Saturday, March 3, 2012

West Liberty

This evening I noticed many hits on my blog searching for West Liberty, Kentucky. This was the town founded around my 5th great grandfather Edmund Wells’ grist mill on the Licking River after 1816.

As of March 3, 2012, it is the town destroyed by a tornado.
West Liberty Kentucky, 41472, KY Nat'l Guard PAO ©3/2/12
Now I can only wait to see and hear what is left of the old homeplace as the reports come in from vicious tornado damage today. I read that no building was left untouched from damage. My visit there in 2007 and ‘08 now serve as heartbreaking ‘before’ photos. Here is a shot of the from the bank from 2007.
1st National Bank, West Liberty, Kentucky, 41472, Andrew D. Barron ©9/23/07
1st National Bank, West Liberty, Kentucky, 41472, KY Nat'l Guard PAO ©3/2/12

From a different time, 2007. I wonder how the building where my great-grandfather’s photography studio fared.
West Liberty, Kentucky, 41472, Andrew D. Barron ©9/23/07
West Liberty downtown, Kentucky, 41472, KY Nat'l Guard PAO ©3/2/12
West Liberty courthouse, Kentucky, 41472, Andrew D. Barron ©9/23/07
West Liberty courthouse, Kentucky, 41472, KY Nat'l Guard PAO ©3/2/12
The plaque reads:
The Old Mill millstone, West Liberty, Kentucky, 41472, Andrew D. Barron ©9/27/08
Morgan County Founded 1823
Nearby, on the Licking River, Edmund Wells built a grist mill in 1816 in what was then part of Floyd County. In 1823, Morgan County was formed out of portions of Floyd and Bath. With the newly commissioned justices meeting at Wells’s home, on March 10, in addition to Wells (1777-1846)they were Mason Williams, Isaac Lewis, John S. Oakley, John Williams, Thomas Nickell, Joseph Carroll, Fielding Hanks, and William Biddle.

The mill, which had served as a nucleus of the ‘Wells Mill’ settlement, continued as the focal point of the county road system and —upon 39 acres provided by Wells—West Liberty was established as the county seat. Wells donated two acres for the public square and later contracted to build the new county’s first jail and first courthouse.

The old millstone is still in place. Thank you to Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office for use of their photos. More photos are in their flickr photostream.

West Liberty courthouse, Kentucky, 41472, KY Nat'l Guard PAO ©3/2/12

Sorghum Festival, 2008:
Sorghum Festival, West Liberty, Kentucky, 41472, Andrew D. Barron ©9/27/08
Here is the old swinging bridge across the Licking River that used to join up to Wells Hill.
The Old Swinging Bridge, West Liberty, Kentucky, 41472
Today I recorded a song by Ted Lundy called The Old Swinging Bridge.
We built a dream across the old mill stream and though the years have gone by, I still keep remembering, here in my heart, and wonder if you wonder why.

I once wrote about my great grandfather Claude Wells, here on 9/18/07.


You can read more about a happy visit to West Liberty in 2007, here from 9/25/07
I finally figured out how to put my voice recorder with my camera video footage. I was unaware of the destruction in Morgan County, Kentucky today as I made some music videos and a few photographs. I shot these blossoms with the Instax 210, holding a glass 52mm close-up filter:
Instant film blossoms, Andrew D. Barron©3/3/12

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