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Document provides glimpse into county’s history

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'None but true men' urged to join South’s cause in April 1861

By Angela Rutledge

Baseball cards, stamps, coins and even rocks have helped create extensive collections for many people. However, there are few collections that can be truly meaningful for an entire community like the recent find by Carl Howell, Hodgenville attorney and Lincoln historian.

Howell’s grandfather built the Nancy Lincoln Inn near the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park and helped him develop his love for history, specifically for Abraham Lincoln. Now, he excitedly shares the news of his latest discovery with hopes that it will inspire interest and further research.

The find? A broadside from April 1861 requesting Confederacy supporters from Hardin, LaRue and Bullitt counties to attend three meetings led by two men, James B. LaRue and R.S. Forde. Broadsides were flyers written on one side of a large piece of paper once used to make public announcements or advertisements.

Howell, who has practiced law in the county since 1969, said the broadside was acquired through the Annual Rail Splitter Auction in which he participates yearly. This auction provides historic collectors a venue for selling their most prized possessions. According to Howell, the gentleman from New York City who runs the auction had contacted him saying, “I’ve got something that you’re going to love.”

The broadside was from another collector in New York. Howell, being an avid collector of Lincoln memorabilia and other items from that time period, became very interested when he heard the details of the relic. 

In the auction catalog, its value was estimated at $3,000-$5,000 and Howell was the lucky winning bidder at a little over $3,000 after paying buyer’s premium.

The broadside is 10 x 11 1⁄2 yellowed paper in excellent condition with only slightly worn edges and a few creases indicating that it was once folded up for transport in a gentleman’s pocket. The text reads:

TO ARMS!

All those young men of HARDIN, LARUE, and BULLITT Counties, whose HEARTS are with the down-trodden Southern people, and who desire to take part in the GREAT STRUGGLE now upon us are requested to report their names to JAS.B.LARUE or R.S.FORDE within the next ten days.  

All expenses will be paid and none but true men are desired.

After the full complement is made up an election of officers will be held, and those who are the choice of the Company shall occupy the different positions.

A military meeting will be held in Elizabethtown, Saturday, the 20th instant; Hodgenville, Monday, the 22nd instant and at Pitt’s Point, Saturday, the 27th instant.

April 1861.

Howell said this piece of history is exceptional for two reasons. First, this is the very earliest Civil War related broadside which mentions either Hodgenville or LaRue County. Second, the broadside requests attendance to a meeting in Elizabethtown which was only eight days after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter.

 “The first shots fired in the Civil War were at Ft. Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861,” Howell said. “This broadside reflects the mindset and heated feelings of most of LaRue County’s citizenry during the early days following this event and throughout much of Lincoln’s presidency.

The knowledge that can be gleaned from this rare artifact adds immeasurably to our local history and provides information not found in Kentucky history books or newspaper accounts,” said Howell.

Howell further explains that the names of those mentioned in the broadside may not have made the history books, but may indeed be ancestors to present day LaRue County residents. Therefore, this discovery opens the door for other historians to research information about Civil War history of LaRue and surrounding counties regarding their involvement in the war. Additionally, Howell hopes this discovery, at the very least, enlightens local residents as this forgotten door to history has been unlocked.

Sidebar

A collection of Carl Howell’s historic postcards will be on display at the M.I. King Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington in February.

Howell, a nationally known postcard collection, owns more than 20,000 pre-1920 Kentucky postcards and has authored three books about Kentucky history.

The display kicks off with a reception Feb. 15. Howell will present his Abraham Lincoln collection.

The program and is provided by the University of Kentucky Special Collections and Digital Programs. No admission fee is charged. The building will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information on the Lincoln Postcards exhibition, contact UK Special Collections and Digital Programs at (859) 257-8611.

 

Howell’s historic postcards on display in Lexington

A collection of Carl Howell’s historic postcards will be on display at the M.I. King Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington in February.

Howell, a nationally known postcard collection, owns more than 20,000 pre-1920 Kentucky postcards and has authored three books about Kentucky history.

The display kicks off with a reception Feb. 15. Howell will present his Abraham Lincoln collection.

The program is provided by the University of Kentucky Special Collections and Digital Programs. No admission fee is charged. The building will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information on the Lincoln Postcards exhibition, contact UK Special Collections and Digital Programs at (859) 257-8611.