The Laurel County celebration of the Kentucky Sesquicentennial
Commemoration was held in conjunction with the Laurel County Homecoming in August 1942.
Kentucky became a state in June 1792.
According to The Sentinel-Echo on June 4, 1942, Laurel County marked the occasion in several ways, including placing 20 stone monuments to “designate, mark and map the route of Boone Trace through Laurel County, which with Skaggs Trace to Dick’s River were the only signs of man in Laurel County at the time Kentucky became a state in 1792.”
Following are the monuments and the locations at which they were erected, taken from The Sentinel-Echo on August 27, 1942:
On Boone Trace
Seven were erected along Boone Trace, where it has been crossed by county and state roads, merely to mark that early highway to the west.
The general pattern of these markers is in four lines. In the upper corners are “1775-1795,” indicating the years in which the trail was blazed and the year in which it was to give way to a new toll “waggon road” built by the infant State of Kentucky.
Next line is the mere title “Boone Trace,” and after this the word “Kentucky” and in the lower corners “1792-1942,” the years when Kentucky gained statehood and in which the marker was erected.
These seven markers are at the following locations [NOTE: Location descriptions are from 1942 and may not be recognizable today. Plans are to photograph and map all remaining stones and provide current location information, but we have to wait until the weather is more settled]:
1. Spring Cut Road, near home of Cy Stanberry Fletcher. This was the old “Salt Road” to Goose Creek.
2. Old State Road from London to Barbourville, near the McHargue school and church. [NOTE: This marker no longer exists.]
3. Lily to Camp Ground at Slate Ridge.
4. Highway U.S. 25, near the Ira J. Davidson old home place.
5. McWhorter Road, between London and Macedonia.
6. Booneville Road [now Highway 30] at William Feltner’s old home place.
7. Winding Blade Road near George Parkers.
On Skaggs Trace
Two markers were erected on the Skaggs Trace as it went down the south side of Hazelpatch Creek toward the Crab Orchard from its intersection with Boone Trace at the Woods Block House. They are made the same as the Boone Trace markers except that the wording is “1769-1795, Skaggs Trace . . . Kentucky Sesquicentennial 1792-1942,” and their locations:
8. On Highway U.S. 25 at the old Granville Black’s place (now Napier’s). This has additional information with direction indicators: “Woods Block House 1/2 mile; to Crab Orchards 38 miles.”
9. On the old Crab Orchard or “Wilderness Road” at the top of the hill south of Hazelpatch station.
Historical Places Marked
Monuments were also erected at the following places. In addition to the wording given here is the reference to Kentucky’s Sesquicentennial with the dates “1792-1942.”
10. At Raccoon Spring, which is about one mile north of Robinson Creek, “1775-1795, Boone Trace, Raccoon Spring, 1769-1771. Long Hunter’s Station Camp. Wilderness Road, 1795-1865.”
11. Where Boone Trace enters Levi Jackson State Park, with the additional lettering: “The Middle of the Wilderness.” [NOTE: This stone is still standing, though it is leaning very far to one side.]
12. McNitt’s Defeat: “McNitt Defeat, October 3rd, 1786. Worst Indian Massacre in all Kentucky.” [NOTE: This marker is still standing, but has been broken. In the summer of 2015 both pieces were still at the site.]
13. On court house lawn, near Main and Sublimity [5th] streets, London: “1775-1795, Boone Trace; George Rogers Clark Passed This Way, May 1776, to Virginia for Help for Colonists.” And on the reverse side: “Wilderness Road Crossed Boone Trace Here, 1795; Laurel County Established, 1825; London, 1826.” [See photo at top of page.]
14. At McFarland Defeat, near home of W.R. Maples on McWhorter Road, “1775-1795, Boone Trace; McFarland Defeat, April 1st, 1792.”
15. At Woods Block House, intersection of Skaggs and Boone Traces, about a half mile above Hazelpatch Creek Bridge on U.S. 25: “Woods Block House, The Hazel Patch; 1769 – Skaggs Trace – 1795; 1775 – Boone Trace – 1795; Bishop Asbury Lodged Here April 10th, 1793; Crab Orchard, 38 Miles; Boonesboro, 72 Miles; Cumberland Gap, 62 Miles.”
16. At intersection of Winding Blade Road and U.S. 25: “Mershons Cross Roads; 1 Mile to Boone Trace; 6 1/2 Miles to Battle of Wildcat,” with direction markers.
17. Near intersection of Winding Blade Road and Crab Orchard Road: “Camp Wildcat Battle, Oct. 21st, 1861.” [NOTE: all that reamins of this marker is the base. It is located inside the memorial area atop Wildcat Mountain with other markers honoring those who died at the Battle of Camp Wildcat. Original battle entrenchments are nearby.]
18. At Sublimity Springs: “Sublimity Springs: See Bee Rock Across River; Dr. Christopher” [some text is apparently missing from the article].
19. At London City School on Main Street, London: “Laurel Seminary, Eastern Kentucky’s First Institution of Higher Learning, 1858; Civil War Hospital; Kentucky Capitol, Order [of] Governor Taylor, 1900.” [NOTE: Recent efforts to locate this marker have ended in failure.]
20. On Breast Works Hill [the top of 13th Street in London], where the heirs of the late D.C. Edwards have donated land to the City of London for Edwards Park: “Battle of London, Aug. 17, 1862.” [NOTE: Recent efforts to locate this marker have ended in failure.]