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Middleburg, Casey Co., KY: A Utopia of the Bluegrass

Middleburg is one of the most beautiful small towns in America today. JIM found an article from the June 29, 2014, Adair County News, which detailed advances the Casey County community enjoyed over 100 years ago. We had hoped to have photo(s) to illustrate Millerburg to go with today's post, but that may take a future day trip. Or - hint - we love to receive submissions of scenes illustrating the story and the community today as well as those of from times past, and, as always, comments. - EW
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In the early years of the 20th century, community newsletters from Middleburg, Casey County, frequently graced pages of the Adair County News. Generally, these letters, like most others, kept readers abreast of birthings & buryings, arrivals and departures (of a somewhat less permanent nature), buying, selling & swapping, and accidents, illnesses & recoveries. However, the missive in the June 29, 1904 edition was an equine of another hue. It read (in large part) under the simple heading "Middleburg":

MIDDLEBURG: A small village of 400 inhabitants

A small village of about 400 inhabitants is situated near the source of Green river, on the break between the bluegrass and mountain region of Kentucky. This location has a special geological, psychological and historical value. It has a beautiful and healthful location. It is near the region where the first pioneers immerged into the forest to wrestle their homes from the wild animals and savage Indians. Here the inhabitants can breathe the pure and refreshing air from the mountains, drink the health giving draughts of her beautiful springs and receive the inspiration of wild supernatural and historical sceneries, diffusive in all its grand panoramic beauty.

No higher or better testimony the conspicuous character of the people can be given than the fact that all saloons have been expurgated. The people of Middleburg are moral and religious and belong to the yeomanry of the "corn cracker State."

Three large churches, able ministers in each and well organized Sunday-schools.

The town is easily approachable from many of the counties having railroad facilities and has daily intercourses by hack with McKinney, its nearest railroad station.

The cemetery is one of the most convenient and beautiful ones in the state.

Middleburg Normal College, is an elegant brick building, two stories high, situated on an elevation overlooking the town and is one of the most beautiful and commodious school buildings in the State. Prof. J.S. Lawhorn, the great educator of Paris, is principal of the school.


Based on information found at Based on information found at, it appears part of the 1904 paean, above, was "borrowed" from the 1892-93 catalog of the Janie Wash Institute, the forerunner of the Middleburg Normal College. This source also notes the Institute/College building was torn down in 1936.

Prof. Jesse Sherman "J.S." Lawhorn, a native of Casey County, was named principal of the Paris, Ky., High School in 1902, shortly after he was graduated from college. He held that position for about two years before returning to his home county .in 1904. The Yosemite newsletter in the March 23, 1904 News stated he had "bought of Prof. J.W. Davis, the Middleburg Normal College, and will take charge of the school next fall." An edition a few weeks later remarked he would be in possession "the first of June." The following year, Prof. Lawhorn, running on the Democratic ticket, was elected superintendent of Casey County schools, quite a feat in a county which "ordinarily polled six hundred majority Republican." After his term as Superintendent, he removed to Oklahoma, where he resided until his passing in the mid-1950s. His remains were returned to Kentucky for interment in the Middleburg Cemetery.

Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2015-06-06 05:34:12
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