Name: James SANDUSKY
Birth: circa 1748 Frederick County, Virginia
Death: June 1819 Bourbon County, Kentucky Age: 71
Burial: Cane Ridge Cemetery, Bourbon County, Kentucky
Father: Andrew SANDUSKY
Mother: Catherine

Misc. Notes
James Sodowski's Station [1]

James Sodowski (also Sanduskey, Sandusky, Sodowsky and other variations) and his brother, Jacob, were among the more peripatetic of the early explorers/settlers in the Central Kentucky area. James finally settled in Bourbon County on land for which he had acquired a certificate in 1780. He died on his estate in 1819 and his will is entered in the Paris courthouse records.

The records on James and Jacob are made more complicated because of the personal preferences in the spelling of the surname. The original spelling was either Sandusky or Sunduski (Greene 1842:199). At some point, each brother adopted different spellings; whether by intent or not is not clear. James' survey entry spells his name Sodowsky, (Virginia Survey Book 6; pp. 15-16). The Certificate Book of the Land Commission of 1779-1780 spelled it Sodowski. His will specified the spelling Soduskey (Bourbon County Will Book F, pp. 277-279). Ardery (1939:14) and Jillson (1934) both spell his name Sandusky but note the alternate spelling as Sodowsky. In 1843, James' twin sons, Isaac and Jacob, wrote a letter to John S. Williams, editor of the American Pioneer, a short-lived 19th century magazine. They each spelled their surname differently, Isaac adhering to Sodowsky and Jacob to Sandusky (Sodowsky and Sandusky 1843:325-326). Later generations of James' branch reverted to the Sandusky spelling as Bourbon County court records attest.

James Soduskey, by his own admission, traveled around Central Kentucky to a considerable degree before he finally settled permanently. In a deposition connected with a land dispute between Baker Pegram et al. and Lewis Craig and James Emory (Staples 1933:306), James stated Fhat he came to Kentucky in 1773 and had "no particular place of residence" until the summer of 1774 when he helped a party plant a crop at Fountain Blue near Harrodsburg after which he returned to Virginia. His sons stated in the previously cited letter that James married in Virginia and returned around 1776 when he built a station on Pleasant Run in Washington County. This differs slightly with James' account in which he states he returned to Kentucky and grew corn at Harrodsburg, then went back to Virginia in the fall (year unspecified), remaining there until the spring of 1779 when he resided principally at Harrodsburg until 1782. The sons state that his brother, Jacob, settled at James' Station on Pleasant Run at some point, but both removed to Jessamine County about 1785 where Jacob lived until his death. James removed to Bourbon County around 1786 or 1787. Both sons inherited property although, according to the 1843 letter, Isaac was the only one of the two who stayed.

To determine the precise location of James' Station, his survey plats were plotted with help from locational details included in his and his neighbors' plats. James obtained a certificate for settlement on January 10, 1780. His tract was to lie on a south branch of Hinkston Fork about one-half mile from Randolph Lick. This lick may be the same as the Round Lick which was located on the Flat Lick or Lower Salt Lick Trace traversing Sodowsky's land (Blanton 1934; Staples 1934:11). He joined Edward Lyne and John Baker on his east, Thomas Swearingen to his southwest and Peter Casey to his west. The east-west width of his settlement and preemption fit within the area encompassed by present Stokers Lane and Blacks Crossroads (Figure IV-21). His will indicates that Stoker road formed his north boundary. His will specified the division of his land grants but it does not make clear the amount of land involved. He was survived by his wife, Marrey (also spelled Marry in the same document), his sons, Andrew, Isaac, Jacob and Abraham, his daughter, Sarah, and her husband, John Parker, and the heirs of Thomas Sandusky (another son). All of these people received portions of his estate. According to the language of his will, at least two of his sons were already occupying the land they inherited. The land divisions were designated as follows:

To his wife, Marrey, he left that portion of his landed estate "beginning at the corner of the post and rale [rail] fence next the spring being the corner of the yard of Jacob Soduskey and my one running west as far as the land hereafter willed in this will to Jacob Soduskey thence south up to Abraham Soduskey corner thence esterly [easterly] along the ridge then at right angles to about where the present fence stands on that corse [course] making about thirty acres or moore" (Bourbon Will Book F, p. 277). This tract compensated for and was in lieu of the land she brought with her as a marriage dower. It was to pass to Jacob on her death.

His eldest son Andrew received that portion beginning at a large forked white oak west to Stoker corner, south with Stoker's line 132 poles, east to the first given line in the settlement, and thence to the beginning.

Isaac received the "place where he now lives" which was land purchased from David Woods and sufficient portion of the settlement and preemption so as to make him and Jacob equal.

Jacob received all the land lying between Ile (spelling uncertain) Nunn and Isaac Soduskey up to a marked corner for Abraham. The marked trees included a cherry, hackberry and ash. The division continued along a conditional fenced line to intersect with the first given line of the settlement.

Abraham also inherited his place of residence, beginning at a black oak on the settlement line, then along that line to the preemption line and with that line to the mouth of the land between Joseph Collins and Caleb Litton. From there the line ran west and by the forks of the creek straight to the preemption line, then northeast along it until Swearingen's settlement and preemption corner was reached, then north with the preemption line to Nunn's corner and with his line to its intersection on Jacob's boundary to the cherry tree corner and easterly along Jacob's line to the beginning.

His daughter, Sarah, received land from the mouth of the lane between Collins and Litton running west to strike the preemption line then south 40 degrees east with the Patton line to a corner, thence with the Patton calls to the beginning.

Other heirs received purchased land which was not part of the land grant. Unfortunately, no settlement plat was made for the.execution of the will. For the time, the will's land division directions were very precise and probably no plat was necessary since all the boundaries were previously established ones.

However, subsequent settlement plats resulting from land divisions after James' sons' death and an undated map and other records in the Bourbon County courthouse allow a tentative reconstruction of James' land division. The Bourbon County map (which, internal evidence suggests, predates the 1877 Beers & Lanagan map) shows two J. Sanduskys, one on the north side of Jackstown Road and one south of the road at the forks of a creek. The former location is the same as that marked "I.S." on the 1877 map. This must be the son Jacob's portion, as his son Isaac later received 850 acres of the "home place" (Bourbon County Will Book R, pp. 222-223). Jacob's land adjoined his mother Marrey's portion of 30 acres and was to pass to him upon her death. Since he inherited his mother's portion, and she, in all likelihood, continued to live at the same residence after her husband's death, the question arises as to whether the house indicated on both the pre-1877 and 1877 maps was occupied by her, and was, by extension, the station.

One perhaps relevant exercise is to calculate the ages of the sons at the time of their father's death. His eldest son, Thomas, had apparently predeceased his father as only his heirs are considered in the will. Andrew was 39 years old and married. The twins, Jacob and Isaac, were 29 years old and both married. Isaac was not living with his parents but was on land purchased from David Woods. Abraham was 26 years of age and married. He too was maintaining a separate residence. Since all the sons were married, they all could have been maintaining separate households. It is interesting that James only specified two sons with their own homes. However, their sites can probably be dismissed from further consideration. Isaac was living on purchased land and the station would not have been on his property. Abraham's land was within the settlement/preemption and adjoined Swearingen (whose tract was on the west side and was near the "mouth of the lane between Joseph Collins and Caleb Litton". The Littons (or Lyttons) all lived east of Blacks Crossroads, Collins to the west of it (1877 Beers & Lanagan map). This road then continued south which it no longer does today. This tentatively places Andrew to the south of Jackstown Road and east of the southern continuation of Blacks Crossroads. The plat for his widow's dower (Bourbon County Estate Settlement Book D, p. 7) seems to confirm this placement.

Jacob then is placed to the east of Andrew and probably on both sides of Jackstown Pike for an unknown distance northward.Finally, Andrew's tract adjoined Stoker's corner and north-south line. As Stoker Lane at one time formed the northern boundary of the land grant, it appears plausible that Andrew's portion was in the northwest corner of the estate.

Since the site indicated on both old maps is on Jacob's portion and because he inherited his mother's 30 A., it seems reasonable to surmise that her portion may have included a house and that Jacob was living with her or nearby. Another important point is that Marry's portion specifies a spring and that she retained all the household furniture.

The location of the site occupied by Jacob and later by his son Isaac corresponds with a former log building complex which stood on the site until approximately twenty years ago. Mrs. James Pruitt (nee Wagnor) of Millersburg, who lived there as a child, provided the following description.

A total of four structures incorporating log construction once stood on the site (Figure IV-22). Dominating the hilltop was a large two-story log and stone house which undoubtedly was Sodowsky's "manor house". The west half of this structure was log and the east was stone. In the log half a front porch ran the full length of the section. The single front door was placed in the middle and was flanked by single windows. The door led into the living room which had a double stone fireplace on the east wall, serving both the living room and a bedroom in the stone section. Another bedroom was west of the living room on the first floor. It also had a stone chimney. The stairs to the second story were in the northwest corner of the first floor. A door on the north wall of the living room led to the back porch. outside stairs to the second story were on the east wall. A small room (about 4 x 6 feet) used by the Wagnors as a creamery was located on the west end. The remainder of the porch was open. The second story projected over it to form its roof. The second story of the log section had a loft over the back porch and two bedrooms in front.

The stone section could be entered from the front or the back. The front door led into a kitchen with a large stone chimney on the east wall. A parlor was to the west of the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen on the east was a dining room from which a back door led to a large rock slab stoop. A bedroom was in the rear corner of the west side. It was heated by the same fireplace that served the living room. A cistern was located behind the stone section.

A log dwelling was located northwest of the house. It was a simple two-room plan with one large room on the second story. It probably was a double pen. A cellar was dug beneath the house. A central stone chimney served both rooms. Stairs were located in the southeast corner. Two front doors were present, leading into each room.

Other log buildings included a smokehouse and a "shop" which may once have been a barn or a crib. These were located to the rear of the main dwelling.

According to Sodowsky's will, his wife, Marrey, was to receive a 30-acre tract west of their son, Jacob. It seems plausible that this lot included one of the houses, probably the smaller cabin since the will specified her tract to the west. All of the Sodowsky children were married at the time of their father's death and the parents may have been living in the smaller house. It also seems likely that the smaller house was the earlier dwelling built and probably constituted his station.

All of the buildings associated with this station site were torn down approximately twenty years ago when Mr. Cecil Wall purchased the property from the Wagnor Estate (Mrs. James Pruitt 1984: personal communication). Mr. Wall replaced the main log and stone house with a brick dwelling which is still standing. A concrete slab was laid along the length of the house in the rear. Its extension to the east apparently covered the cistern. No trace of the original structure was visible. The site of the smaller log house is still faintly visible by scattered pieces of limestone and a hummocky appearance to the area where the rubble was bulldozed into the basement or cellar and then the surface was roughly levelled. The log smokehouse and shop to the rear of the main house are less distinguishable since they had no subterranean rooms; however, darker soil in the vicinity of the smokehouse probably marks its location. The spring was not relocated although the will specified that it was in or near the northwest corner of Marrey's 30-acre lot. The later water supply was provided by a cistern and a well.

While the smaller log house and the area of the smokehouse and shop may retain some archaeological.deposits, the general impression is that structure removal virtually obliterated most of the intact archaeological remains on the site. Those deposits still in existence are likely to have been disturbed by the razing activities. Mrs. Pruitt reported that Mr. Wall required nine months to take the structures down and he was said to have remarked that "if I knew how well they were built, I would have never torn them down" (Mrs. Pruitt 1984: personal communication). Some of the logs were later acquired by personnel of Lake Carnico and recycled into furniture for the lodge there. The site is listed as 15Bb85 in the Office of State Archaeology inventory. Despite the damage this site has undergone, the small log cabin remains appear promising for archaeological investigation. Their preservation and nature should be assessed before eliminating the site from further consideration.

1. Nancy O’Malley, Stockading Up, Kentucky Heritage Council, Frankfort Kentucky, revised edition, 1994, pp. 86-87, 89-90, 92.