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Mike Watson: Early history, Cane Valley, KY

Mike Watson sends some Early History and "State-of-the-Town" News--Cane Valley, Kentucky covering from 1855 to 1921
Click on headline for history with photos of adverts early Cane Valley merchants

By Mike Watson
Adair County Historian

"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." [Patick Henry Bridgewater] Adair County News, 13 May 1908

An Act of the KY 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

"Cane Valley Is Still on the Map and Very Much Alive--We are located six miles from Columbia on the Campbellsville and Columbia turnpike road and surrounded by the best or so good farming country as there is in Kentucky. Our citizenship has increased ten percent in the last five years. There is not a town in the state that will exceed us for business according to our population. The Dudgeon Co., manufacturers of stoves, brooms, and washing machines. They carry a full line of oils and paints. R.T. Dudgeon, the hustling stove man, who also carries a full line of paints, roofing and sheet metal. The Cane Valley Milling Co is doing a fine business. The saw mill at this place has done the larger amount of business during 1920 than any tow years in past history. Judd Brothers are the leading contractors of this section and are enjoying a fine business.

"The Farmers Bank did a splendid business last year, their net profits being $1,000.00, that is not bad business for the first year. Mr. D.O. Eubank, cashier, makes everything very pleasant for the patrons of the bank. We have four good merchants. Mr. W.R. Hutchinson, who owns and controls one of our stores, is enjoying a good business. Rev. W.S. Dudgeon & Son carry a complete line of groceries and notions, drugs and sundries. Mr. A.F. Hutchinson, one of our oldest merchants, still enjoys a fine business. The large department store of L.M. Smith speaks well for itself. We have three first class blacksmith shops, do all kinds of repair work. Mr. E.S. Wilson, our splendid barber, keeps the gents well trimmed.

"We challenge the world with our postmaster, Chas. F. Paxton, rain or shine Charlie meets them with a smile. J.M. Callison is operating a Ford garage and does all kinds of auto repair work. Edrington Brothers are doing a thriving business running two large Packard trucks. The Masonic Lodge at this place is growing very rapidly. The Modern Woodmen Lodge meet regularly and offers to the public a good insurance.

"Dr. N.M. Hancock and son, Banks, who own the Valley View Stock farm, are dealing in thoroughbred stock and they have a splendid line of Short Horn Cattle, South Down sheep and Chester White hogs and they enjoy a splendid business. Hancock Bros., who deal in good mules and fancy horses, have some fine stock at present. Mr. W.N. Hancock, one of the firm of Hancock Bros., has rented and moved to the Hutchison farm. By this move we feel "Bill" will be better prepared to handle more stock. Mr. T.I. Smith, our well known tobacco dealer, is buying a large amount of tobacco at this time and paying top price. J.W. Sublett & Bro., our local stock dealers, are shipping regularly to Louisville Stock Market. Dr. N.M. Hancock and Dr. E.B. Atkinson make up our medical staff and they are of the best.

"A project is being launched for a new school building at this place. The Methodist, Disciples and Baptist make up our religious staff. We have two Sunday schools, both doing splendid work. Good lungs make a strong man. Churches and schools are the lungs of a community. Our motto is make them the best. We thank you Mr. Editor for this space in our paper, we are all for you." Adair County News, 30 March 1921

--Mike Watson, 2015


This story was posted on 2015-01-27 11:49:00
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Cane Valley Ads in the ACN, 22 April 1908: The bank



2015-01-25 - Cane Valley, KY - Photo from the collection of Mike Watson.
An ad for the Cane Valley Bank which appeared in 22 April 1908 issue of the Adair Adair County News. $15,000, the total capital stock of the bank, would barely buy half a new car today, but in today's dollars it would be equivalent to about $385,000, enough to buy a couple or three very nice Adair County Houses. The ad is from the collection of Mike Watson, Adair County Historian.

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Cane Valley Ads in the ACN, 22 April 1908: Massed ads



2015-01-25 - Cane Valley, KY - Photo from the collection of Mike Watson.
These three ads from Cane Valley were run side by side by side in the 22 April 1908 Adair County News of almost 107 years ago. One might wonder if the massed ads were the idea of the editors or if the Cane Valley businessmen chose to collaborate to make a bigger statement for the thriving community. While two of them compete in a few areas, the stores offered a very different services and merchandise.

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Cane Valley Ads in the ACN, 22 April 1908 - Sublett's



2015-01-26 - Cane Valley, KY - Photo from the collection of Mike Watson.
An ad from another great Adair County family. This one had groceries - and look at the rest. Quite a broad appeal. They could feed you, dress you, furnish your tack and farming and gardening supplies, and when that day came, there were supplies for a proper send off. - CM

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