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Local history: How Esto, Russell Co., KY got its name

The Post Office was wanting a short name. And found it within the full name of a young Afro-American who lived nearby the postal facility.
Travel directions from Columbia with MAP link, follows story.


How Esto got its name

In the March 18, 1943 edition of the Russell County News, the Esto community correspondent gave a brief but informative outline of how Esto, the southeastern most corner of the Sacred Triangle, got its name. As a means of introduction, the Estonian wrote that:

Esto is located in a little valley on the east side of the west tributary of Greasy Creek, four miles west of Jamestown on the Jamestown and Columbia star mail route. The post office was established in 1876. Perhaps the first postmaster was Judge S. Collins but was soon succeeded by Daniel Boone Barger. They were two splendid pioneer citizens. (Judge S. Collins most likely refers to Stanton P. Collins.)

He then went on to state that postal department wanted a short name for the new post office, and as it happened, a young Afro-American lad named Esto lived nearby. The writer noted that the young fellow's full name - William Louis Esto Bazeldo Frank McAwain Barger - was a tad too long to use. He also reported that Esto didn't live to be very old.

In closing, the correspondent commented that:

Esto is surrounded by some good farm land. M.D. Phelps owns a 300-acre farm in the suburbs of Esto. It's a good one. It's operated by his son Carl. Carl is a real dirt farmer.

Esto Barger was born around 1872 or 1873, the son of Louis and Josephine Barger; both Louis and Josephine were born into slavery. My mother, born (in 1911) and reared about equidistant from Montpelier and Dent, not too far removed from the Esto post office, well remembered Mrs. Barger, who died in 1919.

Part of the above-mentioned farm "in the suburbs of Esto" is still owned by the Phelps family, as it has been for nearly two and a quarter centuries. -"Jim"
If you go: Esto is about 14 miles from Columbia, KY, taking KY 55 south to Old Zion, carefully hanging a left on KY 92, passing through Joppa and Montpelier, entering The County just beyond, crossing Hale's Highway. It lies just 3.2 miles from Jamestown, The Capitol of Russell Co., KY. In ancient times, when the Louie B. Nunn traffic was charged to get off at The Springs, the route from Columbia to Esto to Jamestown was heavily travelled by toll-dodgers. MAP

This story was posted on 2011-02-01 06:52:09

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