Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Early Days of Marion

The town had been established only for the purpose of a County-seat or as a centralized location for the erection of public buildings to house the government and public records of the new Crittenden County (1842).

Its subsequent rapid growth into a mercantile and residential community was not planned nor even visualized by most of the early Town Fathers, many of whom were also early County Officials.

                                          A group of men bound for county county day.

It has been noted that at first the county Officials did not reside in or near Marion, but would commute to and from their homes on horseback when court was in session.

As it would be most logical to expect, Harvey W. Bigham, the first Crittenden County Court Clerk, must have soon found the rapidly increasing records of the County becoming too bulky for daily carriage in his saddlebags, which had previously been his practice.  He was determined to build a permanent residence in Marion on land which he had purchased from Dr. John S. Guilliam.

At the time there were a few log and frame cabins scattered through which is now downtown Marion and along the Fords Ferry Road (now North Main Street) and the Centerville (now Moore Avenue) Roads within one-half mile of the public square.

Despite the rather persistent rumor that the town was called Oxford before its incorporation as "Marion"  (effect of Feb. 22, 1844), it was always referred to in official records by its proper name.

 The rumor was based on the fact that early mail from Marion was postmarked "Oxford" but this was because that since the new town was not on a main mail stage road until after its incorporation, its mail was carried eastward to be mailed from the post office at Oxford Academy on the Flynns Ferry Road.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sugar Grove Area Filled With Nature's Beauty and History

All sections of our county have many aspects of historical interest and beautiful scenery.   Many are hidden from view as they are not located on the main highways.  That makes them all the more beautiful if you have to walk to find them.  It's always good to have a person that lives in the area and knows the spots to visit and also the local history on them.

Some history located on the Sugar Grove Church Road about six miles from Marion off of Hwy. 120.  

The first Sugar Grove church was build in a narrow thickly wooded valley near a beautiful spring, which flowed from the hillside among countless Maple Sugar trees, from which the church took its name.

The windows were made seven or eight feet from the ground and formerly had heavy wooden shutters for protection from Indians.  The church was build on a small incline that looked over the meadow and creek.

In 1884 the church members, with the help of the community built a new frame church about three fourths of a mile northwest of the old church on high ground, which was more convenient to get to.  Where the present Sugar Grove Church is located.

When the new church was built, the congregation marked the old historic location with a monument and an engraved marker in hopes of preserving the location of the first church.

This area is well blessed with many natural caves and rock overhangs, or shelters as they are called.
Indians and probably the first pioneers found shelter under many of these when they first arrived in this area.

One of these scenic view is located across Sugar Creek not too far from the old church location.  To the local families that lived in the area, this was known as the Ora Murray Cave.

The Indian Fireplace overhang, named by the young boys that loved to roam and explore these exciting natural wonders.

No better way to spend a day than hiking and seeing these wonderful beautiful sights in our county.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Crittenden County Once Filled With Mineral Wealth

This article about our fluorspar history was written in 1909.

The area designated as the Mexico-Claylick District embraces three general fault zones extending between Mexico, Claylick Creek and View.  It was practically confined to southern Crittenden County in the area between Claylick and Livingston Creeks.  

 Pictured above is the flourspar storage and loading yard, which was located on the Illinois Central Railroad at Mexico.  Here, loads of spar from the different mines were brought and unloaded, waiting shipment by rail to the Marion Depot to be processed and shipped to other states

The points of shipping were Mexico, located seven and a half miles south of Marion, and Crayne, four and a half miles south of Marion on the Illinois Central Railroad.  

The chief development was the fault system extending from Mexico to Frances, known as the "Tabb" faults.  

The Pygmy Mine included two shafts that ran along a course of a mile south of Mexico and on both sides of the Illinois Central Railroad tracks.

The Haffaw mine, was situated one-half mile west of the Pygmy mine.  The course between the Haffaw main shaft and the Pygmy making the general trend of the Tabb fault zone in this vicinity.  The Haffaw was one of the best developed mines of the entire field.

Calcite was prominent in parts of the vein, frequently spotted through the main vein filling of fluorspar.  The vein carried both lead and zinc values.

Keystone Fluorspar Co., had a main shaft one-half mile west by south of the Haffaw mine, still on the Tabb fault system.

The Tabb Mine was  one of the earliest mines of the field, being first opened in the late 1800's and production was continuous into the 1900s.  Numerous shafts and pits were in evidence.

Asbridge Mine was situated on the Tabb system, west of the Tabor mine, and was about two and a half miles from Mexico. 

The Pogue Mine was located close to the west of the Asbridge mine and was also on the Tabb system.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Old Pictures Save History

Nothing like old pictures to preserve the history of our town.  The streets around the old court square were full of businesses, people, and automobiles.

Must be a County Court  Day, it was said that was a busy day for Marion, as everyone came to town on that day.  Much visiting and sharing of events were found going on around the Court House.

In the back ground in the old 2-story home of Robert F. Wheeler, now where the Farm Bureau Insurance modern office building sits.

Mrs. Lottie Terry's building is to the right, torn down in the 1980's and now the Christian church parking lot.

Through these wonderful old photographs we can visit the town of Marion many years ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Season In Full Swing - 1938

Christmas in Marion was very different many years ago.  As I'm sure it was in all small towns.  All the stores on Main Street were full of businesses, and at this time of year, all the windows would be full of their Christmas merchandise and beautiful decorated with colorful lights and items of Christmas.  Simple decorations but beautiful to the small child looking at them all.

From an article in Crittenden Press, Dec. 16, 1938.  The holiday season is in "full swing" in Marion with stores stocked to capacity for Christmas shoppers.  All are beautifully decorated and clerks in readiness to meet the last minute rush of shoppers.

The business section, Main St. from Crittenden Motor Co. to Runyan Chevrolet Co. is a veritable canopy of multicolored lights strung across the thoroughfare; likewise is Carlisle from Main to Crittenden Hotel.  The electrical work was done by Kentucky Utilities Co. employees without charge.

Local merchants now have on display one of the most adequate and wide selection of gifts and holiday good ever offered to the Christmas shopper.   Practically every form of gift is offered from the smallest and inexpensive article t that of the most costly and difficult to procure.  Stores are open to 9 o'clock each night.

Many windows are outlined in colored lights and the Santa Claus banner at Main and Bellville Streets is lighted by flood lights from City Drug Co. and Red Front stores.

Business has been brisk for the past four days with today, tomorrow and next week expected to bring forth the last minute rush.  All merchants urge shopping early.

One of the favorite stores to do your shopping, and not only at Christmas time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Joe Clifton Drive in Paducah has Marion Connections

Joe Clifton Drive in Paducah, Ky. was named for Joseph C. Clifton who was born in Marion, Ky. on October 31, 1906.  He was the son of Thomas Clifton and Pearl Cook Clifton.  He had one brother, Robert Clifton.  Their father died May 20, 1910 while the boys were very young.  Their mother moved to Paducah with her little boys to make her home near her parents.

Some information on the internet about Joseph C. Clifton says that he was born in Paducah, Ky., but he was actually born in Marion.  An item in the Crittenden Press, dated Nov. 8, 1906, says that "A new boy arrived at the home of Thos. Clifton last Wednesday morning, which Robert Gordon, the older brothers, says is a dandy.  Another item dated, Feb. 21, 1907, says that "The two little sons of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Clifton, were christened Sunday morning at the Methodist Church."

Here is some more information on Joe Clifton.

After graduating from Tilghman High School with honors, Joseph received an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

He graduated there with honors and during World War II, he was commander of the U. S. Ship Saratoga.  He was a navy pilot and was known as "Jumping Joe" during the early years of the war. 

He retired to California as an admiral USN, died there on Dec. 25, 1967 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Clifton family had deep roots from Crittenden County, as Joseph was a grandson to James H. Clifton of Dycusburg.  The family resided in Dycusburg in the 1870's and James H. Clifton was a prominent business man in the town of Dycusburg.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some Businesses in Marion in 1900.

All sorts of merchandise was for sale in the many different business stores in and around Marion in 1900.

  • The Marion Milling Company was run by Clark and D. B. Kevil.  It was located east of Marion near the railroad tracks.
  • Clark and Paris were in the lumber business.  
  • Tobacco was one of the farmers' principal money crops and there were two large tobacco factories, one run by Mr. Dupuy and the other by Cardin Bros.  During the tobacco season it as not uncommon to see 100 wagons loads of tobacco around these factories and in the various streets. 

  • There were two livery stables.  One (above) was run by Dudley Wallingford and the other by Pierce & Son.  There were around 80 horses in the two stables and a number of buggies and hacks.  Drummers and other traveling men would rent the vehicles for as long as a week at a time, taking along a driver from the stable, as they made their rounds throughout the county.  They would take their wares to all the country stores to sale.
  • James G. Gilbert had a first class blacksmith shop, as did Sandy Adams.  A number of blacksmiths worked here for both Adams and Gilbert.  The most prominent of these was Joe Hopson, who was strong enough to put his shoulder between the legs of an average horse and lift it off the ground.
  • There were two barber shops in Marion, one operated by William Morgan and William Woolridge and the other by Samp Bigham.  
  • General merchandise stores were run by Pierce-Yandell and Gugenheim and J. H. Clifton and Sons.
  • Grocers were M. Schwab, Herman Koltinsky, M. Copher, A. M. Hearin, J. M. McChesney, James Paris, Ed Haynes, McAfee and Hill.
  • The Crittenden Press was the only paper published in the county, its editor and publisher being R. C. Walker
  • Joe Stewart and Mr. Kingston were the photographers, and there are many examples of their work in the county today.
  • The Kentucky Fluorspar Company, operating the Memphis and Hodge Mines, was the largest shipper of fluorspar.  The pure white spar was very much in demand for the glass industry.  Harry A. Haynes was secretary and treasurer of this business.  The Company had it's loading facilities next the the railroad track at the Marion Depot.
  • These are only a few of the many places of business in Marion at this time.  Marion was indeed a growing and busy town.