Henderson County, Kentucky Community


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

The name of the precinct has gone through three changes: in 1868 it was officially "Robard's Station"; in 1880 it became "Robard" and in 1924, the final change made it "Robards." Robards is pronounced Roberts.

The early settlers of the area were: Reuben MOSS, George ROBARDS, George EAKINS, Bennett SANDEFUR, Jordan MOSS, Enoch SPENCER, Thomas REIDOUT, Ben WALL, Nathan SMITH, T. W. ROYSTER, James McMULLIN, Samuel McMULLIN, Sr.

As far back as 1810 and through 1840, and even later, where Robards is now located, there was a straight quarter to half mile race track where men used to congregate to bet, test the speed of their horses, drink liquor and otherwise indulge their depraved and uncultured appetites.

George RUDY's school house was built before 1840 and between the years of 1840 and 1848, the school had four teachers: Washington SALE, Dave COWAN, Frank DAVIS, and Joseph C. NORMAN.

The Methodists built a church near the school and in 1853 it was dedicated as "McMULLIN's Chapel."

Although, the town of Robards did not officially exist, in the 1860s, two of the chief battles of the Civil War in this county took place at Robards.

J. D. ROBARDS for whom Robards was named after, built the first house in 1867. This was a frame store house which was also used as a dry goods, grocery and general merchandise store. In this store he carried on a business totaling from $25,000 to $40,000 per year. In addition to the store, he owned and operated a tobacco stemmery.

In February 1873, the noted outlaws, Jim YOUNGER and John GARRETT, visited Robards and remained in the neighborhood for three months. They traveled from New Orleans in a spring wagon drawn by two horses. Also, they traveled from Robards to Louisville to see the renowned detective, Yankee BLIGH, who was in search of YOUNGER and GARRETT, failing to find BLIGH, they returned to Robards. YOUNGER and GARRETT made frequent visits to Henderson, although officials were searching for them. They were orderly and well behaved when not under the influence of liquor. When they left Kentucky, they quietly drove to the Mount Vernon ferry and crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. All this occurred while approximately 100 men were on the lookout for the infamous Jim YOUNGER and John GARRETT.

In the twenty years, after the Civil War, Robards doubled in population. The average price of land in the 1800s was $20-$25 per acre. While tobacco, corn and wheat were the chief cash crops, a number of farmers were engaged in cattle raising.

In 1880, Robards supported: John W. ARNETT and J. L. BURDON as physicians and surgeons. S. W. SPENCER serving as manager of the Robard's Station Co-operative Grange Store. F. M. EAKINS served as the druggist and also, was Express agent on the Henderson Branch of the L&N Railroad. Jasper ROBARDS and John F. SCHANEBACH accommodated the blacksmithing needs of the community. John W. ROYSTER, Jr. was a buyer and dealer in leaf tobacco. J. D. ROBARDS ran the dry goods store. J. T. Williams was the carpenter. R. S. TRIPLETT was also a merchant in the area. A. B. SUGG supplied the areas stock needs. Mosco COX was the local teacher.

Population of 100 and daily mail delivery.

The community had several farmers:

L. M. CHEANEY, 120 acres
I. D. Denton, 64 acres, also a physician
A. J. Denton, 200 acres
L. M. Denton, 103 acres
J. D. Denton, 150 acres
J. H. Davis, 127 acres
William Eblen, 230 acres
E. G. Eakins, 481 acres
G. M. Edwards, 188 acres
J. H. Funston, 138 acres
R. H. Jones, 108 acres
J. R. Knight, 210 acres
J. W. Ligon, 186 acres
J. E. Long, 102 acres
Mary F. McDonald, 256 acres
S. H. McMullin, 198 acres
J. W. Otey, 600 acres
F. A. Porter, 153 acres
W. J. Reeder, 225 acres
O. B. Smith, 370 acres
Thomas Spencer
There was one ample frame building used for the District Common School and for religious services. The Christian denomination had the only established church, with S. W. Cowan serving as pastor, in the 1880s.

Three coal mines were opened during the 1880s and continued into the 1920s.

In 1887, Starling reported that Robards had nine stores, a steam mill, a school building, a church with a seating capacity of 400, a large livery stable and a good hotel.

Lucy Furman, a fiction writer, told events of Robards Station as they related to the religious sect that flourished during the late 19th century. Her book, "Stories of a Sanctified town", was so true to life that the residents of Robards recognized her characters in spite of changed names and combination of locales. Present day when traveling Highway 41 South, you will see the road sign calling Robards the Sanctified Town.

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