Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Town of Weston, Kentucky

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written consent

Flynn's Ferry Road, which led from the direction of Princeton, Kentucky, had been a favorite route to the ferry crossing at the Ohio River in early Livingston County, Kentucky for many years. However, it wasn't until the early 1850s that the owner, Richard M. Ford, grandson of the notorious James Ford of Fords Ferry Ohio, decided to establish a town at the site of the ferry crossing. Richard M. Ford and his brother, William, had inherited the land from their father, William M. Ford.

On the 14th of August 1854, Richard M. Ford, proprietor of the land, "including the place known as Flynns Ferry," petitioned the Crittenden County Court of his intention to establish a town. According to law, Ford posted his intentions in three public places, including the Courthouse door in Marion and in the Paducah newspaper. The location of the town began at the "lower edge of Cedar Bluff at high water mark ..." and contained about 15 acres. He proposed calling this new town Weston. Ford, who had married Nannie, daughter of Claborn and Frances V. West, named the town after his wife's family. The following persons were appointed trustees of the town: W.P. Miles, N.S. Long, Richard M. Ford and Jackson B. Hill.

In early October of 1854, a license was issued to Richard M. Ford to keep a tavern at his wharf boat on the Ohio River at Flynn's Ferry. Apparently, the new name of Weston had not taken hold yet.

Two months later, Ford petitioned the court for a license to establish a public ferry. In order to have the ferry rights at Weston, Ford was required to "keep at all times one good substantial ferry boat and not less than one good hand to manage same ..."

The sale of lots in Weston progressed slowly at first with Hugh McKee, Stephen H. Walker and John Darby being among the earliest lot owners.

Being located on the bank of the Ohio River, Weston offered a ring side view of skirmishing throughout the Civil War, but especially during the summer of 1864. In June of that year, guerrillas fired on the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on board the steamer Nightengale as it passed Fords Ferry. The news was passed along to the steamer Mercury, who was headed towards that town. As the Mercury reached Weston, the ladies of the village, in a supposed friendly manner, waved to passengers on the steamer. On the bluff on the northern extremity of the town, as the steamer approached, bullets tore through the air toward the boat. Fire was returned and the rebels were seen retreating. Some took shelter behind a house. A volley was fired at the house and was literally riddled by bullets. The rebels retreated in every direction, carrying their wounded with them.

After the war, Weston began to grow and sported hotels, dry good stores, taverns and churches. Many who died were buried in the cemetery on top of the bluff. While Weston's location on the river was advantageous in shipping and receiving goods, it also flooded every time the river rose. The great Flood of 1937 devastated every town along the Ohio River, including Weston. Weston never recovered and today the town consists of only a few house and exists mainly in yellowed newspaper articles and in the memories of former residents.

References:
Crittenden County, Kentucky Court Order Book 2, pp 102, 115, 121.
Evansville Daily Journal 23 June 1864

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