Monroe County, Kentucky


Information and photos provided by Charles R. Arterburn

This “ Old Pikeville Road ” sign recently installed by the county identifies a short section, still maintained as a county road, of the original Tompkinsville-Pikeville-Gallatin Road (TPG), in the former village of Pikeville, where it connects today with Highway 249, at the location of the old crossroads, about 1 mile north of present-day Flippin. Several local roads converged at or near this crossroads community. TPG continued east from here and eventually connected to a portion of Highway 2468 (Gum Tree Rd) and then to Highway 1366 (County House Rd). West of the highway, TPG turned abruptly right after crossing Pikeville Branch and continued up the slope parallel to the stream—now only a farm road, and then west to connect with what is today Lebanon Church Road. Another surviving vestige of this historic thoroughfare is a short section of county road southeast of Tompkinsville also marked, “Old Pikeville Road.”

This section of the east-bound TPG, now abandoned, headed from Pikeville toward Gum Tree.  The old road eventually connected to a portion of today's Highway 2468 and then to Highway 1366, and on to Tompkinsville. 

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 This page from the Official Atlas of the Civil War depicts southcentral Kentucky, in 1865, and the Pikeville Road (TPG), which linked to Celina, Tennessee and spanned Monroe County from Martinsburg, near the Cumberland River, through Tompkinsville and Pikeville and Jamestown (Fountain Run), across Allen County and on to Gallatin, Tennessee. Early settlers to southcentral Kentucky must have traveled over the old pioneer trail, established as early as 1786, that stretched from southwest Virginia across northern Tennessee to Gallatin. This venerable old road must have witnessed an interesting parade of travelers—on horseback, in wagons and buggies, and on foot—throughout the decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries. If only we could return and gaze upon those scenes long past of new settlers arriving from the East, of farmers going to market, of families scrubbed and buttoned-down and bound for church services or village merchants, of youthful suitors in their Sunday best hopeful of romance and betrothal, of barn dances and pie suppers and shivarees, of adventurers and vagabonds bound for nowhere, of drummers and peddlers with their wares and patent remedies, as the magistrates and able-bodied citizens of each district tend to their civic duty of roadbuilding, in an unending campaign against ruts and gullies and potholes!

The Tompkinsville-Pikeville-Gallatin Road and the village of Pikeville have passed from the stage of time, but our lives are richer for these “mystic chords of memory” and imagination that unfailingly resound, if we have an ear to hear, reminding us of those people and places and events that have gone before!   -- Charles R. Arterburn


“Over 60 years ago, a Simmons descendant revisited scenes of old Pikeville, seeking to find any surviving vestiges of this important early community. Pikeville had competed for county seat in the election of 1819, and finished a close second to Watson’s Store—renamed “Tompkinsville” in honor of the newly elected Vice President, in 1817. By the end of the century, Flippin had eclipsed Pikeville as the center of the community. Pikeville is barely remembered today. The excerpt below is from Historical Trip through East Barren County , Kentucky ... as published in The Glasgow Times, December 3, 1942 - September 2, 1943, by Clayton C. Simmons (bracketed contents added):

‘Second in importance to the Glasgow and Gallatin Road was the road leading from Tompkinsville via the old brick house on East Fork creek ... where John D. Turner lived during the nineties ... through the present village of Emberton [Highway 1366], thence by the Old Harmony Church to Pikeville, thence by the homes of Wyley James and Green Simmons, where Cap Simmons now lives intersecting the Fountain Run and Austin road [Highway 87] where Jay Hunt now resides. This road was known as the Tompkinsville, Pikeville and Gallatin Road ….

‘Leaving the vicinity of Fountain Run let's travel a few miles easterly along the old Tompkinsville, Pikeville and Gallatin Road, to where the former village of Pikeville was located. Mr. Gorin alludes to this town as being one of the three voting places in the early history of our county. [ Monroe was a part of Barren County , 1799-1820] We quote: “In the early years of this century there were in this county three voting precincts, at which the candidates for the legislature received their votes, namely Glasgow, Pikeville and Tompkinsville. There were three days of election. All would cast their votes at Pikeville and Tompkinsville the first day, and the whole county would assemble at Glasgow the third day to witness the results, which would be known at the close of the polls.”

‘The many references and traditions relating to this early town aroused the writer's curiosity to the extent that nothing short of a trip to the site would satisfy his inquisitive nature. The years, as they will, have wrought their changes. The cross roads are still there, but the road running East and West (the Tompkinsville-Pikeville-Gallatin Road ) is now practically abandoned. It is tradition among the older persons now living in the community that in its hey-day Pikeville boasted six stores, a tan yard, grist mill, shop and race track. Not one visible sign or trace of any of these remain except where the old shop stood, which is barely discernible by the deposit of ashes and cinders where the old forge was located. [William Hays Lewis was Pikeville's blacksmith, and his shop was by the road near the Ward-Lewis Cemetery] The names of the adventurous merchants who cast their lot in the village have failed to survive; however, the name of the miller is known to have been Samuel Johnson. His mill was of the over shot type, which could operate on a very small stream. It was located on Pikeville Branch nearby. [According to their descendants, the Ward family operated the grist mill here, too, but probably later]

‘An application to establish a town on the land of Thomas H. Flippin was filed by John Baugh, William Baugh, and Thomas Flippin at the August term of Court, 1818 (Book 4, page 347), notice having been previously given the seventy five acres designated as the site of the town to be vested in Leonard H. Maury, John Goodall, Arch Sloan, Thomas Flippin and James Flippin, Trustees, of said town to be known as Pikeville.’ [End of Simmons' excerpt]

“Pikeville also had a school, and two different schoolhouses. The first was in session from 1888 (earliest records), and probably much earlier (there were two teachers in Pikeville, in the 1850 Monroe Census). Pikeville School #1 stood on the slope just above Pikeville Branch (of Indian Creek), in the northwest corner of the old crossroads, and just opposite the northwest corner of the Arterburn farm. Pikeville #2 was built in 1929, about one-quarter mile north of the first schoolhouse, and remained in session until consolidated, in 1951. Pikeville #2 was later converted into a private residence, and is still occupied today.”

Above excerpted from the book, Elzia and Elizabeth Douglass Arterburn of Monroe County , Kentucky , by Charles R. Arterburn.