by Terry Edmondson
Before 1866, Hardscrabble (Cherry Grove) was a large scope of land in which James Gould, Ern and Bill Litell, and Thomas Clark had settled, probably through the Homestead Act of May, 1862. In 1866, the Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific Railroad (C N O T P) bought some of the land from the settlers in order to build their railroad. Specifications as to the building of the fence was settled between the landowners and the railroad company. The fence posts, probably of locust wood, were eight feet apart with thirteen strands of barbed wire and a steel railing on top. In 1899, William Henry Spicer came to Hardscrabble from Falmouth, Kentucky. Mr. Spicer started a small general store and a blacksmith shop with the help of Mr. Costello who helped around and did most of the smithing. The C N O T P became known as the Q and C Railroad (Queen for Cincinnati and C for Crescent City, later known as Knoxville).
I learned that William Trimmel had about ten slaves in 1895 [!] and about 1,000 acres of land. William Trimmel's house burned down one July when the firecrackers they were shooting went up on the roof and started a fire. James Gouge ran a legal distillery in a hollow on what is now land belonging to Robert Willoughby. The old chimney of the distillery is still standing today. Ben Brumback and his brother ran a grist mill; the water from the mill pond in front of the house turned the wheel to grind the corn into meal. All the people in the community brought their corn to the brothers to be ground.
There were several railroad crossings along the Lexington Pike. At one crossing a grocery store was built when the railroad was built. The railroad workers bought their food there while they worked in that part of the country. The Post Office was located in Spicer's Store. The mail was kept locked in a cedar desk four feet long. The train delivered the mail and picked it up with a crane five tenths of a mile away from the post office. The Post Office was closed in 1905. The Post Office was called Cherry Grove because almost everybody had cherry trees in their yards; then the name of the town was changed from Hardscrapple to Cherry Grove. William Ackman taught a little one-room elementary school in Cherry Grove. School was held only five months of the year because of winter snows.
From a collection of essays written in American Literature Eleven. The class was taught by Ms. Hazel Ogden of Grant County High School in the 1963-1964 school year, and was typed by the typing classes of Mrs. Mattie Cox. It is copyrighted by the Grant County Schools, and is used here with their kind permission. We found a copy in UK's King Library.