A 'Love' story

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Salt River Tom was a well-known local historian

By Tom Watson

 The name “Salt River Tom” is familiar to many Spencer County residents, but in case you don’t know who he was, here’s a primer.


William Thomas Love lived in the Van Buren area of the county that is now on the bottom of Taylorsville Lake. He was born March 5, 1854 and the one-room school house student, began keeping a detailed diary. The value of Tom Love’s diary keeping to Spencer County was not only his daily notations, but also his stories on marriages, deaths, births, elections, floods, storms and the like. There are no other sources for much of the Spencer County history recorded by Tom Love.

He was there when Charles McGoughey and Anna Nethery were wed Jan. 22, 1890. If he misspelled a word or name, or didn’t place punctuation where it belonged, far be it from this scribe to change it. He wrote;
“Afternoon by special invitation of Charles W. McGoughey I was invited to his marriage at 4 o’clock. I immediately made the necessary preparations and went to Mr. McGougheys, Charley’s fathers.

Here we fixed Charles up. We then set out for the bride’s residence, Mrs. Sallie Netherys. We arrived after a short ride, Charlie and I riding together. How his pulsations must have been aroused as were that of his sweet lowland beauty awaiting patiently for his arrival to be united with him in the felicitious bonds of matrimony.

Annie’s name was a healing balm to his heart, and even his thoughts could not absent themselves from her and the consolidation of hearts proved to be the inevitable result of their love. Charley was conducted up stairs where the bride was waiting for her lover. Presently they walked gracefully down. The minister, Harvey Hatchett pronounced them man and wife in a short appropriate and legitimate manner. The usual congratulations was extended. I kissed both the bride and groom. Charley was now at the hight of his happiness. A young, beautiful timid bride was his. They were young and vigorous in years. Charley W. McGoughey was born March 22nd, 1867. Miss Anna on July 4th, 1873. Annie came to school to me in 1887. She was a fine little lady, passing, fine characteristics, and amazing beauty. She is gifted with fine natural sense, and with all the above accomplishments in her makeup, of course was over and above an average in her attainments. We live near her fathers door and she use to stay with us a great deal of the time when she was little.
Charley is a heavy built man. One would readily suppose that he was made when material was plentiful. He is physically strong, and has a laughing smooth face, womanlike in appearance. He is honest, upright and honorable, very jocular, ‘cusses’ sometimes, and takes a little (booze)only when he needs it.

With the above paragraph I have faintly sketched the attributes of my steadfast friend Charles. May their life be unalayed by the waves of adversity, but may the fetters of love and felicity forever hold its golden bands around and their life be one of endless happiness is the wish of the one who feebly pens the above lines.

After biding the happy couple and affectionars adieu and leaving them chatting away as happy as crows in a wheatfield I came home and done my feeding.
Letitia (Tom’s wife) was sick. She had the ‘la grippe.’ I also had it. It is an influenza prevalent among the people.
I went down to J.A, Love’s (his brother Junius) to bring or take his saw home.

Leben (also a brother) and myself now went to Van Buren for groceries. We staid a short time as it was a cold day.”

Salt River Tom wrote several articles for the Spencer Courier and Kentucky Standard in Bardstown. He died Jan. 23, 1922.