Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Caldwell Springs History

The Caldwell Springs Church and the new marble marker the church members purchased last summer to mark their cemetery.

This history was written and read by Mr. Marion F. Pogue, of the Frances Community, at the close of his school at Caldwell Springs in 1896.

Backward, swing backward the pendulum of years, we pass through the happy childhood days when we attended the services at the old brick church; backward still it takes us through the mist of half a century before our existence; backward still it goes past the memory of the oldest inhabitant of these sacred precincts today. There we are left like a stranded mariner on a lonely island with only our imagination to paint the scene of this lovely valley.

There we saw the luminary of the day and an unbroken forest which extended for a mile in every direction. But these same hills were here and they guarded this same beautiful valley as jealously as they do today.

This valley was a hunter's paradise, covered with a tangled growth of cane, paw-paw and sumac. Here is a winding path; let us follow it; it is soon lost in a larger one. Onward we go, though we have frightened a flock of wild turkeys, and yonder goes a drove of deer, scampering down the valley. Here is an open spot. The ground bears evidence of many visitations. We notice many half burned sticks, the remains of a Shawnee campfire. A step further and there bubbles up, as pure and fresh as today, the crystal waters of Caldwell Spring, limpid, beautiful and refreshing. For untold centuries has this life-giving fountain sent forth his precious water to appease the thirst of man and beast.

Later came the pale face and the savage, the buffalo, and finally the deer retired before the crack of his unerring rifle. Over 100 years ago the hardy pioneer adventurers began to pour through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Onward they came westward and one afternoon the savage wilderness of this valley was disturbed by its first white settlers - Major Caldwell, of the English army, was the man.

Seeking the security and solitude of this valley he drove before him his cattle, scores of slaves and a train of well laden pack horses. He entered this beautiful valley; drank from the spring; was charmed and looked no further; but forthwith erected temporary residences and slave quarters on the hill above the spring. A large brick kiln was burned and the foundation of a great manor house was laid near where the school house now stands.

But all this was stopped as suddenly as it had begun; only the decaying building and crumbling foundation met the eyes of the next comers. This is all we know of Major Caldwell and his group, why the departure so soon without completing his home and farm land is unknown. But this is how the area came by it's name "Caldwell Springs."

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