Cemeteries mark site of Bowling Green

About five miles east of Ramsey stands the crossroads village of Twin Churches. Turning left at the corner by the former Reeds Chapel Church and continuing to the top of the hill, about two miles, brings one to the site of the pioneer village of Bowling Green.

Two little cemeteries mark the site one on either side of the road.

On the left, or west, side of the road is found the McClanahan Cemetery. Only two stones, for John A. McClanahan and his wife, Susan, are standing. Across the road is the McDonald family burial ground.

Back in the 1830s to 1850s, the thriving village of Bowling Green occupied the hill. In 1834, John McClanahan was licensed to keep a tavern in the county. He was a storekeeper in Bowling Green and also doctored his neighbors.

County land records place him here as early as June of 1825.

John Alexander McClanahan was born Aug. 18, 1804, six miles west of Franklin, Ky., and died on June 9, 1862, at the age of 57 years, 10 months and 21 days. He was the son of Thomas M. McClanahan, and this family has been traced back a couple more generations.

John A. married Susan Caroline Clark, and they were parents of 11 children: James, Wright, Mary Ann, Harriet, Robin, Kittie, Thomas, Susan, Charles, David and Alice.

Susan was born on Nov. 2, 1808, in Sumner County, Tenn., and died on Nov. 4, 1851, at the age of 43 years, 7 months and 2 days. It was thought that she was the daughter of James and Mary Wright Clark.

Following Susans death, John A. married a second time, on June 24, 1852, to Eleanor ‘Ellen’ Jeffries, and they were parents of three children: Sarah, Alexander and Edward McClanahan. Following Johns death in 1862, Eleanor married William Burrus.

According to Johns granddaughter, Mrs. Reva McClanahan Butler, the small settlement of Bowling Green consisted of the McClanahan general store and a blacksmith shop, together with a few other buildings.

She told that her father, James McClanahan, hauled goods for his fathers store by wagon from St. Louis, the closest market. This journey took weeks to complete.

Johns daughter, Robin Corley, said that her father always kept his saddlebags near the door of his store, ready for emergency calls. She told that he was an Indian herbal doctor, of rather small stature, and of quick and nervous temperament.

According to the earliest history of the county, published in 1878, the first murder in Carson Township is attributed to John A. McClanahan. The source said he shot and killed a man named Webster Nance in 1845, and soon after left the county.

The Greenville ‘Protestant Monitor’ reported that Nance refused to pay for a 7-pound keg of nails and a dispute followed. The grocer, McClanahan, seized a loaded musket and shot him. McClanahan returned, stood trial and was found not guilty, claiming he had shot Nance in self-defense.

The Bowling Green land passed down through the McClanahan family until a son, Wright McClanahan, owned most of the original town lots. Preserving a 60-foot square for the family cemetery, he then sold the remainder to various buyers.

If youre out for a drive some day and find yourself in the Twin Churches neighborhood, take a minute to visit the McClanahan Cemetery the site of the lost village of Bowling Green.

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