The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt County Communities in 1883

The following article by Charles Hartley was published on 20 Nov 2016. It has been updated with links to additional articles about the people and places described here.

Today, if we want to find a business, we either use an Internet search engine, or turn to the phone book's yellow pages. But before there were either of these, there were city directories, and state-wide gazetteers and business directories. The latter were often published biannually.

We are going to take a look at the Bullitt County entries of the Kentucky State Gazetteer and Business Directory for the years 1883-4. Along the way, we will underline links to pages with additional information about the people and places described here.

There were twelve post offices in Bullitt County at that time, and we will describe all twelve places geographically beginning with Mt. Washington which had three churches, a school, a hotel, and a steam flour mill. The population of approximately 350 people received their mail tri-weekly, and were served by stages to Louisville and Bloomfield three times a week. John W. Davidson was their postmaster, and a local saddle and harness maker.

Among the other folks listed in the business directory section were Dr. Smith M. Hobbs, Mrs. Kate Settles who operated the hotel, a milliner named Ruth Harris, and a carpenter named Henry Fox. Others listed included Devore Bray, an organ and piano agent, and the Barnes' saw mill.

This map was created using a base map found here.
It shows the locations of the 1883 communities imposed on a modern map.
The bright red line shows the location of I-65 today, for reference.

South of Mt. Washington was Smithville where George W. McKenzie was postmaster. Smithville was on the tri-weekly mail and stage route between Fairfield and Louisville. Its population of about 50 supported George McKenzie's general store. Others in the community included James McKenzie who had a flour mill, and was a wool carder, cooper, and blacksmith. Then there were John Shirley, a blacksmith, and John Jr. a cooper; along with James Clark who ran a small hotel.

Next we will travel down the main L. & N. railroad line from Louisville where we come first to Mount Vitio, a community better known as Brooks. This community of about 300 lay along what is Coral Ridge Road today. It included four churches, and several mills for shipping raw and finished lumber. George N. Sanders, who ran a general store, was the postmaster.

Francis M. Barrall was a lumber dealer who ran a saw and grist mill. Others in the saw mill trade included Crumbacker, Bridges Smith, and Stecken & Herrod. Others in the community included Dr. John R. Holsclaw, Dr. George Horine, and a blacksmith named Adam Damm.

Down the track was the new post office at Huber Station where Louis C. Huber, a local farmer, was postmaster. The community claimed about 75 residents including those who attended Samuel B. Barton's local school.

South of Huber, the train tracks entered Shepherdsville which claimed about 340 residents. Here you could find two churches, a public school, a telegraph station and train depot, as well as numerous businesses.

Charles F. Troutman, a local druggist, was the postmaster. There were four physicians listed including Dr. Charles W. Crist, Dr. Samuel A. McKay, Dr. David M. Bates, and Dr. H. H. Gwinn. Stores included McCormicks, Maramans, Smiths, and Troutmans. Smiths was run by the county judge, James F. Smith. Benjamin H. Crist and John W. Thompson each operated a hotel. Local lawyers included Charles Carroll, Thomas Cochrane, F. P. Straus, and William R. Thompson. H. C. Bowman was the county jailer, and W. W. Zazio was the local police judge.

South of Shepherdsville was the train junction to Bardstown, appropriately named Bardstown Junction. A population of about 125 made up this community where Joseph J. Blankenship had a general store and was the postmaster.

Henry Trunnell also had a general store, as well as a small hotel here. Others in the community included Dr. Charles B. Tydings, William A. Hardy who was a wagonmaker, and two blacksmiths, John W. Little and Sam L. Romine. You could also get a new pair of shoes from A. C. Henderson.

Before continuing southward, we will venture east along the Bardstown spur where we first come to Clermont with a population of about 100. W. E. O'Bryan, a general store merchant in business with John M. Samuels, was the postmaster. Distillers like Adam and Ben Chapeze, Squire Murphy, and A. M. Barber were prominent businessmen. Thomas Britt was a wine grower, and T. J. Bowman was the local physician.

A bit further down the line, and nearly into Nelson County, was Cane Spring, a small community of about 35 folks. Gabriel Lutz ran a general store, was the railroad agent, and the postmaster. James Lutz had a flour mill, and Jeremiah Vardaman Crenshaw was a lawyer and blacksmith.

Back at the main line, we continue southward to the community of Belmont. There were two churches, one Baptist and one Union, and a public school. William B. Cundiff, the postmaster, had one of the three general stores; the other two belonged to J. M. Waters, and J. W. Woods. There were three blacksmiths, Franklin Berry, Marcus Engle, and Edmund Hill. And Dr. James W. Mount would pull that bad tooth for you.

Next we come to Lebanon Junction, population 150, where Matthew J. Cockerell operated a general store, and was postmaster. Taylor Masden ran another general store, and Christopher C. Ricketts ran the hotel. Physicians included Dr. Charles J. Cook, Dr. J. E. Johnson, and Dr. Francis A. Barnett who was also a druggist. John Henry Harned dealt in livestock, and W. B. Samuels made shoes.

Of the two remaining communities, Pitt's Point was located at the junction of Salt and Rolling Fork rivers with a population of about 100 folks. Frank M. Hardy was the postmaster, and ran a general store. William Foster ran another store in town. William Buford Gwynn taught at the local school; and Edgar McDavitt Gober was the local physician.

Cupio, a town about about 50 folks, was in far western Bullitt County. It claimed three churches, and steam saw and grist mills. Thomas J. Ramsey was postmaster and operator of a local general store. Jesse Griffin and Edward Smith were local blacksmiths, and J. T. Funk, whose brother A. E. Funk would become County Judge in 1913, raised livestock.

As means of transportation changed, some of these communities would prosper, while others would shrink or disappear altogether. But for now we can remember them, just as they were, so long ago.

Copyright 2016 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.

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: 13 Jan 2024 . Page URL: