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Over a century ago, the little town of Athertonville came into being. J. M. Atherton, a wealthy Louisville businessman, built a distillery. The distillery plant gave employment to most of the men in town. A railroad extension was built from New Haven to the town also. There was a school on top of a nearby hill at one end of the town, which was used for Sunday School, prayer meetings and sometimes preaching.

The cooper shop burned down once and the people were filled with such fear, they gathered a few things they could carry, some with their Bibles under their arms, and went into the street to await the unhappy possibility of the fire spreading and the whole town being burned.


Buffalo, the second largest town in the county, started with the first house built by James Creal in 1848. In 1854, a gristmill was built on the creek, and the next year the Rev. John Duncan and W. L. Creal built a general merchandise store. It was customary in early days for farmers to come to a store when not too busy with their work and sit around on nail kegs and boxes and enjoy a talkfest together. This time together allowed them to express their opinions and crack jokes with each other.

Some of them would enjoy the contents of a large cracker barrel, shelling and eating peanuts, and some with a large “cud” of tobacco chewing away within easy reach of a spittoon. Affairs of a community were molded, and often decisions of how to vote in elections settled in their minds.

One day in the Duncan-Creal store, the conversation had perhaps somewhat lagged when a large bone that had been brought into the store was noticed and commented upon as to what animal it had been a part of. It as generally agreed that is was the rib of a buffalo since there had always been buffalo wallows along the creek. Not yet having a name for their community, someone suggested it be called Buffalo Wallow. All agreed and Buffalo Wallow was created. After several years, the ‘Wallow’ part of it was dropped and it has been called Buffalo since.

In the early 1870’s Buffalo had a population of 50. The community was home to East Lynn College, founded in 1874 and chartered in 1879 “with full power to confer any literary degree.” Tuition per ten-week term for the Preparatory Course was three to five dollars and board cost two and a half dollars per week. Conferring degrees like Bachelor of Pedagogy along with the more traditional Bachelor of Science, the school was known for its excellent brass band which was said to be unique to this region of the state.

Buffalo grew quickly to a population of several hundred, and a number of businesses helped make of the town a thriving commercial center. There were also two churches and four preachers in the bustling community. Two hotels, the Beauchamp and the McClain, accommodated travelers with the McClain Hotel surviving to this day as a private residence.

Buffalo was best known, perhaps, for the hardware and general store opened downtown by Edward S. Ferrill. E.S. Ferrill & Sons first began business as a drug store but the later general store and hardware became a mail order business known over a wide area of the state. Ferrill played an important role in the founding of the Bank of Buffalo which has been in business for more than 100 years.


Leafdale – a poetic name derived from the grove of oaks surrounding the Methodist Church, the store and post office – was first named Gibson. Because of some confusion of mail with other communities of the name, it was thought best to change its name. The name was changed in the early 1900’s by the late Mr. Wallace Kane and Mrs. Kane, now past ninety, but still able to go back to the church and the store occasionally.

Lyons Station

Lyons was named for a lumberman who did an extensive sawmill business for a number of years. Levelwoods was named because someone said there was at least room to turn around on a level spot. The name Tanner came from Mr. Wyatt who had a store, and the people around wanted a post office. There had once been a family by the name ‘Tanner’. Jerico was named from the Bible for the church. Ginseng was named from the root that has some medicinal qualities. Otter, from the little animal that named the creek.


The town of Magnolia on the Jackson Highway was on the same road map of the L & N Pike in the days of the stagecoach, and hence, has an older history than the other towns of its size less favorably located. In 1840 before the war of the 60’s, the town was known as Center Point, and was located one mile south of the present site, near the Ed Lee Ford place, just north of the Dave Lewis home. All of what is now Magnolia was in timber. Some different reasons may have been responsible for the name “Center Point” as it was the midway point between sections of the stagecoach line. Another reason for naming it Center Point is that the section around the town is the driving point between the two rivers, Nolin and Green, and it is the highest point on the L & N Pike between these two rivers. Some of the water fall of the community goes into Green River by the way of Lynn Camp Creek and some into the Nolin River by the way of Bacon Creek and South Fork Creek.

The name was changed from Center Point to Magnolia in about 1850 and the community gathered and centered around the present site of town. Several reasons are given for the naming of the town “Magnolia.” One reason was that it was named for the wife of a citizen in the place at that time, and another for the name of the evergreen, magnolia. Quite a number of magnolia trees were native in the forest that covered the present site of the town.

The first house in what is now Magnolia was built by A.F. Smith, where Mrs. Carrie Warren Puckett’s residence now stands. This was a log house and was torn down in 1880 by J.C. Abney. A frame house was built in its place, which burned in 1894. Soon after the first house was built, Dr. M.B. Peterson, B.G. Beavers, R.L. Miller, J.B. Abney, J.M. Mouser, James Maupin, Bush Vaughn, and Teddy Waggoner built houses also.

The merchants of the early days were Aaron Smith, B.G. Beavers, J.C. Abney, Rod Warfield, William Vaughn, George Wimmell, James Lee, and A.B. Donahue. Later came Greaver, Hargan, Ed Maupin, William Middleton, L.S. Lamkin, J.W. Bomar, C.R. Seymour, and T.I. Smith.

The post office was established in 1857 and the first postmaster was Willaim Wilson. Then came Aaron Smith, Will Skaggs, B.G. Beavers, John Mathis, Henry Gardner, William Bush, J.M. Greaver, James Noe, E.T. Warren, Dora Mae Seymour, and others. Frances Salt is the present postmaster.

McCalthus, the old stagecoach station, was located 1 1/2 miles south of Magnolia on the old Tate place, now the home of W.H. Jaggers. This old historic stage station was torn down and a dwelling house was erected on the site in 1927.

From an early date, Magnolia has had excellent mail service, considering its distance from the railroad. The old mail hack daily from Magnolia via Buffalo to Hodgenville was well known for many miles around before it gave way to the automobile.

The well-known carriers, Ben Shipp, Henry Sims Wooldridge, Mike Jones, and E.B. Jaggers increased their small salaries by delivering mail along the way and transporting passengers. The previously named early carriers were followed by Dave Druen, Lee Dixon, Jesse Edwards, Wilburn Dye, Harvey Loyall, Will Bloyd, Irvin Sprowels, Alex Walker, Joe L. Pepper, and others. Gene Sidebottom is the present carrier.

The first church in magnolia was the Cumberland Presbyterian Providence, which still holds a strong membership. The early ministers were James Vinson, Wortham, Bosark, Bradshaw, Henderson, Cundiff, Cave, Hagen, Puckett, Shanks, and others.

The first doctor in Magnolia was Dr. M.B. Peterson, who began his practice in 1870 and continued until 1892. He was followed by Dr. C.L. Williams, Dr. Homer Abney and in 1897, Dr. Leigh Maupin. He continued his practice here for a number of years before moving to Hodgenville. Dr. J.W. Wells (formerly of nelson County) followed Dr. Maupin.

The Regulators of the Ku Klux Klan was founded here in 1884 and worked terror in the hearts of the evil-doers of the community, as well as others. This organizations soon went upon the rocks, and well that it did, for a democratic country has no place for self-appointed administrators of the law.

Magnolia has a number of good business houses managed by real businessmen and has a thriving bank.

The farmland around here is level and productive. Grain, corn, tobacco, and cattle are the principle products of the farm.

During the years of the Normal School, Z.E. Despain taught music (especially piano) for all the adjoining communities and no doubt there still lingers in the memories of some old citizens his piano music at the school commencement programs. At this time, great outdoor commencements were held and in attendance they surpassed any in this part of the state.

During the school days, the young lads of the early teen age used to pass the time annoying neighbors by ringing bells at odd hours of the night, putting firecrackers under some man’s mule, tying tin cans to dog’s tails and papering some man’s house with old newspapers.

Since John Geever left, it can now be called to memory that some large brass farm bells were left sitting on his front store porch at night. It was the custom of the boys about once a week to ring these bells at a late hour of the night.

The first house in Magnolia was built in 1847 on the Bob Ragland farm. The second one was on the William Tharp farm and the third one on the G.H. Hazlewood farm. The fourth schoolhouse was the large and beautiful brick building built on the present school site. This schoolhouse was completed in December 1879. Professor C.W. Mathis was the first principal in the new building. He remained here for several years and had a large body of students from all over the surrounding counties. The school at this time was known as Magnolia College. Professor Mathis was succeeded by his wife. Professor Cabel was succeeded by Professor Mitchell. He, and Mrs. Soloman remained here until 1889. These were followed by Professor McClure and shortly after his coming, the brick building was destroyed by fire.

Middle Creek

Silva or Middle Creek community, was named from a large heating stove put in a store build by Wm. Walters. He was called “Silva Bill” by his friends.

Mount Sherman

Mt. Sherman was named because Gen. Sherman’s Army camped on a hill nearby.

Ovesen Heights

Many years ago, John Adolph August Ovesen owned much of the land that is now Ovesen Heights. For a very small amount of money, John gave the local folks the land to build a church. And since that time the area has been known as Ovesen Heights. The Ovesen Heights Baptist Church is still there today.


The pleasant little village of Tonieville has always been a progressive community in a prosperous farming section. When the railroad came through in 1888, the people needed a station stop because there was much need for shipping out and bringing in products of the farms and merchandise for two stores and blacksmith shops. And the name of the town was so named for two of the largest landowners nearby. These landowners were Tone Goodin and Tone Kenneday and were known by the name of “Tone” (probably short for Anthony).


“The Uptons” is another name almost gone in the county, but we have the community of Upton in the borders of both LaRue and Hardin counties. The town of Upton was named for the family. Older residents will remember the T. B. Upton store in Buffalo that was in operation for a number of years.

White City

The little village of White City near the top of the Muldraugh Hill road has scenic cliffs, ravines and a horseshoe bend. Many years ago, Mr. Anderson had a store and painted and whitewashed all his buildings, rock fences flower bed borders, and gate posts all white in order to make the premises clean and orderly. All the neighbors along the road followed his example. One day, Mr. Morrison was driving leisurely along admiring it all and remarked that is should be called “White City”. This pleasured the people and so it was named.