Nathaniel Lucas Home, Warren County, Ky.
Tucked in with a large collection of genealogy research on the Helm family (think WKU’s Margie Helm Library) recently donated to the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections was this little sketch, made in 1883 by an English visitor to Warren County.
Located a few miles north of Bowling Green, the home belonged to Nathaniel Henry Lucas (1818-1908) and his wife Mary Barton (Maury) Lucas (1832-1907). The land was originally part of a grant to Nathaniel’s grandfather and namesake, Captain Nathaniel Lucas. During the Revolutionary War, Captain Lucas wrote a letter to his wife-to-be on the eve of the Battle of Yorktown that is one of the oldest items in our collection.
The first house on the property burned during the Civil War, but soon afterward Nathaniel and Mary built this home in which to raise their family of six children. Their daughter, Virginia “Jennie” Lucas, married Margie Helm’s uncle, James W. “Jimmie” Helm in 1879; one of two couples participating in a double wedding ceremony in Mammoth Cave, they had ten children, ensuring that many members of the Helm, Lucas and related families could look on this substantial home as part of their heritage. The house remained in the Lucas family until 1956.
Click on the links to access finding aids for collections relating to the Lucas family, including the sketch of their family homestead. For more on the Helm, Lucas and other Warren County families, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.
Nathaniel Lucas’s letter and modern July 4 fireworks
Robert Clay Blain, Jr., of Lincoln County, Kentucky was only 21 in 1839 when he composed “Union,” an eloquent love letter to his country.
“For more than fifty years,” he wrote, “has this union been formed–formed by those generous patriots who valliantly contended & nobly achieved their ‘dear bought liberties’–by those . . . who taught the haughty sons of Britton, that those contending for the cause of freedom are invincible. It was union, Blain continued, that had been “the grand cause of our country’s prosperity” and had guided its founders to victory. “Cemented by love and dearest ties of national interest, did these brave souls promulgate a declaration of their right; and fearlessly continued their course thro’ blood and fields of deepest sorrow until freedom was established.”
The Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections has many resources relating to the War of Independence including veterans’ pension applications, land grants to soldiers rewarding them for their service, and data assembled in the 1960s by WKU librarian Elizabeth Coombs on Revolutionary War veterans with connections to Warren County and southcentral Kentucky. We even have a letter written by Nathaniel Lucas to his future wife just before the decisive battle of Yorktown. “There is great appearance of success in our taking Lord Cornwallis,” he declared. “Our army is very strong.”
Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections. For more, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.