Russell County's highway historical markers
In July 31 - Aug. 6 issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Reporter
In all, Russell County has nine state historical markers certified by the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS). Now, citizens statewide have until Oct. 1 to submit applications to the society to determine where the next 15 state markers will go.
With numerous historic sites in the county, one can hope that the county will receive their 10th marker if someone steps up to the plate.
Russell County's nine current historical markers dot the county in various places. They include: Chalybeate Springs, Civil War Actions, Creelsboro, Early Paper Mill, Forage Depot-Civil War, Jamestown Skirmishes, Kentucky Diamond, Phelps Acres Farm and Russell County.
According to the historical society, the fee for new markers have risen from $1,650 to $2,075 for a one-sided marker and $1,850 to $2,300 for a two-sided marker.
This fee has increased from last year due to the rising cost of maintenance, which includes the cost for replacements, missing or severely damaged markers, new posts, or refurbishing.
"This increase will enable KHS to deal more promptly and effectively with maintenance issues without imposing an inordinate burden on the marker sponsors," says Kent Whitworth, executive director of KHS.
If a marker is selected for a site, donations and funding from people involved in nominating an area for a marker are responsible for paying for it.
Researchers with the society can spend up to two months verifying and correcting information that is submitted for a marker.
Around 30 markers are placed around Kentucky each year, according to the society.
A rundown of each of the nine historical markers follow, according to the historical society's Web site
The Chalybeate Springs marker, numbered 1233, is located on the corner of Jamestown St. and Main St. in Russell Springs. It marks “a health resort long known as Big Boiling Springs, operated before 1850,” by the family of Sam Patterson, among the area's earliest settlers.
Twelve log cabins called Long Row were built for guests who came here for amusement, pleasure and the medicinal iron and sulphur water. In 1898 a large hotel was built here, which burned in 1942. The spring has since been capped for use as a well, according to the marker.
The Civil War Actions marker, numbered 1301, is located in Freedom at the junction of Ky. 55 and U.S. 127. It marks that on April 19, 1863, US Lt. Col. William Riley “ordered to Creelsboro, five miles west, to scout enemy strength. Surprised Confederate States of America, took 12 prisoners. On December 31, 1863, USA troops under Lt. Col. A. J. Cropsey arrived at Creelsboro with two gunboats, forty sharpshooters. They came on scouting expedition from Nashville, turned back because of rapidly falling waters.”
The reverse side, Zollicoffer Here, read that on November 22, 1861, CSA Gen. Felix Zollicoffer reached Jamestown, four miles north, anxious to secure strong defensive position on Cumberland River to protect approaches to SE Ky. “His plan to seize nine ferry-boats along river was defeated. Federal troops under Colonel Thomas Bramlette, Kentucky governor, 1863-1867, had destroyed them earlier in their effort to confine the CSA.”
The Creelsboro marker, numbered 1109, is located on Ky. 1313 in Creelsboro. The marker read, “laid out, 1809, named for Elijah and Elza Creel, pioneers whose son, Reuben, served US in Mexico; his son Enrique served Mexico in US. An interpreter for General W. T. Ward during Mexican War, Reuben stayed on there, was appointed US Consulate, 1863, by Pres. Lincoln. Enrique was Governor of Chihuahua State, 1903 to 1906, and Mexican Ambassador to US, 1906 to 1909.
The Early Paper Mill marker, numbered 838, located a mile and a half southwest of Jamestown off of U.S. 127 reads, “Site of early Kentucky paper mill north on Greasy Creek. Erected by Joseph Crockett about 1800. Tax records indicate profitable operations. Large quantities of paper were shipped by river steamer in 1830's from Creelsboro to Nashville, Tenn. The mill operated for more than sixty years, apparently closed because of Civil War.
On the reverse side, Pioneer Business, it reads “an early industrial area located along Greasy Creek. In addition to a paper mill, there were the Alex Dick and Geo. Lewis meat house, 1785; a grist mill, 1799; an iron furnace and forge, 1824; the Wooldridge's Roller Mill; a cotton and two woolen mills. The Farmers Woolen Mill, owned and operated by Esco Reese, was in operation until late 1940.”
The Forage Depot-Civil War marker, numbered 1486, is located by Poplar Grove Church on U.S. 127. On it is inscribed, “in Dec. 1861, Col. Frank Wolford, USA, with Companies A, B, C and H left Camp Billy Williams enroute to Webbs Cross Roads. Here they guarded forage collected and stored by Lieutenant Silas Adams, Regimental Quartermaster of First Ky. Cavalry. July 4, 1862, the First Ky. Cavalry bivouacked here one night; next day Col. Wolford marched with them on to Lebanon.”
The Jamestown Skirmishes marker, numbered 724, is located off of U.S. 127 in Jamestown.
Its description reads that on “Dec. 25, 1861, part of First Ky. Calvary, USA, camped at Webb's Cross Roads to guard stored corn and forage and scout Confederate States of America operations. Detachment skirmished with enemy here resulting in one death, CSA. Both armies in area again, 1863. On June 2, 300 CSA attacked Union pickets, driving them into town. CSA retired when met by alert USA. One CSA man and weapons captured.”
The Kentucky Diamond marker, numbered 734, located six and a half miles west of U.S. 127 on Ky. 55, reads that, “In the summer of 1888 on the farm of Henry Burris, two miles north, a brilliant stone was found. It was appraised gem quality diamond, octahedral in form, 0.776 carat by G. A. Schultz, a jeweler of Louisville, who bought it for $20. Diamond is now on display in the Smithsonian Institution. No other has been found in area although many have searched.”
On its reverse side. Other U.S. Diamonds, it says, “Up to 1964, only Kentucky gem type diamond was found here: Low grade ones in Elliott County, 130 miles northeast. In the Great Lakes Region, found at one place each in Michigan, New York, Ohio; two places in Indiana, Tennessee; six in Wisconsin. Source of these probably glacial action, although Canadian origin not located. Also diamonds found in 10 other states.”
The Phelps Acres Farm marker, numbered 1802, is located at the farm just north of Jamestown on Ky. 92.
The marker reads that “John Phelps served in the Revolutionary War as defender of Boonesborough. He and son Shadrach were still at fort with Daniel Boone in 1795. Shadrach and Celia (Stapp) Phelps settled here circa 1798. This farm continuously owned and operated by their descendants. Original log house was home for 3 generations. Two-story structure built by grandson John Quincy Phelps, 1875.”
The Russell County marker, numbered 954, is displayed on the Russell County Courthouse lawn in Jamestown. It reads, “Established, 1825, out of parts of Adair, Wayne, Cumberland. Named for Col. William Russell (1758-1825). Lieut., Revolution; came (from) Fayette Co., Ky. In Indian campaigns of 1791 and 1794. At Tippecanoe, 1811. Succeeded Gen. William H. Harrison in command Ind., Ill., Mo. frontier. Representative in Ky. Legislature for 13 sessions. Jamestown was established by Legislature, 1827.”
The Kentucky Historical Highway Marker Program, administered by the Kentucky Historical Society in cooperation with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, commemorates historical sites, events, and personalities throughout the commonwealth.
Through the program, the wealth of Kentucky history is made accessible to the public as they travel along the state's roadways on markers which stimulate an interest in the history of local communities. The markers are on-the-spot history lessons that add drama and interest to the countryside for native Kentuckians as well as tourists, the society says.
The goal of the Kentucky Historical Highway Marker Program is to connect events and personalities with their place, to bring the past to life and to increase the awareness of what we owe to those who came before us, according to the society.
Becky Vittetow, coordinator of the marker program can be reached at 502-564-1792, ext. 4474.
People wishing to download a highway marker application from the Kentucky Historical Society Web site www.history.ky.gov or to just search a database of Kentucky's historical markers, visit http://migration.kentucky.gov