The little community of Charleston was named many years ago for a freed slave known as "Free Charles."

The story goes that, technically, the name of the town started out as Charles Town, as was so called because of the tavern owned by the freed slave.

The little tavern on the hill was said to have offered tired travelers a hot, home cooked meal and a clean, comfortable bed to rest in for the night.

The tavern was owned by Charles and his wife, Maria, who were said to be two of the best cooks around. The two had three children who worked as servants for the Bishop family in the area. One of the children, Aaron, was always present on meeting and election days in the town, carrying a handmade basket full of slabs of gingerbread that were favorite local treats known as Aaron's Foot.

The hospitality of Charles and Maria was known far and wide and travelers would ride out of their way to spend the night at Charles' Tavern.

The town today is still warm and hospitable. Over the years the name eventually turned into Charleston and the settlement has become a little residential community.

This feature story originally appeared in the The Messenger in the small towns section of their "Changing Face of Hopkins County" on September 6, 1996 and was written by Slone Hutchison, a summer intern from Murray State University working with The Messenger to gain practical news papering skills during her summer vacation.

My thanks to The Messenger for granting permission to publish on the Hopkins County, Kentucky KyGenWeb page.

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Nancy Trice
Hopkins County, Ky

© 1997