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Cerulean Precinct, Trigg County, Kentucky
Excerpted from:  William Henry Perrin, ed.  1994.  History of Trigg County, Kentucky.  Heritage Books, Bowie, MD (facsimile reprint of just the Trigg Co. portion of Perrin's Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky: Historical and Biographical printed in 1884 by F.A. Battey, Chicago).

Perrin tends to write very long paragraphs, which make for arduous reading.  I've broken his text into smaller paragraphs for improved readability.  I've also put names in boldface. 




CERULEAN SPRINGS is voting precinct No. 7 and occupies the northeast corner of Trigg County, with the following boundaries, to wit:  Christian County on the north and east, Montgomery Precinct on the south, and Caldwell County on the west.  The general character of the land is what might be termed undulating; and, as an agricultural district, it stands second to but few divisions of the county.  The soil is principally a red loam resting upon an impervious clay subsoil and [is] well adapted to all the fruits and cereals indigenous to this part of the State.  Limestone of a fine quality is found in many parts of the precinct, and along the banks of the streams are large sandstone bluffs which afford an inexhaustible supply of building material.  Much of the stone has been utilized by the farmers in the construction of chimneys and in building foundations for houses and barns. 

The precinct was originally well timbered, the leading varieties being walnut and several species of oak, with cedar on the rocky knolls and along the bluffs of the water-courses.  Much valuable timber was ruthlessly destroyed in an early day by the settlers in clearing their farms, and a large area of that which is standing at the present time is of comparatively recent growth.

The principal water-course is the Muddy Fork of Little River which enters the precinct from the northeast; and, flowing in a southwesterly course, crosses the southern boundary not far from the Caldwell County line.  It is a stream of considerable importance and receives in its course several small affluents, none of which are designated by any particular name.

Farming is the chief occupation of the people, the principal crops being corn, wheat and tobacco.  Considerable attention is paid to stock growing, which promises to become the leading industry at no distant day.

Settlement.--The neighborhood of the Springs is one of the oldest settled portions of what is now Trigg County and must have had a begin-

ning at a very early day after the visits of the North Carolina and Virginia Commissioners in 1790 and 1800.  The first settlers were attracted thither no doubt by the heavy growth of timber, rather than by the productive properties of the soil, the thick undergrowth of cane, grapevines, haw bushes, etc., affording a fine covert for such game as deer, elk, bear, which afforded the early comers their principal means of subsistence. 

Early in the year 1789, a small company of emigrants might have been seen making their toilsome journey slowly across the hills and through the unbroken forests of South Carolina and Tennessee toward the then insignificant settlement of Nashville.  This little band was well organized and armed in order to repel the attack of savages who at that time were very hostile toward the whites and gave them every possible annoyance.  It might be interesting to state that the leader of this party was a man who afterward became the popular hero of New Orleans and the iron-willed President of the United States:  Andrew Jackson.

In the same company was one Robert Goodwin, who had been a companion of Jackson's in his younger days and who, now, under his leadership, was with his family going to seek a home in the rich and newly-settled Tennessee country.  After a long and perilous journey, the hardy emigrants reached their destination and were obliged to take refuge in the block-house at Nashville until the Indian hostilities ceased, which was not until about a year and a half later.  In 1792 or 1793, Samuel Goodwin and his family, together with a few spirits as hardy and daring as himself, left the Nashville settlement and came to Kentucky.  Goodwin found his way into what is now Trigg County and settled a short distance from Cerulean Springs on what is [now] known as the Gardner farm where he erected a diminutive log-cabin and cleared a small farm.

This in all probability was the first permanent white settlement in the county east of the Cumberland River, although it is claimed by some that a few cabins had been built previous to this time near Boyd's Landing or Canton. 

With Goodwin came his sons Samuel and Jesse, both of whom were men grown.  The former settled about one mile above the Springs, where his son Robert Goodwin now lives, while the latter improved the land now known as the Wake place, near the village, on which he resided until the year 1825.  Robert Goodwin, Sr., died prior to 1812.  Samuel was an honored citizen until the time of his death in the year 1843.  His son Robert Goodwin, Jr., was born in the year 1811 and has lived on the old homestead continuously from that time to the present.  He is one of the oldest residents of the county and justly esteemed one of its most intelligent and honored citizens.

A man by name of Spencer came to the county a few months after Goodwin's arrival and settled on land adjoining the latter's place. Spencer was the father of two sons, James

and George, both of whom achieved some reputation in an early day as mechanics; and much of the furniture used by the first settlers was made by them.

Another very early settler whose arrival antedates 1795 was James Daniel, who located about one and a half miles east of the farm now owned by J. Stewart.  His sons, Elijah, John and George, came the same time and figured as prominent citizens at a later day.  George became Sheriff of the county in 1830.

John Blakely settled two miles southeast of the Springs as early as 1792 and was joined soon after by William Johnson and John Roberts, both of whom came from South Carolina. 

Joel Thompson was among the first pioneers and made a home on land adjoining the old Goodwin Farm.

John Goode settled on Dry Fork one and a half miles from the Springs prior to 1800 and was one of the earliest magistrates in the county.

Jacob Stinebaugh came in an early day and settled where his son, Daniel, lives, a short distance from the Springs.  The latter was born on the place where he now resides and has been a citizen of the precinct for seventy-five years.

Among other very early comers were Benjamin Ladd, Elisha Harber, John Jones, Richard Stowe, Robert Rogers, H. Hayden, John McAtee and James Brownfield, all of whom located within a radius of three miles of the village.  Later came David Haggard, John Guthrie and his sons Vincent, Patrick, Jesse and Erby, William James and John Blanks, Samuel Campbell, Wiley Wilson, Joel Wilson, William Wilson, Seth Pool, Adam Thompson and J. Pool.

Early Events.--The first death in this precinct, as far as known, was a man by name of Upton, who died prior to the year 1804.  He was the first person buried in the Guthrie Graveyard. Robert Goodwin, Sr., and Jesse Goodwin died in a very early day and were among the first laid to rest in what is known as the Military Cemetery. Balaam Izell was the first person interred in the Thomas graveyard, his death having occurred prior to 1820. 

Among the very early marriages were the following:
John Goodwin and Elizabeth Griffith
Joseph Goodwin and a Miss Edwards
Gustin Cook and Mary Goodwin
David Martin and Martha Goodwin
Josiah Blakely and Elizabeth Goodwin
Richard McAtee and Anna Goodwin

In the year 1806, Jackson Daniel, son of James Daniel, was born; and, a year later, Samuel, son of Robert Goodwin, Sr., was ushered into the world.  These, as far as known, were the first births that occurred in what is now Cerulean Precinct.  Other early births were Green Daniel, born in 1808; Leah Goodwin, in 1809; Lewis Daniel, in 1810; Benjamin Woodson, John and Harry Goode, sons of John Goode, prior to 1812; and Robert Goodwin, Jr., in 1811.

Mills and Other Industries.--The first settlers were obliged to undergo many hardships during the early days of the country; and, for a num-

ber of years, wild game and a coarse bread made from pounded corn was the daily bill of fare.  The nearest mill where meal could be obtained was on Red River, fifty miles away, and it was a very rude and imperfect affair.  Small horse-mills were erected as the population increased and were kept running constantly in order to supply the growing demand for meal.  The first mill of this kind was erected by James Brownfield and stood on the farm now owned by the Richardson heirs.  It was in operation for a number of years and did a thriving business for a mill of its capacity.

The first water-mill in the precinct was built by Jesse Goodwin about one mile above Cerulean Springs, on Muddy Fork.  It was erected about the year 1797 and stood until the year 1800, at which time it was washed away by an overflow of the creek.  The next water-mill was erected a number of years later by a Mr. Butler and stood a short distance above the first named.  It ground both wheat and corn and seems to have been extensively patronized in an early day by the settlers in this and adjacent territory.  It passed through several hands and underwent many improvements and was abandoned about sixteen years ago on account of the dam having been destroyed by a freshet.  In the year 1870, G.G. Goodwin built a combination saw and grist-mill on Muddy Fork, at a point between the two mentioned.  Two years later it was washed out, since which time no mills have been operated in the precinct.

Among the early industries of this part of the county was a distillery operated by Jacob Stinebaugh about the year 1800.  A second distillery was started by John Rogers, who did a good local business as early as 1812. 

The first blacksmith in the precinct was one Uriah Cato, who ran a shop on the Goodwin farm a few years after the arrival of the first settlers.

One of the first orchards in the county was set out by Samuel Goodwin soon after he came to the country.

Schools.--The early schools of Kentucky were supported by subscription and were few and far between.  Many of the first settlers were men of limited culture [who] did not seem to appreciate the advantages of education; and, as a consequence, many years elapsed before schools became general throughout the country.

A man by name of Maxwell is thought to have been the first pedagogue in what is now Cerulean Precinct, as it is known that he taught a little school in the winter of 1803-4.  Another early teacher was William Bradley, who wielded the birch in the old log church the same year of its erection, 1806.  Other schools were taught in private dwellings from time to time, and it was not until a comparatively recent period that houses were erected especially for school purposes.  Among the earliest teachers are remembered J. Pool, R. Jones, and a man by name of Knight; the last-named came from Massachusetts

and seems to have been a man of splendid acquirements and an excellent instructor.

Religious.--The pioneer church of Trigg County was the Baptist, and among the earliest Preachers were Elders Dorris and S. Brown, who preached from house to house as early as the years 1795 and 1800. 

The first society was the Muddy Fork Baptist Church, which dates its organization from the year 1805, at which time it was constituted as an arm of an older organization known as the Eddy Grove Church, in Caldwell County.  Among the earliest members were Samuel Goodwin, Jesse Goodwin, Benjamin Ladd, John Goode and wife, Samuel Goodwin, Jr., Robert Rogers and wife, B. Sizemore and wife, Anderson Sizemore, Benjamin Vincent and William Snelling.  The first house of worship was a small log structure erected in 1806.  It stood until 1836, at which time it was torn away and replaced by a substantial frame house, which is still in use.  The pastors and regular supplies of the church since its organization have been the following:  Elders Fielding Wolfe, Reuben Rowland, Peyton Nance (who was pastor for over twenty years), John Gammon, and Hezekiah Smith, the present incumbent.  It is a point in the Little River Association and numbers about sixty-five or seventy members at the present time.

Cerulean Missionary Baptist Church was organized about the year 1858, with a membership of forty persons, a number which has since increased to 60.  A beautiful temple of worship was erected soon after the organization on land donated by Col. Philip Anderson, one of the most influential and active members of the society.  This house was a frame structure, 40x60 feet, and cost the sum of $3,400.  It was burned in the year 1867, and soon thereafter the present edifice was built at a cost of $1,000.  The following pastors have ministered to the church in the order named: William Gregston, W. Meacham, and James Spurlin, the last named being Preacher in charge at the present time.

Village of Cerulean Springs.--This neat little hamlet is situated in the western part of the precinct on Muddy Fork and occupies one of the most romantic and beautiful spots in Trigg County.  Indeed, it would be difficult to find within the bounds of the entire state a location embracing as many pleasing features and enjoying such a healthful climate.  The chief attraction is a spring of never-failing water of a milky white appearance and strongly impregnated with mineral properties.

The following sketch was written by Maj. McKinney in his reminiscences of the county:

"The waters of these springs have attracted the attention of the humble and the scientific from their earliest discovery.  The first settlers of the county had a high appreciation of them because, when almost

overcome by thirst and heat, they could drink to satiety without oppression.  Well-beaten tracks, coming from all directions, led to these springs long before there were any distinguishable pathways to any other point in the county; and invalids, for their curative properties, sought relief from these waters before the beginning of the present century.

"A careful analysis of the water has been made by a number of distinguished chemists.  It is highly spoken of by all as a most delightful water, not only as a beverage, but also for its fine medicinal properties.  The temperature is fifty-six degrees Fahrenheit, while that of the air is eighty degrees.  It issues at the rate of one gallon or one and a half gallons per minute.  The spring is strongly impregnated with both sulphate and chloride of magnesia, with soda, bicarbonate of lime and free sulphuretted hydrogen.  Up to 1812, the water was much more strongly impregnated with iron than it is to-day, and the magnesia that gives it the white milky appearance was never observed until after the 'shakes' of February, 1812.

"Among the first owners of the old spring tract was Richard Stow, who transferred it to Kinchan Killabrew, and he to Joseph Caldwell. Killabrew erected some rude log-cabins on the premises for the comfort of invalid visitors about 1819, which were added to as necessity required afterward, until the property, finally falling into the hands of Henry Crow, began about the years 1834-1835 to attain some little celebrity under the more euphonious and pretentious appellation of a watering place.  In 1835, Mr. Crow disposed of the property to Col. Philip H. Anderson, who commenced at once a more tasteful and elaborate system of improvement, only, however, to be checked again in a very short time by discovering a vital defect in his title.  This having been at last perfected, the ownership of the property in 1880 passed into the possession of the present owners, Messrs. White and Harper.  These gentlemen are both possessed of ample means.  They are liberal and enterprising and are determined to spare no expense in making it one of the most pleasant and attractive places of summer resort in the West."

A large, commodious hotel capable of receiving several hundred guests has been erected, with a number of outer buildings for servants, washing, cooking, etc., which add very much to the comfort and appearance of the place.

The village numbers about 100 inhabitants, and its future outlook is encouraging from the fact that a railroad will soon be completed through the county, thus affording easy communication with the principal cities of the State. 

The business of the village is represented at the present time by three general stores and one blacksmith shop.  Drs. A.B. Cullom and B.F. Felix practice the healing art in the town and adjacent country.

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