204 N. Washington, Munfordville, KY: The Francis Asberry Smith & Louise Thomas Smith House

Kentucky is full of little towns with only a relative handful of people (who are usually all relatives!), quietly abandoned houses, and a lot of silent, ignored history.

Munfordville, Kentucky, just off I-65, fits the bill.  Most notably in its rich past, Munfordville brought up two boys who would end up generals on opposite sides of the Civil War.

As I was strolling Munfordville in early 2013, I couldn’t help but notice this incredible–and very neglected–old house.

The House


The sagging porch, the faded grandeur of an age long gone–oh, I had to see more!


The walking tour and the sign in front identified the home as the Francis Asberry Smith & Louise Thomas Smith House.  The details of its origins were meager, which only served to make it more mysterious.


The more I saw, the more I was amazed.  The house seemed to never end.  It was certainly one of the largest in-town homes I’ve come across.  And from the broken glass of its front windows to the sidewalk that hugged the south wall to the curiously empty lot next door, it practically oozed a story ripe for the telling–if I could only find it.






The notice–a small sign posted on the front door–told me what the home had been most recently.  But before this old beauty was an apartment, who had she belonged to?  Who lived here?  Who dreamed her up?

My most immediate source was the walking tour pamphlet that was guiding me through town.  It offered this tidbit:

At the end of the block is the Francis Asberry Smith House.  This beautiful old home was built around 1835, the date impressed on several of the bricks used in construction.

F. A. Smith moved to Munfordville in 1830 and started a general store and later a meat processing plant. During the war, Smith, a staunch Union man, refused to sell any products to the Confederacy. It is unknown as to why they did not confiscate his goods, unless his friendship with Buckner had some influence.

The Smith house was at different times occupied by senior officers of both armies. John Hunt Morgan, the notorious Confederate cavalry leader, occupied the residence briefly in September 1861 while awaiting his original troop of cavalry in the Confederate service.

Knowing that this home had once hosted Civil War generals made the fact that it looked about to fall into the dust all the more disheartening.  However, as time passed, thoughts of the FA Smith house faded, and it wasn’t until recently that I thought of it again.

Pulling up my trusty Google maps, I decided to cruise downtown Munfordville and see if this ghostly structure was still standing.  Sure enough…

Smith House Munfordville 1

June of 2013, so sayeth the Google maps copyright date, shows one of the most obvious features of the home in chaos: the front porch, fallen from its perch, now resting on the façade of the home.  Look closely, however, and you’ll notice that this is not the doing of nature, but rather of two men standing to the left of the porch.

Smith House Munfordville 2

Of course, being the fatalist that I am, I immediately worried that this was part of the demolition until I realized…they wouldn’t send two men to remove the porch if they were bent on destroying the house.

Smith House Munfordville 3

Smith House Munfordville 4

Well, would you look at that!  Signs of someone cleaning up the place?  It’d be a first in my F&F chronicles that a beaten up and abandoned old home was actually reclaimed and restored, but that’s exactly what it looked like they were up to in June of 2013.

Smith House Munfordville 5

Old Photos

In the process of researching F. A. Smith for the purpose of a more in-depth history post, I was fortunate enough to come across a historic photo of the house at the following link:


Smith House Munfordville 6 Historic
Yet again, another prime example of the consequences of passing time.  This photo is undated, though the caption at the link above indicates that a photo of the home ran in a Harper’s Ferry newspaper during the time of the Civil War.  (Please note: it is not the opinion of the writer that this was the photo that was used in said article as the apparel of one of the men on the porch and the quality of the photo would suggest a later era).

Of course, finding a photo of that age led me to search for even more photos, and what I found–though much more recent–showed me what used to occupy that mysterious plot next door.

One of the first “modern” photos I found of the house was the above photo, listed on Flickr.  Taken in 2009, this photos reveals that a very run-down church, complete with boards over the windows and scattering shingles, used to sit next to the Smith House.  Even back in 09, you can still see the sag in the porch roof, but the house appears to be in overall better shape than it was when I found it 4 years later.

Smith House Munfordville 9 2010
In December of 2010, the house is starting to show signs of wear and tear.  The church next door is still standing, though it appears that debris from the dilapidated church still blows over onto the Smith house and property.

A photo of the house in January 2011, with the nearby church still standing.

In addition to yielding the photo, the landmark hunter link also indicated that the house was placed on the Historic Register in 1980.

Of note in this winding tale of discovery is that several sources for this historic home indicate that the original owner is not known.  Until I discovered the following document, I believed this to be the case.

The above document is an NPS “Kentucky Historic Resources” form.  It is dated Jan 23, 1980–just about 6 months before the home was placed on the historic register.  This revealing document details several facts:

  1. According to sources in the area, the original owner was a man named George A. Craddock.
  2. Even according to this revealing document, the builder remains unknown.
  3. Craddock sold the home to Mr. Smith in 1837 when Smith moved to Munfordville from Harper’s Ferry.
  4. The porch was added in the 20th century, proving my assumption (that the photo above was taken in a later era) correct.
  5. Judge McCandless bought the home in the 1920’s, which would indicate that there was a significant gap of time (from 1889, when the Smiths moved to Missouri, to 192?, when McCandless moved in) during which a different, unknown family(ies) likely occupied the house.
  6. Judge McCandless was the owner who added the porch according to this 1980 document, which would put the date of the oldest photo known of the home sometime in the 1920’s or 1930’s.
  7. At the bottom of the document, someone appears to have sketched a layout of the interior of the house, era unknown.  It indicates that the back of the house is an addition

Still wondering about Mr. Smith and Judge McCandless?  Don’t worry.  An in-depth history post with all the details of the known owners is soon to follow.

Present Day

I knew it’s happen sooner or later–one of the questionable old derelicts I’d photograph, document and research would be restored.  And that’s what happened with the F. A. Smith house.

Newspaper article detailing renovation plan for the Smith House, 2013.

Article page 2.

Incredibly, I saw the home at what was likely the peak of its neglect, just prior to renovation efforts, which turned this historic old home into a physical therapy and wellness office.  The work carried out by the physician who bought the place was so noticeable that he was recognized with an award.


Smith House Munfordville 10 Current

Check out the links below to see photos of the house during its renovation and more photos of the house today, serving as the FMC Physical Therapy & Wellness Center!



8601 Continues: The Hicks House History

Well, things just got interesting.

As many of you who’ve been following along with the Hicks Family History are well aware, I’ve been looking for some time for proof that Dr. John H. Hicks actually lived at 8601 Dixie Highway, and while it seemed likely, I couldn’t actually find anything by way of hard fact to prove that such a speculation was true.

New Evidence: Part I

Enter the 1956 public record on Ancestry.com, which shows Dr. John H. Hicks with an office at 524 S 28th Street, Louisville, KY, and his residence (denoted as “r”) simply listed as “Valley Station Ky”.

John Hicks 1956 Valley Station

Now this was a landmark finding.  Not only does this record show Dr. Hick’s medical office, confirming that this is in fact our John H. Hicks, but it shows him as living in Valley Station, and while there’s no address listed, it’s no stretch of the imagination to presume that Dr. Hicks, who would’ve been in his 70s, had left his home in Louisville and was living with his son’s family.

What’s even more incredible–especially in spite of my initial research–is the presence of a 1960 directory that also shows Dr. Hicks with an office at 524 S 28th Street and still residing in Valley Station.

While I cannot prove definitively that Dr. Hicks was at 8601 Dixie Highway starting in 1956 as there is no address listed, there are a few compelling reasons to believe this is in fact the case:

1.  That’s what the oral history of the area says.  Many, many people who claim to have known the Hicks family or grew up nearby have commented on this blog and many others to say that this is in fact the Dr. Hicks home.

2.  The chances of Dr. Hicks NOT living with his son and yet coincidentally moving to Valley Station as an aging gentleman are very slim.

3.  The house looks like it has a set-up on the side for a doctor’s office.  While there’s no way I can confirm that, common sense argues that this is likely the case.

New Evidence: Part II

Now for the second piece of new evidence that keeps this seemingly solved story a mystery: on a yet another repeat search of Google for 8601 info, I found the following websites that now show a “year built” for 8601:


You see that?  Year built: 1962.

New Mystery

Now, here’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around.

The house was allegedly built in 1962 per the above sources.

Dr. Hicks reportedly lived at the house.

Dr. Hicks died in 1960 per the Ancestry.com death record.

New Hypotheses

See the issue?  So if the white house we’re seeing on Dixie Highway wasn’t built until 2 years after Dr. Hicks died, how the heck did he have a medical practice there?  The following are my best guesses at explaining this conundrum:

1.  Dr. Hicks was living in Valley Station, but the family lived at a different house, probably on the same land.  Several people have commented that there used to be more houses owned by the Hickses on this land.  Did the family live at one of these homes while Dr. Hicks was alive and build 8601 after his death?

2.  The 1962 build date is incorrect and Dr. Hicks did in fact live at 8601.  This seems to be the most compelling theory so far given the oral history and the house layout, which both suggest that a doctor once lived and practiced at 8601.

3.  The 1960 death date for Dr. Hicks is incorrect.  This could be owing to two things: a) the Ancestry.com date has been transcribed incorrectly.  As I cannot actually see this record myself, I cannot verify that the 1960 date is correct.  b) The John H. Hicks who died in 1960 isn’t our John H. Hicks.  Also unlikely, especially based on the family tree that links Dr. John H. Hicks with this death date.

That’s all for now.  Until the next clue comes my way!

The Rosenberger Family History

Hello again, history fans!  Please prepare yourself for part two of the Aydelott-Rosenberger house history, which focuses on the second family to occupy the home–the family that was the last to live in the house near the ponds.

The Basics

As with my previous post, I’ll start with the family patriarch who was responsible for moving the family into the home.  Meet Martin P. Rosenberger and his wife, Addie Plenge, who married right around 1920.  Martin is from a large family of seven children, and as best I can tell, his family had lived in Jefferson County around Louisville since about 1860, which would’ve been about 20 years after his grandfather immigrated to the US from Germany.

For your reference, I have included a family tree for you which starts with Martin and Addie.

Rosenberger Tree

Census Records


Just to give you a feel for who the Rosenbergers were, let’s start in 1920.  Martin P. (25) and wife Addie (26), married earlier that year, are renting their home on a Cane Run Road farm in Albemarle, Jefferson, KY.  Martin indicates that he’s working on a truck farm on his own account.  There are no children in the home at this time.  In addition to another family that lives in the home, there is a servant named Henry Sharp (46) also living in the home.


It is in this year that I believe we get our first look at the Rosenberger family occupying the Aydelott-Rosenberger house.  Martin (35) and Addie (36) are living in Louisville, KY with their three children: Plenge (9), Martie L (6), and Patty (3).  Martin indicates the home is owned and worth $14,000, which translated into modern dollars, is just shy of $196,000.  Given the size of the house and farm, this seems consistent with the Aydelott-Rosenberger house and land.  If that isn’t enough to convince you, then consider that just one dwelling down in the census is the Moreman family, whose home still sits less than a mile from the Aydelott-Rosenberger house.

It is noteworthy that Martin and his family aren’t the only ones living on the farm in 1930.  Also listed under family #100, farm #33 is one August Rosenberger (25), wife Sallie (20), and daughter Margie (1).  A search of previous census records shows that August and Martin are brothers.  While Martin and his family are listed in dwelling #89, August and his family are listed in dwelling #90, which is consistent with the Aydelott Family History post in which there is a sketch of the farm and homestead that lists several private dwellings aside from the main house.


Ten years later reveals Martin (45) and Addie (46) living at the intersection of Cane Run Road and Bethany Lane, the latter of which is written vaguely in the margin of the census record and positively confirms the location of their residence as the Aydelott-Rosenberger house based on street names.  At home are Plenge (19), Martie Lee (16), and Pattie (13).  Martin and Plenge list their livelihood as farmers.  Their farm number is 69.

Still next door on the same farm are Martin’s brother and sister-in-law, August Rosenberger (35) and Sally (31).  Their children, Margie (11) and August (6 months) are living with them.  August indicates that he is a farmer.

Further proof that the family is in fact occupying the Aydelott-Rosenberger house and land is the fact that the Moreman family shows up in the census records one dwelling away.

1940 and Beyond

By 1940, Plenge is a young man, poised to move out and start a life of his own, and his sisters are quickly preparing to follow in those footsteps.  From 1940, we see the nuclear family split up and go their separate ways, making new families of their own.

Martin P. Rosenberger only lived two more years after the 1940 census.  His death certificate indicates that he died of kidney cancer at age 48.

Despite Martin’s early death, his wife Addie Rosenberger lived to be nearly 100 years old, dying in December of 1982.

A website showing the final resting place of Martin and Addie is linked below.

The Rosenberger’s only son, Plenge, who bore the maiden name of his mother, apparently continued to live at the Aydelott-Rosenberger house for some time.  A Valley Station public record from 1976 lists him at 6618/6814 Bethany Lane, both known addresses of the Aydelott-Rosenberger property.  He was a member of the Free Masons and also ran for public office back in the 70’s as a Republican candidate for the Kentucky state house of representatives.  While I can find very little information about him, Plenge married a woman named Rosetta, or “Bunny”.  Plenge Rosenberger passed away in 1993 at 73 years old.

Martie Lee Rosenberger remained in the Louisville area, marrying one C.T. Korfhage and having four children with him.  They lived in nearby Shepherdsville, KY where she was reportedly involved with her church and kept the books for her family farm with C.T.  Martie Lee died in 2013 at the ripe old age of 90.

Patti Rosenberger, the youngest daughter, attended U of L and UK.  She married Don Huebner in 1945, and the couple moved to Kansas in 1963.  They had four children together.  Patti worked in the Huebner Insurance Agency as an office manager until 1986.  She was reportedly a talented cook, a seamstress, and active in her church.

Families Intertwined

Yet again, while this isn’t necessarily relevant to the Rosenberger family that occupied the home, my research took me back in to Martin P. Rosenberger’s family history, and I found a few interesting things back there.

First is that Martin Rosenberger wasn’t the only Rosenberger to marry an Plenge.  Martin’s older sister, Lillie, reportedly married one William H. Plenge.  His younger sister, Loraine, also married a William H. Plenge (upon further research, I believe these two men are in fact cousins or uncle/nephew).  And finally, another younger sister, Minnie Mae Rosenberger, married a John Henry Plenge.  In total, four out of seven Rosenberger children married Plenges.

Double Identity

One of the more confounding mysteries I’ve ever seen hit me while researching Martin’s family history.  For this rabbit trail, I made you another family tree, this time encompassing Martin’s parentage and grandparents.

Rosenberger Tree - Copy

Jumping back to 1880, we see Martin P.’s father, Martin W., living at home with his father and brothers.

1880: Cane Run, Jefferson, KY:
Rosenberger, Phillip     60  Head of household
Rosenberger, Phillip     30  Son
Rosenberger, Codie      29  Daughter-in-law
Rosenberger, Phillip     2    Grandson
Rosenberger, Henry     22  Son
Rosenberger, Martin    17   Son

Now, Phillip (60) indicates that he was born in “Bravia”, which appears to be a misspelling of Bavaria.  Expecting I’d be able to find him in 1870, I took a look, only to be stunned by the fact that there appears to be no Phillip Rosenberger in the entire country that matches our guy!

Imagine my surprise when I look into the 1860 census to find this:

Louisville 1860, District 1
1860 Louisville Dist 1

 1860 Louisville, District 8
1860 Louisville Dist 8

If you study the records above, you’ll notice what appears to be two almost identical families living right next to each other, the exceptions being the name of the wife in the Phillip Rosenberger homes and the last name of Peter Rosenberger is changed to Rosenbaum in one census.  Otherwise, everything from the names and ages of the children to the ages of the adults are exactly the same to the occupation of the men to the countries of origin are exactly the same.

Now, what does this mean exactly?  Here are the options as I see them:
1.  Peter and Phillip are brothers who moved in 1860 while the census taker was making his rounds.  This would explain the similar names and ages and how the families would’ve been in two places at once.
2.  Peter and Phillip Rosenberger are separate people from the other Phillip Rosenberger and Peter Rosenbaum.  While this explains the slight discrepancy in the name of Phillip’s wife and Peter’s last name, this doesn’t explain how two incredibly similar families are both living in Louisville at the exact same time and then disappear exactly one year later.  One possibility is that these families are in fact related, but they are perhaps cousins who used family names for their children in the exact same order at nearly the exact same time.  In my opinion, this isn’t likely.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for you on this one, dear reader.  Neither of these men appear in the 1850 census, so it’s impossible for me to say which family represents our Rosenbergers, or if in fact both do.


That’s all I have to tell you at this point about the Aydelott-Rosenberger house, its inhabitants, and their histories.  Please be sure to visit my previous posts regarding the Aydelott Family history for their genealogy, photos, and a map of the farmstead as sketched by a Rosenberger descendent.

And don’t forget to visit the post that started this all, complete with photos of the home in 2013.

Until next time!

The Aydelott Family History

Buckle up and get ready for a long post.  Do I have a story to tell you!

If you’ll recall from earlier today, I posted an entry about the Aydelott-Rosenberger house with a promise to update you on the ancestry of the owners. I’ll start where it all began: with the Aydelott family.

**If you haven’t seen the photos yet, please read here first!  https://thewaywardwanderlust.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/bethany-lane-louisville-ky-the-aydelott-rosenberger-house/

The Basics

We’ll begin with the patriarch of the family and the builder of the home, George K. Aydelott.  This gentleman was born in Indiana in 1820.  He met Mary Catherine McCord (born 1825) in 1843, marrying her in Indiana before moving south to Kentucky, where he and Mary started their family.

Now, there are several sources online and on Ancestry that claim that George and Mary had more than the children you’re going to see in the family tree below.  Try as I may, however, I cannot confirm the existence of the children.  True to form, if I can’t prove something, I won’t post it here unless I’m posting it as a theory, so these kids will not appear in the tree below.  They appear to have passed away by 1850 when we first encounter the Aydelotts in the census records, so while they very well may have existed, you will not see them referenced in this post.  If you have questions, please post in the comments and I’ll tell you what I know.

Aydelott Tree

All right.  So let’s get to the census records.

Census Records


In 1850, George K and Mary are shown living in nearby Meade County.  At home are their children, Robert Howard (3) and William (1).  George K lists his occupation as a farmer.  He’s doing pretty well for himself, however, as his real estate value is listed at $9,000–quite the pretty penny in 1850 (according to my inflation calculator, this comes out to roughly $250,000 in modern cash).


By 1860, George K and Mary, still in Meade County, have both grown their family and experienced tragedy.  At home are Robert H. (13), Agnes (8), George W (5), and Harry (3), the last 3 kids being new additions since 1850.  You’ll notice that little William from the 1850 census is no longer listed.  In 1860, he would have been about 11.  While no death records exist for this child, disappearing before you’re old enough to be out of the house in this era is a sure sign of premature death.  Despite the lack of obituary, the census spells out his fate as clear as day.

But tragedy would not let the Aydelotts rest yet.  In 1861, about a year after William reportedly died, four-year-old Harry succumbs to diphtheria according to both the death records on Ancestry and an obituary listed with his grave in New Albany.

Now, the mid-1860’s were an important time for the Aydelotts.  Per the Riverside site, the home was built in 1868, but according to George K’s obituary, he bought the land in 1864.  So, sometime between 1864 and 1868, the house was constructed and finished, and the family moved from Meade county to the rural outskirts of Louisville.


When 1870 rolls around, the census lists the family as living in Lower Ponds, Jefferson, KY.  A fitting name, considering a pond still sits just north of the house.  At home with George K and Mary in 1870 are Addie (17), George W (14), and Robert G (8).  Now, please note that the Robert listed in this census is not the same person as the Robert H. in the 1860/1870 censuses.  While it seems unthinkable to us today, George K and Mary actually named two of their sons Robert, the oldest being Robert Howard, and the younger being Robert Gaw or Gough. Though I cannot find a 23-year-old Robert Howard in 1870, he does resurface in 1880, and it’s clear that he’s already moved out of the home in 1870 as the public records list him as working for the McCord, Boomer & Co. Hatters.

Also in 1870, a black man named Sam Aydelott is listed as living in the property and is employed as a farm hand.  As he is clearly not a blood relative of the family, this is likely a freed slave who remained to work for the family after emancipation.  By 1870, George K’s real estate value is listed at $15,000 and his personal estate is valued at $2,000.


Jumping a decade to the next census, we find George K and Mary Aydelott still living in their farmhouse in 1880, though instead of Lower Ponds, the site is now listed as Louisville proper.  At home are George W (24), A. M. (20), and Robert G. (18).

Now, A. M. represented an interesting challenge to me as I researched this family.  At first, I felt quite certain A. M. was not Agnes or Addie, the daughter listed in the previous census records.  At 20 years old in 1880, she would’ve been born around 1860–right about the same time her brothers would have died.  It wouldn’t have surprised me to discover that she’d gone to live with family or neighbors until her parents could pull themselves together in the wake of such loss.  However, upon closer review of the census record, I believe the age is incorrectly interpreted as “20” where it should be “26”.  Upon looking at samples of the census taker’s handwriting in on the same page, it looks likely the “0” is actually a “6”.  Either that, or A. M., who would’ve been considered an old maid for not being married by age 26, lied and told the census taker she was 20.  Both scenarios are quite possible.  Take a look at the screenshot below and see what you think!

Aydelott 1880 AM

In 1880, the oldest brother, Robert Howard, is now living on his own in Louisville according to the public records, employed as a hat salesman.  While the record lists him only as “RD Aydelott”, this is almost certainly the same man because his age is correct, his parents’ places of birth line up perfectly, and he’s in the right line of business.  Subsequent public records list Robert Howard as living and working in Louisville as a hat salesman with McCord, Boomer & Co., and then later with McCord, Aydelott Wholesale Hatters.

Now, the census in 1880 was taken on June 3.  Only five months later, we find George K, the family patriarch, dead at the age of 60.  His obituary sheds some light on the family at the time of his death.  It specifically mentions his elder two sons, Robert Howard and George Washington, and divulges that they are both involved in the hatter business, though George is now home running the farm.  This tidbit makes it even more likely that the RD Aydelott in the 1880 census, despite the discrepancy in middle initial, is really Robert Howard.  The obituary also says that George K is survived by three sons and one daughter.  It was based on this fact that I suspected A. M. and Agnes “Addie” were the same people, despite the age discrepancy.

Very nearly ten years will pass until the Aydelotts experience their next losses, which unfortunately occur nearly back-to-back.

On February 27, 1889, Robert Howard Aydelott, the oldest son of George K and Mary, dies at age 40.  Never married, he was buried in New Albany, IN.

Only eight months later on October 29, 1889, Mary Aydelott dies at the age of 64.  She indicates that she is survived by one daughter and two sons.

1890 and Beyond

From this point on, the nuclear family has either grown up and moved up or passed away, and the census records show the surviving children scattered.

Agnes “Addie” M. Aydelott is rumored to have married Samuel K. Breeding in 1886, who was widowed in 1885 when his wife likely died in childbirth.  Addie, who would have been about 33, likely married Samuel to help him raise his young children.  She may appear as “Addie M.” in the 1900 and 1910 census records with Samuel, though no marriage certificate or other evidence that I can find irrefutably links these two and proves that Addie M. is in fact Agnes “Addie” M. Aydelott.

George Washington Aydelott marries a woman named Mattie Pusey.  Together, they have one son, Charles W. Aydelott, who never marries and dies in 1939.  George W. Aydelott dies on June 18, 1916 at age 62.  Mattie, who is 7 years younger than her husband, lives until 1938.

Robert Gaw/Gough Aydelott marries Mattie Pusey’s sister, Mary C. Pusey.  The couple has five children and eventually move out to Massachusetts.  Though Robert Gaw dies in 1913, his descendants remain scattered throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, and Kentucky.

The Fate of the House

The Aydelott House remained in the possession of Mary and George K’s children until 1891, when according to this site, it was sold.  From there, it was bought by several families until the Rosenbergers bought the house in the 1930s.  In 1997, the house and the land was sold to the city of Louisville and became a park.  The city has plans to restore the house, but they are in need of funds to carry out the renovations.

Interesting Factoid

While this isn’t necessarily related directly to my research, I thought this little tidbit was interesting.  Did you notice how Robert Howard Aydelott, Geroge K and Mary’s oldest son, worked for a company named McCord, Boomer & Co. and then later McCord, Aydelott Wholesale Hatters?  Did you also notice that Mary’s maiden name was McCord?  While the census records before 1850 don’t list the names of household residents other than the head of the household, it is very possible to find evidence that Mary was likely the sister–or at very least, a cousin–of the man who ran McCord, Boomer & Co. and later McCord, Aydelott without ever seeing them listed under the same household.

McCord, Boomer & Co. was run by a man named Robert G. McCord.  Now, that name itself should look somewhat familiar.  My guess is that Mary and George K named their eldest son, Robert H, as well as their youngest son, Robert Gaw/Gough, after Mary’s brother, Robert G. McCord.  At any rate, Robert G. McCord also came from Virginia over to New Albany, where he stated his hatter business.  He was a very well-respected businessman in Louisville.  This would explain how Robert Howard eventually got his name into the company name (McCord, Boomer & Co. eventually became McCord, Aydelott Wholesale Hatters).

Another incredibly telling fact is evident in Robert McCord’s own family.  In 1860, Robert McCord and his wife had a son, whom they named William Aydelott McCord.  This would have been right around the time that George K and Mary’s son, William Aydelott, died according to several online accounts.  It is very likely that Robert McCord named his child after his recently deceased nephew as a gesture to his sister and brother-in-law.

Old Photos & Maps

Now, this is a cool link.  The photos in the Flickr link below are of the Aydelott-Rosenberger house in 2008.  The gentleman who took them is clearly an architect and sketched up a bunch of designs of the house, which can also be seen at the link below.

However, the photo that really caught my eye was the one you see here.

Aydelott 1980

This photo was taken in 1980 according to the Flickr site. Note the back addition that no longer exists.  This explains the boarded doors and difference in brick color on the back right of the house.

The other thing that made me oo and ahh over this Flickr site was the map below.

Aydelott-Rosenberger Farm

This sketch, reportedly done by a Rosenberger descendent, shows the location of the house and outbuildings, including a tenant house (remember old Sam Aydelott?) which proves that the foundations and rubble I was seeing on the road to the house are in fact remains of old farm structures.  The windpump is even visible on this map!

More Links

Link to the Riverside site, which reveals the plans for the Aydelott-Rosenberger House.

Geocachers used the house as a landmark at one point.  Photo included.

Road development near the house.

6814 Bethany Lane, Valley Station, KY: The Aydelott-Rosenberger House

A funny thing happened after a visit to Riverside, The Farnsely-Moreman Landing house one day.

The historic home built on the Ohio River and now owned by the city of Louisville as one in a string of parks was impressive enough, masterfully restored and cared for by the employees and volunteers at the park.  But once I headed home and started looking into the history of this well-preserved old mansion, I quickly came to realize I had missed another house that, though it was very near by, was in a different state of preservation entirely.

It was a few months later until I once again found myself once again at Riverside, determined to find the Aydelott-Rosenberger house, which lay a little ways off the beaten path.  And after following a familiar trail that led down a shady old country lane to a suspiciously quiet clearing, I managed to find it.

This shady lane (stagnant pond to the left) leads to the old Aydelott-Rosenberger house.  Along the way, there are remnants of several other out-buildings, the foundations and sometimes building materials of which are still visible along the path.
This shady lane (stagnant pond to the left) leads to the old Aydelott-Rosenberger house. Along the way, there are remnants of several other out-buildings, the foundations and sometimes building materials of which are still visible along the path.
The first sign that I was getting close!
The first sign that I was getting close!
The back of the Aydelott-Rosenberger house.
The back of the Aydelott-Rosenberger house.
Interpretive sign sitting against the old whitewashed brick.
Interpretive sign sitting against the old whitewashed brick.
Broken steps--first evidence of the state of disrepair that had befallen this once grand riverside home.
Broken steps–first evidence of the state of disrepair that had befallen this once grand riverside home.
More evidence of this crumbling antique's neglect.
More evidence of this crumbling antique’s neglect.
Back of the house, looking up.
Back of the house, looking up.
Right side of the house with the right side of the front porch visible.
Right side of the house with the right side of the front porch visible.
Front porch/right side.
Front porch/right side.  Per several sources, the trees and brush in front of the house used to be cleared back when the home was routinely in habited, leaving a nice, open view of the river that runs in front of this old home.
View of the front porch and the original front door.  Note the detailed woodwork around the door and the graffiti at close proximity to the original workmanship.
View of the front porch and the original front door. Note the detailed woodwork around the door and the graffiti at close proximity to the original workmanship.
Windows to the right of the front door.
Windows to the right of the front door.
Left front of the house, featuring a nice bay window with impressive brick detailing.
Left front of the house, featuring a nice bay window with impressive brick detailing.
Left front, looking across the front of the house toward the porch.
Left front, looking across the front of the house toward the porch.


Full view of the bay window on the left side of the house.
Full view of the bay window on the left side of the house.


Another view of the back of the house.
Another view of the back of the house.
Massive old tree in the back yard, probably has been there as long as the house.  Ripe for a treehouse or tire swing!
Massive old tree in the back yard, probably has been there as long as the house. Ripe for a treehouse or tire swing!
Old barn silo, likely a remnant from the original owners.
Old barn silo, likely a remnant from the original owners.
Historic chapel visible from the house's backyard.
Historic chapel visible from the house’s backyard.
Back of the house through the brush.  Summertime hides this historic home very nicely.
Back of the house through the brush. Summertime hides this historic home very nicely.
What is very likely an original farm windpump from when the house was built.
What is very likely an original farm windpump from when the house was built.
Walking back to the chapel path from the house.
Walking back to the chapel path from the house.

Check out the history of the house and the family that built it in my next post, linked below.  Don’t miss the old photos!


204 West Third Street, Perryville, KY

A little visit to Perryville, KY during the 2013 reenactment of the Battle of Perryville revealed a mystery sitting abandoned on West Third Street.

Side view, from the east looking west.
Side view, from the east looking west.
View from the front lawn.
View from the front lawn.


Right/west side of the house.
Right/west side of the house.
Directly across the street where an old barn sits.
Directly across the street where an old barn sits.
Curiosity calls.  A look-see in the right front window (west side of the house).
Curiosity calls. A look-see in the right front window (west side of the house).
Right/west side of the house, looking toward the center of the home where an old fireplace sits.
Right/west side of the house, looking toward the center of the home where an old fireplace sits.
View looking east across the front steps.
View looking east across the front steps.
Front door and documentation of the address.
Front door and documentation of the address.
A look inside the left/east side of the house from the window (broken).  Note the original mantles and trim against the fireplace.
A look inside the left/east side of the house from the window (broken). Note the original mantles and trim against the fireplace.
A peek at the side of the house and an open basement door.  Tempting for sure, but not worth the risk in a very public and bustling downtown.
A peek at the side of the house and an open basement door. Tempting for sure, but not worth the risk in a very public and bustling downtown.
The back and left sides of the house (facing south and east, respectively).  Note the fact that the back of the house is covered with thin sheets of wood and the original siding is gone.
The back and left sides of the house (facing south and east, respectively). Note the fact that the back of the house is covered with thin sheets of wood and the original siding is gone.
Upper window, chimney line confirming two separate central fireplaces--likely corresponding to two fireplaces in the upstairs based on the construction.
Upper window, chimney line confirming two separate central fireplaces–likely corresponding to two fireplaces in the upstairs based on the construction.

The history of this interesting home, you may ask?  I’ll admit, what’s available on the web is meager.

The Google Maps image of the house is a June 2013 image and taken close to the same time the photos in this blog were taken, so the condition is similar.  Furthermore, the realty websites I found didn’t give a date of construction or whether the home was originally a single-family or multiple-family dwelling, though one site in particular did provide a 2009 photo of the home, which betrayed just how much the place had fallen apart over the course of about 4 years.

204 W Third

Another interesting tidbit from this same site: in April 2009, the house sold for $58,000.  About a month later in May 2009, the house is once again for sale–this time for a mere $8,900.  What caused the price to drop nearly $50,000 in the course of a month?  It’s anybody’s guess, and an answer to a mystery that will likely remain unknown.

Fast Backward: Sleettown, KY

For today’s adventure, I’ve chosen to post and write about a past trip out to Perryville Battlefield, upon which I discovered the abandoned remains of Sleettown, KY, which were purchased by the state and are now protected property.  Please note that these photos were taken in February 2013 and are not current photos.

Aside from preserving an impressive and expansive battlefield that was the site of the very conflict that kept Kentucky under Union control and sent the Confederates retreating toward Tennessee never to return, this state historic site also preserves a rarity for the Civil War era: a town borne out of the freedom granted to slaves after the Civil War and populated entirely by free blacks.  Step back with me to 1865 America in the post-Civil War south, won’t you?

The only remaining home in Sleettown, KY.
The only remaining home in Sleettown, KY.
A close-up of this crumbling building.
A close-up of this crumbling building.
View from the right side.
View from the right side.
The back of the building, foundation view.  This building has no basement but is built on the rock pilings that are soon going to give out.
The back of the building, foundation view. This building has no basement but is built on the rock pilings that are soon going to give out.
Back of the structure, right side.
Back of the structure, right side.
View from the right side.
View from the right side.
Up the hill behind the house, an abandoned barn silo and the skeleton of an old barn beg a look-see.
Up the hill behind the house, an abandoned barn silo and the skeleton of an old barn beg a look-see.


Behind the silo is a covered area with a lot of debris and garbage that looks to be nearly 100 years old.
Behind the silo is a covered area with a lot of debris and garbage that looks to be nearly 100 years old.
Old refrigerator.
Old refrigerator.
Sear's.  Some things last a loooooong time!
Sear’s. Some things last a loooooong time!
View of the silo.
View of the silo.
The remnants of the barn.
The remnants of the barn.

Ready for the background story yet?

Sleettown was originally settled by the descendants of Warner and Olivia Sleet, who were slaves in Boyle County (KY) during the Civil War.  In 1865, their sons, Henry, Preston, and George Sleet, bought the battlefield property from land owner Henry Bottom, who had endured the destruction of the Battle of Perryville and desperately needed the money (this purchase was not recorded until 1880).  The Sleets began to purchase other parcels of land around their original purchase, and soon, along with the Pattersons, Swanns, and other families, Sleettown was born.

Sleettown reportedly had a general store, a restaurant, a cemetery, a church, a one-room schoolhouse, a taxi service, and several homes at its peak, but this is not what made Sleettown notable. Keep in mind that in post-Civil War America, racial segregation was the law of the land–and one that many people saw as too lenient at that.  Yet according to the signs in the state park, the newly-freed black residents of Sleettown lived, worked, and spent their evenings with their neighbors, the white residents of nearby Perryville.  The spirit of community and equality was so unique, I will quote directly from an interpretive sign that stands near the remains pictured above:

In the early 20th century, when most of Kentucky was racially segregated, the relationship with neighboring whites was open and friendly.  A sincere spirit of fellowship existed, where neighbors worked side by side on the farm and in their homes.  Often, blacks and whites would come together in the evenings to visit or play a game of cards, and their children played together.

It is incredible and inspiring to this writer that in an era that was defined by race and separation, these communities managed to overcome their cultural and racial differences and lived an example of equality. As the Sleettown families raised their children and those children left home to make their ways in the world, the population of Sleettown steadily declined until in 1931, the last resident of this remarkable community abandoned the settlement as the Great Depression settled in.  Many of the descendants of Sleettown’s founders and residents now reside in nearby Perryville.

Links to more information:
http://www.perryvillebattlefield.org/Noe-battlefield.pdf  (search document for “Sleettown”)

Photos of the interpretive signs referenced above:

Information on Sleettown itself.
Information on Sleettown itself.
More information on Henry and Preston Sleet and their service with the Union Army in the Civil War.
More information on Henry and Preston Sleet and their service with the Union Army in the Civil War.
Information about the Sleet family.
Information about the Sleet family.