Henderson County, Kentucky Community


Spottsville is located on the Green River about eight miles from its junction with the Ohio. Court records show that a ferry was licensed to operate at the mouth of the Green River in 1799; people and produce must have been in sufficient abundance to produce revenue.

No general development of this site took place until 1822, when Major Samuel Spotts of the U.S. Army bought a plat of the Richard Henderson grant containing 1406 acres, originally assigned to John Williams. During the period from 1822 to 1829, Major Spotts visited the site several times to study his holdings and to decide what developments he wanted to make, but work did no begin until after he bought 142 acres along the river from James Clark from St. Louis.

In 1829 he induced his two nephews, John and George Spotts of Wilmington, Delaware, to come west and build a grist and a saw mill. They were built on a flat under the hills and back toward the bluff. My 1830, he wrote to relatives that the mills were completed and in full operation. He named the town by simply heading his letters, "Spottsville, Henderson County, Ky. - Steam Mills." It did not become official until a post office was opened in 1858.

Since water transportation was the only means of carrying produce, it was important to make Green River navigable. Locks and dam at Spottsville were completed in 1842 and opened the way for a line of passenger and freight boats.

In 1832 the nearest school was at Race Creek, which was three miles away. Major Spotts urged his niece, Lydia Scott to organize a small school. Its fame spread until pupils were sent to board in the Scott home to attend the school. In 1833 the school closed after Miss Lydia married James M. Barbour, but reopened in 1835, after her husband's death.

from The Annals and Scandals of Henderson County, Ky.
By Maralea Arnett

Contributed by Leigh Ann Boucher, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS