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Karen's Old Kentucky Homecoming

As we stay for 5 days at Whispering Hills RV Park in Georgetown, Kentucky, we’re discovering many fun things to do in the area. On Monday May 22, after driving through quaint Georgetown and taking care of some errands, we drove the 21 miles to Cynthiana, KY. This was the community my (Karen’s) Dad’s family came from back in the 1800’s. Recently, I’ve starting putting together a Hilen family tree to connect the dots of family names. It was so fun to see this beautiful town and experience the historical significance to my family.

My great-grandfather, Basil Edward Hilen married Mattie Webb Waits in 1889 after his first wife passed away, leaving 7 children. Basil and Mattie went on to have another 5 children, including my grandfather Charles Osborne Hilen.


With the amazing help from cousin Lynne Cunningham in Baltimore, I was able to find the Indian Creek Christian Church located at 51 Waits Road. We believe the Waits family homestead was on this property; I even found a very old stone fireplace on the property that was covered in ivy and surrounded by huge trees. The cemetery adjacent to the church contains the gravestones from many of the Waits family. Pastor Adam of Indian Creek Church was so gracious and helpful sharing the history of the 200 year old congregation (circa 1803), and showing me the many beautiful stained glass windows, including one in memory of Mattie’s parents, Charles M. & Mary Ellen Waits.


There was another cemetery across the street at the Indian Creek Baptist Church where I found additional Webb gravestones. However, I found no Hilen gravestones in either location. Perhaps there are Hilens buried in a different cemetery in town? I believe Basil and Mattie Hilen moved to Everett, Washington in 1903. The sleuthing will continue another time!


It was a very fulfilling day, making me thankful for a rich heritage. I would have never thought you would find me traipsing through a cemetery reading all the headstones, but it was a successful and fun mission!

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Jeff Hilen
Jeff Hilen
May 25, 2023

Thanks Karen for sharing this wonderful family experience. To see the Wait‘s family homestead and our relatives names in the cemetery is moving. I went through the family bible today looking for more family history. There is a letter from Edward Waits, President of Texas Christian University to his sister, great grandmother Martha (Waits) Hilen. Letter dated December 1942 speaks of the “war“ and “the terrible barbarism sweeping across the world”. He had hoped to visit Everett after the war was won.

Travel safe…… and thanks for all of your wonderful stories!

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uniquejt
May 26, 2023
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Jeff, it was such a special day for me to be in Cynthiana and get a glimpse our our heritage. I have more photos that I’ll share when I see you. What a treat to have that letter from Edward; I wonder if he ever got to Everett?

Do you know anything about Basil Hilen and his siblings or parents? Where were they from?

We are loving Kentucky; it’s beautiful and peaceful with many interesting things to do. I love seeing the horse farms! See you soon, Karen

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gail.0718.conrad
May 24, 2023

What a great opportunity to discover some family history. I think that is so fascinating. Love all the pictures!9

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uniquejt
May 26, 2023
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It was such a special day for me! Karen

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Mary Hanrahan
Mary Hanrahan
May 24, 2023

That side trip must have been a great thrill, Karen! Even though Jim is of the "first litter", it's amazing to see the Cynthiana KY we see written on the family Bible pages and heard of in all the family stories. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. God bless everyone who came before us!

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uniquejt
May 26, 2023
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Mary, it was such a special day for me to be in Cynthiana and get a glimpse our our heritage. Do you or Jim know anything about Basil Hilen and his siblings or parents? Where were they from? I would love to look through the family bible you have. Karen xo

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