Evolution of the small, Rural Community of Spurlington. By Ronald Dale Spurling, Taylor County High School.
The major occupation in Spurlington is still farming. Farming is probably what brought the original settlers here around 1800. But, several other factors were involved in pulling a few settlers away from thier farms into the nucleus which is now Spurlington.
Typical of the early Spurlington settlers was the grandfather of Charles Jones, who "came here, cleared a house pattern, and went to farming." Those early settlers grew mostly corn and dark tobacco. Some grew more unusual things, such as sugar cane to make molasses.
One factor which could easily have begun bringing these early settlers together was the establishment of churches in the area. The Spurlington United Methodist Church (earlier known as Union Ridge) may have existed as early as 1800. Later , in the 1850s, a second church came to Spurlington. The St. Francis DeSales Church became the first Catholic church in Taylor county.
As this area grew, it became known by the people in and around the area as Spurling town. This was most likely due to the abundance of Spurlings around the general vicinity of the two churches and whatever other buildings may have been there at the time.
Then, in the 1870s, a branch of the railroad was constructed, going through Spurlington. In its construction, a tunnel was dug through Muldraugh’s Hill in Spurlington. Many around the area came into Spurlington to occupy one of the many job opportunities created by the digging of the tunnel and building of the railroad.
When completed, the railroad provided a means of transportion to either the county seat, Campbellsville, or to Louisville. This also provided a convenient means of stocking the stores which were beginning to grow in Spurlington. One store in particular, Tom Jeff Smith’s general store, provided the locals with "everything from darning needles to a thrashing machine," all in Spurlington.
As the community continued to grow, a post office was established, with John Kipsey Spurling as the first postmaster. This is probably when the area went from being called Spurling town to officially becoming Spurlington, because the post office would, of course, need a name.
Because of Spurlington’s growth during this time, the Spurlington school (earlies called Union Ridge) was established. This was one of the last major events to bring the people around the area into Spurlington.
Eventually, some of the stores left Spurlington. Later, the train quit stopping at Spurlington. And then the school was torn down. Spurlington lost its identity as a place of trade. But, the churches which started it all remain, although the Catholic church is seldom used for worship anymore. Too, the people, the thing that really makes Spurlington, still live in the area. Spurlington and its proud history are still alive in its proud people.
Sources: Interviews Mr. and Mrs. Alva Puryear, Mr. Wm. Goebel, Mrs. Alma Wise.
Outside sources Mr. Charles Jones, "Ella Crouch Erects Marker in St. Francis DeSales Church Cemetery, Teresa Spurling, and "The witch of the Spurlington Tunnel