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BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY, KENTUCKY
AREA COMMUNTIES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT

 

AXTEL

 

          The people of Breckinridge County have always been very patriotic. Through the War of 1812, the Civil War, the two great world conflicts
and the hot beds of confusion since the Korean crisis, Breckinridge County has always contributed her share of good fightingmen.

          In the south end of the county near Axtel, there is a very peculiar rock formation, called Sand Knob.  This knob is not more than twenty
or thirty feet in width at the top and the walls are practically perpendicular.  At the front of the knob it rises to over 110 feet high.  The back end
slopes off to meet the ridge overlooking Rough River Lake.  It is a very picturesque place and thousands of people visit it for picnics as it can be seen
from ten to twenty miles away on a clear day.  It was on this knob that a celebration worthy of mention and characterizing the patriotism of the Breckinridge
County people was held.  At the end of World War U, as soon as word had penetrated that portion of the county that the Armistice was signed, word
was circulated that there would be a flag raising on top of Sand Knob.  People came from every corner of the county and Mr. Sidney Owen rode his
horse up on top of the knob carrying with him the American Flag, in what he called a befitting fashion.  The main speaker of the occasion was Father
Odendall.  Today the knob is owned by Hughes Goodman who is planning to, at some future date, develop it into some kind of a tourist attraction.

          Axtel itself came into being in a rather unique way.  One of our first industries was located near Axtel on what is now known as the
Bowles place.  It now belongs to Hughes Goodman.  It was a tan yard, owned and operated by a Mr. Billy Cannon, the same one that was impaneled
on the first grand jury that met in Hardinsburg in April 21, 1800.  People for miles around brought their hides there, whether cow, horse, or mule, to have
them tanned.  There was a certain kind of oak bark that he used to tan the leather.

          Many of the families in the early days of the frontier were obliged to make their own shoes or go barefoot, which thing they did in the warmer months,
except on special occasions.  With the tan yard and plenty of good leather it was only natural that another citizen of that community should take up the trade
of cobbling.

          Elias Rhodes, who was the first of the clan to come to the county in the early eighteen hundreds, was the shoe cobbler.  He is reputed to have
been one of the finest shoemakers in this part of the state.  Elias Rhodes was the father of Frank, the father of Billy, the father of Francis, living now at McDaniels.

          Soon after the country around Axtel was settled and several families had moved into the community, some of the earliest being that of Cannons,
Bennets, McCrackins, Jarboes, Owens, and McClellands, there arose the need for a post office.  As yet there was no name for the community, and one must
be had before they would be allowed to have a post office.  Mr. Bennett, who was one of the leading citizens, wrote to the Postmaster General and asked him
to give them a name for their post office which they had applied for.  His letter read like this: “Dear Sir.  We have wrote to ax yo to tel us a name fo our
post office.”  The postmaster answered his request and named it Axtel.  These things sound funny to us today, but these were great men who worked
hard and got the job done and left us a great heritage.

          The Methodist Church was built in 1913, and was torn down in 1958.  It was the only Protestant church in the community.  The author’s wife was born the day the church was dedicated and twenty-five years later was the first person to be married in it.  It continued to act as a beacon
light in the community until the Rough River Dam was built and it was below the government easement line; therefore, it had to be moved to a new and higher location.

                   I wonder why that church was ever built.

                   Was it because men feared the wrath of God?

                   Was it because their hearts were full of guilt?

                   For trampling his love beneath the sod.

                   Our sins are never healed by the rod.

                   Nor was that why that structure there was raised.

                   Each Sabbath morning found them as they trod

                   To offer adoration there and praise.

                   That’s why the church was built and why always.

                   It pays to plant your feet on “higher ground”.

                   That Church is gone, God pity us these days,

                   For in that little Church is where I found

                   The grandest thing that ever comes in life,

                   A vow was made and She became my wife.

         

          The new church was built in 1958, on Highway 108 two miles north of the Rough River Dam.  Probably the oldest member of the
congregation is Mr. C. T. Jarboe, who helped to build the old church and lived to see it torn down and was very instrumental in getting the new one built
where it stands today.

 

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