Rome, Kentucky

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The village of Rome, southeast of Owensboro on KY 81 owes it beginning to the migration of German Catholic farm families into the area in the decade after the Civil War. Land in the Panther Creek bottoms was swampy, floodprone, heavily timbered and cheap. The industrious Germans soon turned the timber into houses and barns, and ditched the area to convert the wetlands into some of the nation’s most fertile farmland. One of the settler’s first priorities was a church. The Parish of St. Martin was organized in 1873, and for a brief time masses were on Tuesday, conducted by a priest from Owensboro. The first permanent priest was Father Louis Herberth. A post office was established in 1885, with W.J. Tharp as postmaster; and by 1911 there was a rural mail delivery route from Rome as well. The village’s population at this time was 50, but it served a well-populated rural region. Rome in the early twentieth century boasted three physicians, Doctors Charles Medley, Edward Barr and George L. Barr. By 1920 the physicians were gone, but the following year a parochial school opened at St. Martin, taught by the Ursuline nuns. It operated until 1987.

Reference to article by Lee Dew