St. Joseph, Kentucky

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Early Days

Thomas Downs was the first man who lived in the vicinity of the St. Joseph area. His home was on a hill half a mile south of St. Alphonsus Church. The first log church was built on five acres donated by John Rodman in 1854. Some of the early settlers were J.E. Smith and Aquilla P. Blandford. He went to school in a log cabin. He came to Daviess County in 1856. He was a school trustee for several years as well as a trustee of St. Alphonsus Church. W.E. Clark, R.A. Merimee, B.B. Blinco, J.A. Thompson and Thomas Vowels were early settlers. William E. Rodman was a Justice of the Peace for the Curdsville district. John O. Warren was also an early settler. The first resident Pastor was Father Ivo Schacht who served the parish from 1861-1864.

Civil War Era

The two young Confederate soldiers were buried under a single tombstone in the St. Alphonsus Cemetery. Charles W. Thompson, 18 and Pierman Powell, 25 were Confederates from the Curdsville precinct and St. Joseph area and were Union prisoners at Henderson when a Henderson man was shot and wounded by guerillas. Under a rule imposed by General Stephen Burbridge, they were executed. The two soldiers were selected for execution for every “outrage” perpetrated on unarmed Union citizens by guerillas.

Burbridge was a Union Commander of the Department of Kentucky and was greatly disliked for his harsh zeal in behalf of the North.

In the middle 1860’s a log school was built on land where the Ursuline Motherhouse now stands.

The log church burned down in 1868.

Post Civil War and Civic Uses during 20th Century

The new church was built in 1870. Patrick Pike opened up a general store in St. Joe in the mid 1885’s. The people in the area either had to travel to Curdsville or West Louisville for their supplies. Both were bigger towns. Dr. Patrick Pike died and Mrs. Pike opened up a general store, a blacksmith shop and had a telephone line. In July 1886, the first Post Office was opened in the Pike Store. Emma Pike became the first Post Master.

Victor Merimee and john Rodman were the next two Post Masters until the Ballard Bros. opened up a general store in St. Joe. In 1904 Joseph H. Ballard became Post Master. The mail was handled in the store until Joe Ballard retired in 1942.Since 1942; some of the Post Masters were Joseph O’Bryan, Bernard Abell, Mrs. Katherine Riney, Alvin Trogden, Bernard Dockemeyer, Mrs. Mary Clayton and Mrs. Mary O. Mattingly. Carl and Norma Medley owned the grocery store until around 1960 and sold it to Wendell and Martine Calhoun. They sold it to Fuzz Brennan in 1969.

After a county water line was laid through the St. Joe area in 1969, a new fire station was built in the town in 1975. It had all volunteer fire fighters. In 1976 there were two rural routes from St. Joe and the Post Office had 14 general patrons. The Post Office closed. The United States Postal Service moved to close down all fourth class Post Offices to economize. William Mattingly, Jr. was the rural mail carrier for Route 6 and would drop the mail off to be sorted. The mail was then run thru the Mt. St. Joe office and was discontinued to Owensboro in 1995.   Near the St. Joe area was a place called Possum Trot. It was referred by the older residents as Possum Trot and said to have been named by J.P. Waltrip who said that the narrow hallows which were located about two miles from St. Joe were full of possums.   Blue Ruin was another early settlement. It has long since vanished and New Macedonia Church is built on the exact site of Blue Ruin. Cleveland was still another small community of Curdsville precinct. It was a couple of miles south of West Louisville and St. Joe area.