Thomas S. Pettit, editor of the Owensboro Monitor during much of the 1860’s, was a great “booster” for the development of Daviess County. He was particularly vocal in support of the county’s first railroad, the Owensboro and Russellville. He saw the line, completed as far as Livermore in 1871, as making accessable a vast stand of virgin timber on land Pettit owned along Panther Creek.
As was the custom, he donated land upon which to build the railroad to the O. & R. company and also land for a depot which was named Pettit in his honor. Before the coming of the railroad, the low, swampy Panther Creek bottoms had little value, but Pettit envisioned his acres cleared of the valuable timber which would be converted into lumber, barrel staves, railroad cross ties and other salable products.
The land, once drained, would be some of the richest farmland anywhere and be one of the reasons that Daviess County would become one of six Kentucky counties included in the U.S. Cornbelt. By 1872 a small community of woodcutters developed around the depot, and began realizing Pettit’s vision. However,the location was unhealthy and the wood cutting and processing soon moved south to higher ground at Sutherland. Although the area is still prone to flooding, a perhaps advantage to the bottoms clearing was the mitigation of the anopheles mosquitoes which had long been the cause of malaria in the area and a bane to development.
The name Pettit still stuck and today it is home to a few families and a Baptist Church.
Reference to article by Glenn Hodges