Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flynn's Ferry Road

An Ancient Road.
One of the oldest roads in Western Kentucky, and the oldest in Crittenden County, is the Flynn's Ferry Road (now Piney Fork School Road and Copperas Spring Road). It used to be just the one name from here to Princeton.

The picture at the right was made several years ago standing on the bank of the Piney Fork Church grounds. The melted snow on the road in the distance made it look as it might have many years ago as it wound it's way through the county side. The barn on the left at one time was the Piney Fork school house. The owners build sheds on each side of it to store hay.

Geologically a natural break formed by parts of Camp Creek and Piney Creek in the eastern part of the county in very early time formed a basis for a North-South trace or trail from the Tennessee country into Southern Illinois.

Wild animals, that were plentiful at the time, first made this trace from the hills of Tennessee across the area of Kentucky to the Salt Licks in Southern Illinois. Later the Indians coming to this area to hunt for meat to feed their families followed this cleared trace through the wilderness that was created by the buffalo and deer herds.

This trail, after being developed by the Indians and early settlers, formed an almost straight line from Princeton to the town of Weston on the Ohio River. It was here at Weston that the animals, as well as Indians, would cross the then shallow Ohio River to get to the other shore.

When early settlers located at Weston, this road was known as the Chicakasaw Trail, for the Indians that had helped create this trail. Soon after George Flynn came to this river crossing and established a ferry and then the road was known as Flynn's Ferry Road. Flynn's Ferry Road ran from the town of Weston to the home of William Prince, who lived at the Big Spring which later became the site of Princeton.

Flynn's Ferry Road has been a part of this area since 1803. Sometime within the past 10-15 years, without thinking of the historical significance of this road being named Flynn's Ferry Road, the name was changed to Copperas Spring Road. Many of us would like to see this action reversed and the road once again having it's historical name of "Flynn's Ferry Road."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dr. Forrest Carlisle Pogue, Jr. Marker

Historical County Markers

Over the past few years Crittenden Countains have been trying to help preserve our local history by having several history memorial markers made and placed in areas so that people will see them as they visit the area.

On June 30, 2006, this impressive black marble marker was placed at the entrance to the Crittenden County Public Library on W. Carlisle St. to honor Dr. Forrest Carlisle Pogue.

The life's work of a famous and influential Crittenden Countain, Forrest Carlisle Pogue is forever etched in stone.

In honor of Dr. Forrest Carlisle Pogue.. war journalist, professor, military biographer, research and pioneer of oral history techniques, reads the new black polish marble monument in from of the Crittenden County Public Library honoring Pogue.

Dr. Pogue grew up here in the rural community of Frances, and graduated high school at the the age of 14. He was later educated at Murray State, the University of Kentucky and he also studied abroad. Pogue wrote several books on World War II, military generals and United States history. He was often referred to as the "congenial historian" by others in his field.

This project was spearheaded by Matthew T. Patton, formerly of Crittenden County, now living in Pennsylvania, along with Chris Evans, publisher of The Crittenden Press. Henry and Henry Monuments of Marion made the marker.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Boston Planing Mill and Lumber Yard

Boston Lumber Company was a thriving business in Marion since the year 1902. It was a family owned company and in later years was known as the J. N. Boston and Sons Lumber Co.

Many of Marion's business section buildings were built by this respected company and they were awarded contracts for Fohs Hall and Marion's Woman's Club building in 1926 also, the Marion High School in 1936. The also had contracts for other large construction in other counties.

The firm was sold at auction in July 1973 to Darben Developers, Inc. The business didn't continue for too many years after this.

Although a well-known name for many years in Marion and Crittenden County, the Boston family name is gone from Marion now. There are descendants from the Boston family that live in other areas.

The picture above was made in 2006.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pleasant Hill Regular Baptist Church

Pleasant Hill Regular Baptist Church is located just outside the Marion City limits on Pleasant Hill Road east of town on S. R. 120.

The church was organized in 1853 in a log home near the present church building by 13 people who migrated to this area from Tennessee. The congregation met in the log structure until 1867. The year before, Obaediah Paris, deeded two acres to the Pleasant Hill Church. The building was used for several years before it was given to the school district and moved to become Pleasant Hill School. The present church building was built in 1906 .

Significant for the church, the oldest and only remaining Regular Baptist Church in Crittenden County. In May 2003, the church celebrated the 150th anniversary of the the church's heritage. Many of the descendants of the original founders were present to celebrate the occasion. At this celebration, William Eldred Hunt, was the longest-serving minister in the church's history. He was pastor at the time and had served the church for 43 years. Only the first pastor, Paul Lee Herralson Walker, came close to Hunt's tenure with 32 years. Rev. William Hunt died Feb. 13, 2009 and is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

Pleasant Hill Church has it's own cemetery and many of the founding fathers of the church are buried in this cemetery. There are two parts of the cemetery. One part is located to the side of the church and the newer section is across the road in front of the church. As you can tell by the picture, it is a beautiful church and cemetery.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crittenden Furnace - Iron Ore

Crittenden's Iron Furnace Historical Marker

The picture on the right is a marker erected by the Kentucky Historical Society between Dycusburg and Frances. It sits at the junction of Axel Creek Road and S. R. 70. It was erected in 1969. The inscription reads - Crittenden Furnace built 1 mile west of this marker by G. D. Cobb in 1847. Inside dimensions of the furnace were 9 feet across and 30 feet in height. Charcoal fuel was used to generate steam power for the machinery, which in 1855 produced 1300 tons of iron.

The furnace was named for the, then newly formed county of Crittenden (1842), and was one of the last of several iron furnaces built by the Cobb and Lyon families who came to this area in about 1800. The Cobb and Lyon and other families of iron masters came to this part of the country as a result of President Andrew Jackson telling them of the rich iron ore deposits in this area.

On the back side: Iron Made In Kentucky - A major producer since 1791. KY. ranked 3rd in US in 1830's, 11th in 1965. Charcoal timber, native ore,and limestone supplied material for numerous furnaces making pig iron. The old charcoal furnace era ended by depletion of ore and timber and the growth of railroads.

These old iron furnaces were always constructed on a hillside and near a creek. The picture on the right at the top of the page, shows the colorful pieces of slag, a by-produce of producing the iron ore. When iron ore is heated in the blast furnace, the impurities or slag, which contain large quantities of calcium and silica, become molten and are separated from the raw iron. These pieces of slag are very beautiful in color. All shades of blue from this furnace. The Patty's Creek that runs at the foot of the hill were the old furnace used to be still has many pieces of this slag in it's creek bottom. Imagine, after 160 years there are still traces of the slag from the Crittenden Furnace.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Seth Ferguson Farm - 1958

In 1958 The Crittenden Press ran a mystery farm photo picture each week. This picture was featured in the September 18th edition of the paper.

At the time this farm belonged to Seth Ferguson. The article read - Mystery Farm No. 17 belonged to Seth Ferguson, postmaster at Crayne. The 273 acre property lies northwest of Crayne.

At present the Clarence Jennings family lives on the farm and shares crops. A general farming program is carried out on the property, known as Walnut Hill.

Mr. Ferguson has owned the farm for eight years. Previous owners were Morris, Dorroh, Gugenheim and Clements, according to Mr. Ferguson.

The owner's crops are corn and wheat, and his favorite livestock is milk cows. He practices crop rotation, with clover alternated annually with corn and wheat. He grows his own feed and supplements.

Mr. Ferguson and his wife, Velma, were married Nov. 15, 1941. They have two children, Sandra, 15, and Sheryl, 14.

The farm stayed in the Ferguson family for several years after this photo was made. Anyone that remembers this old home tells what a grand place it was. The rooms were large with 14 foot ceilings. There was a large stone step by the front porch that was used as a stepping stone to mount your horse. Clarence and Jerry Jennings and their two boys lived here for several years and, as the article said, worked on the farm for Seth. They were friends with the folks that lived in Crayne and were a part of the community.

It was originally the Fred Clement home, a well-known, and prosperous land owner of the area. The Clement farm joined land with another early pioneer family, A. H. Cardin. It was Mr. Cardin's wife, that loved this area so much and thought it was so beautiful that she named the area "View." Back in the early 1900's View was a well-known community, but the name with all the families that lived there are about faded into history.

I believe the owner today is Mrs. Bonnie Turner and she rents the crop land out to Van Hunt and a trailer sits on the location of this once beautiful and proud family home.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Some Travis Family History

My Travis Family.
The picture at the right is of Lula Culley Travis and her two sons, Clement Culley Travis, standing, and my father, Billie Minor Travis, sitting on her lap. Lula died at the young age of 28, on July 21, 1918. Uncle Clem would have been 4 years old, my dad, Billie was 2 years old and a baby daughter, Katie, at only 2 weeks old.

When her death was first reported in the paper, it read: July 25, 1918. Mrs. Travis, wife of County Road Commissioner and former Superintendent of schools, E. Jeffrey Travis, died Tuesday morning of child bed fever. Her remains were taken to her old home, Bells Mines for interment Tuesday afternoon. In the next week paper, Aug. 1, 1918, it report that Mrs. Jeffrey Travis' illness was not child bed fever as was reported but was quick consumption. Her sister was with her, also her married step-daughter and a trained nurse. She had never been up since the birth of her little girl two weeks ago, and for several days prior to her death was unconscious, and several physicians were in consultation over her case which had been considered hopeless for almost a week.

Being this young when their mother died, Clem, Billie and Katie were raised by different family members. My father, Billie, never talked much about these early days, I guess were just rather unhappy days for them not really having their own home and family to grow up with. I only found out in the 1980's that he really didn't know where his mother, Lula, was buried or even the exact date of her death. He supposed in the Bells Mines cemetery since that was were other family members were buried and since his sister Katie was about two weeks old, she must have died in 1918.

By this time in my life, I had become very interested in our family history and began the search for her death and burial place. I finally found her death announcement in The Crittenden Press, as noted above, and it gave me the burial location. I was able to get her death certificate and this gave us more information and dates of birth and death. Her father, John N. Culley had come to Crittenden County from Tennessee and settled in the Bells Mines area. Probably to find work in the then operating coal mines. Her mother, Katherine Snodgrass Culley, family was from the Union County area. They are also buried in the Bells Mines Cemetery. The Culley family name is now none existing in Crittenden County.

I stewed and worried for some time that my Dad's mother, and my grandmother, did not have a stone to mark her grave site and honor her name. In 2002, with the help of Henry and Henry Monuments here in Marion, I got her a small tombstone to mark her resting place. Such a sad ending to a young wife and mother, who never got to know her 3 children. I feel it is never to late to mark a grave, even if one doesn't know the exact spot, the marker could still be placed near the other family members.