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Features

  • E.S. Ferrill shared this information about his grandfather, William Ferrill. (The story was found on a genealogical website.)

    William Ferrill came to LaRue County (then Kentucky County, Virginia), from Culpepper, Va., in 1788. He came when a very small child with his mother, a young widow.

    His mother’s brothers, John and James Howell, accompanied them on horseback.

  • In LaRue County’s history, there have been few entrepreneurs to match Edward Stanton Ferrill.

    Ferrill, the grandfather of Linda Back of Hodgenville, turned a small drugstore in Buffalo into a booming wholesale business during a time when almost every other business was struggling or going belly-up.

    The secret to his success? He never went into a new venture until he had the cash saved to start it.

    “E.S.” as he was known, was born Feb. 19, 1862, to Henry and Mary Jane Ray Ferrill. He was raised on a farm on the Rolling Fork River.

  • The Buffalo Elementary School’s gym has a history that reaches back to the 1800s when it was built not as a gymnasium, but as an academic wing of East Lynn College, which longtime Buffalo resident John T. Meers said originally opened in 1860.


    “The original structure was T-shaped and what is now the gym contained classrooms which the college used,” Meers said. “When they separated the two buildings, they moved a section that became a lunchroom on the bottom floor and Masonic and Eastern Star lodge above, and the other part became a gym.”


  • Growing up in Buffalo in the 1930s and ‘40s was a lot like living in the idyllic, if fictional, Mayberry, according to local businessman Joel Ray Sprowls.

    “Everything was laid back; there was no rushing around like today,” said Sprowls, who attended Mount Tabor School and graduated from Buffalo High School in 1946.

    Though the atmosphere was relaxed, Sprowls and the other kids in town always found plenty to occupy them.

  • As far as local historians can tell, Buffalo started with the first house built by James Creal in 1848. In 1854, a gristmill was built on the creek, and the next year the Rev. John Duncan and W. L. Creal built a general merchandise store.
    One day in the Duncan-Creal store, someone brought in a large animal bone. It was agreed that it was the rib of a Buffalo since there were buffalo wallows along the creek. Someone suggested they should name their town “Buffalo Wallow.”

    Fortunately, “Wallow” was dropped in following years.

  • Jodi Johnson gives riding lessons at Wayne Ridge Farm outside Upton.

    Johnson, who says horses have the ability to “speak to you and heal you,” has the responsibility of helping children and horses communicate when human interaction is particularly difficult.

    She oversees a therapeutic program for autistic children, where kids with the disorder come to ride horses, improve their motor skills and increase their communication ability.

  • The Upton branch of West Point Bank is not an ordinary bank with ordinary decorations.

    Instead, it resembles a small museum.

    From the first moment that you walk through the doors, your eyes are drawn to the large and dark stained, glossy bar that is the teller’s castle.

    The bar, patented in December of 1903, was purchased by the bank’s founder, Joe Tobin, in the sunny state of California. It was placed in the building before its opening day in 2008.

  • Gold, silver, leather and glass have all been used to create pieces that have adorned the fingers, necks, arms, ears and heads of women and men since the reign of man began.

    Sarah Nunn, of Upton has found that for her pieces of jewelry – regular materials will not do. She uses horsehair and the hair from other livestock such as cattle in her designs.

    Damascus Creations, a home-based jewelry operation, was established by Nunn in August 2012.

  • Upton wound up in the national spotlight in 2010 after a judge ordered the removal of religious signs near the Upton exit of Interstate 65.

    The state said the signs require a permit, which was not purchased.

  • Along the road into Upton, right past the town welcome sign, lies a church that was established in 1927 – Walnut Hill Baptist.

    Although the building’s white paint is peeling from the wood siding, and the parking lot lies vacant, the history and memories stored in its walls are irreplaceable.

    The congregation was established in 1927 and met at a nearby schoolhouse until the church’s construction was completed in 1929.

  • What’s the best way?

    Rider’s Best Way ... or Rider’s Grocery, as the now Hometown IGA in Upton was once called.

    During the 1930’s, Leon Rider, the stepfather of current IGA owner Larry McKinley, operated a small grocery store, named Rider’s Grocery.

    The store opened in 1936 and served the Upton community for 44 years providing general grocery items, as well as feed for livestock.

    Inside additions, including a deli and an ice cream cooler, led to the store’s name being changed to Rider’s Market.

  • A railroad town, Upton had a depot that was built in 1857 by George Upton.

    The depot was later sold by Upton to the L&N or Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company in the early 1900’s.

    Once the railroad was established, Upton became a shipping point for cattle, tobacco, produce and timber; and also served as a main form of transportation for locals.

    “When I was going to college in Western Kentucky – Bowling Green, I took the train – you just flagged it down and got on,” said Upton native, Larry McKinley.