Saturday, January 31, 2015


Article taken from the Hartford Herald, September 22, 1909, page 2. Thanks to Helen McKeown for the tip.



And a Short Account Of Their Lives


First Hand Corn Mill Brought to Hartford

History Of The Yates Family

Fordsville, Ohio county, Ky. was settled by three early Kentucky settlers, viz: Benjamin Kelley, Ancil Hall and Richard Huff. Huff settled on the north-east side of what is now the town of Fordsville. Hall settled on the west side. Huff settled about the year 1793, but it is not known at what time Kelly and Hall settled their farms, other than that they were among the first settlers of this part of the State. Benjamin Kelley, when a small boy, was one of Daniel Boone’s party, taken prisoner by the Indians while making salt at the Blue Licks in Nicholas county, and was taken to Detroit, Mich., where he made his escape, taking with him an Indian tomahawk presented to him by Colonel McKee, the British Indian agent and principal advocate of the war then existing between the United States and the savages. This tomahawk is now owned by a grandson of Benjamin Kelley living near Fordsville.

Ancil Hall was a prominent Baptist preacher of his time and his descendants are now numerous in this part of the State. Richard Huff was an energetic settler, raised a large family of sons and daughters and his posterity is now widely scattered over several States.

Each of the early settlers had a graveyard on his farm and their remains and many of their relatives and friends were buried in them. The Kelly graveyard is now the Fordsville cemetery. The Huff graveyard is now surrounded by the residences, gardens, lots, etc. of the citizens of the town and the Hall graveyard is on Cedar Hill near the western corporation line.

The early name of Fordsville was Kelley’s Precinct, in honor of Benjamin Kelley, and so remained till about the year 1848, when Galin Crowe, of Hartford, established a post-office there and named the hamlet Fordsville, in honor of Elisha M. Ford, at that time the main business man of Hartford and the first man to establish a mercantile business at Kelley’s Precinct.

About the year 1830 a widow lady from Virginia bought that part of Mr. Huff’s farm on the south-east side of a small stream which is a tributary of Adams Fork creek. This lady was Mrs. Nancy Yates, widow of Lieutenant Reuben C. Yates, who died in the United States army near City Point, Va., during the war of 1812. Mrs. Yates family, at that time, consisted of her son, Wm. H Yates, and a number of slaves. She said she was a native Virginian, that her maiden name was Yates and at the age of 12 years she had married her cousin, Reuben C. Yates, and that she was but 13 years older than her son. She further said that her husband was a Lieutenant in the army and died there when  her son was a little child, and produced letters from John Tompkins and other army officers corroborating this statement and exhibited some of her husband’s army effects, one of them being his portrait painted while he was in the army and another being a copy of “Cushing’s Tactics,” at that time being the discipline of the United States army. She also received letters from Ann Washington and other prominent Virginia ladies, showing she was of a high-class Virginia people.

In the fall of 1869 I called to see Mrs. Yates. I told her that my grandfather was a soldier in Washington’s Continental army and an officer in the war of 1812 and that I had called to see her as the widow of one of my grandfather’s comrade officers.

Mrs. Yates was feebly reclining on her bed and at that time she was suffering from cancer of the breast, which soon terminated in death. She was cheerful and very courteous to me and appeared to be greatly interested in my grand-fathers services in the army, as they had been told to me. After I had addressed her for some time she made some remarks about her husband’s in the army and the close attachment his men had for him. She handed a bunch of keys to a servant and ordered her to bring some small portraits from a bureau drawer. On the return of the servant Mrs. Yates exhibited some old-time daguerreotype portraits of the Yates family. One of the portraits was taken from a French painting of her husband.

After the death of Mrs. Yates I copied the Lieutenant Yates portrait for my military drawing book and at this time I think it is the only one that is in existence. The original one and other relics of the Yates family were destroyed when the Yates homestead was burned some years ago.

Many prominent persons called to see Mrs. Yates and among the presents sent to her was the hand corn mill brought to Hartford by Hon. Elisha M. Ford on his return from the Legislature in 1845, and the balance wheel of this mill was at the Yates farm a few years ago. Mrs. Yates died November 9, 1869 and her son, William, preceded her June 30, 1864. Some years before Mrs. Yates died she selected a burial place on the farm near her hone and  her remains and those of her son now lie side by side on the east side of a large oak tree.

Article written by Edwin Forbes

Old mill from Fordsville.  Photo by Dennis Watson.

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