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Jesse McPherson

“The “Cave Hut Cliff”

Taken from

OTTO A. ROTHERT, A History Of Muhlenberg County (LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: JOHN P. MORTON & COMPANY, 1913)

“The “Cave Hut Cliff”

Jesse McPherson was probably the first of the first-comers who settled in the southeastern part of the county. According to one tradition he arrived upon the scene before either Pond or Caney stations were started. It is said that during 1790, or before, he left his wife and two or three children in Virginia and came to Kentucky, and while looking for a place to settle selected a tract of land three miles from what later became the town of Cisney or Rosewood. He spent the winter and spring clearing two fields, one near the foot of a cliff facing a valley leading to Clifty Creek, and another on the top of the same cliff. In the meantime he lived in his “cave hut” near his bottom field. This improvised house was made by erecting two short walls of logs in front of a small cove at the foot of the cliff, and placed in such a way that the top of the concave opening in the cliff served as a roof and the rock wall of the cliff and the two log walls served as walls to the “cave hut.” The following summer, after having set out a crop of corn in each of his fields, he returned to Virginia for his family. He brought them to Kentucky and they lived in the “cave hut” until a log cabin on the bluff was finished. A few years later, or about 1800, he began building the spacious house known as the Jesse McPherson house, now occupied by William H. Pearson and his wife, the latter a great-granddaughter of Jesse McPherson. The logs used in the construction of the “cave hut” have long ago disappeared, but the rock-roofed cove in “Cave Hut Cliff” has for more than a century been used as a hay bin.

Jesse McPherson was one of Muhlenberg’s best-known pioneers. When the county was organized he was appointed one of the justices of the peace. He ran a tanyard, horse mill, and distillery for many years. Tradition says that he feared nothing. On one occasion his neighbor Billings was attacked by a bear whose cub he had taken. McPherson, hearing the cry for help, rushed to the rescue and killed the animal with a hickory club. A few years later McPherson took a trip to Arkansas, and upon his return showed Billings some hickory nuts he had brought from that State. Billings suggested that they plant one of the nuts where McPherson had saved his life from the ferocious bear. This was done, and to-day a large hickory tree, standing near the “Cave Hut Cliff,” marks the spot where, as one of the local oracles puts it, “Billings came near getting the stuffings squeezed out of him by a big bear.

Jesse McPherson House

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