Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oxford, Marion's First Post Office


A post office was established in Marion, in 1843 and it was called Oxford.  It is believed this was the post office of old Livingston County that was at Oxford Academy, which was located near the former Piney creek Baptist Church site on Flynn's Ferry Road (now State Road 1077). 

 Early history states that the academy was named Oxford from its teacher, or teachers that were from Oxford, New York.

From other past history recorded the Oxford Academy must have been in the former site of the Brown Academy which was closed in 1824. 

 As you can imagine, history in this time period is hard to located.  

Since the new town of Marion was not on a main mail state road until after its incorporation, its mail was sent eastward to be mailed from the post office at Oxford Academy on the Flynn's Ferry Road.

When the new post office was established at Marion on April 29, 1843, Sumner Marble was the Postmaster.  The mail was postmarked Oxford until April 14, 1846, when the named was changed to Marion, alsmost two years after the towns incorporation. 

Postmasters during this time were Sumner Marble, April 29, 1843, James M. Smith, July 12, 1844, and Milo L. Smith, Dec. 16, 1845.

The post office was discontinued from January 21, 1862, during the Confederate occupancy and then reestablished again on April 2, 1862 under David N. Stinson, and has been in continuous operation ever since, although at different locations.

This is believed to be the Post Office, book store, and home of Mr. George Perkins when was postmaster in 1859-1861.  

It sat on the southwest side of the court house, where the Ambassadors of Christ Church is located today.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10th, 2017 - Confederate Memorial Day in the South


Crittenden County In The Civil War -

  Crittenden County appeared to have been fairly regularly visited by Federal troops, although it by itself rarely served as a military target. More commonly it was an east west through route for Federal troops.

The largest military action in the county took place at Weston on June 21, 1864. The steamboat Mercury, carrying the entire 7th Ohio Infantry was fired on by Confederates as it passed the north end of town, the attackers firing from behind a bluff and buildings on or near it. The attackers apparently didn't realize the strength of the unit on the boat and were readily driven off by the firing of whole volleys from the boat. There were casualties on both sides, but the boat's captain refused to land to allow the infantry to burn the town, citing orders to not land on the Kentucky shore.

The second documented military action in the county occurred at Bell's Mines in the extreme northeastern corner of the county. Lt. Thomas W. Metcalfe with 46 men of Company C, 56th Kentucky Mounted Infantry departed Cloverport, Ky. on July 5th traveling through the Green River Country. They were attacked at Bell's Mines on July 13th by a reported 300 guerrillas and the force was reported captured by the Evansville Daily Journal of July 19, 1864. The company record gave its loss as one killed, 11 captured and 22 horses and rigging. 

The next dated incident in the county took place, again at Weston on September 4, 1864, when 14 Confederate prisoners who were being transported under guard on board the steamboat Colossus, overpowered their guards, killing several of them, and forced the boat to the Kentucky shore at Weston, from which pint the escaped.
(Some of this information from research History Pays, by James E. Jacobsen who was gathering information for the Civil War markers that were placed in our county in April 2005.)

Following are local stories handed down through families of some of the plundering and terrorizing that was done to innocent people. Most of the stories, that I have been fortunate to learn about, have been in the north and northeastern part of the county.

Out in the Cave Spring area on top of a hill was the home place of William and Mourning Brantley, (Now owned by Paul Edward Crowell). William was killed in his own yard standing by his well by a Capt. Fountain Hawkins as he and his troops plundered and terrorized the neighborhood. William wouldn't pledge his allegiance with the Union troops, so they shot him. The date was Jan. 13th, 1863. William was 70 years old. He is buried in the Brantley family cemetery not far from the old homestead.

 This happening is documented in a book titled "Incidents From The Farm Account Books of James Beard Crutcher 1857-1893, Union County, KY. By Tess Elliott". 
The entry in this book states "Nov. 14, 1865, The Grand Jury of Crittenden Co. found a true bill against Capt. Fountain Hawkins for the killing of William Brantley whilst in command of a Company of US troops. Brantley was a citizen and was killed at his own house some 2 or 3 years ago. Hawkins is arrested and was committed to the Crittenden Jail not allowed bail. Fountain P. Hawkins commanded Company A of the 48th KY Volunteer Infantry (North) all Union Co. men. 

I don't know what happened, but Hawkins didn't stay in jail, for later he was documented as raiding Robertus "Bart" Moore's store, (in the Mattoon area), cleaning out his smokehouses, and taking all of his metal farm implements and other items.

There were more men in Crittenden County that joined the Union Army than the Confederate Army.  There is only one government Confederate monument in Crittenden County, it is at the Repton Cemetery.  It belongs to Stephen F. Crider.
           Sir,  Thank you for your service, we salute you.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Crittenden County Folks - Jennie Clement

This article was written in the fall of 1936. It is about one of our Crittenden County folks, and a member of one of pioneer families that settled here and help make us what we are today. These articles give us a glimpse back in time to another way of life, a time when life was very different than we know it today. 

 Miss Jennie Clement with a group of her students at the White Hall School, just West of Crayne.

One fine autumn morning, nearly sixty years ago (abt.1876), a young woman, still in her teens, auburn haired and fair, gathered together books, a slate, tablets and pencils were few and far between in those day, and, dressed in her daintiest frock, tripped, light-hearted and gay, hopeful and ambitious, down a shady country lane in the southern apart of Crittenden county to open her first school.

The fine young woman who not only knew how to teach school well but how to make friends and get along well with both patrons and pupils closed her first school year with the praises of the community, still sounding in her ears.

The next year came and the next and then one and on, and this young woman continued to teach school, always giving her best in service to those communities in which she taught and teaching always, in addition to the Three R's, reading', riting' and 'rithmetic, those qualities which make of school children the finest types of citizens, common honesty, sobriety, truthfulness and an appreciation of the good and wholesome and worthwhile things of life.

For forty-six successive years, this girl, grown into mature womanhood now taught in Crittenden County Schools. Then she decided to leave the teaching of Crittenden County's

Young Americans to younger pedagogues and for a few years she watched the process of education in this part of Kentucky from the sidelines. 

Then she found that the old urge to teach was too much for her to resist so she went back to the work which she knew and loved best.

Four more years she taught. Then she came to realize that she tired too easily, the days were, oh so long, and that her eyes that only yesterday, it seemed, were aglow with the joy and sparkle of youth, were growing dim and that her vision was no longer dependable. Then this woman of high ideals and noble character, removed the clapper from her little school bell, closed her school record book for all time.

Looking back over the school records of Crittenden County for more than half a century, we find this Crittenden County teacher taught that first year, nearly sixty years ago, at Owen. Later she taught thirteen years at White Hall, two at Chapel Hill, two at Brown, two at Fairview and one or more years at Lily Dale, Crayne, Lone Star and possible at other places.

This woman in now 76. She always votes. If things are not run, politically, in the county, state and nation as they should be run she has the satisfaction of knowing that she did what she could to remedy them. She exercises her right of suffrage whenever the opportunity to vote presents itself. Is she worn out? No! In the local option election held in Crittenden County two weeks ago she had no way to come to town to register her vote against the sale of intoxicating liquors in her home county so she walked into town, a distance of some four or five miles, and voted.

Her parents were Henry and Sarah Clement. She makes her home now with her sister, Mrs. Susan Bigham, near Crayne, Ky.

A few days ago this Crittenden County woman who almost sixty years ago opened her first school at Owen in this county became the first person in Crittenden County to be awarded and Old Age Pension.

All Crittenden County will join in extending to this woman felicitations and good wishes and will unreservedly give their approval to the pension authorities of the county and state who saw fit to award this benefit to this most excellent woman. Her name? Possibly we did neglect to mention that – Miss Jennie Clement.

Miss Jennie Clement lived to be 82, she died at her home in the Chapel Hill community August 16, 1939 and was buried in the Chapel Hill Cemetery. For the past several years advanced age had prevented activities in school and school affairs around which her entire life was centered. 

One of the oldest school teachers in Western Kentucky, "Miss Jennie" was known, loved and respected throughout the county. For many years she was an instructor in the public school system and numbered among her pupils many of the successful men of today.
*******


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

City By-Laws - March 22, 1882


In 1882 the town trustees had been busy preparing some by-laws for our fair city.  The laws were to be abided by in order to make our town a better place to live.  Here are a few.  They still sound like good rules to live by even today.
  •  Any person or persons violating the law by not paying for a license to sell liquor, and continue to sell ardent spirits in the own of Marion, shall forfeit and pay a fine.
  •  Any person or persons, who shall be drunk within the town of Marion, shall be fined in any sum not less than $1 nor more than $10 or may be imprisoned in the county jail not more than 24 hours or may e both fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the court.
  • Any person or persons who shall be guilty of profane cursing or swearing, not in a clamorous or boisterous manner, in the town of Marion, shall be fined $1 for each offense and any person or persons, who shall be guilty of profane cursing or swearing, in the town of Marion, in a boisterous or clamorous manner, shall be fined not less than $2 or more than $10 for each offense.
  • Any person, who shall be guilty of an indecent exposure of his person in any public place or any grossly improper conduct in the town of Marion, shall be fined in any sum  not less than $5 nor more than $20 in each offense and in default to payment may be sentenced to hard labor upon the streets or other public works of the town.
  • Any person or persons who shall be guilt of running immoderately or recklessly riding or driving any horse or horses, or mules through or on the streets or alleys of the town of Marion, shall be fine in any sum not less than $1 or more than $10, in default of payment of any fine imposed under this section, the party so offending shall be committed to the county jail at the rate of $2 per day to pay said fine.
  • Any person, who shall be guilty of selling directly or indirectly an goods, ware or merchandise of any kind or quality in the town of Marion on the Sabbath day, except it be for shrouding, medicine or other articles of extreme necessity shall pay a fine of $2.50 for each and every offense.
  • Any person or persons who shall shoot off any gun or pistol loaded with powder in the town of Marion, shall be fined in the sun of $5 for each offense, except the same may be done in the protection of life or property.
  • Any person who shall engage in any game of chance playing of dice, cards, or either device whereat anything of value is be, won or lost, shall be fined for every such offense not less than $10, nor more than $50.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Traveling Our Old Roadways


Seems are fair county has always had a problem keeping are roadways in good traveling condition. In the 1920's the conditions of the roads were a main topic that was always talked about and discussed.  

Local citizens that had moved to other states in search of good jobs would could back home and complain the whole time about how awful our roads were.  

The people in Crittenden County had grown tired of listening through the years to the multiplicity of disparaging remarks, which had been made about our creek bed roads.  They set about to try and do something about this so Crittenden County got aboard the good roads band wagon.

Here are some interesting items found in The Crittenden Press about the improvement of our roads.

                                                  The pike team headed for Crayne.

Nov. 25, 1921 - Crittenden's First Pike, Marion Road.
A section of the pike teams passed through Marion headed for Crayne where the gang will be located and work will proceed each way from that point.  The men, teams and tools are located at Crayne and actual work on Crittenden's first pike begun Monday.  Mr. W. R. Cruce, who worked persistently and valiantly for this road, and to him the whole citizenship is debtor, placed the first shovel of dirt on the road.

April 1924 - Sheridan Road Improved
Progressive communities and good roads go hand in hand.  Crittenden is fast taking her place and counties with superior roads.  Get in a car and drive out one of her highways toward Princeton or Salem and Paducah.  During the past week we have witnessed some splendid work on the Sheridan-Tolu road, one of the most desperate roads of history.  The work has only started, yet the improvement will measure 100 percent.  A moderate amount of continual work will make it possible for the teamster to pull 4000 pounds with greater ease than he has for months.  Then if one drives out this way in a car he can do so with comfort and cease criticism of the county roads. 

July 1927 - Work Starts on Federal Road 60
Work was started this week on the surfacing of the Marion-Salem portion of United States highway Number 60.  Ben E. Clement, of the Holly Fluorspar Company, holds the contract for the graveling of the slightly more than eight mile section of road.  The first loads of crushed rock were laid this week.

December 1927 - Funds for Road To Dycusburg
The dream of a hard surfaced road to Dycusburg will soon be a reality, according to County Judge L. E. Waddell, who has made public a list of the donors to the fund to be used in the construction of this road.  A partial list of those contributing:  J. A. Graves, M. E. Stephenson, T. W. Brown, W. W. Bennett, Claude Fletcher, J. C. Brasher, J. E. Shadowen, L. C. Brasher, James Riley, Elmer Parish, M. F. Pogue, W. I. Tabor, J. H. Beavers, A. H. Shadowen, J. M. Polk, C. L. Lindsey, Harlan Peek, J. L. Patton, G. C. Oliver, and J. H. Beavers, to name a few interested citizens that contributed.

December 1927 - Plans Laid for New State Road To Shady Grove
A proposed bill, which was drawn up by Edward D. Stone, Crittenden attorney, establishing a primary road project, a road leading from Marion to Shady Grove. The road would extend from Marion to Shady Grove, starting at the Masonic corner in Marion, goes east to the end of Bellville Street and follow in the general direction of the old Shady Grove Road by way of Tribune and Deanwood into Shady  Grove where it connects with other state highways to Princeton, Providence and Madisonville.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dycusburg, A Glance at Her Past


             This history was written about Dycusburg in 1894. 

The second largest town in Crittenden County is Dycusburg, and it is a town of no small importance, although the advent of the railroad has interfered materially in the shipping business, which was at one time a leading feature.

In its best days Dycusburg probably did more business than Marion, its location on the bank of the Cumberland river making it close to the marts of the world drew some of the best merchants the county ever had.

The native forest of that vicinity was first broken by a Mr. Seyester, on the farm now owned by the widow Brannum.  

In 1833 J. W. Simpson built a rude warehouse below where the town now stands.  In 1838 a brick warehouse and residence was built and other houses followed in rapid succession.

In 1848 the town was incorporated and business began to grow rapidly.
  • Jackson & Cobb were selling good, buying and shipping tobacco
  • Cobb & Cobb succeeded this firm
  • Smith & Head carried on a big mercantile business in 1851
  • David Moore & Bro.
  • M. L. Smith
  • J. N. Flanagan
  • Wm. Bennett & Company
  • T. T. Martin
  • Yancey's
  • L. L. Level
  • Cobb & Gellantley
  • Pritchett & Cardin
  • Wm Dycus and Dr. Graves are some of the names associated with the early history of the town.
Two neat church buildings, Methodist and Baptist, a commodious school house, some pretty residences, large tobacco and grain houses, large store rooms, filled with $8,000 and $10,000 stocks, all indicate continued prosperity.

A fine farming country on both sides of the Cumberland contribute to the material welfare of the town, and the town in turn affords the country the conveniences necessary for the well being of all well regulated households and hence a spirit of friendliness exists among the people.

A daily mail from Kuttawa supplies the town and it's quota of letters and papers.
Among the men who add to the substantial worth of Dycusburg today are:
  • Sam Cassidy
  • J. H. Clifton
  • the Yancey boys
  • Eugene Brown
  • Wm Mays
  • F. B. Dycus, the Burks
  • George Graves
  • Dr. Graves
  • William Hill
  • Ed Ramage
  • P. K. Cooksey
  • Tom Yates
  • Ab  Henrty
Dycusburg is up with the times, there is not a more progressive community in the county and morally it is the equal of any.     (August 1894)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

James Wheeler Cemetery




A new sign was placed yesterday, April 3, 2017 to mark the little historic family cemetery of the James Wheeler family, an early pioneer family of Crittenden County.  After all these years, over 168,  this cemetery has it's first sign.

Mr. Noble Travis, a descendant of Lindley M. Travis, who is buried here, is responsible for the recent cleaning and placement of this beautiful sign.


The beginning of the James Wheeler Cemetery, located on Just-A-Mere Road.
James Wheeler came with his parents to Kentucky at the age of twelve years. He entered 400 acres of land on the North Fork of Piney Creek on February 1, 1802 at old Centerville on Livingston Creek in Livingston (now Crittenden County), . This land was surveyed on August 19, 1803. He built his house on this tract of land where he lived. He built first on the point of the hill just North of the Creek. Later, about 1842 he built on the same ridge a few hundred yards North where he lived the remainder of his life. This would have at one time been the B. C. and Elizabeth McNeely farm. The cemetery is just down the road from their homeplace.  (The farm was sold several years ago after Mr. and Mrs. McNeely passed away.)

John Elder Wheeler was the second son, and third child of James and Mary (Elder) Wheeler. He was the first one to be buried in the James Wheeler grave yard. 

John Elder Wheeler came into this world a victim of unfortunate circumstances. The latter part of the year of 1811 and early part of 1812 was a time of severe earthquake shocks along the Mississippi river near New Madrid and other points, when the earth sank and Reel-Foot lake was formed. These earthquakes were continuous and very severe for a time.

Mary the mother of John Elder Wheeler being in a delicate condition would become very nervous when these earth tremors began. Under these stressful times and her nervous condition, John Elder Wheeler was born. He was a very nervous child, and this condition lasted him through life.

He was devoutly religious. A neighbor, Mrs. Mary Ann Lamb, said he could pray the best prayer she ever heard. His mother said he was the most thoughtful of her wishes and comfort than any of the other children. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Piney Fork and at one time was secretary of the Sunday School. He had what would be a very good education for the people of his locality at that time. His handwriting was legible considering his nervous condition. He never married.

John Elder Wheeler was the first to be buried in James Wheeler family cemetery. He died Nov. 20, 1849, 37 years, 10 months and one day. 

The family history tell that John's sister, Susannah C. Wheeler Travis, grieved over him being buried by himself, and in less than a month on Dec. 15, 1849, she was dead, and was buried near him.