Because of its name, one of the first things people ask at the Guesthouse is about Bourbon County and the Birthplace of Bourbon.
By way of introduction, I’m Lyra’s friend who is a History Nut and part-owner of Loch Lea Antiques in Downtown Paris. She’s asked me to tell you about some of the many historical sites of interest in the area. In Bourbon County alone, there are twenty-six Kentucky Historical Highway Markers, so we’ll start there, and with the one about Bourbon…..
As the Hopewell Museum (a must-see in Downtown Paris, by the way) wrote,
“The markers on this tour take you from the earliest pioneers through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. They introduce you to citizens who impacted the history of the county, state, and nation. You will learn about early churches, education, and African American history along with the roles of industry, transportation, inns, and taverns in the county’s development.
“Along the tour you will encounter Paris, a thriving small town with a historic courthouse and beautiful old homes. And like the earliest explorers, the limestone-based soil, winding creeks, and rock walls will encourage you to explore Bourbon County, Kentucky’s history. “
One of our favorites is Historical Marker #2295, which explains the history of Bourbon whiskey and Jacob Spears, one of the first distillers of Bourbon County, Kentucky. It’s located at Crossroads of Clay-Kiser & US 27, Paris.
There was a lot of Bourbon made in the county. In the Bourbon County 1810 census, there were 128 distilleries listed, a total production of over 146,000 gallons of whiskey valued at over $48.000. Every community in Bourbon County had at least one large distillery, making Bourbon whiskey.
Jacob Spears (1754 – ca. 1825) was a remarkable man, farmer, distiller, dealer in blue grass seed and breeder of fine horses. He was the father of two sons, Abraham and Noah, who put the barrels of whiskey on a flatboat on Cooper’s Run, which led to the Licking River and thence to the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans where they sold the popular Old Bourbon for a fine price. Even more remarkable is that Noah made thirteen trips down the waterways to New Orleans and then walked back home, with a money bag strapped to his person, along the Natchez Trace, in Indian territory, frequented by robbers.
You can read the entire back story compiled by Hopewell Museum volunteers if you click here.…..