Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Days of Stills and Illegal Sale of Whiskey

I'm sure it's not just our county, but all county's must have had the same problems back in the early days with the making and sale of illegal liquor. But we certainly seemed to have had our fair share of stills and bootleggers located around the county. 

The last time Crittenden County was voted to be a wet county, was from 1894 until 1906. In 1906, local citizens were given the choice of dry or wet and the people voted dry. 

From the archives of the Crittenden Press I found that boot-legging was running rampant in the period after 1906 and continued for many years until 1933 when prohibition was abandoned. Even then the bootlegger did not become extinct, and continued to thrive as an illegal business in many places throughout the county. 

I found it interesting to learn where the word 'bootlegger' originated and found that it apparently came into general use in the Midwest in the 1880s to denote the practice of concealing flasks of illicit liquor in boot tops when going to trade with the Indians. The term bootlegging soon became part of the American vocabulary.

 A typical home-made still that was used to make moonshine whiskey

Some of the interesting articles that appeared in the Crittenden Press during this time.

Moonshine Still Reported In Crittenden! Crittenden County has acquired the distinction of having a “real” moonshine still. Some of the boys of Tolu were hunting a few days ago and found a fully equipped still in the woods on the farm of Mr. John L. Franklin.

Some one had taken without Mr. Franklin's knowledge or consent, a tank belonging to him and used it in building the still, which has a sixteen gallon capacity. Mr. Franklin immediately notified the United States revenue authorities of his find, and to preserve the still moved it into his cellar, where it will be safely kept until an investigation has been made. The tank was about one-half full of meal which evidenced the fact that it had been tested and used.

Still Captured! Moonshine Still Found on Premises Of A Man Near Piney Fork.
On suspicion derived from previous information, Sheriff P. R. Taylor went to the man's home, who resides two miles from Piney Fork church, with a warrant to search the premises. Upon their arriving there the man readily gave his permission to have his house searched.
In a barn near the house the officer discovered a still covered with sorghum fodder, which they took possession of and brought to the court house in Marion.
The owner denied all knowledge of the still being on his premises, and said it must have been brought there by some one unknown to him during the night.
The still is of about 15 gallon capacity, is in good condition and seems to have been recently used. It is of copper throughout.

Captures Illicit Moonshine Still. J. U. G. Claghorn, while out squirrel hunting, stopped at a supposedly unoccupied cabin on the John Nation farm, near Fords Ferry, looking through a window discovered a family in the cabin and a man working around a still.
Returning to town he reported to the authorities here and with a warrant Deputy Sheriff Taylor in company with Claghorn went to the cabin, took charge of the still and arrested the man under a warrant charging him with having in his possession an illicit still.
The man gave his name as George Simmons and stated he came through from Illinois. The still and the prisoner were brought here and Simmons, failing to execute bond was placed in jail to await the action of the grand jury.
The captured still was of copper and of about ten gallons capacity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tucker Funeral Chapel

Some history of the Tucker Funeral Chapel.  This article was in The Crittenden Press, Oct. 1970

The beautiful Tucker Funeral Chapel located at 117 W. Bellville Street and is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Tucker.  The new chapel is in the remodeled building which housed Tucker Furniture Store until this past spring.

Prior to the opening of the chapel, the Tucker's operated the Tucker Funeral home at 251 W. Bellville.

Construction and remodeling work began for the chapel in early spring with completion of the fully carpeted and air conditioned funeral chapel being within the last two weeks.

The building contains a 200 seat chapel, a large reception lobby, a smoking lounge, several other lounge and display rooms and a business office.

Tucker Funeral Home originated in 1902 with John Nunn and W. O. Tucker.  During the First World War, W. O. Tucker bought Mr. Nunn's portion of the business and combined it with Hobert Franklin in 1923.

They operated together until W. O. Tucker's death in 1948.  Mr. Franklin died in 1949.  Thomas Tucker then continued the business beginning in 1952.

It was at this time that Thomas and Ethel Tucker began operating Tucker Funeral Home from their residence at 251 W. Bellville.


Thomas and Ethel operated Tucker's Funeral Home until May of 1981 when they sold the business to Terry and Sandy Gilbert.  Today two of the Gilbert's sons, Brad and Keith, own and run the business.

They did extensive remodeling to the outside of the historic on building.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving's Past

Even in the 1950's, Christmas wasn't thought of just yet, Thanksgiving came first and it was special in it's own right, not like today, where it sometimes feels as if it is just pushed aside as Christmas decorations and toys have already been thrown in our faces before Halloween is even over.

In the 1930's our Drug stores and Department stores ran ads in the Press telling of their items for that special Thanksgiving day. There was fruits and candies available from the drug stores.

And  the department stores had many new clothing items for that trip to the Thanksgiving services or for visits with the kin folks over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

 One of the churches in Marion always had a special service on Thanksgiving Day with a Union Service for everyone to attend. Many of the county churches and schools also had a special Thanksgiving Day service.

Community service held at Southern Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. Thursday morning Rev. J. M. Damron delivered the annual Community Thanksgiving sermon to a packed house at the Southern Presbyterian Church. Assisting pastors were Rev. Charles A. Humphrey, pastor of the Marion Methodist Church and Rev. J. W. Flynn, of the Christian Church.

At noon the Parent Teachers Association served a Thanksgiving dinner at the Woman's Club building and in the evening another dinner was served.

Practically every business house in Marion observed a holiday on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Children's Day At Mt. Zion

July 17, 1913 - Children's Day at Mt. Zion.

Sunday morning at an early hour wagons, buggies, horseback and footbackers began to arrive till several hundred people had gathered, then came the auto with R. Kemp as driver with some of Marion's best citizens as passengers.

At 9:30 the house was called to order by the pasator Rev. J. A. Wheeler.  A song by the choir.

The program was then taken up for the children, it was very interesting.  

At 12:15 in the beautiful grove such as surrounds a country church, dinner was spread. Some wondered how this multitude could be fed, it was like the five loaves and fishes, there was plenty of as fine dinner as the writer ever saw, and everybody seemed to enjoy it.  

During all this time Mr. E. L. Nunn one of the building committee for our new church, had his book and pencil at work with the result of something over $300 subscribed.

At 1:30 out in the grove we prepared another program.  Bro. John A. Moore was called for, Bro. John responded with one complaint he couldn't talk - Well Paul, couldn't talk but the Lord loosened his tongue.  John's tongue got loose and he gave us a good talk.

There were several who made up the program that have already been mentioned.  Some of those who made up the afternoon program are as follows:  Bro. Gordon who used no direct subject but made us a fine talk, Ed Stone who gave the children a splendid talk.

Bro. Jim Pickens advocating a standard of moral and spiritual life and next was Thomas Enoch with a good talk.

The program was closed by Sister Duvall who by this time was so fill with the holy ghost that she gave us an old fashioned holy ghost talk.

To say the least of it we had an all around good time that will dwell with the memory through time and eternity.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Visit To Old Piney Fork

                                                                                         Piney Fork Speaker's Lectern.

The lectern was removed from the tabernacle located next to the Piney Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church when the historic old shed was taken down in the spring of 1970, due to damage caused by the heavy winter snow. The tabernacle shed was built in 1886. 
This lectern was made at this time, also constructed from lumber cut from the Henry Brown farm and hauled by oxen to the sawmill by Jim Bugg. It would be placed at the front of the new tabernacle. 

Also unique about this pulpit is that it has three podiums attached to it, the middle one for the Evangelist who was holding the services, the one of the right was for the pastor of the church at the time, and the one on the left for the song leader. 
On the front is built a bench, this was for sinners to sit on that had come down to except salvation after the invitation was given at the end of the sermon. Some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons at the Piney Fork annual camp meetings. 
(This piece of Piney Fork history is located at the Crittenden County Historical Museum)

From the Crittenden Press, August 24, 1936.

The annual services of Old Piney Fork Camp Ground closed last Friday evening, August 21, after eleven days of exceedingly successful communion, which resulted in 26 conversions and 30 additions to the church roll.

The Rev. J. E. Bell of Oklahoma, assisted the pastor, the Rev. Guy Moore, and preached from the same pulpit from which some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons, interest grew from the opening service and large audiences listened attentively to the great spiritual messages. 

Piney Fork is the oldest church in Crittenden County regardless of denomination, having been started in 1810.  The organization was completed in 1812 on a sixteen acre tract of land given by John Travis and George Greene.

The present building is 70 years and is the third building that has stood.

The revival which just closed, was held in the open-air tabernacle which seats 2,000 people. It was built about 50 years ago and is the second tabernacle to have been erected on that site.

Piney Fork Camp Meetings are famous throughout the land.  One hundred and four annual revivals have been held there.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Banker-Farm Day

In the 1950's the local banks of Marion, Farmers and People's, sponsored what they called Banker-Farmer Days at a local farmers farm.  The event was to share new and improved features on the farm, so other farmers could learn about these improvements and used them on their own farms.

In July 1950 this important and fun day was held on the Tom Carters Farm, located on Hebron Church Road.  Here is some of the history from an article in the July 7, 1950 Crittenden Press.

Improved pastures, fine beef cattle, a large farm reservoir and newly constructed terraces and diversion ditches for erosion control will be the main features observed on Tom Carters Farm.  

A large turn out always attended these special days of interest for our local agriculture and cattle raisers.

A tour would be conducted with stops at different points of interest and it would be pointed out their practical application as to how to help the farmers.  

Cattle was also an important part of the county and the Carter farm had some excellent cattle on hand to show the visitors.  Crittenden County had been breeding and producing a high grade of pure bred cattle for many years. 

At the close of the morning tour free lunch by the two banks would be served.  The lunch would be served by the Hebron Homemakers.  Around 300 attended the special farmers day.

In the afternoon there would be talks of interest by William Jonstone, Field Agent from the University of Kentucky, and Crittenden County's Farm Agent, O. M. Shelby.

Events such as these are now almost a thing of our past, as farming procedures have changed and there seems no need for these informative and enjoyable gatherings of our forgotten past.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marion in the year 1910

It's interesting to learn of our past history from the old newspapers of long ago.  From The Crittenden Press files of January 1910 comes these interesting findings. 

January 1910.  Monday dawned bright and clear with the mercury too close to zero for one to be comfortable, and yet the people from all over Crittenden, Webster, Caldwell, Livingston and Union counties were in evidence, so that by noon the street was alive with busy stock buyers and traders.  It was the day for county court and the very popular "Jockey lot" day.

The newly elected officers of the county met in the court house at Marion and duly took the oath of their various offices.  The names of the new officials were:  
  • W. A. Blackburn, County Judge
  • John A. Moore, County Attorney
  • Learner E. Guess, County Clerk
  • Joel A. C. Pickens, Sheriff
  • Robert . Flanary, Circuit Clerk
  • William Wallace, Jailer
  • Ewell Jeffrey Travis, Supt. of Schools
  • Robert Thomas, Assissor
  • J. E. Sullenger, Surveyor
  • Dr. George W. Stone, Corner.
Here are three of the newly elected officers.  Left to right: John A. Moore, County Attorney, Ewell Jeffrey Travis, County School Superintendent, and Learner E. Guess, County Clerk.

Fluorspar brings boom in Crittenden.  Recent discoveries causes old mines to be reopened.
The recent developments, aided by the increase from $4 to $8 , and in some instances, $15 a ton for fluorspar has created an interest in mining circles.

The shipment from Marion also in the past couple of months has reached 16,000,000 pounds, or 8,000 tons, which has increased the deposits in the two banks in Marion a little less than $100,000,000.

Some surprisingly rich discoveries have been made in old mines abandoned 50 years ago for the reason that the richness of both lead and zinc was not known.  

Every mine is now working full force and many of them are putting in new machinery and increasing their capacity.

Other activity in the city and county for the month of January included deliveries of tobacco.  During the month of January the deliveries of tobacco here have been quite heavy.  Thirty, forty or fifty loads come into town every day.  The greater part of the tobacco goes to the stemming District Tobacco Association at the Jarvis factory.