Part 2: Big names in Spencer County history

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Some interesting people you might want to know

By Tom Watson

Editor’s note: The following is a continuation of local historian Tom Watson’s column on historical figures important to Spencer County. See last week’s edition of The Spencer Magnet for part one. Tom Watson also included the following note about last week's article: "Thanks to Charles Darnell for spotting a typo in the original article of March 9. John Speed was not a Confederate. It should have stated that he joined the Union service and was with Sherman's Army during the march to the sea."

R.D. TAGGERT is highlighted in “Kentucky: A History of the State.” Perrin, Battle and Kniffin, 6th ed.,1887.
“Taggart was born in Nelson County, Ky., February 14, 1845, the third of four children born to William and Mary S. (Wakefield) Taggart. His father was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1800, came to the United States in 1835, and settled in Nelson County, Ky., where he still remains. He has been engaged all his life at farming. He is a son of James Taggart, who was born in Ireland in 1780. Mrs. Mary S. Taggart was born in Nelson County, August 22, 1809, and died February 15, 1882.
She was a daughter of John and Betsey (Taylor) Wakefield, the former a native of Virginia. When our subject was six years old he removed with his parents to Spencer County, where he has since resided. He has passed his life in farming pursuits, and now owns 200 acres of land.
He is still unmarried. In religion he is a member of the Presbyterian Church. His brother, James, now resides in Shelby County, Ky., engaged in farming. He married Susie E. Carrithers, and has two children: Lillie P. and William.”

J.G. VAN DYKE is also noted in “Kentucky: A History of the State.”  Perrin, Battle & Kniffin, 6th ed., 1887.’
“Van Dyke was born in Spencer County, Ky., in 1825, the first of two children born to Richard and Sarah (Green) Van Dyke. Richard was a son of Peter Van Dyke, was born in what is now Spencer County in 1790, and died in 1868. He was an extensive farmer, and also followed the milling business. Peter Van Dyke came to Kentucky from Culpeper County, Va., about 1785, and was descended from a Dutch family, who settled in New Jersey, afterward moved to Culpeper County, Va., and were among the first settlers of the colony.
Peter was twice married, and become the father of fourteen children. He had a land estate of 1,400 acres, and left 100 acres to each of his children, besides giving to each two slaves.
Mrs. Sarah (Green) Van Dyke was the daughter of Lebur Green, who came from Virginia to Nelson County about 1785. She was the third of a family of four, was born in 1784, and died in 1852. Mr. Green was a farmer, and the owner of a large and valuable property near Bloomfield, Nelson Co., Ky. He died about 1830. Richard Van Dyke was a Jeffersonian Democrat, and he and his wife were life-long Baptists. Our subject has followed farming pursuits exclusively, and is the owner of 1,900 acres of land in Spencer, Shelby and Jefferson Counties, his residence being on the Louisville and Taylorsville Pike, about eleven miles from Taylorsville and twenty-one from Louisville.
In 1859 he married Mary A. Johnston, of Spencer County, Ky. Her father William Johnston moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and thence to Spencer County about 1825. He was born in 1807, and died in 1873; was a son of Joseph Johnston, of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Van Dyke’s mother was Indiana Pruett, daughter of Joseph Pruett, a Virginian, who was among the early settlers of Kentucky. Mrs. Van Dyke was born in Spencer County in 1832. She is a member of the Baptist Church. Four children have blessed their union: William Lee, Richard, Eugenie and an infant deceased.”
ELIJAH WIGGINTON — from “Kentucky: A History of the State.” Perrin, Battle & Kniffin, 6th ed., 1887, Spencer Co.
“Wigginton was born in Spencer County, Ky., August 31, 1854, the eldest of three children born to D.B. and Lue (Birkhead) Wigginton. D.B. Wigginton was born in Spencer County, Ky., January 29, 1827, taught school about two years, then engaged in farming, and died February 5, 1884. He was a son of Elijah, who was born in Virginia, August 23, 1778, immigrated to Kentucky in quite an early day, was one of the first settlers of Spencer County, and was mainly a farmer. He was a member of the Baptist Church, and greatly assisted in building the church at Little Union, Spencer Co., Ky., in 1839, and died September 10, 1855.
His wife, Anna Riley, was born in Virginia, January 29, 1785; died February 14, 1856. Our subject’s mother was born February 23, 1832, in Spencer County, near Waterford; died January 20, 1862, daughter of Eli and Elizabeth (Clark) Birkhead.
Eli Birkhead was born June 19, 1785; died June 20, 1868. His wife, Elizabeth was born February 23, 1799; died November 18, 1876.
Elijah Wigginton, our subject, was reared on a farm, and educated at Linland Academy, Military Institute, Hardin County, Ky.
He married, May 19, 1880, Carrie Bell Alexander, of Shelby County, daughter of Dr. S. S. and Sue (Malone) Alexander.
Dr. Alexander was born March 31, 1838. Sue F., his wife, was born July 10, 1839; died January 5, 1887.
Family record: Elijah Wigginton, born August 31, 1854; Carrie B., born June 15, 1859; Gracie A., born February 24, 1881; Samuel D., born December 18, 1882; Lizzie Sue, born October 10, 1884; Adie Bell, born January 14, 1886.”