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Chatsnap: Prisoners aside, the Old Jail once felt like home

Written By Kathy Witt

More Please Cover

“Kentucky’s youthful, handsome and single Republican Secretary of State,” Caleb Powers was incarcerated in the Scott County Jail in 1900. His crime? Complicity in the murder of Kentucky Governor William Goebel. 

The notorious Kendall brothers, jailed after a murderous spree in the summer of 1891, fashioned “a saw made from shoe metal and tools secured in the peg leg” of George “Peg Leg” Kendall to escape from the “old stone fortress.”

The Old Scott County Jail had its share of controversial inmates, but the circa 1890s Romanesque-Revival prison building may actually be more famous for the meals turned out by a succession of jailer’s wives in residence at the Jailer House than its high profile prisoners. In fact, a cookbook, entitled More Please!, compiled by the Scott County Arts Consortiumand created to raise funds for \
restoration of the historic jail complex, hints at an ongoing commitment in the jailhouse kitchen to provide homecooked meals

“It’s almost like being back home,” remarked one of the Old Jail’s prisoners

“We had to have white beans and brown beans. The prisoners also liked cabbage, potatoes and macaroni and cheese,” recalls Mrs. Humphrey in the cookbook’s preamble. Mrs. Humphrey (Gertrude Vance Beatty) brought her cooking skills to the kitchen of the 1870s Italianate-style Jailer House from 1959 to 1961, following in the footsteps of her mother, Ida Belle Covington Vance, whose husband (and Gertrude’s father) was the jailer from 1945 to 1959. “On Sundays there might be chicken or roast beef, in the evenings, sandwiches and two to three vegetables at lunchtime.” Gertrude usually made cornbread, sometimes a cake.

IMG 1017 previewWhen Gertrude became the jailer, serving from 1959 to 1961 – the first woman in Scott County to hold the position –word of the meals she prepared spread beyond the walls of the jail. The “housekeeper turned keeper of the keys” was covered in newspapers and even cited by a Scott County grand jury for her “meals, manners and mode of running things,” as one Courier-Journal article noted.

Continuing the tradition of three homecooked meals a day was Oma Jane “Jenny” Wise, whose husband George was the jailer from 1961 to 1968. Jenny was known for her peach and blackberry
cobblers as well as her Sunday dinners and special occasion meals.

Old Jail
“On Sundays at the jail,” Jenny’s daughter, Mary Jane, recalled, “they had a feast. Mother would have a big roast, carrots, potatoes, green beans, corn and cornbread.” At Christmastime, “there would be turkey, gravy and the trimmings.”

Other jailer’s wives left their own mark in the kitchen and in the memories of many a prisoner, becoming famous for their egg sandwiches, chili, homemade yeast rolls and Friday night fried fish.

Recently, the Royal Spring Welcome Center opened in the Jailer House and, while the jail portion remains closed to the public, there is an exhibit of the Old Jail in one of the galleries that includes historical articles, photos and other memorabilia, including a tribute to Gertrude Vance Beatty.

No bread crusts and stale water here: More Please! may be purchased for $15 from the Georgetown and Scott County Museum

Recipe: Jail House Slaw & Beer Muffins


This recipe was contributed by Doris Covington. During Jewel Traylor’s tenure in the kitchen (her husband, Porter, was jailer from 1968 to 1977), Doris helped out from time to time.

Jail House Slaw:

  • 1 16-oz package shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • hellmans mayonnaise to desired consistency

Mix all ingredients together


Beer Muffins:

“You never knew when you were going to have forty to fifty extra mouths to feed,” recalled Jewel Traylor, in More Please! Besides meatloaf and beef stew “not out of a can,” Jewell also served this to the inmates.

  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 can beer

Grease muffin pans with butter and heat in oven for a short time. Mix the Bisquick mix and sugar. Open the can of beer and immediately pour into the dry mix. Bake at 350 degrees until done.


Printable Recipe Card


Find other tasty recipes from Georgetown restaurants here.

Make it, snap it, post it – we want to see your cooking creations! Share to the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Facebook page with #GtownEats & #GtownIsMyTown, or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Pumpkin pies. Pumpkin cake. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin everything!

Written By Kathy Witt

October is here and so are the pumpkins – ready and waiting for you in the fields and at the market stores of some of Georgetown’s Kentucky Proud farms. Before you pick your fruit, get the inside scoop on the best pumpkin for your homemade fall desserts.

“When choosing a pumpkin to use in baking or cooking, you do not want to find a big regular jack-o’-lantern pumpkin,” advised Stephen Fister, owner of 185-acre family farm, Bi-Water Farm and Greenhouse. “It’s flavor is not the best for cooking and it’s not the most intense. The jack-o’-lantern pumpkin is bred basically for carving and display purposes. Not flavor.baby pumpkin 1

“You want to choose the smaller pie pumpkin or, as some people call them, sugar pumpkin,” he added. “They are the best. They are more intense in flavor and there is less seed cavity in them. So you end up with more useable pumpkin for your recipe.”

Good advice to take to the pumpkin patch, and Bi-Water Farm has both a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and pre-picked pumpkins for those who prefer not to hike into the fields.

Additionally, Bi-Water has its annual AutumnFest activities up and running, seven days a week. Thirty attractions – Spooky Farmhouse, Lost Pumpkin Mine, Pirates Cove, Sky High Slide and so much more – make this Kentucky’s largest fall farm festival. See all activities and find ticket package pricing info here. For updates, visit the farm’s Facebook page.

Fifth-generation family farm

Evans Orchard and Cider Mill has a pumpkin patch that stretches over 20 acres – and somewhere out there, your perfect pumpkin is waiting for you to find it. Come pick your own and then stick around to play outdoors on the Swings and Tire Climbs, Rat Racers Big Wheel Track and Pedal Cart Track, Jumbo Jumper and other cool contraptions.Evans Apple Pie

Stock up on cider and apples, choose an arrangement of U-cut zinnias and cosmos, chow down on cider donuts and fried pies. Don’t forget to say hi to the barnyard animals. Find activities and ticket information here. Find updated information on the farm’s Facebook page.

Need to round out your menu of fall produce?

Stop by Elmwood Stock Farm for fall squash, roots crops, leafy greens including salad lettuces, arugula and baby kale plus sweet potatoes and fresh ginger.Elmwood heritage breed turkeys

“We are also offering CSA subscriptions as well as the online store for pre-orders for pickup/home delivery,” said Ann Bell Stone, who manages the CSA Farm Share, product marketing and poultry and sheep flocks with her husband, Mac Stone.

Elmwood organic vegetable share

Due to COVID-19, this sixth-generation family farm is not currently offering U-pick or farm tours; however, Elmwood Stock is open for organic meat, egg and vegetable pickup, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sign up for Elmwood’s newsletter at the website. Updates may be found on the farm’s Facebook page.

Learn more about what Georgetown’s farms offer throughout the seasons at www.georgetownky.com.


Recipe: Pumpkin Date Cake With Bourbon Eggnog Sauce

Need some pumpkin inspiration? Look no further than the cookbook, More Please! (See October ChatSnap on Georgetown’s Old Jail for more details.) The book, compiled by the Scott County Arts Consortium, features several pumpkin recipes, including this oh-so-Kentucky bourbon-sauced pumpkin cake.



  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Allspice
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp. Baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. pitted, chopped dates
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1 c. chopped nuts 


Preheat oven to 300°. Grease and flour a large tube pan. Cream sugar and oil. Add cinnamon, allspice, salt, pumpkin, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Roll dates, raisins and nuts in part of flour. Add to pumpkin mixture along with remaining flour; mix well. Pour into prepared pan; bake 1 hour and 40 minutes. Serve with Bourbon Eggnog Sauce.




  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 oz. bourbon


Cream butter and sugar; add egg and beat well. Add cream; put into double boiler, stirring constantly over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat; add bourbon. To serve, slice cake and spoon sauce over each slice. Sauce keeps several days in refrigerator.


Printable Recipe Card


Find other tasty recipes from Georgetown restaurants here.

Make it, snap it, post it – we want to see your cooking creations! Share to the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Facebook page with #GtownEats & #GtownIsMyTown, or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Baymont 1Walk into history at the Alexander Bradford House

Written by Kathy Witt

If walls could talk, they’d have plenty to say at the Alexander Bradford House, a historic home stay in Stamping Ground. It is a story that would be told in three parts as different sections of the house were built around 1810, 1830 and 1900. With its oldest wing over 200-plus years old, the brick and wooden structure has survived weather, war and plenty of wear and tear. It has earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We have filled it with antiques suitable for the periods,” said Sue Baker, who co-owns the lodgings with her friend, Mary Carroll Burnett. “And we actually use the furniture! People are amazed that everything isn’t behind ropes like in a museum.”

Rather, this is a place to cozy up to the woodstove in the TV area – but there’s central heat and air to keep things comfy year-round. It’s a place to gather on barstools at the kitchen counter while dinner is being prepared, play a boardgame on the dining room table and snuggle beneath the quilts in one of three bedrooms – including one with a sitting area – each furnished with antique beds topped with new memory foam mattresses.

The large bathroom has an old-fashioned clawfoot tub stretched out before a hidden shower. A patio bounded by a rock wall and planted with greenery is irresistible on crisp fall nights. A historic sign in front of the house lets visitors know they are stepping into the past.

Once inside, visitors will find loads of information about Kentucky, with bookshelves packed with books on the history, geography, gardening and wildlife of the Bluegrass, as well as a large selection of fiction books written by Kentucky authors. A collection of brochures provided by the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Office are also at guests’ fingertips.

“Whether you want to stay here and relax with a good book or travel around our beautiful area, we’ve got you covered,” said Sue. 

The Alexander Bradford House is part of Baker and Burnett’s Historic Home Stays, which will soon include additional lodgings. The house is booked entirely through Airbnb, meaning no-contact entry. Once reservations are made, directions on how to get into the house are sent to guests. Bookings are for the entire home. For more information, visit the home on its Facebook page or call 859- 338-9176.

Learn about other historical and unique places to stay in Georgetown here.

Hotel to Home Hack? “Mix the antique with the new. We may use an antique chest of drawers as a TV stand with games hidden in the drawers below and have an antique claw-foot tub in front of a hidden modern shower. Some of the floors are original but others are new from when the house was remodeled after the tornado of 1974.” Sue Baker




It's another classic bourbon cocktail to bring some genuine Kentucky spirit right to your home! Slainte Public House brings you this delicious drink recipe which is a fun Kentucky take on the classic Moscow Mule. 

Cheers to our fantastic downtown community!

cocktail 726441 1280


Mountain Mule


1 oz of Ale-8 One soft drink
1.5 oz David James Straight American Whiskey Gold from Old Georgetown Spirits
2 dashes of bitters

2 dashes of lime juice



Ingredients are stirred on ice and drained over fresh into a glass. Add a lime to garnish.

Printable Recipe Card

Make it, snap it, post it – we want to see your cooking creations! Share to the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Facebook page with #GtownIsMyTown, or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bourbon 30 Bottles


Seated in Georgetown's Historic Downtown, the Slainte Public House is an irish inspired pub dedicated to serving up local drinks and great conversation!

Built inside one of the oldest houses in Georgetown, "The Pub" as the regulars call it, hosts an authenic Irish pub atmosphere. You won't find any leprechauns or four leaf clovers here, just friends sharing laughs over a few good pints and a feeling of home. 

You can learn more about Slainte Public House on their facebook page here and stay up to date on all the latest updates and hours of operation.  





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