The Misplaced Lady – The Deceptive Legend of Hammer House

Juliann Page, daughter of William Page of the Bristletown area, was born in 1802. She married first to Melkijah Gillock, and after his death, she married John T. Barlow. John lived on Boyd’s Creek, in the area where the Quarry is, just off of Hwy 90 east of Glasgow. I have been given to understand he lived on the farm later owned by Warren Tobin, where the Powell burying grounds are. This place is only accessible now from Hollow Road.
John and Juliann Barlow had 3 children – John who married Judith Olivia Duncan Smith, Anna C. “Sis” who married John B. Snoddy and “left for Texas,” and Frank. In an earlier post, A Strange Affair, I had placed the birth of Anna in 1846; it was actually Frank who was the youngest. Juliann was not well after Frank’s birth. On 4 September 1847, about a year after Frank’s birth, Wm. Daniel Tolle wrote, “she came to her death by hanging herself in an upper chamber of her house.” Her son, Frank Barlow, married Isabella Hammer, of the Hammer House fame, and therefore, this particular story became quite embroiled in the history of said house.
The Hammer House had quite a history of its own. John O. Morrison, great-grandfather of Henry Clay Morrison, acquired this property from Alanson Trigg, quite early in the history of the county. Morrison built the Hammer House, a one story brick structure that was famous as the first brick residence in the area. It is well known that John Morrison had a deer park on his property. He died 15 October 1841 in the house, and was buried in the family burial ground on the property. The burial ground is now known as Morrison Hammer Cemetery. The house passed to his daughter Mary Jane, who had married Peter Hammer. Their daughter Isabella married Frank Barlow.
From the Glasgow Daily Times, Friday 28 June 1974 –
“Located south of Boyd’s Creek, and south of the Tompkinsville Road, the Hammer House was long a landmark. A one story brick home, with a rambling porch and balustrades, it stood empty many years and had a ghost, a misty figure that many residents declared they had seen. Vandals burned it down on Halloween almost 5 years ago (1969), and no one had reported seeing the ghost since.”

First off, let me say that in an earlier post, I erroneously gave the date of the burning of the house as the same year as the Crawford Davidson place behind New Salem Cemetery. This is because someone connected the 2 and told me that. I had never even heard of the Hammer House before then.
I am familiar with the supposed ghost though, and I’m not sure why they connected it to Hammer House. As I have said, Mrs. Barlow was the mother of Frank Barlow, who married Isabella Hammer, but there was no connection to the house. Frank Barlow was buried with his wife in the nearby Morrison Hammer Cemetery, again because he was married to Isabella Hammer. To the best of my knowledge, Mrs. Barlow was buried in the Powell Cemetery, or also known as the Sikes Cemetery, it being on the property she died on.
Anyone familiar with this area would be aware that the 2 places are at least 5 miles apart. And the supposed ghost actually haunted an area of Siloam Road roughly halfway between.
The last point I want to make is that both Jimmy Simmons and the newspaper article claim the ghost was never seen again after the Hammer House burned in 1969. I have eyewitness reports that it continued into the late 1970s and the early ’80s.
I have not heard any tales of it since then, only the old ones. But there is more to come on this phenomena, and another Boyd’s Creek legend that better fits the description.
Stay tuned…——-

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About Gclee

I am a long time genealogy and local history hunter from Barren Co., KY. I have many stories to share that may be of interest to other local genealogists and history buffs. I enjoy this as a hobby and hope I can be of encouragement to others. I also hope everyone enjoys my stories as much as I have enjoyed learning about them.
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2 Responses to The Misplaced Lady – The Deceptive Legend of Hammer House

  1. macman1138 says:

    I used to play in the ruins of the Hammer house as a child. It is indeed a spooky place, but like much of Barren county, it is a beautiful place for a home.
    My sister wanted to buy the property about a decade ago, but the owner at the time wanted too much for the piece of land.
    The cemetery is neglected and in ruins. My mother and I went there in the 1990s and we saw that a couple of ground hogs had dug into the grave yard and that many bones were in the tangled weeds…one piece was clearly part of a skull.
    I have never returned to the place since. It always seemed such placed overcome with sadness to me.

    • Gclee says:

      There has been alot of recent activity there with the recovery of Morrison Park. The Morrison descendants have taken an interest in the family graveyard, and so have several others. I hope they get permission to clean off the old road back to and out of the area. It is a great contribution to local history!

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