Origin of Local Road Names

County road names can be obvi­ous (Lexington Road, Mt. Sterling Road) or obscure (Nest Egg Road, Rabbittown Road).  Many take the name of promi­nent Clark County families—Van Meter, Bybee, Fox-Quisenberry, Venable—while oth­ers are named for the creeks they follow—Pretty Run, Big Stoner, Dry Fork.  Others have more inter­est­ing origins.

There are at least five roads with “Station” in their name.  This does not refer to fron­tier defen­sive forts like Strode Station, but rather to rail­road sta­tions that no longer exist. 

Both Flanagan Station and Elkin Station were locat­ed on the L&N rail line from Winchester to Richmond and were named for Judge James Flanagan (1810−1906) and descen­dants of Rev. Robert Elkin (1745−1822).  Renick Station, locat­ed on the L&N line between Winchester and Paris, took its name from the not­ed short­horn deal­er, Abram Renick (1803−1884).  Mina Station was on the L&N route lead­ing to Irvine and may have been named for Mrs. Mina Crow, whose hus­band was said to have helped estab­lish the sta­tion. Hedges Station was locat­ed on the Elizabethtown, Lexington, and Big Sandy Railroad (lat­er the C&O) near Schollsville. It was named for Preston Hedges (1808−1899) on whose land the sta­tion was built in 1872.

Sloan Trestle, near Mina Station, at 2,100 feet is one of the longest in the L&N system.
Sloan Trestle, near Mina Station, at 2,100 feet is one of the longest in the L&N system.

We still have sev­er­al roads named for mills, although the mills ceased to oper­ate years ago.  Wades Mill was named for William Wade (1813−1898), who oper­at­ed a grist­mill on Stoner Creek near the com­mu­ni­ty of that name.  Grimes Mill, built in about 1807 for Charles Grimes, was locat­ed just across Boone Creek in Fayette County.  The build­ing still stands and has long served as head­quar­ters for the Iroquois Hunt Club.  Stewarts Mill began life as Barzilla D. Abbott’s Mill, estab­lished in the ear­ly 1800s on Lulbegrud Creek in east­ern Clark County.  After Abbott’s death in 1850, the mill was oper­at­ed by his son-in-law Marcus Swope, who sold it to Edward Stewart in 1866.

Three roads led to long-gone Kentucky River fer­ries.  Combs Ferry was named for Samuel R. Combs, son-in-law of Col. John Holder who estab­lished a fer­ry at the mouth of Lower Howard’s Creek.  Combs acquired the fer­ry rights from Holder’s heirs and then moved it about a mile down­stream.  Jackson Ferry, estab­lished in 1795, took its name from Josiah Jackson, a vet­er­an of the Revolutionary War.  His fer­ry crossed the riv­er near the mouth of Muddy Creek, which is in Madison County.  This has often cre­at­ed con­fu­sion, as our Muddy Creek Road is not named for a Clark County creek; near the riv­er, it changes its name to Jackson Ferry Road.  There is also a Latimore Road that branch­es off Red River Road near the Kentucky River.  The 1877 Beers map of Madison County shows a “Laramore Ferry” in this vicin­i­ty.  I have not learned who estab­lished the ferry.

Old Abbotts Mill
Old Abbotts Mill

There are still many roads left that do not fit into any of these cat­e­gories.  Basin Springs Road, which runs between Combs Ferry Road and Colby Road, was named for the Basin Springs Branch, one of three branch­es that merge near Sulphur Well Road to form Boone Creek.  At the site of the Sulphur Well on the Fayette County side of the creek, John McCall oper­at­ed an ear­ly grist­mill.  The Sulphur Well may have been a well that pro­duced sul­furous water.

Ironworks Road refers to KY 15, the high­way between Winchester and Clay City in Powell County.  Clay City was first known as Red River Iron Works, where Robert Clark Jr. and William Smith estab­lished Kentucky’s sec­ond iron fur­nace in about the year 1805.  There was a sec­ond Ironworks Road in the 19th cen­tu­ry.  It went to the same iron­works but fol­lowed a more souther­ly route via Log Lick Road to the cross­ing of Lulbegrud Creek, and then becomes Snow Creek Road (KY 1028), and on to Clay City.  This brings up a ques­tion about the ori­gin of the name Log Lick.  Located on Lulbegrud Creek, this buf­fa­lo lick was described by Daniel Boone in a well-known Clark County depo­si­tion in the year 1796.  He said that in 1775 William and Major Beasley had cut a num­ber of trees down there “in order to ketch Buffalows.”

I will close with three roads that remain a mys­tery.  Rabbittown Road branch­es off to the south­east from Trapp-Goffs Corner Road.  Rabbit Town, locat­ed at their inter­sec­tion, was a cross­roads com­mu­ni­ty with sev­er­al sawmills and stores.  Lewis Pigg estab­lished a post office here that oper­at­ed briefly as Chilton.  The ori­gin of the name Rabbit Town remains obscure.  Some say it was a place over­run with rab­bits; oth­ers opine that a school­teacher in the vil­lage sub­sist­ed on a diet of rabbits.

Historic photo of the Jackson Ferry
Historic pho­to of the Jackson Ferry

Logans Lick Road runs between Muddy Creek Road and Old Ruckerville Road.  Buffalo and oth­er ani­mals fre­quent­ed licks to access their salty water.  No his­toric licks have been report­ed in this area, nor is there any record of the famous Benjamin Logan in the neigh­bor­hood.  Early Clark County Logans—William, Hugh, and Nathaniel—did not own land in this area, so the ori­gin of the name remains a mystery.

Finally, Nest Egg Road begins north of Kiddville and ends in Montgomery County.  According to Allen Newkirk, who lives on the road, David Barrow (1753−1819) gave the Nest Egg Road its name. Barrow was a promi­nent pio­neer Baptist preach­er from Virginia who urged fel­low Baptists to free their slaves. His famous work, enti­tled “Involuntary, Unmerited, Perpetual, Absolute, Hereditary Slavery, Examined on the Principles of Nature, Reason, Justice, Policy, and Scripture,” chal­lenged slav­ery on every ground that pro­po­nents used to jus­ti­fy its exis­tence.  He died in Montgomery County in the area near Kiddville.  Intriguing as it is, no clues have been found to explain the name.

Thanks to Miles Hoskins, Montgomery County Historical Society, for the infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by Newkirk.

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