Thursday, April 22, 2010
The first settlers, James Harbison and others, lived in a cave protected from Indian attack and provided with drinking water, during their first winter in the area about 1775. The cave still runs with water (and loads of snakes, so we were told), down to the Chaplin River (which rises right near our post office) and it apparently runs about 12 miles in the other direction. The picture on the right shows the opening of the cave as it appears today (literally, TODAY). It was walled in about 1929, and is one of the most intriguing historical sites in this area. I'm SO glad we got a chance to see it.
The photo on the left shows the cave outlet UNDER a house, flowing to the Chaplin River. SO cool to live OVER a cave and a small river. On the right is the river-side portion of several buildings currently undergoing renovation, one a store from about 1830 on, which will once again become a store.
But on October 8, 1862, two huge armies, one from the North, one from the South, accidentally met at Perryville. At issue was who was going to control Kentucky, the USA or the CSA. When the battle ended, there were dead and wounded being buried or housed in every building between Perryville and the Kentucky River, as the fleeing Confederate army passed directly through Danville on its way east and south to refuge in Tennessee. If a house, church, school, or public building around here was standing in October 1862, it housed the wounded, and comforted the dying. Perryville was the end of the road for many Union and Confederate soldiers, and the end of Confederate ambitions in the Commonwealth. There would be other battles and raids, but from October 1862 on, Kentucky was firmly part of the Union.
My contention is that because Kentucky was a slave state, though it was loyal to the Union, it was treated like all other slave states after the war, and I've often told my students that Kentucky became part of the Confederacy AFTER "The War" was over. Anti-Union feelings, like the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers, still flow wide and deep here.