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History Monday - early Cane Valley, KY, part I

Some Early History of Cane Valley, part 1

By Mike Watson

“Cane Valley, Then and Now—I will give a short history of Cane Valley as it was in 1855 and as it is today... In 1855 the writer had a post office established and gave it the name Cane Valley and had himself appointed postmaster. At that time there was not a post office between Columbia and Campbellsville, a distance of 20 miles. Farmers were compelled to ride ten and twelve miles for their mail. Now there are five post offices immediately on the pike between the two towns. In 1855 there was but one storehouse and that owned by my father, J.F. Bridgewater, his dwelling and the cabins for his slaves, 30 in number, were all the houses in Cane Valley at that time. There were ten persons in my father's family and they and his slaves constituted the population.

Now there are three dry goods stores, one grocery, one drug store, one general repair store, one stove and tin shop, one broom factory, two blacksmith shops, one millinery store, one steam saw and roller mill, one planing machine, four churches and one bank, and more business than in Chicago—I mean Chicago, Marion County. We have a high school and a good many modern built houses with a population between two and three hundred...” (Signed) P.H. Bridgewater.” [Patrick Henry Bridgewater] Adair County News, 13 May 1908

An Act of the Kentucky Legislature incorporated the town of Cane Valley in 1880. The center of town was to be the house then used as a storehouse by Judd, Banks and Nally and the range of the town was to extend one-half mile from there. Trustees appointed were: A.H. Judd, A. McKeeny, Reece Morgan, J.J. Beard and W.S. Dudgeon. In June 1883 a move for local option was exercised and in August a vote was taken on the issue of liquor sales in Cane Valley. A second vote was held in November 1886 with the tally 104 against sales and 16 in favor. The town and vicinity boasted a population of nearly 200 in the mid-1890s when stores were operated by A.G. Banks & Son, Banks & Leach, J.D. Eubanks, A.H. Judd, and Rice & Sublett. T.V. Cundiff, Joseph Eubanks and Thomas Miller were local blacksmiths; James T. Miller was a shoemaker; Mrs. A.H. Judd was a milliner; R.T. Dudgeon ran a harness and tin ware operation; T.E. Dudgeon & Company operated a saw and flour mill; Feese & Hancock operated a saw mill; Henson & Leach operated a saw and grist mill; W.H. Jones was carpenter; Dr. N.M. Hancock was physician and druggist.

Cane Valley post office was established 6 August 1855 with Patrick Henry Bridgewater as first postmaster. He was followed by: Alfred H. Judd, 20 March 1873; Ralph Dudgeon, 27 July 1876; Samuel G. Banks, 21 November 1876; Alfred H. Judd, 4 December 1876; Mrs. Willa W. Johnston, 15 May 1889; Henry E. Christie, 26 May 1892; Joseph W. Judd, son of Alfred H., 11 May 1893; David H. Beard, 13 May 1897; Dennis O. Eubank, 11 November 1909; Charles F. Paxton, 11 September 1915; Lester W. Dudgeon, 16 June 1921; Mont Biggs, 2 May 1931; Lucille Sparks, later Rogers, 23 June 1943; Mrs. Willie McGarvey Hutchison, 29 December 1968; and Leonard Hutchison, 1969. An Adair County History, volume 1, by M.C. Watson “Cane Valley is getting along fine at present. We have a little bad luck and a great deal of pluck. We have four churches, all churches full of good, pure religion. We have two schools full of little children. We have two blacksmith shops working all day and part of the night. Six store all doing good business. One roller mill, one saw mill, two manufacturing establishments that made and shipped over $10,000 worth of stoves, brooms, washing machines and bake ovens last year. One millinery establishment, one barber shop. Two poultry companies. We have lots of rich people without any money and some poor people with plenty.” Adair County News, 8 January 1913, Cane Valley letter

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