Tolu, Kentucky

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Tolu, Kentucky
Tolu is located in Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°25′59″N 88°14′43″W / 37.43306°N 88.24528°W / 37.43306; -88.24528Coordinates: 37°25′59″N 88°14′43″W / 37.43306°N 88.24528°W / 37.43306; -88.24528
CountryUnited States
 • Total0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
 • Land0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
377 ft (115 m)
 • Total88
 • Density254/sq mi (98.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)270
GNIS feature ID515965[1]

Tolu is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Crittenden County, Kentucky, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 88.[2] It is located along Kentucky Route 135 near the Ohio River. It is 14 miles (23 km) northwest of Marion, the county seat.


Tolu was one of many pre-Columbian Native American settlements of the Mississippian culture within the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. The Cahokia Site on the Mississippi was the largest Mississippian settlement with a population of 20,000 inhabitants.


The earliest known settlement in what became the future town of Tolu was the Native American prehistoric archeological site of the Mississippian culture, known today as the Tolu Site was built and occupied between 1000 CE-1350 CE.[3] This sophisticated culture flourished in chiefdoms along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, reaching its peak in size and power at Cahokia in present-day Illinois, the largest prehistoric complex north of Mexico. Peoples of the culture had wide trading networks spanning the continent along the Mississippi River, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Tolu Site is part of the Angel Phase of the Mississippian period. Because of similarities among the following sites in their styles of pottery and construction of communities, it is also considered part of the "Kincaid Set", together with Angel Mounds in Indiana and Kincaid Mounds in Illinois, and Wickliffe Mounds in far western Kentucky.

European settlement[edit]

By 1800, a small river front settlement developed that would later become Tolu, Kentucky and was for a time known as Kirksville.[4]

From the 1790s-1830s, Tolu was under the control and influence of James Ford who led a double life serving both sides of the law as a justice of the peace, planter, businessman, ferry operator, criminal gang leader, state militia officer, river pirate, slave stealer, and slave trader. The rule of Ford came to an end with his murder in 1833.[5][6]

Following a devastating windstorm in the 1830s, the town was renamed Hurricane Landing. In 1867, Hurricane Landing had an established post office. In 1884, the current town name was chosen after Tolu, a then popular hair tonic. The Hurricane Camp Meeting Grounds a Presbyterian revival camp was established in 1888-1889 and has its roots in the Hurricane Landing Church founded in 1843.[7]

Points of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Tolu CDP, Kentucky". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  3. ^ Kevin E. Smith; James V. Miller (2009). Speaking with the Ancestors-Mississippian Stone Statuary of the Tennessee-Cumberland region. University of Alabama Press. pp. 146–148. ISBN 978-0-8173-5465-7.
  4. ^ Bigham, Darrel E. (1998). Towns & Villages of the Lower Ohio. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 57–58. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  5. ^ Sniveley, Jr., William Daniel (1968). "Satan's Ferryman: A True Tale of the Old Frontier". New York, NY: Franklin Prtg. and Publishing Company. p. 211. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ Rothert, Otto A. (1924). "The Outlaws of Cave-In-Rock". Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 309. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. ^ Bigham, Darrel E. (1998). Towns & Villages of the Lower Ohio. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 57–58, 178. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  8. ^ Janine-Rice, Brother (2014). "Hurricane Camp Meeting Grounds, Crittenden County, Kentucky, February 23, 2016".
  9. ^ "James Ford (1775-1833) - Find A Grave Memorial".
  10. ^ "Ford Cemetery #1 - Find A Grave Memorial".

External links[edit]