Pencil Stubs Online
Reader Recommends


Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

Intro: Our family's history began for most of our surname lines in the Appalachian region of America: Kentucky, Virginia, the Carolinas...

I was thrilled, therefore, to hear last week that my daughter would be dispatched to Kentucky to become acquainted with her new client, assess their needs, tour the factory, meet the Engineering staff, and begin building the vendor relationships that new client will require. A flight from DFW to Nashville, a short drive up to Franklin, Kentucky, for her Home-away-from-Home in the spacious Suite reserved for her use. The company client is located in Bowling Green north of Franklin and just a few minutes drive from Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky - the site of what remains of Killian Kreek's Mill, listed among that State's sites honored on the National Register of Historic Places. "Wonderful," I thought, "she will be able to visit the ancient mill site, view the incredible handwork of her 6th Great-Grandfather, a gifted stonemason whose works include two noted sites!" Little did I know Mother Nature had a nightmarish surprise in store.

    'Torrential rains have unleashed devastating floods in Appalachia as fast-rising water killed at least eight people in Kentucky and sent people scurrying to rooftops to be rescued.
    'Water gushed from hillsides and flooded out of streambeds, inundating homes, businesses, and roads throughout eastern Kentucky. Parts of western Virginia and southern West Virginia also saw extensive flooding. Rescue crews used helicopters and boats to pick up people trapped by floodwaters."
    'Flash flooding and mudslides were reported across the mountainous region of eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, and southern West Virginia, where thunderstorms dumped several inches of rain over the past few days.
    'There are a lot of people in eastern Kentucky on top of roofs waiting to be rescued,” Mr. Beshear [Andy Beshear, Democrat, Governor of Kentucky] said earlier on Thursday. “There are a number of people that are unaccounted for and I’m nearly certain this is a situation where we are going to lose some of them.”
    'Rescue crews worked throughout the night helping people stranded by the rising waters in eastern Kentucky’s Perry County, where Emergency Management director Jerry Stacy called it a “catastrophic event”.
    “We’re just in the rescue mode right now,” Mr Stacy said, speaking with The Associated Press by phone as he struggled to reach his office in Hazard. “Extreme flash flooding and mudslides are just everywhere.”

* * * * *

The world would soon learn the flood would be called 'a 1000-year event' for its devastation. Up to 14" of rain poured down ceaselessly over a 24-hour timeframe in nearby Eastern Kentucky, in the mountainous region. More than two dozen people are now known dead, with that number, heartbreakingly, expected to rise. Gov. Beshear has indicated it may take weeks to recover all the victims. The damage to homes and families may never be restored. Worse yet, the forecast is for more stormy days, stretching over an even wider area.

Yesterday evening FEMA Search and Rescue crews began arriving at the Suites where Melissa is staying. The entourage included refrigerated morgues. Displaced families who have lost everything but the clothes on their backs are being housed in the Suite hotel as well.

Death toll for Kentucky floods climbs to 28, with more storms coming

By Maria Sacchetti
Updated July 31, 2022 at 9:15 p.m. EDT|Published July 31, 2022 at 2:00 p.m

    The death toll from severe flooding in eastern Kentucky has risen to 28 people, including several children, and the governor said more fatalities are expected as search-and-rescue teams go door-to-door in the Appalachian foothills to assess the damage.
    Because of hazardous conditions such as downed power lines, as well as spotty cellphone service, he said some affected areas are inaccessible and the state doesn’t have a “firm grasp” on the number of missing.
    “With the level of water, we’re going to be finding bodies for weeks, many of them swept hundreds of yards, maybe a quarter-mile-plus from where they were lost,” Beshear told NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”
    The Lexington Herald-Leader put the death toll at 33 on Sunday night, based on reports of additional deaths from two county coroners’ offices.
    In some families, everyone in their household perished, the governor said. The state was doubling the National Guard to search for victims, he said.

* * * * *

A review of published maps delineating the flood area shows it to be East of Glasgow by some distance, in the mountainous region of Eastern Kentucky. That being said, weather reports continue to warn of sequential days of heavy rain and thunderstorms over a wide area of the state including Bowling Green, Franklin, and Glasgow. That could create a roadblock for Melissa to visit Killian Kreek's Mill, as localized flash floods figure prominently in the forecasts.

* * * * *

Having mentioned my 6th Great-Grandfather Killian Kreek (Creek), it seems appropriate to provide some genealogical history for our esteemed ancestor.

Harry Lantrip provided an outstanding treatise for Rootsweb some years ago which I shared widely upon discovering his work. Many researchers have since then picked up the material and posted all or portions of his study. His is the most comprehensive timeline I've found for Killian. I shall share portions of Lantrip's material hereafter.

* * * * *

Killian CREEK, was born about 1750 to unknown parentage. The saga of Killian Creek is a fascinating tale, but it is fraught with the problem of establishing the facts, and eliminating the fiction. For that reason, I will first bring to light some of the misconceptions that have hindered my research. It is evident that Killian Creek of German descent, determined by the fact that he was known to speak German throughout his life. Killian Creek is the anglicized version of the name Gillian or Guillaum KREIG or GREIG which he uses on occasions when signing documents.

Although most researchers seem to agree on 1750 as a date of birth, I was not able to document either the date or place of his birth. Further confusion results from the fact that there was yet another Killian Creek living during this same time frame. He came from Pennsylvania into Frederick County, Virginia; married a Margaret Weitzell, and had male children with the same given names as our Killian Creek.

The area of Virginia where we first find Killian in the late 1700s was the southwestern corner of the Isle of Wight, one of the original eight shires of the Colony of Virginia. In 1752 Halifax County was formed and included all that is now Pittsylvania, Henry, Franklin, and Patrick counties. Most of the settlers seeking to make homes on this western frontier were, for the most were Scotch-Irish and Germans, like Killian Creek. In the spring of 1757, the Cherokee War erupted when the Indians became disaffected toward the Virginians through the French influence. In Halifax County, they became bolder in their defiant attitude, robbed the inhabitants of their horses, and plundered their homes, and offered brutal insults to their persons. The settlers hesitated to offer too much resistance for fear of provoking them to all-out war. In 1767 Pittsylvania County was formed.

In the tax lists for the year 1774 John Donelson was listed at the Bloomery with Hugh Henry overseer, Thomas Bolton, John Holloway, Aaron Tredway, and seven slaves. It was about 1770 that Killian Creek married Margaret Holloway, the daughter of John and Eleanor Holloway of Pittsylvania County. When the Continental Congress made a call for volunteers at the start of the Revolution, the Minute Men of the up-counties came clad in buckskin hunting shirts, and were referred to as "the shirtmen", and feared for their deadly aim. When Lord Dunmore, the British governor of Virginia, heard the cry, "The shirtmen are coming!" he deserted his post at Gwyan's Island, and fled to a mon-of-war on the river.

The first record of Killian Creek is in the Pittsylvania County, Virginia Deed Book;

"This indenture made the twenty-fifth day of February in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seventy-nine Between Hugh Reynolds of Pittsylvania County and Colony of Virginia of the one part and Killian Creeke of the said County and Colony of the other part ... Witnesseth that the said Hugh Reynolds for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred pounds... him in hand paid said Hugh Reynolds, sold ... and confirm unto the said Killian Creeke his heirs ... forever a part of that piece parcel or tract of land which was granted to the said Hugh Reynolds by way of Patent and bearing date the third day of August one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one Situate Lying and being in the County and Colony aforesaid on the waters of Tomahawk Creek.

May Court 1790, p. 275:

"Ordered that Thomas Donald be recommended as above for Captain, Killian Creek lieutenant, and John Petty as an Insign."

Report of Killian Creek's Mill Seat, dated 1 May 1798:

"In Pursuance of writ of Adquodanum in behalf of Killian Kreek respecting his mill we the Jury being first Impanneled and Legally charged on the Premises by the Sheriff to condemn Lay off and value acre of Land where the above Dam abuts and have and do say the said Kreek shall Pay the Proprietor the sum of fifteen Shillings for the same. We likewise have taken into consideration the Damages that the Proprietor will sustain by the waters overflowing the Land and have and so say that the said Creek shall pay the sum of Six Shillings for the same and we do moreover say that the above is all the Damages that any Person or Persons will Sustain by the said Creeks Erecting a water Grist mill given under our hand and seals this 20th of March 1798. Read Examined Allowed of and Established and Ordered to be Recorded."

Thus, we have a date certain when Killian laid plans to erect his grist mill. Other tidbits from Lantrip's materials furnish a glimpse into the life of the Kreek family: settling near the Holloway family, wedding the Holloway daughter, joining the militia, active in the court (several entries pertaining to various lawsuits, naming Killian typically as plaintiff, have been omitted here). And now, the first steps toward earning his place in history as a gifted and knowledgeable stonemason.

The mill is believed to have been completed about 1799 or 1800. We know from a historic photograph that the mill was complete and still standing Circa 1910 when the photograph below was taken:

Buford's Mill is how the Mill was referred to after Killian and his wife sold it to the Buford family.

Bufords Mill built by Mason Killion Creek or Gullian Grieg

Killian Creek built a grist mill located on Beaver Valley Road on the Beaver Creek, Glasgow in Barren County, Kentucky. It was built in 1799-1800, it is still standing. When selling the property they signed their German names, Gullian and Margaret Greig. The mill was on the cover of the South Central Kentucky Historical and Genealogical Society, "Traces of South Central Kentucky" Glasgow, KY: Volume 10, Issue 3, Fall 1982. "On the Cover. Our cover of the old mill that stands on Beaver Creek...three miles west of Glasgow. The mill site was approved by the Warren County Court on May 1, 1798, and the mill was built shortly thereafter by stone mason Killian Kreek.

The county boundaries changed. On May 10, 1799, Barren County, Kentucky was formed from Green and Warren Counties. Glasgow became a part of Barren Co., and no longer Warren Co., so the mill with a 'Warren Co., building permit' was now in the new Barren Co. When Killian sold the mill to Simon Buford in October of 1799, Killian and Margaret signed the deed with their German names 'Gullian Grieg and Margarett Grieg.' The mill has been known as Kreek's Mill, Buford's Mill..."

The mill is historically significant because it is 1799 architecture and was of a high quality. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, the top of the mill was deteriorating by the late 1950s. Because of this, the top floors were removed and a new roof was installed, making the building much shorter. It is a shadow of its former self.

Two recent photographs (in color) show how the stonework has been protected after the wooden superstructure either rotted away or was removed for safety's sake. The interior photograph permits the viewer to appreciate the intricacy of this hand-built foundation. Killian Creek is believed by other family researchers to have done many other stonemasonry projects which led to his being asked to "lay the walls" as the contractor for the courthouse in Gibson County, Indiana:

In 1815 a Courthouse was built by Killian Creek. It was 1st Gibson County Courthouse in Princeton, Indiana.

Gibson County's 1st Court House
    "The board of county commissioners ordered the county agent, Robert M. Evans, to let the contract for making brick for the construction of the first court house, at a cost of not to exceed five dollars and fifty cents per thousand. These bricks were made on the public square, near where they were needed.
    The general plan of this first temple of justice for Gibson county was about as follows: The walls were of brick, thirty-three by forty feet in size; the foundation was laid eighteen inches below the surface of the ground; the height of the lower story was twelve feet; above the bottom of the sleepers, which were one foot above the round, the wall of the lower story was two and a half brick thick and the upper story two brick; there were two chimneys, with fire-places. The brick and all the material for the construction of the building were furnished by the county. Work was commenced September 1, 1814. The contractor was Killion Creek--that is, he laid the walls--and Samuel Hogue built the roof of this building and furnished timber for the window frames, etc., while John Decker had the contract for all inside finishing work. The painting was done by the brush of Samuel Boicourt. This structure stood and did good service for the new county for a quarter of a century, or until 1841, when it was thought wise to provide better quarters for the various county officials and the courts."
    [The first court house was occupied June of 1815.]
    Indianapolis, Indiana, 1914

* * * * *

With all this wonderful history about Melissa's 6th Great-grandfather Killian Kreek (Creek), whose German name was Guillaume Grieg, it is my sincere hope Mother Nature and corporate demands make it possible AND SAFE for her to visit the historic Mill site in Glasgow, Kentucky!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


Refer a friend to this Column

Your Name -
Your Email -
Friend's Name - 
Friends Email - 


Horizontal Navigator



To report problems with this page, email Webmaster

Copyright © 2002 AMEA Publications