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BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY, KENTUCKY
AREA COMMUNTIES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT

 

GLEN DEAN

 

          In a peaceful little valley about ten miles southwest of Hardinsburg lies one of the most picturesque and noteworthy communities to
be found anywhere in our Commonwealth.  Daniels Creek meanders right through the center of the little town, its water always being crystal
clear, except immediately after a heavy rain.  Since 1800, this little creek has furnished amusement for little boys, wonderment and a scientific
laboratory for probing adolescent minds, a mirror of enchantment for lovers, and an everlasting abundance of clear water for the farmers’ livestock.
  All of the hills rising from the creek bottoms are thickly wooded with white oak, black oak, sugar tree, and many of the other valuable timbers.
  This little creek valley runs for a distance of about six miles to where it empties into Rough River some two miles below the new Rough River
Dam.  This total valley, together with the upland farms on either side, constitute the community of Glen Dean.

          The residents of Glen Dean, from the very earliest of its existence have put a great emphasis upon education and always keeping it well
balanced with their religious life.  The old Goshen Baptist Church of Glen Dean was one of the first places of Christian worship in Breckinridge
County.  It was located on Long Lick Creek, on the old Uncle Ike Owen place, on what is now Leroy Jarboe’s farm.  Realizing the
necessity of Christian training, a group of settlers in the community met in 1808, and built the first church.

          Goshen was truly a suitable name.  It came from the Biblical community in Egypt.  It was located in the Easter section
of the Nile Delta where the Isralites were planted.  The word means, “A land of peace and plenty”.

          The first of these settlers to invade this section of the wilderness in our county were the Deans, Moormans, Owens, and Robertsons.  These were well-to-do families in the areas from which they came, bringing with them many slaves.

          James Moorman, the first to come to our county in 1800, was born in Campbell County, Virginia in 1776, the year of the signing of
the Declaration of Independence.  He was sheriff in Kentucky for many years.

          Summers Dean was the first member of that family to come to the Glen Dean community.  He was a native of Mercer County,
Kentucky, born in 1800 on April Fool’s Day.

          Thomas Owen, of Welsh descent, was born in North Carolina and migrated to Breckinridge County about the turn of the century.

          William Robertson was born in Virginia.  He came to Breckinridge County in the early eighteen hundreds, when he was
eleven years old.  He married Miss Sally Moorman of Glen Dean.  Thus began the Robertson clan.

          Whether it be the inherited traits of their forebearers or someone special elements found in the soil, I do not know, but for some reason
this community has produced more than its share of good brains and great characters.  Doctors, lawyers, politicians, statesmen, and soldiers are
among the products of this community.

          Glen Dean was named in honor of probably the largest land owner in the county at that time—a Mr. William Johnson Dean.
  William Johnson Dean was the brother of Henry Dean who married Miss Sarah McDonald.  She, it was, who was dropping corn behind
Colonel William Hardin at Hardins Fort when he was shot by the Indians, and threw him on his horse, and saved his scalp by getting him to the safety of the Fort.

          Prior to 1891, which year the railroad was completed through the valley, Glen Dean was just another name, but at this time it grew rapidly
as a boom town, and became the shipping center of the area.

          Before the days of the “Iron Horse” these farmers, most of whom were wealthy, were compelled to travel either to Cloverport or Hardinsburg
to dispose of their farm commodities and to buy the necessities of life.  They never seemed to realize the inconvenience attached to this sort of routine.
  But with the shrill of the locomotive and the puff of the steam through the glen of Daniels Creek, new ideas were generated in the bosoms of those who
set about to build a town of prominence at Glen Dean.

          The Hon. D. C. Moorman was the first chief officer of the town, being magistrate, while Wm. Owen was the first constable.

          There were many railroad employees and lumbermen working for the Dean Tie Company, who used Glen Dean as a trade center.  As a result storehouses and residences began to spring up like magic.

          Joe Mattingly has the distinction of building the first business place in Glen Dean.  He built and was proprietor of the celebrated hotel known
as the Glendean House.

          W. C. Moorman and C. Beeler were the first Glen Dean merchants to display their wares to the public.  Their primitive storehouse was a
box car, so divided as to serve for a public store, post office, and a city hall.

          By 1901, ten years after the coming of the railroad, Glen Dean had outgrown her class and it was necessary that she be incorporated into a city of
the sixth class with a board of town trustees, a police judge, and a marshall.  The town board consisted of W. C. Moorman, Joe Mattingly, I. H. Deweese,
T. W. Mattingly and J. M. Howard.  Perry Hoskins was the police judge, while the conduct of the city was under the jurisdiction of Marshall Dan Goodman.

          The town plan was laid out with three streets running the length of it:  Main Street, Johnson Avenue, and Mary’s Avenue, the last two took
their names from Mr. and Mrs. Johnson Dean, who gave the land for the town.  On Main Street was located the New Bank of Glen Dean.  There were two mercantile houses owned by Mr. C. Beeler, and Mrs. I. H. Deweese and W. C. Moorman, Mr. Joe Mattingly’s Hotel and the drugstore of
Dr. Dempster.  There were also in the eastern end of Main, several residences.  At the extreme lower end of Main Street was located the large tobacco
factory built by John Dean, son of Johnson Dean.  After his death Robert Moorman and Jess Howard operated it for the American Tobacco Company.
  Later it was rented to William Hensley of Hardinsburg.

          The Utopia School and several residences were on Johnson Avenue.

          Utopia School was built in 1893.  It consisted of three large rooms, two on the first floor, both used as classrooms.  The large room
on the second floor was used as a town hall.

          Professor Frank Lyons was the first principal.  Later Mr. Joel Pile, who in 1902, became the superintendent of county schools, was principal
with Miss Irene Board and Mary Moorman as teachers.  For several years there was a total enrollment of 224 with an average attendance of 100.

          The jail, or calaboose, as it was called, was located directly in front of Ernest Robertson’s store.

          Dave Moorman, son of Jess Moorman and grandson of James Moorman, the original settler, server our county in legislature in 1901, and is accredited
with successfully defeating a bill to divide Breckinridge County, making Hansen County of the eastern half.  Mr. Moorman was also president of the Bank of
Glen Dean which lasted only nine years.

          Jess Moorman, Dave’s father sometimes known as Devil Jess, rode a horse from Glen Dean to Virginia where he purchased a Negro slave woman
and her five sons for the sum of $2, 700.00.  The woman was old and he paid $200 for her and $500 each of the five boys.  He rode his horse through
Cumberland Gap and walked the slaves home.

          Ernest and Vick Robertson were engage in cattle and tobacco business in Glen Dean for years.  The re-dried annually, about 350,000 lbs. of
Burley for the Louisville Markets.  They also bought and sold some $150,000 worth of cattle and work stock.

          Ernest Robertson ran a general store in Glen Dean for forty years until he retired.  For several years his store made in the neighborhood of
$40,000 per year.

          In the early years of this community probably the most important man in town, other than the preacher and the doctor, was the village blacksmith.

          When a piece of machinery was broken it was the blacksmith who repaired it, or if beyond the point of repairing he made a new one.

          J. A. Mattingly was one of the better blacksmiths in the state.  Mr. Mattingly ran more than a blacksmith shop, he operated a manufacturing
plant.  In addition to sharpening plow points and colters, and the many other mending jobs from wheelbarrows to threshing machines, he annually turned out
some sixty to seventy plows and from ten to fifteen wagons.  Some of Mr. Mattingly’s wagons and plows lasted longer than the blacksmithing profession itself.
  Today a blacksmith shop may be found only in history.

          Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, “The Village Blacksmith,” tried to show the importance of this man to the total well-being of the community.  Ironically enough, the old High Wheel wagon, the Blacksmith Shop, and the Chestnut tree, faded from the picture at the same time.

          Dr. R. T. Dempster and his son, P. E. Dempster migrated from Canada to the Glen Dean Community where he and his son practiced for years,
alleviating human suffering.  They had their own drug store where they always kept on hand, a supply of any needed drug.

          The Dean Tie Company came into being in 1891, when the railroad made its maiden trip down Daniels Glen.  J. M. Howard was manager of
the firm and shipped an average of about 1, 400 car loads of ties and lumber annually.  Many of the ties were sawed at or near Glen Dean but many more were
hauled for a distance of 10 to 15 miles on wagons.  A majority of these ties were hewn with a broadax.  The standard cross-tie was 7 in. x 9 in. x 8 ft.

          The Dean Tie Company brought a lot of money into the south end of our county for many years.  Unfortunately very little care was taken in cutting
the trees, and one of our greatest natural resources was wantonly wasted.

          This little community reached beyond the boundary of our county or state.  Mr. Moorman Robertson, son of Charles Robertson, was converted
in the old Goshen Baptist Church.  He, as a young man, was a Breckinridge County school teacher and his salary was $15.00 per month.  He taught only
one school, then went to China as a missionary.

          As was previously mentioned, the people of Glen Dean kept their business life well balanced with their religion.  In the very earliest days of the
community, prior to 1808, the people met in different homes and held their religious services.

          It was not until 1808, that there was a church building in which to worship.  The Pioneer Goshen Church, on the old Ike Owen farm, on Long
Lick Creek, served as the center of religious activities until it was moved to a new location near the old Black Lick Bridge, on the Johnson Dean farm which Mrs. Dorsey
Brown now owns.

          This church is often referred to as the “Old Goshen Church,” as it is still remembered by some of the older residents of the community.  In 1900, it was decided to remove the church to Glen Dean to its present location.  In 1904, the first services were held in the New Glen Dean Goshen Baptist
Church, which stands there today with a sizeable membership.

          A Methodist Church was built in the town, which lasted for many years.  The church was built in 1903, and was in continual service until 1956,
when it was discontinued and its members moved to Hardinsburg.

          The family of William Johnson Dean dates back to the year 1000.

          The Dean family came from Denmark to Scotland, to England and Stephen Dean was one of the pilgrims who came on the Mayflower, and settled
at Plymouth.  From there he followed civilization westward.

          William Johnson Dean was the son of Summers Dean and Mrs. Amanda (Robertson) Dean of Virginia.  He owned 1700 acres of good crop
land lying along Daniels Creek, -- so named because a Negro man, named Daniel, drowning in its waters.  He donated the section of the valley to the town that
bears his name, Glen Dean.  It was originally spelled “Glendean”.

          Mr. William Johnson Dean was one of the outstanding farmers and stockmen of Breckinridge County.

          William Johnson Dean had nine (9) children:  Gordon Summers, John Allen, William John, Mary Elizabeth, Amanda Robertson, Jimmy Lee,
Margaret Wickliffe, and Charles Wickliffe.

          Judge John Allen Dean was a distinguished lawyer and served for a number of years as referee in the Bankruptcy court of the Western district
of Kentucky and was located at Owensboro, Kentucky.

          Margaret Wickliffe married Charles L. Cornwell.

          Charles L. Cornwell was the chief engineer for the railroad when its tracks were being laid through the village.  It was there he met Miss
Margaret, and to this union was born one son, Dean Cornwell.

          Dean Cornwell is one of the outstanding painters and illustrators of the United States.  Some of his outstanding works are his illustrations of
the “City of the Great King”, “Man of Galilee”.

          His drawings in the main rotunda of the Los Angeles Public Library and the decoration of the “Dame and Two Lunettes”, in the Lincoln Memorial
Building, Redlands, California, and the murals in the Raliegh room of the Hotel Warwick in New York City.

          In 1937, he did the murals for the new courthouse in Nashville, Tennessee, and also the murals for the new Government Pot Office in Morgantown,
North Carolina.

          The over-all community of Glen Dean will continue to live and make history, but since the county roads have improved and trucks have taken over
most of the shipping, cars have drained the passenger service and in 1941, the railroad pulled out of Glen Dean completely.  The town is only a lazy shell
of its former self.  The school consolidated with the McQuady school, there is no doctor, no tobacco warehouse, no hotel and no drugstore.  It lies at the end of our county’s paved road, a victim of history, with Daniels Creek and its clear bubbling water, the lone, unchanged survivor of a by-gone period.

 

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