Scomp family in Kentucky

Published 8:44 am Monday, November 27, 2017

HARRODSBURG – A historic house built by a member of the early Dutch settlement who migrated in 1799 from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Kentucky will be among nine structures on the Holiday Homes Tour 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.

John Scomp (Stomp) arrived in Kentucky in 1799 and built a frame house on a portion of nine acres he bought from Aaron Alexander in 1847.

The ‘old Brewers Mill” also was located on the property.

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This was near the Old Mud Meetinghouse where many of the Dutch settled after arriving in Kentucky.

This area also was the area for the Northern and Southern armies retreating after The Battle of Perryville on Oct. 8, 1862.

Union officers advised Scomp to take his family and valued possessions and flee to Harrodsburg for safety. The officers occupied the back two rooms of the house that preceded this house. The house was not damaged during the battle, and Scomp soon replaced it with the current structure.

The new house was Gothic Revival, which was more the style for rural American residences in the mid-1800s. The one and half story house features classic Gothic gable centered in a roofline above the front door.

Two gables were added later. The central doorway is flanked by sidelights and protected by a simple porch.

A central hallway leads two double parlors. Tall interior chimneys straddle the apex of the roof allowing fireplaces in each parlor.

Ash, poplar and pine are used for flooring throughout the house

Cut limestone blocks make up the foundation and large limestone ashlars form the front steps.

The house remained in the Scomp family 140 years until 1987.

Albert and Coleen Moore are current owners.

Scomp daughter writes about battle

Mary Rebecca Scomp Cunningham, daughter of John and Catherine Scomp, lived her entire life in the house and wrote of her memories during and after the Civil War.

She was born March 4,1855 and died in 1937, at the age of 81.

She was married to J.T. Cunningham and they continued to live in the family home.

Their son, Forrest lived in the house with his wife, Irene, until his death in 1987.

Mary Rebecca was about 7 years old at the time of the Perryville battle. She wrote 13 pages and a brief autobiography giving her impressions of Oct. 8, 1862, during the clash of Union and Confederate soldiers not far from where the family lived.

She tells about the booming of cannons in the distance and her parents standing in the yard with sad faces talking about the news and seriousness of it all.

As they looked to the west watching great columns of marching soldiers, she remembers her father saying, “‘The tired marching soldiers are somebody’s sons, fathers and friends,” while he held her in his arms and watched the soldiers march to a brass band music.

“When they passed the turn, over the Perryville Pike, we could see their bayonets glisten in that dry, dusty, hazing morning light,’ she wrote.

Later in the day, two Union officers stopped by the house asking Scomp to take care of a young black boy, suitcase of clothes and three horses and to keep them if they never returned.

The officers returned and told Scomp to gather their belongings and keep out of the line of battle on the hill in front of their house and up a ridge to guard Perryville Pike and the farm road. They said if the Army came during the night, the Scomp house would be sure to receive shell fire and be burned.

By then most of their neighbors were already gone.

Scomp hitched the team of horses and backed a wagon and loaded as many possessions as soldiers set up cannons at a neighbor’s house. They drove across fields, seeing soldiers everywhere and stayed with an uncle in Harrodsburg.

The family returned home the next day and found their house in good shape.

“Only two back rooms had been used by Union officers while they stayed and kept guard around the place.”

Mary Rebecca said Salt River attracted many soldiers who was in need of water. The Union Army erected tents along the river and camped.

Rebecca and her father saw cannons and she remembers men looking so troubled and sad and everyone seemed to be resting.

“They acted as if they were glad to see a little child. One of the artillery soldiers took me in his arms so that I could look in the great caches of shells and cannon balls, also held me at the cannon’s mouth, told me to put my hand in as far as I could reach. Then he said when I grew up I could tell the people that I had put my hand in the cannon mouth that had been used at the Perryville battle, and killed so many men.’’

She wrote about the soldiers taking down all the rail fences to use for camp fires and butchering 13 large cattle to feed their army. She said her mother visited wounded soldiers in a hospital at the Presbyterian church in Harrodsburg.

Mary Rebecca also saw the wounded soldiers, a sight she never forgot.


Tickets for Harrodsburg

Historical Society’s

Holiday Homes Tour

available at Society’s


220 S. Chiles St.