On September 1, 2007, I was searching the Pactolus area trying to locate and photograph any remnants of the old Pactolus Iron Bridge. While driving on Route 1902, just off Route 1, about 2 miles north of Grayson, I found an abandoned stub of highway that ran parallel to the new bridge over the Little Sandy River. I surmised that this was the approach road to the old Pactolus Iron Bridge. The river bank was much over-grown, and it was impossible to see any support pilings or other evidence of the old bridge. As I walked back to my car, I happened to look up to my left and saw an old building sitting on a nearby knoll. I walked up and took some photos of it, and posted them to the Carter County site, seeking information on the identity of this old structure. In short order I received the following response from Linda (Newland) Leadingham. Her response was far in excess of what I had expected: John Grace
I used to live in the house overlooking the Pactolus bridge. I can tell you that the building was used in early days as the kitchen for the household. Back in the days when a wood cooking stove would have heated up the house too much. My mom used it for storage and a washhouse (before we got water in the house). There is a large open fireplace and a second room for food storage. There used to be another building where, we were told, the slaves lived. Later it was used as a chicken house and when we lived there we also had an out door john in that building. There was a deep well close to the building and the towers that are in the picture I think was used to pump carbide into the house for electricty. There was two towers near the house and one down at the road near the bridge. There was a smaller well across the side walk from the large well and I think that it was a carbide well. We were told that a slave died while digging the well. I think that the property belonged first to the Olestine family, then the Rupert family. The side walks were the first concrete poured in Carter County. We enjoyed playing hop scotch and other games on them. After the Rupert family moved out of the house it was used for housing for sharecroppers who worked the property. Calhoun Wilhoit married into the Rupert family and inheirted the property. My family lived in the house from the early 1940's. My grandfather moved into the house when my mother was 11 years old. They came here from Cherokee in Lawrence County KY. Grandpa later bought land and my uncle Walter Campbell lived in the house. When he moved out my uncle Luther Campbell moved in and worked the farm. My uncle Paul Newland lived in another house on the farm. Then we moved in when Luther moved his family to town. Daddy started working for Rupert Wilhoit then Henry Wilhoit after Rupert's death. All of us kids got married and moved out of the house and it was too big for mom and dad so they got a trailer in 1983 and moved it down near the barns. Henry Wilhoit then tore down the old house but for some reason left the building in your pictures. The building is to the left of a big tree in the picture. The well where we got our water is under the tree. The side walk forked off there, the left fork going to the building, the right fork going to a gate leading out to where we could look out on all the fields. The fireplace was built from very large cut stones. I think that if anything was replaced it was the building rebuilt around the fireplace. The opening of the fireplace was about 5 feet tall and about 6 or 7 feet wide. Over the hill from the building a round blockhouse was built into the hillside where I suspect they kept their milk and perishables. I don't know if it is still there. There wasn't a door on it when we lived there. The property is now owned by Federal Judge Henry Wilhoit who holds court in the federal court house in Boyd County KY. Henry bought out his brother's half of the farm and from what we have heard, the farm can't be sold until it is passed down to Rupert Wilhoit's grandchildren. Linda Newland Leadingham PS. Rupert and his wife Kitty were buried under the tree overlooking the fields but I heard that Henry Wilhoit moved the graves to a cemetery behind the college.