The News Standard, Meade County Kentucky, Volume 4, No. 33, Friday, May 21, 2010, page A1.
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History rolls over the hills at Hill Grove Baptist
By Gerald W. Fischer
The News Standard
When you mention Hill Grove, a place comes to mind that has limited geography, like most cities or towns. You would expect a political border encompassing a village or hamlet that perhaps enlarges over time.
Hill Grove defies such expectations and yet continues to retain its place in history and the present while other Meade County places are found only in the dusty recesses of the history books.
Hill Grove, as were many other places, was named by early hunters to the area. Buck Grove, Hill Grove, Doe Run, Otter Creek, Jacky's Grove and Flippens Run were all named by early explorers to this area. Deer, bears, turkeys, wolves, panthers, and wild cats abounded in Hill Grove.
The area of "The Grove" was a hunters
See History, A2
From page A1
paradise, and the first explorers in the area included Squire and Daniel Boone. Squire Boone first named Hill Grove as "Black Oak Grove." In 1783, where it was renamed Hill Grove. Stith Valley, Hill Grove, Doe Run, and Otter Creek were the first settlements in Meade County.
The early settlements were usually a cabin or two made of logs, and a stockade of palisade logs enclosing a small defensive area for protection against Indian attacks. The first settler in Hill Grove was Benjamin Allen, and he was the first person buried in the oldest of four Hill Grove cemeteries.
The first settlement of Hill Grove was on a high hill marked today by a cell tower. It lies on the north side of U.S. Highway 60, between Shumate Lane and State Road 941. The old burying ground is high on the hill.
In 1798, Phillip Jenkins Jr. bought 700 acres in Hill Grove. He later sold 150 acres to Benjamin Allen, adding to his holdings, and the remaining 550 acres was sold to Abisha Ashcraft.
Other early settlers include John Wimp, and Ben Wooly Shacklett. John Wimp was a member of the Masonic Lodge receiving his degrees from a lodge in Europe. He was very proud of his membership and the fact that he attended lodge with George Washington in Fairfax, Va.
He died at the age of 98, and was buried with a prized Masonic medal in the Old Hill Grove Cemetery called The High Ground of Hill Grove. General Benjamin Shacklett settled in Hill Grove, burying his 96-year old grandmother in the old cemetery.
Ben Shacklett was a justice of the peace before Meade County was parceled off from Hardin County. In 1811 he became a captain in the army, and was promoted to major in the War of 1812 by General Wilcox.
When Meade County was formed in 1823, he was appointed the first sheriff, and served for several years before he died at his home in Hill Grove, in 1838. He was always called "General" as a sign of respect and admiration, although he may not have attained that rank.
In those days hogs ran free to eat the acorn and nut masts, roots and berries that abounded in the woods. Each owner would crop his swine's ears with a distinctive mark, so that his hogs could be rounded up and penned in the fall. These marks would be registered with the county, and Daniel Fulton of Hill Grove registeres his mark as a crop of the right ear, and a half crop of the bottom of the left ear. The first of the Kentucky "fence" laws required the crops to be fenced and the farm animals were allowed to roam free.
Simeon Buchanan was a soldier during the War of 1812 from 1812-1815, and was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1822.
His ordination was in Hardin County, and he moved to Hill Grove that same year. "After Ohio", now Wolf Creek was established in 1821, and that oldest Baptist church in Meade County served the Hill Grove area. He was a pastor for 22 years, and died June 27, 1863.
In those days church services were held once a month, and people came from all parts of the county to attend services. The first church in Hill Grove was called New Hope Baptist Church, and it was established in the area of Meadeville, June 29, 1822 with 14 members.
This first church met in the homes and barns of members, who came walking, riding horses or in buggies and wagons. Some historians have written that the Shacklett and Ashcraft women who met in their homes for prayer services were responsible for getting the men to build the church. Hill Grove Baptist church served Ekron, Stith Valley, Guston, Buck Grove, and Garrett.
In 1827 land for the church was bought from Jacob Hayden. The original church location is lost, but in 1841 land was purchased on Jeff Allen Hill for a new church in the same general area.
In 1897 new land was purchased and the present church was built. Four years later it burned, and a new church was erected on the site. It was dedicated on the last Sunday of July in 1904.
A third Hill Grove cemetery was located on the church grounds, but its use had to be discontinued because of water drainage and limestone deposits. The newest, and last Hill Grove cemetery is located across the road from where the church now stands.
When discussing Hill Grove, you cannot help but discuss Meadeville. The final location of Hill Grove Baptist church is about one-half of a mile north of Meadeville, as are the third and fourth Hill Grove cemeteries.
The second Hill Grove cemetery is located a mile or so further north of the church. That cemetery was also called Hill Grove. Stones in the second Hill Grove cemetery date from the 1830's, over the years the second Hill Grove cemetery has been called the Meadeville cemetery.
Meadeville became a town that grew up from a stagecoach stop on a route from West Point, Ky. to Hardinsburg, Ky. Meadeville was originally called "Good Springs," Kentucky because of the large spring that still flows thousands of gallons of water across Hill Grove Road today.
Two good roads ran more or less parallel to Hill Grove Road on either side east and west. Those roads were Stringtown, and Stith Valley Roads. A cross road went from Stringtown to the west from the Smith School House, thence eastwardly through the Board and Barnes places to the Stith Valley Road. The Shumate School House sat very near this road, now long in disuse.
ABOVE: The Hill Grove cemetery, High Ground of Hill Grove.
LEFT: Stage coach stop and improved springs located at the historic town of Meadeville.