A Jaunt to Union Church and the Pig Branch

I have times when I awaken from sleep, knowing I’ve just had a conversation with someone long gone from this world. Someone who needs their story told, who for some reason needs a living voice to speak for them.
I awakened this morning from a restful night with the thoughts of it being Friday – garbage day – and needing to bolt from the bed and drag the garbage can out to the road before the garbage truck arrived. Then, on the heals of that thought, a memory surfaced, of a long ago discovery of an old newspaper article, in one of those old-fashioned scrapbooks that ladies used to keep, of a little girl’s tragic loss.
A couple of decades ago, I came across a reference to the old Union Church, which was off of what we now call New Salem Road, and it was not Union #5, which was still a church at the time. In researching the area this other Union Church was located in, I discovered documentation of an old abandoned cemetery, known as the Logan Cemetery, because our first County Court Clerk, William Logan (1767- 1836) was laid to rest there in July 1836. He and his wife Sally have since been reinterred in the Glasgow Municipal Cemetery.
In that long bygone day, the cemetery was the Porter family burial ground, and its proximity to old Union Church made it a possible church burial ground as well. Among others of note buried here are William Porter and his wife, Thomas Feland, Elder Charles Morehouse and his wife, and members of the Jump family.
Several years later, I was given the opportunity to peruse an old scrapbook and found the following article from an unnamed Glasgow newspaper.

“Little Jessie Jump was crushed by scales Burial Tuesday.

“Glasgow was shocked Monday afternoon when Jessie, the little 7-year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. CE Jump, was almost instantly killed by pulling the scales in front of the Farmers’ National Bank down on herself. At several places around town scales are located on the sidewalk, where those who desire may weigh themselves. On of these was in front of the Farmers’ Bank, and it seems it had been loosened from the pole where it had been fastened. As she walked along the street, childlike little Jessie grabbed hold of the scales as if to swing around and the scales fell squarely on her, breaking her neck and crushing her skull in two places to the blood rushed out in a stream causing death almost instantly. Tender hands cared for her at once but life had flown and it was too late.
“One of the most distressing incidents in connection with the tragedy was experienced by the girl’s father and his associates at the office of the Kentucky Utilities co., in a visit the little girl made just a few moments before she met her death. Tiptoeing to the office she cautioned the others about giving her presence away, then slipped up behind her father and put her hands over his eyes and after he recognized her she kissed him and left the office with a nickel and a penny. In just a few moments Mr. Jump was advised of the tragedy which had overtaken her.
“Little Jessie was a charming little girl, and the idol of her parents. Mr. and Mrs. jump have five children remaining, one only 10 days old. They have the heart-felt sympathy of their host of friends in their sad bereavement. The burial was in the Williams burying ground two miles east of town, Tuesday afternoon, after funeral services by Rev. Piercy.”

Records show Jessie Jump was born 31 January 1921 and died 8 August 1927. She was the daughter of Clarence Emmett Jump and Bessie Bennett.
In the olden times, when going out Columbia Avenue, when you passed the New Salem Road, the next road off the Avenue was Baldock Lane. Today’s Baldock Lane is only about two blocks long, but back in my youth, in the late 1970s, the lane went passed today’s dead end, into a small wooded area to an old barn. From there it was just a dirt track, down the hill, following alongside what was once known as Pig Branch. At the bottom of the bluff was a ford over Southfork Creek, with the dirt track wandering up the hill to the top, where another old barn stood.
Today, there is a large, white, two-story house where this road meandered, owned by Philip Simpson. On those many years ago, the road continued on from there, across the field, to connect with the New Salem Road. There really is no trace of the old road left on that end. On the 1879 Beers and Lanagan map of Barren County, KY, this section of the road shows the old Union Church about halfway between New Salem Road and the Simpson residence.
For anyone not familiar with the Union churches, there were originally seven in number in Barren county. They were non-denominational, and meetings could be held one week by the Methodists, and the next week by the Baptists, and so on. Of the Union churches, only three remain, and only two of these still have the name Union attached to them – Union #1 near Fountain Run and Union #2 near Nobob. Union #5 still stands at the intersection of Hwy 1307 (New Salem Road) and Lick Branch Road, but has been the home of the Primitive Baptists for many, many years.
By the time that little Jessie Jump was taken so tragically, the Union Church near her place of burial was long gone, without a trace. The church and Baldock Lane, along with the Pig Branch, are now legends in the history of our fair city and county…. But there were many an ill-gotten adventure down on Pig Branch.
One rumor has it that the teenagers used to go to the barn at the end of Baldock Lane, in the dark of night, and hand someone a glass or a bucket, and direct them down to the Pig Branch, which came from a small spring in the edge of a hedgerow a distance from the barn. The object was to fill the container with water from the spring and return to the barn without spilling it. The story goes that the jaunt to the spring and back was so scary, noone ever got back to the barn with the water they left the spring with… if they even made it to the spring!
TGIF, and I hope you enjoyed my meanderings!

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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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