Monday, July 27, 2009

Beginning of Sugar Grove Church

This is a picture of the first Sugar Grove Church house, which was made of logs.

Sugar Grove Cumberland Presbyterian church was organized in 1840 by Rev. W. C. Love. The charter members were largely drawn from the Piney Fork Church but owing to the destruction of the first church book in the winter of 1864 and 65 when the clerk's house burned, (Uncle Harvey Travis was the clerk at this time), we do not know who the first members were.

The Rev. W. C. Love was the first pastor. William Neal, James Clinton Sr. and William Asher Sr. were the first board of elders.

The new congregation went to work and built a neat log house on the Phillips branch of Piney Creek in a beautiful grove of sugar trees near a famous spring. They also built a large shed and many tents and held annual camp meetings.
From the Crittenden Press dated, Jan. 15, 1932.
The Old Sugar Grove church which was built more than a hundred years ago by the great great grandfathers of the present generation has been taken down and the timbers moved away.
It was built in a narrow thickly wooded valley near a beautiful spring which gushed from the hillside among countless maple sugar trees from which the church took its name.
The old while Oak hewn logs, when taken down, were found to be perfectly sound and if they could protested again being moved as they could render service for another century.
The next Sugar Grove Church was built about three fourths miles northwest of the old church, on higher ground and more convenient to get to.
The church standing today was built in 1981. It has many faithful followers that attend services regularly.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

As You Like It Club

From the files of The Crittenden Press, January 7, 1904 comes the interesting report of the "As You Like It" Club Banquet. These early parties and entertainment sound like so much fun. They were very creative in their activities.

The ladies composing the "As You Like It" Club gave a reception in honor of their husbands and a few invited guests at the New Marion Hotel on Dec. 28th, which was indeed elegant and delightful in all its appointments and unanimously rated an occasion long to be remembered on account of the pleasant memories associated with it.

The contests were spirited, and in every case were unique and sparkling with originality. The first was the "Art Gallery" contest, and it was a source of much pleasure to the streams of visitors who thronged it from the time it was thrown open, all eager to win the prizes. Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Jenkins finally were decided winners. The Booby prizes were awarded to Mr. and Mrs. Groves, of Hawesville, Ky.

Next came the choice of partners for supper, which was by a fishing contest, and the "catch" in each case was a pleasant surprise and reminded each Benedict of the days of "Auld Lang Syne" as he tripped out to the Banquet table with some other fellows' girl.

The delicacies of the season and the fruits of all climes were daintily served, while the soft strains of the Italian harp, that sweetest of all instruments, floated out on the air. Mrs. Jenkins had prepared a special list of music for the occasion and it was much appreciated and enjoyed by all present.

Next came the historical contest, which was especially interesting and novel. Mrs. Moore did the honors as hostess, assisted by Miss Leaffa Wilborn. Those present, other than the hostess and her fair assistant were:
Prof. and Mrs. Groves, Hawesville; Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Horace Sayre, Congressman and Mrs. James, Mr. and Mrs. Lon Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Rob Haynes, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Jenkins, Misses Lena, Ina and Sallie Woods, Mrs. Perry Maxwell, Mrs. Edgar James, Misses Lizzie and Ruby James, and Miss Nell Walker.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bells Mines History

There was a Bells Mines Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized in 1830 in what is now Crittenden County. It continued through 1846 when the log house church building burned along with all its contents, including the Sunday School library and also the church records. Without these early records there is no way to give the exact data concerning to this first church.

Construction on the new church building that is in the picture was started in 1865. The progress of building was very slow and continued for several years. The building was constructed according to donations of labor and money. All this time people had to worship in vacant store houses or other houses at the mines.

Finally on Nov. 30, 1891 the new Bells Mines Cumberland Presbyterian Church was dedicated. The Bells Mines community held services in this building until January 1998, when it closed due to low membership.

Soon after it was closed vandalism and thieves starting taking their toll on the old historic church house. They stole the doors, carpet, anything they could carry out. The remaining members knew something would have to be done. So they decided to raze the old building in December of 2002. Gone was the Bells Mines Church house that had stood for 111 years.

In 2005 a new history marker was placed at the sight of the old church. Hopefully it will remind passers-by the history of the church and the area. The marker in the picture reads:
Bells Mines was derived from the Bell family who owned and operated the Bells Mines Coal Company located nearby.

There has been a Cumberland Presbyterian Church at this location since the early 1830s.

Original log church burned in 1846, New foundation was laid in 1864 by J. M. Lamb. New Church was completed in 1885. Dedication held Nov. 30, 1891. Sermon by Rev. M. E. Chapel.

Services were held continually until Jan. 1998. Building razed Dec. 2002.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Making of Future History

Crayne School Reunion 2009

The Crayne School Reunion Committee met last night and formed the plans for the 2nd Crayne School Reunion. The first-ever Crayne School Reunion was held on Sept. 9, 2006 and was a big success.
Several generations of Crayne school students met at the Crayne Presbyterian Church and exchanged memories, stories, laughter, hugs and friendship.

We hope this one will bring back even more of the Crayne students and another enjoyable, memorable day. Here is the information.

Crayne Reunion Scheduled for August 22
A Crayne School reunion will be held August 22, at the Crayne Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, starting at 2:00 P.M. Anyone who attended school or taught at Crayne and their spouse or guest are invited to attend. Finger foods, desserts and drinks will be served.

  • Old school pictures and other memorabilia are welcome for display. Dig through those old pictures and share them with old friends.

  • Reservations may be made by mailing a check for $7 single, or $14 couple as soon as possible to Betty Hodges, 4770 US Hwy 641, Marion, KY 42064,

  • or Linda Tabor, 5229 US Hwy 641, Marion, KY 42064.

If you would be interested in reading more about my hometown of Crayne, Ky. Please visit my other Blog at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Court House News - June 18, 1896

News from the Crittenden County Court Meeting, dated June 18, 1896. During the last days for filing suits in the circuit court the following were filled.

  • Laura Champion vs. the Town of Marion. The plaintiff alleges that on account of a defective sidewalk she fell and received many bruises, strains, and very great bodily injury and was made sick, sore and lame. She therefore prays for judgement against the town for $10,000.
  • D. J. Martin has filed suit asking to be divorced from his wife M. B. Martin. The petition says they were married in 1867, and alleges that the defendant was of unsound mind when the marriage took place, shortly awards she grew ill and became permanently insane, and that in 1881 she was sent tot he asylum where she remained until recently, when the authorities permitted her to return to the county, although she is still deranged. The petition alleges that she was not capable of making a marriage contract.
  • J. N. Woods, executor of T.J. Cameron, sues the town of Marion for $63.15, the petition says the claim is for goods and merchandise furnished the town in 1887, '88 and'89.
  • G. W. Belt sues J. W. Sliger on a promissory note of $225.
  • H. B. Williams sues the O.V.R. R. for $125., value of a horse run over and killed by the train.
  • County Attorney Moore attended Judge Yeat's court at Dycusburg last Saturday and reports a big run of business. G. W. Wring was fined fifteen dollars for boisterous conduct and put under a $200 bond to answer the charge of malicious cutting at circuit court.
  • Smith Hamby, the fifteen year-old son of Francis Hamby, was before Judge Moore on Monday to answer the charge of random shooting on the public highway Sunday night. He was fined fifty dollars, and in default of payment was sent to jail.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tribune Store of the Past

This is some history on another of our old community grocery stores. This picture of the Tribune General Store was shared with me by Sue Sigler Keeling. Sue is formerly from this area but now lives in Peoria, Illinois.

Tribune is located about 5 miles East of Marion on Highway 120. The busy little store sat on the crossroad of Hwy. 120 and Copperas Spring Road. It served all the needs of the people of this area for miles around.

Mr. and Mrs. Willis Towery owned the general merchandise store in 1938. He also ran a blacksmithing shop. In 1938, Mr. Towery sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Orr. After Lynn and his wife retired in 1956, their son Charlie Orr operated it for one year. It wasn't the occupation that Charlie cared for so in 1958 he sold the store to Perry and Mildred McDonald. The McDonald's operated the store until 1962. They closed the store and had an auction sale of the inventory of the store. This was the end of the Tribune store.

The old building stood empty and unused for several years and finally got in such bad condition that it was torn down in the late 1980's.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Delta Queen Steamboat

Delta Queen visits Cave-In-Rock.

The pictures at the right were made a few years ago when the Delta Queen was docked at Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, at the Cave entrance. Little did I know at the time that the steam boating days on the river for this majestic steam boat would soon be over.

The first picture is when she was docked and the guests came a shore to visit the historic park, and the second picture, she had pulled out and was on her way to Elizabethtown, Carrsville, Smithland and then Paducah. As she left the calliope whistled us a good-bye in the old songs of the south.

Mentioning the boat in the previous blog entry, I received a comment from Nori, a reader of the entry. She told me that the Delta Queen was now docked at Chattanooga and being used as a Hotel. I hadn't kept up with the latest news of our Delta Queen. After during some research on Google, I found much information about the river boat. It seems that the Delta Queen was operating under a special Congressional Exemption from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law. This law forbids any vessel, from operating from a U.S. port carrying over 50 overnight passengers if it is constructed primarily of wood. This exemption expired in October of 2008. This is only a brief outline of the reason(s) the Delta Queen is docked. If you would like more information about her there is a lot at

Seeing this beauty paddling down the Ohio River at the Ohio River ferry landing was a grand sight indeed. The farm residents that lived along these bottom land next to the river looked for her regularly. In turn she would play her calliope for them. This sight and sound is just something that brings back a by gone era and something you don't easily forget. In our little rural area along the Ohio River it was a breathtaking sight to see.

The Delta Queen's Calliope was constructed by Thomas J. Nichol. He developed a way of rolling sheets of copper as the basic for his whistles, and it made the sweet toned sound of the calliope that he was made famous for. You can actually hear the Delta Queen's Calliope play on the website.

Another era of our history is probably over with the docking of these steamboats. But I'm thankful that I was able to see the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen as they steam boated down our section of the Ohio River.

Monday, July 6, 2009

River Side Park

River Side Park, formerly known to all us locals from this area, as the Dam 50 site.

Much work over the past several years has been taking place at the old Dam 50 Park area.

Once the home site of the workers of the Lock and Dam 50 site, it was abandoned in the fall of 1980 as the new dam was built at Smithland. Over the years the homes were vandalized and some sold to local residents and moved to other sites in the area.

The County and Fiscal Court has been working on trying to renovate and put new life back into this beautiful Ohio River setting. Rest rooms facilities, picnic sheds, camper sites, boat launching site, and permanent benches set to over look the scenic Ohio River have recently been completed. It looks like once again this forsaken area will be a vital part of our community and will be used again for enjoyments of local families and visitors.

Saturday, July 4th, was to start a new era for the site. A fireworks display was set for Saturday night. Although the raining weather dampened some of the planned activities, people turned out in numbers to set up their campers and camp site under the old spreading shade trees. As you can see in the picture, the wet weather hadn't stopped the people from coming to the area.

It's great to see a former favorite picnic area restored to it's former grandeur and be available for family picnics, and family reunions. All we need to complete this beautiful river scene would be the Delta Queen cruising with the current playing her Calliope to Camptown Races.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cross Keys Inn


This monument marks the site of the first court meeting held for the newly formed Crittenden County in 1842. This site had long been chronicled, from the Crittenden County History books to old volumes of The Crittenden Press. Now there is a monument denoting the location of that first court meeting.

This monument made by Henry and Henry Monument Company of Marion, Ky. was placed on this historical site in Nov. 2002. The monument was erected on the farm of Barry and Patty Gilbert on the Crooked Creek Road.

According to our early history the first court meeting was held at the home of Samuel Ashley, which was at or near Barry Gilbert's grandfather's farm located on Crooked Creek Church Road.

State law in the 1840s called for court meetings to be held in the geographical center of each county - which in 1842 was Ashely's home and business, the Cross Keys Inn.

Cross Keys Inn was a popular resting place for people traveling westward via Fords Ferry Road. The Cross Keys Inn is long gone and Fords Ferry Road since has been moved from its original location. But the monument stands as a reminder of these early days in our history.