Henderson County, Kentucky Community


Submitted by Lisa Hallmark Pounders
Published in The Legacy, December 1996

The community known today as Niagara was once called "Cross Plains" and "Tillotson's Precinct." James TILLOTSON for whom the precinct was named, lived in the area in the early 1800s and is buried in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Niagara, Kentucky.

This community today, still has many descendants of the early settlers. They are either living there or the heirs still own a portion of the original parcel of land.

They are the Whites, Robards, Howards, Tripplets, Griffins, Craftons, Dunn-Kings, Knights, Sights, Rowlands, Gish-Yates, Farleys, Walkers, Nunns, Willinghams, Leegs, Basketts and Hicks.

Most all the churches in the 1800s doubled as schools. Among the earliest was "Shiloh", near the Rock House area, and "Pleasant Valley", which still holds services today.

Around 1895 some of the Niagara area residents who were attending the Bellfield Baptist church (which was established in 1882) decided they wanted a church closer to home. So the Niagara Baptist Church was established. It is believed that this church was located about ¼ mile from the Highway 416 West and Highway 136 East intersection on Highway 136 East near the James THOMAS property today.

In 1896 the Niagara Methodist Church was established, and still holds services today.

There were several schools in the area, other than the ones being held in the churches. One was Sycamore Grove, which was about 200 yards from the Nunn Cemetery on Highway 136 East (the Leroy GRIFFIN property today). Another was about ¼ mile from the Niagara intersection and it's the home of James and Janice BARRON today.

There was a school called Rock Springs, where the Upper Delaware Road and Middle Delaware Road meet. Also, a Black church called Mount Zion was nearby.

A high school was built in 1916 and continued until 1954. Then it was used as a grade school, grades 1 through 8, for a few years, until a new grade school was built around 1959.

Niagara was a busy place at one time, mainly because of the cross roads, with one of them leading to the Green River, a place called Ranger's Landing, named after Morris RANGER.

Three families who played a key role in the early development of the community were the HATCHETT, DORRIS and PORTER.

J. W. PORTER came to Niagara around the 1860s and his heirs lived and owned property there until just a few years ago. He made quite an impact on the community by owning and running a very large tobacco warehouse, just off Highway 416 in Niagara, along with a grocery store and a connecting saloon. He also had a tobacco warehouse on the Green River near Ranger's Landing, where he purchased several acres of land.

Other businesses there in the last half of the 1800s were: The BIGGS Brothers Blacksmith Shop; a boot and shoe shop owned by Frank BUSH; L. H. CHANEY'S tobacco business of buying, selling and shipping tobacco (located closer to Anthoston); two doctors, Dr. J. M. WILLINGHAM and Dr. E. D. ARNETT.

Closer to Anthoston were Dr. T. Y. HOWARD and D. G. LETT'S Dry Goods and Hardware Store.

Another tobacco warehouse (according to the 1880 atlas) was on the Green River at Ranger's Landing called FETMAN and Company.

Around 1900, two more doctors were in the area: Dr. Robert H. MOSS and Dr. Hal F. CLAY. Dr. CLAY'S old residence and office is next to the Niagara Methodist Church and has recently been partially restored.

There are other old houses still standing in the community that are 100 years old or older, which have been updated or remodeled.

Contributed by Lisa Hallmark Pounders, HCH&GS
Copyright 1996 HCH&GS