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An Old Kentucky Home

Caleb Reed (1756-abt. 1832) settled his family along Elk Creek in Spencer County, Kentucky in the 1790s. Family members lived in the area until 1830 or so but left few footprints. I was thus excited to visit a place that dates from their time in the county. An original house with a family connection still stands.

Caleb’s second wife was Elizabeth Van Dyke whom he married in 1816. The Van Dykes were a prominent family who owned a grist mill on nearby Brashears Creek. Their home, built in the 1790s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

When we visited Kentucky a couple of weeks ago, we decided to stop in for a look. We found Spencer to be a rural county, and we had to drive along many narrow roads, some dirt, to find the house. It lies across the road from the creek and sits back by several yards.

The exterior of the home looked well maintained. A vehicle was parked outside, and building materials were stacked alongside the house. No one seemed to be around.

Then we noticed someone on a tractor cutting hay in a nearby field. He spotted us, too, and drove over.

He was the owner of the place, and we explained why we were there. He was interested to meet people with a connection to the Van Dykes, even if it is just by marriage.

He explained that he is restoring the place in hopes of retiring there. Then he invited us inside for a tour.

What a delightful time we spent there! The original part of the house has two rooms up and two rooms down. He has used reclaimed wood from an old tobacco barn for the floors. The staircase is a rare, split style. The rooms on the ground floor have the original fireplaces, one at each end of the house. He is trying to save the original plaster on the walls.

I wonder if my ancestor Caleb Reed ever visited there. He did marry into the family that built the house. I like to think he may have walked through that doorway.

I was thrilled to see the place, and I owe a big thanks to my husband/tech advisor for driving me to another obscure place to find my roots.

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