Louisville's First Families -A SERIES OF GENEALOGICAL SKETCHES
Author - KATHLEEN JENNINGS
Published by THE STANDARD PRINTING CO.- Louisville, KY 1920
USGenWeb Project NOTICE:
In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be used by non-commercial researchers, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may not be reproduced in any format for profit, nor for presentation in any form by any other organization or individual.
The Churchill Family. Chapter V.
ARMISTEAD CHURCHILL, JR., born in Middlesex, Va., in 1733, was the founder of the Louisville family of that name. He was a captain of the Farquier Militia in 1759, and served in the Revolution with the rank of colonel. Col. Churchill married Elizabeth Bakewell in 1761. They settled in Farquier county, and to them a number of children were born. In 1787, when their youngest son, Samuel, was eight years old, the Churchills started for Kentucky with their family and their slaves.
Armistead Churchill came through Cumberland Gap and across the Wilderness Trail on a coach, driving four-in-hand. On reaching Louisville he was completely disgusted with the settlement, according to a tradition in the family, and would have turned back the next day, but for three reasons: the badness of the roads over which he had traveled, the Indians that might be encountered in the forests, and the fact that the Ohio river flowed down instead of up toward Virginia. Making the best of things he stayed, settling on land nearby and southeast of the city on a plot of ground, which as "Churchill Park"
was presented to the city by his great, great grandsons, Charles T. and S. Thruston Ballard and R. C. Ballard Thruston. Armistead Churchill was buried there.
Churchill Park is now part of the Remount Station at Camp Taylor, its present employment, serving a wartime need of the government, bringing it within the definition of the city's use of the property, which was given with the proviso that it be used for either park or playground purposes.
It was this Armistead Churchill, of Kentucky, who changed the spelling of the family name which was originally Churchhill. In the Churchill Bible brought from Virginia, and which was destroyed by fire not many years ago, the names of his first five children were entered as Churchhill, while in 1770 that of Ann, the sixth child, was set down as Ann Churchill, omitting an h.
William Churchill, the grandfather of Armistead, emigrated from England in 1664 to settle in Middlesex county, Va., and to become one of the most extensive of the Virginia planters of his time. His home, Bushy Park, on the bank of the Rappahannock river near Chesapeake Bay, was noted for princely hospitality in Colonial days. A descendant, the late Charles T. Ballard, built a handsome house at Glenview, "Bushy Park," preserving the name of the Virginia home
of his ancestor, now occupied by Mrs. Ballard and her daughter, Mrs. Charles Homer. They will move in the spring, however, for Mrs. Ballard recently sold Bushy Park to Judge Robert W. Bingham. Adjoining this estate is "Fincastle," which preserves the name of Fincastle county, Va., of which the site of Louisville was once a part, the home of another Churchill, Mrs. Alexander Pope Humphrey. On the other side of Bushy Park is Lansdowne, the home of S. Thruston Ballard, with its handsome grounds and residence.
Of the large family of Armistead and Elizabeth Churchill, three children are ancestors of Louisville folk. The fifth son, Henry Churchill, married Penelope Pope Oldham; the youngest son, Samuel Churchill, had married Abigail Oldham, the daughter of Col. William Oldham and Penelope Pope, and by his brother's marriage to his mother-in-law became her brother-in-law. To complicate the relationship of the descendants Charles T. Churchill, a son of Samuel and Abigail, married Sue Payne, granddaughter of Henry and Penelope Churchill. Henry Churchill was justice of the peace in Louisville in 1793, but in 1803 was assistant to Stephen Ormsby, judge of the first circuit court in Jefferson county. He was one of the trustees of the Jefferson Seminary in 1798, granted 6,000 acres of land by the
legislature. Later Henry Churchill removed to Elizabethtown.
Samuel Churchill was a farmer and landowner who interested himself in everything designed to advance agricultural pursuits. He was also a member of the Kentucky Legislature in both Senate and House.
Henry and Penelope Pope Oldham had a son, Alexander Pope Churchill, who married Mary McKinley, the father of Mary Moss Churchill, who married her cousin, Judge Alexander Pope Humphrey; the father of Eliza Ann Churchill, who married J. B. Payne, of Elizabethtown, and was the mother of Sue Payne, who married her cousin, Charles T. Churchill. Sue Payne and Charles Churchill have a son, Samuel Churchill, who makes Louisville his home. Another descendant of Henry Churchill who came to Louisville from Elizabethtown is Mrs. Edmund S. Crume (Elizabeth Grimes), who on her mother's side is descended from the Churchills and the Paynes, and on her father's side had as a great-grand mother, Maria Mervin Fontaine, of Louisville, who married Sterling Grimes, of Georgia, and who on her wedding day rode away, never to be seen again by any member of her family.
Mary Churchill, who married Richard Prather in 1797, was a sister of Henry and Samuel Churchill and had a daughter, Eliza, who
married James Guthrie at the home of her uncle, Samuel Churchill. James and Eliza Guthrie's daughter, Ann Augusta Guthrie, married Dr. William Caldwell, the mother of James Guthrie Caldwell, who married Nannie Standiford; of Junius Caldwell, who married Ella Payne, of Georgetown, and of Ann Eliza Caldwell, who married Ernest Norton, the father of Caldwell Norton.
Mary Guthrie married Richard Coke, of Logan county, and her grandson, Dr. Richard Coke, makes Louisville his home. Later she married John Caperton and was the mother of John H. Caperton, who married Virginia Standiford.
Mary Churchill Prather married a second time, Alexander Scott Bullitt, but there were no children of this marriage.
Samuel and Abigail Oldham Churchill had sixteen children, and their youngest, Julia, who married Dr. Luke P. Blackburn in 1857, lives in the city at her home corner of Third street and Park avenue.
Among their other children are the following, who figured in Louisville's society and civic life: Mary Churchill, who married Charles W. Thruston, mother of Fanny Thruston, who married Andrew Jackson Ballard. Fanny and Andrew Jackson Ballard were the parents of the Ballard men mentioned above.
Samuel Bullitt Churchill, who married Amelia Walker, was a prominent man of affairs in Kentucky and in St. Louis, where he edited a leading newspaper. His descendants here are the children of his son, John, and his daughter, Mary Churchill. John Churchill married Eva Ferguson and was the father of Matilda, Mrs. Herman Newcomb, and of Eva, Mrs. Frederick Smith. Mary Churchill married Dr. Richard Cowling, professor of surgery at the University of Louisville. Their children are: Matilda, Mrs. Arthur Sager; Louise, Mrs. Arthur Peter, and Amelia, Mrs. Karl Jungbluth, Jr.
William Henry Churchill was twice married; first to Kate Clark and later to Clarence Prentice's widow, Juila McWilliams Prentice. Mrs. Churchill lives with her sister, Mrs. J. H. Ranlett, on Ormsby avenue.
Abigail Prather Churchill married Meriwether Lewis Clark, but has no descendants here.
John Churchill, still another son of Samuel and Abigail, was twice married; first to a Miss Laurence, and after her death, at the age of 71, to Tina Nicholas. Their son, John Churchill, married Lucy Jones. William Henry Churchill and John Churchill had a home on Sixth street for many years, and were two of Louisville's most picturesque figures, distinguished-looking men, and practically always together. From their
father they inherited the land which is now Churchill Downs. Charles Thruston Churchill, referred to above, married Sue Payne, and was the father of Samuel Churchill.
Emily Churchill married Hampden Zane, lived in her later life with her sister, Mrs. Blackburn, and died here a few years ago. Her descendants are in Canada.
When John Churchill married Tina Nicholas their honeymoon was spent abroad, and it so happened that they were in London at the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Col. and Mrs. Churchill were given cards to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, and upon their arrival at the entrance were asked their name by the usher, one of Her Majesty's attendants. Hearing the distinguished looking gentleman say that he was John Churchill, the usher walked backward up the aisle to the very front pews of the chapel to seat whom he believed to be a Marlborough.
William Henry and John Churchill leased their land, which is now Churchill Downs, to their nephew, Meriwether Lewis Clark, the first president of the Louisville Jockey Club. Churchill Downs in 1875 was the Louisville Jockey Club Driving Park, the name being changed afterward. The race tracks which antedate Churchill Downs were Woodlawn, on the Westport road, and
Oakland, which was at the Seventh-street crossing. Early histories of Louisville record horse racing on what is now Market street as early as 1783, and a track at the foot of Sixteenth street, in the early part of the last century.