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Scott Co Historical Sites

Project: Scott County Historical Sites

Submitted by: Angie Wallace

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

4086 Frankfort Road Georgetown, KY 40324

The oldest building in Scott County is the 1820 brick church of the second oldest Catholic congregation in Kentucky.  Members of the congregation settled in Scott County as early as 1786.  In 1820, under the leadership of the Dominicans, St. Francis was built with a combination of Gothic and federal religious architecture.

A set of Tudor-arched windows is set above the entrances as a semi-circular apse is located at the rear exterior exit.   Inside the Gothic architecture prevails in support pillars, the steeply gabled roof, and at the altar.  Federal influence is seen in the twin stairways which wind to the loft and in the door jambs leading to the anterooms.  St. Francis is still active today and its members are served by the priest of St. Francis and St. John’s Catholic Church.

Choctaw Indian Academy

 

Choctaw Indian Academy

2089 Frankfort Road Georgetown, KY 40324

In 1825, Choctaw Indian Academy, which began in 1818 on the Blue Springs farm on U.S. Senator Richard M. Johnson, moved into national prominence as the U.S. Department of War began supporting it with a $6000 annual gift.  Tribes of the southeastern United States sent youths to the academy.

In 1841, Johnson deeded the Longview farm to Stamping Ground store owner Fabricus McCalla who secured it in lieu of debts owed to him by Indians attending the Choctaw Academy.  By the time it concluded operations in 1845, the school had moved westward near Johnson’s White Sulphur Springs Hotel.

Richard Johnson (1780-1850) was the first native Kentuckian to serve in its legislature and to represent it in Congress.  In 1837, Johnson became Vice President of the United States under President Martin Van Buren.

Johnson Station

 

Johnson Station

2089 Frankfort Road Georgetown, KY  40324

Johnson Station is the first permanent settlement in what was to become Scott County. The site was near a large buffalo crossing on the North Elkhorn Creek.   It was the home of Col. Robert and Jemima Suggett Johnson.  The site of Johnson Station was the first permanent settlement for persons of European and African descent in Scott County in 1783.

In 1779, at the age of 34, Robert Johnson and his wife, Jemima Suggett, age 26, and their four children came to Kentucky.  Johnson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Kentucky General Assembly, fought with George Rogers Clark, led several campaigns against Indians, and helped write the Kentucky Constitutions of 1792 and 1799.  He helped establish Transylvania University and Rittenhouse Academy and owned thousands of acres of Kentucky land.

Many of the Johnson family members lived at Johnson Station.  The station served as a center residence for most of Robert and Jemima’s children.  The station had a horse mill which served for grinding grain.  Stone fences outlined the initial settlement area while a spring emerging from a small cave flows into the North Elkhorn Creek.

Today, the house on the site of the original Johnson Station may contain part of the old fortification.  The property is owned by the Scott County government and the Scott County Board of Education.

Royal Spring

 

Royal Spring

Corner of West Main Street (US 460) and Water Street Georgetown, KY  40324

Royal Spring (aka Big Spring) is the one of the finest in Kentucky discovered July 9, 1774, by Colonel John Floyd and party.  The spring was Georgetown’s water supply since McClelland’s Station in 1775 until present.  The head of the spring is near the site of McClelland’s Station and a pre-Revolutionary War battle of late 1776.

The branch was the setting of Elijah Craig’s industrial mill where the first paper in the American West was produced in 1793.  Elijah Craig was a leading proponent of religious liberty in Virginia.  He joined the Great Crossings Baptist Church as its first pastor in 1786.

Craig transformed Georgetown’s Big Spring into a paper mill and purportedly its first bourbon still.  The Scott County Museum holds an exhibit of Craig’s dioramas of a paper mill, early still, hemp products, and maps of the milling tract in honor of Craig’s contributions.

Scott County Courthouse

 

Scott County Courthouse

101 East Main Street Georgetown KY 40324

The Scott County Court House was built in 1877 at the height of the Second Empire of the General Grant style in America.  The courthouse was designed by Thomas Boyd of Pittsburgh with much of the heavy Victorian interior ornamental plaster, twin staircases, and floor tiling.  In December 1876, Issac Graveson of Cincinnati was given the job at $34,600.

Within three decades after its construction, the showy courthouse became famous as the setting for the trials of various persons charged with the murder of William Goebel, who was declared Governor shortly after he was shot on the Statehouse grounds in Frankfort.  Circuit Judge James Cantrill moved the trials from Frankfort to Georgetown.

Georgetown became the center of nationwide publicity as the trials took place at the Courthouse.  The first of the four trials of Caleb Powers opened July 9, 1900.  The melodramatic trial of Henry Youtsey, a clerk in Power’s office, accused of being the intermediary between

Powers and Jim Howard (tried the previous month in Frankfort for having fired the fatal shot) began October 8.

Powers was tried four times, the first three convictions, including one death sentence having been overturned by the Court of Appeals.  In 1908, Governor Augustus Wilson pardoned both Powers and Howard.  Youtsey remained in prison until his parole in 1916.  Today, the Scott Courthouse still serves as the place for Scott County government functions.

Sources:

Bevins, A. (1981). A History of Scott County. Georgetown:  Kreative Grafiks Ink.

Scogin, M. (2000). The Best of Scott County. Vancouver: Pediment Publishing.