Louisville's First Families -A SERIES OF GENEALOGICAL SKETCHES
Author - KATHLEEN JENNINGS
Published by THE STANDARD PRINTING CO.- Louisville, KY 1920
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Dr. McMurtrie observed that the majority of the inhabitants, engaged in adding dollar to dollar, devoted no time to literature or "to the acquirement of those graceful nothings, which, of no value in themselves, still constitute one great charm of polished society. Such is the character of the inhabitants of this place, in general, "ma ogni medaglio ha il suo reverso." There is a circle, small 'tis true, but within whose magic round abounds every pleasure that wealth, regulated by taste, can produce, or urbanity bestow.
There, the "red heal" of Versailles may imagine himself in the emporium of fashion. and, whilst leading beauty through the mazes of the dance, forget that he is in the wilds of America.
Since that time many families have come to Louisville to take up their residence; aristocratic families of Virginia, families representing the flower of the far South, families of culture and refinement from across the Mason and Dixon line, those who came over in the Mayflower, and others on the "W. C. Hite," as one society leader cleverly described the arrival of her antecedents in our midst. These good people have made their place in the community, are indispensable to the city's business, social, and club life, but in connecting what in Dr. McMurtrie's day made society a rare and beautiful phase of life in a bustling frontier town, with the Louisville society after a hundred years have past, attention must be devoted and confined to the first families from an historians viewpoint. but first families in the other sense, too, for they represent today what they then stood for in position, culture and refinement.
They formed the nucleus of society in 1819 but they came to the beautiful country of the Beargrass before 1800.
The population of the town in 1780 was incorrectly rated by an early historian as thirty
inhabitants though the figure was nearer one hundred and fifty so it should not be difficult to separate the sheep from the goats, although it would appear that there were only sheep among the early settlers, leaving the other class to be composed of marauding Indians, who bitterly contested possession of every clearing the original group of cotillon leaders and future bank presidents made. Kentucky, at that time the Fincastle county of Virginia, was known as the land of blood, but was desired by Virginia gentlemen for immigration purposes, no less heartily than by the Indians of the North and South who had marked it for their own as a hunting ground. The Indians bit the dust in many of these encounters, but heavy toll was taken among the pioneers, whose families counted possession of Kentucky homes all the more dear in their tragic association.