Monday, August 31, 2015

Early Attorney's


Attorney's played an important role in the early day's of our county's history.  They not only had many cases to try in Court at Marion but when the need arose, they would travel to the different districts in the county and would have court there.  Towns such as Shady Grove and Dycusburg had their own city courts and the attorney's would handle the cases.

Two of these young attorney's in 1895 were A. C. Moore and John A. Moore.

 A. C. Moore, a native of Crittenden County, 38 years of age, of prepossessing a distinguished appearance, he makes sad havoc with the preconceived ideas of the twelve good men and true in the jury box, provided, their thoughts of the verdict to be rendered are contrary to his side of the case.

Educated largely in our high school, supplemented by the Madisonville normal, he placed himself under the directing touch of Judge L. H. James, the eminent lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in 1888.

Alfred Clay Moore died in Dec. 11, 1946 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.


John A. Moore is devoted to his professional practice of the law.  He has been city attorney for the past five years.  Mr. Moore's experience has been for so young a man - 3- years - varied and extensive.

He graduated from the Marion high School in 1890 and was admitted to the bar in 1894.

John A. Moore died in 1952 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.



 This is their ad that appeared in The Crittenden Press in January 1895.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Barnes-Nunn Home


The Barnes-Nunn home, another one of our old historic homes is located on West Bellville St., a short distance from the Court house.  These old homes are becoming fewer and fewer.

No 'for sure' date is known for when it was built, but history shows it would have been in the 1870's.  It was built by Lemuel James, a noted lawyer in Marion, at the time.

In January 1893 the home was sold to Mary L. Barnes.  Mrs. Barnes moved to Marion, from the Dunns Springs area, and purchased the home after her husband died.

The family included Mrs. Margaret Barnes, her children, James M., Ninna, Della and Lemah.  This was truly a family home, for in 1894, daughter, Leman Barnes married Clement S. Nunn, a well-known attorney and they made this their home, all the family continued to live here until 1896, when son James, got married and moved to a home of his on.

C. S. Nunn, who was an Appeals Court Judge, and wife Lemah lived out their lives in this beautiful home and in later years the home was always referred to as the Barnes-Nunn Home.

Thankfully the home is in beautiful condition today, and holds the offices of Crittenden County Attorney, Rebecca Johnson.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pleasant Grove School


Another one of our county schools was Pleasant Grove School.  It was located on what they called the Irma-Salem Road, and later became S. R. 723 S.

Early settlers built the first school house in this community.  It had a dirt floor, a large fireplace and a stick chimney daubed with mud.  The seats were made of logs that had been split open and had pegs for legs.

This building was located south of the Pleasant Grove Church near a spring.  This was the water supply for both places.

As the community grew there was a need for a larger building.  A second one was built on the west side of the church on the road known as the Pleasant Grove and Lola Road.  This was also a log structure, quite a bit larger and with some improvements over the first building.  Some of the improvements included a puncheon floor, glass windows and a stone chimney.

As time went along another building was needed.  This was the third building.  It was much improved over the other two.  It was frame with modern seats and windows for that time.   Slates had been used in the previous buildings but this one had a large blackboard across one end of the room.  

The fireplace had been replaced with a coal heater that had a large jacket around it.  There would be no more carrying water from the spring because a cistern had been dug and a latticed shed was built around it.

The fourth building was erected in 1909 or 1910.  It was located on the Salem and Tolu road and at that time it was a narrow dirt road.  Later it was made wider and was blacktopped and would be S. R. 723.

Due to the growing number of students the fourth building was much larger than the preceding ones.  Enrollment was somewhere near 70 or 75.  That did not mean the attendance was always that many.  Boys that were large enough to do farm work would have to drop out and help during the harvest season.  During the cold winter months, the smaller chilren couldn't make it every day. 

This was a one room school for several years, but later another room was added, as you can see in the picture above.

The last year for school here was the 1957-58 school year.  The old building burnt and the students were sent to Tolu School.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Genealogy Society Meets

The Crittenden County Genealogy Society met this past Saturday at the Library.

Member Steve Eskew presented an interesting and informative program on scanning and organizing old photographs.  He had a collection of some of his old photographs that he shared.  

On the screen behind the group he had a collection of his family photos.  Steve has created folders for the different family ancestors so they will all be in their own group, such as his Eskew family, Stembridge, Canada, and Roberts, just to name a few.  

If we could all manage to do this with our photos, it would be a great way to preserve our family history for our future family generations to have.

Left to right:  Betty Croft, Don Foster, Darlene Eskew, Anna Rhea Belt Porter, presenter Steve Eskew, Rita Owen Travis, Fay Carol Jackson Crider and Doyle Polk.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Early Marion Main Street


This old photo was made between 1890-1905, as these buildings were all burnt in the great fire of  1905 that destroyed all of Marion's business district.


The building on the right was the Marion Bank.  Built in 1890, it was Marion's first bank, and a much needed asset to the town, as the closest bank would have been at Princeton, 23 long miles away. 

The stores in this picture were Goodlow Grocery, Morris & Hubbards, Marion Hardware Co., McConnell's Dry Goods, and M. Copher's grocery, the rest of the block wasn't shown in this old photo.

Marion's old water pump is visible on the left side of the photo, which supplied the water for the town.  (you can click on the photo and it will enlarge for better viewing these objects)

Another interesting site are the ladder-like structures around the Marion Bank.  Upon closer look they must be some kind of protection that was built around each of the small trees. 

Note the absence of light and telephone wires and poles, they would come later.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Highway 91 North, Ollie James and Davy Crockett Highway


The road running North-West  from Marion to the Ohio River was  first named the Ollie M. James Highway, in honor of Ollie M. James, Crittenden County's United States Senator. (1913-1918) 

In July 1955, Highway North 91, or the Ollie James Highway was in for a change.  The highway from Nashville, Tennessee to Chicago, including the Ollie James highway was to be designated as "The Davy Crockett Route."  

The TV show the "Legend of Davy Crockett" and the sequel, Mike Fink and the River Pirates had become so popular that someone suggested a highway be named for him. 

At the time Walt Disney movies was filming a movie about Davy Crockett and the river pirates at the Ohio River with the ferry boat and on the Cave-In-Rock side with the big cave a major part of the movie. 


Ceremonies for the formal dedication to the new Davy Crockett Route was held at the Cave-In-Rock Landing on July 10, 1955.

Fess Parker, who was the star in the TV series and in the Davy Crockett movies, would be there to christen the ferry boat, the same day the road was official dedicated.

This is the picture that appeared in the Crittenden Press on July 10, 1955.   

Fads of the time move on and things once popular fade away and no longer seem important.

In May 1956 the citizens of Crittenden County had decided that the Davy Crockett Highway should be re-named as the Ollie M. James Highway.  Ollie James was a native Crittenden Countain who was U. S. Senator and prominent in Democratic circles in Washington for many years.

The Highway Department and officials in Frankfort granted the request that the highway be renamed as the Ollie M. James Highway, that it was proper and fitting in memory of the great statesman from Crittenden County.

Oddly, after all that trouble, the Ollie M. James Highway is today simply known as Highway 91 North.  

But as we travel down this scenic road we will know it is a road with a history, once carrying the name of the great pioneer, Davy Crockett, and then back to our famous native son, Senator Ollie M. James.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Caught In The Middle


Crittenden County played no commanding role in the Civil War  and there were not any battles fought on the soil of Crittenden County, but the county was over run by the troops of both armies.  

All known military actions were confined to the northeastern corner of the county, and represented a spilling over of the military activities in Union County.

Guerrilla activity was sustained within the county and the largest military action involved an attack on a Federal troop transport at Weston in early September 1863.  There were also several scrimmages around and near the community of Bells Mines, with several being killed from both sides.

Horses were stolen and all the people's food and supplies, that could be found, were taken.  All families tried to hide their stock, food and supplies, in secret places, but many times the plundering soldiers were able to locate the hidden goods.  They soon learned the favorite place to hide food and family items by the housewives of the day. 

The sufferings of the family of Robertus Love Moore were well recorded.  Moore had a two-story homestead located on the northern ridge of Mattoon at the junction of the Marion-Morganfield and the Flynn's Ferry Roads.  He operated a dry goods store.  He became a target for Federal raiders and his store was cleaned out, as was his smokehouse, all of the metal and farm implements were taken. 

Also in this same area of the county a few politically motivated murders took place. 


 On January 13, 1863, William Brantley, an older gentleman, as at his well in his yard, when Capt. F. P. Hawkins and his men came riding through, plundering the neighborhood.

When Mr. Brantley refused to pledge his allegance to the Union side, he was shot.  He is buried in the Brantley Family Cemetery in the Cave-Spring area of the county.

Hawkins was arrested and committed to the Crittenden jail, but was gotten out by his band of robbers and not captured again.

A few years latter, not too far from the Brantley homestead, another innocent man was murdered by a band of Union men.

Dr. Green Crowell was a local country doctor.  His descendants tell the story that was handed down through the family.  One night, a band of Union soldiers stopped at their house and ask for the Dr.  they said they had a wounded man that needed his help.  Once outside, the Dr. was asked to pledge his support to the Union side, when he refused he was shot and killed. 

Dr. Green Crowell died on May 6, 1865 and is buried in the McKinley-Phillips cemetery located on a bluff above the community of Nunn Switch.

A terrible fate for two innocent men.  William Brantley was my 4-great grandfather.