The town of Poole is reported to have been founded by John and Jane Poole, who arrived here via oxcart from Bardstown in 1826. John Poole was married to Jane Huston in the Bardstown, Nelson County, area of Kentucky on April 18th, 1805. They had twelve children.
John and Jane Poole were not the earliest settlers of this area of what was then Henderson County. In 1860 Webster County was formed from portions of Henderson, Hopkins and Union Counties. While most of the village of Poole became a part of the new Webster County, most of the land settled by John and Jane Poole remained in Henderson County. John Poole and his sons established a mill, a store and an inn (16 Mile House). The impact of these commercial ventures resulted in the Poole name being associated with the village, first being called Poole's Mill and eventually Poole.
Poole was a fun town to grow up in. In the 40's the milkman would hand out "samples" of chocolate milk in little glass bottles to us kids who would gather around his truck when he stopped at the grocery stores. There were always enough kids to play "kick-the-can" should the occasion arise. One of the favorite hangouts in town was V. H. Allen's Restaurant. Vilas and Ethel Allen operated the restaurant for 50 years providing a place for good food at reasonable prices (hamburgers were 10 cents). The place was always packed following events such as basketball games at the high school. Poole High School was in operation with grades 1-12 from 1927 until 1954. Poole High School saw it's last Senior Class graduate in 1954. Community activities waned considerably following the closing of the high school. The building which was built in 1927 burned in January of 1959. A new building was built to house Poole Elementary School.
We had a two-chair barber shop, although only one was used as long as I can remember. My first haircut in the town barber shop cost a whopping 25 cents. I believe that brought the total that the barber earned from my head to $2.75 a year. That's once a month except for one partuclar month in spring which was the forbidden month for haircuts. March was purported to have some ominous power to cause headaches if one's locks were chopped off during that month. Something to do with The Ides of March, I think. That's the type of lore that floated around the pot-bellied stoves in this small country town in the 40's.
The following is an excerpt from the book "Poole, Kentucky: A Journey Back". The article is named "Poole" by Mollie Sellers and covers some of the history of Poole during the early 1900's.
Poole was a thriving busy place in the early 1900's despite the "sleepy little town" appearance. It was called Poole's Mill, Poole Town or just Poole. There were three tobacco factories, a grain mill, several grocery stores, a general store, two drug stores, two doctors and several churches. This constituted a sizable community.
Thomas J. Poole ran the mill. William Poole was inkeeper of the "16 Mile House" and later became the postmaster. One son was a blacksmith and another was a storekeeper. Decendants of John V and Jane Poole bear the family names of Thornberry, Cavanaugh, Poole, Allen, Melton and others.
Of the many churches of Poole over the years, the Church of Christ, General Baptist, Methodist, and Missionary Baptist are active at present. (This was written prior to 1964.)The Methodist church of Poole merged with the Little Dixie Methodist Church, and now the building houses Bethel Penecostal Church. Early Methodists, General and Missionary Baptists of the community met in the Union Building located in the older section of Shady Grove Cemetery. It was a long building with two front doors: one for men and the other one for ladies - each sitting in a separate pew.
The Christian Church was founded in July, 1872 at Columbus School House about two miles west of Poole. They were there several years. Their first building in Poole was dedicated in 1883. The second was built in the early 1900's; a third one was built on the same lot in 1952. The name "Christian Church" was changed to "Church of Christ".
Shady Grove General Baptist Church united with the Union Associated of the General Baptists in 1842 or 1843. The church had fifty members at the time. Church records were scarce. It was organized April 8, 1880 by G.B. Cavanah and Isaac Henry. In 1879-1880 the church experienced a great religious awakening. It was the last revival held in the old church. It was conducted by Sister Butler; there were many converts and they had 32 additions to the church. The first part of the building was built in 1908 on a lot donated by John Lisman, the druggist at Poole.
In 1880-1892 Poole had four tobacco factories employing 100 to 125 men. The tobacco leaves were pressed here and taken to the railroad in Corydon or Henderson and shipped directly to England.
In 1884 the citizens of Poole organized an independent telephone exchange having their own lines, boxes and exchange. It was operating until 1903. The Poole Deposit Bank was established in 1902 and has continued to grow.
In 1889 a granddaughter of John V. Poole became Postmistress; the town was still known as Poole's Mill. Her father, William Poole, operated a brick kiln on the lot where the post office then stood.
In 1883 a second store was opened by Allen Melton; a third was opened by Cruize Watkins. J. S. Lisman opened a drug store with a branch at Dixie to take care of the working of the doctors. He also had large honey hives, which furnished everyone with honey. The doctors were Dr. Bethel, Will and Elijah Thornberry, who moved to New Mexico. We remember also later Doctors R. C. Duncan and J. L. Lynn.
At one time Poole had a good school; it has been a legend in the history of Poole sine the late 1880's. In 1885 Poole Academy was organized by Professor John V. Poole, a grandchild of founders John and Jane Poole. At the time of Poole Academy there were no schools in Kentucky. He paid a partial payment from a public tax that was unusual. To complete a salary of $25.00 a month, it was necessary for him to collect amounts from the school patrons. Professor Poole taught for several years in a one-room school that contained a fireplace and puncheon benches. He taught children from the kindergarten to much older ones. He taught from such books as McGuffey Reader, Blue Back Spelling Book and Ray's Arithmetic. Professor Poole met with the leaders from the First and Second Districts to formulate the first bill for graded public schools in Kentucky.
In 1928 the first high school was built and named Poole High School. Twenty-six-year old Emerson Crowley, a member of the first graduating class in Poole, became the first principal. He was an atletic hero and became coach of the first basketball team. The WPA Project built the gymnasium part in the year 1938. Some people still remember wagon teams used to haul gravel to build the basement. After this the first band was organized and taught by Miss Dorothy McMullen. Some of the teachers were Albertine Fulcher, Maggie Powell, Mary Agnes Jewell, Alma Williams, Adelia Russell, Gertie Russell, Eleanor Mae Bridwell. In the 1930's Poole School had expanded to volleyball, tennis, croquet and horseshoes. The school was destroyed by fire in January 1959.