Scuffletown is a ghost town in Henderson County in the western part of the U.S. state of Kentucky. Located on the Ohio River just above the mouth of Green River, it was a city for barely 100 years but is legendary in the area because of activities there during the American Civil War and its rough reputation.
Scuffletown got its start in 1800 when Jonathan Thomas Stott-(Scott)-(Fox), third son of the Great Chief Cornstalk and full-blood Shawnee, married Mary Polly Cooper, a full blood Cherokee. They had two sons Jonathan Stott and Thomas Scott. During the Cherokee removeal their father was shot and died in Shawneetown, Illinois 1838. He ran a tavern in the area that passing river traffic could easily access. Scuffletown got its name from the flatboat people coming down the Ohio River. The Cherokee played stick ball and had wrestling matches right out side the tavern/trading post. The white people saw this as scuffling. According to the Annals and Scandals of Henderson County by Maralea Arnett, "Since he kept a good supply of liquor, it became a rendezvous for flatboatmen and others on the river. Often a general fight developed after several hours of drinking and the place received the name of Scuffletown,his great great grandson still lives in Henderson County. Michael Manfox Buley.
A school was built there sometime around 1817. The first church was built in 1830 at the Vanada farm. A tobacco stemmery was built in 1860 and shipped 400 to 450 hogsheads per year to Europe. A steam gristmill and blacksmith shop soon followed. In addition to crops of tobacco and corn, Scuffletown was noted for its large number of pecan trees.
The site witnessed numerous Civil War-era activities. It may have been the intended target of a raid by a handful of Confederate cavalrymen from Tennessee led by Captain Jake Bennett. It was Colonel's Johnson set up his cannon a few miles below Scuffletown to take Newburgh. The Silver Lake No. 2, a sternwheel packet (steamboat) weighing some 129 tons and outfitted with six cannons capable of firing 24 pound shot, stopped at Scuffletown during its patrols of the Ohio. In 1863, eight Union companies of infantry and one company of artillery were stationed at Scuffletown to protect the area of Confederate raiders. Scuffletown is mentioned in the Civil War account "Operations of the Mississippi Squadron during Morgan's Raid."
In 1893 the Southern Cherokee Nation were Welcomed to Kentucky in Scuffletown and recognized as an Indian tribe by Governor John Y. Brown. The Southern Cherokee are still living on the Green River today.
According to an atlas originally printed and copy written in 1895 by the Rand McNally Corporation, downtown Scuffletown had a population of 71.
In 1868, Scuffletown got a post office, which remained in operation until after the 1913 flood, closing in January 1914. A larger flood in 1937 destroyed all that remained of the town. The area is now referred to by some as the Scuffletown Bottoms, though it often goes unnamed.
Current Events & Future Edit
On January 18, 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the establishment of a national wildlife refuge in the Scuffletown Bottoms. The purpose of the proposed refuge is to protect, restore and manage a valuable complex of wetland habitats for the benefit of migrating and wintering waterfowl, non-game land birds, and other native fish and wildlife.
The Kentucky Oral History Sound Recordings project, produced in conjunction with the Kentucky Historical Society and the Downtown Henderson Project, has recorded conversations with former residents of Scuffletown. These recordings are housed at the Henderson County Public Library.
Arnett, Maralea (1976). The Annals and Scandals of Henderson County, Kentucky. Fremar Publishing Company, Corydon, Kentucky. LCCN: 76-19879
- Henderson County Public Library
- The Southern Cherokee Nation of Kentucky
- The Kentucky Oral History Sound Recordings project
- 1895 Atlas by the Rand McNally Corporation
- Operations of the Mississippi Squadron during Morgan's Raid
- USGS map of Scuffletown
- Mapquest Map of Scuffletown