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Reminiscences of a Jefferson County Pioneer
Published in the Madison Weekly Courier – March 4, 1874
My father, Archibald Dinwiddie, moved from Henry County, Ky., to this township in 1807. The Indians proved so troublesome, that at the end of a year he resolved to return to Kentucky, which he did, but returned again to his wild-wood home in 1809. Father settled one mile northwest of Hanover, The settlers in the vicinity met one day and built a fort on his place for protection against the Indians.
Below this fort an old weaver by the name of West had put up a small cabin. He provided a way of escape from the Indians, in case they attacked him suddenly at night or surprised him during the day and got between his cabin and the fort. Underneath his puncheon floor he dug a hole and excavated the earth for some distance making a tunnel through which he could crawl to a bushy place in the woods near by. Coming out of this tunnel unobserved by his enemies, an escape to the fort would not be exceedingly difficult.
After the Pigeon Roost slaughter we had no further trouble with hostile Indians. The friendly ones, however, were continually prowling around doing all the mischief in their power. I remember well an incident that happened when I was six years of age. The Indians frequently cut across our land when out hunting. One day a party of eight or ten came along, and all were drunk but one. Old White-Eyes was with them and all were drunk but one. They had not proceeded far before I heard a crash, and looking around I saw that one Indian had fallen off his horse and was sprawling on the ground with his five or six guns he had been carrying laying all about him. The sober one of the party spent some time trying to get him mounted, but before his task was accomplished quite a crowd of spectators had assembled who enjoyed the scene very much.
Shortly after this, old White-Eyes wandered a few miles below, and entering a house found a woman employed in making soap. The woman was considerably frightened, as her husband was absent and no one near at hand. And well she might be, for the savage, by dint of threatening her, compelled her to drink a half-pint of strong lye. When she emptied the cup he took his departure. Her husband returned in a short while heard the story and giving her an emetic which relieved her suffering, collected two or three men and went in search of the Indian intending to kill him, but they were unable to discover his whereabouts. Shortly afterwards, White-Eyes turned up in Scott County, to the terror of all the inhabitants. Old Doctor Hicks, thinking to rid them of him, gave him poison in whisky. Unfortunately in his zeal he put in a little too much, and, instead of having the desired effect, it acted as an emetic and Mr. White-Eyes, not appreciating such hospitality, left for parts unknown.
When we first settled, game was very plenty – turkey, deer, beer, panther, and wolf. On a certain occasion one of our cows came home earlier than usual and on coming near we saw that she had had an encounter with a panther, she being scarred terribly. She managed to escape, more dead than alive.
The first church built in this part of this country was three miles below Hanover, erected in 1812. It was the church of the Seceders, and my parents were members. The next was the Presbyterian church built in Hanover. John Crowe, a resident of Shelby Co., Ky., becoming disgusted with slavery, moved to Hanover and there established the College, which was in flourishing condition at his death, and flourishes still, one of the chief ornaments of our State. Mr. Crowe preached for several years at the same place.
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JEFFERSON COUNTY PIONEERS
This was a series of articles that appeared in the Madison Courier. Some were first hand accounts by the early settlers and others were taken from autobiographies from other sources. They are reproduced in their entirety by the Jefferson County Historical Society and with their permission we offer them on our website.
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