There are a wealth of land claims, sales, transfers and tax records that exist. Lower Howard’s Creek had over 300 people living there in the 1790’s. In addition to the warehouses there was a sawmill and gristmill, a fulling mill. A fulling mill is described as one of the necessary steps involved in the manufacture of cloth - “to tread or beat newly woven woolen cloth in order that it might by cleansed of it’s animal grease and soil, shrunken to a firmer weave, smoothed of it’s knots and excrescences, and stretched to dry.” Additional signs of industry also included distilleries located there.
So how is it today that this area now encompassed by the Nature and Heritage Preserve has remained so intact and untouched? According to Clare Sipple, executive director of the preserve it was a shifting of industry with the times. Water power was the necessary element that brought the settlers to the area. Lower Howard’s Creek provided that ingredient and the people settled there accordingly. Steam power and later rail travel were the demise of this industrial section of Kentucky. When it was no longer necessary to utilize the water as either a power source or a transportation source, the families moved to higher more accessible areas. The houses and mills were worked by a hardy few into the late 19th century and then gradually abandoned. Up until 1900 one mill was still standing and there are existing photos of the Martin house in 1950.