Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
April 10, 2005
As a member of the Kentucky Historical Society, we now have internet access to a nice resource, the Sanborn Maps of Kentucky. If you are not aware of these maps already, they are a great find. The Sanborn maps were drawn for insurance purposes in the late 1800's and early 1900's, and provide detailed maps of many towns throughout Kentucky. There are several of Shepherdsville and Lebanon Junction, for example, from different times. You can look at these maps, such as one from 1909, and see how the town develops, even what a building is made of, and how roadways changed. Some of you might recall that we were rediscovering the "Red Man's Hall" fraternal organization building; Well, one of the maps shows exactly where it was. There has also been some question on where the old jail (that's the old, old jail, the one before the Old Stone Jail) was located. Well again, one of the maps shows exactly where it was, on the southwest corner of the current county courthouse property, which also verifies that it burned down in 1922 when several buildings burned in that area.
I LOVE this stuff!
>> We have added a nice, powerful, magnifying lamp to the research room.
>> We have been experimenting with different display layouts in the museum, moving cases around, trying different flow patterns. Over the next month we will be rotating to several new display items.
>> Lola Fischer reports some kind (and deserved) recognition. Lola recently helped a nice couple at the museum (not the first time she's done this) doing genealogical research. She gave them several pointers on working our internet resources. A few days later she received a thank you note from them thanking her and "that man" for being so nice and helpful.
Well, at least they didn't say "that baldheaded old man". [grin]
>> Steve Masden has given us a copy of each of his two books, Lebanon Junction High School Memories and Railroad Town (about Lebanon Junction). They are a great local resource, as is Steve. The books are also available for sale.
>> Steve has also loaned the museum an old TV that is, if not the first TV in Bullitt County, at least one of them. I am doing some research on it and cleaning it up a bit for eventual display.
>> Lola Fischer loaned us a neat 1951-vintage glass "Clorox" jug that her husband saw actually "pop up" out of a sink hole at Ft.Knox while he was hunting.
>> Bullitt County Chief Deputy Mac McAuliffe has been a good friend of the museum on several occasions. He recently offered us several items for display. He loaned us a really neat little sewing machine from 1891 (the same year the Old Stone Jail was built). Mac loaned us two old clothes scrub boards that are unusual because the "scrub" part of the boards are made of glass; Mac says he was told glass was used during World War II because steel was scarce. Mac provided us with a large (21") iron pot much like the salt kettles of our pioneer days. Some of us have been debating what volume it really is. The average salt kettle was 22 gallons, though many were much larger. A couple of us tried to sound smart and discussed how we could calculate the volume mathematically; what I think we'll finally do is take it outside and pour gallons of water in it until it is full. I just hope I am smart enough to just remember to count the gallons!
Another Great Resource:
Betty Darnell tells me of a great internet resource for Genealogists. "Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites" www.cyndislist.com lists a wealth of suggested sites, arranged by category. I looked at it and was quickly overwhelmed with all of the resources Cyndi has provided. It's amazing what resources are out there available to all.
It's fascinating how things interlink...
As some of your know, we have been helping Ken Blair research the 1800's local iron furnaces of central Bullitt County and found a "John Beckwith" as an owner as well as a builder of a mill and iron works on the Salt River. And you may know the coincidence of another person coming in to the museum who was researching a damaged tombstone in Hebron Cemetery in north Bullitt County that had somehow attracted his attention, wondering if we might have anything on a Revolutionary War soldier named "Sgt. John Beckwith".
Well... a third person came in this week who wants to clean up a small family cemetery off Chapeze Lane known as the Trunnel cemetery. In researching who was in that cemetery, (the documented list is found in one of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society quarterlies). I noticed that some burial names had "Field" as a middle name and it made me curious. Thanks to the previous work done by Betty Darnell, Doris Owen, and others over the years, it was easy to follow a path to an ancestor named Abraham Field. It turns out Abraham went to church at Little Flock Baptist Church with John Beckwith, (they actually helped build the first Little Flock), and when Beckwith basically went bankrupt and died, Field later bought the worn out and virtually worthless furnace lands that Beckwith had lost everything on. Leaning mostly on imagination, it looks like Fields may have bailed out his deceased friend's family from financial trouble. [Later note: Beckwith died in 1827. Alexander Field purchased the property in 1866, after it had passed through several hands.]
So... full circle. Three totally different types of research linking different people to the same history. Pioneer Iron Furnaces; a Revolutionary War Sergeant at Hebron Cemetery that happened to catch someone's interest; and a tiny, overgrown family cemetery near Bernhiem Forest that a neighbor happened to see and decided needed to be cleaned up.
That is so Cool! That's the kind of stuff I love about this work! Betty Darnell quotes national speaker, Hank Jones, as calling this feeling "serendipity". For me, it's what history work is all about.
As always, thank you all for being a friend of Bullitt County History!
Bullitt County History Museum
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address: David.Strange@BullittCountyHistory.org