Oldham County Fun Fact 7
Did you know this Oldham County Fun Fact 7?? The first two post offices in Oldham County were Westport, on the Ohio River, and Floydsburg, near Crestwood.
Original Article can be found on The Courier Journal website.
History of Mail Service and Post Offices of Oldham County
The first two post offices in Oldham County were Westport, on the Ohio River, and Floydsburg, near Crestwood. Floydsburg, one mile outside of Crestwood, was located along a major stagecoach route between Louisville and New Castle, which went on to Frankfort. It collected mail for the central part of the county. This was a stage coach “toll” road, and people paid tolls here to pass through.
The Duncan Memorial Chapel and Floydsburg Cemetery mark the location of this pioneer town. If you walk through the entrance of the cemetery, there is a small knoll where a pioneer church stood with a school. Keep on walking and you will see a series of very old gravestones, some of which we believe to be the oldest in the county.
There were also road overseers who were appointed by local judges to make sure their assigned portions of roads were kept free of debris. Much of this upkeep relied on the property owners, who could be fined if the roads were impassable. In addition there were “plank roads,” which were actually composed of long wood planks to help ease road travel. The longest plank road was U.S.42, passing by the Goshen Post Office and on into Prospect.
Of course, there were several other major stagecoach lines that developed in Oldham County that delivered mail, one of which connected at Beard’s Station, which later was renamed Crestwood. A densely forested area of hardwood trees of hickory, ironwood, beech and popular adorned the area during its early history, which began around 1850. The community’s founder was Joseph Beard, son of William and a nephew and direct descendant of John Campbell — the leader of the Campbell clan, which has deep roots in Scottish history.
Beard was living in Lexington when he purchased 263 acres from Henry Harden and wife. Beard rented his farm out until 1850 when he and his wife, Sarah P. and eight children are first listed in the tax records for Oldham County. Until that time, the farm was rented, and a tax record of 1841 indicated the farm was rented to James Antle of Oldham County, who secured his debt to Beard for the sum of $250.
Antle guaranteed his debt with his earthly belongings, which were listed as: “one four horse wagon, one gray mare, one (dun) horse, one bay mare, thirty-four head of hogs, three (milk) cows, two yearling calves, one (sucking calf), twenty heads of geese, four mare of gear, three easy ploughs, one shovel plough, two one horse barrows, one mantel clock, two presses, one bureau, three beds and bedding, two fancy bedstands, one folding table, six split bottom chairs, one side saddle, two bridles, one lot of cupboard ware, skillet and one pot.”
When Beard and his family moved into Oldham County, he was 47 and his wife was 42. He brought 20 slaves and a band of backwoodsman who began clearing the forested wilderness. Beard supervised the clearing of the forested area and began building log cabins. Stone was quarried nearby, and Joseph’s residence, “Woodland,” was built approximately in the same vicinity of Waldeck farm today on Ky.22. Beard and his wife were known to have entertained lavishly, and he became an important factor for the development of the community.
Prior to the railroad, travel to Beard’s property was by stagecoach, with one of the most notable routes made by the Samuel Grimes stage coach line. The Grimes line traveled a round trip of 52 miles from LaGrange to Louisville in one day, twice a week, passing through Beard’s land along the route.
In anticipation of the railroad, Beard purchased a 2-acre tract in May 1851. The purchase was described as “being in the County of Oldham and State of Kentucky on the Louisville & Frankfort Railroad where the road from Floydsburg to Brownsboro crosses the same. …”
The track was completed Sept. 8, 1851, and Beard demonstrated his public spirit by donating some ground for a railroad to be built, but not the 2-acre tract that he had previously purchased. Instead, he built a small warehouse at the 2-acre tract, which became known as Beard’s Station, and Beard became one of the few individual owners of a railway station in his day. In 1857 he sold the Beard’s Station property to Owen Dorsey.
Part Two will examine mail delivery via steamboats and other old post offices that no longer exist.