Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pleasant Grove Church

Another one of our pretty rural churches, Pleasant Grove General Baptist, lies in the Western part of the county on S. R. 723.  The Livingston County line is not far from the church.

The first Pleasant Grove Church was a log building built in 1892.  Not much history is known about this first building, as the church records were burned when fire destroyed the home of the church clerk.

The second church was a frame building built in 1892.  In 1916 the third building was begun and was completed in 1918.  It served the community until 1956, when the fourth building was begun and completed in 1957.  In 1968, an addition was built, including a classroom, a dining room, and restroom facilities. Pleasant Grove is still an active church today. Brother Herbert Alexander is the Pastor.

To the right of the church is the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. 

This is one of the interesting stones found here.  A nice informative stone of John W. Corn and his two wives. 

His first wife, Martha Wright Corn, who died June 4, 1894.  There is an infant, Beulah Wright, buried close by that was born May 11, 1894 and died July 14, 1894.  The Crittenden County Vital Statistics Death Records stated they both died of fever.  Which was probably what was known as Child bed fever, an infection following the birth of a child.  How terrible to lose your young wife and infant child.

John married second to Sarah Ellen Capes, Nov. 20, 1895 in Crittenden County.  Sarah lived several years after John died.
Pictures made in October 2010.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas of 2010

Marion and Crittenden woke up to a White Christmas this morning, Dec. 25, 2010. 

We have about two inches on the ground.  It is a heavy wet snow the kind that makes wonderful snowmen and snow cream.  Either of which I don't do anymore.  But it is a good memory of times past.

The scene also reminded me of an old saying that my grandmother used to say when it was snowing large white flakes. 

That Mother Goose was picking her geese.  As the snow flakes must look like the white feathers of a goose being picked of it's feathers. Remember the poem of long ago
The Old woman on high,
Way up in the sky,
Is picking her geese, they say.
White feathers come down,
All over the town from the geese,
She is picking today.
And I'm wondering, oh, my,
How her fingers must fly.
Pick-picking, pick-picking all day,
And I'm wondering, too,
about her geese, wouldn't you?
How many does she have anyway.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chritsmas Past in Marion

Christmas years ago in the small town of Marion was very different from today.  Today all of the old familiar shopping stores are gone.  But it's nice to be able to remember the hustle and bustle that was here.  Store windows from East Bellville Street to East Depot street would be decorated with Christmas scenes and merchandise.   There was no need to travel miles to Paducah, Princeton or Evanville to do your shopping, there was plenty to choose from at Marion and with reasonable prices.  

From an article in the Dec. 1938 Crittenden Press, it tell us the holiday season is in "Full swing" in Marion with stores stocked to capacity for Christmas shoppers.  All are beautifully decorated and clerks in readiness to meet the last minute rush of shoppers.  

The business section, Marion Street, is a veritable canopy of multicolored lights strung across the thoroughfare. Show windows are outlined in colored lights and a Santa Claus banner hangs across the street. Even the gas stations have festooned gas pump with cedars and lights. 

To end this week before Christmas, I'll share another antique Yule card with you.  Few if any of these early cards used Nativity scenes, most just had brief Christmas sentiments on them.

This card was postmarked Dec. 23, 1929.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Antique Yule Cards

Antique Christmas Cards of many years ago are very different from the ones we are familiar with today.
Although the verses are familiar the pictures and colors are quite different.

This colorful, yet somehow dreary card and envelope lining with the turquoise and black design was from 1923.

It's says "The Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for Christmas and the Coming Year."

This card send in 1930 is a 4 x 5 card.  Still with unusual colors for a Christmas card.

It reminds me of Christmas carolers, perhaps in London.

 Postage for mailing these holiday cards was .2 cents.

When I was a child growing up, we received many, many Christmas cards from family, friends and businesses where my parents had done business over the year.  It was always my job, which I loved, to find a way to display the beautiful cards through the house.  Many times it would be to attached the cards to the doorway frames throughout the house with thumbtacks.  Also on the front of the doors and even in the windows sills. 
Just another good memory of Christmas past.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crittenden Springs Hotel

During these cold wintery days, it is pleasant to think of the warm summertime days.  Back in the spring of 1902, the grand Crittenden Springs Hotel was getting prepared for one of it's memorable meals.  The Crittenden Springs Hotel is differently one, if not the most, lost treasurers of Crittenden County's

I can imagine the great ball room being decorated for Christmas in these early days when many decorations would come from the beauty around us, such as Cedar and Pine tree boughs and holly and wild berries that grew in the area.  I'm sure the smell of these freshly cut trees was wonderful.

But back to the summertime.  This article was found in the May 30, 1902 Crittenden Press and it was titled "A Toothsome Menu"

The folowing menu of the dinner given by Mr. John Wilson at Crittenden Springs Hotel is somewaht remarkable on account of every article served being produced on the hotel estate with the exception of the tea, coffee and sugar.

  • Puree of Green Peas, Radishes, Lettuce.
  • Ohio River Bass, Tartare Sauce
  • Water Cress, Duchess Potatoes
  • Roasted Sirloin of Beef au naturel, Barbarcued Lamb with Mint Sauce, Broiled Spring Checkens with Giblet Gravy, Youong Squirrels on toast, Frogs Legs Breaded
  • Green Peas, Butter Beans, Irish Potatoes, Green Onions Sweet Potatoes, Lettuce Salad
  • Strawberry Ice, Cabinet Pudding, washington Pie, Sweet sauce, Blackberry Tarts, Strawberries
  • American Cheese
  • Tea, Coffee, Milk, Waters
Mr. Wilson's extensive gardens produce all the vegetables desired, the stream that meanders through the hotel grounds supplies the fish, while the pools adjacent furnish the frogs.  The beeves and muttons are fattened on the rich grasses of the bottom lands, while the chickens, ducks and turkeys are brought to a high degree of perfection in their separate houses.

Milk and cream, not the milkman's product, but the old fashioned, golden tinged article is served.  The hotel woods are full of squirrels, quail and pigeons.

Two hundred guests can be very comfortably accommodated in the spacious hotel.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another Old Building Lost

Marion lost another one of it's Main Street buildings Friday, Dec. 3, 2010.  The building was build in the 1940's by C. W. Grady.  Through the years it has been home to several business, some being the Kroger Grocery store, Gene's IGA store, and the last being the General Dollar Store.  Most of the other places of business on the nearby streets hated to see the Dollar store move to it's new location, for it was so convenient for them to walk there during the day and get most anything one would need.  

The upstairs area also held different offices during the years.  Dr. Brandon's offices were located there during the 1960's and Dr. Hopkins had a dentist office there.  The white area with the blue front was once a jewerly store and then later a natural herb store.

Farmers Bank and Trust purchased the property and are the ones that had it torn down.  The purpose is for future expansion of the bank, but it will be a while before anything is done to the area.  The side of the building on the right is the Bank, and the building on the left is the offices of Larry Orr, P.C.A., which was once the Kentucky Theater.  

Progress, they call it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

City Drug Store

Another popular place about a block down the street from the old Marion Cafe was the City Drug Store.  A very favorite place and meeting spot for young and old alike to enjoy hand dipped ice cream and all kinds of milk shakes, fountain drinks, and many other items, plus get your prescriptions filled by the most popular druggists anywhere around, Mr. G. N. Rankin and Mr. Ted Frazer.

Mr. Rankin and Mr. Frazer purchased the store in 1925 and named it the City Drug Store.  The store stayed in business until May 1992.  During the years many students at the High School found work here after school and on week-ends.  They always worked the soda foundation.  A popular place to go after ballgames as the store always stayed open until 10:00.  Hard to think now that Marion ever had a life after 6:00.  

Cigarettes, cherry and orange cokes and five cent ice cream cones were popular items.  People came from miles around to get a treat at the City Drug Store.  At one time in the 1940's they even had curb service, the street would be backed up and down the street for a couple of blocks.  There was every flavor of ice cream imaginable and fresh peach ice cream in the summer.  

 This is an old vintage photo of the City Drug Store but even up to the day it closed it still looked the same.  The beautiful wooden glass front cabinets along both walls, and the tin decorative ceiling and the beautiful tile floor and oh the marble foundation that you can see on the left in the picture.

After the store closed in 1992 it sat empty until 1997 when Sandra Hawthorne and her son Thom purchased the store.  They have restored it to it's beautiful former days.  At one time they kept it opened and used the foundation as it was in it's earlier days.  But due to the economy now they haven't been able to keep it staffed to keep it open for use.  How I miss this old place.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cline's Marion Cafe

Yesterday, Sat. Dec. 4th, Marion had it's annual Christmas Parade.  Do you wonder what Cline's Marion Cafe would have to do with the Christmas Parade?   

Years ago, the old Marion Cafe was where everyone went and gathered for meeting friends, having good food and fun.  Attending the parade made me remember all the times that as a child, and teenager and as a young adult that we made our way to the eating place on Main street, whether is was after the Christmas parade, going to a movie at the Kentucky Theater across the street, and later after going to ball games and other local activities.  The Marion Cafe was 'the' place to go.

Cline's Marion Cafe was located on Main Street. across the street from the Farmers Bank.  Today the Botanical Flower and Gift shop is located in this building.  Cap and Edith Cline ran the popular eating and gathering place for 29 years.  Later after their daughter Phyllis was older she also help behind the counter.  It was Cline's Marion Cafe from 1945 until they sold it in 1974.  The picture above was made in 1955, the way I remember it. 

As you entered the cafe on the right in the front corner was the large colorful Jukebox, remember those?  The big cushioned booths were on the left wall.  On the wall by these booths was the Jukebox selection devise.  From your seat you could choose the songs that you wanted to hear.  The prices on the old Marion Cafe Menu are hard to believe now, with hamburgers and fries $1.50 and a steak for $2.50. 

Don't guess any of us living in this time period will ever forgot this popular place and the good times there.

This in a picture made inside the Cafe in 1951.
Waitress standing by the table is Delia Kirk Hughes, the lady by the counter is Sylvia Sutton and Percy Sommers in standing behind the counter.

In this photo the booths on the left are wooden before they installed the more comfortable ones and you can see the top of the Jukebox behind Mrs. Hughes.

The tile floor that you see in the photo is still being in use today, and it is still in beautiful condition.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marion Band

Here is another great old vintage photo of one of Marion's Bands.  None of the members are identified.  Looks like the early 1900's. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Music of Yesteryear

Marion must have been a musical town many years ago, for there are several unidentified photos of the old bands that used to perform around the area. 

Many of them had impressive uniforms on with all kinds of horns as their instruments.  Not much history has been recorded about these bands.  I wish we had more to read about these musical days and of the men that played the instruments.

In the picture at right, I believe must have been one of Marion's Brass Bands, for all the instruments but the big drum seem to be brass horns.  

Here is an article that appeared in The Crittenden Press, Dec. 17, 1896.  Perhaps it is about the picture above.

Marion has a brass band, the organization was completed several days ago, with some of our best young men in the band.  Shortly after the matter was first talked of, an order was made for a handsome set of instruments and they arrived last week.

The boys have begun work under the tutorship of their leader, Mr. T. C. Jameson, who is an old band man, and adept with all kinds of mustical instruments.

The members of the band are T. C. Jameson, H. V. Stone, R. F. Haynes, W. D. Browning, H. S. Perkins, D. B. Kevin, E. D. Gray, W. D. Cannon, S. R. Ad ams, W. F. Clement and J. C. Bourland.   (Don't you just love how they always just use their initials and not their full name)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Proclamation, by J. W. Blue Mayor, Marion, Ky.  Nov. 23, 1920.

Believing in the spirit of thanksgiving as fostered and practised by our forefathers and realizing that much good has come from this annual observance of a day of rejoicing for the many blessings which the Almighty has bestowed upon our land and upon the individual homes of the land, and believing too that a continuance of this custom would be pleasing in the sight of God, who has made our manifold blessings possible, I, the Mayor of the city of Marion, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November, twenty-fifth, as a day of Thanksgiving in the city of Marion.

I earnestly request that the citizens of our town observe in a fitting and appropriate way this day of Thanksgiving by assembling themselves together for a short service of prayer and praise to God who has so abundantly blessed us during the year which is closing.  I also implore the business men of the city of Marion to close their respective places of business from ten o'clock on the morning of the above mentioned day until two o'clock in the afternoon of the same day as a mark of sincere gratitude for the blessings which we have enjoyed.
Dear Lord, we give Thee thanks this day,
Humbly, in our faltering way
Not with the graceful wordy arts,
But simply, deeply, with our hearts
As little children mindful of
A Father's broad and boundless love.
We give thee thanks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Green's Chapel - Lost in Time

Green's Chapel, a mysterious sounding name, was it named for it's location in the lush countryside of the Bells Mines area?  As far as I know there was no family in the area by the name of Green, so it must have been for it's location nestled at the foot on a bluff with trees and wooded area all around it.

The location is about 3-4 miles from the Bells Mines Cemetery.  At one time, as much as I can find out, it consisted on a small one room wooden building, used as the area school and also for church gatherings.  There are old school census records dating back to the the year ending June 30, 1897.  Some of the family names are: Lizenbee, Tudor, Travis, Snell, Wilson, Hamilton, Cain, Loften, Walker, Hicklin, Lamb, Newcomb, Hina and Lamb.  

From the Crittenden Press, dated Nov. 22, 1894 there are community news items for the area.  It says, we have nothing to rejoice over, more than the refreshing showers, which have brightened the prospect of the wearied farmers.  The hard times have not altogether stopped the farmers from improving, L. B. Cain is having a large stock barn built; B. H. Crowell and son are the boss carpenters.  R N. Grady is also having some repairing done.  Our school is progress nicely under the guidance of Miss Maggie Cain.  J. T. Lamb is having a new house built.  Charlie Wilson has returned home from a visit to Monroe County where he has been attending to some business.

In June 23, 1898, another items tells of a good many of the people here attended "Children's Day" at Green's Chapel the second Sunday.  A large crowd was in attendance.  There were good speeches and among them a lecture by Charles E. Grady.

In November of 1900 an items tells us that the M. E. Church at Green's Chapel will be repaired or a new house built shortly.

Thanks to these items in the old Crittenden Presses we can gather some history of this forgotten passage in our time and know of the people that lived there and attended church and sent their children to school there.

The old building was torn down many years ago, and there is nothing to let the world know today that at one time there was a school/church sat here.  

All that is left today is the Green's Chapel Cemetery, which is still is use and is well maintained by family members that have love ones buried there. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Circuit Court 1902

The County Court meetings of years ago are interesting to read and find out what was happening in our fair city and county.  I'm amazed at all the items that were brought before the Judge and Jury.  This court meeting was held June 12, 1902. 

The criminal calendar is about the usual size.  There are 8 cases of forfeited recognizance, 25 charged with carrying concealed weapons and firing same, 12 cases of breach of the excise laws, 2 hog stealing, several of illegal voting, perjury, gaming, forgery, one of disturbing religious worship, two of seduction, one of rape, and one or two of detaining a woman.

Twenty-two physicians of Crittenden County were fined at the last term of court, five dollars and costs, amounting to $15.65 in each case for neglecting to file their record of births and deaths.  We believe Dr. Frazer, of Marion was the only one that complied with the law. 

The grand jury were empanneled and were instructed as to their duties by Judge Marable.  The folloing are the grand jurors:  W. C. Hamilton, foreman; J. N. Little, F. I. Travis, Jno N. Swansey, W. K. Powell, J. N. Dean, G. W. Gahagan, W. B. Martin, H. L. Threlkeld, W. L. Travis, R. L. Phillips, C. B. Hina.
  • Tom and Dink Todd, malicious shooting, continued by defendant.
  • T. J. Yeats, disturabing religious worship, continued by defendant
  • Burrell Sisco, seduction, continued by defendant
  • Tom Brown carrying concealed weapons.  Fined $25.00 and given ten days in jail
  • J. Hugh Davenport, flourishing deadly weapons.  Plea of guilty fined $50.00
  • Edgie Oliver, carrying concealed deadly weapons.  Jury trial, majority verdict of not guilty

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kemp Cemetery

Always on the watch for any news about our old abandoned cemeteries, I was fortunate last week and got invited to visit a very old cemetery in the eastern part of the county.  It's laid abandoned and forgotten about for many years.  

Roger Simpson, now owner of the land where the cemetery is located, asked me if I would like to go see it and make some pictures.  He has recently cleaned it off and had work done on the stones.  He plans on keeping it cleaned off as he has respect for the old cemetery and the history it holds.

More on this cemetery and area where it is located will be featured in my article in The Crittenden Press this week.

 This is a scene from one of the bluffs.  In the middle of the photo is the Piney Creek.  It looked like a small mountain stream viewed from this point on one of the bluffs.

God's county, I call it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


HONOR OUR VETERANS, not just on Veteran's Day but everyday of the year.

What a beautiful day today to go to Mapleview Cemetery and gather around the War Memorial that was built in 1948 to hear the Veteran's Day Program and to pay tribute to those past soldiers that served our great country and to honor and thank those that are alive today.

The Crayne Presbyterian Church, that is located at Crayne Kentucky, and where I'm proud to say that I am a member and attend church, honored our church members that are Veteran's.

Left to right:  Emmett Jennings,Retired Veteran of the U. S. Air Force
Preston Perryman -Veteran of the U.S. Navy
Jim Estes -Veteran of the U. S. Army
Seated: - Maurie Houston Kirk, Veteran of World War II, and recipient of the Purple Heart.
Marvin Ordway - Retired Veteran  from the U.S. Air Force
Rudy Fowler - Retired Veteran from the U. S. Army
Not in picture were:
J. T. Travis -Veteran of U. S. Marines and Retired from the National Guard
Bobby Roher - Veteran of the U. S. Army


Monday, November 8, 2010

More Old Pictures

Here are some more old unidentified photos.  Thought to have been taken in the Piney Fork area, since the pictures at one time belong to an Alexander family that lived in the area and the family attended Piney Fork Church.

The old mule drawn wagon is loaded down with a group of people, I think, that may be going on a church picnic.

What an fun time the jolly group must have had.  I would guess the picture were made in the early 1900's by the ladies long dresses.

Here the group with their picnic all spread upon the ground.  Notice the ladies hats with the cone shaped top.  These hats were visible from inside the wagon in the picture above.

I wonder if the ants enjoyed the picnic with them.  I don't believe that the little deer ticks, that we have now, were as much a nuisance then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Old Pictures - Marion's Opry House

Old pictures, don't you wonder sometimes just what all is out there, hidden away in someone's attic, old storage building, and in boxes stuffed in forgotten places around someone home.  Every once in a while a new one will surface.  These old pictures are very exciting to me, as I read about all the old places that onced graced Marion's busy streets, and then to see an actual picture of one of these places is wonderful.  The frustrating thing about most of these old pictures is that the faces belong to unknown people.  People that once were citizens of our fair town.  Did you ever notice that faces in old pictures are usually expressionless, no happy smile, no sad frown, just a  solemn  face staring at the camera.

One of these lost in time photos turned up recently, it was taken inside of the Opry House, and I would guess in the early 1900's.  Perhaps the only one known of at this time.  As normal for the old pictures, the musicians on the stage are unidentified.  If we only knew the names we might even recognize some the family names of the county.  Marion was blessed with many talented musicians during this time.

Marion's Opry House, that once occupied a location on West Bellville Street across from the Court House, provided all kinds of entertainment for the citizens of Marion and surrounding areas.  Local plays and musical entertainment, all kinds of traveling shows, which included magic, hypnotism shows and recitations by actors.   The Marion city school also held plays and graduations here.

The Opry part of the building was heavily damaged in the fire of Jan. 10, 1921 and never was rebuilt.  The Strand theater that was also located in another section of the building continued until 1926 when it was closed for renovation and never reopened.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Barnett Chapel General Baptist Church

One of our rural churches located in the scenic countryside is the Barnett Chapel Church.  It is located about 14 miles from Marion off of S.R. 297.  It's location is marked by it's own road sign.  

The church was organized in August 1911 by elders A. S. Johnson and J. W. Ellingtron with 25 charger members.

The first church was built in 1913 and stood until 1950, when the present church was built.  Services were held the first Saturday night and Sunday of each month until 1947 when the church began having services twice a month.  In 1963 it began having full time services.  As you can see on the sign that has been placed on the front of the church, the wooden structure was bricked and remodeled in 1974.

This is the way the church looks on a pretty fall morning of October 10, 2010.

Services are still being conducted at the church with Tolu native, Steve Tinsley, being the present pastor.

Many years ago the land in this area was owned by P. C. Barnett.  There is a family cemetery known as the Barnett-Miles Cemetery that is located not too far from the church location.  This old cemetery is in shambles with not one of the family stones left standing.  Cows over the years have taken their toll on the cemetery and using the stones as a back scratcher have over turned and broken the historic old stones.

Mr. Phineas C. Barnett obituary reads as follows:  July 30, 1896 - P. C. Barnett died Friday, July 24, 1896, surrounded by relatives and friends at his home near Tolu.  For several weeks he had been gradually giving away to the demands of nature.  Though 87 years old, Mr. Barnett's mind was clear up to the last.  His remains were placed in the family burial ground on his farm.  Mr. Barnett was born in Warren Co. Kentucky, February 16, 1809.  His grandfather was a soldier in the Revolution and did valiant service in a North Carolina Company.  P. C. Barnett moved with the family from Kentucky to Missouri, where he remained until he was 17 years old, when he returned to his native state.  A little later he entered Cumberland College.  In 1865 he came to what is now Crittenden County and settled on the farm where he spent his last year.  He united in marriage to Miss Jenette Threlkeld, with whom he lived happily until her death.  Surviving children are James C. Barnett of Texas, Col. T. T. Barnett and Wm. Barnett of this county and Mrs Sallie Miles, who has resided with her father since the death of her husband several years ago.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mattoon School Building

The Mattoon School building, located about 6 miles north of Marion on Hwy. 60, has set mostly empty since 1981, when it was closed permanently and the students were bused to the new Crittenden County Elementary School at Marion.  Since the building was only 29 years old when the school was closed, it was hoped that the building would be used for something beneficial and useful to the community.  For a short time it was used as an entertainment center and after that a horse sales business, neither lasted very long, so the building just deteriorated by setting empty.

In 1953, the old frame building that was there, and  the block building that housed the cafeteria burned.  A new brick building was completed by the fall.  The picture at the right was the new brick building.  Everyone was so proud of it when it was built.  This new building had a large cafeteria, kitchen, six classrooms, an office, storage room, large restrooms, furnace room and later a multi-purpose room.  In 1953-54 enrollment was approximately 200, with 54 students in the seventh and eighth grades.  The school was thriving and the future looked promising for the school and community.

Things change and the student enrollment by 1981 had fallen so low that it was decided by the Board of Education that the school needed to be closed and the students that was there would attend the new Elementary School that had just been built at Marion.  It was hard on the community, parents and students to lose their home-based school.  It's always devastating to a community when it loses it's school.
A Mattoon based family that owned the school building and property had part of the school torn down on Sept. 13, 2010.   By now windows were broken, the roof was in a state of disrepair and it was beyond repair.  Another chapter of the old school  building was closed as it was torn down.

Picture made Sept 13, 2010.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cider Making

If there are any followers of my Blog out there, I appreciate you and apologize for no new entries this past week.  I have had computer problems and am just now up and running.  If this wasn't bad enough I'm now in the process of having to learn new ways of doing things.  We'll see how this goes.

One pretty afternoon last week, some of the members of our Historical Society had a fun afternoon of making cider, preserving an old heritage craft we called it.  Days before apples had been gathered and stored for the day.

The cider mill belonged to Jim Carter and he let us borrow it for the afternoon.   In the picture at the right is Sarah Ford, Pat Carter, on the left, and Brennan Cruce at the mill.  Brennan is turning the crank to squeeze the juice from the apples.  All are members of the board.

The apples are first put through a grinder at the opposite end of the mill, they get ground up and fall into the bucket you see in the picture.  The crank is then turned to mash down a round board on top of the apples and the pure apple juice flows into the container under the mill.  
Here Barry Gilbert gets ready to turn the crank as Brennan Cruce waits his turn.  The fresh apple juice was delicious, the first I had ever tasted. 
It was a fun afternoon for us, and lasted only a couple of hours.  I am sure for the pioneer's of yesteryear it was a hard day's work for them, gathering the apples, getting them ready for the mill, and then turning and cranking it for hours to get several gallons of juice. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Historic Marion Home

Although Marion has lost some of our old historic homes and some now are in a state of disrepair, we are fortunate to still have several of these older homes still being care for.  

One of these well-maintained homes is located at 203 East Depot Street on the corner of Depot and College Streets.  

This home was built in 1893 by Perry S. Maxwell, a well-known, well-off, businessman of Marion.  The home, when first built, was a one-story home.  

Mr. Maxwell first sold the house to Dr. Robert L. Wheeler and his wife, Onie Wheeler.  They lived there until 1902.  

In 1902 Mr. Lemah H. and Elizabeth James became the owners of the house.  By this time in our history two story homes were the most fashionable to own, so Mr. James had another story added to the home. 

The next occupants of the house was Mr. and Mrs. James son, Ollie M. James.  This was their home during Ollie's rapid climb up the political ladder.  Ollie M. James was our State Senator from 1913 until 1918, when his tragic death of a kidney disease. 

Today this home is owned and well kept by Robert Jenkins, and it is known by the Ollie M. James  home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bygone Roadways

As we zip along our modern highways and travel along our chip-and-sealed rural country roads today it's hard to image that a mere 60-70 years ago these roads were dirt and the main fairways were only gravel.

The picture at the right was taken during the winter of 1926.  A team hauling fluorspar to Marion pulls a car out of the mud on U.S. 60 west of town near the Crittenden Springs Road.

Winter travel is still not without its hazards, but even in the worst of weather conditions on today's most rural roads, they are better than in those days.  Road surfaces were dirt, which turned to mud during wet, winter weather, and travel virtually ceased.

The Crittenden Press in the late 1920's recorded incidents such as these:  a farmer from the Shady Grove area was able to arrive in Marion after an eight-hour trip in an empty wagon pulled by four mules.  A county farmer was reported seen on a road, only a few miles from town, with three of the four horses hitched to his wagon down in the road mire.

The road (Hwy. 60 West) wasn't graveled until the mid-1927 when a contract was awarded to Ben E. Clement and the Holly Fluorspar Co.  Clement and his crew were to prepare the roadbed and gravel it from Marion to Salem.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peter Shewmaker Home

One of Crittenden County old rural historic homes that is left standing today is the Peter Ewing Shewmaker home located on the old Fords Ferry Road.  The house was built about 1880.-81  (the concrete floor, porch and stairways were added in 1980)

Peter Ewing Shewmaker was by trade a carpenter and also a farmer.  Peter was born in 1831 and died in 1917. He traveled a lot of years in his youth but returned to Crittenden County in 1871.  Soon after returning he purchased, what is still known today, as the Shewmaker Farm, located five miles from Marion.  Along with farming, he ran a successful general store which was located on the farm near the site of the home place today.  

At the time of Peter's death, the Shewmaker farm was passed down to his son William Duvall "Billie" Shewmaker.  At Billie's death, his eldest son, William Arzie took over ownership and active operation of the Shewmaker farm.

Today William Arzie's son, William "Bill" Shewmaker and his family  live in the family home, which has been there for approximately 130 years, and Bill operates the family farm and carries on the family tradition.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Revolutionary Soilders Remembered

I was fortunate to attend an exciting service this past Saturday at the Old Fredonia Cemetery and the Centerville-Livingston Presbyterian Church Cemetery just across the Crittenden County line on Hwy. 641 S.
It was the Patriot Grave Marking and Dedication Service of Robert Leeper, Jr., James Hawthorn and John Elder.  John Elder has many descendants living in Crittenden County today. 

The ceremony was held in the peaceful setting of the Kentucky country side.  Over 225 people were in attendance to see the Grave Marking Service.  Several organizations were there to participate in the event.  Scott G. Giltner, member of the Gov. Isaac Shelby Chapter, KYSSAR gave the tribute to Robert Leeper, since he is the direct descendant of the family. Scott is pictured as he is telling his history.

Several hundred yards from the Old Fredonia Cemetery lies the Centerville-Livingston Presbyterian Church Cemetery.  Here stands the oldest recorded tombstone in Caldwell and Crittenden County, that of John Elder.  Local resident, Gerald Elder, descendant of John Elder, gave his history and also shared with the audience the Elder spinning wheel that had came with the family to America.

The picture to the right is the Elder family descendants that were in attendance for the dedication.  They are standing in front of John Elder's stone.
Front row are Pearl Bearden and Wanda Elder Eli.
Back row are: J. T. Travis, Edward Bearden, son of Pearl, Ricky and Gerald Elder, and Nathan Eli, son of Wanda.
Gerald is holding the flag presented to their family for John Elder.

It was a day I won't ever forget, as long as my memory holds on.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Visit To Amish Country

A visit to our Amish county side reveals lots of colorful sights and interesting things to see.  As you drive through the Mt. Zion Church Road area, there are rows of corn fodder gracing the hill side.  They are wonderful to see all standing in such straight rows and large bundles.  The sight will take you back to another time in our history.  This sight is worth the drive.

Our friends the Amish grow and provide us and the surrounding counties and even states with fall decorators that we aren't able to grow ourselves.  On Cotton Patch Road one will see piles of pumpkins and gourds, Indian Corn, corn stalks, whatever one would need for decorations.  Also available are beautiful fall mums. They sell very fast during September. All reasonable priced I might add.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Community of Rodney

Crittenden County at one time had many small communities with unusual names.  Some are identified by the names of people that owned the area, a creek nearby, or other things that had some significance to the area.  When the postal service started in the 1800's sometime a person's home would be the post office and the area would be named for that reason.  Some of our community names have been identified, but some remain a mystery as where the name originated.  One of these is the community of Rodney. 

Rodney was located on Hwy. 365 about half way between Hwy. 60 turn-off and Sturgis.  The location is shown on the map at the right.

In the late 1800's this area was also known at Flatwoods.  From an item in the Crittenden Press dated July 29, 1899:  News reaches us from Flatwoods that through the work of James T. Hicklin, there has been a post office procured for that community.  The office will be known as Rodney and will be located at the residence of Mr. Hicklin.  This would seem to be the first creation of the community known as Rodney.  This location is the now  where the home of Danny and Patsy (Travis) Guess is located at 4111 S. R. 365.  You can see the old road bed not to far from their house.

Also found in the archives of The Crittenden Press are community news items titled Rodney.  Areas covered in these news items are Baker, Dempsey, Bells Mines, Greens Chapel and Weston. 

In the Nov. 19, 1903 edition of the Press some of the items say that the Rodney grist mill grinds every Saturday, J. S. Newcomb has moved into the Baker neighborhood.  John Waggoner of Repton, visited near Bells Mines Sunday.  Protracted meeting in progress at Baker now.  E. M. Gahagan says that all he needs now to make his happiness complete is a pretty and industrious wife.  So the Rodney news items covered rather a large area.

The Rodney post office also had other postmasters:  1899-James T. Hicklin; 1900-Wm. L. Hicklin; 1901-Joseph L. Sullivan; 1902-Hamilton L. Sullivan; It was discontinued Oct. 15, 1907 and the mail was sent to Weston.  Whether the location of the post office was moved from James T. Hicklin's house to another location is not known.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First Train through Crittenden County

It was exciting event when the first train stopped at Marion, in September 1887.  The citizens of Marion welcomed the passengers and took time for a photo.  This was the beginning of a new era for the county.

The picture at the right shows the first passenger train to run the rails through Marion.  

Interest in a railroad through Crittenden got started in 1883 but it was 1885 before the actual work began, with the purchasing of land for the rails to be laid and the the work of installing the actual railroad tracks was started.  There would be depots built at the fluorspar mining district at Mexico, at the community of Crayneville, the town of Marion, and the communities of Repton and Nunn's Switch.  The depots were strategically placed along the line to benefit the different ares of the county.

These depots were a wonderful thing for these small communities.  Besides being used as a means of hauling fluorspar, coal, timber and other large items, passenger cars were available, and people could travel to Marion to purchase supplies, do business, and then return home later in the day on another train.  In the beginning there were as many as four passenger trains running in both directions during the day.  The picture above is the old Marion Depot.  It was torn down in 1985.

By the 1930's and 40's the train-passenger travel had fallen off to the mode of car and truck.  The old depots were soon not in much demand, and they were sold, moved or town down.

The end of the railroad in Crittenden County came in the summer of 1999, when the last of the railroad tracks were taken up throughout all of Crittenden and the land went back to the original owners.  Nothing was left of the once active railroad.   With gas as expensive as it is now, I think many are sorry that the railroad industry was removed from our county.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Historical Home

Marion still has a few of it's old historical homes that are well taken care of.  We are lucky to have these and the families that live in them and take care of them.

One of the oldest residential homes is located  at 251 East Bellville Street. In the 1850's, David Bourland, an enterprising young man that came here in Marion's very young days, from Hopkins County, built the first part of this house, which consisted of only two rooms.  In 1870, the owner of the house was Thomas Jefferson Nunn, and he built on to these rooms and made the home as it looks today.

The picture at the right was was made in October of 2002, but it still looks the same today.  The caring owners of this historical home today are Tommy and Mary Tabor.  Thomas and Ethel Tucker lived here prior to Tommy and Mary.

This home has a unique attraction, it has it's own Kentucky Historical Marker, telling of it's history.  It is titled "Family of Judges."  The marker reads:  T. J. Nunn represented Crittenden and Livingston Counties in the 1890 Convention which framed the present constitution of Kentucky.  He was Judge of Kentucky's Court of Appeals, from 1903-1914; resigned because of ill health.  His son, Clement "Clem" S. Nunn was appointed to complete his father's term.  C. S. was state senator, 1920-24.  T. J. .lived in this house many years; C. S. was born here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Autumn Display of Merchandise

The Marion of today has no Department stores lining the main street and no brand name car dealerships available for viewing, but in the early and mid 1920's, Marion was a very busy business district with many stores to do one's shopping. Anything one would need or want would be available. The following article appeared in The Crittenden Press in September 1925, 85 years ago this month.

If any one thinks that Marion is not an up to date town from the merchandising point of view, a look over the ads in this paper will dispell the delusion.

Arriving at the stores of J. H. Mayes &  Sons, Yandell, Gugenheim Co. and C. W. Grady, are all kinds of new dry goods.  Among the new things in dry goods this fall are herdered flannels, and some beautiful new designs in crepes and satins. 

In the shoe department are to be found a new wide soft toe grogue for men and women can find something new in pumps with buckles.

Automobiles advertised this week are Hudson, Essex, Chevrolet and Ford.  These are distributed in the community by W. W. Runyan & Co., T. H. Cochran & Co. and Foster & Tucker & Co.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mapleview Cemetery

Another visit to Mapleview Cemetery and some history of two that are buried there. 

In March 1918, the Crittenden Press tells us that "Erected last week in the new Marion Cemetery by Davis and Son of Princeton Monument Company, is one of the handsomest and neatest pieces of granite ever erected in the County.  It is massive and clean cut and an extremely beautiful memorial to one of the County's wealthiest land owners, a greatly beloved citizen."

William Barnett was born Nov. 22, 1852, son of Phineas and Janette Threlkeld Barnett.  He was a man of high ideas, generous nature and indulgent to those he loved. The deceased was a founder and ruling elder for twenty years in the Miley Memorial Church at Tolu and was Vice President of the Farmers and Merchants Bank at that place.  Mr. Barnett was survived by his widow who was Miss May Fleming of Livingston County.  He was the last male descendant of his family name in Crittenden County.  One brother James Barnett lived at Ravine, Miss.

Another stone that has engraved on it's face some history of it's own it that of W. H. Guess.  It tells that he was born in Orange Co. N. C. on May 4, 1831.

Willoughby Hudgeons Guess died at the age of 92 years, ten months and 24 days.  He was married three times to the following:  first marriage to Frances Ann Deboe, daughter of Phillip Deboe and six children was born to this union; second marriage was to Patience Ann Hughey and to this union two children were born.  His third marriage was to Sarah Riley, to this union was born eleven children.

He leaves us with a haunting verse on the reverse side of his stone.