VAN STOCKUM: Part 1: Some Shelby County names you may recall

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There have been many people who have contributed to the development of Shelby County. In the first of a series, we present a list of some – though certainly not all ­– whose stories we have told.

By Ron Van Stockum

It seems timely to return from the wars and focus once again on Shelby County.


I have reviewed my 6 years of columns, almost 100, in The Sentinel-News, and picked out a few local individuals who have stuck out in the history and development of Shelby County.

This is not a listing of the all the prominent individuals in our county’s history, although many are included. It is merely a selection from those about whom I have written and whose contributions have made a difference.

They are presented in alphabetical order, and they would in themselves provide a history lesson of Shelby County.


Allen, Ann Pollock (1743-1805)

Shortly after the death in 1794 of Major John Allen, his widow, Ann Pollock (Polk) Allen and her 10 children departed Virginia and moved to Shelby County. Ann Allen’s eldest son Robert Polk Allen, by purchase of land in Shelby County in 1795, 3 years after Kentucky became a state, established Allen Dale Farm, about 4 miles south of Shelbyville, where Ann Allen is buried.


Allen, Maj. John (1732-1794)

Veteran of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. He Died in Frederick County, Virginia, mentioning in his will “my land in Kean Tuckey.”


Allen, Robert Polk (1767-1834)

Robert Polk Allen, Maj. Allen’s eldest son, led the first group of his family to Shelby County. In August 1795, he and his brother-in-law Montgomery Allen purchased an interest in an ill-defined 350-acre tract about 3 miles south of Shelbyville on present Zaring Mill Road. There was no specific description of this tract in the deed to the Allens and, after years of litigation, they were dispossessed and offered another tract in exchange. On Jan. 17. 1803, Allen purchased a 250-acre tract farther to the south for $2,115, which became the main tract of present Allen Dale Farm. A day later he mortgaged this property, agreeing to pay it off in 5 years by payments in lawful money, superfine merchantable flour and in merchantable inspected tobacco.


Bell, James Franklin, Maj. Gen. (1856-1919)

Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell, who won the Medal of Honor in the Philippine Insurrection in 1899, served as chief of staff, the military head of the U. S. Army, from 1906-10. Born in Shelby County on a farm on Pope’s Corner Road, Bell was a descendant of Maj. John Allen. His reports, including recommendations for conducting counter-guerilla operations, based on his experiences in the Philippines, today are being studied by military historians.


Boone, Samuel

Samuel Boone, Squire Boone’s first cousin and eight years his senior, operated a gunsmith shop in Pennsylvania, where Squire Boone served an apprenticeship. Later, he operated a factory at Frederick, Md., where he made guns and gunlocks for the Continental Army. Along with Daniel Boone, Samuel served as a role model for Squire Boone and was frequently a companion of his on the frontier.


Boone, Squire (1744-1815)

Squire Boone, 10 years younger than his brother Daniel, has been overshadowed by his brother and largely neglected in frontier history. He was a fighter, not a negotiator. In 1780 he established the first actual settlement in present Shelby County, “The Painted Stone Station,” on the north side of Clear Creek. A year later, on Sept. 13, 1781, Boone found it necessary because of harassing attacks by the Indians, to evacuate this station. The first party to leave encountered what has been described as “The Long Run Massacre.” Boone, in a deposition given in his own house in Shelby County on May 18,1804, testified that “he was principled against going into the town of Shelbyville upon any business whatsoever.” This lament of the old Indian fighter was caused by remembrance of the many suits brought against him in land disputes. Late in life, he submitted a petition: “To the Honorable the President of the United States and the Rest of the members [of] Congress Assembled – Living on the Frontier caus'd many misfortuns to befal me, in indeavouring to support the Country, and no [ ], that your petitioner had Rec'd Eight Bullet Holes through him and has been in seventeen engagements with the Indians in support of his Country and lost his property by unforeseen accidents and Indian afore said and the many wound that your Petitioner has Rec'd render him incapable of Labour for a suport. – Squire Boone.” Thus he described his life on the Kentucky frontier.


Brant, Chief Joseph

Brant, a prominent Mohawk Indian Chief, had a remarkable background. After fighting in the French and Indian War (1754-63), he had attended the Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Conn. There he learned English and studied Western history, later serving as a Christian missionary. His sister Molly was the wife of Sir William Johnson, British superintendent for Northern Indian Affairs. Brant had visited England, where he was presented at court, and in 1775 had received a British captain’s commission. A day after the Long Run Massacre, Col. John Floyd’s small relief party was ambushed and defeated. Two captives, claimed by different tribes, were brought before Brant,who, exasperated by their claims, tomahawked both captives on the spot. He lived up to his nickname among the Americans – “Monster” Brant.


Charette, Susanne Henning, Marquise de (1888-1964).

Only child of James Williamson Henning Jr. of Louisville and Sue Henning of  Shelby County. In 1909, in a prominent society wedding at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, she married Marqujs Antoine de Charette of Brittany, France, son of a great hero of France, Gen. Baron Athanase de Charette and Antoinette Polk of Columbia, Tenn., niece of Bishop General Polk. Reaction of the bride’s mother, who did not attend the wedding: “If there is one thing in the world that I have always thought I could be without in the family and economize was a French Marquis.”


Floyd, Colonel John (1750-1783)

John Floyd (1750-83) must certainly take his place among the unsung heroes of the frontier. On Sept. 14, 1781, the day after the Long Run Massacre, Floyd, as county lieutenant, charged with the defense of Jefferson County and command of its militia,he led a reaction force of 27 mounted men. Their mission was to bury the dead, punish the Indians and thwart any attack on Painted Stone Station. He miraculously survived a disastrous defeat by the marauding Indians, who lay in wait, only to die in 1783 of wounds sustained in an ambush. His son, also named John, who was born shortly after his father’s death, served as governor of Virginia from 1830 to 1834, as did his grandson John Buchanan Floyd in 1849-1852.


Part 2: The list continues


Ron Van Stockum’s latest book, Remembrances of World Wars, may be purchased at Terhune Style Shop, 14 Village Plaza Shopping Center or from Amazon.com.