And here we must be indebted to Mr. Perkins’ Annals of the West for a condensed narration of this affair.

“Clark understood,” says this excellent compilation, “the whole game of the British. He saw that it was through their possession of Detroit, Vincennes, Kaskaskia and the other western posts—which gave them easy and constant access to the Indian tribes of the north-east—that the British hoped to effect such a union of the wild men as would annihilate the frontier fortresses. He knew that the Delawares were divided in feeling, and the Shawnees but imperfectly united in favor of England, ever since the murder of Comstalk. He was convinced that could the British in the north-west be defeated and expelled, the natives might be easily awed[Pg 25] or bribed into neutrality; and by spies sent for the purpose, and who were absent from April 20th to June 22d, he had satisfied himself that an enterprise against the Illinois settlements might easily succeed. Having made up his mind, on the 1st of October he left Harrodsburg for the East, and reached the capital of Virginia November the 5th. Opening his mind to no one he watched with care the state of feeling among those in power, waiting the proper moment to present his scheme. Fortunately, while he was upon his road, on the 17th of October, Burgoyne had surrendered, and hope was again predominant in the American councils. When, therefore, the western soldier, upon the 10th of December, broke the subject of his proposed expedition against the forts on the far distant Mississippi to Patrick Henry, who was still governor, he met with a favorable hearing, and though doubts and fears arose by degrees, yet so well digested were his plans, that he was able to meet each objection and remove every seeming impossibility.”

Having thus satisfied the Virginia leaders of the feasibility of his plan, he received on the 22d of January two sets of instructions—the one open, authorizing him to enlist seven companies to go to Kentucky, subject to his orders, and to serve for three months from their arrival in the West; the other set secret, and drawn as follows:

Virginia: Sct. In Council, Williamsburg, Jan. 22d, 1778.

Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark:

“You are to proceed, with all convenient speed, to raise seven companies of soldiers, to consist of fifty men each, officered in the usual manner, and armed[Pg 26] most properly for the enterprise; and with this force attack the British post at Kaskaskia.

“It is conjectured that there are many pieces of cannon and military stores to a considerable amount at that place, the taking and preservation of which would be a valuable acquisition to the State. If you are so fortunate therefore, as to succeed in your expedition, you will take every possible measure to secure the artillery and stores and whatever may advantage the State.

“For the transportation of the troops, provisions, &c., down the Ohio, you are to apply to the commanding officer at Fort Pitt for boats; and during the whole transaction you are to take especial care to keep the true destination of your force secret; its success depends upon this. (Orders are therefore given to Capt. Smith to secure the two men from Kaskaskia.) Similar conduct will be proper in similar cases.

“It is earnestly desired that you show humanity to such British subjects and other persons as fall in your hands. If the white inhabitants at that post and the neighborhood, will give undoubted evidence of their attachment to this State, (for it is certain they live within its limits,) by taking the test prescribed by law, and by every other way and means in their power, let them be treated as fellow citizens, and their persons and property duly secured. Assistance and protection against all enemies whatever, shall be afforded them; and the Commonwealth of Virginia is pledged to accomplish it. But if these people will not accede to these reasonable demands, they must feel the miseries of war, under the direction of that humanity that has hitherto distinguished[Pg 27] Americans, and which it is expected you will ever consider as the rule of your conduct, and from which you are in no instance to depart.

“The corps you are to command are to receive the pay and allowance of militia, and to act under the laws and regulations of this State, now in force, as militia. The inhabitants of this post will be informed by you, that in case they accede to the offers of becoming citizens of this Commonwealth, a proper garrison will be maintained among them, and every attention bestowed to render their commerce beneficial; the fairest prospects being opened to the dominions of both France and Spain.

“It is in contemplation to establish a post near the mouth of the Ohio. Cannon will be wanted to fortify it. Part of those at Kaskaskia will be easily brought thither, or otherwise secured, as circumstances will make necessary.

“You are to apply to General Hand, at Pittsburgh, for powder and lead necessary for this expedition. If he cannot supply it, the person who has that which Capt. Lynn brought from New Orleans can. Lead was sent to Hampshire by my orders, and that may be delivered you. Wishing you success, I am, Sir, your humble servant.


“With these instructions and twelve hundred pounds in the depreciated currency of the time, Colonel Clark, (for such was now his title,) on the 4th of February started for Pittsburgh. It had been thought best to raise the troops needed beyond the mountains, as the colonies were in want of all the soldiers they could muster[Pg 28] east of the Alleghanies, to defend themselves against the British forces. Clark therefore proposed to enlist men about Pittsburg, while Maj. W. B. Smith, for the same purpose went to the Holston, and other officers to other points. None, however, succeeded as they hoped to; at Pittsburg Clark found great opposition to the intention of carrying men away to defend the outposts in Kentucky, while their own citadel and the whole region about it was threatened by the savage allies of England; and Smith, though he nominally succeeded in raising four companies, was unable essentially to aid his superior officer after all. With three companies and several private adventurers, Clark at length commenced his descent of the Ohio, which he navigated as far as the Falls, where he took possession of and fortified Corn Island, opposite the spot now occupied by Louisville.”

It is only necessary to state here that Clark’s success in this expedition was complete and perfect, and that a more brilliant campaign has probably never been performed by any general. More than this does not immediately concern this history.

It is estimated that Col. Clark left in his new fort on this island about thirteen families, when he proceeded on his journey to Kaskaskia. And so brave, hardy and resolute were these pioneers, that, notwithstanding they were separated from the nearest of their countrymen by four hundred miles of hostile country, filled with savages whose dearest hunting grounds they were about to occupy; notwithstanding they knew that these relentless savages were not only inimical on account of the [Pg 29]invasion of their choicest territory, but were aided by all the arts, the presents and the favors of the British in seeking to destroy their settlements; notwithstanding all these terrifying circumstances, those dauntless pioneers went quietly to work, and with the rifle in one hand and the implements of agriculture in the other, deliberately set about planting, and actually succeeded in raising a crop of corn on their little island. It is thus that Corn Island derived its name. And truly so bold and heroic an act as this of that feeble band deserves a perpetuity beyond what the mere name of the island will give it. Columns have been reared and statues erected, festivals have been instituted and commemorations held of deeds far less worthy of renown than was this little settlement’s crop of corn. But like many other deeds of true heroism, it is forgotten, for there was wanted the pen and the lyre to make it live forever. The founders of the parent colony themselves did never greater deeds of heroism than did these pioneers of Louisville. And yet the very historians of the fact speak of it without a word of wonder or of admiration. Even in Louisville herself, now in her palmiest days, the Pilgrim’s Landing is commemorated each returning year, while the equal daring, danger and victory of the Western Pioneer has sunk into oblivion. But it is ever so. Men may live for a hundred years within the very roar of Niagara, and yet live uninspired until the same sound falls upon the ear or the same sight greets the eye on the far-off shores of the Evelino or the Arno. Erin’s Bard has ever told the praises of the Oriental Clime; the Lord of English verse has tuned his[Pg 30] lyre under a foreign sky; the Mantuan Bard has sung “arma virumque Trojæ” and the Poet of Italy has soared even beyond the bounds of space in search of novelty; so must we wait for a stranger hand to weave the magic charm around the pioneers of our forest land. Let this frail record, at least, lend its little quota toward the honorable preservation of the names of Captain James Patton, who piloted the first boat over the falls, Richard Chenoweth, John Tuel, Wm. Faith, and John McManus, the only names that history or tradition has given us of those earliest settlers of our native city.

The chief subsistance of this little band had of course to be derived from the products of the chase, for the Indians would never have allowed them to attain a sufficiency of food by the slow and laborious processes of agriculture. Indeed one of the historians of this period roundly states that Kentucky could never have been settled had the products of the soil been the only resource of its pioneer inhabitants. Fortunately the woods of Kentucky so abounded in game, that it was easy for its early settlers to supply themselves with abundance of food from these sources. But the difficulty of carrying their game at all seasons of the year and all stages of the water to their insulated home, and the various annoyances of their constrained position on the island, united with the encouragement they derived from the wonderful success of their old commander in Illinois, soon determined the little colony to remove to the main bank of the river. And accordingly in the fall of 1778, or more probably in the spring of 1779, having built a fort on the eastern side of the large ravine which formerly[Pg 31] entered the river at the present termination of Twelfth Street, they emigrated thither and thus laid the first permanent foundation of the present city of Louisville.

It was about this time that we have the first record of a social party in our city now so celebrated for its elegant entertainments and luxurious repasts. The bill of fare on that memorable occasion had at least the great and unusual merit of novelty to recommend it. We give the account of the event in the words of its own historian: “It is related,” says he, “that when the first patch of wheat was raised about this place, after being ground in a rude and laborious hand-mill, it was sifted through a gauze neckerchief, belonging to the mother of the gallant man who gave us the information, as the best bolting cloth to be had. It was then shortened, as the housewife phrases it, with Raccoon fat, and the whole station invited to partake of a sumptuous feast upon a flour cake!” How little of a prophet would he have been accounted who had then predicted that, in less than sixty years, the inhabitants of the very spot where they then stood should have at their command all the fruits and viands of every quarter of the globe!

It may not be inappropriate at this period of our history, and while upon this subject of parties and feasts, to extract, partly from Mr. Marshall, and partly from Doddridge and others, some account of the habits of life among our progenitors here. To many, especially to those who have long been intimate with Western Frontier Life, a few of the succeeding pages may present nothing that is either novel or interesting; but to those to whom the country and its social institutions are alike[Pg 32] new, we are sure that nothing more could be offered likely to excite their interest or to promote their amusement than this vivid and life-like description of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of Louisville seventy years ago. We copy the account in full:—

“Then the women did the offices of the household; milked the cows, cooked the mess, prepared the flax, spun, wove, and made the garment of linen or linsey; the men hunted, and brought in the meat; they planted, ploughed, and gathered the corn; grinding it into meal at a handmill, or pounding it into hominy in the mortar, was occasionally the work of either, or the joint labor of both. The men exposed themselves alone to danger; they fought the Indians, they cleared the land, they reared the hut or built the fort, in which the women were placed for safety. There might incidentally be a few articles brought to the country for sale, in a private way; but there was no store for supply. Wooden vessels, either turned or coopered were in common use as table furniture. A tin cup was an article of delicate luxury almost as rare as an iron fork. Every hunter carried his knife; it was no less the implement of a warrior; not unfrequently the rest of the family was left with but one or two for the use of all. A like workmanship composed the table or the stool; a slab hewed with the axe, and sticks of a similar manufacture, set in for legs, supported both. When the bed was, by chance or refinement, elevated above the floor, and given a fixed place, it was often laid on slabs placed across poles, supported on forks set in the earthen floor; or where the floor was puncheons, the bedstead was hewed pieces,[Pg 33] pinned on upright posts, or let into them by auger holes. Other utensils and furniture were of a corresponding description, applicable to the time.

“The food was of the most wholesome and nutritive kind. The richest milk, the finest butter, and best meat that ever delighted man’s palate, were here eaten with a relish which health and labor only know. These were shared by friend and stranger in every cabin with profuse hospitality.

“Hats were made of the native fur; and the buffalo wool employed in the composition of cloth, as was also the bark of the wild nettle.

“There was some paper money in the country, which had not depreciated one half nor even a fourth as much as it had at the seat of government. If there was any gold or silver its circulation was suppressed. The price of a beaver was five hundred dollars.

“The hunting shirt was universally worn. This was a kind of loose frock, reaching half way down the thighs, with large sleeves, open before, and so wide as to lap over a foot or more when belted. The cape was large and sometimes handsomely fringed with a ravelled piece of cloth of a different color from that of the hunting shirt itself. The bosom of his dress served as a wallet to hold a chunk of bread, cakes, jerk, tow for wiping the barrel of his rifle, or any other necessary for the hunter or warrior. The belt which was always tied behind, answered several purposes besides that of holding the dress together. In cold weather the mittens, and sometimes the bullet-bag occupied the front part of it.[Pg 34] To the right side was suspended the tomahawk, and to the left was the scalping knife in its leathern sheath. The hunting shirt was generally made of linsey, sometimes of coarse linen, and a few of dressed deer skins. These last were very cold and uncomfortable in wet weather. The shirt and jacket were of the common fashion. A pair of drawers or breeches and leggins, were the dress of the thighs and legs; a pair of moccasins answered for the feet much better than shoes.—These were made of dressed deer skin. They were mostly made of a single piece, with a gathering seam along the top of the foot, and another from the bottom of the heel, without gathers, as high as the ankle joint or a little higher. Flaps were left on each side to reach some distance up the legs. These were nicely adapted to the ankles and lower part of the leg by thongs of deerskin, so that no dust, gravel, or snow, could get within the moccasin.

“The moccasins in ordinary use cost but a few hours labor to make them. This was done by an instrument denominated a moccasin awl, which was made of the back spring of an old clasp knife. This awl with its buck-horn handle, was an appendage of every shot pouch strap, together with a roll of buckskin for mending the moccasins. This was the labor of almost every evening. They were sewed together and patched with deerskin thongs, or whangs as they were commonly called.

“In cold weather the moccasins were well stuffed with deer’s hair, or dry leaves so as to keep the feet comfortably warm; but in wet weather it was usually said that wearing them was ‘a decent way of going[Pg 35] barefooted;’ and such was the fact, owing to the spongy texture of the leather of which they were made.

“Owing to this defective covering of the feet, more than to any other circumstance, the greater number of our warriors and hunters were afflicted with the rheumatism in their limbs. Of this disease they were all apprehensive in cold or wet weather, and therefore always slept with their feet to the fire to prevent or cure it as well as they could. This practice unquestionably had a very salutary effect, and prevented many of them from becoming confirmed cripples in early life.

“The fort consisted of cabins, blockhouses, and stockades. A range of cabins commonly formed one side at least of a fort. Divisions, or partitions of logs, separated the cabins from each other. The walls on the outside were ten or twelve feet high, the slope of the roof being turned wholly inward. A very few of these cabins had puncheon floors, the greater part were earthen.

“The blockhouses were built at the angles of the fort. They projected about two feet beyond the outer walls of the cabins and stockades. The upper stories were about eighteen inches every way larger in dimension than the under one, leaving an opening at the commencement of the second story to prevent the enemy from making a lodgment under their walls. In some forts instead of blockhouses, the angles of the fort were furnished with bastions. A large folding gate, made of thick slabs nearest the spring closed the fort. The stockades, bastions, cabins and blockhouse walls were furnished with port holes at proper heights and distances. The whole of the outside was made completely bullet proof.

[Pg 36]“It may be truly said that necessity is the mother of invention; for the whole of this work was made without the aid of a single nail or spike of iron; and for this reason, such things were not to be had.

“In some places, less exposed, a single blockhouse, with a cabin or two, constituted the whole fort.

“For a long time after the first settlement of this country, the inhabitants in general married young. There was no distinction of rank, and very little of fortune. On these accounts the first impression of love resulted in marriage; and a family establishment cost but a little labor and nothing else.

“In the first years of the settlement of this country, a wedding engaged the attention of a whole neighborhood, and the frolic was anticipated by old and young with eager expectation. This is not to be wondered at when it is told that a wedding was almost the only gathering which was not accompanied with the labor of reaping, log rolling, building a cabin or planning some scout or campaign.

“In the morning of the wedding day, the groom and his attendants assembled at the house of his father for the purpose of reaching the mansion of his bride by noon, which was the usual time for celebrating the nuptials; which for certain must take place before dinner.

“Let the reader imagine an assemblage of people, without a store, tailor, or mantuamaker within a hundred miles; and an assemblage of horses, without a blacksmith or saddler within an equal distance. The gentlemen dressed in shoe-packs, moccasins, leather breeches, leggins, linsey hunting shirts, and all [Pg 37]homemade. The ladies dressed in linsey petticoats, and linsey or linen bed gowns, coarse shoes, stockings, handkerchiefs and buckskin gloves, if any. If there were any buckles, rings, buttons or ruffles, they were the relics of old times, family pieces from parents or grandparents. The horses are caparisoned with old saddles, old bridles or halters, and pack-saddles, with a bag or blanket thrown over them; a rope or string as often constituted the girth as a piece of leather.

“The march in double file, was often interrupted by the narrowness and obstructions of our horsepaths as they were called, for we had no roads: and these difficulties were often increased, sometimes by the good and sometimes by the ill will of neighbors, by falling trees and tying grape vines across the way. Sometimes an ambuscade was formed by the wayside, and an unexpected discharge of several guns took place, so as to cover the wedding party with smoke. Let the reader imagine the scene which followed this discharge: the sudden spring of the horses, the shrieks of the girls, and the chivalric bustle of their partners to save them from falling. Sometimes, in spite of all that could be done to prevent it, some were thrown to the ground. If a wrist, elbow, or ankle happened to be sprained, it was tied with a handkerchief, and little more was thought or said about it.

Another ceremony commonly took place before the party reached the house of the bride, after the practice of making whisky began, which was at an early period; when the party were about a mile from the place of their destination, two young men would single out to[Pg 38] run for the bottle; the worse the path, the more logs, brush, and deep hollows the better, as these obstacles afforded an opportunity for the greater display of intrepidity and horsemanship. The English fox chase, in point of danger to the riders and their horses, is nothing to this race for the bottle. The start was announced by an Indian yell; logs, brush, muddy hollows, hill and glen, were speedily passed by the rival ponies. The bottle was always filled for the occasion, so that there was no use for judges; for the first who reached the door was presented with the prize, with which he returned in triumph to the company. On approaching them he announced his victory over his rival by a shrill whoop. At the head of the troop, he gave the bottle first to the groom and his attendants, and then to each pair in succession to the rear of the line, giving each a dram; and then putting the bottle in the bosom of his hunting shirt, took his station in the company.

The ceremony of the marriage preceded the dinner, which was a substantial backwoods feast of beef, pork, fowls, and sometimes venison and bear meat, roasted and boiled, with plenty of potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables. During the dinner the greatest hilarity always prevailed, although the table might be a large slab of timber, hewed out with a broad-axe, supported by four sticks set in auger holes, and the furniture some old pewter dishes and plates, the rest wooden bowls and trenchers; a few pewter spoons, much battered about the edges, were to be seen at some tables. The rest were made of horn. If knives were scarce, the deficiency was made up by the scalping knives which were[Pg 39] carried in sheaths suspended to the belt of the hunting shirt.

After dinner the dancing commenced, and generally lasted till the next morning. The figures of the dances were three and four handed reels, or square sets, and jigs. The commencement was always a square four, which was followed by what was called jigging it off; that is, two of the four would single out for a jig, and were followed by the remaining couple. The jigs were often accompanied with what was called cutting out; that is, when either of the parties became tired of the dance, on intimation the place was supplied by some one of the company without any interruption of the dance. In this way a dance was often continued till the musician was heartily tired of his situation. Toward the latter part of the night, if any of the company, through weariness, attempted to conceal themselves for the purpose of sleeping, they were hunted up, paraded on the floor, and the fiddler ordered to play “Hang on till tomorrow morning.”

About nine or ten o’clock a deputation of the young ladies stole off the bride and put her to bed. In doing this it frequently happened that they had to ascend a ladder instead of a pair of stairs, leading from the dining and ball room to the loft, the floor of which was made of clapboards lying loose and without nails. This ascent, one might think, would put the bride and her attendants to the blush; but as the foot of the ladder was commonly behind the door, which was purposely opened for the occasion, and its rounds at the inner ends were well hung with hunting shirts, petticoats, and other articles[Pg 40] of clothing, the candles being on the opposite side of the house, the exit of the bride was noticed but by few. This done, a deputation of young men in like manner stole off the groom, and placed him snugly by the side of his bride. The dance still continued; and if seats happened to be scarce, which was often the case, every young man, when not engaged in the dance, was obliged to offer his lap as a seat for one of the girls; and the offer was sure to be accepted. In the midst of this hilarity the bride and groom were not forgotten. Pretty late in the night some one would remind the company that the new couple must stand in need of some refreshment; black Betty, which was the name of the bottle, was called for, and sent up the ladder; but sometimes black Betty did not go alone. I have many times seen as much bread, beef, pork and cabbage sent along with her, as would afford a good meal for half a dozen hungry men. The young couple were compelled to eat and drink more or less of whatever was offered them.

It often happened that some neighbors or relatives, not being asked to the wedding, took offense; and the mode of revenge adopted by them on such occasions was that of cutting off the manes, foretops and tails of the horses of the wedding company.

I will proceed to state the usual manner of settling a young couple in the world.

A spot was selected on a piece of land of one of the parents, for their habitation. A day was appointed, shortly after their marriage, for commencing the work of building their cabin. The fatigue party consisted of choppers, whose business it was to fell the trees and cut[Pg 41] them off at proper lengths; a man with a team for hauling them to the place and arranging them, properly assorted, at the sides and ends of the building; a carpenter, if such he might be called, whose business it was to search the woods for a proper tree for making clapboards for the roof. The tree for this purpose must be straight grained and from three to four feet in diameter. The boards were split four feet long, with a large frow, and as wide as the timber would allow. They were used without planeing or shaving. Another division was employed in getting puncheons for the floor of the cabin; this was done by splitting trees, about eighteen inches in diameter, and hewing the faces of them with a broad-axe. They were half the length of the floor they were intended to make.

The materials for the cabin were mostly prepared on the first day, and sometimes the foundation laid in the evening. The second day was allotted for the raising.

In the morning of the next day the neighbors collected for the raising. The first thing to be done was the election of four corner men, whose business it was to notch and place the logs. The rest of the company furnished them with the timbers. In the mean time the boards and puncheons were collecting for the floor and roof, so that by the time the cabin was a few rounds high the sleepers and floor began to be laid. The door was made by sawing or cutting the logs in one side so as to make an opening about three feet wide. This opening was secured by upright pieces of timber about three inches thick, through which holes were bored into the ends of the logs for the purpose of pinning them fast.[Pg 42] A similar opening but wider was made at the end for the chimney. This was built of logs, and made large to admit of a back and jams of stone. At the square, two end logs projected a foot or eighteen inches beyond the wall to receive the butting poles, as they were called, against which the ends of the first row of clapboards was supported. The roof was formed by making the end log shorter until a single log formed the comb of the roof; on these logs the clapboards were placed, the ranges of them lapping some distance over those next below them, and kept in their places by logs, placed at proper distances upon them.

“The roof, and sometimes the floor, were finished on the same day of the raising. A third day was commonly spent by a few carpenters in leveling off the floor, making a clapboard door and table. This last was made of a spilt slab, and supported by four round legs set in auger holes. Some three legged stools were made in the same manner. Some pins stuck in the logs at the back of the house supported some clapboards which served for shelves for the table furniture. A single fork, placed with its lower end in a hole in the floor, and the upper end fastened to a joist, served for a bedstead, by placing a pole in the fork with one end through a crack between the logs of the wall. This front pole was crossed by a shorter one within the fork, with its outer end through another crack. From the front pole, through a crack between the logs of the end of the house, the boards were put on, which formed the bottom of the bed. Sometimes other poles, were pinned to the fork a little distance above these, for the [Pg 43]purpose of supporting the front and foot of the bed, while the walls were the supports of its back and head. A few pegs around the walls for a display of the coats of the women, and hunting shirts of the men, and two small forks or bucks’ horns to a joist for the rifle and shot pouch, completed the carpenter’s work.

“The cabin being finished, the ceremony of house-warming took place, before the young couple were permitted to move into it. The house-warming was a dance of a whole night’s continuance, made up of the relations of the bride and groom, and their neighbors. On the day following the young couple took possession of their new mansion.”

This mansion, slight, inefficient and hastily erected as it was, must have afforded but poor shelter against the severity of a season which is everywhere referred to as one of the coldest ever known. It is asserted that during the winter of 1779-80, still remembered by some as “The Hard Winter,” the wild animals were “starved and frozen in the forests, while the domestic ones fared no better in the settlements.” The rigors of the season, however, did not prevent the influx of immigration; although several families were compelled to endure its severity on their route through the wilderness from Cumberland Gap, and were even delayed in their march till the opening of the Spring. As soon however as the rivers were freed from ice and the intense cold had yielded to the softer airs of the new season, we hear of the arrival of no less than three hundred family boats at the Falls. The causes which influenced so large an immigration hither were various, not the[Pg 44] least among them being the security insured at this fort by the presence of Col. Clark. So entire and perfect had been the success of this gallant officer in every expedition, even against the most fearful odds, that to be under his command had come to be reckoned as holding a place among the Invincibles. Let the circumstances be what they might, it is certain that Louisville with her then population of six hundred souls, was growing to be a place worthy of high consideration, and accordingly we find that in May of this year (1780) the legislature of Virginia passed the following

Act for establishing the town of Louisville at the Falls of Ohio.

“Whereas, sundry inhabitants of the county of Kentucky have, at great expense and hazard, settled themselves upon certain lands at the falls of Ohio, said to be the property of John Conally, and have laid off a considerable part thereof into half acre lots for a town, and having settled thereon, have prefered petitions to this general assembly to establish the said town, Be it therefore enacted, That one thousand acres of land, being the forfeited property of said John Conally, adjoining to the lands of John Campbell and —— Taylor, be, and the same is hereby vested in John Todd Jr., Stephen Trigg, George Slaughter, John Floyd, William Pope, George Merriweather, Andrew Hines, James Sullivan and Marshall Brashiers, gentlemen, trustees, to be by them or any four of them laid off into lots of an half acre each, with convenient streets and public lots, which shall be, and the same is hereby established a town by the name of Louisville. And be it further[Pg 45] enacted, That after the said lands shall be laid off into lots and streets, the said trustees or any four of them, shall proceed to sell the said lots, or so many of them as they shall judge expedient, at public auction, for the best price that can be had, the time and place of sale being advertised two months, at the court houses of adjacent counties; the purchasers respectively to hold their said lots subject to the condition of building on each a dwelling house, sixteen feet by twenty at least, with a brick or stone chimney, to be finished within two years from the day of sale. And the said trustees or any four of them shall and they are hereby empowered to convey the said lots to the purchasers thereof in fee simple, subject to the condition aforesaid, on payment of the money arising from such sale to the said trustees for the uses hereafter mentioned, that is to say: If the money arising from such sale shall amount to Thirty Dollars per acre, the whole shall be paid by the said trustees into the treasury of this commonwealth, and the overplus, if any, shall be lodged with the court of the county of Jefferson to enable them to defray the expenses of erecting the publick buildings of the said county. Provided, That the owners of lots already drawn shall be entitled to the preference therein, upon paying to the trustees the sum of thirty dollars for such half acre lot, and shall be thereafter subject to the same obligations of settling as other lot holders within the said town. And be it further enacted, That the said trustees or the major part of them shall have power, from time to time, to settle and determine all disputes concerning the bounds of the said lots, to settle such rules and orders[Pg 46] for the regular building thereon as to them shall seem best and most convenient. And in case of death or removal from the county of any of the said trustees, the remaining trustees shall supply such vacancies by electing of others from time to time, who shall be vested with the same powers as those already mentioned.—And be it further enacted, That the purchasers of the lots in the said town, so soon as they shall have saved the same according to their respective deeds of conveyance, shall have and enjoy all the rights, privileges and immunities, which the freeholders and inhabitants of other towns in this state, not incorporated by charter, have, hold and enjoy.

And be it further enacted, That if the purchaser of any lot shall fail to build thereon within the time before limited, the said trustees or a major part of them, may thereupon enter into such lot, and may either sell the same again and apply the money towards repairing the streets, or in any other way for the benefit of the said town, or appropriate such lot to publick uses for the benefit of said town. Provided, That nothing herein contained shall extend to affect or injure the title of lands claimed by John Campbell, gentleman, or those persons whose lots have been laid off on his lands, but their titles be and remain suspended until the said John Campbell shall be released from his captivity.”[1]

The survey of the town under this act, as also the second survey made by Peyton and Sullivan, have been[Pg 47] in some unaccountable manner destroyed. It is believed, however, that the spirit of these surveys is preserved in Jared Brooke’s plat, which was adopted in 1812. Previous to this the absence of any official document of this kind produced much annoyance, dispute and litigation, in regard to titles and boundaries. The out courses of this survey, as represented by Dr. McMurtrie, are “from 35 poles above the mouth of Beargrass Creek, on the bank of the Ohio river, S. 83, W. 35 poles to the mouth of the creek, thence N. 87, W. 120 poles, N. 50, W. 110 poles to a heap of stones and a square hole cut in the flat rock, thence (the division line) S. 88, E. 769 to a white oak, poplar and beech, N. 37, W. 390 to the beginning; no variation.” This was divided into six streets, running East and West, and twelve streets crossing these others at right angles. The squares so made were, up to Green Street, divided into lots of a little more than half an acre, and South of that into five, ten and twenty acre lots. In all the earlier proceedings of the legislature in regard to the new town we find constant mention made of public squares and grounds; and in the original plat, a slip of 180 feet South of Green Street, and running from First to Twelfth Streets, was reserved for a public promenade and pleasure ground. It is a matter of great regret that this reservation was not really made. An immense common like this, with the forest trees which were then upon it left standing, would now be an invaluable addition to the town, and would enable us to boast of having the most beautiful city in America. We cannot help but wonder that the early inhabitants of the city should have [Pg 48]permitted those in authority to commit this gross outrage upon taste and propriety. Had this slip continued in reserve, how beautiful might it now have become! As taste, aided by wealth, began to have its hold among the citizens, it would have been upon the fronts of this great artery that those beautiful churches, public buildings and dwellings, now scattered over so large a space, would have been erected. Here for a distance of more than a mile would have been placed a continuous range of palace-like structures; and here, under the shade of trees “the growth of quite a century” would the gay, the brave and the fair have sat, walked or rode. What a picture would have been presented here on a midsummer night, or at the close of an autumn day! Groups of merry children disporting around, gaily dressed ladies and dashing beaux, a throng of proud equipages and horsemen, the sound of the infant’s prattle, girlhood’s ringing laugh, the mingling of joyous voices, and above all and beyond all the tall and sombre forms of majestic trees raised in relief against the sky, the green carpeted earth and smiling little flowers, and all this in the very heart of a great city—all forms a picture upon which the fancy loves to dwell, and a picture which might readily have been realized had not that inordinate and purely American worship of Gain blotted it from the canvass almost before the designer had expressed it with his pencil.

Nor was a flagrant want of taste the worst feature in this. The whole of the present site of the city at that early day was intersected with ponds of stagnant water. The second bank had something of a descent towards[Pg 49] the interior, and the soil, though alluvious, was of sufficient tenacity to retain the water which fell in rain. The result was that the whole of this valley from Beargrass to Salt river was filled with these ponds; and, as a necessary consequence, miasmata were bred, which produced a great deal of sickness, more especially with strangers. So great indeed was the influence thus induced that acclimation was then considered as necessary here as it now is in New Orleans or on the coast of Africa. Many of the present citizens of Louisville will be surprised to know that this very city, now so celebrated for its healthiness as to make its salubrity an inducement to immigration from all parts of the country, was once known as “the Graveyard of the Ohio.” The city worthies who took upon themselves to sell “the Slip” in lots, had at that time no data to induce them to believe in the future healthfulness of their place and yet they must have perceived the increasing prosperity of the town; hence it became almost criminal in them to put away what then seemed the only barrier to disease, and almost to invite its approaches by allowing the city to be compactly built without room for the pure and wholesome circulation of air, but shutting up, as it were, disease and death within their very walls. As the value of property began to increase, however, these gentlemen, actuated only by a desire for present gain, put aside all these considerations and, having divided the slip into four parts exposed it for sale. It comprised all that part of the city now embraced between the north side of Green and the south side of Grayson Streets, but extended, as before said, up to First Street. It is true[Pg 50] that great blame was attached to the trustees for their action in this matter at the time, and some movement was made toward trying to destroy the sale by legal means, this however was never actually resorted to, and possession has long since confirmed the titles to all lots lying within its limits. Thus was lost to the city one of the most valuable, if not the very most valuable of all its possessions. The earliest purchasers of this property were Messrs. Johnson, Croghan, Anderson and Campbell.

As we have already referred to the numerous ponds scattered throughout the city, it may not be improper at this point to recall the site of some of them, if only to show how completely the natural disadvantages of the place have been overcome by the energy of its inhabitants. The first and most important of these was called the “Long Pond.” It commenced at the present corner of Sixth and Market Streets, and inclining a little toward the South-West, extended as far as the old Hope Distillery, on or near Sixteenth Streets. The indentation in the ground, still observable, in the alley which commences at Seventh Street and lies between Market and Jefferson Streets, was the former bed of this pond. In the winter, when it was frozen over, this little lake was the scene of many a merry party. On the moonlight evenings, numbers of ladies and gentlemen were to be seen skimming over its surface, the gentlemen on skates and the ladies in chairs, the backs of which were laid upon the ice and the chairs fastened by ropes to the waists of the skaters. And thus they dashed along at furious speed over the glassy surface; beaux and belles,[Pg 51] with loud voices and ringing laugh—and the merriment of the occasion was only increased when some dashing fellow, in his endeavors to surpass in agility and daring all his compeers, fell prostrate to the ice, or broke through it into the water beneath.

The next in importance to the one above referred to, was known as Gwathmey’s or Grayson’s Pond. It began on Centre Street just in the rear of the First Presbyterian church, and extended Westwardly half way to Seventh Street. Its form was that of a long elipse; and it was carefully kept by its owners for fish.—Its margin was surrounded by lofty trees and the turf grew to the very edge of the water, which, fed by some internal spring, was always clear and pure. This pond was really a beautiful spot and formed a delightful lounging-place for the idle or the meditative, and one which neither of these classes neglected. It was the scene of all the baptisms performed here in an early day, and no place could be better adapted for this purpose. Its grassy edges afforded an agreeable resting-place for the spectators, while its shape allowed every one to see, hear and partake in the exercises.

Beside these two principal lakes, there were innumerable others, some containing water only after heavy rains and others standing full at all times. Market Street from the corner of Third down was the site of one of these; Third Street between Jefferson and Green of another; Jefferson Street near the corner of Fourth of another, and so on almost ad infinitum. A map of the city as it was sixty or even thirty years ago, would present somewhat the appearance of an archipelago, a[Pg 52] sea full of little islands. Whereas now, from the Woodland Garden to the foot of Fifteenth Street, a distance of nearly three miles, not one of these lakes is to be seen. It is not to be wondered at that, as the trees were removed from the surface and the face of these ponds exposed to the burning sun, they should spread the seeds of death all around them. As long as life was precarious from a hundred other causes, this one remained unnoticed, but as soon as the settlements began to be relieved from other fears for life and property, this was taken up, and in 1805 the Legislature authorised the Trustees to remove “those nuisances in such a manner as the majority of them should prescribe.” But the means in the treasury being incompetent to this purpose, any efficient action in relation to it was delayed until after the fearful epidemics of 1822 and 1823, of which we shall have occasion to speak hereafter, when the Board of Health appointed to examine into the causes of the diseases and the means of removing the same, urged the prompt and immediate removal of these ponds. The Legislature during the latter year also authorised the raising of $40,000 by lottery to be applied to draining not only the ponds in Louisville, but also all those between the town and the mouth of Salt River. Under this act these ponds were drained, but those below the city were then left untouched. Many of them however have been since removed under a recent renewal of the act.

But we have been led beyond the era of which we were speaking, and must now return, in another chapter, to the history of the town from its establishment by law in 1780.



[Pg 53]


1780—During the same year in which the town was established Kentucky received many valuable additions to its inhabitants; among these several persons of wealth or of talent came from the Atlantic States to settle among the “wild countries of the West,” and they were accompanied by many others without either of these requisites, ready at once to seek any and every means of existence. Col. George Slaughter accompanied by 150 State troops descended to the falls and took up his quarters there during this year. This accession placed the inhabitants in comparative security, but it was only comparative, for, emboldened by the knowledge that their fortress was impregnable to the attacks of their foes, men became more careless and unguarded, and the Indians were the very foe to take advantage of this fancied security; so that, as the historian of the period says, the very strength of the settlement and the security of its inhabitants “had the effect of apparently drawing the Indians into that quarter.” The fact, too, that the Ohio formed the natural boundary separating friend and foe was advantageous to the Indians. “They could approach its banks upon their own ground; they might cross it when convenient, reach the settlement, strike a blow and recross the river before a party could be collected or brought to pursue them. The river always[Pg 54] presented an object of difficulty and very often an insuperable obstacle to further pursuit. In this state of things it is no matter of surprise that soldiers were shot near the fort, or that in the settlements of Beargrass lives were lost, prisoners taken and horses stolen, with frequent impunity, or but sometimes retaliated.”[2] Connected with these predatory incursions of the Indians, a great many wonderful stories are told of “hair-breadth ’scapes by field and flood.” Histories of incidents in the Indian wars are, however, so similar in their character and so often told and widely known that we shall limit ourselves to the relation of only those that seem in their nature to demand admission here. The first of these presents one of those rare instances of magnanimity and true heroism that ever demands the attention of the chronicler. The station where Shelbyville now stands was a weak and inefficient one, and becoming alarmed by the presence of Indians in their vicinity, its inhabitants determined to remove to Beargrass. In this attempted emigration, however, they were attacked by their foes near Floyd’s Fork, defeated and scattered. Col. John Floyd, hearing of this, immediately started to their relief. In his party was Capt. Samuel Wells who had been on very unfriendly and even inimical terms with his superior officer. Arrived near the point, Col. Floyd separated his men and cautiously approached the enemy. But despite his skill and caution, he fell into an ambuscade and was in his turn defeated with great loss. He himself must have fallen into the hands of the victors but for the magnanimity of Wells. Floyd[Pg 55] had dismounted and was nearly exhausted, being closely pursued, when Wells, who had not quitted his horse, rode up and dismounting, helped his old enemy into the saddle and running by his side, supported and protected him till out of the reach of danger. This noble and generous action resulted in the fast and lasting friendship of the two men.

Another incident will show the education, even in boyhood, which the nature of the times demanded. Four young lads, two of them named Linn, accompanied by Wells and Brashears, went on a hunting party to a pond about six miles South-West of Louisville. They succeeded well in their sport, having killed among other game, a small cub bear. While they were assisting the elder Linn to strap the bear on his shoulders, and had laid down their guns, they were surprised by a party of Indians, and hurried over to the White river towns, where they remained in captivity several months. One of the party had in the mean time been carried to another town; and late in the fall the remaining three determined to effect their escape. When night had come, they rose quietly, and having stunned the old squaw, in whose hut they were living, by repeated blows with a small axe, they stole out of the lodge and started for Louisville. After daybreak, they concealed themselves in a hollow log, where they were frequently passed by the Indians who were near them everywhere; and at night they resumed their march, guided only by the stars and their knowledge of woodcraft. After several days, during which they subsisted on the game they could procure, they reached the river at Jeffersonville.[Pg 56] Arrived here they halooed for their friends, but did not succeed in making themselves heard. They had however no time to lose; the Indians were behind them and if they were retaken, they knew their doom. Accordingly, as two of them could not swim, they constructed a raft of the drift-logs about the shore and tied it together with grape vines, and the two launched upon it, while Brashears plunged into the water, pushing the raft with one hand and swimming with the other. Before they had arrived at the other shore, and when their raft was in a sinking condition from having taken up so much water, they were descried from this side, and boats went out and returned them safely to their friends.[3]

Only a few months ago, some gentlemen traveling near the south-eastern boundary of the city, discovered in an old tree the name of D. Boone and the date 1779, appended. Considering this a great curiosity, one of them removed it from the tree and attempted to confirm the authenticity of the date by counting the circles in the wood of the tree. Finding these to agree with the date marked, he carefully preserved the block containing this record, which is now to be seen in the library of the Kentucky Historical Society. This circumstance is mentioned here only still further to confirm the authenticity of this block by stating a similar case which occurred in 1811. In the spring of 1779, Squire Boone, the brother of Daniel, in company with two others, went from the falls to Bullitt’s Lick to shoot buffalo. After finishing their sport, they were returning home, when night overtook them at Stewart’s Spring. The young[Pg 57] men proposed to remain here for the night, but Boone objected, fearing an attack from the Indians. They accordingly turned off some 300 yards to the West, where they encamped for the night. There, while Boone and another of the party were arranging for the encampment, the third, being idle, amused himself by cutting a name and a few words on the bark of the tree. Afterwards, in 1811, during some legal investigation about lands, Boone testified to the existence of these marks near Stewart’s Spring, and upon examination they were found just as he had stated, although 32 years had elapsed since the cut was made. This fact is placed upon record in the Court of Appeals and does not admit of a doubt. The instance before referred to is of a precisely similar character, and the marks are probably equally authentic as those of the last.

It would be easy to relate numerous instances, similar to those already given, both as to the wonderful skill of the pioneers in woodcraft, and their daring, danger and miraculous escapes in the Indian fights, but, as has already been said, these anecdotes, often incorrect, and always difficult to narrate without embellishment, are so familiar to the majority of readers, and possess such similarity of outline that they would be interesting here only to those who have some personal knowledge of the actors in those scenes. There will be occasion hereafter, in speaking of some of the distinguished men of another period of this history, to refer again to subjects kindred to those above narrated.

In May of this year, still 1780, the Legislature of Virginia, on account of the difficulties attending the proper[Pg 58] administration of justice, and for other similar causes occasioned by the sparseness of the settlements in so large an extent of territory, passed an act dividing the county of Kentucky into three counties. Of these, the first was thus defined: “All that part of the South side of the Kentucky river which lies West and North of a line beginning at the mouth of Benson’s Big Creek and running up the same and its main fork to the head, thence South to the nearest waters of Hammond’s Creek, and down the same to its junction with the town fork of Salt river, thence South to Green river and down the same to its junction with the Ohio;” and was ordered to be known by the name of Jefferson. The other two counties were called Fayette and Lincoln.

Beside this there were few occurrences worthy of note during the year, which bear directly upon the subject of this history. Col. Clark had not only made his successful expedition against Pickway, but had built Fort Jefferson, five miles below the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and in the territory of the Chickasaws, thus adding that tribe to the already numerous foes of his adopted State. It was however soon evacuated and this evacuation accepted and acted upon by both parties as a tacit treaty of peace.

Early in the next year—1781—Col. Clark received his commission as Brigadier General. He now began to feel the necessity for some new display of activity in defending the frontier and accordingly he built a sort of row-galley upon which he placed some four-pound cannon. This galley was kept plying between the Falls and the mouth of Licking, and is by some believed to[Pg 59] have been of very great service in keeping off the attacks of the Indians; while others are of opinion that it was entirely valueless. Be that as it may; the galley was abandoned by the General before the close of the year. The Indians are said never to have attacked it and but seldom to have crossed that part of the river in which it moved. Various as are the opinions in regard to the utility of Clark’s barge, the fact of its having been so soon abandoned by the very projectors of the enterprise certainly does not speak much in its favor.

Another of the most important features of this year, perhaps indeed the very most important, was one which will now produce a smile. At that time, however, it was a subject of serious congratulation to the inhabitants of the new country. This was no less than the large immigration of young unmarried women into this region, abounding in young unmarried men. One of the historians of the time, in chronicling this event, remarks, with all the soberness and propriety due to the most solemn subject, that “the necessary consequence of this large influx of girls was the rapid and wonderful increase of population.” Whether this increase was produced by purely natural means or by foreign immigration is left by him in the profoundest doubt. Perhaps that worthy individual known as “The Oldest Inhabitant” could elucidate this point.

The only other circumstance worthy of notice during the year, was the building at the falls of a new fort. History gives us no information either as to the name or location of this position of defense. Its very name and history is swallowed up in that of Fort Nelson[Pg 60] which must have been built very soon after, if it was not commenced at the same time as this nameless fort.

Fort Nelson was built in 1782 by the regular troops, assisted by all the militia of the State. It was situated between Sixth and Eighth Streets on the North side of Main, immediately upon the “second bank” of the river. Its name was derived, as some say from Capt. Nelson, an influential citizen of Louisville in that day, but more probably was named in honor of the third republican governor of Virginia. It contained about an acre of ground and was surrounded by a ditch eight feet wide and ten feet deep, intersected in the middle by a sharp row of pickets. This ditch was surmounted by a breast work of log pens filled with the earth obtained from the ditch, with pickets ten feet high planted on the top of the breast work. Next to the river, pickets were deemed sufficient, aided by the long slope of the bank. There was artillery likewise in the fort. Col. Slaughter had brought with him several very small cannon, and Gen. Clark had placed here a double fortified six-pounder, which he had captured at Vincennes. This last piece played no inconsiderable part both in the previous and subsequent expeditions of this General. The present site of Seventh Street passed directly through the gate of the fort opposite the head quarters of Gen. Clark. The pickets and various other parts of this fort have been from time to time, since 1830, dug up in excavating cellars at the place formerly occupied by the post. Many of the pickets thus excavated have been made into walking canes and are valued as memorials of the past.

This year was perhaps one of the most disastrous[Pg 61] and dreadful in the annals of Kentucky. Although the settlements at the Falls were comparatively free from danger of attack, yet the older stations were suffering all the horrors of a bloody war. Several white men, impelled either by a love of the licentiousness and freedom from restraint of the savage life or by fear of punishment for their crimes, had united themselves with the Indians and constantly urged them against the Whites. The most celebrated of these were Girty and McKee, who had risen to a commanding rank among the red men, and their knowledge of the settlements enabled them to direct their new friends in all their expeditions. Previous to the great battle in which these renegadoes figured so largely, was the defeat and death of Captain Estill on Hinckston’s Fork of Licking and also a bloody fight at or near Hoy’s station. The great battle of the year however was at Blue Licks, and it was here that these renegadoes, whose names deserve and will receive perpetual execration, were successful. The result of this battle is well known to all readers of western history. Its effect upon the inhabitants of the new State was disheartening in the extreme. Gen. Clark, who was still at the Falls, seeing the necessity for rousing the people from their despondence and desirous of punishing the foe, proposed to a council of officers an expedition against the Indian towns on Miami and Scioto. And accordingly nearly one thousand men made rendezvous at the mouth of Licking and started for the towns. The Indians discovered their approach too soon for anything like a decisive battle, and they found only deserted towns and straggling Indians on their march. The[Pg 62] result of this invasion however convinced both sides of the superiority of the Whites, and restored the drooping spirits in the settlements. After this expedition the country remained quiet during the year, nor did any considerable party of Indians ever again invade the State.

In the winter of this year commenced the first of anything like intercourse between this part of the Ohio and New Orleans. Messrs. Tardiveau and Honore, the latter of whom resided in this city until within a few years, made the earliest trip from Brownsville to that port, and subsequently continued to make regular trips from Louisville to the French and Spanish ports on the Mississippi. Even previous to this, Col. Richard Taylor and his brother Hancock Taylor, had descended from Pittsburg to the mouth of the Yazoo; and Messrs. Gibson and Linn, in 1776, had made a trip from Pittsburg to New Orleans with a view to procuring military stores for the troops stationed at the former place. These gentlemen succeeded in their expedition, having obtained 156 kegs of powder, which arrived at the Falls in 1777, was carried around them by hand, and finally delivered at Pittsburg.

These early attempts at navigation were soon succeeded by the constant and regular trips of the Barges. Perhaps the most stirring and exciting scenes of western adventure were connected with the voyages of these peculiar craft. The bargemen were a distinct class of people whose fearlessness of character, recklessness of habits and laxity of morals rendered them a marked people. Their history will hereafter form the groundwork of many a heroic romance or epic poem. In the[Pg 63] earlier stages of this sort of navigation, their trips were dangerous, not only on account of the Indians whose hunting-grounds bounded their track on either side, but also because the shores of both rivers were infested with organized banditti, who sought every occasion to rob and murder the owners of these boats. Beside all this the Spanish Government had forbidden the navigation of the lower Mississippi by the Americans, and thus, hedged in every way by danger, it became these boatmen to cultivate all the hardihood and wiliness of the Pioneer, while it led them also into the possession of that recklessness and independent freedom of manner, which even after the causes that produced it had ceased, still clung to and formed an integral part of the character of the Western Bargeman. It is a matter of no little surprise that something like an authentic history of these wonderful men has never been written. Certainly it is desirable to preserve such a history, and no book could have been undertaken which would be likely to produce more both of pleasure and profit to the writer and none which would meet with a larger circle of delighted readers. The traditions on the subject are, even at this recent period, so vague and contradictory that it would be difficult to procure anything like reliable or authentic data in regard to them. No story in which the bargemen figure is too improbable to be narrated, nor can one determine what particular person is the hero of an incident which is in turn laid at the door of each distinguished member of the whole fraternity. Some of these incidents however will serve so well to give an idea of the peculiar characteristics of the bargemen,[Pg 64] and possess so much merit in themselves, that they cannot be omitted here. Previous to referring to any of these anecdotes, however, it may be interesting to introduce the following excellent description of the manner of navigating the Ohio and Mississippi prior to the introduction of steamboats. It is from the pen of Audubon, the celebrated ornithologist, whose death has been recently announced and has caused a feeling of deep regret in all who know how to admire that union of simple goodness of character with greatness of mind and untiring energy of study, which he, perhaps more than any other American, possessed.

“The keelboats and barges were employed,” says this extract, “in conveying produce of different kinds, such as lead, flour, pork and other articles. These returned laden with sugar, coffee and dry goods, suited for the markets of Genevieve and St. Louis on the upper Mississippi or branched off and ascended the Ohio to the foot of the falls at Louisville. A keelboat was generally manned by ten hands, principally Canadian French, and a patroon or master. These boats seldom carried more than from twenty to thirty tons. The barges had frequently forty or fifty men, with a patroon, and carried fifty or sixty tons. Both these kind of vessels were provided with a mast, a square sail, and coils of cordage known by the name of cordelles. Each boat or barge carried its own provisions. We shall suppose one of these boats under way, and, having passed Natchez, entering upon what were called the difficulties of their ascent. Wherever a point projected so as to render the course or bend below it of some magnitude, there was[Pg 65] an eddy, the returning current of which was sometimes as strong as that of the middle of the great stream. The bargemen, therefore, rowed up pretty close under the bank, and had merely to keep watch in the bow lest the boat should run against a planter or sawyer. But the boat has reached the point, and there the current is to all appearance of double strength and right against it. The men, who have rested a few minutes, are ordered to take their stations and lay hold of their oars, for the river must be crossed, it being seldom possible to double such a point and proceed along the same shore. The boat is crossing, its head slanting to the current, which is, however, too strong for the rowers, and when the other side of the river has been reached, it has drifted perhaps a quarter of a mile. The men are by this time exhausted, and, as we shall suppose it to be 12 o’clock, fasten the boat to a tree on the shore. A small glass of whiskey is given to each, when they cook and eat their dinner, and after resting from their fatigue for an hour, re-commence their labors. The boat is again seen slowly advancing against the stream. It has reached the lower end of a sandbar, along the edge of which it is propelled by means of long poles, if the bottom be hard. Two men, called bowsmen, remain at the prow to assist, in concert with the steersman, in managing the boat and keeping its head right against the current. The rest place themselves on the land side of the footway of the vessel, put one end of their poles on the ground and the other against their shoulders and push with all their might. As each of the men reaches the stern, he crosses to the other side, runs along it and[Pg 66] comes again to the landward side of the bow, when he re-commences operations. The barge in the mean time is ascending at a rate not exceeding one mile in the hour.

“The bar is at length passed, and as the shore in sight is straight on both sides and the current uniformly strong, the poles are laid aside, and the men being equally divided, those on the river side take to their oars, while those on the land-side lay hold of the branches of willows or other trees, and thus slowly propel the boat. Here and there, however, the trunk of a fallen tree, partly lying on the bank and partly projecting beyond it, impedes their progress and requires to be doubled. This is performed by striking into it the iron points of the poles and gaff-hooks, and so pulling around it. The sun is now quite low, and the barge is again secured in the best harbor within reach for the night, after having accomplished a distance of perhaps fifteen miles. The next day the wind proves favorable, the sail is set, the boat takes all advantages, and, meeting with no accident, has ascended thirty miles—perhaps double that distance. The next day comes with a very different aspect. The wind is right ahead, the shores are without trees of any kind, and the canes on the bank are so thick and stout that not even the cordelles can be used. This occasions a halt. The time is not altogether lost, as most of the men, being provided with rifles, betake themselves to the woods and search for the deer, the bears or the turkeys that are generally abundant there. Three days may pass before the wind changes, and the advantages gained on the previous five days are forgotten. Again the boat proceeds, but in passing over a shallow place,[Pg 67] runs on a log, swings with the current, but hangs fast with her lea-side almost under water. Now for the poles! all hands are on deck, bustling and pushing. At length, towards sunset, the boat is once more afloat, and is again taken to the shore where the wearied crew pass another night.

“I could tell you of the crew abandoning the boat and cargo and of numberless accidents and perils, but be it enough to say, that advancing in this tardy manner, the boat that left New Orleans on the 1st of March, often did not reach the Falls of Ohio until the month of July, sometimes not until October; and after all this immense trouble, it brought only a few bags of coffee and at most one hundred hogsheads of sugar. Such was the state of things as late as 1808. The number of barges at that period did not amount to more than 25 or 30, and the largest probably did not exceed one hundred tons burden. To make the best of this fatiguing navigation, I may conclude by saying that a barge which came up in three months, had done wonders, for I believe few voyages were performed in that time.”

In this little history, Mr. Audubon has said nothing of what was by far the most “dangerous danger” to which the crews of these craft were exposed. This was the attack, open and fearless as well as sneaking and treacherous, of the Boatwreckers. The country on both sides of the river from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio was an almost unpeopled wilderness. On the north side of the river from Fort Massac to the Mississippi, there lived a gang of these desperadoes, whose exploits need only the genius of a Schiller to render them[Pg 68] the wonder of the world and the admiration of those who love to gloat over tales of blood. There was an impudence and recklessness of life and of danger connected with these fellows, coupled with a dash of spirit and humor, that would render them excellent materiel in the hands of a skillful novelist; but they lacked that high sense of honor and that gentlemanly bearing which made heroes of the robbers of the Rhine, of Venice or of Mexico.

Their plan of action was to induce the crew of the passing “broad-horn” to land, to play a game of cards, (the favorite passion of the boatmen) and to cheat them unmercifully. If this scheme failed, they would pilot the boats into a difficult place, or, in pretended friendship, give them from the shores such directions as would not fail to run them on a snag or dash them to pieces against some hidden obstruction. If they were outwitted in all this, they would creep into the boats as they were tied up at night, and bore holes in the bottom or dig out the caulking. When the boat was sinking, they would get out their skiffs and craft of all kinds, and in the most philanthropic manner come to save the goods from the wreck. And save them they did, for they would row them up the little creeks that led from swamps in the interior and no trace of them could afterwards be seen. Or if some hardy fellow dared to go in pursuit of his saved cargo, he was sure to find an unknown grave in the morasses.

One of the most famous of these boatwreckers was Col. Fluger of New Hampshire, who is better known in the West as Col. Plug. This worthy gentleman long[Pg 69] held undisputed sway over the quiet boatwreckers about the mouth of Cash Creek. He was supposed to possess keys to every warehouse between that place and Louisville, and to have used them for his own private purposes on many occasions. He was a married man and became the father of a family. His wife’s soubriquet was Pluggy and like many others of her sex, her charms were a sore affliction to the Colonel’s peace of mind. Plug’s lieutenant was by him suspected of undue familiarity with Mrs. Col. Plug. The Colonel’s nice sense of honor was outraged, his family pride aroused—he called Lieutenant Nine-Eyes to the field.

“Dern your soul,” said he, “do you think this sort of candlestick ammer (clandestine amour he meant,) will pass? If you do, by gosh, I will put it to you or you shall put it to me.”

They used rifles, the ground was measured, the affair settled in the most proper and approved style. And they did put it to each other. Each received a ball in some fleshy part, and each admitted that “he was satisfied.”

“You are all grit!” said Col. Plug.

“And you waded in like a raal Kaintuck,” rejoined Nine-Eyes.

Col. Plug’s son and heir, who very possibly was the real subject-matter of dispute, and who was upon the ground, was ordered to place a bottle of whisky midway between the disputants. Up to this they limped and over it they embraced, swearing that “they were too well used to these things to be phazed by a little cold lead;” and Pluggy’s virtue having been thus proved immaculate,[Pg 70] the duel as well as the animosity of the parties ceased. Col. Plug, man of honor as he was, sometimes met with very rough treatment from the boatmen, whose half savage natures could ill appreciate a gentleman of his birth and breeding. An instance of this is recorded by the same historian upon whom we have drawn for the greater part of the above account of the duel.[4] A broad-horn from Louisville had received rough usage from Plug’s men the year before, and accordingly, on their next descent, they laid their scheme of revenge. Several of their crew left the boat before arriving at Plug’s domain, and quietly stole down the river bank to its place of landing. The boat with its small crew was quietly harbored, the men hospitably received and invited to sit down to a game of cards. They were scarcely seated and had placed their money before them, when Plug’s signal whistle for an onset sounded in their ears. The reserve corps of boatmen also heard it, knew its import and rushed to the rescue. The battle was quickly over. Three of Plug’s men were thrown into the river and the rest fled, leaving their brave commander on the field. Resistance did not avail him. Those ruthless boatmen stripped him to the skin, and forcing him to embrace a sapling about the size of his dear Pluggy’s waist, they bound him immovably in this loving squeeze. Then seizing the cowhide each applied it till he was tired, and so they left him alone with his troublesome thoughts and with a yet more troublesome and sanguinary host of musquitoes, which, lured by the ease with which they could now get a full meal of that blood which[Pg 71] had before been effectually preserved from their attacks by a thick epidermis, sallied forth to the feast by myriads. Pluggy, finding her bower lonely without its lord, came forth to seek him. Closely embracing the tree and covered from any immodest exposure of his person by a gauzy cloud of musquito wings, she found him. Clasping her hands, with a Siddons-like start and air, she cried, in her peculiarly elegant but somewhat un-English dialect: “Yasu Cree! O carissimo sposo, what for, like von dem fool, you hug zat tree and let ze marengoes eat up all your sweet brud?”

The historian is pained to record that all the answer she obtained to this tender solicitude was a curse. Plug cursed her, but Plug’s evil spirit was aroused. Let the reader suppose himself in Plug’s position and he will not blame that gentleman for the ungenerous reply that forced itself to his lips.

Not very long after this, Col. Plug came to his untimely end. Just as a squall was coming up, Col. Plug was in a boat whose crew had left it for an hour or so, engaged in the exercise of his profession; that is, he was digging the caulking out of the bottom, when the squall came on rather prematurely and broke the fastenings of the boat. It began to sink, and Col. Plug after vain endeavors to reach the shore, sank with it and was seen no more. Whether Pluggy still bewails her lost lord or has followed him in sorrow to the other shore, history does not tell us.

This sketch of the character of the boat wreckers will prepare the reader for forming some idea of the boatmen who were their prey. Among the most celebrated of[Pg 72] these, every reader of western history will at once remember Mike Fink, the hero of his class. So many and so marvellous are the stories told of this man that numbers of persons are inclined altogether to disbelieve his existence. That he did live however does not admit of a doubt. Many are yet living who knew him personally. As it is to him that all the more remarkable stories of western river adventure are attributed, his history will form the only example here given to illustrate the character of the western bargemen. It is however necessary to observe, that while Mike possessed all the characteristics of his class, a history of the various adventures attributed to him would present these characteristics in an exaggerated degree. Even the slight sketch here drawn cannot pretend to authenticity; for, aside from the fact, that, like other heroes, Mike has suffered from the exuberant fancy of his historians, he has also had in his own person to atone to posterity for many acts which never came from under his hand and seal. As the representative, however, of an extinct class of men, his ashes will not rise in indignation even if he is again made the “hero of fields his valor never won.”

Mike Fink was born in or near Pittsburg, where certain of his relatives still reside. In his earlier life he acted in the capacity of an Indian spy, and won great renown for himself by the wonderful facility with which, while yet a boy, he gained a knowledge of every act and movement of the foe. But while in the exercise of this calling, the free, wild and adventurous life of the boatmen attracted his youthful fancy, and the enchanting music of the boat-horn soon lured him away from Pittsburg to[Pg 73] try his fortunes on the broad Ohio. He had learned to mimic all the tones of the boatman’s horn, and he longed to go to New Orleans where he heard that the people spoke French and wore their Sunday clothes every day. He went, and from an humble pupil in his profession soon became a glorious master. When the river was too low to be navigable, Mike spent his time in the practice of rifle-shooting, then so eminently useful and desirable an accomplishment; and in this, as in all his serious undertakings, he soon surpassed his compeers. His skill with the rifle was so universally acknowledged, that whenever Mike was present at a Shooting-Match for Beef, such as were then of common occurrence all over the country, he was always allowed the fifth quarter, i. e. the hide and the tallow, without a shot. This was a perquisite of Mike’s skill, and one which he always claimed, always obtained and always sold for whisky with which to “treat the crowd.” His capacity as a drinker was enormous; he could drink a gallon in twenty-four hours without its effect being perceptible in his language or demeanor. Mike was a bit of a wag, too, and had a singular way of enforcing his jests. He used to say that he told his jokes on purpose to be laughed at, and no man should “make light” of them. The consequence was, that whoever had the temerity to refuse a laugh where Mike intended to raise one, received a sound drubbing and an admonition for the future, which was seldom neglected. His practical jokes, for so he and his associates called their predations on the inhabitants of the shores along which they passed, were always characterized by a boldness of design and a sagacity of [Pg 74]execution that showed no mean talent on Mike’s part. One of the most ingenious of these tricks, and one which affords a fair idea of the spirit of them all, is told as follows: Passing slowly down the river, Mike observed a very large and beautiful flock of sheep grazing on the shore, and being in want of fresh provisions, but scorning to buy them, Mike hit upon the following expedient. He noticed that there was an eddy near to the shore, and, as it was about dusk, he landed his boat in the eddy and tied her fast. In his cargo there were some bladders of scotch-snuff. Mike opened one of these and taking out a handful of the contents, he went ashore and catching five or six of the sheep, rubbed their faces very thoroughly with the snuff. He then returned to his boat and sent one of his men in a great hurry to the sheep-owner’s house to tell him that he “had better come down and see what was the matter with his sheep.” Upon coming down hastily in answer to Mike’s summons, the gentleman saw a portion of his flock very singularly affected; leaping, bleating, rubbing their noses against the ground and against each other, and performing all manner of undignified and unsheeplike antics. The gentleman was sorely puzzled and demanded of Mike “if he knew what was the matter with the sheep.”

“You don’t know?” answered Mike very gravely.

“I do not,” replied the gentleman.

“Did you ever hear of the black murrain?” asked Mike in a confidential whisper.

“Yes,” said the sheep owner in a terrified reply.

“Well, that’s it!” said Mike. “All the sheep up[Pg 75] river’s got it dreadful. Dyin’ like rotten dogs—hundreds a day.”

“You don’t say so,” answered the victim, “and is there no cure for it?”

“Only one as I knows on,” was the reply. “You see the murrain’s dreadful catchin’, and ef you don’t git them away as is got it, they’ll kill the whole flock. Better shoot ’em right-off; they’ve got to die any way.”

“But no man could single out the infected sheep and shoot them from among the flock,” said the gentleman.

“My name’s Mike Fink!” was the curt reply.

And it was answer enough. The gentleman begged Mike to shoot the infected sheep and throw them into the river. This was exactly what Mike wanted, but he pretended to resist. “It mought be a mistake,” he said; “they’ll may be git well. He didn’t like to shoot Manny’s sheep on his own say so. He’d better go an’ ask some of the neighbors ef it was the murrain sure ’nuf.” The gentleman insisted, and Mike modestly resisted, until finally he was promised a couple of gallons of old Peach Brandy if he would comply. His scruples thus finally overcome, Mike shot the sheep, threw them into the eddy and got the brandy. After dark, the men jumped into the water, hauled the sheep aboard, and by daylight had them neatly packed away and were gliding merrily down the stream.[5]

Another story, of a rather different character, is told to illustrate the recklessness of the man. It occurred on the Mississippi river. A negro had come down to the[Pg 76] bank to gaze at the passing boat, who had the singularly projecting heel peculiar to some races of Africans. This peculiarity caught Mike’s eye, and so far outraged his ideas of symmetry that he determined to correct it. Accordingly he raised his rifle to his shoulder and fired, carrying away the offensive projection. The negro fell crying murder, believing himself mortally wounded. Mike was apprehended for this trick, at St. Louis, and found guilty, but we do not hear of the infliction of any punishment. A writer in the Western Monthly Review for July, 1829, in a letter to the editor of that magazine, asserts that he has himself seen the records of this case in the books of the court, and that Mike’s only defense was that “the fellow couldn’t wear a genteel boot and he wanted to fix it so that he could.”

One of his feats with the rifle which Mike most loved to boast of occurred somewhere in Indiana. Mike’s boat was lying to, from some cause, and he had gone ashore in pursuit of game. “As he was creeping along with the stealthy tread of a cat, his eye fell upon a beautiful buck, browsing on the edge of a barren spot a little distance off. Repriming his gun and picking his flint, Mike made his approach in his usual noiseless manner. At the moment he reached the spot from which he meant to take aim, he observed a large Indian intent upon the same object, advancing from a direction little different from his own. Mike shrank behind a tree with the quickness of thought, and keeping his eye fixed upon the hunter, waited the result with patience. In a few moments the Indian halted within fifty paces and leveled his piece at the deer. Instantly Mike presented his[Pg 77] rifle at the body of the savage, and at the moment smoke issued from the gun of the latter, the bullet of Fink passed through the red man’s breast. He uttered a yell and fell dead at the same instant with the deer. Mike re-loaded his rifle and remained in covert some minutes to ascertain whether any more enemies were at hand. He then stepped up to the prostrate savage, and having satisfied himself that life was extinct, turned his attention to the buck, took from the carcass the pieces suited to jerking and retraced his steps in high glee to the boat.”[6] He used to say that was what he called “killing two birds with one stone.”

In all his little tricks, as Mike called them, he never displayed any very accurate respect to the laws either of propriety or property, but he was so ingenious in his predations that it is impossible not to laugh at his crimes. The stern rigor of Justice, however, did not feel disposed to laugh at Mike, but on the contrary offered a reward for his capture. For a long time Mike fought shy and could not be taken, until an old friend of his, who happened to be a constable, came to his boat when she was moored at Louisville and represented to Mike the poverty of his family; and, presuming on Mike’s known kindness of disposition, urged him to allow himself to be taken, and so procure for his friend the promised reward. He showed Mike the many chances of escape from conviction, and withal plead so strongly that Mike’s kind heart at last overcame him and he consented—but upon one condition! He felt at home nowhere but in his boat and among his men: let[Pg 78] them take him and his men in the yawl and they would go. It was the only hope of procuring his appearance at court and the constable consented. Accordingly a long-coupled wagon was procured, and with oxen attached it went down the hill, at Third Street for Mike’s yawl. The road, for it was not then a street, was very steep and very muddy at this point. Regardless of this, however, the boat was set upon the wagon, and Mike and his men, with their long poles ready, as if for an aquatic excursion, were put aboard, Mike in the stern. By dint of laborious dragging the wagon had attained half the height of the hill, when out shouted the stentorian voice of Mike calling to his men—Set Poles!—and the end of every long pole was set firmly in the thick mud—Back Her!—roared Mike, and down the hill again went wagon, yawl, men and oxen. Mike had been revolving the matter in his mind and had concluded that it was best not to go; and well knowing that each of his men was equal to a moderately strong ox, he had at once conceived and executed this retrograde movement. Once at the bottom, another parley was held and Mike was again overpowered. This time they had almost reached the top of the hill, when Set poles!—Back her! was again ordered and again executed. A third attempt, however, was successful, and Mike reached the court house in safety; and, as his friend, the constable, had endeavored to induce him to believe, he was acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence. Other indictments, however, were found against him, but Mike preferred not to wait to hear them tried; so, at a given signal he and his men boarded their craft again and[Pg 79] stood ready to weigh anchor. The dread of the long poles in the hands of Mike’s men prevented the posse from urging any serious remonstrance against his departure. And off they started with poles “tossed.” As they left the court house yard Mike waved his red bandanna, which he had fixed on one of the poles, and promising to “call again” was borne back to his element and launched once more upon the waters.

After the introduction of steamboats on the Western rivers, Mike’s occupation was gone. He could not consent, however, altogether to quit his free, wild life of adventure; and accordingly in 1822, he, together with Carpenter and Talbot, who were his firmest friends, joined Henry and Ashley’s company of Missouri trappers, and with this company they proceeded in the same year up to the mouth of the Yellow Stone river. Here a fort was built and from this point parties of hunters were sent out in all directions. Mike with his two friends and nine others formed one of these parties, and preferring to live to themselves, they dug a hole in the river bluff and here spent the winter. While here, Mike Fink and Carpenter had a fierce quarrel, caused probably by rivalry in the favors of a certain squaw. Previous to this time the friendship of these two men had been unbounded. Carpenter was equally as good a shot as Mike and it had been their custom to place a tin cup of whisky on each other’s head by turns and shoot it off at the distance of seventy yards with their rifles. This feat they had often performed and always successfully.

After the quarrel, and when spring had returned, they re-visited the fort and over a cup of whisky they talked[Pg 80] over their difficulty and rendered their vows of amity, which were to be ratified by the usual trial of shooting at the cup. They “skyed a copper” for the first shot and Mike won it. Carpenter, who knew Mike thoroughly, declared he was going to be killed, but scorned to refuse the test. He prepared himself for the worst. He bequeathed his gun, pistols, wages, &c., to Talbot, in case he should be killed. They went to the field, and while Mike loaded his gun and prepared for the shot, Carpenter filled a tin cup to the brim, and, without moving a feature, placed it on his devoted head. At this target Mike levelled his piece. After fixing his aim, however, he took down his gun, and laughingly cried, “Hold your noddle steady, Carpenter, and don’t spill the whisky, for I shall want some presently.” Then raising his rifle again, he pulled the trigger, and in an instant Carpenter fell and expired without a groan. The ball had penetrated the center of his forehead about an inch and a half above the eyes. Mike coolly set down his rifle and blew the smoke out of it, keeping his eye fixed on the prostrate body of his quondam friend. “Carpenter,” said he, “have you spilt the whisky?” He was told that he had killed Carpenter. “It is all an accident,” said he, “I took as fair a bead on the black spot on the cup as ever I took on a squirrel’s eye. How could it happen?” And he fell to cursing powder, gun, bullet and himself.

In the wild country where they then were, the hand of justice could not reach Mike and he went unmolested. But Talbot had determined to avenge Carpenter, and one day, after several months had elapsed, when Mike,[Pg 81] in a drunken fit of boasting, swore in Talbot’s presence that he had killed Carpenter intentionally and that he was glad of it, Talbot drew out one of the pistols which had been left him by the murdered man and shot Mike through the heart. In less than four months after this Talbot was himself drowned in attempting to swim the Titan river, and with him perished “the last of the boatmen.”

Mike Fink’s person is thus described by the writer in the Western Monthly before referred to. “His weight was about 180 pounds; height about five feet, nine inches; broad, round face, pleasant features, brown skin, tanned by sun and rain; blue, but very expressive eyes, inclining to grey; broad, white teeth, and square brawny form, well proportioned; and every muscle of the arms, thighs and legs, was fully developed, indicating the greatest strength and activity. His person, taken altogether, was a model for a Hercules, except as to size.” Of his character, Mike has himself given the best epitome. He used to say, “I can out-run, out-hop, out-jump, throw down, drag out and lick any man in the country. I’m a Salt-river roarer; I love the wimming and I’m chock full of fight.”

The early history of steamboat navigation will appear in its proper place.



[Pg 82]


Having passed over these pleasant and exciting histories of personal adventure, the reader now returns to the soberer chronicles of general history. In the spring of 1783 it became known in Kentucky that peace had been declared, and this joyous news could not have arrived at a more opportune time. The people had been harrassed by war until they were sick and disheartened, and although the news of peace did not drive off all fear of attack from the Indians, yet the consciousness that the posts formerly held by the British, which had been the chief depot of supplies for the Indians, would now fall into the possession of their countrymen, and consequently, that, although not yet arrived, the time would come when even the Indian hostility would cease; all this put a new life into the settlements of Kentucky.

Peace with Great Britain having been declared, the necessity for an army on the borders of Virginia no longer existed; and as that State was pressed for means, this army was disbanded, and the commission of Gen. Clark withdrawn, with many thanks to this gentleman “for his very great and singular services.” This was soon followed by a much more substantial testimony of the favor in which he was held by his native State, for during the same year he and his soldiers received a grant of one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land lying[Pg 83] north of the Ohio, to be located where they chose. They selected the region opposite to the falls, and thus was founded the town of Clarksville, which still remains in a state scarcely more improved than it then was.

Something like security and confidence was now established, and consequently the immigration here was constant and large. Factories for supplying the necessities of the household were established, schools were opened, the products of the soil were carefully attended to, and abundant crops were collected; several fields of wheat were gathered near Louisville, and the whole country changed its character from that of a series of military outposts to the more peaceful and more attractive one of a newly settled, but rich and fruitful territory, where industry met its reward, and where every one could live who was not too proud or too indolent to work. It was during this year that a new era was opened to the citizens of Louisville. A lot of merchandise, all the way from Philadelphia, arrived at the falls, and Daniel Brodhead opened there a retail store. The young ladies could now throw aside all the homely products of their own looms, take the wooden skewers from their ill-bound tresses, and, on festive occasions, shine in all the glories of flowered calico and real horn combs. It is not known whether it was this worthy Mr. Brodhead who was the first to introduce the luxury of glass window-lights, but it is certain that previous to this time such an extravagance was unknown; and there is an incident connected with the first window pane which deserves a place here, and which is recorded in the words of an author who is not more celebrated for his many public[Pg 84] virtues, than for his unceasing and incurable exercise of the private vice of punning. After referring to the introduction of this innovation, this gentleman says: “A young urchin who had seen glass spectacles on the noses of his elders, saw this spectacle with astonishment, and running home to his mother exclaimed, ‘O, Ma! there’s a house down here with specs on!” “This,” he adds, “may be considered a very precocious manifestation of the power of generalization in the young Kentuckian.”

Another curious incident of the times will close the record of this year. The notorious Tom Paine had written a book ridiculing the right of Virginia to this State, and urging Congress to take possession of the whole territory. Among the disciples of this absurd production were two Pennsylvanians, named Galloway and Pomeroy. The latter of these came to the falls and produced considerable annoyance to some of the landholders there by the dissemination of his doctrines, which induced others to pay no respect to the titles of their neighbors. This was an exigency which the laws had never contemplated, and although it was everywhere admitted that the man deserved punishment, it was difficult to find a law bearing upon his case. Legal investigation, however, soon drew to light an old law of Virginia which enforced a penalty in tobacco upon “the propagation of false news, to the disturbance of the good people of the colony.” Under this law, in May of the next year, Pomeroy was tried and sentenced to pay 2,000 pounds of tobacco, and had also to give security for his good behavior in the sum of £3,000, pay costs, &c. A[Pg 85] similar fate awaited Galloway, who had gone to Lexington and had there advocated these same doctrines. It was impossible for either of these men to procure the amount of tobacco required; and accordingly, when it was hinted to them that they would not be pursued if they left the country, they gladly embraced the offer and departed. And thus perished the effects of Mr. Paine’s wonderful book.

The next year, 1784, does not present in its annals anything of much importance in relation to Louisville. It was at this time that the first convention was held at Danville, where the subject of the separation of Kentucky and its erection into an independent State was first broached. It was not, however, thought advisable by this convention to make any serious movement in this matter until the following year, inasmuch as the people generally had not heard of the proposed separation, or had had no time to debate upon its feasibility. As yet no press had been established in the territory, and oral news was not readily or speedily disseminated through the State. On these accounts no action was had by the convention at this time, but a new convention was appointed for the following May, at which this subject was to be seriously considered.

We find by the report of a traveler in this year, that Louisville contained “63 houses finished, 37 partly finished, 22 raised but not covered, and more than 100 cabins.”

In the year 1785 the convention again met, first on the 23d of May, and afterwards on the 8th of August, to take action in relation to the formation of the new State. An address to Virginia and another to [Pg 86]Kentucky, together with resolutions in favor of the proposed separation, were unanimously passed in the earlier of these meetings. These addresses, however, were not deemed strong enough by the third or August convention, and that meeting accordingly changed them to a new and still stronger form of petition or remonstrance, and sent them forward for the action of the parent State. Accordingly in January of 1786, Virginia passed a law allowing independence to Kentucky, on this, among other conditions, that the separation should not take place until Congress should assent thereto, which assent of Congress was not gained until 1791.

In January of this year the county of Nelson was erected out of all that part of Jefferson county south of Salt river.

In the early part of 1785 Gen. Clark, together with Messrs. Lee and Butler, had held a treaty with the Western Indians at Fort McIntosh; but later in the year an Indian council of a hostile character had also been held on the Wabash, and the Indians had annoyed the settlers greatly during the latter part of the year. It was therefore thought advisable to enter into another treaty with the Indians on the Wabash, and accordingly Gen. Clark and Messrs. Butler and Parsons met those tribes at the mouth of the Great Miami in January of 1786. It was with great difficulty that the various tribes could be brought to treat at all, and, but for Gen. Clark’s knowledge of their character, and for the high estimation in which he was held by them, these commissioners would have been murdered outright. Judge Hall, of Cincinnati, has given a glowing and vivid description[Pg 87] of this meeting, which is here inserted. After noticing their abrupt and scornful manner of entering the council, he says: “The commissioners, without noticing the disorderly conduct of the other party, or appearing to have discovered their meditated treachery, opened the council in due form. They lighted the peace-pipe, and after drawing a few whiffs, passed it to the chiefs, who received it. Col. Clark then rose to explain the purpose for which the treaty was ordered. With an unembarrassed air, with the tone of one accustomed to command, and an easy assurance of perfect security and self-possession, he stated that the Commissioners had been sent to offer peace to the Shawnees; that the President had no wish to continue the war; he had no resentment to gratify; and, if the red men desired peace, they could have it on reasonable terms. ‘If such be the will of the Shawnees,’ he concluded, ‘let some of their wise men speak.’

“A chief arose, drew up his tall person to its full height, and assuming a haughty attitude, threw his eye contemptuously over the commissioners and their small retinue, as if to measure their insignificance in comparison with his own numerous train, and then stalking to the table, threw upon it two belts of wampum, of different colors—the war and the peace belt.

“‘We come here,’ he exclaimed, ‘to offer you two pieces of wampum; they are of different colors; you know what they mean; you can take which you like!’ and turning upon his heel, he resumed his seat.

“The chiefs drew themselves up, in consciousness of having hurled defiance in the teeth of the white men.[Pg 88] They had offered an insult to the renowned leader of the Long Knives, to which they knew it would be hard for him to submit, while they did not suppose he dared resent it. The council-pipe was laid aside. Those fierce wild men gazed intently at Clark. The Americans saw that the crisis had arrived; they could no longer doubt that the Indians understood the advantage they possessed, and were disposed to use it; and a common sense of danger caused each eve to be turned on the leading commissioner. He sat undisturbed and apparently careless until the chief who had thrown the belts upon the table had taken his seat; then with a small cane which he held in his hand, he reached, as if playfully, toward the war belt, entangled the end of the stick in it, drew it towards him, and then with a switch of the cane threw the belt into the midst of the chiefs. The effect was electric. Every man in the council of each party sprang to his feet, the savage with a loud exclamation of astonishment, “Hugh!” the Americans in expectation of a hopeless conflict against overwhelming numbers. Every hand grasped a weapon.

“Clark alone was unawed. The expression of his countenance changed to a ferocious sternness and his eye flashed, but otherwise he was unmoved. A bitter smile was perceptible upon his compressed lips as he gazed upon that savage band, whose hundred eyes were bent fiercely and in horrid exultation upon him as they stood like a pack of wolves at bay thirsting for blood, and ready to rush upon him whenever one bolder than the rest should commence the attack. It was one of those moments of indecision when the slightest weight thrown[Pg 89] into either scale will make it preponderate; a moment in which a bold man conversant with the secret springs of human action, may seize upon the minds of all around him and sway them at his will.

“Such a man was the intrepid Virginian. He spoke, and there was no man bold enough to gainsay him; none that could return the fierce glance of his eye. Raising his arm and waving his hand toward the door, he exclaimed, “Dogs, Begone!” The Indians hesitated for a moment, and then rushed tumultuously out of the council-room.” To this a writer of the Encyclopædia Americana adds that the Indians were heard all that night debating in the bushes near the fort; a part of them for war and a part of them for peace. The latter prevailed, and the next morning they came back and sued for peace. All this, however, did not remove the annoyances experienced from the attacks of the more distant Indians. These annoyances were of such a character as to induce the general government to send two companies of military to the Falls, to authorize the raising of militia in Kentucky and the invasion of the hostile territory. In pursuance of the spirit of this authority, if not in direct consonance with it, a body of a thousand men had rendezvous at Louisville, and marched thence in September toward Vincennes. At this point the little army waited, contrary to the advice of Gen. Clark, their commanding officer, for nine days, expecting provisions and ammunition. This delay was fatal. The soldiers became weary, and seeing the frequent inebriety of their general, lost their confidence in him, and refused their obedience. A body of about[Pg 90] three hundred, dissatisfied that their wishes in regard to their officers were not attended to, actually returned homeward, regardless of the earnest pleadings and almost the tears of their general; and the rest soon followed them. This expedition was a sad blow to Clark, for it put into the hands of his enemies a powerful weapon against him; and one which they remorselessly used. Had his advice been heeded before the delay was determined upon, he would never have become inebriated or exposed himself in an undignified light to his soldiery, and the expedition might have been successful. Palliated as may be his fault, it cannot be denied that, in this sortie, he was not what he had been. The sun of his military glory had not sunk below the horizon, but it was obscured by clouds whose thick shadows promised long to hide its beams.

The troubles in relation to the navigation of the Mississippi river were now the topics of all absorbing interest in every part of the West. We have not before alluded to these troubles, preferring to connect them entirely with the period of which we are now writing. A brief retrospect of the question will enable the reader readily to understand the subject in dispute and its bearing on the residents on the western waters. In 1781, Spain, having previously declared herself mistress of the Great Mississippi, took possession of the North-West in the name of her king. Mr. Jay, then in Madrid, had received instructions not to insist upon the American claim to this river, if he could not effect a treaty without yielding it. The Spanish Government, during the whole of 1782, was laboring to induce the[Pg 91] United States not only to yield the Mississippi, but also to give up a part of her actual possessions in the West; and her pretensions to these asserted rights were upheld by France. In this condition matters rested till 1785, when a representative of the Spanish Government appeared before Congress. Mr. Jay was at once authorized to negociate with him, and these negociations came again before Congress in May 1786; Mr. Jay having asked the guidance of that body in the matter. He showed them the importance of a treaty in commerce with a people so intimately connected with them as was Spain, and explained the difficulty in forming this treaty, owing to the unwillingness of Spain either to yield the river or to decrease her boundary claims. He could see no safer plan than, as a sort of compromise, to yield for a term of twenty-five or thirty years, the navigation of the river below the boundaries of the United States. This plan was vehemently opposed by Southern Congressmen and an attempt was made to take the negociations out of the hands of Mr. Jay altogether. In this attempt they were defeated, and Mr. Jay was not only retained in office, but was authorized to continue his negociations without being bound to insist on the immediate use of the river. The rumor of these movements at the capitol soon reached the West, but in the distorted form which rumor ever employs. Mr. Jay’s position was represented as positive and as having been assumed without reference to Congress. This news created great indignation in the West and led to the first dream of secession. The people felt that if the navigation of the Mississippi was denied them on the one hand, and in[Pg 92] case of a quarrel with Spain, the protection of the General Government on the other, secession was inevitable. Either they must conquer Spain or unite with her. And as if to show that they were in earnest in the matter, “a board of field-officers at Vincennes determined to garrison that point, to raise supplies by impressment, and to enlist new troops. Under this determination Spanish property was seized, soldiers were enrolled, and steps were taken to hold a peace-council with the natives; all under the direction of Gen. Clark. Soon after this, Thomas Green wrote from Louisville to the Governor and Legislature of Georgia, which State was involved in the boundary quarrel with Spain, that Spanish property had been seized in the North-West as a hostile measure, and not merely to procure necessaries for the troops, which Clark afterward declared was the case, and added that the General was ready to go down the river with ‘troops sufficient’ to take possession of the lands in dispute, if Georgia would countenance him.” The following extract from another letter written from Louisville, professedly to some one in New England, and probably also written by Green, will serve as additional evidence to prove that the people were seriously deliberating upon their position. It reads thus:

“‘Our situation is as bad as it possibly can be, therefore every exertion to retrieve our circumstances must be manly, eligible and just.

“‘We can raise 20,000 troops this side of the Alleghany and Apalachian Mountains, and the annual increase of them by emigration from other parts is from two to four thousand.

[Pg 93]“‘We have taken all the goods belonging to the Spanish merchants at post Vincennes and the Illinois; and are determined they shall not trade up the river, provided they will not let us trade down it. Preparations are now making here (if necessary) to drive the Spaniards from their settlements, at the mouth of the Mississippi. In case we are not countenanced or succored by the United States, (if we need it,) our allegiance will be thrown off and some other power applied to. Great Britain stands ready with open arms to receive and support us. They have already offered to open their resources for our supplies. When once re-united to them, ‘farewell, a long farewell to all your boasted greatness.’ The province of Canada and the inhabitants of these waters, of themselves, in time, will be able to conquer you. You are as ignorant of this country as Great Britain was of America. These are hints which if rightly improved may be of some service; if not, blame yourselves for the neglect.’

“This letter was shown by the bearer of it to several persons at Danville, who caused copies to be taken of it, and enclosed these to the Executive of Virginia. Early in 1787, the Council of this State had action on this subject, condemned Gen. Clark’s conduct, disavowed the powers assumed by him, ordered the prosecution of the persons concerned in the seizure of property, and laid the matter before Congress. It was presented in detail to that body upon the 13th of April, and upon the 24th of that month, it was resolved that the troops of the United States be employed to dispossess the unauthorized intruders who had taken possession of St. Vincents.”[7]

[Pg 94]The full details of the Mississippi troubles belong rather to a history of the State or of the United States than to that of a single city. What has already been stated in regard to them has been written to show the feeling that existed on the subject among the earlier residents of the city and of the State, as well as to display the part which was had in these difficulties by the prominent men of Louisville years ago. It would be foreign to the purposes of the present volume to go further into all these details, wherein the celebrated names of Wilkinson, Sebastian, Brown, Innis and Burr, are so involved, wherein so many splendid intellects were led astray from the paths pointed out by honor and patriotism, and sacrificed at the sordid shrine, of love of self and love of gain. Not to leave the unhistorical reader without any knowledge as to the issue of these troubles, it will however be necessary to point out as briefly as may be, the ultimate results of all the scheming, plotting and unlawful machinations against established government which for so long disturbed and disgraced Kentucky.

Passing over, then, all the intermediate space, we come to the fact that in 1795, a treaty was concluded with Spain by which not only the right to navigate the Mississippi was conceded to the United States, but a right to deposit at New Orleans was also yielded them. This, in effect, was all that Kentucky needed. This grant of a right to deposit, however, was only guaranteed by the treaty for three years; but with the proviso that, should the grant be withdrawn at the end of the three years, some other place than New Orleans should be afforded for the same purpose, near the mouth of the river. In[Pg 95] 1802 this right was withdrawn by the Spanish Intendant and no other place of deposit allowed. Spain had evidently violated her treaty, and the whole West was again thrown into a state of fearful excitement and commotion. Nor was this at all lessened when it became known that Louisiana had been ceded to France, and that it was now in possession of the dreaded Napoleon. Mr. Monroe was immediately dispatched to France to have an interview with the First Consul on this subject. Napoleon, then upon the eve of a rupture with England, plainly foresaw that it would be impossible for him to retain possession of so distant and isolated a colony as Louisiana while Great Britain was mistress of the seas. His sagacity had therefore determined him to get rid of so unprofitable a place as this. And much to the surprise of Mr. Monroe, “when he expected simply to negotiate for a place of deposite at the mouth of the river, he was informed that for the trifling sum of fifteen millions, he could purchase a magnificent empire. No time was lost in closing this extraordinary sale, as Bonaparte evidently apprehended that Louisiana would be taken by the British fleet within six months after hostilities commenced. And thus the first great annexation of territory to the United States was accomplished.”[8] And thus ended a long series of difficulties which had, in their course, blotted the escutcheon of Kentucky and tempted so many of her noblest intellects to forget their greatness in vain attempts at personal aggrandizement.

The following extracts from the records of the court[Pg 96] during this year will not give a very favorable idea of the high degree of enlightenment among our ancestors in 1786. On the 21st day of October in this year, it is recorded that “negro Tom, a slave, the property of Robert Daniel,” was condemned to death for stealing “two and three-fourth yards of cambric, and some ribbon and thread, the property of Jas. Patten.” This theft, small as it now appears, if estimated in the currency of the times would produce an astonishing sum, as will appear by the following inventory rendered to the court of the property of a deceased person:

To a coat and waistcoat £250; an old blue do. and do. £50   £300
To pocket book £6; part of an old shirt £3   9
To old blanket 6s; 2 bushels salt £480   480   6s.
  £789   6s.

These were the times when the price of whisky was fixed by law at $30 the pint, and hotel-keepers were allowed and expected to charge $12 for a breakfast and $6 for a bed. Payment however was always expected in the depreciated continental money, then almost the only currency.

In the latter part of this year, the legislature of Virginia again passed an act giving three years more time to the purchasers of lots in Louisville to complete their titles by building houses in consonance with the terms of the original purchase. The act offers as a reason for this extension, “the frequent incursions of the Indians and the difficulty of procuring materials for building.”

In the next year—1787—a new feature was exhibited to the people of Kentucky. Mr. John Bradford established at Lexington a weekly newspaper, printed at first[Pg 97] on a demy sheet and called the Kentucky Gazette. The politicians of the State had now an opportunity to address themselves to the people in a new and easy way, and they fully availed themselves of it. But the establishment of a newspaper was not the only proof of advancement among the Kentuckians, though it seemed the herald of progress; for, in one year after the first issue of the Gazette, a grammar school was opened, an almanac published, and a dancing school established, all in Lexington; while still a year later (1789) the first brick house was built in Louisville. This structure was erected by Mr. Kaye, an ancestor of our well known citizen and former Mayor, on Market street, between Fifth and Sixth streets; the second brick building in Louisville was erected by Mr. Eastin, on the North side of Main, below the corner of Fifth street; and the third by Mr. Reed at the North Western corner of Main and Sixth streets. It was about this time that the present city of Cincinnati was laid out. It was first called Losantiville, a name which is thus fancifully derived. Ville—the town—anti—opposite—os—the mouth—L—of Licking. This name was invented by a Mr. Filson, whose philological acuteness deserves immortality.

The three years given to the owners of lots in Louisville by the Act of ’86, being now expired, the legislature again passed an act granting yet other three years for the same purpose; and at the same time appointed eleven new trustees for the town. The number of trustees was now so large that it was neither agreeable to the citizens, nor did it facilitate the business of the town. Accordingly the very next meeting of the Assembly (in[Pg 98] 1790) passed a new act with the following preamble:—“Whereas, It is represented to this present General Assembly that inconveniences have arisen on account of the powers given to the Trustees and Commissioners of the Town of Louisville, in the County of Jefferson, not being sufficiently defined, for remedy whereof, &c.”—This Act deposed from office all the former Trustees of the town, and in lieu of them, appointed the following persons: “J. F. Moore, Abraham Hite, Abner M. Donne, Basil Prather and David Standiford, gentlemen;” as sole Trustees, with power to sell and convey lots, levy taxes, improve the town by means of taxes so levied, and fill vacancies in their own body by election. Under their regime the records of the council show quite an improvement in the prosperity of the embryo city.

Early in April of the year now spoken of, Louisville received an accession to the number of her citizens in the person of the renowned Major Quirey. This man’s immense muscular power; his daring and activity have made him a scarcely less remarkable personage than was the celebrated Peter Francisco, of Virginia. Arriving here at a period when physical power was far more appreciated, and held in far higher reverence than mental capacity, Quirey soon gained a strong hold on the affections of the people around him. He was a native of Pennsylvania, but married at nineteen years of age, and soon thereafter removed to Kentucky. He was six feet and two inches in height, and weighed 250 pounds; he had no inclination to embonpoint but was muscular and robust. The palm of his enormous hand would easily have served a modern fine lady for a [Pg 99]writing-desk.—Physiologists may feel inclined to doubt the truth of the assertion, but it is nevertheless confidently believed that his breast was a solid plate of bone, no appearance of the usual separation of the ribs being discernable, even after his death. Like all the men of his day, Quirey was a good hater alike of Indians and of cowards. A proof of this latter aversion occurred as he was descending the Ohio to Louisville. The Indians had recently been very successful in their battles with the emigrant boats, and were emboldened to attack all within their reach. Accordingly, Quirey’s boat, containing beside himself and his family, only a single individual, whose name is not remembered, came in for its share of the hostility. A large party of Indians made an attack upon them somewhere above the present site of Maysville. Quirey fought bravely, but the other man became dreadfully alarmed, and running into the boat, concealed himself among the cargo. Quirey, still standing upon his boat, received the guns as they were loaded by his wife, and handed to him, and fired on either not missing his comrade or supposing him dead. After the engagement, in which, despite the fearful odds, Quirey was victorious, they found their trembling and cowardly companion who was slowly sneaking from his place of concealment. With an impulse quick as thought, Quirey seized him with one hand around the waist, and bearing him above his head, would in another moment have dashed him into the waves, but the tears and entreaties of Mrs. Quirey saved him for the time. With so cowardly a disposition, however, it might have spared the poor wretch much agony had he perished then; for Quirey set him[Pg 100] ashore in the forest near Limestone, pointing him the way to the fort and there left him, surrounded on every side by objects to him of terror, there to “do or die.” History is silent as to his fate.

After reaching Louisville, Quirey soon established his reputation for strength in a way that none dared gainsay it. One Peter Smith, who had long held undisputed sway as the most expert fighter and the strongest man in Louisville, and who was withal what is more pertinently than politely called a bully, the terror of his whole neighborhood, having heard that a very large and strong man had arrived from Pennsylvania, determined, as he said, “either to whip Quirey, or if Quirey proved too much for him to leave the country.” He accordingly found his man, and proposed a trial at a fisty-cuff. This Quirey declined, urging that it would be better for them to turn their strength against the common enemy, and professing that he was willing to admit Smith to be his superior. Finding that this only made his antagonist the more determined, Quirey proposed a trial of skill in lifting or in some athletic game. Smith, however, was not to be thus appeased, but stripping the upper part of his body to the skin and tightening his belt, he advanced urging Quirey to get ready for the fight. Quirey replied that if he would have a fight, he was already prepared for it—and as Smith continued to advance upon him, Quirey, without moving from his steps, dealt him a single blow with open hand upon the ear. Smith fell several paces off with the blood gushing from eyes, nose and ears. But the trial did not end here, for on Smith’s recovering from the blow, he protested that it was an [Pg 101]unlucky and accidental hit, and demanded a new trial. Quirey again tried to avoid the quarrel, but seeing that a fight was inevitable, he told Smith that if he made a new attack upon him, he would be severely punished. Smith continued to advance toward him, and as he came within reach Quirey dealt him at the same instant two terrible blows, one with the hand and the other with the foot. Smith fell as if dead, was taken up and carried to Patton’s Tavern where he lay six weeks. At the end of that time, being sufficiently recovered, he kept his promise, leaving the State never to return.

Major Quirey was a valuable officer and a prompt and efficient soldier. During the war, he enlisted about 6000 men. Soon after his appointment as Captain in the 17th Regiment, U. S. A., an incident occurred which came near consigning him to an inglorious death. He had as pets a pair of large bears, and having occasion one day to pass near them he was suddenly seized from behind by the male bear and drawn under him, the animal sinking his nails into the cavity of the body. In the scuffle, however, he managed to get hold of the tongue of the bear, and drawing it across its teeth, forced the animal to bite off its own tongue. This feat he performed with one hand, while with the other he relieved the bear of one of his eyes. The pain he thus occasioned enabled him to extricate himself from his formidable foe, not, however, without detriment to himself. The Surgeon who dressed his wounds estimated his loss of flesh from off the left hip at nearly 12 pounds![9] On recovering from his wounds, Quirey returned to service[Pg 102] and continued in office till the disbanding of his Regiment in 1815. In two years afterward he died. His widow whose life is full of romantic incident, survived him many years, having died only two or three years ago. She is still remembered with regret by many who have so lately listened to her well-told recollections of early days in Louisville.

In July of this year, still 1790, the ninth and last Kentucky Convention met. It will be recollected that the first Convention had been held in 1784, and since that time, each returning year had seemed only to add to the difficulties experienced by Kentucky in attaining an honorable and independent position in the confederacy. This last Convention, however, saw an end to all the troubles experienced by its predecessors. The terms offered by Virginia were agreed to, and the 1st June 1792, was determined as the date of Independence. During the month of December succeeding the action of this Convention, Gen. Washington brought before Congress the subject of the admission of Kentucky as a State, and on the 14th of February in the next year, 1791, the long sought and anxiously hoped-for boon was granted. The ensuing December was chosen as the date of election for the framers of a Constitution for the New State, and in April 1792, that instrument was prepared, and Kentucky took her position among her sister States. Nor was this the only good which time had wrought for the new State. For the next year, 1793, brought with it the last incursions of the Indians into their once loved hunting-ground. Their twenty years’ struggle was over. Their best and bravest blood had been poured in vain;[Pg 103] the force of an irresistible destiny was against them; stern experience had taught them that right was not might, and, the contest ended, they quietly yielded to the all-conquering hand of the white man the soil that his axe, his plow, and his gun had redeemed from them forever.

The succeeding years, till 1800, however rich they may be in material for the historian of Kentucky, afford little that bears directly upon the subject before us. The Indians having ceased to be an aggressive foe, it was thought necessary that the Whites should, in their turn, provoke hostility, and accordingly, several expeditions were made against them. The Indian fights of Scott, St. Clair, Wayne, and others, belong to this period.

In 1796 the first paper-mill was built in Kentucky. It was situated near Georgetown, and is said to have been a very productive investment. It is here alluded to as a promising mark of social progress.

With the next year, 1797, we get the first clearly established estimate of the town of Louisville. In the records of the Trustees, the first list of taxes occurs. These were assessed on the 3d day of July, “on all who reside within the limits of the half-acre lots,” and one Dr. Hall, was appointed to fill the double office of assessor and collector. The following is his list of assessments:

“50 Horses at 6d per head, is   £1   5s   0d.
65 Negroes at 1s per head, is   3   5   0
2 Billiard Tables at 20s each   2   0   0
5 Tavern licenses at 6s each   1   10   0
5 retail Stores at 10s each   2   10   0
Carriages: 6 wheels at 2s per wheel       12   0
Town Lots at 6d per £100 is   8   13   6
80 Tithables at 3s each   12   0   0
Making the startling total of   £31   15s   6d.”

[Pg 104]And even this sum Hall found it very difficult to collect, for, nearly two years afterward he reports a list of delinquents amounting to £12. That the progress of the town was rapid and healthy from the first year of Kentucky Independence, is everywhere demonstrated. And no greater proof of this is needed than the fact that while the assessment of 1797 amounted to scarcely more than $150, that of 1809, 12 years later, reached the sum of $991. The town was now clearly and firmly established, it had within itself the elements of prosperity and it was seen that it must one day become great. Its history is less identified with that of the State, and it comes now to claim consideration on its own merit.

It was during this year that the office of Falls Pilot was created by law, in consonance with the following preamble to the act: “Whereas great inconveniences have been experienced and many boats lost in attempting to pass the rapids of the Ohio for want of a Pilot, and from persons offering their services to strangers to act as Pilots, by no means qualified for this business,” &c. The office was appointed by the Jefferson County Court, and the rate of pilotage fixed by the act was two dollars for each boat, while all other persons were forbidden to attempt to perform this service under a penalty of ten dollars.

During the next year—1798—the Assembly passed an act allowing the formation of fire companies by any number of persons exceeding forty, who should record their names and subscriptions in the County Court. These companies were allowed to form their own regulations, impose fines to the amount of £5, and collect[Pg 105] the same by suit before a single magistrate, which fines were to be applied to the purposes of their institution.

Previous to this time there had existed no impediment to the clandestine importation of goods by the way of Louisville; New Orleans being in possession of a foreign nation. In 1799, therefore, Congress passed an act by which Louisville was declared to be a port of entry, and a collector was established at this point.

The history of Louisville has thus been brought up to a period when it occupied a deservedly prominent position among western towns. Nature had fitted it to take the first rank, and its rapid improvement demonstrated its power and capacity to assume that position. Thirty years before the time of which we are now writing, the compass of the white man for the first time broke the soil of Kentucky; the spot whereon this great city now rests was a trackless wilderness. The smooth waters of the broad Ohio mirrored in their bosom only the dark branches of the waving forest. The axe of the woodman had not yet awakened the echoes of the grove. The deer, the bear and the buffalo by day, and the wolf and the panther by night were the only inhabitants of the spot. Less than thirty years elapsed and the wand of the magician had changed the scene. The forest had been felled, the trowel of the builder had been wielded, the streets and alleys of a civilized town occupied the spot where the deer had sported in frolic play, and hundreds of merry voices shouted where only the howl of the wolf had been heard. That a civilized town with a population of eight hundred souls, governed by wise laws, possessing the usages of society, enjoying[Pg 106] the luxuries of life and moving onward in its daily walk with the calm stability of its fellows, the growth of a century; that such a town should exist where less than thirty years before the beast and the savage had held undisputed sway, is surely an evidence of progress to which no other country in the world can find a parallel. It is a fact before which the wild romance of the Slave of Lamp almost ceases to be fiction.

Louisville having now arrived at an importance of its own, separate and apart from the State, the remainder of this history will be more strictly confined to matters of a purely local character. And beginning a new chapter with a new century, the rest of these annals will be as rapidly and strictly detailed as justice to the claims of each event will allow.



[Pg 107]


The opening of a new century found Louisville with a population of 800 souls, with power to elect her own Trustees, with a revenue arising from her own taxes, and in the enjoyment of all the social and political privileges which were possessed by any of the towns within the Western country. Early in the next year the Legislature of the State, after granting power to the Trustees of Louisville to make deeds and conveyances of the town lots and providing abundantly for the levying and collecting of taxes, proceeded to exempt the citizens from working on roads out of the town, except the road leading from Louisville to the lower landing, and ordered the appointment of a street Surveyor whose duty it should be from time to time to call upon the inhabitants of the town “to meet together on a certain day at a certain place for the purpose of working upon the streets.” And every person failing to obey such call was liable to a fine of six shillings for every such failure. The same Act also set aside the sum of twenty-five pounds (being part of the annual tax) to be appropriated toward the building of a market house on the public ground in said town, under the superintendence of the board of Trustees; and as if still further to show its confidence in the capacity of the town to manage its own growing interests, it also placed the harbor at the mouth of Beargrass entirely under the direction of the Trustees.

[Pg 108]Reference to the old books of the town show the prices of half acre lots on the principal streets at this time to have ranged from seven to fourteen hundred dollars.

The original plan and survey of the town having been lost or destroyed, and property being rapidly increasing in value, the Legislature found it necessary during the second year of the new century to order a new survey and plat to be made out. It also changed the term of office of the Trustees from one to two years, and gave them the power to fill vacancies in their body by an election among themselves. It also repealed an act which, although it had been the subject of repeated legislation, had proved a dead letter. This was the act in reference to the forfeiture of lots for want of improvements, which has been before quoted. The Legislature of this year, seeing the futility of further action in regard to this matter very properly ordered the act to be altogether repealed in all the towns under their jurisdiction, and ordered the Trustees of the several towns to make deeds to all purchasers of lots who could produce them receipts for the purchase money of their several properties.

The next year brought with it a new act of assembly ordering a repeal of the act of 1800 in relation to the building of a Market house on the public grounds in Louisville. The reason of this repeal consisted in the fact that public grounds were nowhere to be found, these valuable adjuncts to the town having been already disposed of by the sagacious governors of the place. Their unwise and illegal action in this matter has heretofore occupied the attention of the reader. Their “worshipful wisdoms” thinking only of to-day and careless of a[Pg 109] future, were guilty of frequent excessions of their duty, which are still felt and still regretted. A striking instance of this is exemplified in the single fact that a half acre lot on Main street, near Fourth, was disposed of by their order at public auction for a horse valued at twenty dollars. This, however, may cease to be thought so flagrant a breach of trust when it is compared with another sale which occurred at or about the same time, whereto neither of the parties occupied an official capacity and wherein the article sold, though not generally classed as real estate, is supposed to possess great value to the owner. A worthy citizen of Louisville about this period was in the habit of entertaining a great deal of company; and among others there came to his hospitable roof one who professed to be a Methodist preacher, but who proved to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing; for, after enjoying all the comforts his host’s kindness could afford him for several weeks, he started off one fine summer’s morning, taking with him, probably through mistake or inadvertence, his friend’s wife! The host missing this article of domestic furniture upon his return home, and suspecting whither it might have gone, put boot in stirrup and dashed off in pursuit. He soon overtook the soi-disant Reverend Gentleman and demanded his property. His right to take his own was not denied, but his Reverend friend proposed that as he fancied the subject matter of dispute, if his worthy host would withdraw his claim and leave him in peaceable possession, he would give him right, title and interest to and in the mare on which he rode. To this, after some slight hesitation, the husband consented, on condition that the bridle and saddle[Pg 110] of the mare were added to his friend’s offer. This trifling difference was readily yielded by the opposite party, and for many years after this good old man was seen pacing through the streets, mounted upon his mare, the two ambling along far more quietly than he and his former partner had ever done.

Returning, however to the requisitions of the act, we find that, repealing so much of the ordinance as related to the location of the market house, it enjoins upon the Trustees “to fix upon some proper place, such as shall seem most convenient to the inhabitants of the town, and there to erect a suitable market house.”

It was also during this year that the first of a series of smaller towns, attracted by the growing position of Louisville and hoping soon to rival it, began to spring up. Jeffersonville, situated nearly opposite Louisville, on a high bank of the Ohio, and in the State of Indiana, was laid out in November of this year. Its progress until recently has not been rapid, but it has gradually gained ground until within the last seven or eight years, during which it has come to be a very useful and valuable suburb to the city. More will be said of its history in a proper place.

Within the next year we come to the earliest organization of the town of Shippingport. This place, now so utterly decayed, once promised not only to rival but to surpass Louisville. The site occupied by it belonged to Campbell’s division of the two thousand acres mentioned in the earlier pages of this history, and was by him sold during this year to a Mr. Berthoud. Upon coming into the possession of this latter gentleman it[Pg 111] was surveyed, a plan of the town drawn and the lots advertised for sale. Its progress however was not rapid until 1806, when the Messrs. Terascons purchased the greater part of the lots embraced in the survey, and to their enterprizing endeavors did the town owe its rise. Its present importance is so trifling compared with its past greatness, and the probabilities of its future eminence among towns are so small that we shall probably not have occasion again to refer to it; and as its brief history belongs rather to this than to a later era it will be as well to close this account of it in the words of one who wrote when it was at the apex of its fame.

“This important place,” says Dr. McMurtrie in his sketches of Louisville published in 1819; “is situated two miles below Louisville, immediately at the foot of the rapids, and is built upon the beautiful plain or bottom which commences at the mouth of Beargrass creek, through which, under the brow of the second bank, the contemplated canal will in all probability be cut.”[10] The town originally consisted of forty-five acres, but it has since received considerable additions. The lots are 75 by 144 feet, the average price of which at present (1819) is from forty to fifty dollars per foot, according to the advantages of its situation. The streets are all laid out at right angles, those that run parallel to the river, or nearly so, are eight in number and vary from 30 to 90 feet in width. These are all intersected by twelve feet allies, running parallel to them, and by fifteen cross streets at right angles, each sixty feet wide.

The population of Shippingport may be estimated at[Pg 112] 600 souls, including strangers. Some taste is already perceptible in the construction of their houses, many of which are neatly built and ornamented with galleries, in which, of a Sunday, are displayed all the beauty of the place. It is, in fact, the Bois de Boulogne of Louisville, it being the resort of all classes on high days and holydays.

“At these times, it exhibits a spectacle at once novel and interesting. The number of steamboats in the port, each bearing one or two flags, the throng of horses, carriages, and gigs, and the contented appearance of a crowd of pedestrians, all arrayed in their “Sunday’s best” produce an effect it would be impossible to describe.”

The reason of the sudden decay of this once flourishing place is found in the fact that its utility as a point of embarkation and debarkation for goods, ceased with the building of the Canal. Previous to this time it had been, during three parts of the year, the head of the navigation of the lower Ohio. Even as early as this, however, the necessity for overcoming the impediment to navigation occasioned by the falls was recognized and acted upon; and in the year 1804, a Canal Company was chartered; but nothing was done beyond surveys until long after this time. The subject of the Canal, however, was one of absorbing interest with the citizens of Louisville from this time forward, and various plans were proposed, adopted, rejected and discussed, until the incorporation of the present Canal Company in 1825. The movement toward removing the obstruction in the river in any form had its opponents, who urged that the sole commercial advantage to be possessed by the city consisted in the[Pg 113] necessity for numerous commission and forwarding houses to receive and reship the vast quantities of merchandise which were to pass up and down this great artery. Among the many plans suggested for overcoming the break in the navigation of the river, one of the earliest and most strongly urged was one which has yet its warm and earnest adherents,—this is the construction of a Canal on the Indiana shore,—a plan which the citizens of Louisville have long since ceased to look upon except with aversion, but which the residents in a sister city are still urging with a violence which proves, contemptuously as they may speak of Louisville, that their fears of her as a rival city are strong enough to induce them to wish to cripple, if not to destroy her. Former surveys have all long since proved the Kentucky shore to be best suited to the purposes of a Canal, and the inadequacy of the present construction to the growing trade of the river does not seem to demonstrate the necessity for still further obstructing its course, even during high water, by an additional ditch on the other bank.

Another of the plans suggested at this time, proposed the blasting of a channel which would unite all the water into one stream at low stages. The bed of the river was also surveyed to ascertain the expediency of making a slack water navigation by means of one or more dams or locks. All of these and various others were however merged in the construction of the present Canal, which will be noticed at the appropriate period of this history.

With the next year comes another enactment of Assembly with the following amusing preamble:—“Whereas[Pg 114] it is represented to the present General Assembly that a number of persons residing in the town of Louisville, are in the habit of raising, and are now possessed of large numbers of Swine, to the great injury of the citizens generally; and that there are a number of ponds of water in said town, which are nuisances, and injurious to the health of the city and the prosperity of the town: Be it therefore enacted—That the present Trustees of the said town, and their successors, or a majority of them, shall have full power and authority to remove the same &c.” The latter of these nuisances has disappeared under the efforts of the “said successors,” but even the distinguished Mr. Dickens will bear us witness that the law against the former remains to this day a dead letter.

Another of the provisions of this same act invests the Trustees with power to levy a sum not exceeding eight hundred dollars for the purpose of repairing the streets, and in consideration thereof exempts those citizens from working on the streets, who shall pay an equivalent of 75 cents in money. It also gives the Trustees power to make regulations and by-laws for the proper preservation of order, to appoint a tax collector &c., and extends the privilege of voting for Trustees to the residents of the ten and twenty acre lots, thereby increasing the purlieus of the town to the present site of Chestnut street.

In speaking of the navigation and commerce of this period, Dr. McMurtrie tells us that in 1806 “six keel boats and two barges; the one of thirty tons, belonging to Reed, of Cincinnati; the other of forty, owned by Instone, of Frankfort; sufficed for the carrying trade of[Pg 115] Louisville and Shippingport.” The rapid and almost magical increase of trade in less than fifty years after this will at once suggest itself to every reader.

Mr. T. Cumming, the first European traveler who passed through Louisville, of whose record we have any knowledge, thus states his impressions of the town during this year. He says:—“I had thought Cincinnati one of the most beautiful towns I had seen in America, but Louisville, which is almost as large, equals it in beauty, and in the opinion of many exceeds it. It was considered as unhealthy, which impeded its progress until three or four years ago, when, probably in consequence of the country being more opened, bilious complaints ceased to be so frequent, and it is now considered by the inhabitants as healthy as any town on the river. There is a Market House, where is a good market every Wednesday and Saturday. Great retail business is done here, and much produce shipped to New Orleans.”

In the year 1807, we get the first mention of a newspaper published in Louisville. We are not able however to give any account of its origin, ownership or history. It is known only from an enactment of Assembly requiring certain laws to be published in its columns. It was called the “Farmer’s Library.” Similar mention is also made during the next year of a paper called “The Louisville Gazette.” Whether it succeeded the “Farmer’s Library,” as the acts of Assembly would seem to show, or was cotemporary with it is not known; a bare mention of its name is all that is left to posterity. In America, the presence of the newspaper is ever the[Pg 116] mark of peace, and quiet, and comfort. What to those of other nations is the luxury of affluent ease is to the American the earliest of necessities. The moment the rifle is laid aside, the newspaper is taken up. It is incident upon his every conquest, whether of man or of nature. The click of his rifle is succeeded by that of his types, and the roar of his cannon has hardly ceased till we hear the roll of his press.

Ten years having now elapsed since a statistical table of the town has been examined it may not be uninteresting to furnish another list of the taxable property within its limits. It will be recollected that the entire list of 1797 amounted to £31 15s 6d. Let us now turn to the list for the present year as shown by the assessor’s books, and mark the rapid increase of these ten years.

$74,000 value of lots at 10 per cent   $740   00
113 White Tythes at 50c   56   50
82 Black"over 16 years, at 25c   20   50
83""under 16"at 12½c   10   38
11 Retail Stores at $5   55   00
3 Tavern Licenses at $2   6   0
30 Carriage Wheels at 12½c per wheel   3   75
2 Billiard Tables at $2 50   5   00
131 Horses at 12½   16   37
Total   $913   50

Without pausing to remark further on this comparative statement, we pass on to the next event worthy of a place in this brief chronicle. This was the erection of a Theater in Louisville, which occurred early in 1808. We have no means of ascertaining who were the original projectors of this enterprise, but we have the authority of Dr. McMurtrie for stating that until 1818, it was[Pg 117] “but little better than a barn.” At that time, however, it fell into the hands of the celebrated Mr. Drake, under whose auspices was established the golden era of the Drama in the West. Not only did this gentleman please the taste and gratify the judgment of his audience, but he absolutely created a high standard of taste and judgment among them, the effects of which are still perceptible here. It is chiefly to the education received under his management that the critical talent of our Theatrical audiences of to-day, so well known and so generally acknowledged by the profession, is owing. Many whose names are now prominent in histrionic art took the initiatory steps in their career under Mr. Drake’s regime here. This Theater stood upon the North side of Jefferson street, between Third and Fourth, and was destroyed by fire in 1843. For a long time previous to its destruction, however, it had ceased to be the resort of any but the most profligate members of society. Even before the destruction of the City Theater, Mr. Coleman undertook the erection of a new dramatic temple at the South-east corner of Green and Fourth streets, but from some cause did not proceed further than the erection of the outer walls. This unfinished building was afterwards purchased by Mr. Bates of Cincinnati, and was by him opened for the first time early in the year 1846, since when it has been regularly opened during a part of every year, and performances creditable alike to the judgement of its manager, and the taste of its audiences have been regularly given.



[Pg 118]


The series of details, mostly of an uninteresting and dry nature, which were so hastily passed over in the last chapter seem to have been but the precursors to events of a character far more important to the interests of the city and far more agreeable to the reader. Before we approach, however, the one great event which opened a new theater of action to the city, and developed resources before undreamed of—the steam navigation of the Ohio. It will be necessary, to preserve the order in which this history has been written, to stop to notice two or three lesser matters.

Louisville, having become, from her peculiar position as a half-way house between the North and the South, the resort of numbers of strangers, it became necessary establish a police for the security of persons and property. This was done in 1810 by the appointment of two Watchmen, John Ferguson and Edward Dowler, at a salary of $250 per annum; and the records of the time do not show that these persons held their office as a sinecure.

The rogues having been thus placed under supervision, it became necessary to have a proper place for the administration of justice to them. In pursuance of this idea a Court House was erected in the centre of a large square now bounded by Fifth, Seventh, Market and Jefferson Streets. This building was made of brick [Pg 119]after a plan drawn by John Gwathmey and was finished in 1811. The precise site of the house is now occupied by a part of the present Jail. It fronted on Sixth Street, and consisted of a main building with two wings attached. In front of the main building was a lofty Ionic portico, supported by four columns. Long before this building was removed, these columns, which were built of wood, gave convincing and thoroughly American proof that they had been consigned to other uses than those intended by their projectors. Notwithstanding their great size, the attacks made upon them by the pen-knives of the attacheés of the court had actually severed one of them, and the wood within convenient reach of a man’s hand which remained in the other three, would hardly have served for one day’s good whittling. This edifice was, in its earlier days, the handsomest of its kind in the western country. It was pulled down in 1836, in order to make room for the new structure undertaken, but never completed, in 1837.

This sublime monument of the city’s folly, was begun on a scale of unexampled magnificence, and had it been possible to complete it, would have been one of the most beautiful buildings in the West. It still stands an almost mouldering ruin, its half-finished grandeur constantly recalling the parable of the foolish man who “began to build and was not able to finish.”

We come now to notice an event of vital importance, not only to Louisville, but to the whole West. This was the commencement of Steam Navigation on the western rivers. In October of 1811, Fulton’s steamboat called the “New Orleans,” intended to run from the[Pg 120] port of that name to Natchez, left Pittsburg for its point of destination. At this time there were but two steamboats on this continent; these were the North River and The Clermont, and they were occupied on the Hudson River. The New Orleans on her first trip took neither freight nor passengers. Her inmates “were Mr. Roosevelt, an associate of Fulton, with his wife and family, Mr. Baker, the engineer, Andrew Jack, the pilot, and six hands with a few domestics.” Her landing at Louisville is thus described in Latrobe’s Rambler in America.

“Late at night on the fourth day after quitting Pittsburg, they arrived in safety at Louisville, having been but seventy hours descending upwards of seven hundred miles. The novel appearance of the vessel, and the fearful rapidity with which it made its passage over the broad reaches of the river, excited a mixture of terror and surprise among many of the settlers on the banks, whom the rumor of such an invention had never reached; and it is related that on the unexpected arrival of the boat before Louisville, in the course of a fine still moonlight night, the extraordinary sound which filled the air as the pent-up steam was suffered to escape from the valves on rounding to, produced a general alarm, and multitudes in the town rose from their beds to ascertain the cause. I have heard that the general impression among the Kentuckians was, that the comet had fallen into the Ohio; but this does not rest upon the same foundation as the other facts which I lay before you, and which, I may at once say, I had directly from the lips of the parties themselves.”

[Pg 121]The water on the falls did not allow the Orleans to pass on to Natchez and she consequently made use of her time of detention by making several trips to and from Cincinnati. Toward the last of November she was enabled to pass the rapids, and after having weathered out the earthquakes, reached Natchez about the 1st of January, 1812. This boat was finally wrecked near Baton Rouge, where she struck on her upward passage from New Orleans.

From this event we may date the prosperity of Louisville as a fixed fact. At the head of ascending and the foot of descending navigation, all the wealth of the western country must pass through her hands. Such advantages as were here presented could not go unheeded. It became only necessary for the people to be convinced of the efficacy of steamboat navigation, and the opportunities held out to the capitalist by Louisville must be seen and embraced.

But as if to counterbalance the dawning of this great good, there came with it a great evil; for it was in December of this year that the first of a series of terrible and violent earthquakes was felt at Louisville; these carried consternation to the hearts of all her citizens; and during the four months of their almost constant recurrance there was little either of leisure or inclination for political progress. The first of the shocks was felt on the 16th of December at 2 h. 15 m. in the morning. Mr. Jared Brookes says of it: “It seems as if the surface of the earth was afloat and set in motion by a slight application of immense power, but when this regularity is broken by a sudden cross shove, all order is destroyed,[Pg 122] and a boiling action is produced, during the continuance of which the degree of violence is greatest, and the scene most dreadful; houses and other objects oscillate largely, irregularly and in different directions. A great noise is produced by the agitation of all the loose matter in town, but no other sound is heard; the general consternation is great, and the damage done considerable; gable ends, parapets, and chimneys of many houses are thrown down.” The whole duration of this shock from the earliest tremor to the last oscillation was about four minutes. This shock was succeeded during the same day by two others of almost equal power. It is related that when it was felt, several gentlemen were amusing themselves with cards when some one rushed in crying, “Gentlemen, how can you be engaged in this way when the world is so near its end?” The card-table was immediately deserted for the street, where from the vibratory motion the very stars seemed toppling to a fall. “What a pity,” philosophized one of the party, “that so beautiful a world should be thus destroyed!” “Almost every one of them,” says a historian of the incident, “believed that mother Earth, as she heaved and struggled, was in her last agony.”

During the prevalence of the earthquakes, it was customary to suspend some object so as to act as a pendulum in all the rooms and by the degree of its motion to determine the probable amount of danger. If the pendulum began to vibrate freely, the house was instantly deserted. Those who inhabited the loftier and statelier mansions were, at least for the time being, free from the envy of their humble neighbors, with whom they would[Pg 123] then have freely exchanged tenements. The possession of a princely edifice would then have been a source of regret rather than of pride or of congratulation. It is said, that unlike the great calamities of other times, this one had a good effect upon the public morals. The reason of this may probably be found in the fact that while this was a source of constant terror and alarm, it was yet not of a character to produce that despair which leads men to seek to drown all thoughts of a future in the reckless pursuit of pleasure or of forgetfulness.

Mr. Jared Brooks who preserved a faithful scientific account of these earthquakes refers to that of the 7th of February, 1812, as the most violent endured at any period during their continuance. It occurred at 3 h. 15 m. in the morning and, as this gentleman’s account says, “was preceded by frequent slight motions for several minutes; duration of great violence at least 4 minutes, then gradually moderated by exertions of lessening strength, but continued a constant motion more than two hours; then followed a succession of distinct tremors or jarrings at short intervals until 10 h. A. M., when, for a few seconds, a shock of some degree of severity, after which frequent jarrings and slight tremors during the day, once, at least in ten minutes. At 8 h. 10 m. P. M. a shock of second-rate violence, and during some minutes two others at equal periods, connected by continual tremor of considerable severity; the last shock was violent in the first degree, but of too short duration to do much injury. At 10 h. 10 m. P. M, after frequent considerable motions, the shock comes on violent in the second degree, strengthens to tremendous, holds at that[Pg 124] about seven seconds, then trembles away, severe about five minutes; frequent tremors follow, and a shock of third-rate violence. The action then ceases for a time.” With one more extract from Mr. Brooks, we shall conclude this account of the celebrated earthquakes of 1811. This is a table showing the number and relative value of all the earthquakes experienced here. It is preceded by a lucid explanation of the degrees of violence referred to in the table, and shows at a glance the number and intensity of the shocks.

First-Rate.—Most tremendous, so as to threaten the destruction of the town, and which would soon effect it, should the action continue with the same degree of violence; buildings oscillate largely and irregularly, and grind against each other; the walls split and begin to yield; chimneys, parapets and gable ends break in various directions and topple to the ground.

Second-Rate.—Less violent, but very severe.

Third-Rate.—Moderate, but alarming to people generally.

Fourth-Rate.—Perceptible to the feeling of those who are still and not subject to other motion or sort of jarring, that may resemble this.

Sixth-Rate.—Although often causing a strange sort of sensation, absence, and sometimes gidiness, the motion is not to be ascertained positively; but by the vibrators or other objects placed for that purpose.

 [Pg 125]


End of
each Week
1st 2d 3d 4th 5th 6th Rate. Total.
December 22 3 2 3 1 12 66 87
" 29 0 0 0 0 6 150 156
January 5 0 1 2 9 3 119 134
" 12 0 1 0 10 0 150 161
" 19 0 0 0 4 6 55 65
" 26 1 1 7 2 2 78 91
February 2 1 0 4 6 7 191 209
" 9 3 5 7 5 15 140 175
" 16 0 0 3 6 12 65 86
" 23 0 0 4 6 4 278 292
March 1 0 0 1 4 8 126 139
" 8 0 0 2 9 8 39 58
" 15 0 0 2 3 6 210 221
Total 8 10 35 65 89 1667 1874

The good effect which, as before mentioned, was produced upon the morals of the town by this succession of dangers does not seem to have been of permanent value if we may credit a writer in the Bedford Pa. Gazette, in the year 1814, who makes himself very merry over what he is pleased to term the “devout paroxisms” of the good citizens of this place, as will appear by the following communication.

He says: “At Louisville, in the State of Kentucky, a town about four times as large as Bedford, they have no church. When the earthquake gave them the first shock, they grew very devout in one night; and on the next day with long faces, they subscribed a thousand dollars to build a house of public worship. Thus the matter rested until the second shock came, when another devout paroxism produced another thousand dollars. It rested again till a third earthquake and devout fit produced another subscription to the same amount. There was no more of the matter. The earthquake did not return, and the Louisvillians concluded the devil would[Pg 126] not send for them for a few years more, and in the mean time determined to be merry. They immediately built a theater, which cost them seven thousand dollars, and employed a company of actors, the offscourings of maratime city theaters. To this company they gave about five hundred dollars per week, till at length the actors, instead of raising the curtain, broke through it and broke each other’s heads with sticks, and the heads of some of the auditors who interfered. The earthquakes have lately begun to shake Louisville again, but whether they laugh or pray I have not heard.”

The Western Courier, published at Louisville, copies this article, with some stringent remarks upon its contents; and attributes the authorship of it to some actor whose efforts in his profession had not been duly honored by the people whom he villifies. Who is in the right in this matter it is now impossible to say; but it is certain that the author of the article in question is guilty of an anachronism, for it will be remembered that the theater was built previous to the commencement of the earthquakes. It is, however, unquestionably true that the theater was built several years before a church edifice of any kind was attempted.

The newspaper from which this article was copied was commenced here in October or November of 1810, by Nicholas Clarke. It was published weekly at three dollars per annum, and contained for the most part little else than news of the wars, acts of Assembly and of Congress, and advertisements. In 1814, Mann Butler joined Mr. Clarke in the editorship of the paper, but did not continue long in his chair. The Louisville Correspondent[Pg 127] was issued at about the same time, and edited by Col. E. C. Barry. It was discontinued in 1817. It is believed that there are no files of it in existence now.

Reference to all the early files of newspapers published at this day, will show how gradual and yet how certain was the progress of steamboat navigation on the Ohio. The arrival of every boat was carefully noted and always accompanied with a great flourish of trumpets and a renewed eulogy on the wonders of the new invention. Much credit is due to Capt. H. M. Shreve, lately of St. Louis, for his indefatigable and successful endeavors to improve as well as to enlarge this prominent branch of commerce. As is well known, Fulton and Livingston held a patent for the entire right to navigate all the rivers in the United Stages for a certain number of years. But Mr. Shreve, seeing the injustice of this grant and doubting its legality, openly defied it; and finally, after much effort and not a little pecuniary loss, succeeded in 1816 in removing the grant and throwing open the navigation of the public highways to all. It will not be uninteresting to the reader, while upon this fruitful topic, to glance at a list of all the steamboats employed upon the western waters until 1819. This list is copied from Dr. McMurtrie, whose data is not always implicitly reliable. It has however been corrected as far as was practicable at this remote period. The present tense, whenever employed, is meant to refer to the year 1819.

 [Pg 128]


1st. The Orleans—the first boat built at Pittsburg, owned by and constructed under the superintendence of Mr. Fulton. Sailed from Pittsburg in October, 1811, and arrived at her destination, Natchez, about the 1st January, 1812. She ran between New Orleans and Natchez about two years, making her voyages to average seventeen days; was wrecked near Baton Rouge, where she sunk on the upward bound passage; 400 tons burthen.

2d. The Comet—owned by Samuel Smith; built at Pittsburg by Daniel French; stern-wheel and vibrating cylinder; on French’s patent granted in 1809. The Comet made a voyage to Louisville in the summer of 1813; and descended to New Orleans in the Spring of 1814; made two voyages to Natchez, and was sold; the engine put up in a cotton gin; 45 tons burthen.

3d. The Vesuvius—built at Pittsburg by Fulton, and owned by a company of gentlemen belonging to New York and New Orleans. Sailed from New Orleans in the Spring of 1814, commanded by Captain Frank Ogden. She was then employed some months between New Orleans and Natchez, under the command of Captain Clemmont, who was succeeded by Captain John DeHart; shortly after she took fire, near the city of New Orleans and burned to the water’s edge; having a valuable cargo on board. She was afterwards raised and built upon at New Orleans. She has since been in the Louisville trade, and has lately been sold to a company at Natchez; 390 tons burthen.

4th. The Enterprise—built at Brownsville, [Pg 129]Pennsylvania, on the Monongahela, by Daniel French, on his patent, and owned by a company at that place. She made two voyages to Louisville in the summer of 1814, under the command of Captain J. Gregg. On the first of December she took in a cargo of ordinance stores at Pittsburg, and sailed for New Orleans, commanded by Captain H. M. Shreve, and arrived at New Orleans on the 14th of the same month. She made one voyage to the Gulf of Mexico as a cartel; one voyage to the rapids of Red River with troops; nine voyages to Natchez; set out for Pittsburgh on the 6th May, and arrived at Shippingport on the 30th, (25 days out,) being the first steamboat that ever arrived at that port from New Orleans. From thence she proceeded on to Pittsburgh, and the command was given to Captain D. Wooley, who lost her about twelve months after in Rock harbor at Shippingport; 45 tons burthen.

5th. Etna—built at Pittsburg, and owned by the same company as the Vesuvius; sailed from Pittsburg for New Orleans in March, 1815, under the command of Captain A. Gale, and arrived in April following; continued in the Natchez trade. Was then commanded by Captain R. De Hart, who made six voyages in her to Louisville; and is now commanded by Captain A. Gale in the same trade.

6th. The Dispatch—built at Brownsville, on French’s patent, and owned by the same company as the Enterprise. She made several voyages from Pittsburg to Louisville, and one from New Orleans to Shippingport, where she now lies a wreck, her engine out; was commanded by Captain J. Gregg; 25 tons burthen.

[Pg 130]7th and 8th. The Buffalo, 300 tons; and James Monroe, 90 tons; built at Pittsburg by Latrobe, for a company at New York, but failed in finishing them. They were sold at Sheriff’s sale, and fell into the hands of Mr. Whiting, and finished by him with engines; both dull sailers.

9th. Washington—a two-decker; built at Wheeling, Virginia; constructed and partly owned by Captain H. M. Shreve; her engine was made at Brownsville, under the immediate direction of Captain Shreve. Her boilers are on the upper deck, being the first boat on that plan, and is a valuable improvement by Captain Shreve, which is now generally in use. The Washington crossed the falls in September, 1816, commanded by Captain Shreve, went to New Orleans, and returned to Louisville in the winter. In the month of March, 1817, she left Shippingport a second time, proceeded to New Orleans, and returned to Shippingport, being absent but 45 days. This was the trip that convinced the despairing public that steamboat navigation would succeed on the western waters. She has since been running with similar success in the same trade; 400 tons burthen.

10th. The Franklin—built at Pittsburg, by Messrs. Shires and Cromwell; engine built by George Evans; sailed from Pittsburg in December 1816; was sold at New Orleans, and has been in the Louisville and St. Louis trade since that time; she was sunk in the Mississippi near St. Genevieve a few months since, under the command of Captain Reed, on her way to St. Louis; 150 tons burthen.

11th. The Oliver Evans; (now the Constitution,)[Pg 131] 75 tons; was built at Pittsburg by Mr. George Evans; engine his patent. She left Pittsburg in December, 1816, for New Orleans; in 1817 she burst one of her boilers, off Coupee, by which eleven men lost their lives, principally passengers. Has done but little since. Is now owned by Mr. George Sutton and others of Pittsburg; 75 tons burthen.

12th. The Harriet—built at Pittsburg; owned and constructed by Mr. Armstrong, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She sailed from Pittsburg, October, 1816, for New Orleans, and crossed the falls in March, 1817; made one voyage to New Orleans, and has since run between that place and the Muscle Shoals; 40 tons burthen.

13th. The Pike—a small boat built by Mr. Prentiss, of Henderson, Kentucky; run some time from Louisville to St. Louis; from thence in the Red River trade. Was lost on a sawyer, March, 1818; 25 tons burthen.

14th. The Kentucky—built at Frankfort, Kentucky, and owned by Hanson and Boswell; in the Louisville trade; 80 tons burthen.

15th. The Gov. Shelby—built at Louisville, Kentucky, by Messrs. Gray, Gwathmey and Gretsinger; Bolton and Watt’s engine. Now performing very successfully in the Louisville trade; 120 tons burthen.

16th. The New Orleans—built at Pittsburg in 1817, by Fulton and Livingston; in the Natchez trade. Near Baton Rouge, she was sunk and raised again, and sunk at New Orleans in Feb. 1819, about two months after her sinking near Baton Rouge; 300 tons burthen.

17th. The George Madison—built at Pittsburg in 1818, by Messrs. Voorhies, Mitchell, Rodgers, and Todd,[Pg 132] of Frankfort, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade: 200 tons burthen.

18th. The Ohio—built at New Albany by Messrs. Shreve and Blair; in the Louisville trade; 443 tons burthen.

19th. The Napoleon—built at Shippingport in 1818, by Messrs. Shreve, Miller, and Breckenridge, of Louisville; in the Louisville trade; 332 tons burthen.

20th. The Volcano—built at New Albany, by Messrs. John and Robertson De Hart, in 1808; in the Louisville trade; 250 tons burthen.

21st. The Gen. Jackson—built at Pittsburg in 1818, and owned by Messrs. R. Whiting of Pittsburg, and Gen. Carroll of Tennessee; in the Nashville trade; 200 tons burthen.

22d. The Eagle—built at Cincinnati in 1818, owned by Messrs. James Berthoud and Son, of Shippingport, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 70 tons burthen.

23d. The Hecla—built at Cincinnati in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Honore and Barbaroux, of Louisville, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 70 tons burthen.

24th. The Henderson—built at Cincinnati in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Bowens, of Henderson, Kentucky; in the Henderson and Louisville trade; 85 tons burthen.

25th. The Johnson—built at Wheeling in 1818, by George White, and owned by Messrs. J. and R. Johnson, of Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 90 tons burthen.

26th. The Cincinnati—built at Cincinnati in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Peniwit and Burns, of Cincinnati, and Messrs. Paxton and Co. of New Albany; in the Louisville trade; 120 tons burthen.

[Pg 133]27th. The Exchange—built at Louisville in 1818, and owned by David L. Ward, of Jefferson county, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 200 tons burthen.

28th. The Louisiana—built at New Orleans in 1818, and owned by Mr. Duplissa of New Orleans; in the Natchez trade; 45 tons burthen.

29th. The James Ross—built at Pittsburg in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Whiting and Stackpole, of Pittsburg; in the Louisville trade. This boat has lately made a trip from New Orleans to Shippingport, in sixteen days and a half, having lost sixty one hours and eight minutes in discharging cargo on the way. Had on board 200 tons cargo; 330 tons burthen.

30th. The Frankfort—built at Pittsburg in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Voorhies and Mitchell of Frankfort, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 320 tons burthen.

31st. The Tamerlane—built at Pittsburg in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Boggs and Co., of New York; in the Louisville trade; 320 tons burthen.

32d. The Cedar Branch—built in 1818, and owned at Maysville, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 250 tons burthen.

33d. The Experiment—built at Cincinnati in 1818, and owned at that place; 40 tons burthen.

34th The St Louis—built at Shippingport in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Hewes, Douglass, Johnson and others; in the St. Louis trade; 220 tons burthen.

35th. The Vesta—built at Cincinnati in 1817, and owned by Captain Jenkins of that place; in the Louisville trade; 100 tons burthen.

36th. The Rifleman—built at Louisville in 1819, and[Pg 134] owned by Messrs. Butler and Barners, of Russelville, Kentucky; in the Louisville trade; 250 tons burthen.

37th. The Alabama—a small boat, built on Lake Ponchetrane in 1818; in the Red River trade.

38th. The Rising States—built at Pittsburg in 1819, and owned by W. F. Peterson and Co., of Louisville; in the Louisville trade.

39th. The General Pike—built at Cincinnati in 1819, intended to ply between Louisville, Cincinnati, and Maysville, as a packet, and owned by a company in Cincinnati.

40th. The Independence—owned by Captain Nelson, and intended to ply between Louisville and St. Louis.

41st. The United States—built at Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1819; owned by Hart and others, and has two separate engines, made in England. She is doubtless the finest merchant steamboat in the universe, drawing but little water, and capable of carrying 3000 bales of cotton; in the Louisville trade; 700 tons burthen.

The interest of this subject and the quantity of material which presses upon us in regard to it have for awhile led us to forget the proper order of our history, to which it will be necessary now to revert. Commencing then with 1811 we have first to record the erection of a Catholic Chapel by the Rev. Mr. Badin. This building was situated upon a lot given by Mr. Tarascon, near the present corner of Eleventh and Main streets. It was built in the Gothic style, and was a small edifice. The lot upon which it stood was used as the cemetery of the church, and many years afterward in digging out Eleventh street; skulls, bones, and portions of bodies were thrown up from this graveyard.

[Pg 135]With the opening of the year 1812, was commenced the first Bank ever instituted in Louisville. This was the branch of the Bank of Kentucky. Previous to this, there was an unincorporated establishment named the Louisville Bank, whose capital of about 75,000 dollars was thrown into this Bank, with an addition of 25,000 dollars, making for the first incorporated Bank a capital of 100,000 dollars. This bank was situated on the North side of Main street, near the corner of Fifth, and was under the direction of Thomas Prather,[11] President, and John Bustard, Cashier. An additional impetus was also given to the commercial prosperity of the town by the establishment, during this year, of an iron foundry by Mr. Paul Skidmore. The attention of this foundry was directed to casting gudgeons for water and horse mills, dog and smoothing irons, and odd oven lids. From this small beginning arose that branch of industry now so large and of so vital importance to the city. A brief sketch of the progress of foundries since that time may be interesting to the reader. Mr. Skidmore was succeeded by Joshua Headington, who continued the same[Pg 136] description of business with little if any improvement until 1817, when he was in his turn succeeded by Prentiss and Bakewell, who undertook the building of Steam engines, getting a part of the machinery from Philadelphia, and a part from Pittsburg, but they did not succeed very satisfactorily until 1825, when they built some engines for small boats which performed respectably. These gentlemen dissolved their connection about 1826. Mr. Prentiss continued the business a short time alone, and then sold one half of his establishment to Jacob Keffer, who was to superintend the foundry. In 1831, this foundry ceased operations, and Messrs. D. L. Beatty, John Curry, and Jacob Beckwith built a foundry and carried on successfully the casting and steam engine business. These gentlemen erected the first air furnace which ever proved of any value; built the first regular boring-mill, and substituted the blowing cylinder instead of the common wood and leather bellows. There are now six foundries for building steam-engines and machinery of all kinds in full operation, beside six extensive Stove Foundries.

The legislature of the State passed an act during this year ordering Main street to be paved from cross No. 3 to cross No. 6, at the expense of the owners of lots fronting on said street. While the paving was progressing agreeably to this order, an honest Scotchman came by from the vicinity with a loaded wagon. “What’ll ye be doin’ there?” was his salutation to the superintendent of the work. “Paving the street,” was the answer. “Pavin’, do ye say, weel, weel, when it’s done, I’ll willinly pay my peart o’ it, for I hae had awfu’ wark [Pg 137]gettin’ through it a’ before.” It is not recorded whether this honest gentleman was called on for his “peart,” but it is presumed he was enabled to enjoy these advantages gratis.

It was also about this period that a Methodist church was built in this place. This church is the one referred to in the communication published a few pages previous. It was the second church of any kind ever built in the city, and was erected by the subscriptions of all the citizens. It was under the direction of the Methodists, but was opened to ministers of all denominations. It was situated on the North side of Market street between Seventh and Eighth. The house has since been converted into a dwelling and is still standing. It was soon found to be too small to accommodate the growing population of the town and was accordingly sold, and the present Fourth street Methodist Church built with the proceeds of that sale, assisted by the subscriptions of the citizens. This latter building was erected in 1815.

In 1814 the town of Portland was laid out by Alexander Ralston, for the proprietor William Lytle. It was originally divided into Portland proper, and the enlargement of Portland. The lots in Portland proper were all half acre lots, and when laid out, were sold for two hundred dollars each. In 1819 they had advanced to about one thousand dollars. The lots in the enlargement were three-fourths of an acre, and were sold at three hundred dollars each. This town was not established by law until 1834, and in 1837 it was adjoined to the city. It has fulfilled the office of a suburb to Louisville, but has never at any time held prominent [Pg 138]importance among towns, and is chiefly worthy of notice now as a point of landing for the largest class of New Orleans boats at seasons when the stage of the river will not allow them to pass over the rapids. Although it was at one time predicted that “its future destinies might be regarded as those of a highly flourishing and important town,” it has never equalled the least sanguine hopes of its friends. It has no history of its own worthy of relation.

During the same year the town of New Albany, in the State of Indiana, opposite to Portland, was laid out by its proprietors, the Messrs. Scribner. Its progress at first was slow, but the many advantages which it presented (firstly its extremely healthy location, and secondly the great quantity and excellent quality of ship timber in its vicinity,) soon established its prosperity. In 1819 it contained a population of about 1000 souls, and had 150 dwelling houses. A historian of this latter period asserts that the inhabitants are all either Methodists or Presbyterians. It has now grown to be one of the most important towns in Indiana, and still promises renewed and increased prosperity. It would be hardly fair to class this flourishing city as a suburb of Louisville, and yet the two are so intimately connected that the prosperity or adversity of the one cannot but affect the other. The value of those relations will be shown hereafter.

Some idea may be formed of the commercial prosperity of the town at this period by reference to the following manifest of the Barges and Keel boats, arrived at this port during the three months, ending July 18th,[Pg 139] 1814. There arrived during that period, 12 barges, in all 524 tons burthen, and 7 keel boats, in all 132 tons. The following is a manifest of cargoes delivered by these boats during that period.

813 bales Cotton,   438 hhds. Sugar,   5 bbls. Molasses,
26 bbls. and kegs fish,   1267 bbls. Sugar,   128 bbls. Coffee,
28 cases Wine,   12 Boxes"   339 bags"
1 bbl."   1 bbl. Fish Oil,   5 cases Preserves,
1 bag and 1 bbl. Allspice,   2 bags Pepper,   29 bbls. Indigo,
6 ceroons Cochineal,   28 bales Wool,   2 ceroons"
1 demij. and 1 bbl. lime juice,   21"Hides,   6 tons Logwood,
1 Bale Bear Skins,   453""dry,   18000 lbs. pig cop’r,
28 boxes Steel,   1 bbl. Rice,   1 box Crockery,
The probable value of these articles was estimated at $266,015.

It was during the same year that Messrs. Jacob and Hikes put into successful operation a paper mill at this point. The Western Courier was issued on paper manufactured at this mill.

A very great barrier to the progress of the town at this period consisted in its great unhealthiness. Owing to the vast reservoirs of standing water which still remained in and about the town, there was a great deal of bilious and remittent fever, “often sufficiently aggravated to entitle it to the name of yellow fever.” It will be recollected that reference has been heretofore made to this subject. At this period, a new alarm was raised, and it was found difficult to get people even to bring produce to the markets of the town. Acclimation was considered, and indeed was absolutely necessary. The newspapers of the day teem with indignation at the course pursued by the neighboring and rival towns in circulating aggravated accounts of the progress of disease here. But even the warmest friends of Louisville[Pg 140] did not pretend to deny that it was extremely unhealthy. One of these writing soon after this date, says: “To affirm that Louisville is a healthy place would be absurd, but it is much more so than the thousand tongues of fame would make us believe; and as many of the causes which prevent it from becoming perfectly so, can be removed, a few years hence may find the favorable alterations accomplished, and so do away with the general impression of its being the grave-yard of the Western country.” As is well known, this prediction has been verified, and from the reputation of a grave-yard, Louisville has now everywhere attained the title of the most healthy city in America.

With the commencement of the next year, 1815, we are again enabled to give the following very accurate tabular view of the political position of the city. The following table will clearly show its past growth, and give an accurate idea of its size, commerce, and manufactures at that time.

24 Merchantile Stores,   5 Medicine shops,   3 House Painters,
1 Bookdo,   8 Boot makers,   4 Chair makers,
1 Auction and Commission, store,   4 Cabinet makers,   5 Tailors,
1 Clothing store,   2 Coachdo,   5 Hatters,
1 Leatherdo,   1 Gun Smith,   3 Saddlers,
1 Druggist’s do,   1 Silver do,   2 Coppersmiths,
1 Plan maker,   2 Printing offices,   1 Steam Saw mill,
1 Carding and Spinning factory,   1 Soap factory,   1 Nail factory,
1 Tin Shop,   1 Air foundry,   6 Blacksmiths,
4 Bazars,   4 Bakers,   1 Brewer,
4 Rope Walks,   2 Tobacco factories,   1 Bagging factory,
4 High Schools,   6 Brick Yards,   1 Stone ware, do,
1 Theater,   1 Tan Yard,   1 Meth. church,
2 Taverns, (inferior to none in the Western country, and several others of less note.)

[Pg 141]The only other event belonging to this year which may be considered worthy of note was the arrival on the 1st of June of the steamboat Enterprize, Captain Shreve, only 25 days from New Orleans! This trip then so astonishingly speedy is made the subject of remark in the newspapers of the day, and Captain Shreve is every where congratulated on “the celerity and safety with which his boat ascends and descends the currents of these mighty waters.” These congratulations or at least a part of them were received just in time, for in about a year afterwards, this same gentleman proved that his navigation was not always alike safe and speedy. On the 3d June, 1816, he was in command of the steamer Washington, bound from Pittsburg for Louisville, when she met with the first serious disaster which had ever occurred in the steamboat navigation of the Ohio. When near Wheeling this boat burst her cylinder-head, killing seven persons and injuring several others, Capt. Shreve among the latter number. This accident elicited a degree of sympathy and occasioned an amount of alarm, which a much more severe steamboat disaster would now fail to produce.

The following announcement from one of the newspapers of the day, gives an account of the launching of the first steamboat ever built at this point; and shows that despite of accident and danger, the citizens had fairly embarked in a business that has since been so productive to the interests of the city. “On Monday the 3d of July, was safely launched from her stocks, at the mouth of Beargrass into her destined element, the elegant new steamboat Gov. Shelby, owned by Messrs. Gray, [Pg 142]Gwathmey, Gretsinger and Ruble of this town. The Gov. Shelby is intended as a regular trader between this place and New Orleans, is of 122 tons burden, and is thought by judges to be one of the handsomest models, which does great credit to her constructors, Messrs. Desmarie and McClary.”

It was at this period that the old banking system was in the zenith of its power. The whole country was flooded with paper money of all kinds and of all denominations. Specie currency was almost entirely out of circulation, having been supplanted by private bills, worthless bank notes, and all other kinds of “shin plasters.” This sort of currency was the occasion of innumerable disasters; all confidence was destroyed in the community, and pecuniary transactions were of course limited. The scarcity of silver was the subject of much merriment as well as the cause of grievous distress. At one time a specie Spanish dollar is advertised as a curiosity, and the citizens are invited to witness an exhibition of it; at another, a merchant promises to show, gratis, four silver Spanish coins to all who will call and purchase at his store. The tradesmen generally, however, took a more serious view of the matter; and on the 29th August, 1816, called upon the Merchants and Mechanics of the town “to assemble at the Union Hotel on Saturday afternoon at 6 P. M., to take into consideration the measures necessary to be adopted to check the circulation of private bills, &c.” The result of this meeting, however, never transpired; and as the shin-plaster currency continued its baleful operations for many years afterward, it is to be supposed that the Merchants and Mechanics of Louisville[Pg 143] either could not concert, or could not execute the aforesaid “necessary measures.”

Notwithstanding, however, all the disadvantages accruing from this state of disordered currency, the year did not pass by without adding another to the increasing list of manufactories in the town. This other was an immense distillery, organized by a company formed in New England, and incorporated by the legislature of this State. It was called the “Hope Distillery,” and had a capital of $100,000 dollars, with the liberty of increasing it to double that amount. This Company purchased one hundred acres of ground at the lower end of Main street, opposite to the commencement of Portland Avenue, and erected immense buildings thereon, intending to conduct their business on a more extensive scale than any before established in the United States. This enormous establishment however did not realize the expectations of its proprietors, and the project was abandoned. The buildings remained almost tenantless and useless for many years. They were finally burned.

As if to counterbalance the prospective evil likely to be produced by this enormous manufactory of “poison for soul and body,” there was established about the same time the first Presbyterian Church in Louisville. It was organized by exactly sixteen members, but it was not until the next year that a building was erected for them. The acts of the legislature of this year also incorporated a Louisville Library Company.

The account of the year 1816 will be closed with an extract from the travels of Mr. Henry Bradshaw Fearon, the title-page of whose book represents him as deputed[Pg 144] by thirty-nine English families to ascertain whether any or what parts of the United States would be agreeable to them as a future residence. His account of the town is of course honest, so far as he is concerned, and unprejudiced, and as such is entitled to its share of consideration. At any rate he treats the subject more in detail than most foreign travelers have done. He says: “Having been twice in Louisville, I boarded at both hotels; Allen’s Washington Hall, and Gwathing’s [Gwathmey’s] Indian Queen. They are similar establishments, and both on a very large scale; the former averages 80 boarders per diem; and the latter 140. The hotels are conducted differently here from those with which you are acquainted. The place for washing is in the open yard, where there is a large cistern, several towels, and a negro in attendance. The sleeping rooms commonly contain from 4 to 8 bedsteads, having matresses upon them, but frequently no feather beds, sheets of calico, two blankets and a quilt, (either a cotton counterpane or a patchwork quilt.) The bedsteads have no curtains, and the rooms are generally unprovided with any conveniences. The public rooms are the news room, boot room, in which the bar is situated, and the dining room. The fires are generally surrounded by parties of six, who get and keep possession of them. The usual custom is to pace up and down the bar room as people walk the deck at sea. Smoking cigars is practised by all without exception, and at every hour of the day. Argument is of rare occurrence, and social intercourse seems still more unusual. Conversation on general topics, or the taking enlarged or enlightened views of things rarely occurs; each man[Pg 145] is in pursuit of his own individual interest, and follows it in an individualized manner. But to return to the taverns; at half past seven o’clock the first bell rings for collecting the boarders; at eight the second bell rings, breakfast is then set, the dining room is unlocked, a general rush commences, and some activity as well as dexterity is essentially necessary to obtain a seat at the table. A boy, as clerk, attends to take down the names, in order that when the bills are settled no improper deduction should be made. The breakfast consists of a profuse supply of fish, flesh, and fowl, which is consumed with a rapidity truly extraordinary. Often before I had finished my first cup of tea, the room, before crowded to suffocation, was empty. The dinner which takes place at 2 o’clock, and the supper which is eaten at six is conducted in the same manner as the breakfast. At table there is no conversation and no drinking. The latter is effected by individuals taking their solitary eye-openers, toddy, or phlegm dispersers at the bar, the keeper of which is in full employ from sunrise till bed-time which is always at ten o’clock. Liquor here is never drunk neat or with sugar and warm water.”

Speaking of the society of Louisville, the same Mr. Henry Bradshaw Fearon takes it upon himself to say: “I do not feel myself competent to confirm or to deny the general claim of the people of this town to generosity and warmth of character. Of their habits I would also wish to speak with equal diffidence, [and here is a proof of it!] but that they drink a great deal, swear a great deal, and gamble a great deal, is very apparent to a very brief resident. There is a great lack of [Pg 146]amusement in Louisville; the only one I saw was called ‘Gander Pulling,’ which is thus conducted. Tie a live gander to a tree or pole and grease its neck, then ride past at full gallop, and he who succeeds in pulling off the head of the victim, receives the victory, the reward of which is the body of the gander. I think I have heard of a similar pastime as practiced in Holland. But these,” generously adds Mr. Henry Bradshaw Fearon, “are not to be taken as unmixed characteristics.”

By dint of great exertions on the part of the inhabitants of the town, they at last succeeded in procuring the location of a branch bank of the United States at this point. This bank was opened in 1817 under the auspices of the following gentlemen: Stephen Ormsby, President; Wm. Cochran, Cashier; G. C. Gwathmey, Teller; Alfred Thruston, First Bookkeeper; Thomas Bullitt, D. L. Ward, Richard Furguson, M. D., Norburn, B. Beale, Thomas Prather, John H. Clark, Henry Massie, Charles S. Todd, Wm. S. Vernon, James C. Johnson, M. D., John Gwathmey and James D. Breckinridge, Directors. It was situated at the north-east corner of Fifth and Main Streets. This bank does not however seem to have been more agreeable to the citizens than were its predecessors. “It is very evident,” says the first historian of the city, “that the people of this country are ruining themselves by banking institutions as fast as they cleverly can.” The history of this bank does not present any different features from that of its sister branches.

The next important event in this year was the building of the Presbyterian Church. This edifice was erected[Pg 147] on the west side of Fourth Street, between Market and Jefferson, on the north-west corner of the alley. It was a neat, plain, but spacious building. The interior was divided into three rows of pews, and was furnished with galleries on three sides; the exterior was brick, and was adorned with a steeple in which was a belfry and a superb bell. Its first pastor was Rev. D. C. Banks. This church was destroyed by fire in 1836. All who were residents in the city at that time will remember this conflagration. The building took fire in the evening during a meeting of the church. The efforts of the citizens to preserve it from destruction were energetic and continued, but unavailing. When it was found that it was no longer possible to save the building, all efforts were directed toward the preservation of the bell. This splendid instrument, the first large bell ever in the city, was esteemed and venerated to a degree far beyond that which is usually felt for inanimate objects; it had a hold upon the affections of all ages, sexes and classes of people, as well the inhabitants as those who visited the city periodically. It was used to announce all public tidings, whether of meetings, fires, or deaths. Its clear and silvery notes were heard for miles around, and brought joy, or terror, or wo to a thousand hearts; all within the sound of its mighty tongue had learned to know and love its voice; and now, that its destruction was threatened, a thousand hearts thrilled with fear of its loss or throbbed with hope of its salvation. Still the devouring element crept on apace, and still, like the old sacristan of Saint Nicholas, stood the ringer at his post, and still went on the loud clanging alarum of the[Pg 148] bell. Soon the pillars which supported the dome of the belfry were wrapt in sheets of flame, but the alarm peal still rang on as if the imprisoned monster was yet undespairing, and cried aloud “to the rescue!” Then the falling timbers and flakes of fire drove the ringer from his post. For a while the bell still pealed on “in a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,” till at last the wheel on which it hung was wrapped in flames. Then came its despair, and as spoke after spoke burnt from the wheel, it slowly tolled—tolled its own death-knell; heedless it was of the brilliant coruscations of flame that fell in showers around it, as the covering of the dome broke from its fastenings and shot upward in the light and then fell, leaving a train of fire to mark its path; heedless of the soaring flames, of the upgazing crowd; thinking only of its approaching dissolution. Slowly and solemnly it tolled the funeral knell, and with the last stroke of its hammer, and the last dazzling off-shoot from the dome, tower, bell, and dome all came down with a tremendous crash. The crowd had ceased to work, had ceased to speak; all eyes were upon the self-ringing bell, and all felt the poetic power and beauty of the incident. And now that it was fallen, no single voice sent up the hurrah, no rude sound desecrated the moment. The engines again began their combat, and all went on as before. The bell was the next day exhumed from its bed and carried away by piecemeal to be kept as relics of the incident of its death-struggle.

The second event of this year was the incorporation of a hospital company which consisted of twelve [Pg 149]prominent citizens, who were authorized to obtain a sum not exceeding $50,000, to be applied to this purpose. Mr. Thos. Prather contributed five, and Mr. Cuthbert Bullitt two acres of land as a site for the institution. This establishment was supported by a duty of two per cent, on auction sales in Louisville. Its interests are fully set forth in the wretchedly written preamble of the act incorporating it, which is as follows:

“Whereas it is represented, that of those engaged in navigating the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, many persons, owing to the fatigue and exposure incident to long voyages, become sick and languish at the town of Louisville, where the commerce in which they are engaged sustains a pause, occasioned by the falls of the Ohio river; that the charity of the citizens of that town and county is no longer able to minister to those poor unfortunate persons, the support and attention which the necessities of the latter, and the humanity of the former would seem to demand and prescribe; that the growing character of Louisville, as a place as well of import as of export, and the growing commerce of this State and of the western country connected with that place threatens to throw an increased mass of sick upon the citizens of that town and country, to the comfort and support of whom the resources subject to the exactions of charity would be unequal, and applied as individual sympathy might dictate, unavailing; and that it would be wise and humane to incorporate an institution at that place, for the relief, sustenance, comfort and restoration of the poor and the afflicted of the description aforesaid: Wherefore, &c.” In 1811, the Legislature made a [Pg 150]donation of $10,000, and in 1822 a similar gift of $7,500 to this hospital. It is now in the hands of the city, and is used as a clinique by the medical schools here. The original building yet stands, but has been remodeled and improved.

In this year the small-pox made fearful ravages in the town, and, “owing,” as Dr. McMurtrie says, “to the slothful negligence of the civil authorities, it was impossible to prevent its innoculating the place for several years.”

The last incident which will be mentioned in connection with this year was a dinner given on the 27th of April, 1817, to Capt. H. M. Shreve, as a testimony of the consideration in which he was held as a steamboat navigator, and particularly with a view to congratulate him on the very expeditious voyage he had performed from Louisville to New Orleans and back. This voyage was made by the steamer Washington, and, as will be seen by reference to the list of steamboats published in the earlier part of this volume, was performed in the very brief period of forty-five days! Capt. De Hart was also invited to partake of this dinner, the committee assuring him of their highest respect, and that they would have been early to make him public testimonials of this respect but for fear that it would be construed into a countenance of the course the concern to which he was attached, has been, and is pursuing. Reference is here had to the Fulton and Livingston Company, who were still seeking to monopolize the navigation of the western rivers. Mr. Norborn B. Beale was President, and Maj. C. P. Luckett Vice President, on this occasion. The[Pg 151] Committee of Invitation consisted of J. Headington, Levi Tyler and Jas. A. Pearce. Toasts were drunk to several of the Presidents, to the 19 United States, to the Ohio and Mississippi, to the State of Louisiana, to New York, to Fulton, Shreve, De Hart and others. The following toast shows that Louisville had yet some fears of the rivalry of her neighbors: 12th. “Our Sister-towns of Lexington and Frankfort—let us have equal privileges in a fair competition, that local advantages and individual enterprise may insure pre-eminence.” It is said that at this dinner, Mr. Shreve predicted that a trip from New Orleans to Louisville would be effected in ten or twelve days, but this was looked upon rather as the dream of an enthusiast than as the sober calculations of a sagacious man. Mr. Shreve, however, and many of his hosts lived to see the prediction more than fulfilled.

The earliest event in the next year which deserves notice here, was the death of General George Rogers Clarke. The remains of this distinguished man, who was so intimately connected with the earlier history of Louisville, were interred at his residence at Locust Grove on the 15th February, 1818. The members of the bar and a large assemblage of persons attended. Rev. Mr. Banks officiated on the occasion, and John Rowan, Esq., delivered the funeral oration. Minute guns were fired during the ceremony under the direction of Capt. Minor Sturgus, and the whole procession was conducted in a very solemn manner. The members of the bar of the Circuit Court, and the few remaining officers of the revolution in the neighborhood, resolved to wear crape on the left arm for thirty days, as a testimony of respect to[Pg 152] the deceased hero. The spot where his remains now rest is yet unmarked by a stone.

We are enabled to present the reader with a price current published during this year. No document could be offered which would give a more definite idea of the state of commerce at this period. It is as follows:

Bagging—30c.   Whisky—62@75c.   Corn—42@62.
Cotton—33@35c.   Glass—8x10, $14@15.   Molasses—$1 50.
Wheat—60@75c.   White Lead—$6.   Tobacco—$4 75@5.
Coffee—35@37c. No demand—scarce.   Sugar—16@18c.
Teas—$2 25@2 50.   Oats—42@50c.



Tobacco, 1c per lb.   Flour, $1 50 per bbl.   Pork and Whisky, $2 per bbl.
Light Freight, 6c per lb. Heavy Freight, 4½c per lb.

By the assessment of this year the value of lots in the town is computed at $3,131,463.

About the 24th of November, Louisville boasted another Bank. This was the Commercial Bank of Louisville. Its officers were: Levi Tyler, President; Abijah Bayless, Cashier; J. C. Blair, Clerk. Its paper is said by Dr. McMurtrie, to have been in as good credit as that of the United States Bank. Its capital is computed by him at $1,000,000. More recent accounts however, do not speak so favorably of its affairs.

On the 1st of July, still of this year, Mr. S. Penn commenced the publication of the Public Advertiser here; a paper which for editorial talent and skill, as well as for political influence, has been equalled by few and exceeded by none in the United States.

In 1819, Dr. McMurtrie, of whom mention has been so often made in these pages, published his Sketches of Louisville. That part of his book which refers directly[Pg 153] to the city is comprised in about one hundred pages. The whole book however contains about two hundred and fifty pages, 16mo; it was published by Mr. S. Penn, and is a very creditable specimen of the art of book-making. The greater part of the volume is filled with scientific researches, and in an appendix there is placed an account of the earthquakes by Jared Brooks, Esq. There is also a scientific catalogue of the plants found in the vicinity of the city, and a history of the geological and antiquarian remains of this part of the country. Of the value of this information in a scientific point of view, we are not prepared to speak; the “Sketches” present, doubtless a very correct view of Louisville, as it was in 1819. Notwithstanding this book has been so often drawn upon for isolated facts in the course of this history, it will not be considered unfair to offer the reader still another extract, showing a sort of daguerreotype view of the city as it then was; and this will be the more pardonable as the book itself is no longer “in print.” Dr. McMurtrie says: “There are at this time in Louisville six hundred and seventy dwelling houses, principally brick ones, some of which would suffer little by being compared with any of the most elegant private edifices of Philadelphia or New York. It was calculated pretty generally that from two hundred and fifty to three hundred brick buildings would have been erected during the last summer, but such was the scarcity of money, that not more than twelve to fourteen were completed; preparations, however, are making to proceed rapidly in the business in the ensuing season, the influx of strangers being so great, that many of them can[Pg 154] scarcely find shelter. The population now amounts to 4500 souls; so rapid is the increase of this number that in all probability, it will be trebled in less than ten years.

“Commercial cities of all newly settled countries, whose inhabitants are gathered from every corner of the earth, who have immigrated thither with but one single object in view, that of acquiring money, are stamped with no general character, except that of frugality, attention to business, and an inordinate attachment to money. Absorbed in this great interest of adding dollar upon dollar, no time is devoted to literature or the acquirement of those graceful nothings which, of no value in themselves, still constitute one great charm of polished society. Such is the character of the inhabitants of this place in general, ‘ma ogni medaglio ha il suo reverso.’ There is a circle, small ’tis true, but within whose magic round abounds every pleasure that wealth, regulated by taste, or urbanity can bestow. There the ‘red heel’ of Versailles may imagine himself in the emporium of fashion, and whilst leading beauty through the mazes of the dance, forget that he is in the wilds of America. The theater, public and private balls, a sober game of whist, or the more scientific one of billiards, with an occasional re-union of friends around the festive board, constitute the principal amusements; and it is with pleasure I am able to assert, without fear of contradiction, that gaming forms no part of them. Whatever may have been the case formerly, there is hardly at the present day, a vestige to be seen of this ridiculous and disgraceful practice; and if it exists at all, it is only to be found in the secret dens of midnight swindlers,[Pg 155] within whose walls once to enter is dishonor, infamy, and ruin.”

The prices of lots at this time were about $300 per foot for those occupying the best situations.

The following list if compared with the similar one for 1815, published a few pages earlier, will give the reader a very correct idea of the ratio of progress here for four years. There were at this time in Louisville:

3 Banks,   36 Wholesale & Retail Stores,   14 Wholesale & Com’n Stores,
3 Bookstores,   3 Printing Offices,   3 Drugstores,
1 Nail Factory,   28 Groceries,   2 Confectioner’s Shops,
2 Hotels,   4 good Taverns,   6 Bakehouses,
10 Blacksmiths,   6 Saddlers,   2 Carriagemakers,
8 Tailors,   1 Silver Plater,   1 Gunsmith,
3 Watchmakers,   10 Cabinetmakers,   3 Chair Factories,
1 Stone Cutter,   1 Upholsterer,   1 Potter,
4 Turners,   5 Hatters,   200 Carpenters,
30 Plasterers,   6 Shoemakers,   150 Bricklayers,
12 Lawyers,   22 Physicians,   1 Brass Foundry,
6 Brickyards,   1 Air Foundry,   1 Steam Engine Factory,
2 Breweries,   2 Steam Saw Mills,   2 Distilleries,
1 Music store.   5 Tobacco Factories.   1 Sugar Refinery.

We find by an advertisement in the Courier of February 12th, in this year, that J. J. Audubon, the world-renowned ornithologist, was at that time endeavoring to procure a class in drawing, and was offering to paint portraits here, which his advertisement promises shall be “strong likenesses.” This gentleman was for some time a resident of this city. His son was for many years employed as a clerk in the store of Mr. N. Berthoud at Shippingport.

On the 23d of June, 1819, the President of the United States and suite, accompanied by Gen. Jackson and[Pg 156] suite, arrived in Louisville, where they remained until the following Saturday. A public dinner and a ball was given to these distinguished persons, and general hilarity and good feeling distinguished the occasion.

This chapter, as well as the history of this year will be concluded with a string of rhymes which, though not highly meritorious in themselves, still serve to show the feelings of the people in regard to the much-talked-of apathy of their rulers, and let us into the history of the times as fully as would the graver chroniclers. These versicles are said to be extracts from a letter.

“You know I informed you when I landed here,
This town was not handsome, and living darned dear,
The streets were all ponds, and I’m told the Trustees
Had sooner wade thro’ them, quite up to the knees,
Than incur the expense to have them drained off.
Complain to their honors, they sneer, laugh or scoff,
And say, we’ve no money; and you very well know,
Without this intercessor the mare will not go.
’Tis whispered about, how true I shan’t say,
The people’s oft taxed, and always made pay;
And who handles the cash? the Lord only knows,
Or what road it travels—for what, it all goes—
Is a mystery to all; no improvements they see,
’Tis sarcastically said, there never will be.
If the great men of fortune don’t aid or direct
The improvement of town, it will ne’er take effect.
Alas, these poor souls, if they secure their own health,
Let us wallow in mud, while they’re rolling in wealth!
Could you see these great folks, I protest you would laugh,
And swear on each body stuck the head of a calf.
I’d say you were right—with hearts hard as a stone;
When applied to for alms or asked for a loan.
****** [Pg 157]
Before I left home, one night at aunt Kate’s
A confab we had concerning new States,
I then said what since to my sorrow proved true,
When settled in old States never emigrate to new,
You called me false prophet, said to Louisville hie,
Which for beauty and commerce would with Boston soon vie,
And moreover you said a great man I could be,
If I’d take for my text: boys, huzza, we’re all free.

Dear sir, how you erred, Kentucky’s quite changed;
If you say here, we’re free, folks vow you deranged,
For our keen wealthy Yankees located here,
Rule the natives by art, it cannot be fear;
For I’ve seen them so rave, curse and swear so uncivil;
’Twould shake ‘steady habits’ quite as much as the d——l.
Now you’ll own without money man here has less chance
Than Don Quixote in combat, deprived of his lance.



[Pg 158]


The next ten years of this history do not promise to be as rich in incident for the historian, or as full of practical value to the city, as were the few years just chronicled. A number of causes were operating at this time to retard the prosperity of the town, and but for the vigor with which it was endued, it must have sunk under the misfortunes which surrounded it. Evil reports, prejudicial to its health; garbled accounts from rival cities of the mortality here; a lamentably disordered state of currency, a Board of Trustees whose inefficiency was constantly complained of, were all opposing the growth of the town; and had it not, as has been before said, inherently possessed the elements of its own progress, it must have faded, and might have been entirely destroyed by the pressure of these untoward circumstances. For about two years the western country had been laboring under the operations of shaving and brokerage; there was not at this time a single bank west of the mountains whose paper could be passed at a fair value, except in the immediate neighborhood of the bank itself, and there were not more than three or four that pretended to pay their notes in money. The paper of the Bank of Kentucky was at a discount, and there was no hope of its improving. Tennessee and Ohio were in a similar, if not a worse condition. The paper of the United States Bank was alone merchantable at its value, and upon[Pg 159] Louisville, as the great commercial mart of the western country, must these circumstances weigh most heavily. Despite all these disadvantages, however, the town did progress, not so rapidly as its past course would have promised, but with a rational and steady improvement. One of the drawbacks mentioned above was beginning to be removed. The new Trustees of the town began to prosecute their measures of improvement with some degree of energy. Wells were dug; pavements laid; streets graded; ponds drained; and a general activity prevailed which showed some attention toward making the town more desirable as a residence, both in point of comfort and of health. The removal of the causes o£ disease, however, could not be instantaneous, and even if they had been it would have required time to convince those disposed to emigrate hither of the fact.

The first act of the Trustees in the year 1820 was to order the purchase of two or three fire-engines. Conflagrations had recently become of not uncommon occurrence, and the means for combating them were so few in number, and so incompetent in character, that this measure had become entirely necessary to the safety of the town. Accordingly, Thomas Prather, Cuthbert Bullitt and Peter B. Orsmby were appointed a committee to purchase suitable fire-engines for the use of the city. This being done, the town was laid off into three wards, and Coleman Daniel, Daniel McAllister and Peter Wolford were appointed, one to each ward, to obtain each 40 members to work these engines. These members were to elect each a Captain of the engine and such other officers as might be necessary, and to adopt rules[Pg 160] for their own government. Public cisterns, or other like conveniences for the use of firemen, were then unknown. Each citizen was required to keep two or more leather fire-buckets on his premises, while a larger number of the same were kept at the engine houses. These were taken to the fire, and two lines of men formed from the engine, which was stationed near the fire, to the nearest water. One of these lines was occupied in passing buckets filled with water, which, when they arrived at the engine, were poured into it; and the other in passing back the empty buckets to be refilled, it was by this tedious process alone that they were enabled successfully to combat a fire.

Although tables of various sorts, showing the progressive increase of the town, have been from time laid before the reader, yet the events of thirteen years have been passed over without offering to his inspection that most conclusive of documentary evidence, the tax list. It may be remembered that the assessment of 1807 amounted to $913 50. The following list for 1821 will give a clear idea of the increased value of property since that time.



Assessed Taxes on same   $4,637 68
On 14 1st rate Retail Stores at $30   420 00
24 2d"""$20   540 00
7 3d"""$10   70 00
26 Tavern Licenses$10   260 00
70 Carriage Wheels50c   35 00
2 Billiard Tables$17   34 00
Total   $5 996 68

[Pg 161]The following is a census of the population, taken at this period:[12]

Free white males to 10 years of age   346
""10 to 16   152
""16 to 26   498
""26 to 45   707
""45 and upwards   121
Free white females to 10 years of age:   356
""10 to 16   132
""16 to 26   273
""26 to 45   232
""45 and upwards   69
Total White Population   1886
Blacks, including free persons of color   1126
Total   4012
Of whom there are engaged in Commerce   128
"""Manufactures   591
Foreigners   94

On the 3d of March in this year Mr. Nicholas Clarke associated with him, in the publication of the Western Courier, Messrs. S. H. Bullen and A. G. Merriweather. After this period the name of the paper was changed to The Emporium and Commercial Advertiser, and it was issued semi-weekly instead of weekly. This connection, however, was not of long duration, for in February ’22, Messrs. Clarke & Merriweather left the establishment, transferring their interest to Mr. Bullen and Mr. F. E. Goddard. The paper finally came into the hands of this latter gentleman alone, and its publication was stopped while under his management. Mr. Goddard will be[Pg 162] remembered by most of the citizens of Louisville. He was the preceptor of a great many of the younger men now here, and was universally beloved and respected. His genial humor, his extraordinary scholarship and his fine qualities of heart made him the admiration of his friends, while his faithful discharge of all his duties and his firm and unwaving efforts to improve the minds and morals of his numerous pupils, cause them to respect his memory, and call forth alike their gratitude and their veneration. No man has ever occupied Mr. Goddard’s position who enjoyed more universally or more meritedly the regard of his fellow citizens.

In May, still of this year, a branch bank of the Commonwealth was located here. From an article in the Emporium it would seem that this bank was established without one dollar of specie capital and hence its notes were sold at very large rates of discount. The paper of this bank and that of the Bank of Kentucky formed almost the only currency at the time, and as merchants, in order to pay their calls abroad, were obliged to buy specie or Eastern funds at a great advance, they naturally enough refused these bills at par value. This seems to have been a grievous trouble to the management of the bank at Frankfort, and it was suggested by them that the Legislature should remove the branch established here to “some other situation where love of country, love of truth and love of general prosperity might overcome the combinations of the weak and wicked.” This removal, however, was not effected.

It was also during this year that a night watch was established, who were paid by a subscription of the [Pg 163]citizens and not from the treasury of the town. B. Morgan, C. Sly and M. Woolston were the first persons elected to this office.

1822—The first event of the next year was the authorization by the Trustees of the issue of town notes, varying in denomination from twelve and a half cents to one dollar, the aggregate value of all of which was not to exceed four thousand dollars. These notes, however, did not meet with the usual fate of the shinplaster currency, for in about a year afterward we find an order of the Trustees for counting and destroying them, leaving the impression either that they were not put into circulation or were redeemed and so withdrawn from a market already glutted with such trash.

It was during the year 1822 that the town was visited by a dreadful epidemic. Dr. John P. Harrison, late of Cincinnati and formerly of this city, a physician of distinguished ability, has published a minute and highly valuable account of this epidemic in the Philadelphia Medical Journal, Vol. 8. The disease was a highly aggravated bilious fever, so terrible as to deserve the dreaded name of yellow fever. The mortality was very great and the alarm existing on account of it throughout the whole interior of the neighboring States was of the most exciting character. The season was an unhealthy one throughout the West, but the scourge fell most heavily upon Louisville, probably on account of the miasma from her many ponds. The scourge here, as Dr. Drake says in his valuable history of the diseases of the Valley of North America, amounted almost to depopulation. The Trustees were by it awakened from[Pg 164] their lethargy. A Board of Health, consisting of Drs. Gait, Smith, Harrison, Wilson and Tompkins, were appointed to examine into the causes of disease and report the same to the Trustees, together with the mode or practicability of removing the same. This first Board of Health was appointed too late. Had they been ordered to examine into this matter years before, much might have been effected, but the time for such action was now passed, and this fearful malady, now inevitable, became the most terrible blow ever given to the prosperity of the rising town. The news spread far and wide, and the neighboring towns, instead of seeking to publish only the truth, assisted largely in circulating garbled intelligence and extravagant reports of a fact which tended to their advantage by destroying the fair fame of their rival. Emigrants from abroad as well as from this and neighboring States, for years afterward, dreaded even to pass through the town, and of those who had already determined to locate here, many were dissuaded from their purpose by the assertion that it was but rushing upon death to make the attempt. This occurred, too, just at a period when the resources of the town, beginning to develop themselves, were attracting the attention of capitalists. It was this alone which gave a temporary semblance of superiority to the neighboring towns, and, for a time, retarded the usual prosperity of this. Had the feeling of alarm ceased with the disease, it would have been less of a blow, but for years after it was referred to as a warning against emigration hither.

The next two years present nothing of interest to the[Pg 165] reader, save the building in the winter of 1824-5 of an Episcopalian Church on Second Street, between Green and Walnut, the present Christ’s Church, the first rector of which was the Rev. Mr. Shaw.

On the 8th of May, in the year 1825, Lafayette visited Louisville. His reception here, as everywhere else, was enthusiastic in the extreme. The Trustees of the city paid into the hands of John Rowan, the chairman of the committee of arrangements for the reception, a considerable sum of money, to be expended in such manner as the committee might direct for this purpose. The resolution authorizing this expenditure was passed with a single dissenting voice, that of Richard Hall. The meeting of Lafayette with some of the old officers of the revolution, particularly that with Col. Anderson, is said to have been extremely affecting. The whole city turned out to receive this distinguished patriot; processions were formed, arches erected, bevies of young girls strewed his pathway with flowers and the whole town was a scene of festivity and rejoicing. Whether the dissenting Mr. Richard Hall was with those who were thus showing their sense of gratitude to him who had left home, country and friends, and faced the thundering cannon’s mouth to aid them in their hour of direst peril, history does not tell us.

The Legislature of these years made very considerable additions to the power of the Trustees; allowing them to borrow money on the credit of the town, to purchase and hold real estate for erecting market-houses, wharfs, &c., to levy a tax on exchange brokers, to tax hacks, drays, &c., to appoint harbor and wharf masters, and[Pg 166] make rules governing the lading and unlading of vessels, to collect wharfage fees, to appoint inspectors of flour, &c. The first use made of this new power was the purchase of ground for a wharf. Rowan owned a slip of ground lying north of Water Street, commencing at Second and terminating at Seventh Street. A similar slip, lying between Seventh and Eighth streets, was already the property of the city. This slip the city agreed to add to Rowan’s, and also to pave the whole as a wharf, using the stone in Rowan’s quarry, situated on the premises, and for the wharf so constructed they agreed to give to Rowan and to his heirs forever, in semi-annual payments, one-half the receipts of this wharf. They also agreed that, if at any time Gray’s wharf, lying east of Second Street, should be bought, both parties might unite in the purchase and Rowan should receive as before one half the profits of the entire wharf. This contract; made with but a single dissenting voice on the part of the Trustees, that of Jeremiah Diller, must have been the result of either a very low state of finances or of very injudicious precipitation. Rowan’s heirs, it is understood, now get but one fourth of the wharfage, but even this would have been a sum better gained to the city than lost by a want of proper judgment or foresight.

On the 12th of January, in this year, the Louisville & Portland Canal Company was incorporated by an act of the Legislature, with a capital of $600,000, in shares of $100 each, with perpetual succession. 3665 of these shares were in the hands of about 70 individuals, residing in different States, and the remaining 2335 shares[Pg 167] belonged to the government of the United States. In December contracts were entered into to complete the work of the canal within two years for about $375,000, and the work was actually commenced in March 1826. Many unforeseen difficulties retarded it until the close of the year 1828. At this time the contractors failed, new contracts were made at advanced prices, and the canal was finally opened for navigation, December 5th, 1830. When completed, it cost about $750,000. It is about two miles in length and is intended to overcome a fall of twenty-four feet, occasioned by an irregular ledge of lime-stone rock, through which the entire bed of the canal is excavated, a part to the depth of 12 feet, overlaid with earth. There is one guard and three lift locks combined, all of which have their foundation on the rock. One bridge of stone 240 feet long, with an elevation of 68 feet to the top of the parapet wall, and three arches, the centre one of which is semi-elliptical, with a transverse diameter of 66, and a semi-conjugate diameter of 22 feet. The two arches are segments of 40 feet span. The guard lock is 190 feet long in the clear, with semi-circular heads of 26 feet in diameter, 50 feet wide and 42 feet high, and contains 21,775 perches of mason work. The solid contents of this lock are equal to 15 common locks, such as are built on the Ohio and New York canals. The lift locks are of the same width with the guard lock, 20 feet high and 183 feet long in the clear, and contain 12,300 perches of mason work. The entire length of the walls from the head of the guard lock to the end of the outlet lock is 921 feet. In addition to the amount of mason work[Pg 168] above, there are three culverts to drain off the water from the adjacent lands, the mason work of which, when added to the locks and bridge, gives the whole amount of mason work 41,989 perches, equal to about 30 common canal locks. The cross section of the canal is 200 feet at top of banks, 50 feet at bottom and 42 feet high, having a capacity equal to that of 25 common canals; and if we keep in view the unequal quantity of mason work, compared to the length of the canal, the great difficulties of excavating earth and rock from so great a depth and width, together with the contingencies attending its construction from the fluctuations of the Ohio river, it may not be considered as extravagant in drawing the comparison between the work in this, and in that of 70 or 75 miles of common canaling.

In the upper sections of the canal, the alluvial earth to the average depth of 20 feet being removed, trunks of trees were found, more or less decayed, and so imbedded as to indicate a powerful current towards the present shore, some of which were cedar, which is not now found in this region. Several fire-places of a rude construction, with partially burnt wood, were discovered near the rock, as well as the bones of a variety of small animals, and several human skeletons; rude implements formed of bone and stone were also frequently seen, as also several well wrought specimens of hematite of iron, in the shape of plummets or sinkers displaying a knowledge in the arts far in advance of the present race of Indians.

The first stratum of rock was light, friable slate in close contact with the limestone, and difficult to [Pg 169]disengage from it; this slate did not however extend over the whole surface of the rock, and was of various thicknesses from three inches to four feet.

The stratum next to the slate was a close compact lime stone, in which petrified sea shells, and an infinite variety of coraline formations were embedded, and frequent cavities of crystaline encrustations were seen, many of which still contained petroleum of a highly fetid smell, which gives the name of this description of lime stone. This description of rock is on an average of five feet, covering a substratum of a species of cias limestone of a bluish color, embedding nodules of horn stone, and organic remains. The fracture of this stone has in all instances been found to be irregularly conchoidal, and on exposure to the atmosphere and subjection to fire it crumbled to pieces. When burnt and ground, and mixed with a due proportion of silicious sand, it has been found to make a most superior kind of hydraulic cement or water lime.

The discovery of this valuable lime stone, has enabled the canal company to construct their masonry more solidly than any other known in the United States.

A manufactory of this hydraulic cement or water lime is now established on the bank of the canal, on a scale capable of supplying the United States with this much valued material for all works in contact with water or exposed to moisture; the nature of this cement being to harden in the water, the grout used on the locks of the canal is already harder than the stone used in their construction.

After passing through the stratum which was [Pg 170]commonly called the water lime, about ten feet in thickness, the workmen came to a more compact mass of primitive grey limestone, which however was not penetrated to any great depth. In many parts of the excavation, masses of bluish white flint and horn stone were found enclosed in, or encrusting the fetid limestone. And from the large quantities of arrow heads and other rude formations of this flint stone, it is evident that it was made much use of by the Indians in forming their weapons of war and hunting; in one place a magazine of arrow heads was discovered, containing many hundreds of those rude implements, carefully packed together, and buried below the surface of the ground.

The existence of iron ore in considerable quantities was exhibited in the progress of excavation of the canal by numerous highly charged chalybeate springs, that gushed out and continued to flow during the time that the rock was exposed, chiefly in the upper strata of limestone.[13] The canal when built was intended for the largest class of boats, but the facilities for navigation have so far improved and the size of vessels increased so far beyond the expectations of the projectors of this enterprise that it is now found much too small to answer the demands of navigation. The consequence is that the canal is looked upon as, equally with the falls, a barrier to navigation. The larger lower-river boats refuse to sign bills of lading, compelling them to deliver their goods above the falls, and as this class of boats is increasing, it promises soon to be as difficult to pass this point as before this immense work was completed. As [Pg 171]previous to the undertaking of this canal, so there are now numerous plans proposed for overcoming the impediment; and these do not differ materially from those suggested and noticed in 1804. The only ground upon which all parties agree is, that whatever is done should be effected by the general government, and not left to be completed by individual enterprise.

The government, as has before been said, owns a very large part of the stock in this canal, say three-fifths, and it is strongly urged by a part of the community that nothing would better serve the interests of western navigation than a movement on the part of the United States, making it free. The question of internal improvement is not within the province of this history to discuss, but certainly a deaf ear should not be turned by the general government to the united voice of so many of its children, all alike demanding to be relieved from their embarrassments, and the more particularly so, as it has already heard and answered the supplications of a part of its numerous family. Any semblance of favoritism in a government is a sure means of alienating the trust and affection of a part of its dependants. Whatever means may be most advisable to effect the removal of the impediment to navigation here should at once be adopted. And if the opening of the canal freely to all could tend to effect this object, the government has already had from it revenue sufficient to warrant it in taking off the tax from navigation. Up to the year 1843, there had passed through this canal, 13,776 steamboats, and 4701 flats and keels, making in all 2,425,567 tons, the tolls of which amounted to $1,227,625 50. It[Pg 172] would not be an unfair calculation to rate the expenses of keeping up the canal at $30,000 per annum, or $390,000 for the thirteen years above referred to. Supposing the government to possess three-fifths of this profit, it would amount to $502,575, or nearly enough to build a new canal. It is not to be wondered at, then, that western people should feel disposed to murmur at having these large sums of money taken from their waters and applied to improving the Balize or Sandy Hook, or any other distant part of the Union. And the matter is the more grievous when it is remembered that these tolls are not only not free but are enormously and disproportionately high. Whether laden or not, each boat is obliged to pay at the rate of 50 cts per ton, in proportion to her capacity, as a toll! The whole subject is one deserving immediate and earnest attention, as involving interests in which not only Louisville, but the whole South and West is intimately concerned.

With the next year—1826—we come to the establishment of another newspaper here. This was called the Focus, and was edited by Dr. Buchanan, assisted by Mr. W. W. Worsley, and published weekly by Morton & Co. It contained a very large amount of reading matter on literary, scientific, political and commercial subjects. It was violently anti-Jackson in politics, but still found room in its columns for an unusual quantity of interesting literary matter. It was conducted with great ability by these gentlemen for a period of about three years, when, after the death of Dr. Buchanan, it was sold to Messrs. J. T. Cavins and G. S. Robinson. It was afterwards merged into the Louisville Journal,[Pg 173] and placed, under the name of the Journal and Focus, in the hands of Mr. Geo. D. Prentice, as editor. This was in the year 1832. Since that time its history is too well known wherever the knowledge of American newspapers has penetrated to need any furthur notice here. It has been the lot of the gentleman who is at the head of it, and who is distinguished alike as a poet and a politician, as a wit and a sage, to wield an influence such as few men in any station have ever exercised; an influence which is not only political but also literary and social, and which has been exerted alike at the birth of a true poet and at the death of a false patriot or a foolish politician.

By the census of the next year—1827—we find the population of Louisville to have reached 7063, showing an increase of nearly double since 1821. The attention of the people began now to be turned toward effecting an incorporation of the town and placing themselves in a condition for self-government, and accordingly on the 3d of November, of this year, a very large meeting of the citizens was held at the court house for this purpose, Levi Tyler having been appointed chairman and Garnett Duncan secretary, the following resolutions were adopted:

1st. Resolved, That public convenience renders it important that we ask for the passage of an act incorporating Louisville with its enlargements, and giving a city court for the speedy punishment of crimes and the speedy trial of civil suits.

2d. Resolved, That a committee of five citizens be appointed to draft an act of incorporation and to submit the same at an adjournment of this meeting.

[Pg 174]3d. Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to confer with the inhabitants of Shippingport and Portland, and the enlargements of Louisville, and to request them to unite with us in this subject.

4th. Resolved, That we esteem the erection of a permanent bridge across the Ohio river, at the most convenient point across the Falls, of the greatest utility to the public, and calculated to enhance the commerce and prosperity of our town, and that we respectfully solicit the legislature of this State to incorporate a company with competent powers and capital to effect the erection of such a bridge, and that the city of Louisville, when incorporated, should be authorised to raise funds, by loan or otherwise, and to subscribe for —— dollars of stock in said company.

5th. Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to draft a charter for that purpose, and that our representatives be requested to use their best exertions to effect the passage of such charter.

Committee under the second resolution, Daniel Wurtz, Thos. Anderson, S. S. Goodwin, S. S. Nicholas, Garnett Duncan.

Committee under the third resolution, J. H. Tyler, W. D. Payne, W. S. Vernon.

Committee under the fifth resolution, J. H. Tyler, J. Guthrie, J. S. Snead, J. I. Jacob, G. W. Merriweather, D. R. Poignard, Geo. Keats.

These committees having duly reported, their memorials were sent forward to the legislature, and on the 13th day of February, 1828, the act of incorporation passed and Louisville became a city. Portland had refused to[Pg 175] become annexed to the city as yet, but Shippingport had consented to the compact. The act of incorporation defines the limits of the city as follows: Beginning at the stone bridge over Bear Grass creek, near Geiger’s mills, thence on a straight line to the upper corner of Jacob Geiger’s land on the Ohio river, and thence by a straight line down the Ohio river, so as to include Corn Island and the quarry adjacent thereto, and thence to the upper boundary of Shippingport to the back line thereof, and the same course continued until it intersects the back line of the town of Louisville, when extended westwardly far enough to meet the said line extending out from the river with the upper boundary of Shippingport, thence from the said intersection to the south or back line of the present town of Louisville, and with the said back line to the south fork of Bear Grass creek, thence down the middle thereof to the beginning. The usual powers of a municipal body were vested in a Mayor and City Council, consisting of ten persons. The city was divided into five wards, each entitled to two councilmen, who were to be elected annually. These elections were to be held on the first Monday in every March. On election, the Mayor and Councilmen were to take an oath of office and these oaths were recorded. They were to choose a clerk annually, whose duty it should be to keep a record of the proceedings of the board, sign all warrants issued by them and to deliver over to his successor all books and papers entrusted to him. Five Councilmen and the Mayor or six Councilmen should constitute a quorum. The meetings of the board were to be public, and the Mayor’s salary should be fixed by the[Pg 176] Councilmen. The Major was not allowed any judicial authority in civil matters, but had the power of a justice of the peace over slaves and free negroes, and similar powers to require surety for good behavior and for the peace; and the power assigned to two Justices of the Peace in committing criminal offenders and sending them on for trial; he also had the casting vote in case of a tie in the board over which he presided, but had no vote otherwise. The powers before delegated to the Trustees were now vested in the Mayor and Council, and in addition to these were granted power to prohibit the erection of wooden buildings within certain limits, to erect suitable buildings for a poor and work-house, to establish one or more free schools in each ward, to elect all subordinate officers, and to pass by-laws with adequate penalties for their infraction. The office of City Marshal was also created by the act. He was to be chosen annually by the people, and, if required by the Council, he was to have a resident deputy in each ward of the city. His duties were to preserve order at all sessions of the Mayor and Council, and to execute all processes emanating from the Mayor. He was to be appointed City Collector and State Collector within the city. He was to execute bond, with sufficient security, before the Mayor and Council, to the State, for the performance of his duties, and a lien was retained on all his lands and slaves, and on those of his sureties, for all sums of money which came into his hands. He had the same powers and duties within the city as a Sheriff and received the same fees. Not less than two persons were to be voted for as Mayor, and the two having the highest vote for[Pg 177] this office were to be certified to the Governor, one of whom was by him to be commissioned and submitted to the Senate for their advice and consent. This charter was to be in force for five years from and after its passage, and no longer, and upon the dissolution of the corporation, all property was to revert to the Trustees of the town, to be chosen or appointed as heretofore directed by law.

The first election under this charter was held on the fourth day of March, 1828. Mr. J. C. Bucklin was elected Mayor, by a small majority over Mr. W. Tompkins, and W. A. Cocke was elected Marshal by a large majority. The following gentlemen were elected Councilmen: Messrs. John M. Talbott, W. D. Payne, G. W. Merriweather, Richard Hall, Jas. Harrison, J. McGilly Cuddy, John Warren, Elisha Applegate, Daniel McAllister and Fred. Turner. Samuel Dickinson was appointed Clerk.

A writer in the Focus, for January 20, 1829, gives an idea of the commerce of Louisville in regard to certain leading articles at this period. He says that “from 1st of January, 1828, to 1st of January, 1829, there were received and sold in this place 4144 hogsheads of sugar and 8607 bags and barrels of coffee, amounting in value to $584,681. He also fixes the inspections of tobacco in Louisville at 2050 hhds. for 1826, 4354 hhds. for 1827, and 4075 hhds. for 1828. The average price of these was, for 1826, $2 67, for 1827, $2 59, and for 1828, $1 98⅓. The whole value of these for the three years was $468,672 88. 1140 of these were shipped to Pittsburg, 3048 to New Orleans, 320 manufactured here[Pg 178] and 458 were stemmed. In this article sugars are quoted at $7 04 to $7 02, by the barrel, gunpowder tea at $1 20 to $1 25; and it also states that groceries of all kinds can be had here at as cheap rates as they can be procured either in New York or New Orleans. A writer in the Kentucky Reporter also adds to this information the following statement: The store rooms of the principal wholesale merchants are larger and better adapted to business purposes than any to be found in the commercial cities of the East. Not a few of them are from 100 to 130 feet in depth, by 30 feet wide, and from three to four stories high, and furnished with fire proof vaults for the preservation of books and papers in case of fire. The wholesale business has increased very rapidly of late, perhaps doubled in the course of two years. There has also been a proportionate increase in the shipping and forwarding business. Mechanics of all sorts have full employment and good wages.”

An excellent criterion to judge of the commerce of a place and to show the increase of its business, is its exchange operations. The following statement of Domestic Bills of Exchange, derived from the official documents of the bank of the U. S., being the amount on hand and unpaid on the 1st January of each year, will give some idea of the amount and increase of the business of Louisville:

Jan. 1, 1826—Bills of Exchange on hand   $46,392
" 1827,"""   108,287
" 1828,"""   184,144
" 1829,"""   350,354

The aggregate of business, as ascertained by a personal[Pg 179] application and inspection of the books of the principal houses, was ascertained to be about $13,000,000.

On the 17th of September, in this year, the branch of the Commonwealth’s Bank was robbed of $25,000 in its own notes. The robbery took place before 9 o’clock in the evening. The door communicating with an entry was opened by a false key, the iron chest quietly unlocked, the notes taken, and the front door opened without any alarm being given. A reward of one thousand dollars in specie was offered for the apprehension of the robber and also a similar reward of $1500 for the recovery of the money. These rewards did not, however, produce the desired result and neither the money nor the robber was ever discovered.

During this year there was a secession of about fifty members from the Methodist Episcopal church here, who formed and established the first Methodist Reformed church. They constructed an edifice at the corner of Green and Fourth Streets, of which Mr. N. Snethen was the pastor. This church was afterwards used by the congregation of the First Presbyterian church, was then sold to the negroes, and finally torn down to make room for the immense Masonic Hall now being built on that spot.

The last event of this year which will be noticed here is the erection of the first city school house. This building, still standing at the south-west corner of Walnut and Fifth Streets, was then an extremely creditable ornament to the city. It is capable of containing seven or eight hundred pupils and is divided into a male and female department, which are entirely distinct from each[Pg 180] other. It was superintended by the Mayor and six Trustees, annually chosen by the Council. The first board of Trustees was composed of the following gentlemen: Jas. Guthrie, Jas. H. Overstreet, Wm. Sale, Samuel Dickinson, F. Cosby and Dr. J. P. Harrison. The standard of education pursued was as high as that of any private school and the terms were only from one dollar to one dollar and a half per quarter. The annual expense of this school to the city was $5,682. Several equally large schools have been since erected and the system of free-schools somewhat changed. These will be noticed at greater length in another part of this history.



[Pg 181]


The opening of the next year—1830—found the young city in a highly prosperous and thriving position. The security and permanence given to enterprise by the charter had its effect on all departments of business. Arrangements were made at the beginning of the season for the erection of not less than five hundred substantial brick houses, and, according to the report of a prominent resident of a sister city, there was not another place in the United States which was improving and increasing in population more rapidly than this. The number of inhabitants, as ascertained by census, had reached 10,336, and was still rapidly increasing. The friends of Louisville had every reason to congratulate themselves upon her position. The pecuniary troubles which soon after involved the place were not foreseen, and, with buoyant hopes and high expectations, the citizens looked forward to a continuance of their unexampled prosperity. How these hopes were wrecked and these expectations reduced, the history of the next decade will show.

The first act to be noticed in connection with the city was an amendment to the charter, which prevented the Council from borrowing or appropriating money without the consent of a majority of their body. As the project of a bridge over the Ohio was then talked of, and as the Lexington and Ohio Railroad had been suggested, and the city in her corporate capacity had been warmly urged[Pg 182] to make large subscriptions of stock to these enterprises, this provision was probably thought necessary to prevent too great lavishness in expenditure.

The next event of the year was the organization of another Presbyterian church under the Rev. Mr. Sawtell. It was commenced in April with 12 members who seceded from the First Presbyterian church. A building for worship was erected on Third Street, between Green and Walnut, and the church rapidly increased in numbers. It is at present in charge of Rev. Dr. Humphrey.

The last circumstance to be noticed in this rapid sketch of the year 1830, is the establishment of the Daily Journal by Prentice & Buxton, afterward Prentice & Johnston, then Prentice & Weissinger, and finally Prentice & Henderson. It was first published on an imperial sheet at $10 per annum. Although commenced by an entire stranger, as Mr. Prentice then was, the power of its articles and the exquisite vein of humor and irony displayed in its columns, soon gave it such popularity, that, even before its union with the Focus in 1832, it had risen to a firm and enviable position. In December Mr. Edwin Bryant became an associate editor of the paper, but did not remain in that position for more than six months. Soon after the establishment of the Journal the newspaper war with the Advertiser, so well remembered here and so widely known abroad as having given birth to a fund of wit and of satire heretofore unparalleled in the annals of newspapers, was commenced. Even the distant English journals had each their column headed—“Prenticeana”—and the paper was sought after[Pg 183] far and near by every lover of fun or of humor in the land. It is to be regretted that the shifting character of American politics has rendered so many of the happiest of these allusions and witticisms obscure to the unpolitical or to the distant reader; a collected volume of them would else afford a delightful compendium for a leisure hour. To the older resident of Louisville, it may be interesting to recall the commencement of this long and hard-fought battle. Mr. Penn of the Advertiser, who had deservedly maintained since 1819 the most prominent rank as an editor in the West, was kind enough to furnish the Journal, at its commencement, with all its exchanges. This favor is repeatedly acknowledged by the Journal with great courtesy, but does not blind that paper to the fact that it is about to be attacked by the opposite party. Whereupon, after some time, the following article was published: “We assure the editor of the Advertiser that we shall never under any circumstances covet a personal controversy with him. We do not believe that his readers would be willing to pay him $10 a year for dissertations upon our private character, however bad it may be; and we are quite sure that ours would be loth to pay that sum for daily disquisitions on him, whatever may be his excellencies. We have due respect for the Jackson editors in the West, but we trust to be believed when we say our respect is undebased by fear. We prefer that they should accept our hand open and ungloved, but if they would rather have it in the shape of a fist, it is still at their service.” The Advertiser, seeming to prefer it in the latter form, hereupon commences anew its attack, when the war is opened[Pg 184] in earnest by the Journal, which, at the end of a somewhat long and rather tart paragraph, let off in reply the following first coup de canon: “We believe he (Mr. Penn) has not had an article since we came here that was not made up of hints taken from the Journal. Well, we have one consolation—‘he that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.’” This is followed up by a series of well directed blows, which are vigorously replied to till the eleventh or twelfth “round,” when one of the parties left the field, still, however, refusing to consider himself vanquished.

With the year 1831 came another amendment to the charter, which provides that the real estate in Louisville and the personal estate of all persons dying therein shall be subject to escheat to the Commonwealth, vested in the Mayor and Council, for the use of public schools. Also that all fines inflicted in Jefferson county shall be vested in the same manner, the fund arising therefrom to be expended in the purchase of a lot and erecting buildings thereon for said schools. It also provides that Jailor’s fees for commitments for offenses in Louisville shall be paid out of the city fund. These amendments to the charter are so numerous and of such frequent recurrence that we shall hereafter be content with a mere allusion to them.

It was also during this year that the present bank of Kentucky was built, with a view to the uses of the bank of the United States. A Louisville Lyceum was also established under the patronage of some of the most distinguished citizens of Louisville. This literary association continued in being for several years but finally[Pg 185] was obliged, like all its fellows, to sink beneath the careless inattention of a purely commercial community.

In 1832 a new calamity came upon the city. This was an unparalleled flood in the Ohio. It commenced on the 10th of February and continued until the 21st of that month, having risen to the extraordinary height of 51 feet above low-water mark. The destruction of property by this flood was immense. Nearly all the frame buildings near the river were either floated off or turned over and destroyed. An almost total cessation in business was the necessary consequence; even farmers from the neighborhood were unable to get to the markets, the flood having so affected the smaller streams as to render them impassable. The description of the sufferings by this flood is appalling. This calamity, however, great as it was, could have but a temporary effect on the progress of the city, as will be seen hereafter.

On the 27th of May the first Unitarian church was dedicated. It is situated at the corner of Walnut and Fifth streets, and was under the direction of the Rev. Geo. Chapman, of Mass. The building of the Louisville Hotel, and the issue of the first Directory ever printed here, were also events of this period. This Directory was published by R. W. Otis, and contains, beside much other valuable matter, a brief sketch of the history of the city, from the pen of Mr. Mann Butler, the accomplished historian of Kentucky. From it we get the following commercial table of Imports from Dec. 1st, 1831, to Aug. 4th, 1832, which will prove interesting to the reader of statistics:

[Pg 186]

Bale Rope   26,830 coils.
Bagging   33,411 pieces.
China, &c.   1,170 p’ckgs.
Coffee   18,289 bags.
Cotton   4,913 bales.
Mackerel   12,037 bbls.
Salt, Kan. and Cone   16,729 "
Salt, Turk’s Island   18,146 bags.
Tea   63,500 lbs.
Flour   48,470 bbls.
Hides   19,121
Iron   631 tons.
Lead   231 "
Molasses   6,309 bbls.
Nails   10,395 kegs.
Sugar, N. O.   7,717 hhds.
"Loaf   4,318 bbls.
Tin Plate   3,108 boxes.

The inspection of whiskey during this time amounted to 14,627 barrels. This Directory also gives the following as the statistics of manufactures:

One steam woolen factory, employs 30 hands and consumes 25,000 pounds of wool per annum.

One cotton factory, employs 80 hands and consumes 500 bales annually; works 1,056 spindles.

Two potteries.

One steam grist mill.

Two foundries, employing together 155 hands and consuming 1,200 tons of iron per annum.

Sixteen brick yards.

One steam planing mill, with two machines and two circular saws; planes, tongues, grooves, &c., about 2,000 feet of boards to each machine per day.

Three breweries.

Two white lead factories consume 600 tons lead annually.

Four rope walks, which work up 600 tons of hemp per annum.

Passing on as rapidly as may be, we come first to the chartering of the Bank of Louisville. The books were opened for subscription to this bank in March, 1833, and closed on the third day, $1,500,000 having been subscribed[Pg 187] in that brief period. By the act of incorporation the capital was fixed at $2,000,000, but the commissioners were allowed to close the books at any time after $500,000 were subscribed. Each director was required to take oath not to permit any violation of this charter.

The next event in order was another amendment to the city charter, which provides that no street or alley can be laid out without consent of Council—that a jury shall assess what damages shall be awarded, and what paid by persons injured or benefitted by opening streets or alleys—that it shall not be necessary for the Council to have alphabetical lists of the voters made out, except for the tax collectors and judges of the election—that those only shall be eligible to office who are house-keepers or free-holders and have paid taxes the preceding year in the city of Louisville—that the removal of a councilman from the ward in which he was elected shall cause his office to be vacant, and that any vacancy occurring either in this way or by resignation shall be sup-plied by the Council out of the said ward.

A museum was opened here at this period by a number of gentlemen as stockholders, under the direction of J. R. Lambdin; the collection of objects of natural history, of curiosity, and of vertu was extremely good. A Savings’ Bank was also established during the year, under the direction of Ed. Crow, President; and E. D. Hobbs, Treasurer.

The editor of a Frankfort paper, giving an account of his visit to Louisville about this time, says: “Whoever visits this city leaves it with the conviction that all the elements are at work, which must advance it to a great[Pg 188] commercial town, and urge it on till it has passed all the towns of the Ohio in the race for supremacy.” It is not to be wondered at that the thriving appearance of the city at this time should have attracted the attention and notice of strangers, and the more particularly as all the neighboring towns and cities were now suffering from the visitations of that dreaded and dreadful scourge, the Cholera, while Louisville hardly knew of its presence. The causes of disease here had been in a great measure removed, and notwithstanding the fears which the approach of the plague had inspired in a city which had before suffered so severely from contagion, the cholera passed lightly over it, not making sufficient impression to produce any effect against its prosperity. This was the more a cause of congratulation to the city as it afforded an opportunity to prove the falsity of the reports prejudicial to its health, which were still industriously circulated. But though exempt from this visitation, the city did not pass another year without its share of calamity. The government deposites which had heretofore been placed in the banks here and used by them as banking capital, were now removed, and as a consequent there arrived another disastrous period of pecuniary distress. This was so severe as to call for a meeting of the citizens, which took place at the court house in 1834, and the object of which was to memorialize the government upon the subject of their troubles. Of this meeting, T. Gwathmey was President, D. Smith and E. Crow, Vice Presidents, and C. M. Thruston and F. A. Kaye, Secretaries. In the words of the memorial, “all is gloom and despondence, all uncertainty and suspense, all apprehension and [Pg 189]foreboding. Prices here have fallen beyond any former example. Flour has sunk from $4 to $3, or even $2 50 per barrel. Hemp, pork, and every other commodity has decreased in an equal degree. Real property has fallen in many instances 50 per cent. It is believed that there will not be employment during the ensuing season for one-fourth of the mechanics and working men of Louisville. Few contracts for building have been or are likely to be made. In the opinion of the memorialists, the first remedy for this state of things is the restoration of the deposites. They therefore pray that the deposites be restored, and such measures taken in relation to a National Bank as shall be most likely to afford relief to the country.” This crisis does not seem to have produced very disastrous results here, but was probably more severe in anticipation than in reality. It is even possible that, as political excitement ran very high, and as this removal of the deposites was very obnoxious to one of the political parties, that the evil was a foreboding induced by their own fears, and of such a character as actually to produce a temporary depression in business. And this opinion is supported by the fact that no material change seems to have taken place in the onward progress of the city. The policy and propriety of establishing water works had been for some time under discussion, and in this year the city went so far as to purchase a site for a reservoir on Main above Clay Street. This project was very soon abandoned, but whether from the pressure of the times or from the opposition of many of the citizens does not appear in any record of the period. The incorporation and survey[Pg 190] of two turnpike companies, the Bardstown and Louisville, and Elizabethtown and Louisville, during the same year, would however seem to incline us to believe that it was not given up for the want of means. The state of affairs, even if as bad as represented in the memorial, does not seem to have thrown a very deep or settled gloom over the community; on the contrary an incident of the period would seem to show a light-heartedness and freedom from care not common in times of distress. This incident was the sudden appearance in the streets of the city of a very singular procession, since known as the Comical Guards. They were introduced as a burlesque of the militia drills, then of biennial occurrence here. The procession was headed by an enormous man, rivaling Daniel Lambert in his superabundance of flesh, mounted on an equally overgrown ox, on whose hide was painted the following descriptive motto, “The Bull-works of our Country.” This heroic captain also wore a sword of mighty proportions, on whose trenchant blade was written in letters of scarlet the savage inscription, “Blood or Guts!” This leader was followed by a band of equally singular character; long men on short horses, little boys on enormous bony Rozinantes, picked up from off the commons; men enclosed in hogsheads, with only head, feet and arms visible; men encased even to helmet and visor in wicker-work armour, and a thousand other knights of fanciful costume, and all marching with heroic step to the martial clangor of tin pans, the braying of milkhorns, the shrill sound of whistles, the piping of cat-calls, and the ceaseless din of penny-trumpets and cornstalk fiddles. This[Pg 191] procession halted in its progress through the streets in front of the residences of the officers of the militia, and after saluting them with a flourish of music, made them a speech, and cheered them with a chorus of groans. After marching bravely through the principal streets, this procession suddenly disappeared from public view never again to greet the sunlight.

Toward the last of June, the news of the death of Lafayette reached the city, and on the first of July a meeting was held, and resolutions passed recommending the stores to be closed, and the day spent in exercises suitable to the occasion. A procession, in which the trades and professions were all represented, and which was the largest ever seen in the city, was formed, and after passing through the principal streets, stopped in the lot occupied by Mr. Jacob, where a eulogy was delivered by Mr. M. R. Wigginton. All who had joined in the procession, wore crape on the left arm for thirty days. The whole proceedings of the day were highly creditable to the city, and highly worthy of the occasion. Another event of the year was the establishment of a new paper called the Louisville Notary and published weekly by D. C. Banks and A. E. Drapier. This paper however never rose to any eminence in the city.

During 1833 and 1834 two new amendments had been made to the charter. One of them authorizes some trifling change in the boundary of the city, and the other allows the borrowing of money to erect Water-Works, and compels the inspector of liquors to mark the degree of proof on the head of each barrel. The next year—1835—also shows similar amendments: first, requiring[Pg 192] the valuation of property to be made on the 10th of January in each year; second, authorizing the city marshall to collect his bills for summoning juries; and third authorizing the city to subscribe for stock in the Lexington and Ohio Railroad Company. This road was this year opened to Frankfort. The building of the Galt House also dates from this period, as does the first movement toward lighting the city with gas.

It will be recollected that in 1830 the population was given at 10,336, in 1835 it had reached by actual census 19,967, giving an increase of nearly one hundred per cent, in less than five years! The Tax list for this year will also show a similar increase:

Real estate and Improvements valued at   $10,425,446
Personal Property   644,250
Tythables, white and black, 4,960 at $150   7,440
34 1st rate stores at $80   2,720
42 2d""60   2,520
57 3d""40   2,880
62 4th""20   1,240
68 Hacks, 132 Drays, 53 Waggons, $4; 124 Carts $2   1,260
50 Coffee-Houses at $50   2,500
10 Taverns at $50   500
60 Groceries and Spirits at $50   3,000
96 Spirits alone at 40   3,840
20 Groceries alone, and 20 Confectioners at 15   720

A table of the imports of the city has been so recently given, that it may be more interesting to offer now a list of exports, for the six months succeeding January 1st, 1835, which is as follows:

Tobacco   1,337 hhds.
"   114 boxes.
Bacon   2,813,560 lbs.
Tallow   149 bbls.
Whisky   14,643 "
Flour   19,999 "
Lard   60,713 kegs.
Hemp   38 tons.
Bagging   65,348 p’s.
Bale Rope   42,030 cls.
Pork   14,419 bbl.
Linseed Oil   72 bbl.

[Pg 193]To this list may be added the amount of goods sold during the next year—1836—by 47 of the largest wholesale dry good and grocery houses, which is officially stated at $12,128,666 16. There were also built during the summer of this latter year 110 stores and 114 dwelling houses, all of the better class. Rents were steadily advancing on the stores, and “as for dwellings it would be impossible to rent one, finished or unfinished. And these improvements resulted from the natural advantages of the place, and not from the completion of any of the works, to which the city had always looked as the precursors of greatness.” These statistics require no additional demonstration to prove the progress of the town. The first thing worthy of notice in this year was a ninth amendment to the charter, which abolishes the Mayor’s Court and establishes a Police Court in lieu thereof. This court was to be a court of record; its judge to be appointed as other judges, and to receive a salary of $1200. The prosecuting attorney to be elected by the Council. The City Court, as far as it is a Police Court, should always be open, and for the trial of pleas of the Commonwealth, there were to be monthly terms of said court, to commence on the first Monday in each month. It might summon grand juries. This act also fixed the salary of the Mayor at $2,000, and compelled all insurance offices to file with the Mayor a certified copy of their charters; it also extended the city boundary 300 feet above Geiger’s Ferry landing. Two more newspapers were in this year added to the growing list of the city. The first of these was the Louisville City Gazette, a daily, published by John J. & Jas. B. [Pg 194]Marshall; and the second, the Western Messenger, a monthly, under the care of the Rev. J. F. Clark. This last was originally published in Cincinnati, but was this year transferred to Louisville.

As will be remembered a motion had been made several years before this time toward the erection of a bridge over the Ohio. This project had been discussed from time to time ever since that period, and finally in this year, the contracts were entered into and the corner stone of the bridge was laid with all due ceremony, at the foot of Twelfth Street. The work however never progressed beyond this, the contractor having failed to perform his duty, beside which the next year brought with it by far the most terrible calamity that had ever affected the city. The last few years had been years of such unexampled prosperity; confidence had become so thoroughly established, credit was so plenty, and luxury so courted, that, when the unexpected reverse came, the blow was indeed terrible. On the 19th of April, the Banks of Louisville and of Kentucky suspended specie payment, by a resolution of the citizens so authorizing them. Previous to this, the Banks all over the country had stopped; another awful commercial crisis had arrived, and one which Louisville felt far more severely than she had felt the former. Instead of passing lightly over her, as before, the full force of the blow was felt throughout the whole community. House after house, which had easily rode out the former storm, now sunk beneath the waves of adversity, until it seemed as if none would be left to tell the sad story. A settled gloom hung over the whole mercantile community.[Pg 195] Main Street was like an avenue in some deserted city. Whole rows of houses were tenantless, and expectation was upon the tiptoe every day to see who would be the next to close. Each feared the other; all confidence was gone; mercantile transactions were at an end; and everything, before so radiant with the spring-time of hope and of promise, was changed to the sad autumn hues of a fruitless year.

It was in the midst of this gloom and despondence which prevaded one part of the community, that the ears of another part were astonished and gladdened with a strain of melody, such as had not before stolen through the glades and groves of this western land. A young girl, modest and unpretending, unknown to all but her little circle, inspired by some unseen power, tremblingly warbled forth a few verses of melody, but of such enchanting power, beauty and harmony, that all the literary world were confounded, and all eagerly inquired who it was that under the simple signature of “Amelia,” and away off in the distant West had struck her lyre “with an angel’s art, and with the power of the fabled Orpheus,” and whose “strains had been caught up by melody-lovers throughout the Union, and sung in every peopled valley, and echoed from every sunny hillside of our vast domain.”[14] Such genius could not long remain unknown; and soon the name of its possessor was proclaimed through the columns of the Louisville Journal, but the name gave no clue to the source whence this mighty power had been derived. For the many, the ten days wonder soon passed away. The genius of[Pg 196] the writer was acknowledged and forgotten by them. But the true lovers of her art followed her for many years with looks of admiration, regard and affection; and still, though her harp has long lain untouched, await with anxiety and hope for new strains from the lyre they have loved so well.[15]

It is not for the historian to dwell at any length upon subjects kindred to this, agreeable as the theme may be. We must then revert again to the usual details of the year. The first of these was the reception here of the distinguished Mr. Webster, who was met some twelve miles from the city by a large number of citizens. On his arrival he was welcomed by the Mayor and invited to meet the citizens at a barbacue near the city. The season was one of great festivity, and nearly four thousand persons were present at the barbacue. Mr. Webster addressed the citizens in his usual felicitous manner.

An important event of the year was the addition of the town of Portland to the limits of the city. The building of the First Presbyterian, and of St. Paul’s (Episcopal) Church, and of the bank of Louisville, as well as the selection of this point as the site for the [Pg 197]government hospital, and the incorporation of the Louisville Manufacturing Company, are among the events of this year. A paper called the Western Journal of Education, was also issued from the Journal office, under the editorship of the Rev. B. O. Peers, but was soon discontinued for want of sufficient patronage.

For some time previous to this period the removal of the medical department of Transylvania University at Lexington to this city had occupied much attention, and had created some bitterness of feeling between the two cities. In this year this vexed question was finally decided by the Legislature against the removal; no less to the gratification of Lexington than to the serious annoyance of this city. The examination of the subject however brought to light an old charter, passed in 1833 and amended in 1835, which sufficed to enable a new school of medicine to be established here. The city accordingly set apart four acres of ground and the sum of $50,000 in money for its use, and so organized a medical school here, of which Messrs. Caldwell, Cooke, Cobb, Flint, Yandell, Miller and Locke were the professors. In February of the next year, the corner stone of the building to be erected by the city for this use was laid, and soon after Dr. Flint, with the money appropriated for that purpose, visited Europe, and purchased a fine library and apparatus for the Institution. Few, if any medical schools in the United States, have ever risen as rapidly in public favor, or as speedily attained as high position in public estimation as this. The first course of lectures was delivered to 80 students, the second to 120, the third to 205, the fifth to 262; and since that[Pg 198] time the classes have reached 400 pupils. It has attained the rank of the first school of medicine in the West, and is second to few in the country. There is now another medical school in this city, which will be noticed at the proper place.

The next year—1838—brings us to the opening of a railroad to Portland. This road was intended to connect with the Lexington and Ohio railroad. It was kept in employ but a very short time, the citizens on Main Street below the depot at Sixth were violently opposed to the road, and used every effort to impair its usefulness. After the establishment of the Blind Asylum here, the profits of this road were transferred to that institution; but it did not long enjoy the advantages so offered, for the road was discontinued by an application to court from some of the citizens, as offensive to some, and unprofitable to all.

A glance at the population of the city for this year will show, that in spite of the commercial difficulties of the time, the city still grew with astonishing rapidity. It had now reached a population of 27,000, showing a gain of 7,033 in three years.

The only other event worthy of remembrance was the robbery of the Savings Bank. This was effected in the daytime, by a man named Clarendon E. Dix, who entered the bank about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Soon after this time, Mr. Julien, the cashier of the bank, entered the establishment and found Dix, who had still in his hand the large bank hammer, with which he had killed the clerk whom he found there. Finding that he should be vanquished in the struggle with Mr. Julien, Dix[Pg 199] drew a pistol and shot himself. He was believed to be insane.

The Literary Newsletter, a paper under the charge of Ed. Flagg, editor, was issued from the Journal office in December of this year. Its existence was limited to about thirty months. It was however eminently deserving of a much greater success than attended its issue.

The Kentucky Historical Society was also incorporated at this time, under the direction of Hon. J. Rowan, President; Hon. Geo. M. Bibb and Hon. Henry Pirtle, Vice Presidents; D. C. Banks, Recording Secretary; and Edward Jarvis, Corresponding Secretary and Librarian. Its library which was amassed by the indefatigable zeal of Dr. Jarvis, is now incorporated with the Louisville Library. The Society itself is not now in active existence.

Early in 1839, there was established a Ladies’ Provident Society, for the benefit of the poor. This society was organized in the best possible manner, and was of very great value to the city. A depot for the reception of donations of food, clothing, &c., was established, where also work was provided for such indigent females as failed to find employment elsewhere. The city was divided into wards, to each of which two female and one male visitor was apportioned, and the poor in each district were carefully and judiciously attended to. No better scheme for ameliorating the distress which is ever to be found in cities, could have been invented, and it is greatly to be regretted that this noble monument of charity no longer exists. The present form of provision for the destitute, though good, is far less effective than[Pg 200] was this; and it is believed that if the Provident Society were now re-established, the increase both of wealth and population in the city would prevent its second failure. The Scotch Benevolent Society, which is an association of Scotchmen for the purpose of relieving any necessitous persons of their own countrymen who may be in Louisville, was also instituted at this time, and is still in active operation.

The well remembered visit to this city of the beautiful and accomplished America, descendant of Amerigo Vespucci, the voyager whose name is so closely identified with the discovery of this continent, occurred during this year. It will be recollected that she was an exile, and in distress; and that she had visited this country with the hope of obtaining some aid from the government, which she solicited in view of her ancestor’s name and services. A private subscription was commenced for her at the office of the Journal, which, however, she declined, saying: “A national boon will ever honor the memory and the descendant of Amerigo Vespucci, but America, even as an exile in the United States, cannot accept an individual favor, however courteous and delicate may be the manner in which it is proffered.”



[Pg 201]


This history now approaches a period so recent, that it will hardly be necessary to chronicle the events of the next decade with as much minuteness as has heretofore been attempted. The reader will doubtless long ago have perceived the difficulty of stringing together incidents, interesting in themselves, yet having so little bearing upon each other, as frequently to present more the dryness of a chronological table of events, than to offer the interest of a consecutive history. It is believed however, that in preparing a book of this character, this difficulty could not well be avoided, especially if intended, as this is, to be used as a work of general reference. The events of the next ten years are however so entirely within the memory of all, that the same attention to minutiæ need not be preserved, such things possessing interest less from their inherent value, than from the period of their occurrence. It will, however, be still necessary to notice all that pertains absolutely to the interests or prosperity of the city.

Commencing then with the year 1840, and keeping in view the fact that the effects of the disastrous crisis of 1837 were not yet passed away, the first thing claiming notice, is some account of the state of the city as it then was. The census of the United States for this year assigns to Louisville: 1 commercial, and 11 commission houses, [a somewhat indefinite phraseology,] in foreign[Pg 202] trade, with a capital of $191,800; 270 retail stores, with a capital of $2,128,400; 3 lumber yards, with a capital of $52,000; 2 flouring mills; 2 tanneries; 2 breweries; 1 glass cutting works; 1 pottery; 2 ropewalks; 7 printing offices; 2 binderies; 5 daily, 7 weekly, and 3 semi-weekly newspapers; and 1 periodical; total capital employed in manufactures, $713,675. One college, 80 students; 10 academies, 269 students; 14 schools, 388 scholars. The aggregate of population by this census was 21,210; of which 9,282 white males, 7,889 white females; 609 free colored persons, and 3,420 slaves. This census is not considered authentic, as many transparent errors were found in various parts of it. Other computations made from reliable data at the same period, give to the city 23,000 to 24,000 inhabitants. As the former number, however, has received official sanction, it would be idle to dispute its correctness.

Two events belong also to this year which were of vital importance. Of these, the first was the lighting of the city with gas. This was done by a corporate company, established by charter in 1839, having a capital of $1,200,000, with power also to erect water-works and with banking privileges, except the issue of bills. The city is better supplied with gas, and better lighted than any in the United States, if not in the world; most of the wealthier citizens use it in their dwellings, and all the shops are lighted with gas. The perspective view of the miles of brilliant lamps stretching away in the distance is very beautiful, and very attractive to strangers. Before the introduction of this sort of light, the city had been for two or three years greatly infested by robbers,[Pg 203] who favored by the darkness, made nightly attacks upon passengers through the streets, striking and disabling them with colts, and in no few instances murdering them outright. Residents were seldom attacked by these banditti, but the streets were considered unsafe for strangers. Finding it impossible to pursue their avocation where every street was brilliantly illuminated, these gentry changed their place of operations immediately on the lighting of the town, much to the relief of the citizens as well as the re-establishment of the fair fame of the city.

The second of the events above alluded to was the conflagration which will be long known as the Great Fire in Louisville. It originated about midnight, on Third Street, between Main and Market, in the chair factory of John Hawkins, and burned south within one door of the Post Office, (then at the corner of Market and Third Streets,) and north to Main Street. It then took a westwardly direction down Main Street, destroying all the houses to within two doors of the Bank of Louisville. Its further progress having been arrested here, the flames crossed the street, and coming back upon their course destroyed nine large stores and one boarding house on the north side of Main, east of the middle of the square. Upwards of thirty houses were consumed, and the loss was estimated at more than $300,000. The houses destroyed were chiefly large importing and commercial stores; many of the goods were saved, but all the buildings were entirely destroyed. This conflagration however, proved in the end rather a gain than a loss to the city in general, as the site of the fire was speedily rebuilt in a much better style than before.

[Pg 204]The friends of the city were at this time urging the propriety of establishing manufactures here, a want not felt less at that time than now. In an article upon this subject in one of the daily papers, the following statistics of the sale of cotton goods were elicited, in which reference is had to the year 1841. “At this time there were sold, brown cottons to the value of $276,095; prints amounting to $249,824; cotton yarns to $224,819; bleached cottons $89,589, and checks and tickings $68,180, making a total of $908,772 taken from the city, which, it was urged, could have been easily and profitably furnished on the spot.” It was then said and may be now repeated that too little attention is paid to the vast advantages to be derived from the establishment of manufactures, especially at this point where the necessary power could and can be so easily and so cheaply attained. It is somewhat remarkable that this population has depended and still depends so entirely upon commerce as a means of gain. No other city perhaps in the world has so large a commercial business in proportion to its population. This is probably accounted for in the fact that the increase of commerce has been so rapid and the difficulty of overdoing the business so apparently impossible that every temptation has been offered to the capitalist to prefer this mode of investment. The time, however, cannot be far distant when the advantages offered to the manufacturer will be acknowledged and embraced. Indeed the commencement of what must before long become a very large branch of prosperity here was already established, but it has not grown with a rapidity commensurate with the increase[Pg 205] of other departments of trade. A few foundries and manufactories of bagging and rope were established about this period. These, with the addition of a lard oil factory, begun by C. C. P. Crosby, in 1842, may be said to embrace the whole manufacturing business of the city in that year. Future statistics will show how it has increased, and will demonstrate the value of this addition to the trade; and to these we will now turn.

The Louisville Directory for 1844-1845, compiled by N. Peabody Poor, and the best directory ever published here, gives a very complete and interesting view of the city for that year. As no events in any degree connected with the public interests, or of any especial political value, are referable to the period between this year and 1840, it will be as well to pass on at once to a notice of the results of these five years of steady progress. Beginning then with the population, which, it will be remembered, amounted in 1840 to 21,210, we find that in September, 1845, an actual census shows it to have reached 37,218 souls. Of these 32,602 were whites, 560 free blacks, and 4,056 slaves. The increase of five years is thus shown to amount to 16,008. Nor was it alone in the matter of population that such rapid progress had been made. The number of houses engaged in the wholesale and retail trade had increased from 270 to upwards of 500, and in addition to these purely commercial houses, there were then “12 large foundries for the construction of steam machinery; 1 large rolling and slitting mill; 2 extensive steam bagging factories, capable of producing about 2,000,000 of yards annually; 6 cordage and rope factories, some of which produced 900,000[Pg 206] pounds of bale rope annually, beside which there were several smaller rope walks for the making of sash cord, twine, &c.; 1 cotton factory; 1 woolen factory; 4 flouring mills, producing about 400 barrels daily; 4 lard oil factories; 1 white lead factory; 3 potteries; 6 extensive tobacco stemmeries, employing a large capital, where the leaf is stripped from the stem and re-packed for the English market; several tobacco manufactories; 2 glass cutting establishments; a large oil cloth factory; 2 surgical instrument makers; 2 lithographic presses; 1 paper mill; 1 star candle factory; 4 pork houses, which will slaughter and pack about 70,000 hogs annually; 3 piano forte manufactories; 3 breweries; 8 brick yards; 1 ivory black maker; 6 tanneries; 2 tallow rendering houses, rendering about 1,000,000 pounds annually; 8 soap and candle factories; 3 planing machines; 2 scale factories; 2 glue factories; 3 large ship yards, at which have been built some of the fastest running boats on the river; besides several factories of less note.”[16] The simple statement of these facts furnishes a more convincing demonstration of the rapid and healthy progress of the city, than whole volumes of argument could afford.

Another event bearing directly upon the prosperity of the city during the rest of this decade was the opening of the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad. The subject of this road had for a long time agitated the city; many surveys had been made, and indeed the work had at one time progressed to the actual digging and embankment of several miles of the track. The opening of the road was finally effected by the subscription of one million[Pg 207] of dollars by the city herself, which was paid by a tax of one per cent, for four years on all real estate within her limits, and this tax was re-paid to the owners in shares of stock. Although sanctioned by the vote of a very large majority of the citizens, this measure was for a while a very unpopular one; but the malcontents have lately found that the present loss was to them in the end a gain, and they are ready once more to submit to similar taxation, if by so doing other roads can be constructed. Indeed the subject of railroads was now eagerly taken up, and a just and most effective feeling in their favor was taking the place of the former apathy and indifference. The Louisville and Lexington Railroad had opened so many new sources of wealth and developed such advantages before unthought of, that the policy of stretching out iron arms to embrace in their circle all possible resources was no longer doubted. Acting upon this feeling, the people of Louisville united with those of Jeffersonville in building a road from that point to Columbus, and with those of New Albany in uniting that growing city with Salem. The purpose had in view in the construction of these roads is the ultimate and not very distant connection of Louisville, Jeffersonville and New Albany with Lake Erie, St. Louis and Lake Michigan. The entire line of the first of these roads is now in progress of construction, and the greater part of the other is under contract. Beside these, a railroad hence to Nashville, Tenn., is now being surveyed, which will unite with roads already partly under operation leading to some point on the Atlantic coast, near Charleston, S. C. The Louisville and Nashville end of[Pg 208] this route will be put under contract as soon as proper surveys can be established. Other roads are had in contemplation, but nothing has yet been done toward their construction. The effect of these improvements will be the subject of notice in another chapter.

With the opening of the year 1850, was commenced the first of a series of movements which led to the formation of a new charter for the city. This document makes all city officers elective by the people, and places the government in the hands of a Mayor, a Board of Common Council, and a Board of Aldermen. Many of the provisions of this charter are found healthful and wise in their operation, while many others are incomprehensible or impracticable. The first Mayor under this new charter felt himself obliged to resign his office, on the plea of incompetence to perform the duties assigned to him by the instrument. The Council, however, unwilling to dispense with so efficient an officer as he had proved himself, continued him in place as “Mayor pro tem.,” until the end of his term. Experience and the necessities of the city government will doubtless, as time progresses, so modify this instrument as to make its provisions work well and harmoniously.

The annals of the city up to the year 1852 having now been presented to the reader, it only remains to offer a view of its present state in regard to population, commerce, manufactures and social position; which, together with a chapter on its future destiny, will conclude this history. It is not the intention of this work purposely to mislead any, as to the actual position of the city, and therefore, instead of embracing with the statistics of[Pg 209] Louisville those of all the suburban villages and cities in the vicinity, as has universally been done by other western places, we purpose to give such statistics as belong exclusively to this city. If, however, it is ever honest for a city to aggrandize to itself all the prosperity of its suburban neighbors, it is eminently so with Louisville. The towns immediately around the falls are as ready to concede, as Louisville is to claim a perfect identity of interests. The pre-eminence which it has already gained over the neighboring towns forbids all hope of rivalry on their part, and compels them to unite their interests with those of Louisville as a means of their own prosperity. In certain branches of trade, New Albany or Jeffersonville may and do successfully compete with this city, but it is idle to imagine that this partial success can benefit them in such a way as to afford them any superiority in point of fact. On the contrary, this very success is owing entirely to their proximity to Louisville. Those branches of manufacture or of trade in which they excel find encouragement just so far as they are part and parcel of the manufactures or commerce of Louisville; and they would find no market for such wares, and no sale for such manufactures, did they depend only on their own resources of trade. It is the immediate contiguity of the large city which is their stimulus to exertion, and their means of preservation or of prosperity. They cannot but be considered as identical in interest with their elder sister. Nor, on the other hand, can it be denied that these places are of immense advantage to Louisville. Firstly, because they are situated in a free state, and hence can offer freedom[Pg 210] from the disadvantages of slavery; secondly, because, as smaller towns, they are cheaper residences for those whose means require attention to careful economy; thirdly, because they claim for Louisville the sympathy and encouragement of the State in which they are situated; and finally, because they extend the area of the trade and manufactures of the city. It is probable that if the same advantages which have made Louisville great had been offered to New Albany or to Jeffersonville, either of those places might have exceeded their more fortunate compeer. But now the supremacy once gained, cannot but be maintained; and the growth and prosperity, or the decay and adversity of Louisville, must either make or mar the fortunes of her sister towns.

Before entering upon the commercial statistics of Louisville, it may be well to consider its social position, and to endeavor to convey some idea of the advantages offered by this city as a place of residence, aside from its character as a commercial emporium. It is believed that there are few commercial cities on this continent which possess the same characteristics as this. The restlessness, the turmoil and the eagerness in the pursuit of wealth which is ever the characteristic of large commercial cities, has generally produced a littleness of feeling, and a selfishness of manner which does not at all tend to elevate the social position of those places, but rather causes them to lack that feature which in other countries is known and valued by the name “tone.” In Louisville, this does not appear. Indeed it is difficult to reconcile the manner of pursuing traffic here with its results. As will be seen hereafter, the business of[Pg 211] the city is of great extent, and yet the stranger in its midst would perceive nothing to indicate such prosperity. Business is pursued quietly and without ostentation; no efforts are made by any to convince others of their successes; no factitious means are employed to display the results of labor, no hurry or restlessness or confusion attends even the largest and most prosperous houses. Trade is pursued as a means of gain, but is not allowed to blind its votaries to every other pursuit of life: business closes with the close of the day, and is forgotten in other things, until it is revived on the morrow. While pursued, it is pursued with all the avidity that is consistent with the dignity of manhood; but it is never allowed to obtrude where it does not belong, nor is it permitted to make any forget that there are other duties than those of the merchant, and other pleasures than that of adding dollar to dollar. Yet it is believed that there is no city in the Union where the aggregate amount of sales in any one department of business, divided by the number of houses engaged in that business, will show so large a result. Doubtless this state of things is in a great measure caused by the peculiarities of character which belong to the Kentuckian, and which are so essential an element in the society of this city, which society comes now to be considered in its proper form.

There are certain traits in the Kentucky character which are everywhere spoken of with approbation. A manly independence, a generous frankness, and a careless but attractive freedom of manner, united with unbounded hospitality, and that true politeness and [Pg 212]deference, which proceeds rather from natural instinct than from a knowledge of the rules of etiquette, are perhaps the chief of these characteristics. All these, and much more which will elude description, and which can be appreciated only by acquaintance, go to make up that praiseworthy trait of character which has always and everywhere distinguished the Kentuckian, as fully as the most elaborate description could do, we mean his chivalry.

Despising alike the narrow prejudices, the suspicious reserve, the silly dignity, the proud self-gratulation of the Yankee; and the pride of birth and of purse, the ostentation of manner and the foppish pretension of the Southerner, he takes from the first his respect for talent, his patriotism and his spirit of enterprise, and from the last his genial warmth of heart, his worship of the beautiful, his deference for the other sex, and his manly independence of heart. Add to these a bold and reckless frankness, an easy confidence, a love of adventure, a scorn of oppression, a noble intolerance of even seeming insult, and an almost criminal indifference of life when duty or honor seems to call it into peril, and you have a fair picture of the true Kentuckian, of the character which forms the basis of the society now under consideration. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this society is the readiness with which it receives and swallows up all those sectional differences which in other cities remain intact. Society here is generalized; the spirit of cliqueism does not prevail, social distinctions are marked in broad, plain lines, but the highest class is open to all who merit a place. The test of position is neither wealth, birth, nor pretension; respectability[Pg 213] as readily enters the higher circles, and receives as ready encouragement as either of these. In other cities, society divides into numerous little circles, each claiming superior position to the other, each ridiculing the pretension and refusing the association of the other. Here, all are honored in their respective spheres, and few claim a position to which they are not entitled.

Society here has also the power of generalization to the extent that sectional differences are lost by its members, and the Northern, Eastern or Southern man, as well as the native of another country, seems to lose all identity of manner, and becomes only an integral part of one great circle. The fashionable world acts as if with one common impulse, while the other, the larger and better class of respectable people, who do not aspire to this title, but who could claim it by the mere exercise of their will, are neither led by the beau monde, on the one hand, nor, on the other, do they make a virtue of opposing this class. Society is correct in its outline and harmonious in detail. Distinctions of class, though plainly marked, are never offensively shown.

Perhaps the worst feature of society is its lack of a proper reverence for the intellectual, its tendency to frivolity. The amusements most prized by all classes are of a frivolous character. The song, the play or the dance, are valued far above the lecture or the conversation. The pleasures of the intellect are considered dull and tame, when compared with those which excite but for a moment, and are then forgotten. That the power of the intellectual man is acknowledged is true, but the acknowledgment is not practical, it is merely theoretical.[Pg 214] While a high respect is had for the man of letters, he does not command that sympathy which should be accorded him. The great singer or actor receives far more at the hands of society than the profound philosopher or the elegant essayist. People of all ranks are bent upon attaining pleasure with the least possible intellectual exertion. Libraries are little patronized; public amusements of all sorts meet with unbounded success.

Another glaring defect of a certain part of society is found in a desire for notoriety, even if purchased at the expense of good taste. This feeling is one hardly deserving the name of ambition, for ambition has ever a laudable object in view, while this purposes to itself no more than merely having one’s name coupled with some eccentric freak, or being pitied as the victim of outre tastes in dress or manner. It has resulted from the thoughtless admission of very young persons into terms of social equality, and will doubtless be corrected as these grow mature or pass over the stage, and admit a new group to the places they have just yielded up.

The first of these defects is by far the worst in its general tendencies; for it reduces the educational standard, causing daughters to be educated merely with a view to shine in society, and leading young men to eschew pursuits which they find do not advantage them with their daily companions. It is in society that the young man first feels the promptings of ambition; and if excellence in the Redowa or the Mazourka gain for him more admiration than skill with the pen or the pallet; if genius in ball-room prattle make him more friends than learning or philosophy, it is easy to see that the[Pg 215] Redowa and the ball-room will carry the day. Nor, on the other hand, can it be doubted that if young ladies were so educated as to show their appreciation of useful talent; if their tastes would lead them to smile on the endeavor of merit, and to frown on him who had neglected the graces of the mind to bestow his time and attention on those of the person, a very great social change would ensue. Men would then have a proper point for their ambition to aim at; the parlor or the ball-room would become a place of real and rational enjoyment, and society would take a rank far above that held by the ballet girls and singers of the conservatoire.

But society here has its virtues as well as its defects. It is singularly free from absolute vice of all sorts. It discourages gaming, drunkenness and sensuality; its prevailing tone is virtuous and moral; and, while people are hedged in by few conventionalities, yet a character for respectability is imperatively demanded from all who knock at its portals for admission. No society could be more agreeable to the stranger than that of Louisville. Its unbounded hospitality, and generous, confiding frankness are characteristics which are to him a screen against any minor defects.

It is not to be argued from anything which has been previously said that this city can boast of no prominent intellectual men. On the contrary few cities of corresponding size in the country can show as many widely known and respected names connected with the world of letters. There are now living in Louisville eighteen authors who have each contributed one or more successful volumes to the literature of the day. But authorship[Pg 216] and intellectual exertion, like business or physical labor, seems to form no part of the every day life of society.

The next subject which presents itself as connected with the social review of the city is a glance at the religious statistics of Louisville. This is offered to the reader in the following



CHURCHES. Congregations. Communications. Number in
Value of
Baptist 5 1,729 2,200 2,650 80,000
Episcopal 3 431 1,425 2,150 76,000
Methodist 17 3,036 5,900 8,250 109,000
Presbyterian 5 913 2,225 3,300 128,000
German Evangelical 4   1,200 2,150 21,700
"Lutheran 1   100 100  
"Reformed 1 75 200 200 2,250
Disciple 2 410 520 950 18,000
Unitarian 1 63 240 320 12,000
Universalist 1 70 200 500 8,000
Roman Catholic 4 5,000 5,000 3,540 125,000
Jews 2   400 400 11,000
Total 46 11,727 19,610 24,510 590,900

The tasteful and elegant structures which many of these churches have erected are great additions to the beauty of the city. Those most worthy of note are the Walnut Street Baptist, First Presbyterian, Catholic Cathedral, St. Paul’s (Episcopal) and the Synagogue; the last mentioned of which is the most elegant building in the city, although it is probably less expensive than either of the others. The pulpit of Louisville is eminently well supplied. Some of the most distinguished divines of the country are among its members; and few,[Pg 217] if any, of the clergy are men whose talents do not rank above mediocrity.

Beside the churches above mentioned, Louisville has also many beautiful public and private buildings. The city is perhaps more thoroughly classified and better arranged, both for business and for comfortable residence, than any other western place. The wholesale business of the city is entirely confined to Main Street, which is more than four miles long, is perfectly straight, and is built up on either side with good substantial brick buildings for more than half its entire length. The stores, taken as a whole, are the largest and finest ware-houses anywhere to be seen; having fronts of from twenty to thirty feet and running back from one hundred and ten to two hundred feet, and three to five stories in height. The houses thus referred to occupy the most central part of the business street and extend from First to Sixth cross streets, a distance of 5,040 feet in a direct line. On the north side of Main Street, throughout this whole extent, there are but two retail stores of any kind, and even these only sell their goods at retail because they are enabled to do so without interference with their wholesale trade. On the south side of the same street are about twenty of the fashionable shops side by side with many of the largest wholesale houses. Market Street is exclusively devoted to the retail business. It is on this street that the principal small transactions in country produce are made. With the exception of the squares bounded by Third and Fifth Streets, where most of the retail dry-goods business is done, the entire extent of this street is given up to the retail grocers, [Pg 218]provision dealers and clothiers. Jefferson is recently beginning to be used as a fashionable street for the retailers, but yet contains many handsome residences. The streets south of Jefferson are all entirely occupied with dwelling houses. No business is done on any of them except an occasional family grocery or drug store. The fashionable shops are fitted up in a style of unexampled magnificence and contain the most beautiful products of human ingenuity. No city in the Union is better supplied with or finds more ready sale for the finest class of articles of every description than Louisville. The city south of Jefferson Street is very beautiful. The streets are lined on either side with large and elegant shade trees, the houses are all provided with little green yards in front, and are cleanly kept, presenting a graceful and home-like appearance. An impression of elegant ease every where characterizes this part of the city. The houses seem to be more the places for retirement, comfort and enjoyment than, as is customary in most cities, either the ostentatious discomforts of display, or the hot, confined residences of those whose life of ease is sacrificed to the pursuit of gain. There is little appearance of poverty and little display of wealth; every house seems the abode of modest competence that knows how to enjoy a little with content, careless of producing a display of wealth to feast the eyes of a passing idler. Even the more ambitious residences on Chestnut and Broadway Streets are constructed rather for the comfort of the inmates than to produce an impression on the stranger. This latter is the most beautiful street in the city. It is one hundred and twenty feet in width from[Pg 219] front to front and is perfectly straight. The side-walks are twenty-five feet wide. The view up and down this street is extended and beautiful. It is destined to become the fashionable street for residence. Already many beautiful buildings are being erected upon it and the former less elegant houses are being removed to more remote situations.

The subject of Public Education comes now to claim its share of consideration. The free school system is the same in its outline here as in other cities. The city schools are under the direction of a Board of trustees, who are elected by the people, and are open to all those persons who are not able to pay for the tuition of their wards; children of all ages and of both sexes are placed under the care of competent instructors, and educated in all the ordinary branches of learning without any charge to the pupil. The sexes are kept separate and male and female teachers are employed. The standard of study is as high as in other unclassical schools, and every pupil has equal advantages of improvement. A high school is about to be established where all the branches of study usually employed in colleges will be taught to those pupils who have successfully passed through the lower schools, also without any charge. By this magnificent educational scheme, the children even of the poorest and humblest member of society are afforded all the advantages which the wealthiest person could purchase. The attendance at the public schools of Louisville has not been so large as it should have been; firstly, because there are comparatively few parents who are not able to pay for the tuition of their children; and secondly, [Pg 220]because of a foolish pride which prevents parents from accepting this education as a gratuity. The number of children taught in private schools as compared with those who embrace the free school privileges show that these reasons have immense weight with the people. It is probable, however, that the opening of the new high school will bring about a change in this regard. The advantages which will then be offered to the pupil will be so great as to overcome, in a great measure, the absurd prejudices which have existed in the city against the common school. There are twenty-four free schools in the city, having thirty-one female and twenty-five male teachers, whose salaries range from two hundred and fifty to seven hundred dollars. The number of pupils entered for the year reaches about three thousand, six hundred and fifty, while the number in attendance does not exceed one thousand, eight hundred and fifty. This affords an average of only thirty-three pupils to each teacher; so that all the pupils are able to receive every requisite attention.

The city also has control of a Medical and of a Law school, which are recognized as departments of the Louisville University. The first of these is one of the most distinguished schools of its class in the United States. Something has been said of its history in a previous part of this volume. Three thousand, eight hundred and sixty-one young men have been attendants on this school since its commencement. The names of its Professors are well known in the medical world and afford a sure guarantee for its position. They are as follows:

Charles W. Short, M. D., Emeritus Professor of Materia Medica and Medical Botany.

[Pg 221] [17]Jedediah Cobb, M. D., Professor of Descriptive and Surgical Anatomy.

Lunsford P. Yandell, M. D., Professor of Physiology and Pathalogical Anatomy.

Samuel D. Gross, M. D., Professor of the Principles and Practice of Surgery.

Henry Miller, M. D., Professor of Obstetric Medicine.

Lewis Rogers, M. D., Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.

Benjamin Silliman, Jr., M. D., Professor of Medical Chemistry and Toxicology.

[17]Daniel Drake, M. D., Professor of the Theory and

T. G. Richardson, M. D., Demonstrator of Anatomy.

The venerated name of Charles Caldwell, M. D., was also, for a long time, associated with this school, and much of its earlier success is attributable to his exertion.

The law department of the University has been in active operation only since the winter of 1847. It has, however, obtained a wide spread and deservedly great reputation as a school. The number of pupils educated in this department since its commencement is one hundred and ninety-six.

The Professors of the Law Department of the University are as follows:

Hon. Henry Pirtle, L. L. D., Professor of Constitutional Law, Equity and Commercial Law.

Hon. Wm, F. Bullock, Professor of the Law of Real[Pg 222] Property and of the Practice of Law, including Pleading and Evidence.

Hon. James Pryor, Professor of the History and Science of Law, including the Common Law and International Law.

The prospects of this school for the ensuing year are more flattering than they have ever been. The distinguished gentlemen who are at the head of this institution have reason to congratulate themselves as well on their past success as on their brilliant prospects for the future.

Besides these two schools under the immediate control of the city, the Medical Department of the Masonic University of Kentucky is also located here. This school has been in operation for a very short time, having been organized in 1850, but its claims seem already to be recognized throughout the West. The institution opened with a class of 103 young gentlemen, which number was increased in the second year of its existence to 110. With so auspicious a commencement, and under the direction of its distinguished faculty, there seems to be no reason why it should not soon equal in point of numbers and utility the other and older college. The advantages of Louisville over other western cities as a location for medical schools does not need any further notice than these statistics will afford. What has already been accomplished by these institutions will establish its advantages with the reader more fully than any deliberate reasoning could do. The faculty of the Kentucky School of Medicine is composed of the following gentlemen:

[Pg 223]Benj. W. Dudley, M. D., Emeritus Professor of Anatomy and Surgery.

Robert Peter, M. D., Professor of Chemistry and Toxicology.

Thos. D. Mitchell, Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine.

Joshua B. Flint, M. D., Professor of Principles and Practice of Surgery.

James M. Bush, M. D., and Ethelbert L. Dudley, M. D., Professors of Special and Surgical Anatomy and Operative Surgery.

Henry M. Bullitt, M. D., Professor of Physiology and Pathology.

Llewellyn Powell, M. D., Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children.

Erasmus D. Foree, M. D., Professor of Materia Medica and Clinical Medicine.

David Cummings, M. D., Demonstrator of Anatomy.

St. Aloysius college, under the care of the Jesuits, is an academical institution of some celebrity. It has six professors and several tutors. The Kentucky Institution for the Education of the Blind is also located here. This noble monument of philanthropy has been the means of much good to the class for whom it was intended. It has had an average attendance of about twenty pupils. The course of instruction is ample and the results have been in the highest degree creditable to the teachers. The proficiency of many of the pupils is truly wonderful; and their aptitude in learning many of the branches taught them, more especially that great[Pg 224] solace of the blind, music, is everywhere noted. They are also instructed in various kinds of handicraft, by which they are enabled to earn an honorable support after leaving the school. The price of board and tuition for those who are able to pay is only one hundred dollars per annum; while indigent children, resident in the State, are educated gratuitously. The spacious building erected for the use of this school was recently destroyed by fire, but will be speedily rebuilt on a more favorable site and in a better manner than before.

Beside the schools above mentioned there are a great number of private schools of various grades of excellence. Among these the Young Ladies’ Schools of Bishop Smith and of Prof. Noble Butler are perhaps the most widely known. They offer advantages for the education of young ladies which are not surpassed in any city. Indeed the educational opportunities afforded by the many excellent public and private schools of Louisville are in the highest degree creditable to the city and have attracted and still continue to attract to it many families from distant parts of the country. To those who know how properly to estimate the value of educational privileges, the training of their children is an all-important consideration; and, as nothing can supply the want of parental care, it is not uncommon for families to seek as a residence those places which at once possess great facilities for instruction, and are free from the dangers of ill-health. Louisville has both these advantages, and hence this city owes to these facts much of her best population.

The healthiness of Louisville is everywhere a subject[Pg 225] of remark. Its past reputation for insalubrity is long since forgotten, and its singular exemption from those epidemic diseases whose ravages have been so terrible in other places, have gained for it a very enviable distinction among cities. The following recent report of the Committee on Public Health of the Louisville Medical Society will tend still further to confirm what has just been said: “Since the years 1822 and 1823,” says this document, “the endemic fevers of summer and autumn have become gradually less frequent, until within the last five or six years they have almost ceased to prevail, and those months are now as free from disease as those of any part of the year. Typhoid fever is a rare affection here, and a majority of the cases seen occur in persons recently from the country. Some physicians residing in the interior of this State see more of the disease than comes under the joint observation of all the practitioners of the city, if we exclude those treated in the Hospital.

“Tubercular disease, particularly pulmonary consumption, is not so much seen as in the interior of Kentucky. Our exemption from pulmonary consumption is remarkable, and it would be a matter of much interest if a registration could be made of all the deaths from it, so that we could compare them with those of other places.

“For the truth of the remarks as to the extent and frequency of the diseases enumerated we rely solely upon what we have observed ourselves, and upon what we have verbally gathered from our professional friends.

“This exemption of Louisville from disease, can be accounted for in no other way than from its natural [Pg 226]situation, and from what has been done in grading, in building, and in laying off the streets.

“Louisville is situated on an open plain, where the wind has access from every direction; upon a sandy soil, which readily absorbs the water that falls upon it; susceptible of adequate drainings; supplied bountifully with pure lime stone water, which is filtered through a depth of thirty or forty feet of sand; its streets are wide and laid off at right angles—north and south, east and west—giving the freest ventilation; and the buildings compact, comfortable, and generally so constructed as to be dry and to admit freely the fresh air. It is situated upon the border of the beautiful Ohio, and environed by one of the richest agricultural districts in the world, supplying it with abundance of food, and all the comforts and luxuries of life. It must, under the guidance of science and wise legislation, become, if it is not already, one of the healthiest cities in the world. Its proximity to the rapids of the Ohio may add to its salubrity, and it is certain that the evening breezes wafted over them, produce an exhilarating effect, beyond what is derived from the perpetual music of the roar of the falls.”

It may be proper to add the following table of the comparative statistics of annual mortality of the resident population as ascertained from official sources.

In Louisville the deaths are one to 50.
  Philadelphia   do   do   36.
  New York   do   do   37.
  Boston   do   do   38.
  Cincinnati   do   do   35.
  Naples   do   do   28.
  Paris   do   do   33.
  London   do   do   39.
  Glasgow   do   do   44.

[Pg 227]The Market Houses of Louisville, five in number and all located upon Market Street, are profusely supplied with every production of this latitude. Markets are held every day, and prices are much lower than in Eastern cities. The Kentucky beef and pork which is everywhere so celebrated, is here found in its true perfection. The vegetables and fruits peculiar to this climate, are also offered in excellent order and in great abundance. Irish and sweet potatoes, green peas, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, asparagus, celery, salsafie, pie plant, melons, peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries, and many other vegetables and fruits are plentifully supplied. The Irish potato is sold at from twenty-five to forty cents per bushel, green peas command about twenty cents per peck, strawberries fifty cents per gallon. The choice pieces of beef can be had at from six to eight cents per pound, less desirable pieces bring three and four cents. Pork is bought at about five cents per pound. Turkies bring fifty to seventy-five cents each. Spring chickens, from seventy-five to one dollar and fifty cents per dozen. Ducks, fifteen to twenty-five cents each. Eggs are sold at four to eight cents per dozen. Butter, fifteen to twenty cents per pound. The lamb and mutton sold in this market, cannot be surpassed in point of quality in the United States. The extreme fertility of the country around Louisville, and its perfect adaptation to the wants of the gardener and the stockraiser, must always give to this city the advantage of an excellent and cheap provision market.

The following is a list of all the publications issued from this city:

[Pg 228]

Journal Daily and Weekly Whig.
Courier "" "
Times "" Democrat.
Democrat "" "
Beobachter am Ohio "" "
Louisville Anzeiger "" "
Union Daily Neutral.
Bulletin " "
Sunday Varieties Weekly "
Presbyterian Herald " Presbyterian.
Western Recorder " Baptist.
Watchman and Evangelist " Cumb. Presby.
Christian Advocate " Methodist.
Kentucky New Era Semi-Monthly Temperance.
Christian Repository Monthly Baptist.
Indian Advocate " "
Bible Advocate " Neutral.
Theological Medium " Cumb. Presby.
Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery Monthly.
Transylvania Medical Journal "

This review of the social statistics of Louisville will be concluded with a notice of the number of persons engaged in the various avocations of life, as shows in the following:

Agricultural Implement Makers5
Artificial Flower Makers2
Bar Keepers231
Basket Makers15
Bellows Makers5
Blind Makers5
Blacking Makers4
Bird Stuffers2
Brush Makers15
Brick Makers45
Bristle Cleaners4
Book Sellers18
Boot and Shoe Dealers58
Book Binders102
Candle and Soap Makers38
Carpet Weavers8
Camphine Makers4
Cabinet Makers275
Cement Maker1
[Pg 229]Clerks1130
Clothing Dealers57
Cigar Makers159
Composition Roofers2
Cotton Packers22
Cotton Caulk Makers3
Coach Makers78
Comb Makers3
Dancing Teachers10
Dry Goods Dealers275
Edge Tool Makers11
Egg Packers4
Feed Dealers15
File Cutters3
Fringe Makers4
Glass Setters3
Glass Cutters2
Glass Stainer1
Glass Blowers21
Glue Makers2
Hardware Dealers34
Hose Makers2
Ice Dealers6
Ink Makers6
Insurance Agencies27
Iron Safe Maker1
Lamp Makers2
Last Makers3
Leather Finders16
Liquor Dealers45
Livery Keepers43
Lightning Rod Maker1
Lathe Makers2
Match Makers12
Marble Cutters21
Music Dealers9
Music Teachers30
Music Publishers3
No Occupation127
Oil Cloth Makers15
Oyster Brokers5
Organ Builders4
Oil Stone Makers10
Oil Makers27
Paper Makers22
Paper Box Makers8
Plane Makers26
Planing Mill and Lumbermen33
Piano Makers36
Paper Hangers48
Pump Makers16
Pickle Dealer1
Pork Packers25
Presidents Company45
Queensware Dealers26
Railroad Car Makers6
Refrigerator Makers6
River Men330
Rope Makers65
[Pg 230]Saddlers195
Scale Makers7
Silver Platers5
Ship Carpenters133
Soda Makers8
Starch Makers10
Stone Cutters219
Stocking Weavers2
Saw Millers8
Stucco Workers4
Stove Makers4
Sail Makers2
Surgical Instrument Makers4
Tavern keepers275
Telescopic Instrument Makers1
Trunk Makers35
Umbrella Makers5
Variety Dealers46
Vinegar Makers8
Wig Makers3
Wire Workers12
Wagon Makers144
Whip Makers3
Wood and Coal Dealers30
White Lead Makers2
Wall Paper Makers1

The commercial and manufacturing statistics of Louisville come next to be considered. And it is well to state here, however discreditable such statement may be to the city, that no business organization of any kind has ever been attempted and no statistical tables have ever been kept either by the city government, by societies or individuals. The only means left to the statistician, therefore, have been the tedious and often incomplete process of personal application and investigation. The statistics which are here offered to the reader are derived from the best authority and are believed to be correct, but are necessarily far less complete than could have been wished. This outline will, however, serve to give some idea of the general business character of the city.

All departments of business in Louisville are transacted upon a very large scale. It is perhaps the greatest fault in the commercial character of the city that everything is conducted upon too large a scale. There[Pg 231] is, to use a painter’s phrase, too much of outline and too little in detail. The wealth and importance of cities depends less upon the great than upon the small dealers and manufacturers; these latter are content with doing each a small and careful business which may gradually rise to be of vast extent, and which will thus really improve and profit the city more than the mighty efforts of the large dealer. In Louisville, however, none are contented to do a little business. The feeling seems to exist that mercantile or manufacturing pursuits are respectable just in proportion to the capital employed in them, and the desire of every one seems to be to attain a high point of respectability. Louisville greatly lacks that class of inhabitants, so useful to a city, who are content to attain wealth by careful and laborious means, who can commence with the basket of apples and gradually work up to the proud proprietorship of extensive ware-houses or factories. There is everywhere prevalent among those who should seek to rise gradually, a desire to place themselves at once in a rank with the largest dealers. It is the small dealer and the small manufacturer, who is content to rise by his own efforts, unaided by factitious means of any sort, who is needed here. There is abundant room and abundant work for such, their advent is courted; and, if they will avoid the characteristic desire for extensive business relations and be content to seek their fortunes by pains-taking progress, their success is infallibly certain.

It has already been remarked that the aggregate amount of sales in any one department of business divided by the number of houses engaged in that business would[Pg 232] show a very large result. In this statement reference is had only to those exclusively wholesale houses, whose sales are made to dealers. No exclusively retail houses of any sort are placed in the enumeration, though the sales of many of the retail stores would fully equal, if indeed they did not exceed, some of the wholesale houses. The difficulty of reaching any proper account of the retail business will, however, prevent any notice being taken of it in this volume.

Louisville contains twenty-five exclusively wholesale Dry Goods houses, whose sales are made only to dealers and whose market reaches from Northern Louisiana to Northern Kentucky and embraces a large part of the States of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi and Arkansas. The aggregate amount of annual sales by these houses is five million, eight hundred and fifty-three thousand (5,853,000) dollars, or an average of two hundred and thirty-four thousand (234,000) dollars to each house. The sales of three of the largest of these houses amount in the aggregate to one million, seven hundred and eighty-nine thousand (1,789,000) dollars. Neither this statement nor those which follow include any auction houses.

In Boots & Shoes, the sales of the eight houses of the above description reach one million, one hundred and eighty-four thousand (1,184,000) dollars, or one hundred and forty-eight thousand (148,000) dollars to each house. The sales of the three largest houses in this business reach six hundred and thirty thousand (630,000) dollars.

The aggregate amount of annual sales by eight houses [Pg 233] in Drugs, &c., is one million, one hundred and twenty-three thousand (1,123,000) dollars, or one hundred and forty thousand, three hundred and seventy-five (140,375) dollars to each house; and the sales of the three largest houses amount to seven hundred and fifty-three thousand (753,000) dollars.

The sales of Hardware by nine houses amount annually to five hundred and ninety thousand (590,000) dollars, being an average of sixty-five thousand, five hundred and fifty-five (65,555) dollars to each house.

The sales of Saddlery reach nine hundred and eighty thousand (980,000) dollars, of which nearly one-half are of domestic manufacture.

The sales of Hats and Caps, necessarily including sales at retail, amount to six hundred and eighty-three thousand (683,000) dollars.

The sales of Queensware, less reliably taken, reach two hundred and sixty-five thousand (265,000) dollars.

There are thirty-nine wholesale Grocery houses, whose aggregate sales reach ten millions, six hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred (10,623,400) dollars, which gives an average of two hundred and seventy-two thousand, four hundred (272,400) dollars to each house. A brief statement of some of the principal annual imports in the Grocery line will perhaps give a better idea of this business. The figures refer to the year 1850:

Louisiana Sugar   15,615 hhds.
Refined"   10,100 p’ckgs.
Molasses   17,500 bbls.
Coffee   42,500 bags.
Rice   1,275 tierces.
Cotton Yarns   17,925 bags.
Cheese   25,250 boxes.
Flour   80,650 bbls.
Bagging   70,160 pieces.
Rope   65,350 coils.
Salt, Kanawha   110,250 bbls.
"Turk’s Island   50,525 bags.

[Pg 234]The following Recapitulatory Table will enable the reader to see at a glance all that has just been stated:



Description of Business. No of
Aggregate Annual
Average Sales to
each house.
Groceries 39 $10,623,400 $272,400
Dry Goods 25 5,853,000 234,000
Boots and Shoes 8 1,184,000 148,000
Drugs 8 1,123,000 140,375
Hardware 9 590,000 65,555
Queensware 6 265,000 44,166
Hats, Furs, &c. 8 683,000 85,375
Total 103 $20,321,400 $197,295

It will be seen that these tables do not include many of the largest departments of business. Beside the houses already mentioned are many commission houses, whose sales in cotton, tobacco, rope, bagging, hemp, provisions &c., would very greatly increase the amounts above stated. The impossibility of procuring accurate and reliable statistics of the amount of sales by these houses will prevent any attempt to fix the exact ratio of their business. The Western reader who is at all connected with commerce does not, however, need to be told that the trade in these articles in Louisville is of immense extent. The great superiority of this city as a market for hemp and its products, bagging and rope, is so obvious, so well known and so widely acknowledged, that any dissertation upon these merits is unnecessary here.

As a Tobacco Market, Louisville possesses advantages which are not afforded by any other Western or Southern city. The rapid and healthful increase in the receipts and sales of this article during the last few years is of itself sufficient evidence of this fact. Even as early as the year 1800 the prospects of the city in this regard,[Pg 235] though in the distant future, were looked upon as highly flattering. A Mr. Campbell had at that time a tobacco ware-house, which was situated opposite Corn Island. This ware-house was suppressed by the legislature in 1815, and a new one ordered to be erected at “the mouth of Beargrass.” The building thus directed was located on Pearl Street, about one hundred feet from Main, and the salary of the Inspector was fixed at £25, currency, per annum. This inspector resided at some distance from the city, and when a sufficient quantity of tobacco had been collected at the ware-house to make it an object, he was sent for to come and perform his duties. The entire crop did not then exceed 500 hogsheads. There are at present in the city three large tobacco ware-houses, all receiving and selling daily immense quantities of this article. Speculators are attracted to this market from great distances and the receipts are continually upon the increase. The following table of receipts since 1837 will show how steadily and securely this increase has been effected:

1837   2,133 hhds.
1838   2,783 "
1839[18]   1,295 "
1840   3,113 "
1841   4,031 "
1842   5,131 "
1843   5,424 "
1844     "
1845   8,454 "
1846   9,700 "
1847   7,070 "
1848   4,937 "
1849   8,906 "
1850   7,155 "
1851   11,300 "
1852   16,176 "

These figures are of themselves a strong argument in favor of this city as a market for tobacco. The reasons[Pg 236] for the steady and rapid increase in the receipts of this article, as well as for the opinion that this is the best market for tobacco in the United States, are very simple, very convincing and very easily stated. In the first place, it is a fact well known to all tobacco dealers, that in the three divisions of Kentucky—to-wit: the Northern, Southern and Middle—a variety of leaf, suitable to all the purposes of the manufacturer, is grown. In no other State is so great and so complete a variety of leaf produced. The cigar maker, the lump manufacturer and the stemmer all find in this State the article just suited to their various purposes. These tobaccos all naturally find their way to Louisville as a market, and, of a necessary consequence, attract buyers to this place. Beside this advantage, another important point is gained in the presence of the numerous manufacturers of tobacco in Louisville. These persons, having to compete with the established markets of older States, offer large prices to the planter and so attract here great quantities of the article. It is well known that really fine tobacco, for manufacturing purposes, has brought and will always command here as high rates as can be had for it at any other point in the United States. The number of manufacturers is rapidly increasing, the character of the article which they produce is steadily growing into favor, and the market for its sale is enlarging every day, so that planters cannot be so blinded to their interests as to seek foreign markets for an article which will pay them so handsomely at their own doors. Again: the facilities for the shipment of the article from this point to the various Eastern markets are recently so increased[Pg 237] that an entirely new demand has sprung up for Louisville tobacco. Western New York, Western Pennsylvania, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, all of which were formerly obliged to look to New York City for their supplies of this article, have recently turned their faces westwardly, for the simple reason that they can now get the same article at less rates of freight and without the former numerous and onerous commissions. Nor is this the only benefit procured to these purchasers in choosing this market. It is well known that, unless tobacco is in unusually excellent order, it is always seriously injured by being confined on shipboard in its passage through the warm climate of the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of the Southern States. And as Louisville is the only other prominent shipping point for the article, it has, of course, this great advantage over rival markets. The facts above enumerated indicate only the prominent and leading reasons for believing Louisville to be the best tobacco market in the Union. Many other advantages might be enumerated, but these, which are all acknowledged and have been demonstrated over and over again, are considered sufficient to establish the proposition. However much Louisville has gained in regard to this article, there is yet much to gain. Her destiny is but beginning to be unfolded, and only a few years will elapse until the largest of the receipts above quoted will appear quite insignificant and worthless beside the swollen columns of the statistician of a future period.

The assertion that Louisville is destined very soon to become distinguished also as a Cotton Market may [Pg 238]excite some surprise among those who have not had their attention called to this matter. But that this is a fact can readily be shown to the most skeptical. The consumption of cotton in the West amounts to 35,000 bales, and heretofore this has constituted the entire demand of this section of the country. But the recent opening up of new means of communication with the Atlantic coast at the East has begun and will complete an entirely new state of affairs in this regard. Let us look for a moment at the effect of these new facilities of transport. By the 1st of January, 1853, an uninterrupted communication with the Atlantic at the North will be effected by the lake route, continuing from 1st of May to 1st of November. At the same time the Jeffersonville Railroad will have established connection with other railroads reaching to New York. Beside all of which, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad will have been completed from Wheeling to Baltimore, from which point all descriptions of Western produce can reach Philadelphia and New York, either by railroad, or, more cheaply, by means of propellers, steamers and sail-vessels. The completion of this latter road will be the signal for the establishment of a line of steam-packets from Louisville to Wheeling, another to Memphis, and yet another to Nashville. These lines are already established and merely wait the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to go at once into operation. A line of packets to Tuscumbia and Florence is already in successful operation. The facts above stated are well known to the community both East and West. It only remains, therefore, to examine how they will affect Louisville as a[Pg 239] market for cotton. New Orleans, it cannot be denied, has heretofore been considered the only proper point of shipment for this article, but if both the seller and the buyer can be benefited by a change of markets, surely that change will ensue. New Orleans is certainly the natural depot for Southern cotton, but if the cotton raised in Alabama, Tennessee and North Mississippi, or that which finds its way to market down the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, can be placed in Louisville at less rates of freight than would be charged to New Orleans, and thence can reach the Eastern markets in less time and at less rates than from that city, it is surely the interest of both seller and buyer to make Louisville their market. Now it is certain that from these points cotton will be carried to Louisville at one dollar per bale less than to New Orleans; it is equally certain that insurance can be had via Louisville to New York at one-half the rates charged via New Orleans, and that freight, after the 1st of January next, from this city onward, will be the same as from New Orleans; beside which the time of transit will be thirty days less, thus saving no inconsiderate sum in interest. Again, the trade of North Alabama, Tennessee and North Mississippi with this city is ascertained to reach two and a half millions of dollars. To pay this debt seventy thousand bales of cotton, valued at seven cents per pound, would be required. Here is presented another reason why this cotton should seek Louisville as its natural market. One of our most sagacious and enterprising merchants has recently returned from the East, where, with laudable energy, he had been presenting the claims of this market[Pg 240] to Eastern buyers. And the result of this mission is, that reliable arrangements have been made for buying whatever cotton may come to this market at New Orleans quotations. It is perfectly safe then to predict from January of next year a spirited and regular demand for all the cotton which may be sent here. The 140,000 bales produced in Tennessee, or finding its way to market from Tennessee river, will find ready sale in Louisville and at the regular New Orleans prices. Can it be doubted, in view of all these facts, that Louisville is entirely certain to attain prominence as a market for cotton. This has long been the natural market for the article, and only waited the completion of lines of connection with the East, which, now they are about to go into operation, must of necessity make it the first cotton market of the Western country.

Louisville also deserves consideration as a market for pork. This market, though perhaps less in extent here than in some other Western cities, is steadily increasing in the amount of its operations and rapidly growing into favor with the dealers. In 1827 there were but two pork houses in the city; one of which was owned by Patrick Maxcy and the other by Colmesnil and O’Beirne. It was then the custom to buy the hog in small lots from the farmers by means of agents who traveled through the State. These hogs so procured were concentrated at some point and corn was bought and fed to them until the time for slaughtering arrived, when they were driven to this city and here butchered. The number of hogs killed by these two houses did not then exceed fifteen thousand, while at the end of the pork season in[Pg 241] 1851, this amount had been increased to one hundred and ninety-five thousand, four hundred and fourteen. It is fully calculated by the packers that this number will be exceeded ten per cent in the ensuing year. Both the farmer and the buyer have reasons for prefering this city as a pork market. The farmer, because it is not the custom here to “scale” the hog—that is, to make a standard weight for which the market price is given, while all below that point are taken at reduced figures—and the buyer, because pork is here packed under the same roof where it is butchered. This last may be considered a small inducement; but when it is remembered that where the butchering and packing are carried on by different individuals and in different parts of the city, the hog is obliged to be transported at all seasons and in all states of weather from house to house at considerable labor and cost and with danger of damage to the meat, it will be found an item worthy the serious consideration of the buyer. The meat put up here is surpassed in quality by none in the world, and when the facilities of transportation referred to in the above remarks upon cotton are established, the growth of this city as a pork market will be yet more rapid than it has before been. There are at present eight large pork houses in the city. The importance of Louisville as a pork market is well enough known to need no further elaboration of its merits in these pages.

The manufacturing interests of Louisville come now to claim their share of attention. And it is somewhat singular that, with the resources and capacity of this city as a place for manufactures, there should be so little[Pg 242] to boast of in this regard. Of her commercial statistics, as has already been shown, Louisville has abundant cause to be proud, but she has at the same time reason to regret the little use which has heretofore been made of her immense advantages as a manufacturing point. It is not to be denied that there are many excellent manufacturing establishments in and around the city, but the number is greatly below what is needed and greatly disproportioned to the advantages offered here. There are many reasons why this city should hold prominent rank as a place for manufactures. The facilities in the way of water-power, the immense surface of level and highly productive country by which it is surrounded, the cheapness of rents and of building lots, and the advantages for placing the manufactured article in market, are among the most prominent of these reasons. There is, perhaps, no city in the Union where similarly great inducements are offered to the judicious and enterprising manufacturer. And yet the results of commercial enterprise of other sorts have been so successful and so rapidly produced as to lead away from the manufacturing interests much capital which would otherwise have been invested in them. The brilliant success of any one department of trade in a city has usually led to precisely similar results as are alluded to here. Of this Cincinnati furnishes a notable example. Her earliest success was effected by means of her manufactures, and persons seeking investment for their capital naturally gave it the direction which had already proved productive. Louisville, on the contrary, owing to her peculiar location, found her earliest and most promising evidences of[Pg 243] prosperity in commerce, and consequently all the capital seeking employment was naturally drawn into this channel. And it is unfortunate for Louisville that this has been true, for however important commercial prosperity may be to a city, it is far inferior in point of utility and universal profit to the advantages conferred by successful manufactures. During the last four or five years this matter has begun to engage the attention of capitalists and a proper and healthful feeling is rapidly gaining ground in favor of this branch of trade. Many new factories have already sprung up, and several more are on the eve of establishment. The public mind is fully awakened to the necessity for building up and for encouraging the products of home industry, and the producer has taken new rank in public estimation. The prejudice which may once have existed against mechanical employments of all sorts is no longer felt, but the manufacturer and his employees are held alike high in favor and in social rank.

The following table of manufactures in Louisville is chiefly taken from the census report of 1850. Additions have been made to the more important branches of manufacture as far as reliable data could be obtained, so as to enable the reader to have a comprehensive view of the subject up to the present time. It is believed that the figures in this table are under the actual amounts; it is certain, at any rate, that they do not in any instance exceed the truth. A more extended and special notice of the principal manufacturing establishments of the city will be given in an appendix to this volume, to which all who feel an interest in the state of manufactures here are especially referred.

 [Pg 244]


Kind of Manufacture.   No. of
  No. of
Animal Charcoal   2   12   $15,000
Awnings and Tents   2   12   7,500
Artificial Flowers   1   3   6,000
Bagging Factories   3   120   184,000
Bakers   96   332   469,200
Bandboxes   3   9   3,800
Baskets   3   7   5,400
Bellows   2   7   15,000
Blacking   3   12   7,500
Blacksmiths   49   254   163,400
Blinds, Venitian   3   12   14,200
Blocks and Spars   2   12   7,500
Bootmakers   63   302   375,100
Brewers   6   30   108,600
Brushes   2   9   5,813
Bricks   36   339   224 000
Bristle Dressers   1   3   2,500
Burr Stones   1   8   12,000
Boiler Makers   4   30   64,200
Candy   9   56   184,800
Camphine, &c.   1   3   31,500
Carpenters   144   916   1,027,600
Cars, &c.   1   100
Carpet Weavers   2   14   6,000
Coach Makers   9   98   123.300
Cotton and Wool   3   135   173,500
Clothing   45   1,157   941,500
Composition Roofing   1
Combs   6   18   9,800
Coopers   20   60   56,800
Cement   1   4   10,000
Edge Tools   2   9   16,000
Feed and Flour Mills   9   47   283,800
Flooring and Saw Mills   14   190   420,200
Fringes, Tassels, &c.   1   6   8,700
Furniture   25   446   638,000
Foundries   15   930   1,392 200
[Pg 245]Glass Cutters   1   3   $2,500
Glue   2   6   5,000
Gunsmiths   4   8   14,000
Glass   1   50   50,000
Hats   6   68   201,700
Last Makers   1   2   2,500
Lath Makers   1   4   5,000
Lock Makers   6   38   37,400
Leather Splitter   1   1   1,000
Lithographers   2   9   20,000
Looking Glass, &c.   2   11   12,000
Machinists[19]   2   5   6,200
Marble Workers   4   41   35,000
Mathematical Inst. Makers   1   3   6,500
Mustard   2   13   21,000
Musical Inst. Makers   3   60
Millinery   35   344   340,000
Oil Cloth   2   12   11,500
Oil Stones   1   6   22,900
Oil, Lard and Linseed   3   16   140,000
Nail   1   2   3,000
Paper Mill   1   36   113,000
Plane   3   8   13,000
Platform Scale   1   11   12,000
Patent Medicines   24   127   467,400
Printing Offices   12   201   214,000
Plows   4   32   35,000
Perfumery   2   10   8,000
Pottery   2   14   11,500
Pork Houses   4   475   1,370,000
Pumps   3   16   15,100
Rope   11   166   460,000
Saddlery   17   114   236,000
Saddle Trees   1   7   7,500
Soap and Candles   6   59   409,000
Starch   1   8   20,000
[Pg 246]Steamboat Carpenters[20]   4   75   $235,000
Stocking Weavers   1   10   5,000
Silversmiths   4   18   34,500
Stucco   1   5   7,000
Tobacco and Segars   82   1,050   1,347,500
Tin, Copper, &c.   17   87   122,300
Tanners   9   64   176,000
Trunks   3   27   29,500
Turners[21]   4   8   11,600
Upholsterers   5   21   56,000
White Lead   1   8   12,600
Wigs   1   4   8,000
Whips   1   2   1,500
Wire Workers   2   12   12,500
Wagons   20   144   184,800

To this list may be added the following memoranda of steamboats for 1850. It has been found impossible to bring this list forward as far as 1852. In the former year there were employed on 53 steamboats, owned in Louisville, 1,903 hands. The amount of capital invested in these boats was $1,293,300, and the annual product for freight and passage reached $2,549,200.



[Pg 247]


In concluding this history it will be well to look back and examine the ratio of its progress for the last half century, as well in population as in pecuniary value. This may be done: first, in the following table showing the increase in numbers of every ten years; and second, in a tabular view of the assessment of real estate at the end of each similar term of years. The population of Louisville then, commencing with the year 1800, may be stated as follows:

1800   600
1810   1,300
1820   4,000
1830   10,090
1840   21,000
1850   43,217
1852   51,726

It will be seen from this table that the city has never shown as rapid an increase as has been effected in the last two years. This is the result chiefly of the impulse which has been given to Louisville by her action in reference to lines of railroad, and other facilities of communication with distant points, as well as of the fact that a new energy has been infused into the commercial circles, and more vigorous efforts have consequently been made to afford to this city that reputation as a commercial mart, which she has long deserved.

Of the present population of Louisville, no less than 18,000 are Germans, and this number is daily being augmented by arrivals from the fatherland. It would[Pg 248] perhaps be no more than just to say that these foreigners form, as a body, one of the best classes of our population. They are a careful, pains-taking and industrious people, of quiet, unobtrusive and inoffensive manners; and are, in a majority of instances, men of some education and ability. The better class of this population are rapidly rising in public estimation, and while they are becoming in a measure identified with the native citizens, and so Americanized, the influence of their philosophic habits of mind, of their thoughtfulness, and of their love of the beautiful in nature and in art, is gradually incorporating itself into the social life of the city, and so adding to each some of the advantages possessed by the other. The German character, in its higher developements, displays many attributes which are wanting, in more senses than one to our native population. From the educated German, we may learn that enthusiastic love and reverence for the intellectual and for the beautiful in all its phases, whether of nature, of sentiment, or of art, which is inherent in his character, and which gives to life so much of its charm; while by us he is taught that practicality must be the basis of his philosophy, and that without a certain admixture of utilitarianism his sentiment is mawkish and unmanly, and his theories are idly speculative and puerile. Thus each class imbibes from the other what it most needs, and society reaps the benefits of the union. The German population is also useful to the city in a political point of view. They serve as the “filling up” to the picture. As has been recently said: “The bulk of the population of every city, perhaps two out of three, are small manufacturers or artisans of[Pg 249] some description or other, and those dependent on them; of the sewers together of clothing, the makers of toys, confectionary, and jewelry, the compounders of materials used in medicine and the arts, the furnishers of the toilet, the parlor, and the kitchen, the fabricators of iron, wood, and stone into forms required by the uses or fancies of man. Think of the amount of our yearly purchases of Boston bonnets, New York caps, and Philadelphia shoes, and of the thousand, the innumerable articles that our retail and fancy dealers pick up in the lanes, alleys, and cellars of those cities, articles which were made for Western demand, for the very market of which this is the natural, and ought to be the commercial center. To this kind of population we are to look for increase, these hand workers are to cover our vacant lots, and consume the products of our surrounding agriculturists; they come in silently, and go to work unnoticed; the grocer at the corner, the baker, and the brewer, build higher houses, and are men of more noise and note, and we forget that for every one of the latter there must be one hundred of the former.”[22]

It is precisely the class spoken of in the foregoing extract that is being built up, and is yet to be built up by the German citizens in Louisville. And, notwithstanding the number already here, there is yet room and work for many more. As has already been said the advent of artizans of this class is desired by the city, and, if they can be content to rise to wealth by slow and steady increase rather than by rapid strides of progress, their[Pg 250] success is infallibly certain. Other inducements will also be offered to this and to other classes of people, seeking homes and investments, in considering the value of real estate in Louisville. Let us first look at the progress of property valuation during the last half century, as shown in the following table. The assessment valuation of property was, in

1800   $91,183
1810   210,475
1820   1,655,226
1830   4,316,432
1840[23]   13,340,164
1850   13,350,566
1852   16,350,052

This valuation is much smaller than that of the same quantity of property would be in any other American city, and this very fact has been urged against Louisville by her rival neighbors. They insist that the low price of property here is a proof that the trade of the city is not progressive, that hence no inducements are offered, either to the emigrant or to the capitalist. A slight examination of the subject, however, will show why property has not advanced here in the same ratio as in other cities, and will also demonstrate the fact that the very argument which is urged against Louisville, is really a matter of serious congratulation to her. It is not denied that land can be had within one mile south of the center of the city at from two to three hundred dollars per acre, whereas land similarly situated either in Pittsburg, Cincinnati, St. Louis or New Orleans[Pg 251] would command nearly, if not quite four times that price. On the contrary, it is urged that this should be and that it is at once claimed as a strong recommendation both to the capitalist and to the emigrant, in favor of this city. The reason why this difference exists in favor of Louisville, is thus plainly shown. If the reader will take up the map of Kentucky and Indiana, and, commencing at the mouth of Harrod’s Creek, which empties into the Ohio river eight miles above the city, will draw a line down to a point five miles below the mouth of Salt river, and another line thence southwardly for a distance of sixteen miles; and from this point draw a gradually decreasing arc back to the point of beginning, he will have enclosed a space of country, every foot of which is entirely level, is delightfully watered, abounds in building material of every description, and is equally as well suited to all purposes of building, as are the best lots now within the city limits. Nor is this all; crossing the Ohio river at the foot of the Indiana Knobs, one mile below New Albany, and going north-east a distance of sixteen miles, and thence back to the Ohio river at or near Utica, a triangle is formed whose base is twelve miles long, and whose other legs reach about twenty miles to the apex. The space embraced within this triangle possesses precisely the same characteristics as that contained in the arc above mentioned. When it is remembered, as has been said by another writer upon the same subject, that we have “no need to encroach on arms of the sea as at Boston or New York, or to raze hills in the rear as at Pittsburg and Cincinnati, or to make embankments and to reclaim swamps as at New[Pg 252] Orleans,” but on the contrary, that we possess a location where building lots equally good, both as to site and material, may be had at one mile and at ten miles distant from the center of the city, the mystery of our cheap lots begins to be evolved. Here is a space of level country beyond the reach of any flood, all parts of which are equally well adapted to the purposes of the builder, sufficiently large to contain within its limits the cities of London, Paris, and St. Petersburg, with the foundation for a large city already laid, with a location which, in reference to facilities of intercourse with the rest of the United States, is unsurpassed; at the only point of obstruction in a continuous line of two thousand miles of inland navigation; a half-way house between North and South; a point through which all the great railroad arteries must of necessity pass; in the center of the most fertile and productive agricultural lands in the Union; in a State distinguished for the nobility and chivalry of character of its inhabitants, with every advantage which nature can give to the merchant, the manufacturer or the idle man of wealth and fashion; what is there, in view of all these circumstances, to prevent it from becoming the Great City of the West? What other inducements could be asked either by the capitalist at home or the emigrant from abroad? Does the cheapness of property or do the low prices of rents prove obstacles to either of these classes of people? Does the fertility of the surrounding country, and the consequent cheapness of the markets draw away any who might otherwise be attracted hither? Is one of these present the reason why Louisville is not already what she must inevitably become, the[Pg 253] first city in the West. The reason is contained in the fact, not that these things are true, but that being true, they are not known. It is to her own supineness, to her indifference and lack of ambition to attain the rank to which she is entitled, that she is indebted for her second-rate position. Had the energy of the last two years been invested ten years ago, and been continued till now, the population of Louisville would to-day have been one hundred thousand souls. But she has been content to sit languidly down to the enjoyment of the passing hour, while her competitors were bracing every nerve and straining every muscle, not only to surpass her in the race for supremacy, but to disable and destroy her. She has at last awakened to a sense of her position, her lethargy is at last thrown off, and now the struggle begins in earnest. If it be continued in earnest it is easy to see that she can rapidly regain her place, and easily bear off the palm.

Let us look for a moment at the geographical position of Louisville, and her facilities of intercourse with other portions of the country. The following table of distances, time, conveyance and cost will readily show this:

From Louisville to Dist’ce. Time. Conveyance. Cost.
Pittsburg 608 60 Hours. Steamboat. $7 50
Cincinnati 150 14 " " 2 50
Memphis 643 60 " " 8 00
New Orleans 1365 240 " " 20 00
St. Louis 535 40 " " 8 00
Nashville 176 33 " Stage. 12 00
New York 1080 60 " Steamboat & Railroad. 22 00
Boston 1135 62 " "" 25 00
Philadelphia 793 54 " "" 20 00
Washington 736 52 " "" 19 00
Baltimore 696 50 " "" 17 50

[Pg 254]In a very few years, Cincinnati, Nashville and St. Louis, will be connected with us by railroads, which are already partly completed, and so reduce the time to those cities to six, eight, and twelve hours respectively. These communications once established, Louisville becomes the very center of a vast network of roads, connecting different climates, the products of different soils and regions of every diversity of wealth. The railroad to Nashville connects immediately with Charleston, and thence opens roads to New Orleans and Mobile; while in another direction it reaches Richmond, Va., passing through immense tracts of rich agricultural and mineral lands. The railroad to Cincinnati opens to us the whole North and East; while that to St. Louis will ultimately bring to our doors the products of the Pacific Coast and the treasures of the modern El Dorado. Add to all these advantages the unavoidable effects of these railroads, in bringing to light all the possible wealth of the countries through which they pass, and then say if anything but the most criminal neglect of the advantages which Nature has given her, can prevent Louisville from arriving at the most prominent rank among Western cities. Does the capitalist desire an investment? Where can he better find it than near a city thus situated, and one where lands are sold at less prices, and building materials are cheaper and are more accessible than in any other city of the Union? Does the emigrant desire a home? Where can he better find it than near a city thus situated, one where the whole of his little fortune is not required to buy him a shelter from the winds and the rain, one that is yet unfilled with eager[Pg 255] competitors in the struggle for wealth, one where the products of his industry are needed and will be eagerly taken from his hands at their fair value, one where he can have not only a field for his own struggle with the world, but a place and a circle of friends possessing all those attributes which make a home happy? It cannot be but that as publicity is given to these advantages possessed by this city, she will attract to her thousands of emigrants from abroad, and thousands of capitalists and adventurers from other parts of our country. While other cities have been spending time and means and influence in advocating their claims to consideration, Louisville has been silent. She gives publicity to her merits now for the first time, and, by this humble little missive, she begs only for a fair hearing and for an unbiassed consideration of her claims to public favor, satisfied that if these can be secured her, she need have no fear that the highest dreams of ambition which have ever been presented to her will be fully realized.



[Pg 1]


[Pg 2]



[Pg 3]

LOUISVILLE ROLLING MILL COMPANY, MANUFACTURERS OF BOILER, BAR, AND SHEET IRON, (CHARCOAL AND PUDDLED.) Flue Plates; Railroad Axles, Chairs and Spikes, PLOW SLABS, WINGS, BOLTS, &C. Office and Store 640 Main street, corner Fifth. J. C. COLEMAN, President.


This establishment is one of the largest in the city and forms a very important branch of Louisville manufactures; not only in the way of affording employment and the means of living to a large number of persons, but also by attracting from every part of this Great Valley an important branch of its trade. The company is organized in the best possible manner; the mill contains all the scientific improvements in this description of manufacture, and the energetic President of the company possesses all the requisites which could tend to guarantee the success of the concern. The Iron made here has been fully tested all over the West and commands every market into which it is introduced. The company have testimonials of the most flattering character from all the iron-workers of Louisville, who pronounce it “fully equal if not superior to any Iron they have ever worked, and more uniform in its quality than any other Iron.” Similar testimonials have been received from the superintendents of the Louisville and Frankfort, the New Albany and Salem, the Jeffersonville, the Vicksburg and Jackson, and other Railroads, as well as from Col. Long, superintendent of the U. S. Marine Hospital. The following letter is a fair specimen of the favor with which the company’s Iron is everywhere regarded, and is only one of many such constantly received by them. It is dated

Cleveland, Ohio, May 1, 1852.

We are now using, and have, within the past year, used some fifty tons of the Louisville Rolling Mill Iron, for large Bolts for Railroad Bridges in Indiana. The Iron for this work must be of very superior quality, uniting great strength and tenacity. All the Iron we received of the Louisville Rolling Mill was of that character, and gave great satisfaction.

Railroad Bridge Contractors.



[Pg 4]



This is believed to be the oldest Foundry in Louisville, and one of the largest and most extensive in the Western country. Their engines have a wide-spread reputation in the West and South, and are well known and highly prized by Southern boat builders. Their fidelity in materials and workmanship, their promptness in the execution of orders, and their extensive assortment of the latest and most improved style of tools and patterns, combined with the well-known enterprise of the gentlemen who compose the firm, have all contributed to build up for this establishment a business and a reputation which reflects credit upon this branch of manufacture in the city. Steam engines are built by them in complete running order and ready for use, the purchaser not being required to go to any other factory for any of his order. Their business relations extend over a very large surface of country, and bring to the city much foreign trade. Besides their engines for boats, they also manufacture machinery of all kinds, Car wheels, Axles and Car castings of all descriptions, together with Iron and Brass castings and Wrought Iron work.

This foundry employs one hundred and twenty hands, and uses six hundred tons of pig iron annually, besides other materials in proportion.



[Pg 5]



This concern, although not so old as many of its class is yet one deserving especial notice. The description of the business of this foundry differs very little, if at all, from some of those already noticed. The quality of work is in the highest degree creditable to the proprietors and profitable to this department of manufactures in the city. Both members of the firm are thorough practical workmen, having been regularly brought up to the business, and hence the work which proceeds from this foundry compares favorably, not only with any in the city, but with similar kinds of manufactures in any part of the country. Like most of our large machine foundries, the Union has extensive connection with the Southern markets.—They have frequently forwarded as many as seven cotton-gins within a fortnight, to different ports on the Mississippi river. Their Sugar Mills, wherever they have been used, are eminently successful in their operation. The casting of Chairs and Frogs for Railroads has also been extensively carried on at this foundry. In the great department of their business, the manufacture of Steam Engines for Boats, the Union Foundry enjoys a reputation which cannot be anywhere surpassed. They have built all sizes of engines, and are at present engaged upon a pair of engines with thirty inch cylinder and ten foot stroke. Indeed the heaviest castings of all sorts are constructed as readily and perfectly as the lightest, and are made to work with equal ease and precision.

The Union Foundry employs eighty-four hands the “year round,” and consumes six hundred tons of metal.



[Pg 6]



This well known Brass Foundry, now in the fifteenth year of its existence, is another of those factories which are ornaments to the city. It has never attempted the heavy steamboat castings, rather choosing the lighter machinery; and the reputation of the establishment is derived chiefly from the excellent finish and completeness of the work turned out. The most complex machinery is carefully and accurately made and fitted together. All work requiring nicety of construction and careful attention to detail, is here manufactured, and in a manner which has always given entire satisfaction.

Every article is made under the immediate supervision of the proprietors, who are practical workmen and whose past reputation is a sure guarantee for the quality of every piece of work. The Fire Engines, and machinery for Hemp manufacture made at this establishment are deservedly celebrated.—

Some of the most effective fire engines of this city and vicinity, have been constructed at this foundry. The Brass work made there is also creditable.

From thirty-five to forty hands are employed constantly; the business, unlike that of most foundries, being equally good at all seasons of the year.



[Pg 7]



This foundry possesses many features which are peculiar to it alone. It is only here that Cast Iron Screw pipes are made; no other manufactory of this article exists in the Western States. The machinery used in this manufacture is beautiful in its construction, and perfectly adapted to the use for which it is intended. All the Gas pipes for the city, as well the main, as the smaller service pipes are made at this establishment. Many of these screw pipes are used in the Southern sugar houses, and their cheapness and durability, as well as the convenience with which they are put up, especially recommend them for that purpose. For supplying rail road stations, distilleries and tan yards they are also largely used. The demand for this article of so universal use is of course very great, and attracts much attention to Louisville manufacture. This foundry also manufactures a pump, well known to be the best forcing and lift pump in existence. Many hundreds of them are annually sold in New Orleans, and their reputation and sale all over the South is of the very first character. Tobacco Screws and Presses for Cotton, Tobacco and Hay as well as machinery generally, are also made here. Iron Railing is another large branch of their manufacture. The patterns for this railing are almost endless in variety, and few foundries in the country can offer so many inducements to the purchasers of all sorts of ornamental Castings as this. Their latest novelty is a Morticing machine, which is worthy of the special attention of mechanics. This establishment employs fifty hands, and is the only one of the kind in the city.



[Pg 8]



This factory, which has been but recently put into operation, is the deliberate result of several years consideration and study. Messrs. Beatty and Hawley, the former of whom has been long and well known in Louisville as a sagacious practical manufacturer and man of business, have finally completed all the arrangements which are necessary to the establishment of this foundry on thoroughly scientific principles, and have possessed themselves of all the advantages to be derived from a complete study of the business. The concern is by no means an ordinary brass foundry. The West has heretofore sadly needed an establishment of this kind, those already in operation being incompetent to the wants of the people. The factory is now thoroughly organized, the best workmen have been employed, the most recent and useful tools and machinery have been provided and everything has been done with reference to a permanent and valuable business. Cylinder, Pump, Guage and Oil Cocks, Oil Cups, Fawcetts, Couplings and all like requirements of the Steam Engine builder are made here and warranted fully equal to any made in the United States. The same may be said with reference to articles used by the house plummer. Their planing machines, lathes, &c., are of the very best quality, and their machines for screw-cutting and for punching nuts and washers are also very perfect. Bells, Steam-Whistles, and in fine every variety of article manufactured from brass or bell metal will be made at this foundry. Babbet metal and such other like compositions as are useful to the machinest or brass founder are also sold at this establishment.



[Pg 9]



This Foundry directs its attention more particularly to a new branch of business, in which it also has been eminently successful. It adds yet a greater number to the already large variety of uses to which iron is applied. Mr. Snead is the pioneer of this business in Louisville, and his is the only establishment in the West where ornamental work is the chief business of the foundry. It is well known that Iron can be applied to almost all work of this description, and furnished at less price than any other kind of material. The city abounds with proofs of the taste displayed by this gentleman in his manufacture. His efforts have been constantly directed toward attaining the highest degree of excellence, both in design and execution, and he is constantly preparing novelties and adapting his pliant material to new and valuable uses. Among the latest of these novelties may be mentioned a cast-iron Pavement for the sidewalk, which is composed of nicely fitting plates of Iron, in various forms of mosaic work, ornamented with graceful designs. This pavement, which will soon be exhibited, will doubtless at once take the place of the present destructible and uncomfortable footways, as it is not only more beautiful but far more durable. Iron counters for fancy stores form another improvement proceeding from this foundry. Cast Girders for the builder is also a novel article. The patterns for this establishment, already greater than would readily be credited, are daily augmented by additional designs from competent and tasteful hands. Store-fronts, Porticos for churches and private dwellings, Corinthian, Ionic, Doric, Composite and Gothic columns, cast Lintels and Sills for windows and doors, Brackets and Trusses of the most ornamental designs, Flue Covers, Chimney Covers, Vault Gratings, Air Grates, Stair Plates, Bedsteads, Window Frames and Sash, Hat Racks, Caps and bases for columns of any order, and numerous other like articles, are made at this foundry. Spittoons, Grate-bars, Hollow-ware, Tea-Kettles, &c., also form a part of their work. The continued success of this foundry is a proof of the existence of a high order of taste in the city.



[Pg 10]



This immense establishment was organized by Messrs. Bridgeford & Holbrook as early as 1837, and was the first foundry for stoves in the city. The articles manufactured at this establishment, are well known as bearing a high reputation all over the West. The gentlemen who compose the firm are men of enterprise, and are always the first to present the latest novelties in patterns or workmanship. They manufacture a large part of the sheet iron steamboat stoves which are used on the western rivers, and have a deservedly great name among steamboat furnishers. The large and commodious building erected by them as a foundry, is a proof of the prosperity which has attended their endeavors. The work sent from this establishment, whether of the most ordinary kinds or of the finest and most elegant enamelled ware, will compare very favorably with that of any other establishment in the West. They consume annually in their foundry about twelve hundred tons of iron, and employ one hundred hands; while the tin and copper factory uses and vends three thousand boxes of tin plate, and from $15,000 to $20,000 worth of sheet copper, wire, block tin, sheet zinc, lead, lead pipe, &c. Two thousand bundles of sheet and rod iron are also annually employed. The establishment is one which reflects great credit upon its proprietors, and forms an important part of Louisville Manufactures.



[Pg 11]



This foundry may be regarded as having been the first to introduce into the city the manufacture of the present extensive and complete variety of the finer sorts of stove work. The principals of the establishment, themselves practical workmen, have used much well-directed exertion to produce quite a revolution in the style of manufacture of the articles which come from their foundry. They have not only been early to introduce novelties from abroad, but have themselves patented many valuable articles. Among them the Eclipse Range, a cooking stove possessing numerous advantages over most of those now known, is deserving of especial mention. This range is in very common use all over the city, and is highly prized wherever it is known. They are also manufacturers of a great variety of elegant enamelled grates, garden vases and ornamental figures for gardens and yards. These latter articles have recently been introduced by these gentlemen, and they are being rapidly transferred from their warehouses to the many beautiful grounds of our wealthier citizens.

Their foundry and buildings cover about half a square of ground; they employ one hundred and twelve hands, and melt daily seven tons of iron. Their importation of tin plate reaches four thousand three hundred and fifty boxes. Copper, zinc, wire, sheet iron, &c., are also used in immense quantities. The latest novelty of this establishment is Chilson’s Air Warming and Ventilating Furnace for public and private buildings.



[Pg 12]



This foundry, begun by Meadows & McGrain, is another well known establishment. The castings made by these gentlemen bear an equally high reputation with those already noticed. The firm has since its commencement been constantly improving in the quantity of its manufactured articles, and has added many valuable improvements to the stock of the stove founder. Among these may be noticed three new styles of cooking stove, all of which have attained a deserved celebrity. These are called “The Stove,” “Durable Kentuckian,” and the “Queen Premium.” The first of these is suited to the wants of the city, being economical in the use of its fuel, and having attached to it a “summer arrangement,” which does away with the extreme heat of the ordinary cooking stove. The oven is also so arranged that both bread and meat may be baked at the same time without imparting the taste of the one to the other. The second stove, the Kentuckian, is particularly adapted to the wants of the farmers, being large, roomy, and of unusual weight and durability. All of these stoves have met the entire approbation of those who have used them. Large quantities of Hollow Ware, such as pots, kettles, skillets, ovens, odd lids, &c., are cast at this foundry, and sold as well to the city as to country dealers. The common stoves made at the Falls City Foundry, are of excellent patterns and unusual weight; it not being the custom of this establishment in any case to sacrifice utility to ornament. All the articles usually made by the tinner also form a branch of their manufactory. These gentlemen receive large quantities of job-work, which, as is well known, they execute in a superior manner.



[Pg 13]



This Foundry, although recently established, is under the charge of a gentleman who is well known as having been long connected with this business in the city, and as bearing a very high reputation as a master-workman. The details of this business differ little from those already noticed. The quality of the work which proceeds from the Hope Foundry is surpassed by none in any part of the country. The sole difference between this and the stove foundries, already noticed, is found in the fact that great attention is here paid to architectural and job-work. Mr. M’s skill in the operations of the foundry, and his constant presence and attention to all his work, recommend this establishment, in the highest manner, to all who desire to get up any novelty or to prepare any peculiar work. This foundry is as yet in its infancy, having been organized less than a year ago. It has already acquired an excellent business, and now finds ready sale for all the articles which can be produced. It is entirely safe to predict for it a speedy rise to great eminence. The factory is so arranged as to be readily extended to any capacity which may be desired, and the constantly increasing demand for this species of manufacture in the city, and its dependancies, will doubtless soon bring about this increase. It will be seen that Louisville is abundantly supplied with Foundries, and that the extent of work done in this line is of very great importance to her interests.



[Pg 14]



This is the largest establishment of the kind in the western country, and is alike a credit to its proprietors and an honor to the city. The machinery used is of the most perfect order, and the concern is indebted to its own inventive powers for a great part of its completeness. The proprietors are both practical workmen, and they give their constant attention to all the details of their manufacture. The consequences of this care and attention are shown in the widely spread reputation of their manufactured articles. The chief market of these articles is found in the southern States and in Texas. It is greatly to the credit of this factory that their articles are so readily taken up by the planters, for it is well known that inferior agricultural machines and implements find no buyers among this class of consumers. In Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, the machines and implements of this firm are universally known, and possess an enviable reputation. Messrs. H. & C. have introduced machinery by which one man can produce as many iron axles in a day as can usually be made by thirty hands, and the article so made is far more perfect than the old and tediously constructed one. They have also a small and ingenious saw of their own invention, for cutting felloes, and for sawing crooked lines, which for rapidity and precision cannot be anywhere surpassed. They also manufacture on their premises every article and every part of every article, which they sell. Plows, wagons, carts, timber wheels, harrows, cultivators, and other articles are made entirely on the premises, from the raw material into the perfect and finished article. They employ thirty hands, and produce from eighty to one hundred thousand dollars worth of work annually. Beside this establishment there are four other plow manufacturers, and twenty-one other wagon makers.



[Pg 15]



It is a proof of the prosperity of a city when manufactories of so exclusive a character as the one before us not only exist but are handsomely sustained. Some five years ago Messrs. B. F. & D. H. Avery commenced the manufacture of the since celebrated Livingston County Plow. It was with difficulty that the prejudices of the agricultural community in favor of other instruments were overcome, but by dint of industrious exertion the plow slowly gained the confidence of the community until it now holds, in several of the Southern and Western States, the very first rank as a plow. It is worthy of notice, as a proof of the enterprise of this firm, that each year since it was first introduced they have been obliged to double the number of plows made the preceding year. A few months since Messrs. B. F. & D. H. Avery dissolved their firm and Mr. B. F. Avery has now sole charge of the establishment. He has recently made some valuable improvements upon his plow, which will make its utility still more general. The new plow is found excellent for after-cultivation, and in connection with the old one makes his stock of plows fully adequate to every variety of American soil. Mr. B. F. Avery has spent some twenty-five years in this species of manufacture, and his experience is alone a proof of the value of his invention. His business, though already very large, is growing rapidly every year.



[Pg 16]



This extensive tobacco factory, established some twelve years ago, is one of the most important in the city. It was commenced at a time when Kentucky manufactured tobacco found very little market in the cities of the United States, but has grown with astonishing rapidity and vigor. Mr. Holbrook is an old dealer in tobacco, and has acquired great sagacity in the selection of the article suited to the various departments of manufacture. His skill as a manufacturer is also worthy of notice. For many years he has been employed in testing the value of the various methods of producing the finest qualities of Chewing Tobacco, and has added many valuable improvements to the ordinary methods of manufacturing the article. By the industry and enterprise of this gentleman and his fellow tobacconists, the Louisville-made article has driven entirely out of market all the medium and lower brands of Virginia tobacco, and readily competes with even the higher brands of this favorite manufacture. The business of this factory is extended over a large surface of country. From the Lakes at the North to New Orleans, this tobacco is not only rapidly bought up, but is eagerly inquired for. Barker & Co., of Detroit, Mich., write to Mr. H.: “We have orders daily, which we cannot fill for want of your tobacco.” Preston & Bros., of Evansville, write: “This tobacco gives good satisfaction.” Twitty & Smith, of New Orleans, say: “We doubt not, speedy satisfactory sales may be made of several hundred boxes by 1st of September.” Rawson, Wilby & Co., of Cincinnati, under date of June 7, 1852, write: “We have a market for all the tobacco you can manufacture.” Hundreds of similar letters could be shown from various points. These however will be sufficient to establish the character of the article.



[Pg 17]



This is the oldest tobacco factory in the city, and was the first which managed successfully to introduce this article. Previous to the establishment of this factory, all descriptions of chewing tobacco were brought from Virginia. Almost any other manufacturers would have sunk under the distrust and ill-will evinced by dealers of every class against this tobacco in the earliest years of its introduction. It was difficult at first to persuade the dealers even to receive the article on commission—and prodigious efforts were then required to overcome the prejudice against western made tobacco. The gentlemen who are at the head of the firm, however, fully persuaded of the value of their manufacture, and knowing it needed only to be known to be appreciated, continued their exertions, and finally succeeded in reaching the market. The results were great beyond their expectation. In 1832, the first iron tobacco press was brought by them to this city; ten years have elapsed, and nearly two hundred presses are now in full operation. The Union Factory merited and has received its full share of the benefit of this increase. The tobacco made by them competes with the best Virginia article, and has completely supplanted all the inferior qualities of that tobacco. The city dealers are almost entirely supplied by this factory, and hundreds of boxes are daily sent abroad. Their tobacco has found a market even in the distant California. Several hundred boxes were recently shipped to that point by the way of New York. A great revolution has been effected in this article by these gentlemen, thousands of dollars have been added to the trade of the city, and an entirely new market has been created by them. They have not only richly merited the success which has awaited them, but they also deserve much at the hands of the friends of the city for their sagacity and enterprise in this regard.



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This is an old and well established firm, and one of those which have risen to eminence from small beginnings. The manufacture of cigars, Mr. Bast shares in common with some hundreds of others, though his establishment is by far the largest in the city, but in the making of snuff he is without a rival. The attention of this factory is principally directed to the manufacture of the finer quality of cigars, though many common cigars are made here. Mr. B. is himself an accomplished workman, and his articles may be entirely depended upon. There are about three millions of cigars made and sold here annually. The smoking tobacco from this factory is eagerly sought for wherever it is known; its superior quality and cheapness making a ready market for it wherever introduced. Mr. B.’s manufacture of snuff also forms a large branch of this business. The peculiar quality of this article consists in its entire adaptation to every climate, and its capacity for withstanding the influences of time. It may be transported everywhere, and kept for any length of time without receiving injury. Mr. B.’s sales at wholesale are not confined merely to the usual country trade; many of his articles find their way in large quantities to the great cities, and many of his brands receive distinguished preference in these places. Beside his own manufactured articles Mr. B. imports choice pipes, snuff boxes, cigar cases, and similar fancy articles. As a retailer, his store is celebrated as the resort of all the connoisseurs in smoking, snuffing, and their various equipments.



[Pg 19]



This factory was organized three years ago on a very extensive scale, with a view to supplying the demand for Sashes, Doors, and other like articles for the builder or the house carpenter. Since its commencement, however, it has constantly increased both in the amount and variety of work, until it has come to be one of the largest establishments in the city. Enormous buildings have been put up at great expense, new machinery of various kinds has been added to the original supply, experienced workmen have been brought from the older cities, and everything has been effected which could contribute to place the concern on an equality in point of capacity with any similar establishment in the country. The manufacture of railroad cars is a new department of the business; created by the growing necessity for procuring such work at home. The cars made by these gentlemen have all the new improvements known to the car builder, and are beautiful specimens of handicraft. In this immense factory, the painter, the turner, the blacksmith, the cabinet maker, the car builder, the upholsterer, and the carpenter, all find employment at their various trades. All the screws, nuts, &c., used in the factory, are made on the premises by machinery. The gentlemen who compose the firm, are entirely competent to the management of their diversified business, and great credit is due them for the promptness and excellence with which they execute all descriptions of their work.



[Pg 20]



This large and well organized mill is well known to western builders. It is one of those conveniences which are found only in large cities, where the builder can find ready made to his hand all that is necessary for the interior and exterior wood work of his house. Boards are taken from the lumber yard, and by machinery planed and moulded into all the forms necessary for the house carpenter, thus saving all the tedious hand labor, and reducing the enormous expense which has attended the building of houses. The majority of planing mills have never attempted more than the preparation of work for cheap houses; but this establishment before us has specimens of its manufacture in some of the finest residences in and about the city. The proprietors of this mill are devoting much attention to the finer departments of work, and their success is at once complete and merited. The feeling which once existed against the work of the planing mill, is rapidly disappearing before the exertions of these gentlemen; they have supplied such large quantities of work of all sorts, and have so entirely the confidence of the community, that their work is eagerly sought after, and they are constantly full of orders. They employ about seventy-five hands, and have machines, which plane about twenty-three thousand feet of lumber per day. They also manufacture large quantities of Packing Boxes, which they furnish to the stores at small prices. This department of their business is of itself of considerable extent. Lumber in the rough is also sold in large quantities.



[Pg 21]



This establishment is among the largest factories of its class in the western country. Although but a short time has elapsed since the manufacture of furniture by machinery was adopted in this part of the country, this factory has come to supply the wants of a great part of the West. In factories of this sort the manufacture of the most elegant classes of furniture is not attempted; attention being directed only to the staples of the trade, in the production of which machinery can be used to advantage. This machinery beautiful in its adaptation, and perfect in its application, is well worthy of notice. There are comparatively few of the operations of this establishment to which the machinery does not apply. All the separate parts of each piece of furniture are got out by machinery and cleaned up, veneered, and put together by hand workmen. Mr. C. thoroughly comprehends the business which he pursues, and has entirely the confidence of those with whom he has commercial relations. Large quantities of lumber are kept upon the premises, so that all the wood used in manufacture, is thoroughly seasoned; the workmen employed in the factory are mechanics of the best order, and the establishment has a high reputation for honesty and fair dealing, not only in the quality of work but in the equality of prices. Mr. C. has a regular printed price current by which he is governed, and according to which all dealers are equally served. His trade extends over a great part of the West and South, embracing the States of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi; Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. As will readily be seen, a manufactory of this kind, so useful in its interests, and so large in its extent, is of great importance to the city; bringing, as it does, large amounts of money from other and distant points, and disbursing them at home; as well as offering inducements to the immigration hither, (which are and have been eagerly embraced,) of a valuable class of citizens.



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The manufacture of furniture in large quantities and with the aid of machinery has but lately been introduced into the western country, and however it may have reduced the prices or extended the sale of the articles so manufactured, it has by no means destroyed or even interfered with the sale of articles manufactured by hand. Of the finer class of furniture, of all those articles which are used merely as luxuries, as well as of such as are required to stand the test of severe use, those manufactured by hand are yet preferred; and the growing desire in the West for the best articles of furniture has rendered the class of manufactures under consideration of great value and importance. Louisville contains a very large number of establishments for the manufacture of fine as well as of durable and substantial common furniture. The largest of these and the one best calculated to display this branch of business is the well-known establishment of John M. Stokes, now in the 22d year of its existence. There is scarcely a finely furnished parlor in Louisville or its vicinity, scarcely an elegant steamer in the southern trade, that does not show the capacity of this firm to rival any similar establishment in the country. And while in some other branches of manufacture, Louisville may be exceeded by other western cities, it is only fair to say, that a visit to the immense establishment of Mr. Stokes will readily convince any one that in this department of trade, Louisville cannot be exceeded either in quality of work or in its price. Mr. S. has now in process of erection a large four story building, where he purposes to add very considerably to his already large manufacture.



[Pg 23]

ISAAC CROMIE, MANUFACTURER OF PRINTING PAPER, NEWS, BOOK, AND COLORED, Mill, Main Street between Tenth and Eleventh, Store, No. 477 Main St.


This is the largest Paper Mill in the Western country, and fully equal in point of capacity and advantages with any in the Union. It was established in 1846, and passed into the hands of its present proprietor in 1848. The mill is furnished with every desirable improvement in the machinery used for paper making; the building is very commodious and well arranged, and is under the immediate supervision of Mr. Kellogg, a gentleman in every way qualified for his office. It is in constant operation, night and day, being lighted up by gas, which is also manufactured on the premises. This mill has advantages over most western mills in the fact that an abundant supply of rags is furnished in this market, that it is situated in a fine hemp growing region, where this article can readily be procured, bleached and reduced to the finest texture for strengthening paper; that this is an admirable location for making shipments of the manufactured article, and that the most excellent water is brought from wells on the premises in any quantity which may be desired. A very large amount of capital is invested in this establishment, and no expense has been spared in effecting every improvement known to the paper maker, and the results of this outlay of capital, and of the sagacity and enterprise of its proprietor are now evident. Not only does this paper find a ready market, but orders have so multiplied upon the factory that, even with the immense product, they have been unable until lately to complete their contracts for delivery. The stack for the furnace of this mill is 140 feet high, and can be seen from all the avenues of approach to the city.



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But a few years have elapsed since all the hats sold in this market were the produce of eastern factories; and this department was not considered of sufficient value to be detached from other branches of trade. In latter years however, it has reached a position which makes it equal in importance to most other branches. Western merchants are fully aware of the value of Louisville as a market for hats, and even where many other articles are purchased elsewhere, this market is always selected and preferred by the buyer for his bill of hats.

Few firms have as rapidly grown into the favor and confidence of the community as the one referred to above. They possess an enviable reputation throughout the South and West, both as elegant manufacturers, and as prompt and efficient men of business. Neither Beebe of New York, nor Rousto of Paris, are better known or more prized as hatters by the residents in the valley of the Mississippi. This is proven in the fact that their sales at wholesale reach the amount of one hundred thousand dollars, while their retail trade adds to this the sum of fifty thousand dollars more. Their manufacture is chiefly confined to the finest quality of hats. They employ from twenty-five to thirty hands.

This house also deals largely in furs, their purchases in this article amount to about thirty-five thousand dollars annually. Their market for these furs is found in London and Leipsie.



[Pg 25]



This establishment, the oldest in the city, also commands a very prominent position in the western country. What has before been said with reference to the hat business, applies equally well to this establishment. The energy and promptness of this firm as manufacturers, the extended character of their business relations, and the high position which they occupy at home as well as abroad, have not only insured their own prosperity beyond any usual contingency but have added to the fame, the business and the resources of the city.

Some idea may be formed of the increase in this department of business, when it is asserted that the sales of this house alone now reaches an amount greatly beyond what five years ago were the entire sales of the city. Hats made in Louisville always find the preference with western and southern purchasers over those made elsewhere. Not only are the qualities greatly superior, but the styles are far preferable; and for a similar class of goods, the prices are equally as low as those of any other market. In these remarks, reference is of course had to the best quality of hats. There is no department of trade which has increased, and still promises to increase more rapidly than this.

The purchase and export of furs and peltries is also extensively carried on by this house.

The two examples of this business given in this volume will bear favorable comparison with any other hat houses in the West; if indeed they do not surpass all their compeers.



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NEEDHAM’S MARBLE SHOP AND WARE ROOMS, Jefferson St. between 3rd & 4th, North Side.


This establishment has been in permanent and successful operation for the last seventeen years, and is, we believe, the oldest one of the kind in the city. The greater portion of the marble used; is imported directly from Italy in the block, via New Orleans. The foreign and domestic marble business has been a rapidly increasing one from the period of its first introduction, and our workmen have readily availed themselves of all the improved manufacturing processes. They are therefore prepared to furnish all articles in their line at as low a price, as the same articles can be furnished at any point in the West. Fine articles of manufactured marble are now cheaper in the city of Louisville than in the city of London.

At Needham’s Marble Warerooms may be found a well arranged stock of marble Mantles, varying in price from twenty-five to one hundred and fifty dollars. They are made of Italian, Egyptian, Irish, and the Sienna marbles. He also makes to order the various descriptions of furniture marble work.

In the department of monuments, tombs, tablets, and general cemetery work, his stock and designs are said to be the largest in the West. All work sent from the city is carefully packed, and warranted free from breakage. The aim and object of the proprietor is to establish a permanent business by doing good work at moderate prices.



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HUGH WILKINS, MANUFACTURER OF MATTRASSES, CARPETS, CURTAINS, FLAGS And all articles appertaining to the business of the UPHOLSTERER, Wall Street, four doors below Main.


In Louisville, the business of upholsterer is one of great importance. The large number of steamboats which are built and furnished at this point gives a great deal of work in this department of manufacture. The reputation of this city as an admirable place for procuring articles of this description has attracted much trade from other points. The factory of Mr. Wilkins, now in the twelfth year of its existence, is one of the best and most favorably known in Louisville and in the West. It is perhaps more in this than in any other department of manufacture that the purchaser is compelled to depend on the honesty as well as the taste and judgment of the workman. The reputation of this factory is a sure guarantee for the first of these qualities, and the many specimens of work to be seen all over the city and in most of our steamboats, will readily establish the other. A very large trade has been built up for this concern by the fidelity and carefulness of its proprietor. The whole interior fitting of steamboats and houses is undertaken here. Beds, carpets and curtains of all descriptions and qualities are made and fitted up in a style of superior excellence. The spring-mattrasses made at this factory have a wide spread and deservedly great reputation. Some of those mattrasses have not only been used during the life of one boat, but have been removed from one steamer to its successor several times. The use of spring mattrasses on steamers is probably the severest test to which they can be subjected.



[Pg 28]



This brewery, organized in 1832, is the oldest in the city, and is equal in point of size and capacity to any in the West. The long practice in this manufacture which the senior partner of this firm has had, and the well-known reputation of the establishment are sufficient proofs of the quality of articles manufactured here. Situated in the centre of a splendid grain market, with water equal to any in the world, and with thoroughly practiced and competent workmen, the Louisville Ales, Beer, Brown-Stout, &c., cannot be anywhere surpassed. The Brown-Stout from Metcalfe’s Brewery is fully equal in every respect to the London article; and the experiment of placing it, in Byass’ bottles, before the best connoisseurs has been frequently attempted, and always with success. It has, however, a reputation of its own and does not therefore need a foreign stamp to make it currently received. Beside furnishing the interior of most of the western States, Messrs. M. & G. find a very extended and ready market for articles of their manufacture in the larger cities. Memphis and St. Louis receive and sell large quantities of these articles, and scarcely a boat leaves for the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers without having among her freight more or less of the products of this brewery. Cards announcing the presence of these articles for sale are every where shown out as inducements to the lovers of these delightful beverages. In Louisville the brewings of Messrs. M. & G. are highly valued by all.



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The manufacture of carriages is not carried on as extensively by any single firm in the West as in the East. The business is however one embracing a large amount of capital, but the number of manufactories prevents any single house from doing a very large amount of work. Carriage building in Louisville has, however, recently partaken of the impulse which has been given to every department of manufactures. There are fully three times as many carriages built in Louisville now, as there were three years ago. The smaller establishments in the interior places have been obliged to resign to the superior quality and price of Louisville work. There is no city in the Union where there are so many private vehicles used, in proportion to the population, as in Louisville. This fact has led to the endeavor on the part of carriage makers here to compete with foreign workmen. And with the single exception of heavy carriages, Louisville builders are at any time ready to furnish carriages at the same price as they can be had in the East.

Mr. Bradley’s establishment will afford a very fair example of this business. It is one of the oldest in the city, and has a fine reputation. The quality of work manufactured here cannot be surpassed, and Mr. B.’s thorough knowledge, long experience, and personal attention to his business, have done credit to him, and tended to advance the interests of this business in the city. His sales extend to Kentucky, Tennessee, North Alabama, Arkansas, and even to Mississippi and Louisiana. Fully one third of the sales of this factory are made out of the State. Mr. Bradley employs about twenty hands, who receive about ten thousand dollars annually. His sales amount to about thirty thousand dollars. The value of this as a market for this species of manufacture, is fast beginning to be felt: and it cannot be doubted that it will become ere long the very best market of the country.



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This manufactory, though not so old as many of our carriage shops, is still one deserving especial notice. The proprietors are themselves constantly employed in the details of their work, and the result of their knowledge, attention and experience is plainly observable in the work which proceeds from their establishment. They possess the entire confidence of the community, and, for the short time they have been employed in their business, have been in every way very successful workmen. Although the greater part of their sales are made in and around the city, they yet send their carriages over a large part of the southern and south-western States. It is idle for western and southern buyers any longer to indulge the foolish opinion, that better, more durable, or more elegant carriages can be bought in the eastern markets, than can be had at home. Such an opinion was held until recently in regard to fine furniture, but that has disappeared under the earnest endeavor of Louisville manufacturers, and it is time for western purchasers to learn to depend on their own workmen for supplies of every sort. Messrs. B. & R. have now in their establishment carriages of all sorts which will favorably compare in point of elegance with those made in any part of the Union, and will far exceed any others in point of durability. This matter is one deserving the attention of carriage buyers, and if they can only be persuaded to make a trial of Louisville work, the fame of the city in this regard will be easily established.



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Dr. John Bull has used in the manufacture of his Sarsaparilla within the last year 3,648 gross of bottles, 27,744 packing boxes at a cost of $6,885 50, and affords constant employment to about 55 hands. Amount of sales for the year ending this date, $255,700 90. Dr. Bull commenced the manufacture of this article exclusively about five years since, and the full amount of sales at that time was about $5,500, which amount was entirely consumed in advertising and printing of various kinds. The second year sales about $38,600. Third year, $89,200 50. Fourth year, $157,030 70. Fifth year, $255,700 90, as per above statement. The demand for his Sarsaparilla is greater now than it has been at any time previously, and its reputation is becoming more extended. He has received large orders from California, New Mexico, and the island of Cuba. Wherever it has been tried, the sales of it have increased, which is a sufficient guarrantee of its efficacy and standing in all places where it has been introduced.



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This establishment is the only one of the kind in the city, and since its commencement a little more than a year ago, it has rapidly grown into favor. Few persons are perhaps aware of the fact that all those minor elegancies and luxuries which follow the establishment of water works in a city can be procured and put in operation by this firm as readily and completely, as in cities ever so abundantly supplied with water. Water closets, bath houses, wash basins, pumps, boilers, and all the appurtenances of an elegant mansion are here manufactured and furnished in complete order. Most of the residences built since the existence of this firm, have taken advantage of these furnishings, and many of the older dwellings have added a part at least of these conveniences. These gentlemen also import a great variety of gas fixtures of all descriptions, as well as wrought iron welded tubes for steam, gas and water, which they put up in a superior style. They also manufacture brass work of all the lighter descriptions. The Beer-Pumps which are seen upon the counters of our coffee houses, are also from this factory. These pumps are of a very superior quality, and are exported from the city in large quantities. Steamboat plumber’s work also forms an important part of this business. The well-known steamer Eclipse was furnished from this establishment. All the work done by this firm is of the very best quality. These gentlemen are thorough and accomplished workmen, and attend in person to the details of their business. There are few plumbing establishments in this country with which this will not bear favorable comparison.



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Lithographic printing is a very important branch of the Art, and one in which excellence is rarely attained. It is applicable to a very great variety of work, and hence is worthy of much consideration. Few persons are probably aware of the utility of the art referred to. Maps, landscapes, cards, bill heads, labels, drawings for the Patent Office, anatomical plates, and in fine all the work of the ordinary printer as well as of the draftsman and of the engraver, can be executed by the lithographer. To do all these things well, an office requires to be thoroughly organized, to possess artists of ability, and to be in the hands of men of artistic taste as well as of business capacity. In all these respects, the office of Messrs. Milne & Bruder is complete. In all those classes of work which come within their province, these gentlemen enjoy a high reputation. Prompt and efficient in their business relations, tasteful and artistic in the execution of the work entrusted to them, they are enabled to command a large amount of patronage, not only in Louisville, but all over the West and South. The new map of Kentucky lately issued from their press, is of itself a sufficient guarantee for the character of the work executed at this establishment. This map is the best ever published, and its authenticity is in no whit inferior to its mere artistic excellence. It is steadily growing into public favor, and is deservedly appreciated wherever it is known. There is no lithographic establishment in the West, which can and does execute a greater variety or a better quality of work than that under consideration.



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But little more than a year has elapsed since the publication of sheet music was begun by this firm. Their catalogue however already embraces a large number and a great variety of excellent music. The success of their publishing house is by the practical talent and fine taste of the proprietors, already placed beyond a contingency of failure, and only needs the necessary lapse of time to become complete. As is well known, Louisville numbers a great many accomplished musicians and musical amateurs among her population. There is perhaps no other American city of equal size where this art is so much cultivated and so high in favor with the whole people. Music publishing, the necessary consequence of this state of affairs, becomes therefore an important branch of business. Messrs. B. & Co. are high in favor with our musical people, have published a good deal of Louisville composition, and are rapidly finding a large market abroad as well as at home for their production. These gentlemen are also agents for Chickering’s celebrated Pianos, as well as for other favorite brands. Their attention is also particularly directed to supplying Brass Instruments for bands. And they offer excellent security for the quality of the articles which they keep. As a music store, their establishment is a favorite resort with the amateurs of this delightful art.



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PETERS, WEBB & CO. Publishers of Music, Main Street, bet. 2d and 3d, Opposite Bank of Ky. PETERS, CRAGG & CO. MANUFACTURERS OF PIANO FORTES, Main Street, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth. J. WEKERLE & CO. ORGAN MANUFACTURERS.


The publishing house of Peters, Webb & Co., perhaps the oldest establishment of the kind, and certainly the most favorably known in the West, employs one title engraver, three music engravers, and about six printers. They keep three copper-plate presses constantly employed, and issue from seven to ten thousand pages of music per week.

The piano-forte manufactory of Peters, Cragg & Co., was organized only a few years ago, but its success has been so constant and rapid, that they are not now able to supply the demand for their instruments. They have embarked a very large capital in this business, and are now erecting a large three story factory on Main Street, where they will be enabled to do a still greater amount of work. They are prepared with all the most recent useful improvements in manufacture and will employ in their new factory about thirty hands. This firm is ready at any moment to duplicate any bill of wholesale prices, which may be had from any respectable eastern house, either in sheet music or pianos.

P. W. & Co., in company with J. Wekerle, a practical organ builder, commenced the manufacture of these instruments in Louisville a little less than three years ago, since which time they have built several instruments for western churches, in Louisville and elsewhere. These have been pronounced by competent judges equal to any made in the country. Five workmen are constantly employed in this department.



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CHARLES DUFFIELD & CO.’S HAM CURING ESTABLISHMENT, Water Street, between 5th and 6th, Entrance on 6th.


This is the largest establishment exclusively devoted to the curing of hams, not only in the United States, but in the world. The buildings are of brick and are three stories in height. The curing-house is 66 feet wide and 350 feet long, embracing over 52,000 square feet of floor. The smoking house is 35 feet in width by 65 in length, and will hold 40,000 hams at one smoking. One to two hundred thousand hams are cured here in one season, and thirty to fifty men are employed nearly six months in the year in preparing the hams for market and summer keeping. The details of the curing process are not made public.

Mr. Duffield was the first to establish and make permanent the business of ham curing, as a separate and distinct branch of the provision trade, which he did by persevering in making fine hams for years without profit—and he has thus became the Pioneer in giving character to our western hams, which now stand unequalled in the markets of the United States. It is to this perseverance that we are indebted for all the fine hams, by whomsoever cured, that now fill our markets.

Mr. Duffield was the first to cure in Cincinnati, in 1835, as many as 20,000 hams, and from this beginning, the business is believed to have now reached the grand aggregate of from six to eight hundred thousand hams, cured in an extra style, in all the western cities. Mr. D.’s hams, however, still stand pre-eminent. The demand for them increases yearly. His brand is, “Duffield’s American Westphalia Hams.” The reason for the term “American Westphalia” is contained in the fact, that the only hams celebrated in the United States markets, when Mr. D. commenced curing, were those imported from Westphalia, in Germany, (which were then and still are sold at 25 and 30 cents per pound,) hence the propriety and boldness of the term “American Westphalia.” It is certain that Mr. Duffield’s cure will not be found inferior to the best imported from Westphalia, and will not cost the consumer one-half the price of that article.

The following list of diplomas, medals, &c., which have been awarded at different times to the hams cured by Mr. Duffield, will corroborate this opinion. By Ohio Mechanics’ Institute, in 1844; by Hamilton County Agricultural Society, in 1846; by Ohio State Fair, held in Cincinnati, in 1850; by The London Industrial Exhibition, and World’s Fair Prize Medal, in 1850. We are proud of Mr. D.’s reputation, and glad to be able to say that Louisville has the largest ham curing establishment in the world.



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The manufacture of Planes and Edge-Tools in Louisville is not and has not been considered a very prominent branch of trade. It is well known that the skillful manufacture of these articles has long been a difficulty hard to overcome. Mr. McBride, who has been a practical workman with the plane, has successfully combatted all the difficulties in the way of producing a perfect article. Wherever the tools from this factory have been used, they have achieved that most difficult of results, the entire approbation of the mechanic. Mr. B.’s business is one of those the steady growth of which indicates real merit and ultimate success. Every article produced is made by the hands of skillful workmen, and under the immediate eye of the proprietor; hence all may be sure of procuring a far more valuable article than can be had from the steam factories. Mr. McBride has in addition to his manufactory, a fine stock of Hardware and Cutlery.





This useful establishment is one of those minor factories which are indispensible to a great city. Necessary of small extent as compared with many other branches of manufacture, it is yet an important and useful concern. Mr. Hunter is the foreman of his own factory, and is a thorough and accomplished workman. It is at his shop that those elegant cuttings on tinted and white glass, which adorn the windows of our southern steamboats, and add so much to their magnificence, are done. In this department of his business he is without a rival in the city and, it is believed, in the West. Beside this, Mr. H. is a fitter of glasses for jeweller’s work, such as rings, breast-pins, miniatures, &c. He also replaces parts of broken sets of glass and performs, in a superior manner, all the work done at the glass cutters. A good stock of cut glass-ware is also to be found at this factory.



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The Kentucky Lock Factory is another establishment deserving especial notice. The work made at this factory is surpassed in quality by none in the West. Locks of every description from those of the prison, the Bank and the safe, to the smallest mortise latch, are manufactured with equal care and fidelity. The Fire-Proof Safe, which has a well established reputation everywhere, is also made here. Iron doors and frames for bank vaults and prisons us well as sliding door locks and trimmings also form a part of the daily work of the factory. This concern, under the charge of Mr. Aug. C. Harig has for a long time enjoyed the confidence and patronage of this community, and it will doubtless, under its present management, continue to increase in public favor. In addition to articles of their own manufacture, Messrs. H. & S. offer for sale an excellent assortment of Builders Hardware.



A. TIENSCH, Manufacturer of Mathematical and Philosophical Instruments, NO. 97 THIRD STREET.


In the same building with the factory noticed above, may be found the instrument shop of Mr. Tiensch. In this exceedingly complex and scientific manufacture, this gentleman is very eminent. The most delicate manipulations of his art are performed by him with singular accuracy and facility. Manufactories of this kind are rare in the American cities, nor is the demand for these articles very great. Mr. T. is therefore able to furnish the proceeds of his manufacture to buyers who are scattered ever a large surface of country. He keeps on hand a stock of the instruments in most common use and is thoroughly competent to the successful manufacture of any article in his line which may be desired by the scientific man. His factory will doubtless grow with the growing wants for articles of this description in this great city. The curious in such matters will find his shop well worthy of a visit.



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HULL & BROTHER, Book & Job Printers, Binders, AND PUBLISHERS, 83 & 85 Fourth Street, between Main and Market.


This firm commenced business in this city in the year 1844. It has gradually grown, from a small beginning, until it stands second to no establishment in the West, either for facilities or workmanship. Although its principal business is that of Book, and the finer kinds of Job Printing, yet at this office are issued two weekly papers, and three monthly periodicals—making an average of over ten thousand periodicals weekly.

The Proprietors being both practical men, (having been all their lives engaged in the business, and understanding thoroughly every department of it,) they have been enabled to carry the Art of Printing to a perfection that would surprise and astonish the spirits of Faust and Guttemberg, were they to arise from their graves, as much as it pleases and attracts the lovers of the beautiful of the present day.

In connection with this establishment there is a well assorted Bindery, under the direction of Mr. J. A. Irwin, who, in this department, is connected with the Messrs. Hull. He also is a practical workman, well acquainted with every part of his business.

Every branch and variety of the business is here carried on. From the mill, the paper passes to the wetting trough, thence to the printing press; from the press to the drying boards, then into the hands of the Folder, and so successively, to the Forwarder, the Embosser, and the Finisher, until the perfect book is produced.

The Messrs H. employ about forty hands in their Establishment and are supplied, both in their Printing and Binding departments, with the very best materials and machinery that have been invented.

Altogether it is an Establishment that does credit to our city, and gives additional evidence of its increasing prosperity.




[1] Campbell had been taken prisoner by the British and Indians and was then in captivity in Canada.

[2] Marshall, Vol. I, p. 104.

[3] Directory for 1832.

[4] Western Review for January, 1830.

[5] This incident is by some accredited to William Creasy, a bargeman of the James River.

[6] Morgan Neville, in Western Souvenir for 1829.

[7] Perkins’ Annals, pp. 280 to 282.

[8] John A. McClung in Collins’ Kentucky, p. 57.

[9] This statement is given on the authority of Major Quirey’s own son.

[10] This prediction, as is well known, has been verified.

[11] This gentleman was one among the most distinguished of the early citizens of Louisville. His untiring energy, his inflexible honesty of purpose, and his fine mental ability, all contributed to render him conspicuous in every position to which he was called. An excellent epitome of his character is contained in a remark made by him upon the occasion of his resignation of the Presidency of the Bank referred to. The directory of the Bank having determined to stop payment, Mr. Prather resigned his seat with these memorable words:—“I can preside over no institution which fails to meet its engagements promptly and to the letter.” Mr. Prather was long connected in business with Mr. John I. Jacob, whose recent death has been so much deplored; and the firm of Prather & Jacob is one of the best and most favorably known among the early merchants of this city.

[12] This census does not include the residents in Preston’s or Campbell’s enlargements, nor does it refer either to Portland or Shippingport.

[13] This is extracted from Mr. Maum Butler’s account of the Canal.

[14] Gallagher’s Review of Amelia in the Hesperian for 1839.

[15] This hope is now destined never to be gratified, for, since the above was written, this accomplished poetess and estimable woman has been called away to join her voice with the angelic choir, whose harmonies are the delight and the glory of the celestial world. On a bright May morning, such as her own songs have taught us to love, when the earth was redolent of beauty, and the flowers were sending up to heaven the incense of their perfumes, when all rejoicing nature was pouring out its mourning orison to its Creator, the angels sent by her Heavenly Father, came and bore her spirit to its home in the skies. And so

“She has passed like a bird from the minstrel throng,
She has gone to the land where the lovely belong.”

[16] Haldeman’s Directory for 1844-5.

[17] These gentlemen having recently resigned, the chairs so vacated are now occupied by Drs. Palmer and Austin Flint, of Buffalo, N. Y.

[18] “In this year, a line of 46 hhds brought $3,390 84, averaging $73 73 per hhd. The crop was short, and speculation ran high. Dealers in the article were heavy losers.”—Directory for 1845.

[19] Most of the machinists are connected with the foundries.

[20] This does not include all steamboat builders.

[21] Most of the turners are connected with various factories.

[22] From “Louisville and the Elements of her Prosperity,” by H. Smith, Esq., in the Louisville Journal.

[23] Speculation in city lots ran very high at this time, and property bore an enormous fictitious value. As will be remembered, this feeling was not confined to Louisville, but was prevalent all over the western country. This was the era of speculations in western town lots, an era which will not be recalled with pleasure by most western men.