The Gardner Farm at Salyersville, Kentucky
The Gardner Farm at Ivy Point, located in a horseshoe bend of the Licking River, is one of the best-kept secrets of Eastern Kentucky. Owned by the Gardner Family since the 1830s, it stands on the site of Licking Station, the first settlement in the Upper Licking Valley. The present owner of the farm is Magoffin County native Ben Gardner, who lives with his wife Ruth in the modern home on the left. Ben is a direct descendant of Benjamin F. Gardner (1811-1860), the original owner of the farm, who came to the region in the early 1830s. Six generations of Gardners and related families are buried in the Gardner Cemetery.
The Benjamin F. Gardner House is well-preserved. For the last five years or so, Ben and Ruth Gardner have been restoring it, room-by-room. Somewhere near the house stood the Licking Station Blockhouse, built by the early settlers of the Licking Valley to protect themselves against Indian attacks. During the 1830-1860 period, Benjamin Gardner operated a trading post that stood by the road which ran below the house. Gardner's specialty was ginseng, which he bought and processed himself before shipping to buyers in Hong Kong. According to Magoffin's First Century (Saylersville, 1960), Gardner paid local root-gatherers six cents a pound for ginseng and sold it to the Chinese for 44 cents a pound.

During the Civil War, the Gardner Farm was known as the "Old Station Farm." Known for their hospitality and their well-stocked pantry, the Gardners played no favorites when Kentucky soldiers came to town . Like many Kentucky families, they were split down the middle on the war question. Benjamin's son Joseph Gardner enlisted in the Confederate Army and his nephew Henry Gardner served with the 14th Kentucky Infantry, U.S.A.

In the Fall of 1862, a large force of Confederates under General Humphrey Marshall camped at the farm during the weeks leading up to the Battle of Perryville. On November 30th, 1863, two hundred Confederates under Captain Peter Everett surprised a company of Federal cavalry who were camped at the farm, killing one and wounding several others.

Edward O. Guerrant, General Marshall's adjutant, kept a diary in which he recorded daily events. On September 13th, 1862, according to Guerrant, Marshall and his staff marched to Salyersville, "a little, one-store country cross-roads town," where they camped around the residence of Mrs. Gardner, widow of Benjamin Gardner. "In the evening we all went over to the Dress Parade of Jack May's 5th Kentucky, encamped nearby, now numbering upwards of one thousand gallant, glorious ragamuffins." After the parade, General Marshall made a speech that was received with cheers and applause.
Gardner Farm, Page Two
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