Bullitt County History

Bullitt County in 1901

The following is taken from the Fourteenth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Agriculture, Laborand Statistics of the State of Kentucky, 1900-1901; Ion B. Nall, Commissioner. [Louisville: Geo G. Fetter Printing Company, 1901, pages 47-50]. A very similar reports was issued in 1905, and is located on another page. We have included both reports on our web site because they each contain additional facts not found in the other one.

Bullitt County

Bullitt County, named in honor of Capt. Thomas Bullitt, who in company with a brave band of hardy Virginians, did considerable surveying in the vicinity of Shepherdsville and Bullitt's Lick, in 1773, was carved out of Jefferson and Nelson counties in 1796, and was the twenty-second county to be formed after Kentucky became an organized State.

Bullitt county is traversed from east to west by Salt river, which is navigable for a distance of twelve miles. Salt river has two tributaries of importance, the Rolling Fork, which flows into the river from the southeast and Floyd's Fork, which flows from the Beargrass country on the north. Rolling Fork is navigable for a distance of ten miles, for small boats, and the farmers along its banks depend npon the river to market their crops and stock. Salt river, Rolling Fork and Floyd's Fork are well stocked with fish, and Salt river affords fine bass fishing in April and September. Bullitt is bounded on the north by Jefferson, on the east by Spencer, on the south by Nelson and on the west by Hardin. The western part of the county is hilly and broken in places. Middle Bullitt is rolling generally, and all of it produces well when carefully cultivated. The soil of Bullitt will produce any crop grown in the State, with the possible exception of hemp.

Wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley, all kinds of grasses and vegetables are grown in this county, especially wheat and corn. The Salt river valley, Cox's creek bottoms, Rolling Fork bottoms, and Floyd's Fork bottoms, are equal to any land in the State in the production of corn, and where the uplands have been taken care of and manured and clovered, twenty-seven bushels of wheat have been averaged on large fields per acre.

Timber is growing scarcer every year, owing to the continuous running of saw mills. Good timber lands sell for fifty and seventy-five dollars per acre. It is usually sawed and shipped to the market in commercial dimensions. Hickory, ash, oak, pine, locust, linn, poplar, cedar, cherry and in fact all kinds of timber indigenous to Kentucky, grow in Bullitt.

Bullitt county contains many mineral wells, whose waters abound in medicinal virtues. Chief among these is the well at Paroquet Springs, famous in ante-bellum days as the foremost summer resort in the South.

The town of Shcpherdsville lies on the north bank of Salt river where the main stem of the Louisville & Nashville R. R. crosses that stream, and lies about eighteen miles south of Louisville. It is the oldest incorporated town in Kentucky, with the single exception of Harrodsburg, and has a population of about three hundred. It enjoys the distinction of having the largest and best stores to be found in the State, outside of the large cities, and in past few years many handsome residences have been erected. By reason of it superior railroad facilities, Shepherdsville would be an excellent point for factories of any kind, there being an abundance of water to run them, and building sites could be secured at low rates.

A canning factory would certainly pay at this place. All kinds of fruit and vegetables are raised, and the canner could market his goods at a nominal cost. Foremost among the many things which stamp the people of Bullitt as a progressive people is the Bullitt County Fair, which is regarded as one of the best in the State.

Shepherdsville has a good graded school, which is ably conducted, and a colored school with a large attendance.

Lebanon Junction, the railroad town of Bullitt, lies twelve miles south of Shepherdsville, at the junction of the main line of the L. & N. R. R. and the Knoxville division of the L. & N. R. R., and has a population of one thousand. It has a graded school, employing three teachers, and has a good colored school. The town of Mount Washington lies ten miles east of Shepherdsville, has prosperous churches and schools and is inhabited by a thrifty, peaceable people.

Among the other towns are Belmont, Pitts Point, Brooks and Smithville. At Smithville is located a large flour mill, which does a big business, furnishing not only the farmers of the surrounding country with flour, etc., but shipping to Louisville and other points. The only other flour mill in Bullitt is at Zoneton, although there are a number of grist mills in the county, many of them being run in connection with saw mills.

The rugged hills of Bullitt are full of ores of different kinds. In the day of the old stone furnace, all the furnaces in this county were run by ore mined near by, and that ore, said to be of a fine quality, is still here in inexhaustible quantities, waiting for capital to take it into the markets of the world.

Gas and oil exist in Bullitt in paying quantities but as yet but one attempt has been made to find it. At Pitts Point, F. M. Hardy dug or bored a gas well last year and found gas in goodly quantities, but it was drowned out by salt water. Too much dynamite is said to have caused the influx of salt water.

Bullitt county can boast of the finest building stone to be found anywhere in the State. It lies at Clermont, six miles southeast of Shepherdsville, on the Bardstown branch of the L. & N., in inexhaustible quantities, and is used exclusively by the L. & N. for bridges and culverts.

There is also a fine grade of sandstone in the hills north and west of Shepherdsville, but owing to the difficulty of hauling it, there has been no effort to put it on the market. On the knobs west of Shepherdsville, about seven miles distant, the writer found a fine quality of gray limestone, a few years since, which would be very valuable if nearer the railroad.

Fruit growing is the chief occupation of the people of western Bullitt. The knobs are covered with thrifty peach and apple orchards. Owing to the fact that the peach crop has been killed by the late frosts, for several years, the apple is coming more and more into favor. Ben Davis, Johnson's Fine Winter, the Greening, Winesaps, and a few other less popular varieties, are the kinda of apples grown in Bullitt.

Bullitt has twenty-six and one-half miles of completed railroad, belonging to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, and if the L., H. & St. L. will complete its extension from West Point to Louisville, it will give about ten miles more.

The plan adopted a few years ago of crushing stone at the expense of the county and letting the citizens along the proposed pike haul the stone on the pike free of charge, has worked well, and Bullitt now has some nine or ten miles of pike built in this way.

A handsome modern court house has been built by the fiscal court at a cost of $17,400, and is an ornament to the county and a source of pride to her citizens.

There is but one college in Bullitt county and that is for colored citizens. It was built by Eckstein Norton, for whom it was named, and has a large attendance.

Bullitt bears the reputation of being one of the most law abiding counties in the State.

The character of labor employed by our farmers and others is as a rule high and wages very good.

The Bullitt County Fair has done much towards bettering stock. Fine horses and fine cattle, hogs and sheep, can now be seen on the farms of all thrifty farmers. If this improvement goes on for ten years more old Bullitt will be a vanguard county in the production of fine stock.

It is in the Fourth Congressional, Third Appellate, Tenth Judicial, Twelfth Senatorial, and Forty-first Legislative Districts.

Postoffices:—Bardstown Junction, Barrallton, Belmont, Brooks, Cane Springs, Chapeze, Clermont, Crisp, Cupio, Fancy, Huber, Knobs, Lebanon Junction, Lutes, Mount Washington, Pitts Point, Salt river, Shepherdsville, Smithville, Solitude, Ting, Weller, Whitefield, Zoneton.

This is a work in progress. The webpage is copyright 2007 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Jan 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/bullittco1901.html