Monday, August 5, 2013

Bardstown and surrounding area - St. Thomas UPDATE

Bardstown is the little Kentucky town where I grew up, but my ancestors had been settled in the surrounding hills since the late 1700's.  Most of them migrated from St. Mary's Parish in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland where they had been among the first colonists coming to America in the early 1600's.   Bardstown was an important and prosperous town for those early settlers who were moving westward, surpassing even Louisville in population.  However the invention of the steamboat in the early 1800s moved the economic center of Kentucky to Louisville on the Ohio River and Bardstown eventually lost its early prominence and promise.

St. Thomas, KY

There is a little settlement near Bardstown called "St. Thomas" where some of my father's family had lived.  It is extremely quiet here, surrounded by farmland.  The sweetest little church ...

St. Thomas Church was established in 1812.  HERE is a good history of the Catholics - the "League of Sixty" - who left Maryland in the late 1700's to settle in the Bardstown area.  The stone above marks the site of a buried time capsule that is scheduled to be opened on July 3, 2052, the 250th anniversary of the church.  I guess I won't be around for that.

In the cemetery near the church is the grave of Robert Hagan, my great great great grandfather, who died on July 21st, 1840 at the age of 62.

Robert Hagan was born on September 30th, 1778, in Charles County Maryland.  He came to KY with his wife, Chrystena Dyer, died in 1840, and is buried right here at St. Thomas.

Here is my lineage to this Robert Hagan:

Robert's son is ROBERT HAGAN, born February 22, 1817, married to Elizabeth Beeler, died October 20th, 1900 (buried in Hardin County KY)

Robert's son is JAMES HENRY HAGAN, born in 1839, married to Mary Bell Warren (1873)  and died in 1887 (buried in Hardin County KY)

James Henry's son is HENRY HART HAGAN, born in September 10th, 1881, married to Florence Woodward and died on July 7th 1951 (buried in St. Joseph cemetery, Bardstown)

Henry Hart's son is EDWIN MONTGOMERY HAGAN, born on January 24, 1907, married to Anna Elizabeth Queen (1946) and died on January 7th, 1983. (buried in St. Joseph cemetery, Bardstown)

Edwin is my father.

There are various assorted Hagans buried around Robert in the St. Thomas cemetery.  Many of the stones are broken.

I suspect that this is Robert's wife, "Chrystena", my great great great grandmother, who is listed as "Christina Dyer" in  Her headstone is similar to Robert's.  She was born on October 25th, 1779 in Prince Georges Maryland and died on August 3rd 1826 in Kentucky at the age of 47.  It's all written in the stone.

So there you have it.  Robert F. and Chrystena Dyer Hagan, a young couple who married in 1804 in St. John's Parish, Prince Georges Maryland, left their home to cross the Appalachian mountains and settle in the wilderness land of Kentucky.  May their story and their memory live on forever in the future generations of Cioffoletti's and Felsen's and Hagan's.  

UPDATE: I found a photo of Chrystena's father, Jeremiah Dyer - my gr gr gr gr grandfather. Jeremiah was born in 1752 (in Maryland) and died in Maryland in 1800.  The families had been in Maryland for 200 years by then so I imagine that Chrystena and Robert's move to KY was a very big deal.  It has now been 200 years since that move across the Appalachian mountains.


  1. A lovely little church! You might like Bonsecours church in Old Montreal, the sailors' chapel that overlooks the harbour. "The sun pours down like honey on Our Lady of the harbour" (Leonard Cohen's Suzanne)

  2. Wow, that chapel is very sweet too -- I'd love to visit it.