Monday, November 23, 2015

Repton's Old Baptist church

The little railroad community of Repton in Sept. 1894 was getting ready for the dedication of their new church.

From the files of The Crittenden Press, Sept. 13, 1894.  Sunday was the day for the dedication of the new Baptist Church at Repton.

Long before the hour for services the people began to arrive from the surrounding country, many coming
from a long distance to hear the sermon and to take part in the services.

There were enough people present to fill the beautiful building two or three times.

After the morning sermon a bountiful dinner was spread on the ground and the multitude fed to repletion.

In the afternoon another service was held, and it was decided to continue the meeting indefinitely, and at the regular hours all his week services will be held.

Rev. Spurlin, of Sturgis, preached the dedicatory sermon.
This old church served the community until 1957, when the members voted to buy land at Mattoon from Fredrick Brown and construct a new building.

The old building was getting in need of updating and they decided to build the new one in a more centralized location, and just off of Hwy. 60 N.   The last event in this church was the wedding of Percy Summers to Willie Jewell Hendrix in July of 1954.

This old wooden frame structure church was located about a half mile off of Hwy. 60 on the Repton-Fishtrap Road.  There isn't anything left of the old church and the location is now part of a farming field. 

This is a picture of the Repton Baptist Church today.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Singing Sheriff

Several years ago in the 1950's Marion had several musical bands that played at different functions and everyone enjoys these events.  All the members of the group were local folks which made it even better.

One of the well-known groups was The Kentucky Wonders, it was formed by Ray Wlson.  Ray was our
county sheriff from 1950-1954, so he became known as "The Singing Sheriff."

His band consisted of Leman Little, Guitar; Bernal "Little Jack" Little, Fiddle; J. D. Orr, Steel guitar; and Sparky Winders, Base fiddle, Bill Marvel also played guitar for the group.

The Kentucky Wonders was a popular band and played many functions around the area, at local meetings, on the court house lawn on week-ends for everyone to enjoy.  They also taped several songs at Mr. Wilson's house to be played on a Princeton Radio Station.  The Kentucky Wonders also appeared on a Henderson T. V. Station.

The Kentucky Wonders also cut a few records, some of the titles were "Waiting with Tears in My Eyes, What  Have You Done With My Heart, Plain American Boy and Heart Stealer.

When Mr. Wilson took a job as U. S. Marshall in Owensboro the band broke up and he had to move to where his job was located. 

  But Mr. Wilson was always known and remembered as our "Singing Sheriff."  He came back often to Marion and played for special functions that were being held.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Marion and Crittenden County Should Be Proud

An interesting article appeared in The Crittenden Press on Nov. 11, 1909.  It was titled "Things That Marion and Crittenden County Should Be Proud."  A nice way to help preserve our past history.

  • Home of Thomas J. Nunn now serving with distinction as Chief Justice of Kentucky.
  • Home of William J. Deboe who served six years in the United States Senate.
  • Home of Hon. Ollie M. James, now serving his fourth term in our National Congress and who is one among the most highly recognized Statesmen of the United States.
  • Marion is one of the twenty-three towns of Kentucky with a second class post office.
  • The Wilbur Haynes Post Card business pays enough postage in a single month to pay the post office expenses here for a whole year, paying in every month for postage, from $2,400 to $3,400 or about $36,000 a year.
  • Marion is the home of one of the best and most reliable Marble Works in Kentucky and truly the only producers of a high grade granite and marble for the rough stone in all Western Kentucky owned by Henry & Henry.  (still doing business today)
  • The home of the Marion Milling Company, the recognized producers of the most popular brand of flour on the market.
  • The home of the Fluor Spar Co.  This is the greatest mining district in the world today and will be proven so in less than two years.  Statistics show this to be true now and very soon the whole United Sates will be coming here for spar.  
  • The home of the Heath Manufacturing Company, makers of Heath's hand made mission furniture.
  • The home of the Record-Press, now in its thirty-first years and with the largest circulation of any county newspaper in the State.
  • Marion has two tobacco factories that handles the tobacco from 2,800 acres, at an average of eight hundred pounds per acres. 
  • Crittenden produces fine corn, wheat, hay, sheep, hogs, cattle, horses and mules.
  • Marion boasts two of the finest hardware stores in Western Kentucky, a number of large dry goods and clothing houses, a number of large groceries and meat markets; an ice plant, electric light plant, a splendid graded school building, two beautiful drug stores, two banks, a number of fine churches, - no saloons and an empty jail.

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Salem School

The New Salem School was located nine miles west of Marion on the south side of  Hwy. 60 not far from the community of Midway.  It was part of the farm that was owned by the Lan Waddell family, the home place of th elate Dr. Roy Waddell of Salem.

There were two school buildings.  The first was a wood frame building and was destroyed by fire in 1944.  It was replaced by a concrete block building and so remained as a schoolhouse until the consolidation of  many of the little one and two room rural schools.

In July of 1958, the Crittenden County Board of Education announced that four more small schools would be closed, and New Salem was one of the school that was closed and the students bused to Marion.  

When the New Salem school building and lot were sold the next month, the residents of New Salem school district were sad to realize their school had been closed and the building sold.  They had hoped that the building which the people of their community worked so hard to build would still be used for the community. 

Today there is nothing to show where this school once stood.

New Salem School 1931

1st row bottom, L-R:  Lon Ainsworth, Jim Ainsworth, Helen Wring, Horsmelva Howard, Billie Nell Tyner, Alois Wring, Billie Jean LaRue, Wayne Maxfield, Tincey LaRue, Bennie Lee Maxfield
2nd row: Helen Harpending, Clara May James, Adeline Wring, Louis (Tad) Childers, Teacher Daisey Dean Hill, J. D. Bradford, Edwin Bradford, William Tyner
3rd row: Lois McCune, Fanny May Merdith, Melva LaRue, Edward Wring, Lowery Vaughn, Bradley Noward, Dorothy Tyner, Marion Harpending
4th row: Sherman Kirk, James LaRue, Howard Hayes, Bryce Vaughn

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Silent Tower

This article about the old Clock Tower on the empty Marion High School was written in May of 1977. 

 The Silent Tower

Yes, there really is a clock in the tower on top of Marion Elementary School.

 But, no, it doesn't run, at least not right now. That is because no one had bothered to wind it for, more that 10 years past. 

According to Charles Talley, Marion Elementary principal, winding is about all it would take to make it tick again, once you reattached it's 15-foot pendulum.

But winding the clock, which was transferred to the present building from the old graded school, is no easy matter.

D. E. Woodall, who as custodian wound it in the old building and later in the new WPA constructed building, says it's placement in the new structure made it hard to do.

Three concrete weights, weighting 250-300 pounds are cranked up with a windlass. The weights appear to have been made from old nail kegs poured full of concrete.

Woodall recalls that the timepiece, made by E. Howard and Company of Boston, Mass., was an eight-day clock. Woodall says he wound it each Thursday.

Getting to the clock tower in the present building is no easy matter either. It's straight up two narrow ladder flights. And you start by climbing over a wash basin in the principal's office.

Talley says about 10 years ago, (this would have been in 1966) when the school was re-roofed and workmen were in the clock tower every day, they got the clock to running, but never well enough to synchronize the hand on the four faces.

Presently, in addition to the pendulum being disconnected, some of the arms going to the faces are loose.
Woodall recalls, too, that when in the old building there was a large bell with the clock which would ring out the hour and half hour. It was also rung he said for classes.

The bell, he said, was junked and eventually sold in Evansville when the old building was torn down.
In August of 1981, the present Crittenden County Elementary School was built, and the building, then known as Marion Junior High was sold.

This is the sad shape the old historic clock is in today, 2015.  Just about totally gone.  

The clock was originally installed in the new Marion High and Graded School in 1895.  When that building was torn down in 1938 to build the building that is there today, the old clock was saved and installed in this building.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Farmer Brothers Together During The Civil War.

Miss Moore tells this story of her Great Grandparents, Stephen and Rebecca Farmer. (Picture is of Miss Helen Moore, author of the story.)

Rebecca Farmer stood in the doorway of her home holding her baby girl, Jane, in her arms. She was watching a group of riders coming down the road. When they reached her house she recognized Jenny Doss and his confederate guerrillas. They were looking for her husband Stephen Farmer who was off fighting for the Union Army. Rebecca also had two sons in the Union Army – William and Henry. 

When Rebecca Allison married Stephen Farmer in Smith County, Tennessee in 1839, she was given five slaves as a wedding present, a mother Nancy, and her four children, Sam, John, Arch, and Mandy. When Stephen and Rebecca moved to Kentucky in 1852 to a farm about five miles west of Marion they brought the slaves with them.

The raiders searched the house and outbuildings and made the older girls cook dinner for them. As one of the men came by Rebecca, who was still holding her baby, somehow his gun got caught on Jane's dress and almost pulled her out of her mother's arms. Rebecca turned and called on the Southern officer in charge.

The officer called the man down and said, "We are just here after Stephen Farmer and not to harm women and children." He then patted Jane's face and said," You are a sweet little baby, but if we had your d—father we would hang him on a tree in the yard and fill him full of lead." Rebecca replied to him, "But God is in his heaven and you can not find Stephen. He is not here."

The raiders took off the last horse they had left and Rebecca told them. "It won't do you any good to take the horse as none of you will be able to ride him." It was later learned that on the way to Princeton, the horse did throw the rider and he was killed.

Raiders or guerillas came back to the farm several times. Once the Negro John hid under the smokehouse floor so long that his ears and toes were frost bitten. They had to take up the floor to get him out. John walked with a limb thereafter.

Henry and William Farmer were on "Sherman's March to the Sea" during the Civil War, as was Sam, the Farmer's slave. On arriving at the sea the men were so hungry they took the butt end of their guns and burst open clams and ate them raw. They had lived on parched corn for days.

During one battle of the Civil War, Henry and William were together. They were told to go over an embankment and take a cannon. Henry took one look and decided it was too much – he wasn't going to do that. William had been in the war longer than Henry and being in front of him, he turned and said, "If you run, I will shoot you just as if you were a Rebel. So Henry did as he was told.

Sam, one of the Farmer slaves stayed with Henry all during the war until it was over. They started home all together but somehow got separated on the way. Henry got home one day and Sam the next. Stephen and William also survived the war and returned back to the farm.

(Stephen and Rebecca Farmer are buried in the Farmer family cemetery on their home place, which is today knows as the Columbia Mine property, owned by Bob Frazer.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Early Schools in 1897

For some early history of a few of our county schools, lets visit around with county school commissioner Rev. James F. Price. These reports are from The Crittenden Press in1879.  Rev. Price tells it like he sees it.

October 30, 1879, I visited Chapel Hill School, A. C. Cruce teacher. I found a very good school and one in
which the students are making rapid advancement.

The average attendance is about 30, the teacher is alive to his work and instructs his pupils thoroughly in the fundamental principles, he has some obstacles with which to contend, one is that he is hampered up in a schoolhouse which is not sufficient to supply the wants of the district.

This is a good district, and we don't believe the citizens will allow another school taught in such a house. The discipline of the school is very good, whispering is prohibited except by permission, the children of this district are somewhat advanced in education, the teacher has classes in Physiology, Higher Arithmetic, Higher Algebra, Latin Reader and Geometry. 
October 21st, I visited Cookseyville School, G. W. Hall teacher, I found a very good school though not very large in the number of pupils. The school has only averaged about twenty, this is Mr. Hall's first school, but he evidently shows ability as a teacher.  

He keeps very good order and teaches very thoroughly; this district is not for advanced in education, but the teacher, works faithfully among the little fellows endeavoring to advance them. 

He gives them many drills besides the lessons they recite from the textbook; the school house is not so good as desired, but it does better than some. I spoke that night to a few of the citizens, after Mr. Hall and Mr. Rushing each gave a talk.

October 25th, I visited Union School, Miss Irene Cole teacher.

 I found one of the best schools I yet had the pleasure to visit; the school has averaged forty pupils; the order and system of the school is very good; but very little whispering or disturbance of any kind is found in the school; the teacher is alive to her duty.  

She is one of those live, energetic teachers that would infuse spirit and vitality into any school; she has the firmness and indomitable will to govern a school without difficulty; super-added to these qualifications for governing is a spirit of kindness which restrains the students without violence.

The instruction is through and practical, the pupils are advancing very rapidly in their studies, and are understanding it as they go. Map drawing is taught in a very systematic manner. About fifty dollars will be raised to assist in paying the teacher. 

 The schoolhouse is not so good as desired but we hope the community will erect a good house before long.

This is a good community, one that is taking an interest in education and it is to be hoped that they will raise the standard of education still higher.