Yelvington, Kentucky

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1886 Directory Listing for Yelvington

8 Named After: Yelverton Overly

Perhaps the biggest fire in Daviess County’s history virtually destroyed the town of Yelvington, probably the oldest village in the county, on April 10, 1890.

Fanned by high winds, the fire which began in the Beechwood Hotel was soon spread by the wind to neighboring buildings and quickly engulfed the entire business district including the hotel, three general stores, warehouses, stables, barns, a tobacco factory filled with leaf tobacco, a cooper’s shop, and the City Hotel, as well as a butcher’s shop and at least seven houses. It was a sad blow for the town which was soon to mark its one hundredth anniversary. Yelvington had been founded in the 1790’s on the wagon road from Elizabethtown to the Ohio River ford at Shawneetown, Indiana at the point where a road was beginning to be developed running from Fort Hartford on the Rough River to Grandview in the Indiana territory.

Located above the floodplain, the well-drained hills of the area were free from mosquitoes, it was generally considered to be healthier and more pest-free than the lowlands. The area was also blessed with fertile soil and abundant timber.

The first settler was Yelverton Overly, for whom the town was later named. By 1830 there was a store operated by Thomas Pointer, and soon another store and hotel were opened. Yelvington thrived on the traffic along the bisecting roads and by 1883, there were two dry goods stores, a grocery, two hotels, a physician, two saloons and two churches. The Yelvington Baptist Church was organized in June 1813, and the first services began on June 30. A Methodist Church was formed in 1842. But Yelvington was threatened by decline even before the fire. The Louisville, St. Louis, and Texas Railroad, completed in 1888, bypassed the hilly area of eastern Daviess County, opting to build on the flat lands along the Ohio River.

This economic blow, coupled with the fire, stimulated many residents and businessmen to abandon Yelvington and move to the new village of Maceo, then being established along the railroad line.

Yelvington remained as a residential area with small stores serving the neighborhood, and with the coming of paved roads became a destination for people looking for country living.

Reference to an article by Lee Dew