Sunday, June 28, 2009

Piney Fork School News

Piney Fork School News - September 1933

  • Thirty-six pupils are enrolled in the Piney Fork school this year. Practically all of them are attending every day and are showing great interest in their school work. More than twenty have perfect attendance records for the first two months of school
  • Several projects are being carried out in the various grades with special emphasis being placed on penmanship and drawing.
  • Monthly improvement records of playground activities, such as the hundred yard dash, chinning the bar, jumping, etc., are kept and are creating much interest.
  • The school room has been painted and redecorated. New window shades and curtain have been added. Some of the furniture has been varnished and appropriate pictures placed on the walls. The school room has a neat and homey appearance and the pupils delight in keeping it clean.
  • The Chapel has been brightened the first two months by a study of over two hundred beautiful copies of world-famous pictures.
  • Every minute of time is taken up in constructive work and play activities. If you want to see pupils work and enjoy school just come out to Piney Fork. There are no visitors' day - you are welcome any time.
  • Braxton McDonald is the teacher at Piney Fork this year.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hascal Love Grocery Store

This photo at the right is Hascal Love grocery store that used to be at Midway. This community of Midway was located half-way between Marion and Salem on Highway 60 West.

The people in the picture, left to right: C. W. Love, brother of Hascal, Reg Guess, Jap LaRue, Alfred Benton, Melvin Ramage, and Hascal and his daughter Joyce.

Hascal Love opened his grocery store in the early 1940's. Hascal's wife, Elizabeth Minner Love, daughters Linda and Joyce Love , lived in one side of the store building, while the grocery was in the other half.

As we know and remember, these local grocery stores were the center of the community. Not only a place to purchase grocery's and other needed items, they were a gathering place of friends and neighbors. Love's Grocery's Store was also a gathering place for good entertainment and good food. Hascal had one of the first black and white T.V.'s in the Midway community. On Saturday nights all the neighbors would come to their place to watch the wrestling show. Hascal was also well known for his bar-b-que, which he cooked and sold for many years.

Hascal had to sell the grocery in 1960 and he sold the store to Helen Teer.

These country stores are all gone now, unable to compete with the large grocery stores of today. But then, most of our little communities have almost disappeared also. They are ghost towns of the communities they used to be.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Court Stampede

This amusing but true story appeared in our local paper, The Crittenden Press on April 6, 1899. I'm glad the paper reporter was present and had the sense of humor to record this incident. Gives us a peek into our past history with some humor.

Saturday a tramp helped himself to a pair of pants at a store in Crayneville as he was passing through that town. (As the IC Railroad passed through here, tramps were a common sight in the area.)

The theft was discovered shortly afterwards and as the thief was coming this way, a telephone message was sent to City Marshall Loyd, who intercepted the man and soon had him in the circuit court room, waiting for the grand jury, which was in session, to send up an indictment.

The witnesses were present, the thief was in possession of the stolen goods, and there was no doubt of his guilt.

Circuit Judge Nunn was on the bench, lawyers, officers and spectators were grouped about the court room, and the prisoner occupied a chair inside the bar. Judge Nunn turned to the prisoner and the following conversation took place between his Honor, as the questioner, and the prisoner.

Judge - Where are you from?

Prisoner - Cairo.

Judge - What were you engaged in there?

Prisoner - I was in the hospital.

Judge - What hospital and what was the matter with you?

Prisoner - Small-pox hospital.

Judge - Were you discharged as cured?

Prisoner - They said I was well enough to leave, and told me to go.

Judge - Did you change your clothes?

Prisoner - No sir, got on the same clothes.

Just here the questioning stopped abruptly and the crowd began to scatter as if a thirteen inch shell from a war ship had ripped up the jury box and demolished the judge's stand. In the twinkle of an eye, Lawyer Ollie James, had widened the space between himself and the prisoner, and with his basso voice pitched to a tenor key said, "I move the court you let him go."

Circuit Clerk Haynes rushed back, raised a window and was about to leap from the second story.

Attorney A. C. Moore got the stove and all the vacuum possible between himself and the prisoner, and vigorously seconded James motion, the sheriff got the front door and wrapped for order as he hurried outside, but had to run to keep from being run over. Over benches, helter skelter, pell-mell, the spectators went for more room.

Here the court caught his breath and said, "Mr. Marshal, take the prisoner where he can get some air."

The prisoner is still out enjoying fresh air, for when order had been restored he was gone, nobody knew where, and not a man in that house wanted to follow him, and further more nobody wanted anybody to follow him.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Veteran's Walk of Honor

The Genealogy Society was in low number on Saturday, June 13th as we made our field trip to the old Blackford Church and Campgrounds, now known as the Blackford Walking Trail, and the Veteran's Walk of Honor.

Standing beside the impressive monument are members Doyle Polk and Connie Gould. The monument is more than four feet tall and made of stone. It is the centerpiece of the Walk of Honor which includes bricks etched with the names of military veterans. The sign at the right marks the entrance to the grounds.

This project was a vision of Brent Witherspoon, a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran and director of the Veterans Walk of Honor and Blackford Bridge project. Witherspoon began the project after using grant funds to preserve a historic bridge near the area. A railroad once passed through where the trail is located today.

The old Blackford Church is in the process of being renovated and turned in to a Museum for the history of the area and a welcome center for visitors who come to the area. There is also a pavilion with electricity and picnic tables. Mr. Witherspoon usually has a Memorial Day and Veteran's Day program, and they are wonderful to see. Makes you proud to be an American and very humble to these Veteran's who gave their all for our freedom.

If you want to know more about the area, you can visit Dan's website at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blackford Church and Camp Meetings

Blackford Church and Camp Grounds. The dining hall and sleeping quarters on the right with the front porch, and the next small building was one of the sleeping cabins.

Blackford Church and Camp grounds are located in the northern part of Crittenden County, near the Tradewater River. A railroad bridge connected this area in Crittenden to the little town of Blackford in Webster Co.

These camp meetings started in the mid 1920's. Although not as famous as the Piney Fork and Hurricane Camp meetings, it was still a big event and people would come for miles around and from many far away states such as Oklahoma. Texas, Georgia, Kansas.

The campground consisted of the church, a two-story dining hall, a large open-air shed and in later years, two two-room cabins were built. The dining hall had two long wooden tables, but this was still not enough to seat everyone at one time, so there were two setting to feed everyone.

The upper floor of the dining hall was more sleeping quarters. Fresh straw was available for sleeping on.

The old wooden shed was made of wood. The sides were open and roof was made out of wood, and was covered with rolled roofing. The old shed had deteriorated so bad that it had fallen down in the early 1950's, and the revivals were held in the church building. The week long camp meetings ended in August of 1953, but yearly revivals were still held in the church building.

This area has now been turned in to the Veteran's Memorial Walk, by Dan Witherspoon, and the church is being renovated into a Museum and Welcome Center.

The Genealogy Society plans to go here this coming Saturday on a field trip. I'll share the story of the Memorial Walk and pictures in a future entry.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hurricane Camp Meeting

It's once again time for Crittenden County's Annual Historical Hurricane Camp Meeting.

This will be the 121 camp meeting that has been held at this location. The longest continuous camp meeting still being held in our county. It hasn't missed a year having the much looked forward to worship service and nightly gatherings.

The church members, friends and neighbors start weeks before getting the shed, cabins, camp ground, and dining hall in top shape for the week long activities. This year was a tough one for these workers. The history making ice storm of late January this year worked havoc with the stately old trees on the grounds. It was a tangled mess of limbs and branches. One could hardly walk to the shed and cemetery. But all is well and ready for it's people starting Monday, June 13th.

This annual event used to be always held in the fall and it was looked forward to for months ahead of time. From the Sept. 4, 1890 edition of The Crittenden Press comes this news item.

The Camp Meeting.
As camp meeting is about all you hear of now, a few notes in regard to same may be of interest. The meeting is held under a large shed, and it is said about 700 can be comfortable seated there in.

Rev. J. J. Smith assisted by Revs. Breeding, Hunt and Remhardt are doing wonderful work. Among those encamped on the grounds we may mention J. W. Guess, R. G. Carty, John Perry, Kay Love, R. S. Clark, Mr. Milliken, and A.M. Baldwin.

Take it all in, all the meeting to this date has been a great success. Other items of interest are:
  • Will Beard keeps the Commissary. Two bits gets you a meal.
  • Milliken is the hotel tonsorial artist.
  • Watermelons find a ready sale. A cheap transparent meal for a "nick."
  • Henry Flanary and Clem Nunn of Marion, camp meetinged Thursday night.
  • Murphy and Threlkeld run the "Liberty" stable, and are doing a good biz.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Old Times In Crittenden - 1886

In 1906, Mr. James Preston Loyd, shared some interesting items to the Crittenden Press that he has saved from an old issue of the paper printed April 22, 1886. It gives us the history of some of the people and the businesses that were here at that time.
  • Crayne & Henry were dealers in tombstones, etc.
  • D.E. Clark, transferring and handling drummers.
  • Dr. T.H. Cossitt and J. H. Hillyard were selling drugs.
  • Pierce & Son owned and operated a hardware store.
  • Woods & Walker and G. C. Gray operated dry good stores.
  • K. B. and R. F. Dorr and Jesse Olive were selling furniture.
  • P. R. Finley was selling groceries.
  • W. M. Morgan was shaving his friends.
  • R. L. Tinlsey a busy brick layer.
  • Misses Orr and Stewart were trimming the ladies hats.

Here are some of the boys who were burning the county with political fire. The following were candidates:

  • Circuit Judge, Milton K. Givens and Ben P. Cissell
  • County Judge, Lemuel H. James, John A. Moore and John B. Kevil
  • County Attorney, John G. Rochester and W. C. Monroe Travis
  • County Clerk, Will Hill and Dave Woods
  • Circuit Clerk, Harry A. Haynes and Henry A. Hodge
  • Sheriff, Albert J. Pickens and William F. Summerville
  • Assessor, Thomas J. Yandell
  • School Superintendent, E. E. Thurman and George W. Perry
  • Jailer, Sid Lucas, M. L. Hayes and A. Wilborn
  • Surveyor, George H. Crider and W. K. Minner

James Preston Loyd, was born Aug. 23, 1873 and died December 8, 1953. He is buried in the Crayne Cemtery. He was a retired farmer and an elder in the Crayne Cumberland Presbyterian Church of which he was one of the charter members.