In August 2000, my husband David, our son TJ, his girlfriend Heather and I took a genealogy/vacation trip to Kentucky. One of the places that we to see was Old Fort Harrod. We also visited Constitution Square in Boyle County. One of the things that I love about the two places is they are wonderful spots in history right in the middle of a modern day town. It makes me very proud that in this time of hurry up electronics and digital displays, time has been taken to keep the past alive and preserved. It's always been my personal belief that in order to understand the future, one must first understand the past. After all, without a past, what kind of future do we have?
I also want to apologize ahead of time for some of these pictures. We visited Old Fort Harrod on one of the hottest days that summer and as wonderful as digital cameras are, they do become affected by the heat. And because I was 7 months along with our Rebecca, I couldn't climb and scramble around like I'd usually do :) so some of them aren't as visually good as I'd like, but I think you'll enjoy them just the same :)
My thanks goes to all the wonderful people at the Fort for putting up with me :)
The cemetery at Fort Harrod is an amazing thing to see and reminds us all how fragile simple existance is. I've listed all the names here that I could, I do not however, have any other information on anyone buried here. As far as I know, none here are in my family lines, at least not that I know of YET :) but hopefully something here will help someone else.
To honor and commemorate the men who fought in the American Revolution and sleep in Mercer County, Kentucky.
General James Ray
General John P. Van Nuyce
Col. John Bowman
Col. Ben F. Logan
Col. Thomas P. Moore
Lt. Col. James Robinson
Major Thomas Allin
Major William Ver Bryck
Capt. William Alexander
Capt. John Armstrong
Capt. William Armstrong
Capt. Abram Chapline
Capt. Michael Humble
Capt. John Lillard
Capt. Lewis Rose
Capt. John Smock
Capt. James Stagg
Lieut. James McAfee
Henry Comingore, Sr.
Dominie Thomas Kyle
James McCowan, Sr.
James McCowan, Jr.
Cornelius A. Van Arsdale
Cornelius O. Van Arsdale
Peter Van Arsdale
Placed by Jane McAfee Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, October 1938
A sacred spot of ground adjoining the first cemetery of Kentucky, for pioneers whose graves are being destroyed by the effects of time.
Immortals of the wilderness whose moccasin feet have impressed themselves on the destiny of America.
"The love of liberty, with life is given."
Dedicated by The Kentucky Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
June 16, 1930
There are 8 types of grave markings visible in this graveyard.
1. Conventional type with headstone and engraving.
2. Concealed type which is flat on ground and origionally covered with dirt and grass so that Indians would not desecrate them.
3. Skull and crossbone which means stark reality of death.
4. Religious type with cross engraved.
5. Coffin shaped stones.
6. Small stones for infants and children.
7. Stones with epitaph engraved.
8. Small crude rocks.
This historic cemetery was used from 1775, when the fort was built, until about 1833. Most of the graves up to about 1800 are only marked by rough unlettered stones. The different grave markings clearly define the progress of civilization at the date of buril, and the materials to be had at the time.
This graveyard was just south of Fort Harrod. The original fort was located on the hill where our present day parking lot is. Over 480 gravestones still remain in this pioneer graveyard.
The dust of many courageous men, women and children who braved the perils of a pathless wilderness, has made sacred this historic spot. It seems as irony of fate, however, that the brave and intrepid James Harrod, who gave the town it's name, should lie in an unknown and unmarked grave. He failed to return from one of his frequent hunting expeditions, his fate shrouded in mystery.
Noted pioneer woman, Ann McGinty, lies buried here. She brought the first spinning wheel to Kentucky. Ann McGinty departed this life in 1815.
This is said to be the grave of Thomas Jefferson Head, a son of Jesse Head, the pioneer preacher was united the parents of Abraham Lincoln (Thomas Lincoln & Nancy Hanks) in 1806.
Life Inside Fort Harrod....
The Animal Pen
Wool Drying Rack
The settlers saved their wood ashes and places them in a wooden ash hopper for lye making. The hopper had an opening in the bottom that allowed water that was poured over the ashes to leach through into a bucket. Next, grease that had been rendered and saved was placed in a large iron pot over an open fire. The lye solution from the hopper was added to the grease, where it cooked to a consistency of syrup. It would then be poured into the cloth-lined wooden trays to cure for approximately 10 days.
The stockade of Fort Harrod was built around a large spring. The primary source of water for the fort's inhabitants. This spring was located at the bottom of a hill in the Northwest corner of the fort. Barney Stagner, keeper of the spring that served the fort, was beheaded outside of the stockade in June, 1777. The water at the spring was not clean, receiving the filthy run-off from the waste of human and animal inhabitants of the fort. Even so, this precious water saved the fort on many occasions.
The Gunpowder Magazine
A group of men would transport gunpoweder in drum-shaped kegs that fit snugly against horses' flanks. The kegs hoops were made of saplings, rather than metal, to prevent sparks. The powder was stored in an earthen magazine camouflaged as a root cellar. James Harrod led a convoy bringing in gunpowder in 1777. The magazine in Fort Harrod was located near the Southwest corner.
The Blacksmith Shop
Homes in the Fort
The nutritious triad of corn, beans, and squash were called "The Three Sisters" by the Iroquois. According to the legend, the three sisters were a legacy from the sky woman whose fall from the heaven led to the formation of the earth and its creatures. After she descended, it was said she gave birth to a daughter, who in turn gave birth to the good twin and the Evil twin. The twin brothers were responsible for the perpetual struggle between light and darkness.
The Encampment Inside Fort Harrod
One of the first "appliances" for the settlements was a hominy block. This was a large chunk of wood that provided the base for the 3 foot long pestle used to grind up corn. When the corn became to hard to grind by this method, a hand grist mill, or quern, was used. This consisted of two round slabs of limestone about 2 feet in diameter called burr stones. The corn was ground into meal by manually rotating the top stone.
I do not know 100% that the spelling of this name is correct and I have to apologize, the camera was affected by the heat and I can not clearly read the rest of the picture.
To the memory of Mrs. William Coomes
To that hero and patriot
George Rogers Clark
Whose foresight, courage and fortitude gave to his country thevast territory lying between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes. In Old Fort Harrod he conceived the plan and took the initial step.
Placed by the Women's Club of Harrodsburg 1927
Osage Orange Tree
Osage Orange Tree
Circa late 18th century
Tree crown is 98' x 106'
Tree height is 75'
Circumference of tree standing 12' - 4'
Circumference of base 56'
This tree is taller and broader than the National Champion, but remains Unoffical Nation Champion due to the split trunk.
The Museum at Fort Harrod
The Lincoln Marriage Temple
The Lincoln Marriage Temple
Erected for the preservation of the historic cabin in which the parents of President Abraham Lincoln were married.
Presented to the Commonwealth of Kentucky in memory of The Reverend Marion Crosley and M Adelia Swift Crosley, by their daughter Mrs. Edmund Burke Ball Muncie, Indiana
The Honorable William Nickles Doak
(the rest I can not read)
The Lincoln Marriage Cabin
In this historic cabin Thomas and Nancy Hanks were married June 12, 1806 by the Reverend Jesse Head.
The marriage bond signed by Thomas Lincoln and Richard Berry and witnessed by John H. Parrott dated June 10, 1806 and the minister's return of marriage or lodged in the records of the Washington County court at Springfield, Kentucky.
The Reverend Jesse Head who performed the marriage ceremony lived in Harrodsburg and is buried here. He was a regular ordained Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
This cabin was the first home of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. It was known in pioneer days as the Richard Berry cabin and was located at Beechland, Washington County, Kentucky. Richard Berry was the Uncle and Guardian of Nancy Hanks.
The cabin was presented in 1914(?)by it's owner William A. Clements(?) of Springfield, Kentucky ......
(the rest I can not read)
Nancy Hanks 1784 - 1818
Thomas Lincoln 1778 - 1851
As of right now, I do not know what these signs say about Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln. The angle was too narrow to take good pictures and I am not able to magnify the pictures enough to read them. I am trying to find out what they say, when I do I will post it here.
The daughter, who was known to the Iroquois as "Our Mother", was said to have died giving birth to the evil twin. From her buried body sprang four plants: tobacco from her head, corn from her heart, squash from her abdomen, and beans from her fingers. The good twin then taught humans how to tend the plants.