The First 200 Years of Pendleton County


Written By: Mildred Bowen Belew

Contributed, with permission, By:Kristin Stoner



        There was one building on the South side of Fourth Street with Harman Deglow on the corner of Fourth and Maple.  There was only a few buildings on the side streets and one on Chappel Street.

          In the east part of town were four buildings; Casey’s stone house, Woodworth’s house, Bruce Hudnoll’s house and they Almore house.  There were but three houses west of the railroad, the Hoy house, Riggs house and Lawrence Dickerson’s home at the end of Dickerson Road.  The William Johnsons house was on the site of the Falmouth Fairgrounds.

          There was one church located on Second Street open for anyone who cared to enter, preach and use as a school.

          The first court house was a stone building constructed on the present site in 1812, under the supervision of William Clark, one of the first Attorneys on Falmouth.  John Waller and Alvin Mountjoy acquired the land which had been a land grant issued to Col. Holt Richardson.  John Waller surveyed the town and gave the county the square between Main, Chappel, Cross Main (now Shelby) and Second Street for the Court House.  The present building was built in 1848 and was remodeled in 1884 and again in 1970’s.

          The  first jail was at Second and Maple Streets, built by Reuben Kemp in 1800.  It was used as a jail until 1854 when it was sold to James Clark for a residence, and a new jail was built behind the court house facing Chappel Street.  It was originally a lof structure and has been restored and remodeled in 1984, after being closed for several months by the State of Kentucky.

          One of the first roads was from Falmouth to Harrison County line and was viewed and marked out along Birds old trace to Cowsen/Cowsers Plantation, thence to Desengers Plantation, thence to Sharps Plantation  across the Blanket Creek to Downards Road thence to Vance’s and Harrison County line. John Cook was to act as overseerer.

          In 1796, Samuel Bryant, Isaac Mise, James McMurty and William Dehart were to act as viewers and mark out the nearest and best way from John Sanders ferry across the South Licking River to intersect with Grassy Creek Road, now U.S. 17, near the head waters of Harris Creek.  This road went through the lands of Isaace Mise, John Moor (?) and John Fowler.  The road was established and John Sanders was appointed overseer of the same and all the male laboring titheables along said road were to help the overseer, when required to cut the same and to keep it in good repair.

          The report of men appointed to lay off a road from Roberts Ferry to the last waters of Grassy Creek in 1795 read as follows: “Having received a copy of an order from Campbell County appointing us viewers of the road from Robert’s Ferry to the last waters of Grassy Creek on a direct line to Gaines, We have attended t the business and have reviewed and marked a road to go from said ferry ( as straight as the ground will admit) by John Duckers and Hill Wilson’s, crossing Grassy Creek at the ford below Grant’s first cabins, above the forks and said creek and thence the northeast bank of the left hand forks of said creek as far as Josiah Thrashers and thence with said Grant’s wagon road to thence with said Grant’s wagon road to the last fork of Grassy Creek, leaving said  road and taking a right hand ridge for about one mile above where said road leaves the last waters of Grassy Creek, which we think may be a tolerable good road if well laid out and the banks of the creek well dug down, with one bridge made at Duckers Crossing.

          The first roads in Pendelton County were marked out and surveyed by people appointed by the courts.  Then the people living along those routes would help keep them travelable, by grading and knapping tock to pave them.  The creeks in those days didn’t have bridges, there were all forded.  The rivers had ferries for crossings.  It wasn’t till 1830 that Kentucky had macadamized roads. Then mostly, around the Lexington area. To pay for these roads there were toll-house on each, that charged a fee to use the road.  There was a toll-house the entrance to DeMossville and one at Butler, ran by Benjamin Hensley.  Some of the rates were; one horse or mule with a rider 5 cents, each head of cattle 2 cents, each head of hogs ˝ cents, each horse 30 cents, wagon with four horses 50 cents, and stage coaches with 12 passangers 75 cents.  The same rates were posted at each toll-house and used throughout the state by all toll-house keepers.  Failure to go through the gate and pay the correct toll subjected the user of the road to a fine of $10.00.

          Tool roads often passed through the toll collectors house.  One part of the house was on one side of the road and the other part on the other side of the road.

          The first house in Falmouth was built in 1790’s, a log cabin for Alvin Montjoy and his wife Mary, on Chappel Street.  It had a full basement with a fireplace in it.  The chimneys were built locally hand molded brick.  It had hand hewed joists and pegger rafters.  There are four fireplaces in the cabin, one on the second floor, two on the first floor and one in the basement.  A lean too was added to the back in the late 1880’s.  Alvin Montjoy died in 1827.  He was a Revolutionary War Captain.  He and his wife Mary had four children.  The cabin sold in 1837 to George Lightfoot.  He deeded the property to his daughter, Savannah Holton on 1848.  It changed several hands several times down through the century.  Carrol and Nancy Houchin purchased the house in 1975 and had it restored in 1980.

          Col. N.C. Ridgeway was one of Falmouths foremost tobacco dealers at one time.  He had a warehouse at the south end of Park Street just before it becomes Woodson Road.  It was destroyed by a small tornado.  The tobacco was prepared in a large containers called hogs heads and shipped to Cincinnati, Ohio.

          The LLL Building -101 Shelby Street was named for Lexington, Louisville and Latonia Highways.  It was owned in 1853 by Samuel Hauser.  The two story brick building housed three stores being used over the years for a milinary shop, clothing store, grocery store, meat market, Pendelton County Liberty, beauty shop, and at the present time Doug’s T.V. Shop.

          Across the street on the southwest corner of Main and Shelby Streets is the Phoenix Hotel.  It was opened for business in 1903and was noted for its fine hospitality for over years.  It was owned by George E. Ross.  It housed many political figures who came here, people who cam from out of town to attend funerals and state lodge meetings would have their out of town people housed here.  When important jury trials were in session at the court house the jurors would be quartered there over night. Mr Ross’ daughters Margaret and Emma were still running the hotel in 1955.  In later years it was used as a furniture store and floral shop.

          The present Western Auto Store at 107 Shelby Street, once housed the Wonderland Theater, operated by Elmer Woodhead.  It was used as a grocery and variety store by James Barker, a Western Auto Store operated by Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Caldwell and later by George R. Donahue.  Today it is used as a craft shop.

          The Kennett Tavern- 234 Main Street at the southeast corner of Main and Shelby Streets owned and operated in 1810 by William Kennett, son of James and Sally Mullins Kennett.  This is the oldest commercial building in Falmouth.  Originally two building and later joined and made into one.  During the Civil War, Confederate and Union Soldiers were quartered in the tavern.  In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Balzer Beaugrand owned the building and he lived there and operated a confectionary and ice cream parlor.

          The Eagles Nest Tavern- 126 West Shelby Street dated back to 1875. It has been used as a grocery, hardware store, harness shop, Doctors office, cafe and saloon.  John Carey bought it in 1883 and sold it in 1900 Williamstown – Owenton Telephone and Telegraph Company.  They sold it to Citizens Telephone in 1910 and was used as a phone building until in the late 1930’s. Today it is used as a florist shop in the front Joyce Campbell and the back a lawyers office for Edwin Monroe.

          The Assembly Building – northeast corner of Main and Shelby Streets, now Moreland Drug Store, originally was owned by Gus Schubert, Built in 1892 as a drug store and as assembly hall and family residence on the second floor.



Artwork: Sweet Solitude
by Edmund Blair  Leighton