Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Disasterous Cyclone of March 27, 1890

This once historic storm made havoc of Southern Illinois, and many location in  Western Kentucky on that Thursday of March 27, 1890. 

There are scatchered pieces of information in different newspapers about the destruction and death that was left in the path of this storm.  Some called it a aerial monster.

From Southern Illinois it came across the Ohio River at Carsville, it took up Deer Creek, and passed on through Kentucky, felling timber and demoishing homes, barns, anything in it's path.  

Dutch Sullenger living near Tolu, was killed and his house blown to fragments.  John Robinson's daughter was killed also, and many injured in this area.  

Much destruction and people injured in the town of Marion.  The storm continued on its path through the countryside and touched down on the Mt. Zion Church and completely destroyed it.

Not only did it destroy the church and the neighborhood, it picked up Dr. Moreland's wife, Susan and their daughter, Gladys, whom she had clutched tightly in her arm,s and carried them to a neighboring community called Tradewater about seven miles from Mt. Zion.  When they were found, Susan was still holding her little girl.

They are buried together in the old part of the cemetery.

Engraved on the stone are the words "Killed In Cyclone" right after the death date of Susan.

This announcement appeared in the Crittenden Press soon after the storm.

A CRY FOR HELP! To the People of Crittenden County:
At a meeting of the citizens of Crittenden County, at Marion, on March 29th, the following resolutions were adopted.
  • Whereas a destructive tornado swept across the county on the 27th, killing a number of our fellow citizens, wounding and disabling others, destroying the homes of  many, leaving men, women and children, without food or raiments and in a suffering, needy condition, therefore
  • Resolved that those of the county who escaped this great calamity, be appealed to go for relief for the distressed and suffering in this their great time of need, by making immediate contributions of money, food, clothing, bedding or other articles of household necessity and comforts.
  • Resolved that the people be requested to hold public meeting in their respective neighborhoods for the purpose of facilitating this great work of charity, as the cry for help is urgent and relief most be speedily given.
  • Resolved that J. A. Moore and Geo. C. Gray be and they were chosen to appointed a committee to receive at Marion, the donation of those who may live a distance from the field of want, and to forward the same to the suffers.
The people of every neighborhood are earnestly requested to give this important matter  their immediate attention, the immediate wants of our friends and neighbors are pressing.  Let us heed their cry for help with open hearts.
J. A. Moore Chairman,
T. J. Nunn Secretary

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

1928 School Items

Things were very different for our schools many years ago.  They all didn't start at the same time and the county schools only had three and a half months for a school term.

Crittenden Press, Aug. 1928.
The rural schools of Crittenden County started Monday morning of this week.

County high schools, Shady Grove and Frances, will start later.  Both schools are to be accredited high schools this year.  
 Frances Grade and High School

 Sugar Grove and Crider schools have been consolidated and there will be three and a half months of each at each place.  

Mrs. Vera Stembridge is the teacher for these two districts.

Most of the teachers have started a campaign for better attendance.  The county school board plans to give an attendance diploma to all those who have a perfect attendance record for the year.

Other teacher elected were
  • Miss Leah Lindsey at Boaz;
  • Miss Iris Lofton, at Hebron;
  • Miss Isobel Walker at White Hall;
  • Mrs. Fred Gilbert at Forrest Grove;
  • Miss Georgia Nation at Baker;
  • Miss Rebecca Moore at Owen;
  • Miss Naoma Norris at Siloam

Monday, December 30, 2019

Fluorspar Mills in operation in the County in 1958

Fluorspar Mills in 1958
I think most all of us that have lived our lives in Crittenden County are always interested in reading the old history about our fluorspar mills and mines. They were so much a vital part of the history of our county. It is fortunate that our local paper, The Crittenden Press, reported on the happenings of these mills, by doing this we are lucky to have all this information to read about those days when Fluorspar was king in our county. This following article, written in 1958, was in the ending days of the great fluorspar era in our county. 

April 24, 1958. Fluorspar Mills
Several Companies Identified with Fluorspar
  • The West Kentucky Fluorspar industry is represented by numerous companies who are active in Crittenden and Livingston Counties.
  • The Calvert City Chemical Company is the largest producer with a mine in Livingston County and a mill at Mexico. The Kentucky Fluorspar Company, with office and plant facilities at Marion, prepares various grades of fluorspar and fluorbarite for the steel and ceramic industries.
  • The Nancy Hanks fluorspar mine is located in Livingston County near Salem. The Delhi Fluorspar Company has office and plant at Marion where various grades of fluorspar are prepared for the general market.
  • The Willis Crider operations at Mexico with office and processing plants there prepare fluorspar and barite for the general market.
  • Mico Mining and Milling Co. has a plant in Crittenden County where barite is being prepared for the general market. This plant is located on Highway 91 North about 2 miles from the Cave-In-Rock ferry landing. Barite or barium sulfate is sometimes called heavy spar, and is used in drilling oil wells and for other industrial uses.
Fluorspar occurs naturally in veins or beds as crystalline calcium fluoride disseminated in vein rock commonly associated with calcite and silica. The crystals vary in color from whites, cream, yellow, blue and purplish. The crystals are cubic with octahedral cleavage and rare specimens are of semi-gem quality and clear specimens may be of optical quality.

Fluorspar is used by the steel companies as a flux in iron smelting, by the various ceramic industries for quality and opacity control, and the acid grades are used for the production of a wide range of important chemicals. The range of chemicals includes hydrofluoric acid, fixed dyes, refrigerants, propellants, insecticides and moth repellents, jet fuels, and other chemicals used by the aluminum processors and the Atomic Energy Commission.

  • Calvert City Chemical Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pennsalt Chemicals Corporation, is producing acid grade fluorspar for their hydro fluorite acid plant at Calvert City. Calvert City Chemical Company has a fluorspar mine at Dyers Hill in Livingston County which produces the ore requirements for the mill located at Mexico. The mill at Mexico recovers commercial quantities of lead and zinc concentrates as by-products as well as production of the acid grade fluorspar concentrate.
  • Calvert City Chemical Company is an important factor in the local economy with a total payroll of about 75 men.
  • The Kentucky Fluorspar Company was organized in the early 1900s by Judge Northern, C. S. Nunn, J. W. Blue and others. The company operated various mines in Crittenden County until about 1922, at which time they sold all of their mines to the United States Steel Corporation.
  •  DELHI Fluorspar Corporation was organized in 1940 by H. F. McVay and Claud A Fletcher. At that time they were operating the Babb Mine, North of Salem, under the Delhi Foundry Sand Company, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Claud A. Fletcher became president of Delhi Fluorspar Corporation. The Corporation continued to mine, mill, grind, buy and sell fluorspar. Since the sale of the mine in 1944, the Corporation has continued to buy, process, and sell all grades and sizes of fluorspar.
  • The REYNOLDS ALUMINUM Company has an exploration office at Salem. Mr. John W. Hook is resident geologist, and Mr. Tom Winans is assistant geologist. The office has a staff of six men who are active in their search for ore reserves. The company has been in the area for about five years and has acquired several fluorspar properties.
  • J. Willis Crider Fluorspar Company purchased the current operation from Crider Brothers in 1951. Since that time the J. Willis Crider Fluorspar Company has been in continuous operating, buying, producing and selling gravel fluorspar. In 1955 the company purchased a new heavy media separation plant as an addition to the original mill in order to increase production. In 1957 the log washing plant was installed to wash and clean barite ores. At the present there is one shaft operating on fluorspar and stripping operations are going on for the barite ore. Properties owned and under lease for mining operations are located in Caldwell, Crittenden and Livingston County. Officers are J. Willis Crider, owner, and Billie Travis, superintendent.
  • *****

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Year 1940 Had Extreme Weather

Extreme Weather Conditions Hit The County in 1940

The year 1940 in Crittenden County was a year of extreme weather conditions. From the archives of The Crittenden Press, let's take a visit to 1940 and see what was in store for the county.

January 5, 1940. The year started out with the Ohio being frozen over at Dam 50 for two days. W. D. Hatcher, lockmaster at Dam 50, reported a two-inch depth of ice over the Ohio from bank to bank extending from Dam 50 to the mouth of the Wabash. This was the first solid freeze of the river since the winter of 1936 when a low of five below was reported and the weather remained below freezing for a period of four days.

The season's low was reported Jan. 2nd when the mercury dropped to two above. In downtown Marion,temperatures of two to three above were reported Jan. 3rdwith Tuesday night being the most severe. Following a two inch snow fall, a thaw proved detrimental. A light mist began to fall and froze as it struck the ground. Highways were coated with ice and became treacherous.

Down in the Tolu area of the county, Claude Arflack and a group of men who had stock wintering on Hurricane Island, opposite Tolu had to cut ice before placing a boat in service to remove the stock.  The men laid a board plank walk and used large saws. After sawing the ice in blocks the loosened portion and then shoved it downward into the current with the aid of skid poles. After completing the path a ferryboat will be used to remove the stock.

Several residents of the Tolu community walked across the river and reported solid ice from Kentucky to Illinois.

January 26 came and with it temperatures 15 degrees below January average. The third blast of the season struck the county Wednesday night driving the mercury to 5 below. At noon if only had climbed to 10 above with no thawing. A two-inch snowfall early Tuesday morning making the total for the past thirty day 17 inches. Freezing temperature and piercing winds followed, placing crusts on the coating making walking hazardous and halting traffic.
April 3rd. Spring finally came and with the change of season more severe weather.
On the night of April 3rd the county was struck by a twister. Freakish in all respects, the sections suffering heaviest were Tolu and the Iron Hill and Sugar Grove areas.

In the Sugar Grove-Tribune sections, a barn was unroofed on the farm of Henry Paris, a similar structure of Frank Woodsides was twisted from the foundation and practically demolished. Sol and Cecil Baker each lost barns and the home of Hubert Hunt was completely unroofed. P. P. Lamb and Homer Travis, adjoining farms, were the largest sufferers. Lamb had two barns destroyed and lost a large steer when the animal was trapped under a falling roof. Travis' home was blown several feet from its foundation and in addition a large barn and small shed was down.

Cedar Lane, known to all Crittenden countains, was twisted, torn and will never again be the picture of scenic beauty that it previously presented.

One of the largest trees in the Iron Hill-Deanwood sections was uprooted directly opposite the front porch of the home of Joe Dean with roots protruding several feet in the air and within jumping distance of the porch, but no damage was done to the porch or house. The storm was apparently split by Iron Hill as no damage was done beyond.

It was reported that buildings on the farm of George Dowell were damaged and the home of Hodge Tabor, near the E'town and Tolu-Y was twisted and blown from the foundation. Luther Hardesty had a barn town down and house unroofed.

In the southern section of the county, the storm unroofed several sheds and a home in the Mexico section, the blow next struck Mott City at the intersection of Princeton-Dycusburg highway. Mr. Mott and son, Glenn, were in the large stone building attempting to hold the doors closed and were thrust aside, the doors blew open and the velocity of the wind was sufficient to blow the rear wall of concrete blocks aside as if it were paper. Some of the blocks were thrown a distance of 12 feet from the wall.

April 26th. With melting snow from the north mixing with heavy rainfall along the path of the river, the Ohio river flooded.
The river bottoms were covered and many ferry boats were not operating. No stock drowning or damage had been reported, the owners being warned and having time to remove the animals and anchor buildings in the areas that would be flooded.
The damage to roadbeds was severe caused by heavy winds that lashed at dirt fills for many hours and complicated by the swift current. All bottoms and lowland had been under water for ten days with many low lying roads being cut off from any traveling.
Next came summer with it's heat wave and drought.
July 26th. Severe and intense heat over the entire county has caused much suffering and discomfort during the last four days with temperatures ranging well above 90 degrees. In many fields pastures and crops are drying badly.

August 2nd. Fourteen days of heat wave, and for several days the Mercury was near 100 degrees for the last five days. Crops in the fields were wilting and pastures searing and in many sections ponds for stock watering purposes dry and water being hauled from wells to pastured stock.

August 8th. Heavy showers finally bring relief and broke the fourteen day heat wave.

August 23rd. Severely high winds hit the county and damaged many acres of corn in all sections of the county and fall yields were decreased by 40 to 50 percent. The wind was freakish, shattering large trees and unroofing several barns in scattered sections. The rains following the high winds did much to aid late crops but many acres of corn were beyond aid. In the lower river bottoms pastures assumed green surfaces and ponds filled that had been dry for the past three weeks.

Fall comes and with it more damage from the weather of 1940.
On November 11th comes a severe windstorm that wrecks a familiar landmark.
The severe windstorm that struck Monday, Nov. 11th, blew down the covered portion of a familiar landmark, the Covered Bridge, on old Fords Ferry Road at the crossing of Crooked Creek. Abutments and floor had been repaired recently and these were not damaged.
In addition to the bridge damage, several barns were unroofed, trees uprooted and chickens killed.

The blow came early Monday morning following the severe downpour Sunday night.
Marion water supply was replenished and the spillway reported overflowing.

After the windstorm Monday, the temperatures began to drop and ice was reported in many places on Tuesday. Wednesday, Nov. 13th, was the coldest of the fall season.

So ends a rough weather year for Crittenden County. It's interesting to read and learn of these past weather conditions that affected the area in years past.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Some Early County Lawyers

Marion seemed well-blessed with the number of attorney's that were available in her early years. From the archives of The Crittenden Presses you can find many ads placed there telling of their services to help the public. Here are just a few of the attorney's that were practicing law in Marion in the late 1880s.
Lemuel H. James, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, June 7, 1844, received his education in the common school's and when only twelve years of age was left an orphan and began working to support himself and widowed mother. No doubt his trials and had work gave him a great deal of the push, pluck and perseverance which has made all that have a personal knowledge of his character and of his work pronounce him as a thoroughly capable and reliable lawyer.

He practices in all the state and federal courts and is noted for his success in winning cases.  L. H. James wields a jury as one man.  He is a self-made man who began educating himself at 19 years of age, and studied law under the Honorable Sumner Marble.  He was admitted to the bar in 1859.

He has made a successful specialty of criminal law, and has in the most severe litigation been equal to the task and come off conqueror.

He is noted for the quickness and vigor with which he compels attention to the governing questions and the same quality has given him is enviable reputation among businessmen.
Associated with him in business, is his son, Ollie M. James.
Ollie M. James, born to legal purple, his success might have been great through the illustrious name of his father, but his own merits give him a prominence that is distinctly his own.

He was born on a farm in Crittenden County July 27, 1871, attended the public school and academy at Marion receiving a thorough general education. 

In 1887 he was elected page to the House of Representatives and in 1889 was made cloakroom keeper of the Senate.

He was admitted to the bar in 1891, under Judge Givens, formed a partnership with his father in 1892. His naturally strong and well-equipped legal mind together with his persuasive address has won him an enviable reputation, he has that magnetism that commands strict attention when he talks.

He is a good jury lawyer, always gaining his prestige by honorable means. He has a larger acquaintance over the state than any man in the county and before him opens a bright prosperous future.

L. H. James died in 1928 and is buried in the James flamily plot at Mapleview Cemetery.
His son and partner, Ollie M. James, went on to have a brilliant political career, and had bright prospects for the future but he died Aug. 28, 1918 of kidney disease and is also buried at Mapleview cemetery.

 Cruce & Nunn
The law firm of Cruce & Nunn occupy a fine suit of rooms in the Carnahan building, and are they are never too busy to talk and execute business, although they have a large law practice, one that has proven alike satisfactory to the lawyer and the client.

Their large library, composed of the authentic works with the latest reports and publications, brings them in touch with the brightest minds of this and every other age, and much time is devoted to a careful perusal of its volumes. 

They are both men of experience and ability, whose practice has won the favor of all with whom they have met in business connection.

Wm. I. Cruce, the senior member of the firm, is a Kentuckian, born in this county, near Crayne. His legal education was thorough and he possessed the necessary qualifications to make practical use of it. 

He is a lawyer of recognized ability and Marion has cause to feel proud of him. Well versed in law and unusually ready and quick in repartee, it is not strange that he has established a position among the best lawyers in the state.

William I. Cruce after this time moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma with other members of his family. He died there in 1928 and was also buried there.
Clem S. Nunn is also a son of Kentucky and is a rising young attorney. He has the natural adaptation and educational training for a good, sound lawyer, and thus far in his professional calling has every reason to be pleased with his success. 

He is careful and painstaking, looks closely after the interested of his clients, and secures favorable verdicts by the employment of honorable and professional methods. The firm as now composed is one of the best in this part of the State.

They have incorporated into their law practice live business methods. The are not only able to handle any matters entrusted to them, but they give close and prompt attention to all cases of whatever magnitude, and it they take it al all, it is "to win." Their live methods are continually adding to their already large volume of business.

Clem S. Nunn died June 19, 1935 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Winning Shady Grove Basketball Team of 1936

March 13, 1936 – All District Team
Shady Grove swept to the championship of District Five Saturday night at Fohs Hall by defeating Tolu 35-25.

In the afternoon session the semi finals, Tolu defeated the Marion Terrors by a one point margin, 23 to 22 and thus won the right to enter the finals against the upper bracket winner, Shady Grove. 

This game was the most hotly contested and hardest fought of the meet and especially so because of the fact that both of the favorites, Marion and Tolu, were placed in the same bracket.

In the opening session Mattoon defeated Frances 16 to 12 and Shady Grove emerged victorious over Dycusburg 57 to 16.

 Friday night Marion won over Smithland 54 to 6 and Tolu swamped Salem 58 to 8. The result of these games placed Marion against Tolu in the lower semi final bracket and Shady Grove and Mattoon in the upper.

Semi Finals
Saturday afternoon, in the semi final play Tolu won over Marion and Shady Grove beating Mattoon 25 to 17. By far the largest crowds of the tourney witnessed these two games and not until the final gun sounded did anyone know the outcome of Marion and Tolu so close was the score and the play. Both fives resorted to all teaching and strategy that was at their command with the result that it was the star game of the meet.

In a game marked by speedy play and featuring Towery, the star performer of Shady Grove, and the slanting shots of Belt and Hardin, of Tolu, Shady Grove won the meet and the right to represent the district in the regional play at Earlington this week. Tolu, the runner up, is also accorded the right under the ruling of the association and will likewise enter.

March 20, 1936 – Athlete From Shady Grove is Honored Player.

Carlisle Towery, pivot man of the Shady Grove quintet, Fifth District champions was named on three all star teams and second on another. 

Towery, a junior in the school is sixteen years of age and six feet and three inches tall. He was named on the Crittenden and Caldwell counties all start five and also that of the Fifth District; finally concluding the season by being placed on the regional second group at the meeting at Earlington last week.

Nebo winner, defeated Shady Grove, in one of the opening games but only after a hard fought battle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Crittenden County Folks - Dr. Ollie T. Lowery

Crittenden Press   Aug. 12, 1938 –
In the passing of Dr. O. T. Lowery the county has lost a good citizen, and the community in which he lived has lost a public-spirited physician whose fine services will be sorely missed in the days that are ahead. 

Ollie T. Lowery, born 1883 in Tolu, Ky., was a son of T. W. and Sallie Matlock Lowery. O. T. Lowery also attended and received his medical training at the Hospital College of Medicine at Louisville, Ky. He was first married to Effie Parker of Salem. They had two sons, Thomas Wood, and Guy Allen. Effie died in 1922 and Dr. Lowery later married Jennie Pell Houston of Carrsville.

After serving in World War I, he opened an office in Marion but later moved back to his hometown of Tolu to be near his family.

Dr. Lowery’s obituary tells of his tragic death at his home in Tolu. Crittenden Press, August 12, 1938. Dr. Ollie T. Lowery, prominent physician, was accidentally killed by his own gun early Sunday morning at his home in Tolu.

Having been absent from his home at the bedside of a son in a Memphis, Tenn., hospital, Dr. Lowery was advised that his chickens were being killed by some unknown cause. Hearing a noise in the chicken house early Sunday morning, he aroused his housekeeper and the two of them went to the structure, about 75 feet from the house. Dr. Lowery took with him a .38 caliber pistol.

Upon reaching the chicken house he instructed the housekeeper to watch the outside of the building and see if a mink should escape through several holes in the foundation and walls. The housekeeper did as told and Dr. Lowery went into the building. Shortly thereafter the report of a gun was heard and Dr. Lowery moaned. Rushing into the building the housekeeper found her employer dead.

Spreading the alarm, nearby resident’s came to her assistance and the body was removed to the house. Coroner C. T. Boucher, Co, Atty. Stone and Sheriff J. E. Perry were notified and rushed to the scene. Boucher conducted an inquest and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Survivors are five sons: Tom, Detroit, Guy, John, Herman and Ollie, all of Tolu; a brother Leonard, Sturgis, and a sister Mrs. Tom George, Salem. 

Dr. Lowery was a respected and loved family Dr. of Tolu. He never had office hours or appointments; he was on call when anyone needed him. In his last years, he wrote his prescriptions, filling them from his own drug room. He made house calls when needed, day or night. His referrals to a hospital for surgery were accurate, and his diagnoses were without any modern tests. Many remember how he stayed by a bedside, or the times he put the patients in his own car, took them to the hospital and stayed there until they were better. He was a comfort to the patient and also the patient’s family.

These old time doctors of long ago deserve a lot of credit. Dark nights, mud, roads, rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and storm are but trifles in the lives of most of them, but for the average doctor back then, they were conditions, many times repeated, which must be met and endured. Irregular hours, sleepless nights, long grinds of watchful waiting, all were but parts of the day’s work for the average doctor in the small town and rural communities of yesteryear.