Thanks to Bernie Spencer, creator of the "Northern Kentucky Views" web site, for allowing this letter to be posted here. You can visit this excellent Northern Kentucky history web site by clicking on this link.http://www.nkyviews.com/
(Note: An unknown correspondent of the Boone County Recorder shared his visit to North Bend in February of 1890.)
To the Editor of The Recorder:
I wish to devote this communication to a portion of Boone County, known as North Bend, representing the most northern portion of our county, as well as our state. It fronts on the Ohio River for a distance of five miles and has for a background lofty hills with a slope sufficient for cultivation. It is, in my estimation, the most valuable, as well as the most beautiful portion of our county. In looking through the dark vista of time, I can perceive the dawning of a bright future for this part of the county. I predict that in ten years from now this beautiful and rich bottom will be converted into a profitable garden spot. Enterprising Germans will realize its many advantages, as such will purchase it and devote it to the production of small fruits and vegetables, to which it is peculiarly adapted and happily located. The city of Cincinnati will have extended its limits to include North Bend, the village across the river, and a continuous city will extend along the opposite shore of the Ohio. A steam ferry will connect the two, and an immediate intercourse will exist between the producer and consumer within an hour after it is gathered.
One morning, during the late harvest, standing upon the crest of a hill above the home of Mr. William Moore, I was wonderfully impressed with the beautiful picture in nature that lay at my feet. Fifteen hundred acres of this beautiful land lay before me, commanding a panoramic view to which no artist could do justice. Comfortable homes surrounded by orchards laden with luscious fruit, and thousands of golden sheaves collected in stacks regularly dot this beautiful land, promising a rich harvest to its possessors. I fear its present owners do not realize its present worth or appreciate the golden apple they hold in their hand, else they would cease raising so much corn and wheat and assign the best portions of it to small and large fruits; such as grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and bellflower apples. Last fall Mr. Wm. Kirtley sold $300 worth of bellflower apples from about three acres of ground, the purchaser taking them on the trees.
While nature has bestowed upon this land richness and fertility, providence has placed a large portion of it in hands that affliction and misfortune prevent from developing its richest resources. Mr. William Moore owns about 200 acres of this bottom, but, on account of bodily affliction that has confined him to his bed for more than three-score years, he is compelled to trust to hired help to nurture, beautify, and adorn his possessions. Last fall it was my privilege and pleasure to spend five weeks with this grand old man, tearing down neglected and dilapidated fences and replacing them with my neat and substantial Cyclone fence. Appreciating his helplessness, I took special pains in rectifying and repairing the neglect of others in whom he had trusted. He is one of the most remarkable men I ever knew. He is scrupulously honorable, a high-toned gentleman, has a cultured mind and retentive memory, is 77 years old and has never worn glasses, and is nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other; but is able at his advanced age to read the finest print.
Mr. William Henry Harrison owns a farm of 80 acres adjoining Mr. Moore’s farm. He has been an invalid for several years, and for a year his health has been so bad that he has been denied the privilege of looking after his land interest. Mr. Harrison is a high-toned, cultured gentleman, and he has more distinguished blood coursing through his veins than any man in Kentucky. He is a grandson of ex-President William Henry Harrison, who carried the country by storm and defeated the Democratic party, overwhelmingly, after 40 years rule. He is also a first cousin to ex-President Benjamin Harrison. He is closely-related to other distinguished families, as the following brief outline will show: Back in the 18th century John Carter of Virginia owned such large acreage in that territory that he was known as King John Carter, the land king. He had six children, three sons and three daughters. From these children descended the Harrisons, the Lee, the Goodridge, and Carter families. The two daughters married a Harrison and a Goodloe. Two of the sons died without male issue, their lineal descendants cannot be traced through the cycles of subsequent history. Ex-President William H. Harrison; the mother of Robert E. Lee; the grandfather of William Goodeloe of the Swope and Goodloe tragedy; and Goodloe Carter, my grandfather, were the offspring of a union by marriage of the Carter and Goodloe branches. Your correspondent has the honor of bearing the testimony of this union in his name, since his initials stand as a memorial to perpetuate, not only the identity of the two branches, but the fact of their subsequent union by marriage. The descendants of King John Carter can boast of having produced two presidents of the United States; the greatest military genius the world has ever known, and one of the ablest jurist in the history of our government.
Mr. Columbus Kirtley owns the next farm, which contains about 70 acres. He, too, is sorely afflicted and had to abandon his farm to be treated. He is the only land owner in this rich bottom who has been permitted to look into the future and see its demands upon him as the possessor of this rich inheritance. He has assigned the richest portion of his farm to the cultivation of strawberries, blackberries, and a choice selection of other fruits.
The next farm, of 70 acres, was, a few months ago sold by Mr. William O. B. Kirtley to Mr. A. Reynolds. This is one of the most desirable farms in the bottom. Mr. Reynolds is a professional man, being at the head of a troupe of acrobats. They are known in the professional world as the DeComas family. He stands in the front ranks of his profession and is considered the best director in the art in the United States. He is a gentleman of agreeable manners and is ably assisted in his profession by his wife, who is an accomplished lady with pleasing address.
This farm with about 350 acres east of it, the property of William Riley, Tom Balsly, C. C. Balsly, and Mrs. Balsly is the central, most beautiful, and most fertile portion of the bottom. It lies between the county road and the Ohio River. It is unfortunate that the owners of this valuable property live in other neighborhoods and trust its care to tenants.
South of the county road Mrs. W. P. Cropper owns a very valuable farm of 200 acres, one-half of which comprises a portion of this rich, fertile body of land. The remainder of her farm is elevated land, well adapted to grazing purposes. With the expenditure of a small capital in rearranging fences and adding to the dwelling, this could be one of the most beautiful and desirable homes in the Bend. The homestead stands up on a beautiful mound, near the foot of the hill, which forms the southern boundary of this beautiful body of land, and commands the view of the country; north and south of the river, and for miles east and west.
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