Much of what we know about the original patriots who settled Six-Mile Creek comes from newspaper articles written in 1873 and 1903 by George Whitfield Demaree. His ancestors were French Hugenots who migrated with the Low Dutch to Mercer County, Kentucky.
Demaree – also known as “Mr. D” by his contemporaries – was a lawyer, magistrate, breeder of prize Jersey cattle, and a renowned beekeeper on his farm in Christianburg, Kentucky. He was a pioneer in “swarm control,” and his findings allowed bees to be transported out West for the pollen-ization of crops that helped make permanent settlement possible.
Mr. D somehow found time in his busy life to be an amateur historian, too. In his newspaper articles, he documented the history of Six-Mile Creek – the “wonderfully meandering, famous stream” – from the early days of the pioneers to the Civil War. He noted the inhabitants were called the “Six-Milites” by those occupying higher and supposedly better ground.
Judging by the names, those Six-Milites were Irish, Scotch, Welsh, French, and Scotch-Irish – tenacious, strong, and fearless. They were attracted to Six-Mile Creek because of the abundant fish and game and the freedom to live as they chose. “The ‘old settlers of ‘Six-Mile Creek’ were … adventurers, depending solely on individual grit, unsupported by community aid,” Mr. D wrote.
He determined that the first permanent settler with a family on Six-Mile was Jiles Harlow, who lived to be nearly 100 years old. Harlow fathered more than 20 children, resided in a cabin with a dirt floor, and in his old age believed he had the gift of “conjuration” – the ability to heal the sick or injured.
On a hunting trip in the winter of 1849-50, Mr. D stopped at the Harlow cabin to warm himself and remembered that old Jiles and his wife became agitated about the current temperance movement. Harlow “went into a rage, and with the voice of a roaring lion said: ‘I fought for the rights of my country (in the Revolutionary War), I was a solder in the War of 1812, and I am ready as old as I am, to take up my musket for my liberty, to eat and drink what I please.’”
Spoken like a true patriot.