Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Elkhorn Tale

The following article can be found in the 16 May 1907 issue of the Crittenden Record-Press, published at Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky.

Mr. Presley S. Maxwell lives in Marion, Ky. If an historian should attempt to chronicle the events of the early settlers in western Kentucky the family of Maxwell with its connections would certainly occupy a space in his history.

About two years before the death of George Washington and sometime in the year 1797, a young hunter and frontiersman of western Kentucky shouldered a long rifle and strove forth after meat. Armour's sweet sugar cured and well canvased bacon was undreamed of and the only meat eaten in western Kentucky homes at that time was wild meat. The name of this particular young hunter was Robert Smith, the great grandfather of our townsman, Mr. P.S. Maxwell.

On Stephen's hill, which is about two or three miles this side of Princeton, Kentucky, he shot and killed an enormous elk. His horns measured six feet from tip to tip. The elk was killed for his meat, but he was such a fine specimen and his antlers so large that Mr. Smith preserved them. He lived at the forks of the road, just above the large two-story brick house now occupied by Mr. Johnson Crider at the station known as Crider, Ky. These elk horns preserved by him were put on a post at the horse-mill and used as a hitch rack. They were removed from there and placed on the sign post of the tavern kept by Mr. Robert Smith and known as the Smith Tavern.

The name of the tavern was then changed to Elkhorn Tavern, and known by that all over the west. After Mr. Smith, the tavern was kept by Mr. Jimmie Blue, uncle of mayor Blue's father and after him it was kept by Dr. King.

These elkhorns remained on this sign post until 1861, when they were taken down and put in Dr. King's cellar. At the sale of Dr. King's property, they were obtained by Mr. Perry Maxwell, father of Mr. Presley Maxwell, and were then nailed to a sign post in front of Dr. J.A. Maxwell's drug store in Princeton, Ky. Here they stayed until the drug store was destroyed by fire. They were then rescued and remained in the possession of Dr. Maxwell until his death, when they were brought to Marion and adorned the hall of the Maxwell residence on Depot street now owned and occupied by Judge L.H. James.

After the erection of the new Maxwell residence at the corner of Depot and Main streets, they were again moved in this new home where they stayed until Mrs. Carrie Maxwell moved to Ardmore, Indian Territory. Mr. Perry D. Maxwell lives in an elegant residence in Ardmore and the elkhorns are now there.

Published 24 April 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

No comments: