The First 200
Years of Pendleton County
By: Mildred Bowen Belew
Contributed, with permission, By: Kristin
The First National Bank was established here in 1921.
It has been used as a pool hall, saloon, speak-easy and
a theater operas and high school graduations were held.
Reddy Saloon – 235 Main Street was originally
owned by Thomas Oldham. There was a saloon in front,
cards in the back and women upstairs. Many remember it
as W.J. Rules variety store in the mid 1900’s.
Next door at 237 Main Street was the Bishop Hotel in
165. A framed house, with a shop front. At one time
known as the Glenn Hotel.
The Wilson house – 313 Main Street now owned by Miss
Allie McClannhan was a one story brick building, built
about 1827 by Willis Duncan and later acquired by the
Lee family. Fanny Lee inherited the home from her
parents and later married Dr. J.E Wilson, a physician in
Falmouth in 1888. He also served as mayor of Falmouth
for forty years. Conrad Hardware – 226 East Shelby, in
1860 purchased by J.T Applegate. Applegate’s Hardware
business was established about 1873. From 1918 to 1975
it was owned and operated by R. Risk Arnold and family.
During 1918-1931, part of the building was leased for
the Falmouth Post office.
The Carton Block consist of 200-208 Shelby
Street, was named for William Carton and railroad and
real estate investor. Part of the building was the home
of Dr. Jeremiah Monroe, a Lemmon’s Jewelry Store,
Rosie’s Beauty Shop, and Clark Houchen’s furnishings.
The Bradford House 302 East Shelby Street in
Bullock bought this property and built this Queen Ann
style house of twelve rooms, a basement and a full
attic. The house had remained in the same family until
Mrs. George (Mary) Bradford died and was still furnished
with many of the original furnishings.
Kellem Building – 504 Shelby Street, corner of
Park and Shelby Streets was built in 1873 by George and
James Watson, sons of Abdelah Watson. A grange store
was there in 1876, one of the first farmers organization
in the county. In later years it was best known as the
Pendleton House - Watson Hotel -506 Shelby
Street original owner was Abdelah Watson in 1857. Built
to serve, train passengers. Legend tells us that slaves
were housed in the basement as one of the stops of the
“underground railroad union” and Confederate Soldiers
were housed upstarirs at different times.
Judge Lewis Preston Fryer Home – 807 Shelby
Street is now owned by Mrs. Frank ( Ann) Harris.
O.T. Gillispie House – 810 West Shelby Street
was built in 1897 by James E. Blades. He was the father
of Mrs. Ida Mae Waddell and James Blades.
Chipman House – 901 West Shelby Street was
built by N.B. Chipman in 1891. It remained in the
Chipman family until 1980.
E.F. Bradford House – 205 Maple Street was
built in 1890 by Mr. Bradford, a local business man and
county school superintendent. He was also a Mayor of
Falmouth. This building has been refurbished and is
being used as a law office by Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Dean,
W.M. Applegate House – 410 Maple Street was
built by Mr. Applegate in 1884, and attorney. It is a
Victorian Shingle style dwelling.
Ridgeway House – 503 Maple Street was built by
N.C. and Ada Ridgeway in 1899. Noted for, it’s beaded
clapboard. It is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bill Arnold.
Woodhead House – 407 Chapell Street was built
in 1870 by John and Ella Woodhead. He was associated
with the Pendleton Woolen Mill.
McDonald House – 210 Chappel Street was built
about 1890, by the McDonald family. It is now the
dental office of Dr. Robert Reese.
Oldham Plantation – on Highway 159 in
Shoemakertown, just across the Licking River, was once a
1,000 acre tract, purchased by Tyree Oldham and Samuel
Hayden in 1816, from Henry Clay and James Hughes. In
1817 Oldham, brought his family here and built the
stately house about 1825. Tyree’s son Thomas Jefferson
Oldham later owned the plantation. He operated a ferry
across the river until 1853 when the bridge was built.
There is a family cemetery on the property. Jessie
Oldham the last occupant willed the property to
“Northward Christian Assembly.”
Walter Moore Log House – U.S. 27 and Woodson
Road, was built in 1876 in a hollow in Pendleton County,
off Hickory Grove Road. It had no road leading to it.
The occupants could get out only on horseback or in a
wagon, up the hill and out the ridge to the pike. With
the coming of the automobile it sat deserted till
shortly before World War II, when Walter Moore and
Alexander Caldwell purchased it for fifteen dollars and
moved in to its present site. The original house,
consist of two rooms. The space was too small for what
they wanted so they split it in the center and spliced
the two ends together with birch logs, from the old barn
and chinked it with a mixture of rock and plaster. At
the ends is two rock chimneys built from field stone
collected by Mr. Moore and Mr. Caldwell from road
construction in 1941. After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Moore
purchased the half interest of Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell and
made it their home. It is furnished with antiques and
braided rugs to enhance the beauty of the log walls.
Woodhead Funeral Home – Corner of Shelby and
Mount Joy Streets. The property where the Woodhead and
Son Funeral Home is now located was a pasture land
bought by Reuben McCarty in 1848. It consist of
fourteen rooms, three halls, three porches, and two
bathrooms. In 1890 he sold the property to Matthew
Mullins who lived there a little over fourteen years.
In 1904, his daughter Olive Mullins, sold the property
to N.C. Ridgeway. Who died in 1922. Another of Mr.
Mullins daughters, Frances M. Childers bought the house
at auction in 1923 and sold it the same year and sold it
to John A. Woodhead. In 1937 he bought the corner lot
of Mount Joy Street from Frank and Frances Stith. It
was on this lot that the old horses stables and ice
house were located.
Another historic house of Pendleton County
that has been restored by Mr. and Mrs. Dean Maxden or
Butler, Kentucky, is located about a mile off Highway
10, at Wesley Chapel. This house was known as the Peach
Gove Inn, situated 120 years ago just off the old
Washington Trace Road, which ran between Falmouth,
Grants Lick and on to points north into Campbell
County. This home was owned by Arvil (Lum) Columbus
Dicken and where the terrible tragedy of Corbin and
Mcgraw of the Civil War fame began. Because in this
house is where the two men were arrested under Gen.
Burnside’s orders for recruiting soldiers into the
Confederate Army in 1863, when President Lincoln refused
to step in and stop the shooting of Corbin and McGraw,
after being found guilty by a military jury in
Cincinnati. Members of the Union Army got off a train
in DeMossville, looking for the recruits, searched the
Portland neighborhood, then traveled by river to Butler
and then over to Peach Grove, having gotten wind they
were there recruiting.
Until the railroad was built, supplies were
brought on barges, down the Ohio River to Foster
Landing, then hauled by carts and wagons, over mud roads
to their respective places. It was known as the “Dinkey”.
Falmouth, Butler and DeMossville were the only
three chartered towns in Pendleton County.
The land rose quite rapidly in value after the
completion of the Kentucky Central Railroad in 1852,
from Covington to Lexington. It passed up the Main
Licking River to Falmouth and then up the valley of the
South Licking River some twenty five miles in all
through Pendleton County.
Prior to that, this was considered backwoods
country. The only roads were wagon roads through the
forest. The principle, road in the county lead from
Falmouth, to Foster Landing on the Ohio River. Stage
couches ran between these points and people went there
to take boats to Cincinnati and Louisville and other
In 1817, Joseph
Wingate was ordered to provide and lay on the ground
timber necessary for building the draft which was to
cross Main Street. It was replaced in later years by
the “Little Iron Bridge”, which today has been replaced
by a culvert and just a continuation of Shelby Street.
It was replaced in later years by the “Little Iron
Bridge:, which today has been replaced by a culvert and
just a continuation of Shelby Street.
The first suspension
bridge spanned the Main Licking River was completed in
1854 and collapsed in the river in 1868. Prior to this
people forded the river when it was low and crossed on a
ferry operated by Jefferson Oldham when it was high.
1854 was the year of the great flood which threatened
the new bridge. Row boats passed through the Oldham
house in Shoemakertown. Its owner T. J. Oldham refused
to leave his home and occupied the upper story of the
house until the waters receded.
A covered bridge was
built to replace the suspension bridge and it burned in
1926. It was replaced by steel and concrete bridge
In 1869 the county
court began the task of building bridges across the Main
Licking and South Licking Rivers and continued this work
until four were built, two in Falmouth one at Butler,
the longest covered bridge in the world and one at
The wooden bridge at
Butler was built in 1871, being 580 feed long. It was
doubled truss burr bridge, with a single tract 18 feet
wide. The wooden structures rested on two large stone
pillars in the river and one on each bank. It was built
beside the old lock in the river. This bridge carried
the traffic from Falmouth to Alexander and Cincinnati,
Ohio for many years. It was closed to all except
pedestrian traffic in 1937, after being severely damaged
by high water and wind during the 1937 flood. It
was torn down in September 1937 and a new
concrete and steel bridge built which still stands
There was a covered
bridge across the South Licking River at the end of Pike
Street in Falmouth. It was demolished when the new
concrete bridge on U.S. 27 was constructed down the
river in the early 1940’s.
The Hayes Station
bridge over the Main Licking Rover in the southern part
of Pendleton County was built about 1912 and paid for by
the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company. There
used to be an old road, that lead from Falmouth,
originating near the home of Paul Wilson Sr., now, on
South Main Street and going directly to Riverside
Cemetery and the railroad. The old road followed the
single track rails to Blind Buck and Hayes Station
communities. It was the only route in this part of the
county in those days. The railroad decided that
business was good and they needed a double track. They
needed the old road, so they made a deal with the
Fiscal Court to pay for and build a new bridge over the
river where the Hayes Station bridge is today, in
exchange for the road right-a-way. The bridge wasn’t
built as strong as it should have been and has required
extensive repairs. It was built about 240 feet long and
had a wooden floor. Under the floor were long steel
slabs supporting the structure. The slabs weren’t
bolted together causing the bridge to collapse and fall
into the river, under the weight of a dump truck in
1959. The bridge was rebuilt and still in operation
today. Probably the first official cemetery in Falmouth
was located on Montjoy Street and ran through 250 feet
to Park Street. It contained the remains of many
pioneers who defended this settlement from many Indian
raids. Many Revolutionary soldiers and veterans of the
War of 1812 also sleep there. It was used as a general
burial ground for all, black and white, slave and
Indian. All who fell in battle were laid to rest here.
An article published din the Falmouth Overlook in 1923
reads; “The old graveyard at the foot of Mountjoy Street
in this city is fast losing its identity. What few
monuments tombstones that were placed at the graves have
fallen down disappeared. This graveyard contains the
dust of most if the pioneer citizens of Falmouth of 150
years ago. The bodies of many, pioneer who were killed
in defending the settlement against the Indians are
buried in this graveyard. If we understand it right it
was used as a public graveyard until about 1840.”
In 1924 the city of
Falmouth lodged a deed for a record, in the County
Clerks office for the plot of ground, which they
purchased from the heirs of Alvin Montjoy for the price
of $1.00 and other considerations. In 1930 during the
depression the headstones were used for crushed stones
to build roads. Today there is no trace if the old
There are no two other
cemeteries in Falmouth, the Saint Xavior Catholic
Cemetery on Woodson Road and RiverSide Cemetery located
in the southern end of Maple Street across U.S 27. This
site served in 1780 as a stockade in preparation for the
arrival of Cpl. Byrds military forces.
The Pendleton Academy
was built in 1814, a one story building, size 20x30
feet. The brick being had been fired on the grounds.
It was built on a site purchased FROM Reuben Turner for
$30.00, located at the corner of Broad of Fourth
Streets. It was a private school called “The Siminary.”
In 1848 a new
building, one story high, size 20x56 feet, were erected
where the present Falmouth Middle School now stands. It
was opened for school purposes by Professor R.C.
Robinson of Moscoe, Ohio. The following gentlemen
succeeded him; Professors Afriend, Hopewood, McKenzie,
Marvin, Deplo, Holt, Thompson, Potter, Norris, Arnold,
Pulliam, Grossow and perhaps others. It was later known
as the “Pendleton Academy.”
In 1876 there were
sixty eight schools in the county for whites and three
for blacks (of which some were very inferior houses.)
for the accommodations of the schools were taught
reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic.
The first Butler
School house was built about 1856. It was a one room
structure and was used as a community church, there
being no churches in the town at the time. School term
was short and one teacher taught all grades. The older
generation recalled the two day vacation enjoyed during
the Civil War, when Morgans men camped in the school
hall. Among the first teachers at the school were; T.M.
Barton, J.O. Norris, Eben Adams and George Lilly.
The first settlers had
a great difficulty in giving their children even a
common education. The first school taught in the county
was at Bunker Hill. Scholars attended this school from
several miles around. The following school trustees
were elected at the regular election throughout
Pendleton County in 1908.
J. Moore H.M.
F. Yelton T. Simpson
Joseph F. Dougherty A.C. Knight
Ballinger Milo S. Miles
In 1909 the
board of education established high school in Falmouth,
Butler and Morgan.
school was later moved to Matilda Street, where a two
story frame structure was erected and served for many
years, when in 1927 a new brick building took the place
of it. In 1940 it had become inadequate to hold the
large number of students enrolled and a twelve room
addition was added. Both grade and high school was held
there until all high schools were consolidated at
Northern and Southern Schools, and Falmouth High School
became the Falmouth Middle School.
Butler and Mt. Auburn school buildings have been
converted into apartment buildings. Morgan and Goforth
converted into Community Centers and the Portland School
building burned June 1, 1963.
newspaper in Pendleton County was the “Falmouth
Independent” published by J.K. Wandehlor in 1870. It
was sold to Dr. George Henry who changed the name to
“The Falmouth Guide” and was published for about
nine-teen years. About the same time H.A. Fabra started
“The Falmouth Republic” which lasted for one year. A.O.
Robinson was editor of “The Pendleton Democrat” which
didn’t last long. Frank Billings established the
“Pendleton Reformer” at Butler, a weekly newspaper and
published it for twenty five years. The “Pendletonian”
was published in 1903 by J.R. Williams with a
circulation of 7,800. At
per copy. It was published for about eight years, but
was discontinued soon after one of its employees, Warren
J. Shornet, Sr. established “The Falmouth Outlook” in
June of 1906. The outlook began with a six column issue
and had nine subscribers. The press was operated with a
gasoline engine. It was passed down to his son, Warren
J. Shornet, Jr. who edited it until 1986 when it was
sold to Delpha Herald Inc. of Delpha, Ohio.
One of the earliest accounts of postmaster of
Falmouth is that of Captain W.A. McGinety, who was
appointed under President Arthur and again under
President Harrison. Succeeding postmasters were; James
M. Wilson, Frank W. Smith, James N. Rule, Alvin
Courtney, Henry W. Bishop, Howard L. Cummins, James M.
Mason, Kenneth T. Marquette, Wilbur Ritter, Eldon
Souder, and Kevin Wolfe.
several depots in Pendleton County. The one at Falmouth
being built in 1912. It originally had a baggage room,
express room, three waiting rooms and an office for the
agent. In 1968 the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) was
the last passenger train to come through Falmouth. It
was made a historical landmark by Rebecca Bryan Boone
Chapter of the D.A.R. in 1973. Falmouth’s sixty eight
year old depot burned to the ground April 17,1980.
Artwork: Sweet Solitude
by Edmund Blair Leighton