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Near Tompkinsville in Monroe County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

William & Jane (Hart) Howard

(Born March 4, 1772 & unknown in 1773)

 
 
William and Jane (Hart) Howard Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, August 21, 2021
1. William and Jane (Hart) Howard Marker
Inscription.  Obadiah Howard and Priscilla (Breed) Howard were members of Philip Mulkey's traveling church and belonged to the Separate Baptists with him at Deep River N.C., Broad River S.C, and Fair Forest S.C. Their son William was born near Fair Forest. He married Jane Hart. William's sister, Nancy, married Jonathan Mulkey, Philip's son; also a preacher. When Jonathan and Nancy moved into East Tennessee and established the church at Buffalo Ridge, the Howards followed. Years later the third generation of Mulkey preachers, John, would be the first pastor of record of Mill Creek Baptist Church. Among the family members that followed John to Kentucky and Mill Creek Baptist were Obadiah, Priscilla, Jane and William Howard.

William owned slaves prior to and after coming to Kentucky. Those slaves tended the hundreds of acres of land he owned here. William selected a site near East Fork Creek to build a brick home. Family history teaches that slaves made the bricks for the new house, as well as, providing the labor for the construction. Built in 1805, it was the first brick house in the county and it still stands today! The structure boasts black
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walnut floor joists and "three-brick-wide” walls. The house has undergone numerous renovations through the years but its original exterior is still easily visible as you travel the County House Road.

William and Jane must have been kind people. Jane gave much of her time nursing the sick of the plantation and settlement. Aunt Rachel, her personal maid, rode with her on these errands of mercy. William though a slave owner, did not believe in the institution of slavery. When one of his slaves reached their 21s birthday, William gave them their freedom and a plot of land on which to live. William died in 1848; his practice of freeing his slaves was years before Emancipation. The plots of land given to the freed slaves of William Howard would eventually total 400 acres. The community would be known as Freetown.

Another prominent Monroe Countian of the time was Albert Martin. Albert offered some of his land to many black families that migrated to the Freetown area. In particular he gave them a small tract of land on which to build a church. That church still stands today. It is commonly referred to as Freetown Church but its formal name is Mount Vernon African Methodist Church. The area immediately around the building became Freetown Cemetery.

The Freetown Church still stands on its original foundation. The logs, chinking, flooring and shutters are
William and Jane (Hart) Howard Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, August 21, 2021
2. William and Jane (Hart) Howard Marker
also original. Glass windows, electricity and protective wood siding have been added over the years. The metal roof has been replaced as needed to protect the structure. The crude benches were modified to double as desks during the time the building was used as a school. Regular services have not been held in the building for decades but the descendents of the freed slaves which organized the church still hold special services there from time to time.

The Freetown Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. In 1980 the site received a Kentucky Historical Highway Marker from the Kentucky Historical Society. The church and cemetery (located on Hwy 100 west of Gamaliel) are still maintained by the descendents of the freed slaves that established the Freetown community.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Churches & Religion.
 
Location. 36° 40.671′ N, 85° 42.445′ W. Marker is near Tompkinsville, Kentucky, in Monroe County. Marker can be reached from Old Mulkey Park Road. Located at the Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 38 Old Mulkey Park Rd, Tompkinsville KY 42167, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Five Generations of Gospel Preachers (here, next to this marker); Ephraim Dicken (here, next to this
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marker); Revolutionary War Veterans (here, next to this marker); Hannah Boone (a few steps from this marker); The Meetinghouse (a few steps from this marker); James & Mary Howard Chism (within shouting distance of this marker); William & Jane Hart Howard (within shouting distance of this marker); African Americans and Mill Creek, Baptist (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tompkinsville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 16, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. This page has been viewed 378 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 16, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 24, 2024