Henderson County, Kentucky Communities


By Judy Brown

Zion was started by my great-great-great grandfather BENNETT who came here from Virginia and bought land. He owned everything on the north side of Zion, plus the fact that he bought one thousand acres of land in the Barrens for one dollar an acre.

BENNETT gave every grandchild on the BENNETT side a lot and a house. To every child on the BASKETT side he gave a lot and five hundred dollars with which to build a house. He had some step-children, so naturally he gave them some land. The rest he sold, all except the little farm that is still there.

In 1906 Zion had a population of three hundred persons.

The roads were of two things, either gravel or dirt. Highway fifty-four was gravel to Zion, then it became a little dirt road. (There used to be a plank road leading to Zion.)

There were three churches in Zion. A Baptist church, the land being given for the church by my great-great-great grandfather BENNETT, a Methodist church and a colored Baptist church.

The Zion Baptist church, which still stands in the original spot, in 1906 was a little frame building. It, along with the other two churches, was furnished fairly well. The benches were similar to the ones that are in our churches today. There was a choir consisting of about twelve persons, which was very good. There was also a men's quartet, which was the best in Henderson County. There was no piano to furnish music, but an old "pump" organ was used. The church was lighted with old oil lamps. Also, there were two old cast iron stoves, one on each side of the church. Around this time the church was not having full time services. They alternated with the Methodist church. Each Sunday morning they would go to their own Sunday School and go to church either at the Methodist or Baptist, it just depended on which one was having services. In 1924, the Baptist Church started having services of its own until 1932. In 1938 the church went into active services.

In 1938 while the church was under the pastor of Truett MILLER, the church burned in December. Almost immediately the present church was built out of brick.

No Methodist live in Zion now so I couldn't find out much about the Methodist Church.

The colored Baptist Church was located about two thousand feet from the road. The furnishings were the same as the other two churches.

The colored school was beside the church. It was a little one-room frame building. There were about twenty-five students attending this school. Some of the furnishings were a teachers desk, an old cast iron stove and desks for the students.

The white school was a two-room structure. The teacher in 1906 was Mrs. Mary BASKETT. The furnishings included: teachers desk, arm chair, a cast iron stove in the very middle of the room, double desk and no lights. The students acquired their books by going to town and buying them at a store.

For a few years there were four grocery stones.

Mr. W. E. CINNAMOND had the general store. This was considered a very big country store. You could go in and buy anything from a nail to a suit of clothes. He retired and sold his store to Johnny HAYNES.

Mr. W. E. FARLEY had a store that was typical of any little grocery store. Mr. FARLEY'S store was located on the corner where Mr. And Mrs. A. R. NICHOLS now reside.

Mr. Louis NEAL also had a store it stood where Mrs. Frank REED lives, which is beside Mr. HAYNES store. In 1911 his store burned.

Mr. D. A. MOSS also had a store it was across the road from Mr. DAVIS. Mr. MOSS retired and sold the store to Mr. TONNI. It burned two years ago.

In the medical field Zion was well up-to-date. It had one drugstore and three doctors.

The drugstore was run by B. L. ROBERTSON. This store was where Mr. Henry NUNLEY now lives. Mr. ROBERTSON closed his drugstore and moved to Henderson where he opened the ROYSTER and ROBERTSON Drugstore.

Emmett JOHNSON, a doctor lived and practiced where Mr. Newman PRUITT now lives. Dr. JOHNSON died in 1911.

C. F. NEGLEY had his home and office where Mr. MASON lives. He died in 1930.

E. L. BUSBY had a practice where Mrs. FARLEY now lives. He went to World War I and then, when he returned opened an office in Henderson.

A characteristic which all three had, was that they made their calls on horseback. The charge for a call was one dollar.

Mr. and Mrs. Dick HENDERSON owned and operated a grist mill located in a small field almost in the middle of Zion. It made whole wheat flour and also feeds made from corn and small grains. It was later abandoned and torn down.

Zion had two blacksmith shops. One was owned by G. E. HENDERSON where the one stands now, and Mr. Joe JAMES had one, which was behind the Methodist Church and later torn down.

Behind Joe JAMES Blacksmith Shop stood a fine livery stable owned and operated by Lee SMITH. He had twenty horses to hire, ten buggies and hacks. A hack was made similar to a buggy. The driver sat on the outside of the cab. There were also windows in a hack. But when cars came in, the livery stable was abandoned.

James H. HAYES and his sons, James H. Jr. and Louis HAYES owned and operated a coalmine. You could get about three different types of coal, lump, nut and pea coal. The lump coal was large, the nut was about the size of an egg and the pea coal was about the size of a nut. Lump coal could be purchased at six cents bushel, nut at two cents a bushel and pea coal at two cents a bushel. Slack coal was given away so as to keep it out of the way. The mine finally worked out.

The sawmill run by the HAYES, could saw logs in any class you wanted. You could have a hundred foot of logs sawed for fifty cents.

Mr. R. L. REID was the undertaker. His business was in his home. He had one room set aside for this. In 1911 it burned, but he stayed on in Zion and rented places here and there. People in those days were embalmed in their homes, so he carried his equipment with him. To carry the people to the cemetery he had two beautiful black horses and one white hearse for children and a black hearse for adults. He later moved to Hopkins County.

The first school teacher remembered by some of the present inhabitants was H. H. SHOUSE, a brilliant man. It has been said that when he began teaching school there, the entire community was covered in thick woods, and while teaching four years he cleared up four acres of the ground where he had cut switches to whip the pupils. He taught in the old church building.

In the year 1879, the present school building was erected. The timber used in this building was donated by George WHITE, who was one of the wealthiest men in that section of the county. The timber was sawed by D. C. MOORE, who operated a sawmill. The lot on which the building stands was given the community by W. W. PAMPHLIN, and the deed was to the effect that it belongs to the community so long as it was used for church or school purposes, but when anything else was to be erected there, it was to go back to the PAMPHLIN heirs. The residents raised the funds for the building of the school after the timber had been donated. The large hall over the school was built by the Knights Templar (Red Ribbons). Announcements were sent to all the people when the building would be completed, and on the day of completion the school grounds were covered with people and a big dinner was spread in celebration.

The road leading from Henderson to Zion was the first road in the county to be rocked. Also in 1860 five miles of this road was covered solidly with plank. The planks were started at the First Methodist Church in Henderson (which was the city limits then) and were laid to the C. A. SAWYER farm. There was a toll house and you had to pay ten cents to get into Henderson. In 1880 this road was rocked from the city limits to the edge of Zion. The first load of rock hauled for this road was C. A. (Cheal) MOSS, who was at that time one of the leading men in the county for better roads. This road is well remembered by most every one that use to travel it in back years, on account of the old covered bridge which was over Canoe Creek. This bridge was a rendezvous for robbers and highwaymen, as quite a number of county people have been held up there and relieved of their possessions. The bridge was torn down with the present iron bridge was constructed.

During the past years Zion has been quite a tobacco marketing center as two factories were located there. The first one was operated by Reuben MOSS. A number of years ago Lee SMITH and John BASKETT built a factory on the lot where L. H. REED'S home now stands. Mr. BASKETT and Mr. SMITH did a very good business, having bought most of the weed drown in that neighborhood. The building burned down and was never rebuilt.

Three coalmines have been operated in Zion. In the year 1873 a mine shaft was sunk on the Owensboro Road about one-half mile above Zion by John BENNETT, Sr. and George DUNN. The employed four men, and the diggers produced the coal with picks. At that time coal was not shot down from the vein. The coal was hoisted to the top by a horse and it would required from 10 to 15 minutes to hoist a car of coal. This mine was abandoned in 1888 at the time preparations were being made to sink the shaft where the old coal mine in the heart of Zion is now.

A company, which consisted of Mrs. Emily MASON, Sam MOSS, James MOSS and Ewing WILLIAMS sank the shaft at the old Zion Mine. This mine was considered at one time as being the best country mine in the neighborhood. This company operated the mine for a number of years after shaft was sunk, then sold it to James and Louis HAYES.

The HAYES brothers also owned a number of threshing machines. They operated the mine and their threshing outfits both and finally sold the mine to Cheal MOSS and H. E. MITCHELL. The mine had become pretty well worked out and for that reason the mine exchanged hands a number of times.

In 1918 the HAYES brothers sank the shaft for their present mine. This shaft is 120 feet deep and leads to one of the best four foot veins of coal in the county. After it had been opened it was sold to Cheal MOSS, George GREEN and other men, and it was sold from them to John and Tom BASKETT.

During the year 1920 this mine did more business than any mine in Henderson County off of the railroads. The monthly payroll of the mine was $13,000 and between sixty and seventy-five men were given employment.

Reprinted with permission.
History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Dannheiser & Hazlewood
Pages 492 - 497


Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2003 HCH&GS