Just Downriver From Rockport
a jrd stat on 12/5/10.

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Ceralvo, Kentucky-Another Old River Town.
A jrd stat on 10/14/10.

About a hundred miles up the Green River, from the Ohio River, are two small towns. Not too many years ago, these two towns were on the move and prospering. Rockport and Ceralvo are two old river towns that have seen better days. At the turn of the twentieth century, these two towns were in their "Heyday". Rockport had rail and river traffic and Ceralvo was a busy river town with rail nearby. Wagon trails serviced both towns, but it would be a few more years before the automobile would be able to travel, conveniently to these two towns. Only a few miles apart, by river, these two towns were like sister cities. Each were stopping off points for river traffic and each town had their own drugstores and doctor's offices. They both were also "Wild Towns" and the saloons were just a part of each community. Rockport had a jail. I don't think that Ceralvo did, but I am sure there was a means of keeping a "Rowdy" drunk contained. Each town was also blessed with churches. As each town was a river town, each had a ferry and each town had a post office.

Kentucky obtained statehood on June 1, 1792. Rockport was laid out, surveyed and a plat of the town drawn up in 1860. It was incorporated in 1870. Ceralvo was laid out, surveyed and a plat of the town drawn up in 1851. It was incorporated in 1870.

Kentucky, for years and especially in the early years, has been known for the abundance of wild game and fish. It was also known for the forest that contained countless hardwood trees and the meadows with deer and elk. The name Kentucky, according to some, came from an Indian name, Kaintuckee or Cantuckey, meaning "Meadowland". During prehistoric periods, Indians roamed over much of Kentucky and probably established permanent settlements within the state. In the mid-seventeen hundreds, Kentucky was a "Happy Hunting Ground" for the Indians, but no permanent tribe existed within its' boundaries. The Shawnee, from the North, and the Cherokee, from the South, used this, soon to be state, as their own personal hunting grounds. By now, the white man was encroaching on "Indian Land". Daniel Boone, as an explorer, was the most famous as he and others entered Kentucky from the East and especially through the Cumberland Gap. Explorers from Pennsylvania and Ohio were coming down the Ohio River to make their mark on the "Soon-To-Be" state. From the Ohio River, some of the explorers entered the Green River and headed up river to settle Ceralvo and Rockport. Of course, the area of Ceralvo, Lewis Creek and Rockport was a good area to set up base camps and eventually permanent settlements. According to some, the first settlers were astounded by the great number of deer in this area and especially the large deer herds that watered and crossed the river as Ceralvo. The most popular opinion is that Ceralvo was derived from the Spanish word, Ciervo, meaning deer. Just upriver, the settlement on the bluffs, and the large "outcropping" of rocks became know as the town of Rockport. Lewis Creek was named after the family that owned a large portion of land that the creek runs through on its' way to the Green River.

From the time of incorporation in 1870 until the time frame of the 1937 flood, Ceralvo was a "Booming" River Town. The natural resources of the area, the abundance of game and fish, and the river combined to make Ceralvo a prosperous town. Farming, trapping, hunting, fishing, and logging were just a few of the reasons for Ceralvo's existence. For a period of more that sixty years, this small river town was a busy place and a wild place at times. Steamboats were a common site on the river. The "Showboats" from Evansville made regular excursions to Ceralvo and offloaded passengers that stayed overnight at the Hotel. These passengers consisted of a mixture of business people, traders, and party goers. Other types of steamboats, called packet boats, were used to transport people, mail and goods. These packet boats "Ran" on a regular schedule. Tobacco, other farm produce, pelts, game, fish, and other goods were regularly shipped downriver to places like Evansville and St. Louis on these packet boats. The incoming packet boats brought the necessary goods for the Ceralvo area residents.

Now, some one hundred and fifty years later, the world has not been that kind to Ceralvo. At the time of this writing, a weather-beaten church, a cemetery and a few houses remain. The Church and the cemetery are still open for business and probably the few citizens left do not want their secret broadcasted about being a fabulous place to live and the peace and tranquility of being next to Green River every day. May the residents continue to populate this small town.


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jerry durham

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