Geography of Todd County, Kentucky
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The county thus organized and named is situated in the southern part of the State, on the Tennessee line, and in the eastern border of that section of Kentucky arbitrarily called the Southwest. It is bounded on the north by Muhlenburg County, east by Logan, south by Montgomery, in State of Tennessee, and west by Christian, and contains about 330 square miles. The county lies partly in the Green River Val-
ley, and partly in that of the Cumberland River, and represents the characteristics of both valleys. The dividing line between these valleys passes in a northwesterly direction through Todd several miles above Elkton, throwing the northern portion into the ” Green River Country,” and the southern in the Cumberland Valley. Curiously enough, in this county, the characteristics of these valleys are transposed; the Green River portion is broken and underlaid by freestone, and lies within the mineral belt, while the lower part belongs to the cavernous limestone’ formation, and possesses those rich agricultural characteristics which have made the Green River Country famous as the great wheat producing area of the State. The Russellville and Hopkinsville road, passing northwesterly through Elkton, forms the general dividing line between these two sections. South from this the surface is a gently rolling expanse of arable country, with little timber and much lowland, ‘which for the lack of good artificial drainage is much of the year under water. North of this road the surface begins immediately to show the gradual rise and broken character which in the farther limits of the county develops into almost impassable cliffs, rising abruptly to the height of 300 feet in places. The main stream of the county is the Elk Fork of Red River; this taking its origin in Nance Creek and Sampson’s Branch, just north of Elkton, flows a southeasterly course to Allensville, flows thence in a more southerly direction, and crossing the Tennessee line forms the corner from which the lines of the county are projected. Three and five miles above the point where the Russellville and Hopkinsville road crosses the east line of Todd County, Double Lick Fork and Breathitt’s Branch cross into Logan County to form the Whippoorwill, and drain that portion of the country between Elkton and the dividing ridge northeast of the county rural picturesqueness is not excelled by any other locality in the State. The visitor is shown many places of natural interest, and others about which tradition or the vivid imagination of a later day has framed ” legends strange to hear.” The ” Narrows ” is a natural wagon trail-the only one by which the rocky barrier may be passed in many miles of its extent, which affords a good opportunity to gain some idea of it as an obstacle to travel. Sweating stones, almost as phenomenal as the sweating statue of old, are pointed out. These are vast masses of rock standing high up from the ground, in isolated positions, the surface of which is continually covered with a moisture so profuse as to drip to the ground in trickling streams. This seems to be the normal condition of these objects, and the ” oldest inhabitant,” who is everywhere noted for his close observation, is said never to have seen them in any other condition. This was suggested by the ” guide ” as typical of the mental state of one who should attempt to gain a livelihood by farming in this portion of the county, but for the fair fame of Todd this impertinent analogy should be scouted. The “Indian Ladder is a luxuriant, wild grapevine which has thrown out its tendrils along the face of the cliff, and grasping one tree or shrub after another has drawn itself with cords of strength from one point to another until it has reached a dizzy height. It is said that it leads to and covers the entrance to a considerable cave which in the olden time afforded shelter to the discomfited savage or a safe outlook to the runner of the tribe. Neither the cave nor the Indian is to be seen from the comfortable footing below it, and the ” evidence of things not seen,” probably rests entirely upon the conscience and imagination of the person who kindly shows up the region to the visitor. Besides these, there are buzzard roosts and dens of fabled monsters (now happily extinct) whioh, to use the language of the auction bill, are ” too numerous to mention.”
The lowlands of Todd, while of more utility and, therefore, less romantic, are not entirely devoid of natural objects of peculiar interest. Of these Pilot Rock is perhaps the. most striking. This is a vast mass of rock some 200 feet high, resting upon elevated ground and entirely isolated. Its summit is a level area of about half an acre in extent, covered with a small growth of timber and wild shrubbery, and is a pleasant resort, frequented by picnic parties from the neighboring country. It stands north of Fairview on the line between Christian and Todd Counties, the larger portion of the rock lying within the limits of the latter. Its elevated summit, which is gained without much difficulty, affords a fine view of the surrounding country for many. miles, presenting a prospect beautiful and picturesque. In the leafless season and a favoring atmosphere, it is said Hopkinsville, twelve miles away, may be distinctly seen from its summit, and in pioneer days it was known far and wide as an infallible landmark, hence its name. The cavernous limestone shows here the characteristics to be found elsewhere. Sink-holes are frequently found, but none of such character as to render them objects of especial interest. The tunneling of the Elk Fork a few miles in its course below Elkton, is characteristic of the rock formation found here. At the point where the river sinks out of sight, it originally flowed around and at the foot of a mass of rock some fifty feet high. A fissure made in its rock bed some forty feet from the base of the cliff, gave the water opportunity to burrow an underground passage which, gradually enlarging, has afforded passage for an increasing volume of water. Save in a very low stage of water a part of the river finds passage by its old course; the rest, dropping through the fissure in the bed, passes for several hundred yards under the obstructing mass of rock. The contracted form of the opening causes the descending water to take the form and bustle of a whirlpool, but it evidently falls to no great depth as it emerges into the open country without the precipitation of a spring, with a smooth, gliding motion which is gained in the short passage.