Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster

A Nod to the Past—The Hockersmith House

 

hsmith1

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (119/12)—Hopkins County, as well as the surrounding region and the state of Kentucky in general, is built upon a lengthy and intriguing line of historical heritage. In an attempt to recount some of the interesting history from our area, which might be “new” to many, SurfKY News reporters will be paying a visit to several historical markers and sites over the upcoming weeks. Soon after, we will try and post photos from the site, a description of each site’s significance, and some historical research gathered in relation to the site.

For the third installment of “A Nod to the Past,” SurfKY News chose historical marker number 1425 at 218 South Scott Street near downtown Madisonville, KY: The Hockersmith House.

hsmith3A Victorian (“Second Empire”) style home erected in the latter half of the 19th Century, the dwelling was inhabited by one of the Civil War’s most infamous fugitives/escapees, Captain L.D. Hockersmith, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 13th, 1988. In fact, the incidents and fellow Confederate cohorts Cpt. Hockersmith involved himself with during the war—mainly General John Hunt Morgan and his “Great Raid” of 1863—have spawned a variety of national articles and research, including a piece in The New York Times courtesy of the Ohio State Journal (1963), as well as a variety of modern historical works.

The marker posted at the site of Hockersmith’s former home reads as follows:

“The home of L. D. Hockersmith, Captain, l0th Ky., General John Hunt Morgan's Cavalry, CSA. Hockersmith captured by Federal troops during Morgan's Ohio raid, July 20, 1863. Held with Morgan in Ohio State Prison at Columbus. Helped dig tunnel by which he and five other officers escaped with Morgan on Nov. 27, 1863. This escape was one of most daring of all time.”

According to an 1863 “wanted poster” issued under the authority of Colonel W.M. Wallace, which is regarding the capture of the men (see photo and link), those who escaped with Gen. Morgan and Hockersmith were Confederate Captains J.C. Bennett, L.B. Taylor, Sheldon T.H. Haines, and G.S. Magee. Whereas the capture of Gen. Morgan guaranteed an especially hefty reward of $1,000, the capture of the Captains would warrant “a suitable reward.”

Referred to as the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy,” Gen. Morgan’s "romanticised" historical reputation often times precedes his actions. While raids under his command saw success, it was his 1863 attack on both Indiana and Ohio territories that led to the capture of his entire command near New Lisbon, Ohio on July 26th, 1863.

hsmith2Research displayed in relation to the escape, which was compiled in reference to the historical work and/or autographical collection, Autograph Book of John Hunt Morgan and His Men, states that, “Morgan and his men were initially moved down river to Cincinnati following their capture. From this embarkation point, enlisted men were sent to Camp Douglas near present-day Chicago, Illinois. In late July, Morgan, and sixty-eight of his officers were sent to Columbus and interred in the Ohio State Penitentiary. By late October, Captain Thomas E. Hines had devised an escape plan after the discovery of a ventilation shaft below his cell floor from which a tunnel was ultimately dug through two six foot thick walls and 12 feet of grouting to reach the prison wall. On the night of November 24th, [1863] Morgan, Hines, Captains J. C. Bennett, L. D. Hockersmith, C. S. Magee, Captain Ralph Sheldon, and B. Taylor escaped. Hines and Morgan traveled by train to Cincinnati, crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky and wound their way back to Confederate lines in Georgia.”

As most would imagine, the escape was a direct “slap to the face” of the Union troops. In adding insult to injury, several accounts mention that patronizing notes written by the escapees were found within the prison and escape tunnels following their exodus.

More in-depth, albeit partially conflicting, information on the soldiers’ capture, their planning, and the actual escape can be found in an 1863 article by the Ohio State Journal, which is published online via The New York Times. To view the report/article in its entirety, please click here.

Additionally, over 50 other historical markers directly related to John Morgan Hunt in the state of Kentucky can be reviewed by clicking here.

*While the Hockersmith House is a historical location available to the public, it should be noted that the location is currently in use. Common courtesy suggests that those wishing to visit the location/home should plan a trip during daylight hours. While the exterior is viewable, the interior of the historic home is not open to the public at this time.

To view previous "A Nod to the Past" articles via SurfKY News, click the following links:

A Nod to the Past – Wahoo and Mush

A Nod to the Past – Partisan Rangers

Luke Short
SurfKY News
Photos taken by Jeff Harp of Focus Photography LLC

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16
447 on Feb 15th (Val ad ended) switched to kid books
CHANGED TO SIMPLE AD ON 2/19 619 HITS

Stock Report

1 DOW 16,408.54
-16.31 (-0.10%)    
2 S&P 1,864.85
+2.54 (0.14%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,095.52
+9.29 (0.23%)    
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16
447 on Feb 15th (Val ad ended) switched to kid books
CHANGED TO SIMPLE AD ON 2/19 619 HITS
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16
447 on Feb 15th (Val ad ended) switched to kid books
CHANGED TO SIMPLE AD ON 2/19 619 HITS

In Other News...

Free Sports Physical Dates Set for Murray, Calloway, Eastwood Students

MURRAY, Ky. (4/19/14) – Murray-Calloway County Hospital will host its annual free sports physicals to local middle and… Read More

Muhlenberg Job Corps Employee of the Month

MUHLENBERG, Ky. (4/18/14) — Miranda Hope is Student Counselor at the Muhlenberg Job Corps. She is a very dedicated and… Read More
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16
447 on Feb 15th (Val ad ended) switched to kid books
CHANGED TO SIMPLE AD ON 2/19 619 HITS

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 16, 2014 19345

UPDATE- Sheriff's Office Following Leads…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 17, 2014 4329

KSP Nabs St. Charles Man Wanted by U.S.…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 15, 2014 3157

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 16, 2014 3099

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 15, 2014 2789

Multi-Agency Investigation Leads to Drug…

in Top Stories by Lori Blakeley

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 17, 2014 4329

KSP Nabs St. Charles Man Wanted by U.S.…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 15, 2014 3157

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 2789

Multi-Agency Investigation Leads to Drug…

in Top Stories by Lori Blakeley
April 15, 2014 1085

State Approves $500K for Hopkins Archery…

in Top Stories by Rebecca Hanchett
April 18, 2014 1040

Talking Teen Trashed Telephone Pole,…

in Top Stories by MPD

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 15, 2014 1750

Owensboro Police Investigate Auto Accident

in News by Michael Hathaway
April 15, 2014 1387

Owensboro Parks Offers Tennis Lessons

in News by Britni Bunn
April 15, 2014 1053

Happenings and Meetings Owensboro

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 16, 2014 875

New Home Health Care Opens in Owensboro

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 15, 2014 820

OPD’s Annual 5K Run and Police Awareness…

in News by Owensboro Police Department

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 16, 2014 3099

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 15, 2014 2064

'Walk Right Back' An Everly Brother's…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1918

Local MCHS Students Train at Job Corps

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
April 15, 2014 1571

Thumbpickers Unite at Mose Rager Day

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 16, 2014 1212

South Carrollton Woman Injured in Head-on…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03