The Washington Post
Unsigned Reprint
Washington, D.C.: 12 July 1896


It Was Paint Lick, Ky., the Home of Several Famous Personages.

  Correspondence St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

  The death of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, occurring within the past few days, revived interest in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and in the spot around which cluster the scenes so graphically depicted in that famous story. It will be remembered that Mrs. Stowe opened her book with the expression, "in the quiet little town of P—," meaning Paint Lick, in Garrard County, It was the writer's pleasure a few days since to visit this hamlet, which gave to the world the character that made interesting the pages of Mrs. Stowe's immortal novel, second in circulation to the Bible only.

  "Uncle Tom's Cabin" first appeared as a serial in the National Era, of Washington City, in 1851—forty-five years ago. Mrs. Stowe saw fit then to call Paint Lick a "quiet little town," and only slight changes have taken place since, though nearly a half century has rolled by. However, it is second only in size, population, and wealth to the county seat of government—Lancaster. It was in the Paint Lick neighborhood that Stephen A. Burchard, whose "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" speech in 1884 perhaps defeated Blaine for President; Rev. George O. Barnes, the noted "Mountain Evangelist," and Hon. R. M. Bradley, father of Gov. W. O. Bradley, first saw the light of day. Garrard, the county of which it is a part, has furnished the State three Governors, three Chief Justices of the Appellate Court, and six Congressmen. There, too, were born Nathan Hall and Nathan Rice, two learned divines, and Commodore Cleere Price, whose daughter is now Dowager Duchess of Marlborough. Paint Lick is the home of the best-known fox-hunters in the South, the Walker brothers, who entertain annually in chases for a week the redoubtable Jack Chinn, of race track and Legislature fame.

  Paint Lick is east by only eighteen miles from the first, Union recruiting station south of the Ohio River—Camp Dick Robinson, over the destinies of which once presided such noted Federal Generals as Anderson, the hero of Fort Sumter; Thomas, Sherman, Nelson, Landram, Fry, and Wolford—and west by even a shorter distance of Berea College, the first school established in the South for the coeducation of the races. It lies not far, too, from White Hall, the home of Gen. Cassius Marcelius Clay, sr., the fiercest abolitionist of them all; ex-Minister to Russian; and it is within an easy half day's ride of the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Thus did the authoress have good ground upon which to find the characters and build her story.

  Lewis George Clark, the prototype of George Harris, the most prominent person in the novel, was owned by Gen. Thomas Kennedy, the then the wealthiest man in the General Assembly of Kentucky. He first belonged to John Banton, who was a party to the famous Banton counterfeiting scheme, and operated one of the most extensive counterfeiting plants, a few miles southwest of Paint Lick, that was ever brought to this country. It was Banton's detection that led to the sale of the young Clark to Gen. Kennedy, then the wealthiest man in the blue grass section, and a large dealer in race horses and negroes. When Gen. Kennedy died he willed a hundred slaves to his son, Thomas Kennedy, jr., and among them was Clark. A house boy, Norman Kennedy was given to Robert Argo, and he still lives to tell of Clark, Uncle Tom, and other characters of the famous production of the fifties.