Tag Archives: Calloway Co. KY

Devil’s Pulpit

When people first hear about Devil’s Pulpit, they might assume it is a place of fright and horror. A cold, dreaded place filled with fear and uncertainty. But what if I told you Devil’s Pulpit, found in southeastern Calloway County, Kentucky near New Concord, was a serene and peaceful place, filled with natural beauty and wonder?

Devil’s Pulpit

Devil’s Pulpit is located about 200 yards off Deerberry Lane in the Blood River bottoms. This rock formation sits up high on a steep hill overlooking the valley below. Situated at about 500 feet above sea level, the pulpit rises 130 feet above the river and provides a great vista. The only sign of civilization is a communications tower in the distance. Various types of trees can be seen everywhere, with a few of them even growing on top of the rock.

But why would such a place be known as “Devil’s Pulpit”? There certainly isn’t anything frightening about the hill. In fact, it reminded me a little of the Smoky Mountains (partially because it was 35° and spitting snow when I explored it). However, according to local legend, something terrible occurred around these famed rocks.

The Legend of Devil’s Pulpit

It was 1861, and the US was at the start of the Civil War. The Union forces were notorious for killing farm animals that belonged to the locals.

Devil’s Pulpit

A New Concord girl, who was about 13 years of age, loved her mare. She cringed at the thought of seeing her beloved animal murdered by the South’s enemies. After seeking a safe place to hide her horse, she found a spot on a hill near some large rocks. A couple of the rocks were situated perfectly to provide refuge for her adored animal.

Everyday, the girl would visit the mare to bring it food and water and provide it company. As the months went by and the war got worse, her pet remained sheltered. One day, when she went to the rocks to visit the mare, she was shocked to find a wounded Union solider near the rocks. He was too weak to find food or water, and the locals certainly wouldn’t provide help. The girl felt very sorry and began to take care of him.

Everyday, she would take sustenance to the soldier and would clean his wounds. Over time, the two fell madly in love. Shortly thereafter, the unthinkable happened – she got pregnant. Now, getting pregnant out of wedlock was frowned upon in the 19th century. But getting impregnated by a “Yankee” was earth-shattering.

She decided to keep it secret as long as she could, before her and her lover would run off. She wouldn’t mind running away, for her father was abusive, especially after the death of her mother. He became suspicious after noticing his daughter spending a considerable amount of time away from the house.

One day, he trailed his daughter to the pulpit. When he arrived, he was horrified to find the Union soldier there with his arms wrapped around his daughter. Shocked and extremely nervous, the girl told her father she was going to marry her lover and that she would soon be the mother of his child.

In a rage of fury, the father pulled out a large knife and killed the soldier. The girl screamed in agony but was soon silenced by the same blade. The father disappeared, and no one ever saw him again. Afterwards, the locals named these infamous rocks “Devil’s Pulpit” because of the transgressions that took place there.

Whether or not if this is true, we may never know.  But it does provide a good reason as to why this place is known as “Devil’s Pulpit”.

Location of Devil’s Pulpit

Today, the pulpit provides a beautiful setting with ferns and moss-covered rocks and trees as far as the eye can see. It is located at 36.5585143, -88.1682928 in the woods off Deerberry Lane.  It is located on private property;  at the time, we thought it was on government property since it was very close to a wildlife refuge and property owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority.


This article originally appeared in the print edition of Four Rivers Explorer in 2007.

Old Maps Overlaying Today’s Reveal Big Changes

The United States Geological Survey has a great online mapping feature that is quite addicting and can suck you in for a while.

Continue reading Old Maps Overlaying Today’s Reveal Big Changes

Dexter, Kentucky

Dexter is an unincorporated community in northern Calloway County.  It is a “census-designated place” and has a population of 277 people as of 2010. The town features a few streets on a grid and was once incorporated.

History of Dexter

Similar to the nearby towns of Almo, Hardin and Hazel, Dexter was originally a railroad camp when the Paducah Tennessee and Alabama Railroad was building a line through Calloway County in 1890.  Sam M. Jones, the landowner at the future site of Dexter, donated the right of way for the tracks and the site for the station on condition that he name it Dexter.  He chose the name after Dexter, Mo, which at that time was a thriving railroad town.  Several of Jones’ friends and neighbors were given employment in the Missouri town, so he decided to honor it by naming the station Dexter.

A post office was established on December 19, 1890 with General Buford Williams the first postmaster.

The railroad was abandoned with the tracks pulled in August 2009 (see photo below).

At some point after 1960, Dexter became unincorporated.

This photo shows the Dexter station and railroad from the early 20th century.  Thanks to Michael Hale for sharing.

Location of Dexter

The community is located just to the east of US 641, about seven miles north of Murray.  This map from 1936 shows Dexter.

Present day Dexter, Kentucky on Google Maps:

Dexter Population

1900:  221
1910:  260
1920:  278
1930:  185
1940:  243
1950:  277
1960:  250

In 2010, the US Census Bureau shows Dexter, an “census-designated place”, having a population of 277.

Dexter Contributions

If you have any information or photos you’d like to share about Dexter, please contact us.  Some information was provided by the book Kentucky Place Names.

All Roads Lead To… Wadesboro?

Tucked away in far northern Calloway County, Ky. about a mile west of Dexter lies the old town of Wadesboro.   Chances are you’ve never driven through Wadesboro or perhaps have even heard of it.  However, the story of Wadesboro is fascinating, given the designation of the first town in far western Kentucky, the area known as the Jackson Purchase.  For a while, all roads in western Kentucky led to Wadesboro.

Continue reading All Roads Lead To… Wadesboro?

Asbury Cemetery: Unusual Sights & Ghostly Tales

Asbury Cemetery in Calloway County, Kentucky is one of the most prominent “haunted” graveyards in the region.  Ask any long-time resident of Murray or Calloway County and they will have a story about the cemetery, either personal experiences or one they heard.

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Faxon, Kentucky

Faxon is an unincorporated community in eastern Calloway County, Kentucky.  There is no signage or any cluster of businesses, roads or homes defining the community.

History of Faxon

At one time it was home to Faxon Elementary before consolidation took place in the early 1970s.

Location of Faxon

Section of Calloway County, KY map from 1937 showing Faxon.
Section of Calloway County, KY map from 1937 showing Faxon.

Different maps place Faxon in different places, but generally is located at the intersection of Faxon Road and Liberty Road.

The GPS Coordinates are 36.6786813,-88.1562866

Faxon Contributions

Four Rivers Explorer is always a work in progress, including this section.  If you have any information you would like to share about Faxon, please contact us.

Splitting Counties in Western Kentucky

Jackson Purchase

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You’ve heard of far western Kentucky.  It is the section of the state between the Mississippi River and the Tennessee River.  However, this part of the state did not become under definitive US control in 1792 when formed.  In 1818, Andrew Jackson officially purchased the disputed land from the Chickasaw Indians.  The Kentucky part of the sale became known as the Jackson Purchase.

Continue reading Splitting Counties in Western Kentucky