Three Rivers

A Kentucky Folk History

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About the Book

Kentucky is richly blessed with rivers. This book tells the stories of three of the most beautiful and historic: the Rolling Fork, the Nolin, and the Rough. Each is an unpredictable force of nature flowing through a land that varies from wide, sunny meadows to dark, rock-bound hollows.
Chapters describe the people who lived in the river valleys, including pioneers, frontier preachers, a future president, cave explorers, Confederate and Union soldiers, desperate killers, hardscrabble farmers, and inspired visionaries. Sometimes they were wasteful and violent and vain; at other times they were inventive and graceful and kind. Their descendants realized that survival had come to mean something new: living in harmony with the land and the rivers.

About the Author(s)

Dan Lee has degrees in history from Murray State University and Western Kentucky University. He lives in Hardin County, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Dan Lee
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 293
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9190-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4936-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Part One—The Rolling Fork
Introduction 5
One. The Struggle Begins 7
Two. Trailblazers 12
Three. Whiskey and Salt 22
Four. The Catholics Arrive 27
Five. The Struggles of Thomas Lincoln 34
Six. Steamboats and Railroads 41
Seven. Thunder in the Valley 46
Eight. Struggling Just to Live 60
Nine. Too Dry, Then Too Wet 64
Ten. The Rolling Fork Today 71
Part Two—The Nolin River
Introduction 83
Eleven. The First People 85
Twelve. The River Gets a New Name 90
Thirteen. Devil on the Loose 96
Fourteen. Two Presidents, Two Fathers 103
Fifteen. The Remarkable Stephen 109
Sixteen. Blue and Gray on the Nolin 118
Seventeen. The Prosperous Years 129
Eighteen. Progress 139
Nineteen. Hard Times 145
Twenty. The Nolin Today 152
Part Three—Rough River
Introduction 159
­Twenty-One. The Legend of Spanish Fort 160
­Twenty-Two. Settlers and Speculators 163
­Twenty-Three. Murder at Pine Knob 174
­Twenty-Four. Falls of Rough 182
­Twenty-Five. The Price of War 189
­Twenty-Six. Confederates 200
­Twenty-Seven. Sinews of Steel 207
­Twenty-Eight. Dying Time 218
­Twenty-Nine. That High, Lonesome Sound 225
Thirty. Rough River Today 234
Chapter Notes 241
Bibliography and Note to Readers 259
Index 273