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About this Blog

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I have been with the Messenger-Inquirer since 2004 and became the paper’s editorial page editor in April 2009. I moved to Owensboro after finishing graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I earned a master’s degree in journalism, and previously wrote for the High Point (NC) Enterprise. Before making the move to the Op-Ed page, my primary area of coverage was the Owensboro City Commission and City Hall, along with covering the General Assembly from Frankfort when it is in session.

“Around the table at Smeathers’ Tavern” takes its name from the tavern run by William Smeathers that used to sit along the bend in the Ohio River now home to Owensboro.  What better name for a place where locals used to gather to share their opinions, gripes and growls?

Here’s the story of Smeathers and his roots in Owensboro from M-I reporter Keith Lawrence.

The story of Owensboro allegedly began a little more than two centuries ago, when a 35-year-old Virginia native named William Smeathers grew tired of cramped-up life in Fort Hartford – population 75 or fewer.
He was looking for a place to call his own, a place to start a business in those days of 1797 or 1798.
According to local legend, Smeathers, with his wife, the former Mary Winters, his children and his sister, Mollie, hiked 20-plus miles up the “Buffaloe Road” – a wide trail worn smooth and deep by 10,000 years of buffalo hooves.
At a ravine on the banks of the Ohio – a place called Big Yellow Banks – that had provided a safe harbor for travelers since prehistoric times, Smeathers built his cabin/tavern.
Passing keelboats would pull into the mouth of the ravine for the night. The crews would eat Smeathers’ food, drink his whiskey and smoke his tobacco. And then move on.
In just a few years, a settlement grew up around Smeathers’ tavern.
Locals wanted to call it Rossboro.
But the Kentucky General Assembly, in 1817, named it Owensboro, in honor of Col. Abraham Owen, a former legislator from Shelby County, who was killed in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Pint O Brew permalink
    January 8, 2010 10:37 am

    I like the new name of your blog Mr. Covington. One can only hope the variety of ales on tap and menu are as interesting as locations name.

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