Graves County, Kentucky


Bell City This community was called "Rock" originally.  In the 1920's it's name was Bell City.  In the 1850 census Benjamin Howard was listed as a potter, so before that time the pottery was established.  In the 1880 Atlas of Graves County, this community had pottery, a grocery, a sawmill and a gristmill.  Benjamin Howard was the founder of them all.

Another story passed down is that Mr. David Crider was very well known and liked in the Story's Chapel/Bell City community as a blacksmith.  He did all kinds of smithy work for horses, mules, wagons, and metal work needed for farm and small town needs.  Betty Robertson, a local historian, states that a very popular item that Mr. Crider made was a bell.  He made small farm bells and house bells designed for personal use.  Thus, the name "Bell City" was probably derived from the blacksmith shop providing the needs of the community for Kentucky and Tennessee farmers and church folks.

Back in 1938, Thelma and Leslie Murdock of Bell City started an orphanage that they eventually named "Paradise Friendly Home".  Over the years, this orphanage played a role in raising over 500 children that were abandoned, orphaned or sent there from the courts.  This "Home" was supported entirely by the kindness of the Graves County community:  Sunday Schools, Churches, Woodmen of the World, even inmates from the Eddyville Prison.  The Murdocks never requested or used tax money to raise these kids.  Murdock believed that whoever the Lord sent to him he would do his best to take care of.  He had three rules:  everybody went to school, everybody went to church and everybody "worked within their capacity".  He did not treat the children any different while they were there.  Teresa Ray is in the process of documenting the orphanage and the impact it had on the lives of the children.  Judging from her life history it is safe to say that the "Home" had a positive impact.

                                                                            Bell City Baptist Church            Bell City Church of Christ
                                                                                                                             James Savage, Minister

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Boaz is located 9 miles north of Mayfield, just yards east of Mayfield Creek.  Boaz is situated on the P&L Railroad in township 5 North Range 1 East Section.  It was named for Joshua Boaz, a plantation owner, who in 1854, gave the New Orleans and Ohio Railroad passage through his estate.  A station, which was later built, was called Boaz Station.  Joshua Boaz ran a tobacco factory.

William J. Adams established a post office there on September 30, 1869, and it was named Boaz.  This station became an important shipping point on the railroad and the community that developed around it was incorporated in 1888.  In the past several years, the community has begun to shift to the Viola/Boaz Road, over one fourth mile to the east, where the post office relocated.

The Johnson Brothers ran a hardware store and coffin shop here for many years.  At one time there was a high school.  Around 1880, Hodges and Prayor Store dealt in dry goods, notions and groceries and served as the postmaster and railroad agent.  Hodges and Hodges were the owners of a flour, grain and feed mill.

Today the only major business is the post office.

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Hardmoney Baptist Church
Faris Sahawneh, Pastor

North Graves Volunteer Fire Department
11176 Hopewell Road
Boaz, KY 42027
270 658 3542

Cuba, a hamlet with extinct post office is now located on Kentucky Highway 303, nine and one half miles south of Mayfield.

An article appearing in the Mayfield Messenger dated May 2, 1951, mentions the following, "the first store in Cuba was established by a man by the name of Taylor more than a century ago and about this time a fellow by the name of Luther built a blacksmith shop there.  These two early institutions were there for many years before a man by the name of Tibbs increased the business life of the two with a grocery store."  During the War Between the States, Cuba was an enterprizing community with two grocery stores, a hotel, a saloon, a dance hall, blacksmith shop and a post office.

A post office was established on Feburary 12, 1858, and was undoubtedly named for the Caribbean Island whose acquisition from Spain was then popular cause in the slave holding states.  After an intermittent existence, the post office closed for good in 1905.. .

This school always had great basketball teams.  In 1951, Coach Jack Story took his team to the state tournament and returned runner-up.  In 1952, the Cuba Cubs, with their green and white uniforms, stormed the state tournament again and returned this time with the Kentucky State Championship trophy.  Reports from the tournament had declared that the Cubs practiced to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown, a tune well known as the theme of the Harlem Globetrotters.  Legend says that each player picked out a member of the Globetrotters team that he wanted to emulate.  People from Cuba and teh surrounding communities met the state champions with a motorcade at the Eggner's Ferry Bridge and traveled with them to the Mayfield courthouse for a meeting on the steps of the courthouse.

Today Cuba has a grade school, two churches, a lodge hall, a building supply company and a small store.

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Cuba Church of Christ
51 Cuba School Road                        Cuba Baptist Church
Mayfield, KY 42066                            Robert Waldridge, Pastor
Will McSweeney

Cuba Volunteer Fire Department
60 State Route 94 West
Sedalia, KY 42079
270 382-2221



Dublin is one of the oldest towns in Graves County, some say Dublin got its name from an Irishman by the same name, and others say it was named after Dublin, Ireland.  It is situated one mile from the Hickman-Graves County line and ten miles west of Mayfield.  In 1838, the State Legislature established a voting precinct there, to be called the "Dublin Precinct".  Like other infant towns scattered throughout the country, Dublin developed as a fairly prosperous trade center throughout the 1840-decade.

Early settlers of Dublin include MA Payne, who migrated from Ohio to Kentucky in 1845.  Others were Thomas Jefferson Gibson, Thomas Kirby, Jones Gregory, Gordon A Hayden and Jessie D Roach.  Jonathan Gregory lost his life in a battle of the War Between the States, fought three-fourths of a mile from Dublin.

One of the first places of buisness in Dublin was a log house used as a saloon.  Here whiskey sold for ten cents a quart.  Major A. Payne operated this business.  Later, Major Payne added a stock of general merchandise and served as the community mail carrier, going to Paducah for mail once a month.  He was a major in the Union Army in the War Between the States.  The post office was established September 16, 1850, and discontinued February 15, 1943.  Their mail then went to the Pryorsburg Post Office.

The Dublin Baptist Church was first conducted in a brush arbor at the crossroad on the county line.  Later Mason's Chapel was organized in 1867.  It was located about one mile west of the present Dublin Baptist Church.  The church was constructed of logs and the seats were split logs.  In 1882 the church secured its present site at Dublin, Graves County, and moved from the its former home in Hickman County.  Tragedy struck on Christmas Day 1896 when the church building including all the records burned to the ground.  It was rebuilt in 1897 on its present site.  Not far from Dublin is the Unity Baptist Church, established in 1974.

The Mayfield Messenger noted in May 1917 the story of the cyclone, which passed near Dublin.  Eleven persons died and the Dublin school was turned into a hospital for the injured.  The cyclone struck between 4:30 and 5:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon.  Houses were swept from their foundations, not even a brick or a plank remained.  Trees were crushed under the force of the twisting elements and stock killed and carried for some distance.  When the news reached Mayfield physicians and others were on their way to help.  About three days later, a tornado struck Viola, KY, wrecking everything in its wake. 

The Odom family ran a store in Dublin for many years.  This building was destroyed by fire in 1978.  The building was more than one hundred years old and had been in continuous operation as a grocery since about the time of the Civil War.

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Dublin Baptist Church            Unity Baptist Church                        
Brother James Tacker            Kenneth Newsome, Pastor



This village lays on the Kentucky and Tennessee state line, roughtly half in Kentucky on Kentucky 129.  Dukedom is 15 miles south of Mayfield.  The other half of Dukedom is located in Tennessee's Weakley County.   It is thought to be named for Duke A. Beadles who established a post office on the Tennessee side on July 30, 1833.  Duke Beadles built the first and for awhile, the only building in the area that was a general merchandise store.  The post office moved to the Kentucky side in 1846 and returned to Tennessee in 1952, where it has been ever since.  Dukedom, USA, is one of the oldest communities in West Kentucky, also the only US town bearing this name.

The Mound builders were the first civilization that is documented in the area that is now Dukedom.  The mounds, which they built, are scattered throughout the river valleys.  Some of the artifacts that have been found here include arrowheads, spearheads and a little pottery.  It is said that the "Trail of Tears" passed straight through Dukedom.

In the early days of this town there were two hotels, a flour mill, a cotton gin, a tannery, two saloons, a photographer, blacksmith shops, barbershops, shoe shops, tobacco prizing barns, three undertaking establishments, drug stores, a saw mill, a horse race track, the Dukedom Academy and a few others.  There were six churches, two being located in town.

Dukedom was involved in the Civil War with Forrest stopping here to go back to finish destroying part of Paducah.  Also there was the Battle of Lockridge's Mill as well as several other skirmishes.  The Kentucky Historical Marker reads "CSA General NB Forrest with main body of cavalry passed this way before and after destructive rain on Paducah, March 25, 1864, Kentucky regiments, camping near hear, given leave to seek food, horses, get recruits, visit families.  Not one deserted.  News item led Forrest to send men back through here again, April 14, to capture horses missed before." - 655

Dukedom's one and only bank was founded in 1904, under the name Dukedom Bank.  It burned in the 1930's and a new one took its place on the same location.  The Dukedom Bank sold out to Reelfoot Bank in 1989.  Jackson's Funeral Home opened its doors to serve the community in 1895; it was sold to Hornbeak Funeral Home of Fulton in 1981. 

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Soon after the Jackson Purchase of 1818 the area began to fill with settlers from the Carolina's, Virginia, Tennessee, and parts of Kentucky east of the Tennessee River, and even Ireland.  An interesting point of the roads that evolved was named Feliciana, which is very near the Tennessee state line.

The roads that led into this place had their beginnings on the Mississippi River with one town being Columbus, and another the area that became known as Hickman.  Another road came from Mayfield.  From Feliciana, these routes moved onward toward Murray and into Dresden, Tennessee leading eventually to the Nashville area.  These roads served the area with freight deliveries, stagecoaches and mail routes.

According to an article in the Mayfield Monitor in 1889, "the village of Feliciana was at one time the most important trading point in the county.  There were seven large business establishments as well as smaller establishments and shops of various kinds."

There was a bank and also a saloon.  There was also a jail to take care of those who enjoyed the benefits of the saloon in excess as well as lawbreakers.

Pleasant Hill Methodist Church was established in 1837, being only a little over a mail from Feliciana.  Many of the families were a part of this church.  We find many of these burined inthe Pleasant Hill Cemetery.  The Primitive Baptist also had a church (Old Bethel) in the general area early, as did the Cumberland Presbyterians (Bayou de Chien).

One instance was of Dr. Lochridge who was an elder in Bayou de Chien but he and Mrs. Lochridge are buried at Pleasant Hill.  There were others also.

The Moss Brothers were the first businessmen of the place.  We find Moss on the census records and we also find Morse.  It is a well-known fact that the Morse were merchants in Feliciana.

There was a hotel in Feliciana that bore their names.  EH Gordon kept a store as did Dr. Lochridge, the first doctor in the area.  Other stores were Edmund Rodgers, Mr. Renfro, Dr. and William Alexander, Mr. January and WC Rodgers, George D. Weaks and George Clanton.  William Patterson was one of the first mechanics.  Other doctors that practiced in Feliciana were WC Stovall and John H Nichols.

Feliciana was a popular place for the troops stationed at Camp Beauregard located just to the north during the War Between the States.  It was publicized later that many did have to spend the night in the village jail after too much rebel rousing.

The residents of Feliciana decided they did not want the proposed railroad to come through their peaceful town.  Had this decision gone the other way we can only project what would have developed with the town of Feliciana.

In studying the landscape now of the Feliciana area, you can still detect where the once heavily traveled roads into the area were located.

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This village is located about eight and one-half miles north of Mayfield.  This town was named for the wife of the late Grover Cleveland, who was a Mill Folsom.  The wedding took place on June 2, 1886, shortly before the town was named.  A post office was established with James M. Conner as postsmaster on June 25, 1886.  This established the first business at this point.  There was a high school there for many years.  In 1939 a new highway was completed eastward connecting Folsomdale with Boaz.   Today it has been bypassed by the new US Highway 45. 

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Folsomdale Church of Christ
Jerry Senn, Minister

Masonic Lodge - 7000 State Route 1241


A post office was established on May 14, 1894, at Golo, with John W. Gallimore as postmaster.  The postmaster at Vulton Creek was to supply the office with a mailbag.  JF Wagoner is listed as a merchant in 1903.

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New Liberty Baptist Church
3019 Golo Road
Mayfield, KY 42066
Dan Farmer, Pastor


Hickory got its start in 1860 when the Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern railroad was built from Paducah to Mayfield.  The tracks rain through a grove of Hickory trees near Mayfield Creek about five miles north of Mayfield.  Joe Kimble owned the land on which the grove was located.

Mr. Kimble decided to build a store and thus the town of Hickory Grove was born.  The town was laid November 5, 1867, as more people moved in and other businesses had come to the area.  Some businesses there in 1880 were Key and Byrd Dry Goods; EO Edwards Boarding House; JM Sawyer Saw Mill; JA Ryburn Physician and Surgeon; and TV Stevens, Medicated Baths.

The post office was established in 1858, with John Johns serving as postmaster for the few months before John Z. Linn took over that same year.  The name of the post office was changed to one word, Hickorygrove, in 1896 and then to Hickory in 1914.

Hickory Baptist Church was organized in October 1878, with eleven members.  The last school located in Hickory closed its doors in the early 1960's. 

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Pleasant Grover Baptist Church                    Hickory Baptist Church                    Community Fellowship Baptist Church          Liberty Baptist Church
State Route 945                                            2061 State Route 1241                    90 State Route 408 West                               7581 State Route 1241
Hickory, KY 42051                                         Hickory, KY 42051                            Hickory, KY 42051                                          Hickory, KY 42051
Brother Barry Summerville, Pastor                 Brother CW Barnhill, Pastor             Rusty Wirt                                                       Wayne Berry

Solid Rock Ministries
2389 State Route 1213 North
Hickory, KY 42051    
Dr. Harold Craven, Pastor

Viola Volunteer Fire Department
8366 State Route 1241
Hickory, KY 42051
270 856 3721

Kaler is located 10 miles north of Mayfield on Kentucky 131.  It is in the heart of a farming community.  On April 4, 1883, this area was named Kaler after a local family.  A post office was established at this time by James H. Carter, and operated until 1905.  Prior to then, this area was known as Carter's Mill.  Very little can be found on a written history of Kaler.  From recollections of members of the community it has been established that this area has always been served at least one grocery and at one time, there were three groceries to serve the community.  Early recollections are of a feed mill that was run by Clyde Edwards, who later had a restaurant and hardware store.  The restaurant was known as "The Snowball".  When the building was sold, the hardware section was eliminated and the building was remodeled to become all restaurant.  The name "The Snowball" remained.  "The Snowball" saw several changes in owner/operators over the years.  In the mid-90's it was renamed "Miss Kitty's". 

Mr. Edwards relinquished the feed mill.  Another mill was built and became known as "Kaler Feed Mill".  Later a small machine shop was established in conjunction with the mill to serve the area farmers.

The earliest recollections of a grocery are of one that was operated by Lee Collier, who was affectionately known as "Mr. Lee".  Mr. Lee's sons, Avery and Neal, later operated this store.  During this time Jimmy Hopwood established a gas station.  He later expanded to include some grocery items.  In the early 1960's the Collier store burned.  After the fire, two grocery stores were established, one by Jewell Hopwood and the other by Kenneth and Marilyn Holshouser.  Both also included gas pumps and the Holshouser's also carried hardware items.  In December 1977, Jewell Hopwood sold his store to Jerry Hancock.  It is not known exactly when the Jimmy Hopwood store closed, only that it was before 1978.  The Holshouser store closed in 1983.  Today the biggest business in the Kaler community is Goodman Lumber Company.  From the later 1950's to the early 1990's Kaler was widely known for their annual Kaler Day, which included mule pulling and a flea market.

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This village with post office lies at the junction of KY 339, 440 and 849, eleven miles northwest of Mayfield.  It was originally called Lowes Crossroads.  It was settled in 1837, by travelers from Virginia who found a fine spring near the present site of this town and decided to make a home.  Among the travelers was Levi Lowe, who built the first house in the town.  The travelers called the land the "Barns" (Barrons) because it had a few trees and lots of tall sage grass.  John Mike Lowe built a sturdy log store in the tiny new village of Lowes in 1837; it was one room and connects by a "dogtrotted" to his residence.  John was the brother of Levi.  Other families that came to this area were:  the Armsteads, the Pecks, the Fulghums, the Rusts, the Mahans, the Smiths, the Colemans, the Morgans, the Barrigers, and the Lamms.  In the early 1840's a house called "The New Meeting House" was built for the use of school, church and all public meetings.  The first post office at Lowes was located on Wilson Creek and was run by George Barriger.  The post office was not a government office, but was merely a loading station where a person hired by the Lowes community left mail, which had been brought from Blandville.  The Wilson Creek post office closed about the time the Civil War started and John R. Lowe paid $100 each year to the mail carrier to come by Lowes from his regular Concord Church route and bring the mail.  Today the Lowes Store is still operational.  Colonel Paul Wilkerson & Sons Auctions, Angie's Beauty Shop, Judy Wilkerson Beauty Shop and the Sears Brothers Sod Farm are the primary businesses in the community, along with Lowes Elementary School and the Post Office.

Back in 1937 the Freshman & Sophomore Class of Lowes High School published A Glance Backwards.  This book reflects on the 100th anniversary of Lowes, KY.  Very few of these "books" remain today.  The history, dedicated to Senator Alben Barkley, tells the story of how Lowes began and then stories throughout that first 100 years.

Travelling through Lowes today and you will find the Bread of Life Humanitarian Effort in the old Lowes Funeral Home.  The Lowes Family saw the work that was being done and decided to donate this building to the effort.  Bread of Life provides donated manpower, cleaning supplies, food and other necessities to people in need in our community or around the world.  Most of the need has been through disaster relief starting with Hurricane Katrina clean-up. 

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Mt. Olivet Baptist Church                        Lowes Church of Christ
David Sphinx, Pastor                              Darce Paschall, Minister

Lowes Volunteer Fire Department
5071 State Route 440
Lowes, KY 42061
270 674 5611


The first settlement within the present limits of Graves was made a few years before the county was created.  Michael Eaker and William Armstrong located on Terrapin Creek in what is now Lynnville Precinct, about 1820, and are supposed to have been the first permanent settlers in the southern part of the county.  They moved here from Trigg County, KY and were both memebers of the first justice's court.

Lynnville, located near the Kentucky and Tennessee state line was an early settlement and among those living there in 1822 were Col JC Dodge and his son, Ulysses Dodge.  Campbell Duncan came a little later; Moses Oliver, John and James Boyd were early comers to the Eaker settlement.

John and Jacob McCuan settled the land on which the village of Lynnville is situated.  A post office was established in 1866, with William H. Hale as postmaster.  One of the oldest buildings was the Howard Hotel, built before the Civil War.  It was built by William Hale who came here from Illinois and built his home, which was later the hotel.  His daughter married a Mr. Howard, which gave the hotel its name.

In 1889 the population of Lynnville was 1579, half as big as Mayfield which at that time had a population of 3598.  At one time Lynnville prized more tobacco than Mayfield, with six prizing barns located there.

Fire destroyed most of the buildings in Lynnville in 1900.  Rebuilding began in 1902.  At that time the grocery, which stands in the center of "downtown" Lynnville was built and operated by Mark Wilson.  Alie Melton bought the grocery in 1930, and in 1947, his daughter Maxine and her husband Pete Mason took over the operation, which was continued until 1974.

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Lynnville Baptist Church                    Rhodes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church                    Lynnville Church of Christ     Lynnville Community Church
William Strong, Pastor                       Ronny Glisson, Pastor                                                   Mykel Tidwell, Minister           Brother Steve Burkeen, Pastor

Lynnville United Methodist Church    


One of the surviving communities in the Northwest part of Graves County is the burg of Melber.  Until recent years, it was often referred to as "The Burg" after its original name of Lewisburg, named after its founder, Lewis Helfer, about 1876.

It is located about a mile west of the intersection of the former Median Road with the McCracken and Graves county line.  In 1854, there was a skirmish nearby and an encampment near the Old Mayfield Creek and Clinton Road.  Another small skirmish was at the north side of Allcock Cemetery where the original Allcock School (and possibly a church) stood.  In 1868, Johnny Flood cleared a portion of the woods on the southwest side of the itnersection of the Graves county line and Clinton Road.  All of this area was heavily wooded lasting into the 1940's.  He built a cooper shop there and it was the first building in Melber.

In 1876 the land across the road in McCracken County was purchased by Lewis Helfer from the Allcock heirs and divided into lots on the west side of Clinton Road.  Helfer had decided to build a mill on Mayfield Creek, but it was felt there was not enough year long water flow and a steam mill was built near where the newer mill and grocery was built.  As lots were sold, homes were built and a community started.  As their mail delivery was at Kansas, a post office was sought.  There was alaready a Lewisburg so the name of this town was changed to Melber, after a family of that name who lived near St. John's.  Lewis Helfer was appointed postmaster in 1882.

The nearest school was the Allcock School located just over a mile southwest of the Melber Baptist Church.  The Melber Baptist Church was established about 1895 and the Church of Christ about 1916.  There was a Methodist Church established in 1898, but it was disbanded in the 1920's.  

Driving through Melber today you have to pay attention to where Graves County ends and McCracken County begins.  Most of the people who live down there don't really pay much attention to that anyway.  Local genealogist, Don Simmons will be glad to take you back in time to follow your family's roots or the roots of the community.

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Melber Volunteer Fire Department
11763 State Route 339 North
Melber, Kentucky 42069
270 856 3283

Melber Baptist Church                                Melber Church of Christ
1755 County Line Road                                11601 State Route 339 North
Brother Jeff Cruse, Pastor                                David Phillips, Minister


Pilot Oak

Pilot Oak is a small community in south Graves County approximately 17 miles from Mayfield.  In the late 1800's a number of businesses in this community thrived.

At one time land in this part of the county was all prairies but at least one large oak tree stood amidst the grasses.  The tree was used as a guidepost, also a meeting place for the Indians and the exploring white man.  According to a story in the Mayfield Messenger in 1926, Pilot Oak was founded about one hundred years before and was named after the tree.

In 1896 the Kentucky Gazetteer and Business Directory lists Pilot Oak as having a population of 80.  In 1913 the Mayfield Messenger writes that Pilot Oak is a thriving little town with three dry goods stores and groceries combined, one blacksmith shop, one corn mill, two doctors, two churches and a school.  Pilot Oak also had another distinction.  It was nationally known as the precinct that gave William Jennings Bryan his largest majority on one of his presidential campaigns, according to the Mayfield Messenger in 1926.

The school ha been located at three different sites in Pilot Oak with the last being a high school built by Tom Jones in 1916.  In 1937, the Pilot Oak "Warhorses" basketball team went to the Kentucky State Tournament, winning their first game, but losing the second.  As the years have passed by, most of the old families are gone and new people have moved in. 

Bethlehem United Methodist Church                    Pilot Oak Church of Christ
Jim Watson, Pastor                                              Gene Murphy & Fred Seavers, Ministers

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Pottsville is located 12 miles north west of Mayfield.  This community was established in north Graves County in the mid-nineteenth century.  The Mayfield Monitor mentions in an 1889 issue, the business interest of Pottsville consists of two stores, one physician, tobacco rehandling house and a good school, Pottsville.  Pottsville at one time had a post office.  The 1880's Atlas of Graves County lists DR Meritt, Physician and Surgeon with an office one mile south of Pottsville.  Sources say the community was probably named after the Potts family.

Pottsville Church of Christ
John Voss, Minister

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This village is located on US Highway 45 South just east of the Purchase Parkway and six miles southwest of Mayfield.  The first post office was established as "Depot" on April 3, 1855, with Melbourne Saxon, postmaster porbably in anticipation of the arrival of New Orleans and Ohio Railroad two years later.  On April 3, 1857, the first train passed over the track from Paducah to Fulton.  Pryorsburg is situated on the Obion Creek and was the first railway station after leaving Mayfield.  Before thi stime the only transportation was by foot, horseback, oxen wagon and buggy.  In the early years, the community may also have been known as "Boggy" or "Bogey" for wheeled vehicles would often bog donw in the poorly drained roadbeds.  The post office was renamed Pryorsburg, after the Pryor family, on May 14, 1860.  It operated intermittently until it closed in 1960.  Pryorsburg was incorporated in 1874 and had a population of 129 in 1880 census.

In the earlier days, Pryorsburg had several grocery stores, two blacksmith shops, a depot, a saloon and dance hall, a flourmill, a hotel, brick keel, and coal yard.  It had a school for the white and a school for the colored.

In the Kentucky Gazettee and Business Directory 1895-96 Pryorsburg is listed with the population of 300.

In 1894, the clay mines opened and gave many people in this community a good job.  The first church was the Methodist Church.  The second church was the Baptist, followed by the Church of Christ and later the Methodist Church.

Old Pryorsburg on the railroad has since been largely replaced by a new settlement on Highway 45. 

Jonathan Pryor was born in the state of Virginia.  When he was a young child his parents started tract across North Carolina, Tennessee and into Kentucky.  Jonathan was with his family of 10 children migrated into Graves County and spent some time on Clark's River in 1818-1819 and later he and his family purchased lots in Wadesboro (Calloway County, KY).  Jonathon was not content to remain on the eastern side of the county so he soon moved to the section of the county known as Rozzell District Precinct, Section 36 Township 2, and North Range.

The Pryor family was accompanied across the state of Tennessee and into Kentukcy by a young Attorney and friend, Andrew Jackson, later to be chosen the seventh President of the United States and the instrument through which the "Jackson Purchase" was made in 1819 for $300,000.

Jonathan Pryor's daughter, Stacy, was married April 15, 1824 to Burrell William and this was the first marriage in the county.  Some of their descendents remain in this area.  He chose to have his remains deposted for all times in his private farm cemetery at th rear of their Old Homestead, which is located on a slight hillside facing the Dublin Road.

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St. James AME                                                Pryorsburg Baptist Church                        Pryorsburg Church of Christ
Rev. Frank Price Pastor                                  Brother Marshall Ivey, Pastor                    Carl Scoggins, Minister

Independent Bible Methodist Church                Pryorsburg United Methodist Church        Pryorsburg Community Fellowship
Mickey Fowler, Pastor                                       Ronnie Cunningham, Pastor                     Mike Miller, Pastor



is north of Mayfield in the northeast area of Graves County.  It is located on Kentucky 131.  When the Jackson Purchase was in its infancy Wadesboro Road ran from north central Calloway County toward Paducah and the river port on the Ohio River.  It was this trail (Wadesboro Road) that was a factor in the development of Symsonia.  In the mid-1800's, it was a small settlement made up of farmers and lumbermen.  Legend says it was originally known as Slab Town because the sawmills in the area produced an over abundance of slabs and they were cross-laid in the roadways to cut down on the mud.  It is said that the oldest home in Symsonia was built in 1840 by slave labor that made the brick and constructed the house.  On December 23, 1847, the first post office was established with James K. Wilson being the first postmaster.  The community was given a list of names for th new post office, and not wanting to be known as Slab Town, they chose the name Symsonia.  The Methodist Church was established sometime between 1837 and 1854.  Clarks River Baptist Church was organized on December 14, 1867.

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Symsonia United Methodist Church                    Symsonia Baptist Church
161 State Route 348 East                                  680 State Route 348 West
Symsonia, KY 42082                                          Symsonia, KY 42082
Tommie Martin, Pastor                                       Rick Miller, Pastor

Symsonia Volunteer Fire Department
PO Box 111
Symsonia, KY 42082
270 442 1511


This village with extinct post office now occupies two sites:  the original, on the Illinois Central Gulf railroad, which consists only of John W. Whitmore's and what is now called West Viola, about a mile west, at the junction of US Highway 45 and KY 408, about 7 miles west of Mayfield.  The community and station may have been named for the wife of an early Whittemore who is said to have given the right-of-way and station site to the New Orleans and Ohio Railroad in the 1850's.  The town was originally called Whittemore.  A post office was operated there from 1884 to 1910.  It is thought that an early Whittemore named the place after his wife, Viola.  The old - the Deserted Old Viola - was located about three fourth miles down the railroad North of Viola.

Viola was what they used to call a sawmill town.  It began to prosper after the Civil War.  The creek bottoms were full of big timber, so they had sawmills set up not far from town.  They sold and shipped all kinds of lumber for the building business, bridge timbers, barrel staves, furniture factories and cross ties for the railroad.

One of the tales they used to tell was about a man in Old Viola that was run over by a train and cut both of his legs off, no doctor was available, so he was wrapped up as best they could and sat him down by the saloon wall, poured whiskey down him.  The jug of whiskey was left beside him and he died a little later.

Every summer Viola had a horse show and trade day.  Viola would be full of wagons, buggies, horses and people.  That brought other people, scam artists, stunt performances, and bootleggers.  One outfit came one trade day with an old flat bed truck.  He had a stove, table, some pots and pans.  He would get a crowd around to make up three or four dollars.  He would dress a chicken, cook and eat it in five minutes.  This was frying size.  he really did it; he put the chicken through a pot of boiling water.

In the 1920's and 1930's people would come to Viola an dput up a big tent.  They put on magic, music and silent movies.  The movies cost 10 cents for children and 15 or 20 cents for adults.  It was a black and white silent movie.  During the depression a lot of hobos got off the train at Viola to hunt something to eat.  The families would feed them at the back door.  They would give them a plate of whatever they were having that day.  They would sit on the edge of the back porch and eat.  They were polite and thankful for anything you gave them.  They came usually in the late afternoon, while the local train switched boxcars, picking up loaded cars and leaving empty cars.

The hobos would leave marks down the railroad tracks on trees where they stayed until the next trian; where the next hobo could get food.  If several came in a day the message was left where to go.  They would ask if they could work for the food.  If you gave them something to do, then for a few days there would not be as many to come for food.

Need directions?  Find us on the map!

Viola Volunteer Fire Department
8366 State Route 1241
Hickory, KY 42051
270 856 3721

Shelton Chapel                                        Viola Baptist Church
Reverand Dorsey, Pastor                        R#1  Hickory

Water Valley    


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