Bobby Moore Contributed Much to Local History

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Bobby Moore contributed much to local history
By Tom Watson
Friday, June 3, 2005

Many people think that to get the history of a particular area or family, you just go to the library and the information is automatically there. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Oh, you could go to the Filson Club in Louisville, the archives in Frankfort or a local library and you might get lucky. Someone in the past could have worked for years and your family tree could be all ready for you. Chances of that being the case are not very good.

I spent time in Loudon County, Va. trying to learn more on my family. I did successfully determine that my fourth great grandfather's name was the same as mine, that his wife's name was Mary, and I found the names of their children, including my third great grandpa, Joe Watson, who came with his family to what is now Spencer County in 1807. That means that in less than two years, my family will have been in - what is now Spencer County -- for 200 years. Time flies when you're having fun.

There are people like the late Mary Frances Brown and others who wrote for my paper and this one, who have made genealogical research easier for many people. Such historians include Joellen Tyler Johnston and the late Bob Jobson. The late Ruth Green of Bloomfield was an incredible genealogist and so is Robert Moore of Lexington, referred to by his good friend Dr. Robert Hendren as "Bobby," so we will too. Bobby Moore has a book you can buy at the drug store in Bloomfield that contains a wealth of information about Nelson and Spencer counties and their families.

This week, an excerpt, from "BLOOMFIELD. CHAPLIN AND FAIRFIELD, A History and Genealogy of Northeastern Nelson County, Kentucky." In this excerpt, Bobby Moore quotes from a writer who refers to himself as "The Old Timer." Nothing from here to the end is authored by Tom Watson, by the way. The comments on H.R. Duncan's article are by Bobby Moore. Any comments by Duncan that may sound racist are not intended to be so and are offered solely for historical context. It is not the intention of The Spencer Magnet, it's owners, the editor, Bobby Moore or Tom Watson to offer any derogatory or racist dialogue. H.R. Duncan's remarks are inside these ( ), while Moore's comments are inside these [ ]. I have no comments on Duncan's article.

"BLOOMFIELD AS REMEMBERED IN 1900: Old Timer Reminisces Kentucky Standard, 10 Sept. 1970 H.R. Duncan, attorney-at law at Oklahoma City, Okla., gives a graphic picture of his native Bloomfield, Ky., about 1900, in the story which follows [Note by Bobby Moore: The 1900 census of Nelson Co. reveals that this is the family of Thomas Duncan and Emma/Emeline Brewer. The H.R. in the author's name probably stands for Henry Russell.]

This story is about Bloomfield, the Garden Spot of the World, and the home of God's chosen people, about 70 years ago. The exact date is not important, but I have arbitrarily chosen the year 1900. [It could have been no later than this, since one of the children died in that year. She is still alive at the time of the 1900 census.]

It is Spring and the Duncan children, who live about two miles from Bloomfield on the Gore place, which is just across the creek on a hill, are now on their way to school in an old surrey, drawn by Dixie, an old sorrel mare with a mule colt chained to the shaft on her right side. The South Fork of Simpson Creek joins the North Fork of the same Creek; on it the town of Bloomfield is situated, somewhere below Shehan's Bridge. [Moore's comment: 'It would appear to me that the author is calling the East Fork of Simpson Creek the North Fork and the West Fork the South Fork. However, they do not come together where the Duncans lived, but considerably further north near the line with Spencer Co."]

The stream called Plum Run empties into the West Fork of Simpson Creek near the point that he is referring to, but perhaps even closer to the Volney Gore farm is what is called Lick Run in the 1882 atlas of Nelson and Spencer cos. The road on which their journey started is called variously today Russell Lane and Alfred Russell Road. At the time these children were riding along it, or at least in 1882, the road went through and continued toward Louisville. This country road today joins what is now was called in Bloomfield the Old Bardstown Road, Ky. Hwy 162. However, its official name is Old Bloomfield Road. Such things, of course, depend on one's point of view - or point of departure.]

The sorrel mare named Dixie, once a beautiful saddle animal, has been converted into a brood mare because the father of the Duncan children believed that all animals on the farm should be productive. Dixie has now given birth to a mule colt and mule colts, unlike horse colts, may not follow the mother if there is some animal going in the opposite direction. The mule colt has been chained to the side of its mother and the old surrey drawn by Dixie is occupied by the two older children, James Coleman and Carroll, and the back seat by the twins Mary and Myrtle, with the youngest son, "H.R." between them. The youngest daughter, Sallie, has not yet arrived at school age.

If you think chaining the mule colt to the right shaft of the surrey required ingenuity, you should have seen how the harness in the buggy house was rigged, resembling the harnessing of horses in the fire department which the Duncan children had observed on a week-end visit to Louisville.

It is soon after sunrise and the old surrey, with evidence of the turkey gobbler or rooster having roosted on its top, hurdles the hog backs constructed diagonally to draw off the water, and moves at a rather rapid gait down Bardstown Turnpike leading into Bloomfield.

At the top of the hill is the Clyde Allen residence. Entering the town, on the left they pass the Masonic Hall and the Jim Allen Grain and Implement Establishment, with stockyard with pens for livestock and scales for both wagons and livestock. The scales for the wagons mark the end of the L&N Railroad, which is called the Buttermilk Special. Further down on the left is the Clyde Allen Funeral Home, the Tom Wickham Grocery, the Commercial Hotel, with Livery Stable in the rear, and Fuhrman's Dry Goods Store; on the right, the Clyde Allen Blacksmith Shop and some residences, before crossing the Bridge over the North bank of Simpson Creek, which separates the town into two parts.

At the juncture of Bardstown, Springfield, Chaplin and Taylorsville Pikes, the surrey turned to the left on the Taylorsville Pike. Several creditable stores line both sides of the street or turnpike, in the middle of which is the livery stable where the old mare and mule colt and surrey are parked for the day. The Duncan children walk the remainder of the way to the two-room school house on the Taylorsville road at the edge of town. A few doors down the street from the Livery Stable, originally McKee Livery Stable, later known as the Hoke & Duncan Livery Stable, is the bank of Muir, Wilson and Muir, with the barbershop beneath it.

On the opposite side of the street is Lynch's Drug Store, Tate-Duncan Grocery Store, Hardesty Clothing Store, Citizens Bank, Shirley's Jewelry Store and the Town Post Office. [Note by Bobby Moore: By the 1930s, the Muir, Wilson & Muir Bank had become the post office, the Citizens Bank had become the Muir, Wilson & Muir Bank, and the post office had, I believe, become a doctor's office.] Between the business part of the town and the two-room school which the Duncan children attend, on the left is the residence of Rev. Hall, the Baptist Minister, a private school operated by Miss Addie Broadhead (who later married Mr. Ben Tyler), a music school where piano music is taught by Miss Lil Purdy. On the opposite side is the home of the Duncan girls, where another music school is conducted by Miss Lucy Duncan, whose successor was Mrs. Louie Hughes.

In school the younger pupils occupy one room over which Miss Elizabeth Duncan (one of the Duncan girls who resides between the Livery Stable and the School House) presides, and the older children occupy the other room. Among the persons presiding over the rooms for the older children were the following: Mr. Ben Gore, Mr. W.T. McClain, Mr. Hiser, Mrs. Carrie Durrett (Mrs. Durrett in addition to teaching, wrote this column for The Standard), Mr. W.T. Litsey. Among the persons who presided over the room for the younger children were the following: Miss Elizabeth Duncan, Miss Annie Gore, Miss Mattie Greer, Mrs. Carrie Durrett and Miss Jennie Fogg. After school the Duncan children assembled at the Livery Stable where Dixie was hitched to the old surrey and the mule colt chained to the right shaft and they start for home.

If there is some particular reason, some of the children of the Hal Muir family may be driven to their home on the outskirts, on the Fairfield-Louisville road. Across the pike from the Hal Muir home is the residence of Aunt Nann Overton., who was a fanatically clean person, and in order to remove the dust of the pike as far as possible from her front door she had constructed a terrace of rock which had been beaten up for the pike. The Duncan children took great delight in driving at a rapid speed over this terrace and scattering the rocks out of which Aunt Nann had constructed the terrace.

If it happened to have rained and the creek, which the Duncan children had to cross before entering the gate to the Gore Place, was flooded, the Duncan children were forced to remain in town overnight with the Clyde Allen family. That was their delight. The South Fork of the Simpson Creek served as a swimming hole in the summers and as a skating rink in the winter. The mother of the Duncan children was an excellent cook. Usually children from some other family would accompany the Duncan children home for spending the night and on weekends children of other families came to swim in the summer time and skate in the winter time.

To be continues next week...

See Bobby Moore's contribution...conclusion for additional information. is the website of

©2001 The Spencer Magnet

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