Henderson County, Kentucky



The few pioneers who had settled here were, a few years afterwards, reinforced by the incoming of the ancestors of many of the best families now living, among whom were the HOPKINS , headed by General Samuel HOPKINS , agent and attorney, in fact for Richard HENDERSON & Co., the BELLS , ANDERSONS , HOLLOWAYS , TALBOTTS , NEWMANS , BARNETTS , ASHBYS , McBRIDES , FUQUAYS , RANKINS , HAMILTONS and others.

About this time all of this section of the country, to the Tennessee line and including a great portion of the territory north of Green River, was infested and completely overrun by a band of notorious murderers and thieves, who proved a terror to the better class of people. Among this class of outlaws were the HARPES , the MASONS , the WILSONS , the MAYS , of whom mention has been made, and many others, who were not the avowed, but were the secret friends and abettors of the outlaws. These fiends incarnate, thirsted for blood; they rode the forests through and through fearing neither the power of God, nor the defense of the settlers. At that time cabins were far apart, and they connected only by paths and trails. For the settler to attempt a defense by the use of fire-arms, was but an invitation to murder, and to undertake a union of forces at any time for the purpose of combining against the outlaws, was as useless as it was next to impossible. Therefore, many men, solely for self-preservation, were forced to become apparent friends of these people. Outlawry was at high tide, and deeds of violence, shocking to civilization, were perpetrated with as little concern as though regulated by law, and carried out by authority of the courts. A half hour's ride in any direction would place the highwayman out of the range of primitive danger, and safely away in a territory where they could not be found with a double microscopic search warrant. For this reason, then, they were to be, and were greatly feared by all honest men. The better class in those days were in the minority and had to content themselves and keep absolutely quiet in the enjoyment of their possessions, and in the occupancy of a purely neutral position.

History of Henderson County by E. L. Starling, Pages 29 - 30


Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2005 HCH&GS