The History of Community Names in Montgomery County
(As taken from a letter sent to Judge Thomas D. Grubbs by Edward C. O'Rear in 1949)




Newmarket

Newmarket was the name given in later years to a railroad stop of the C. & O. Railway about one and one-half miles southwest of Mt. Sterling, so named because it was the shipping point of the old McBrayer distillery, manufacturing New Market whiskey. It was the only distillery in the county and the only one ever located in the county. It was never a financial success. It was originally the site of Maneer's Mill. The distillery has long since been out of operation, and the little settlement there, consisting of a number of small houses, is designated as "McBrayer Springs", rather than "New Market".

Camargo

In the Mexican war Captain Turpin of Montgomery County raised a company of volunteers, who served with credit in the Unites States Army in actions in Mexico. Upon their return many of them having gone from the southeastern part of the county, they found a wide place in the Big Road, as the old highway leading into the mountains was called. There had been built a blacksmith shop (Foster's) and John Pendleton's wagon shop, and two or three residences, Dr. Ricketts', the Botts' and the Kitchens'. The soldiers dubbed the place "Camargo" in memory of a city of considerable note in north central Mexico, which they had visited. No doubt the euphony, and maybe some irony, suggested it. The Mexican city of that name was in honor of a world-famed beauty of the sixteenth century, whose charm had entranced many of the capitals of Europe.

Adjacent to the village of Camargo is the remnant of an old fort, evidently that of the prehistoric race of mound builders, who left many evidences of their having had permanent abodes in what is now Montgomery County. As the "mounds" are north of Camargo, and in and near Mt. Sterling (or they once were there before a thoughtless if not careless era razed them) and as this is the only fort in arrangement anywhere near, it is deducible that it was used by that ancient people as their citadel against attacks from the mountain region, lying but eight or ten miles to the south. It is the first flat country found north of the mountains, and a natural gateway to the ancient settlements from the hill country. The Methodist Church at Camargo was first called "Fort Chapel", originally built about 1820, and was located near the edge of the ancient fort. Though more than ninety years old, it is maintained in excellent condition of repair and use. These evidences in juxtaposition of destructive war, and peace on earth, mark the march of centuries over that land.

Howard's Mill

Howard's Mill is in the near vicinity of Morgan's Station, a block house rendezvous built by the first settlers as protection against Indian forays. It was the only one in what is now Montgomery County, and was, in April 1793 attacked by Wyandotte Indians on their last invasion of Kentucky, one of the last to occur in that part of the state. The Indians surprised and took the fort, carrying away a number of women and children, some of whom were killed, but some were returned after the peace of 1795. That was before Mt. Sterling was settled. Beside the strategic location of Morgan's Station, Howard's Mill is on the road from Mt. Sterling to Olympia Springs, long a noted watering place resort. It was near also the Forge Iron Works on Slate Creek, where iron ores were smelted and made into cannon balls that served General Jackson at New Orleans. In those times the Howards Mill settlement was of some note. When steam was substituted for water power, and the rich ore deposits of the northwest outmoded Old Forge, and the roadhouse took over the pleasure seekers who erstwhile made Olympia famous, old Howards Mill fell into "innocuous desuetude" as an active business center.

Howards Mill was the site of an old water mill of ambitious proportion and capacity for its time, long before steam was introduced, built on Slate Creek and operated by the Howards -- an old and famous mercantile family of the county. Capt. James Howard, for a long time postmaster at Mt. Sterling, and prior thereto County Court Clerk, was of that family. The mill dam stood the test of many years and floods. Then Mt. Sterling installed water works for the city, the waters of Slate Creek impounded by the dam were readily available for an adequate supply. A mural of the mill and dam may be seen on the wall of the Montgomery Hotel at Mt. Sterling. The village is about six miles southeast of Mt. Sterling.

Stepstone

Stepstone was obviously suggested by the rock formation of that stream which leads at the Hinkston water shed east of Mt. Sterling and empties into Slate Creek. The bed of this stream is of rock ledges, broken at intervals in steps of a few inches each in its descent. The C. & O. Railway Company's line is down its valley. Once a station at that point called "Stepstone" was maintained and maybe is yet so, about five or six miles from Mt. Sterling. The village grew up about the station and bears its name and that of the creek.

Stoops

Dr. A. B. Stoops and his brother Walter Stoops, and their families, moved to Montgomery County from Nicholas in the eighties and located down the Hinkston Valley near Springfield Church. A post office was established there for the neighborhood at Walter Stoops' place. The office and settlement took the family name, a goodly family. One of the bloodiest and most bravely fought battles of the Indian Wars in Kentucky - known as "Estill's Defeat" - was on Hinkston in the vicinity of the present Stoops settlement. Capt. James Estill, the leader of the settlers and most of his followers were killed in the action. The Indian loss was even greater. The story of that battle is an epic in the history of pioneer Kentucky.

Springfield is one of the oldest church buildings in the county. It is a brick structure, surrounded by a grove and the many graves of its earlier members. The families of the Hamiltons, the Owings, the Youngs, the Lanes, the Byrds, the McClures, all Presbyterians, were among its patrons. Famous of yore for the character of its membership and many stirring meetings, it is fallen into scant use and upkeep these days, a lonely landmark toward Heaven. It was near the site of this church and about the site of Stoops, that Boone and Calloway overtook and routed the Indians who had captured and carried away from Boonesboro the daughters of those two intrepid pioneers. The rescue of the maidens is a historic incident of those stirring trying times.

Though the neighborhood called "Stoops" is but little more than a name now, as villages go, it has rich fellowship of pioneer lore.

Judy

Judy was named for an old county family who lived in the neighborhood of Somerset Church on the Maysville Pike. Some of them live there yet.

Ewington

Ewington is a station on the C. & O. Railway east of Mt. Sterling at its crossing of the old Owingsville turnpike. It was named for Col. Jack Ewing of Bath County, the father of Mrs James Gatewood, who with her family then lived in that neighborhood. She was the mother of Robert and Colonel Gatewood and Mrs. Dave Fox who yet reside in the vicinity. Col. Ewing was a leading citizen of Bath, and a commanding influence in both Bath and Montgomery.

Sideview

Sideview, doubtless named for the fact the village is located practically on one side of the road and valley on Paris turnpike, near Bourbon line.

Jeffersonville

Jeffersonville has no local significance in its naming that I am aware of.

Levee

In the early days of settlement of this part of the country, a map maker came down by boat or canoe, it is supposed by way of the Ohio, Kentucky and Red Rivers. Following Lulbegrud Creek, he rowed as far as the water-depth would permit, then tied up his craft and marked that spot "Levee". Known in the county as "The Levee," Levee, Kentucky, is about six miles south of Mt.. Sterling, has a post office, general store, church, school, and number of very nice homes.

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