Breckinridge County, Kentucky
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|BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY, KENTUCKY|
|AREA COMMUNTIES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT|
|SAMPLE AND UNION STAR|
The first white man to set foot upon Breckinridge County soil was
at Sample. Colonel Hardin and his party of settlers
landed in Sample at the falls of Sinking Creek in 1780. Sample is antique little community within itself, lying mostly in the little valley
of Sinking Creek. Mystic is up the railroad tracks about four miles at the head of Dry Valley. Union Star is about four miles
north east of Sample on the road from Stephensport to Webster.
Union Star was settled in 1809. Lieutenant Adam Barr was one of
the earliest settlers in this section of the county. He
was an officer in the Revolutionary War. Mr. Barr was born in Virginia in 1757, and moved to Breckinridge County soon after the
war was over.
Adam Barr was with William Hardin when he went with eighty men to
dislodge the Indians in the Saline Creek section
of Illinois. This was only a short distance below Evansville, Indiana.
He bought a large tract of land at the head of Sugar Tree Run
between Union Star and Mystic. His oldest son,
Adam, Jr., along with Peter Cashman were in the War of 1812. They traveled to New Orleans and fought with Andrew Jackson in
the Battle of New Orleans. After the war was over they walked all the way back to Union Star.
Joseph Allen fought in the War of Independence with Adam Barr and came with him to Kentucky.
The Joseph Allen family settled in this county in 1799. More will be said about Joseph and John Allen later.
Union Star, like all the rest of the frontier communities, gave early attention to their religious and education well-being.
The first few years of the settlement found its people primarily
interested in staying alive and clearing the forest and building
In the year 1845, Thomas D. Helm donated a plot of land in Union Star, upon which to build a school house and a church.
The first school house was built out of logs. Several years
later a new and larger school was built on the same ground.
This one was a frame building with weather-board siding. This old school building may be seen there today even though it is
In 1848, Mr. Ed McGlotham left a sum of money in a trust fund for
the school. The interest amounted to $100.00
per year, which was used to hire a teacher for two extra months. This made Union Star the only nine-month school in the county and
apparently it paid off. Mr. Horace McCoy taught there for six years, from 1911 to 1916. In his 1916 class, he had forty-two
students. Ten of these became school teachers. These were Gertie Barger, Grace McCoy, Ruellma Dowell, Ernest Hesler,
Goldie Stewart, Ora Kellems, Ruth Wagner, Katherine Curry, Ruby Dowell, and Orville McCoy.
During the spring term many of the more educationally-minded
students from the neighboring schools would enroll after their
schools were closed. One such student was Sherman Beauchamp, who lived at Sample.
I chose him because he is well known and admired in every crack
and crevice of the county. He is the Chief
Maintenance man for the County School System. In any school or bus route in the county, Beauchamp may be seen within minutes
following any type of mechanical breakdown.
During the Depression of the Thirties, the money left the school
by Mr. McGlotham was lost when the bank failed, and the
Union Star school was forced to return to its seven-month term.
The last classes were held in this old school in 1945, at which
time the new consolidated Miliner School was erected at the
The Union Star Methodist Church was organized about the same time, and services are still being held there.
In 1887, when the railroad came through the north end of our
county, it completely revolutionized the community. Up
until this time all produce was hauled to Stephensport to be shipped to market by river. With the coming of the railroad, a store was
established at Sample. This little community soon established a unique reputation, something akin to Las Vegas. There was a
race track, the remains of which may still be seen. It was about one half mile north of Sample.
There is a ten or fifteen-acre field that is level, with the land
rising sharply around three sides forming a perfect and natural
stadium. The hills surrounding the field or race track was heavily wooded, making it ideal for spectators. Camp Ground
Hollow lies at the end toward Sample. This is so named because it was used for camping by those staying at the races.
In the earlier days of Sample following the coming of the
railroad, it was probably more widely known for its chicken
Cock pits were arranged at different places from Pierce, a little station about two miles above Sample, to Hog Pen Hollow, on Shot
Pouch Creek. Shot Pouch Creek intersects with Sinking Creek just below the falls.
Sample went by the name of Chicken Bristle for several years.
It was so named by the railroad men because of the
chickens that were brought there to the fights.
In the latter part of the eighteen hundreds, people came from
Louisville, Cincinnati, Owensboro, Evansville, and St. Louis,
to fight roosters here.
Mr. Bud Beauchamp, who lives at the junction of Dry Valley and
Sugar Tree Run, tells of having seen many of the fights with
his father, John W. Beauchamp.
W. K. Riley, Cam Riley, Kerry Applegate, and Mr. Pegturl from Owensboro were frequent visitors.
Mr. Bill Hook, Finley Miller, John Beauchamp and others from
Breckinridge County, had some of the best fighting chickens
in the United States.
Old Yellow Legs, raised by Bud Beauchamp, was about as famous in
the cock fighting world, as was Man O War in the
race horse world. Old Yellow Legs was a cross between a Blue Naragansett Hen and a Red English Cock. Yellow Legs
was abnormally large, weighing 8 ½ pounds and was a deep red with long yellow legs. Mr. Bud Beauchamp trained him by throwing
him down hard on his feet on the ground or against a wall, where he would land on his feet and strengthen his legs. Yellow Legs was
too big to be in most paired fights, so he was usually in shakebag matches. Old Yellow Legs fought in Chicken Bristle, Louisville,
Cincinnati, Evansville, Owensboro, Canelton, and St. Louis without losing a fight.
A lot of big money came and went from Sample. At both the
race track and the cock pits there were some
The quality of character of the men who frequented this little
sporting world was superb. Never was there record of
any violence or ungentlemanly behavior.