Friday, January 29, 2010

Cameron Family Stones

Mapleview Cemetery is Marion's city cemetery.  There are many old and beautiful ornate stones in the cemetery.  The stones in the picture at the right belong to one of Marion's old pioneer families, Thomas J. Cameron family.  Mr. Cameron was born in Trigg Co. Ky, but moved to Marion in it's early days and he became a very successful and popular merchant of Marion. 

Two of these stones have been abused over the years, and the one on the right has lost it's head and the beautiful lady on the left and lost her hand.  For many years, the lady monument was the subject of teen agers activity.  The story was told that if you would come at night when the moon was full and would hold her left hand (the one that is now missing), that you could see her cry and tears would be on her cheeks.  This went on for many years.  I feel sure that is what happened to her hand and the little child's head also.

The obituaries from the old Crittenden Presses tell us some of their story.  The middle stone belongs to a daughter, Victoria Cameron Bebout.  She was born in 1878 and died July 22, 1900.  Her obituary is as follows:  Wednesday morning, June 27, a bright and happy bride left the home of her youth with her life linked to the fortunes of her new husband, Mr. Lewis Bebout, who had won her heart.  Monday evening, July 23rd from the same house there went forth a funeral cortege and in the casket so tenderly borne by loving hands, quietly slept all that was mortal of the bride of a month.  Mrs. Victoria Bebout, nee Camerson, died at the home of her mother, Mrs. H. A. Cameron, in this city Sunday evening.  She came from her home in Paducah a few days ago to spend a few weeks in Marion, she was slightly ill when she came, but the indisposition, it was thought, would soon be gone.  But not so, she grew worse and everything human skill could devise was done.  The funeral took place from the residence Monday afternoon. 

 The beautiful lady monument belongs to the mother, Henri A. Cameron.  She was born 1846 and died 1921.  Her obituary reads: After an illness of only a few days, Mrs. Henri A. Cameron died suddenly at her home on Main Street.  Mrs. Cameron was the daughter of Mrs. Marble who afterwards married the late J. N. Wood, and was born in Madison Ill., and moved to Marion in early life.  About the close of the Civil War she was married to the late Thomas J. Cameron, who for many years was a prominent business man of the city.

The child's stone with the head missing belongs to young Johnnie W. Cameron, born 1867 and died 1877.  He was the son of Thomas J. and Henri A. Cameron.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chimney Rock

It's nice to know some things don't change, one of these is the beauty of our county side.

Written in 1923 the following article can still fit today.

Have you ever spent a day on Piney?  If not, you have missed a lot.  And where is this place, you ask?  Why it's down here in Crittenden County where acres of bluffs rise to a dizzy height out of a country that is not unusually rough.   We think our cliffs and bluffs equal those of the Lookouts Mountains and the great Rockies.  We can even find for you "the trail of the lonesome pine."  Althought is might be cedars in this part of the country.

One of the 'show places' of the area is Chimney Rock, and truly one this is rightly named.  It stands apart from the others and rises to a great height. At it base trickles an eternal fountain that would probably have given Ponce de Leon the greatest thrill of his life, had he discovered it.

Piney Creek flows at the base of the cliffs and has all the true characteristics of a mountain stream.  When storms rage it becomes turbulent, noisy and a dangerous stream; but when they subside it will again go back into the gentle, musical little creek we know and love.

Each year gay camping parties come to Piney.  And when they come the frogs and whippoorwills along the stream keep "silent night" an listen to a chours of voices singing, Seeing Nelline Home or the lovely strains of Margie.

Year after year the place has but little changed.  The bluffs are the same old barren rocks when winter comes; the same riot of flowers and ferns when soft southern breezes blow.  The same old moon still peeps through the swaying branches of cedar and pine, on the winding creek below.

The beautiful place told about in the article above in located in the Eastern part of Crittenden County.  Not visible from the highway, it is on private property now.  I guess years ago it was available for all that wanted to visit and see the beauty of the county side.

The drive from Marion on Hwy. 120 is really a scenic drive.  After about six miles these Piney bluffs will become visible in the distance.  Although you wouldn't think of winter as being a good time to go driving to see the beauty of the countryside, it really is, for with the leaves gone one can really see the rocky cliffs and bluffs that grace this part of our county, that aren't visible in the summer months.  These rocky bluffs  and countryside are really beautiful to see.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Baptist Church of Marion

On the 17th day of March 1884, the Frist Baptist Church of Marion was organized with 24 members.  The Elders were J. M. Peay, J. W. Crewdson and T. C. Carter.  Their small congregation met first in its own little church home, a frame building.  They met here and grew in size and made plans for a new larger church building.   The group bought  a corner lot in 1904 behind the court house and started their dream of a new building.

The post card picture at the right, made in 1907, was made soon after the new church was dedicated on March 1, 1908.

The following description was in the Oct. 19, 1906 edition of The Crittenden Record Press.
The new building will be constructed of brick with dressed stone, and the roof will be covered with slate.  The basement will be made of brick.  All the windows will be ornamented glass of the opalescent variety.  This glass permits all the light to enter but keeps out the sunlight.  There will be three large arch windows of four sash to each window.

The tower is capped with white limestone finished in block and space style.  It adds much to the attractiveness of the house, as do the stained glass windows.

The building will be 50x68 feet and the main auditorium will be 45x45.  It will contain a pastor's study with gate, three sunday school rooms, one baptistry and two robing room.

The large Sunday school room will connect with the main auditorium with a sliding curtain.  When necessary this curtain can be raised and the auditorium will be increased by the size of the Sunday school room.  Then the seating capacity will be from 500 to 600. The pews are massive being of carved oak and placed in circle effect.

This was the First Baptist Church congregation until in the 1970's.  In 1978 the building was sold to another denomination and today this 103 year-old historical church is the home to the Ambassadors For Christ.  The building still looks much the same today.  It sits on the Court Square behind the court house.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stone Mason's of Yesteryear

The art of stone masonary isn't thought of much today, not in the same way in was over a hundred years ago.  Think of the hard labor for man and beast that it would take to gather the huge stones, transport them to the location and then be able to lift the stones in place.  The mason's were proud of their work and many of them would carve their initials and date of the work into one of the sandstone rocks.  On the stone above is the initials L. C. T. and the date 1851.

Since Travis and Turley familes lived in this area, it may be that one of them was the creator of this chimney. Also located not too far from the house is a small Travis cemetery and also a larger cemetery that is known as the Travis-Wilson cemetery.

There aren't too many of these majestic old chimney's left in the county, over the years they have lost their cementing in between the stones, weather damaged and the now these stones have become popular for many modern day uses in people's yard and patios, so they are dismantled and taken off to someone's house.

One of these long again master pieces I found on the old home place of Thomas Benjamin Lamb on Travis Cemetery Rd. in the South East area of the county.  Although these pictures were made in 1998, I fear the ice storm of last year may have caused more damage to the old home place. As you can see from the picture, at one time this was a fine county home, with a chimney to be proud of.

Thomas Benjamin Lamb was born Sept. 3, 1862 and died July 28, 1948.  His wife, Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jacobs, was born in 1881 and died 1963.  They are buried in the Sugar Grove Cemetery.  Today Michael Crider is the owner of this farm land.

Update: April 2, 2018.  I believe the person that carved the initials in the chimney rock was Lysander Cullen Travis, the son of Francis Travis, Jr.  They are both buried in the Travis-Wilson cemetery that is located new this place.  They lived in this area.

The old house was almost completed fallen in in 2017, and someone had taken the stone with the carved initials out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Circus Coming To Town

Imagine the excitement of a Circus coming to your town in the 1920's.  These much-looked forward to events would arrive in Marion by way of the railroad.

The Circus Train would arrive at the depot and unload all it's wonderful equipments.   Later in the day a bright and colorful parade would go through the town inviting everyone to come to the circus.

Here's an account of one of these events as appeared in The Crittenden Press, in May 1921.

Fresh from winter quarters bright and glittering with gold leaf and vari-hued paints and teeming with hundreds of new and novel features is the Campbell-Bailey Hutchinson Combined Circus and Wild West, perhaps not the largest but one of the best in the whole world.

Neither money nor trouble has been spared to make the performance the best ever presented under a circus canvas.  The regular circus program is opened with a beautiful patriotic ensemble, which serves to introduce the entire personel from the big dressing rooms.

Then, with blood-stirring music from the large concert band, the acts follow each other in bewildering rapidity.  Prominent among the displays are the Crillion toupe in a series of new and daring feats in the air and on the ground.  The Davenport Family of Riders, the Campbell-Bailey Herd of performing Elephants, Rochetta, the man who walks on his head and a score of other acts.  The clowns number 25 and include some of the funniest jesters known.

Almost three hours of solid enjoyment is given those who attend, and this is augmented by a thrilling Wild West exhibition entitled "The Passing of the West."

There will be the usual free street parade at noonday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Seminary Springs School

     The old Seminary Springs School.

Not much history has been recorded on this school.  This is the only photo I have ever seen of it.  The date on it says November 29, 19_6. I'm not sure if it would be 1906 or 1916.  None of the people have been identified.  The photo also tells us it was Thanksgiving.  Since the community schools were also the local place for gatherings and good times shared, I would say this group had shared a Thanksgiving together at the old school.  How interesting it would be to know some history of this day.

To reach the site of the former Seminary School you would leave U.S. 60 East at Mattoon on S.R. 654 N.  After a short distance you will see a road turning left onto S.R. 1901.  Before the days of the 911 addresses this road was always known as the Siminary Loop Road.  The loop continued on around and came back out of U.S. 60 E.  Not far on this road on the right was the ever-flowing spring, which provided drinking water for the school children, and also provided the name for the school  During the summer the farmers of the community hauled water for their livestock from this spring when "dry spells" would cause their ponds to get low.

Some of the families that attended this school were Cook, Hughes, Duvall, Lucas, Vanhooser, Nunn, Vaughn, Brown, Crisp, Summerville, Manley and Farley.  Teachers recalled were: W. K. Powell, Clyde Newcom, Minnie Herrin, A. A. Fritts, Bertha and Flora Moore, Ina Vaughn, Ruby Summerville, just to name a few that were remembered.

Seminary, Post Oak and Oakland Schools often held "field days" in the fall of the year.  Competitive sports included races, ball games, broad and high jumping, and pole vaulting.  Inside the school building declamation contests, spelling bees, and arithmetic speed tests were being held.  Proud indeed was the school that won the triangular blue banner at the day's end for accumulating the greatest number of points for their participation in the activities.

In 1929 the Seminary School was closed and consolidated with other nearby one-room schools to organize the new Mattoon Grade and High School.   In later years the building was torn down.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ice on The Ohio

January 2010 has been a frigid start to a new year.  This being the 9th day of the month and all those days have been below freezing with the morning's low as cold as 8 degrees for several mornings.  Today's high was a whopping 19 degrees.

With these cold temperatures ice chunks have formed on the Ohio River.  This picture was made today at about 1:45 P.M. right before the Cave-In-Rock Ferry announced it would have to close due to the ice.

These ice chunks were floating next to the Kentucky side of the landing, but they were also all along the Illinois side too.  I know the river had been frozen worse than this in the past, but this was the first time I had ever seen it.  I wanted to share the picture with others that might be interested.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter time Hoar Frost

The first time I ever heard the words Hoar Frost was from an elderly lady friend of mine.  She was telling how beautiful it was as they would be walking to school in the frozen wintertime.  She said when the sun shown through on the frozen frost it was like a million diamonds.  Walking under the sparkling tree limbs and through the frozen fields was beautiful. 

What is Hoar frost you ask?  the dictionary tells is like this:  Radiation frost, also called hoar frost, refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, such as tree branches and plant stems, that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air.

Early yesterday morning as I was out on one of my early morning drives, I got a glimpse of this sparkling crystal wonderland.  Although cold and winter time aren't my favorite months now days, one couldn't help but see the beauty is this sparking stream, open fields and hillside as the sun came through the branches and set the ice crystals or hoar frost a glow.  It was like being in a world of sparkling gems.

The sun was coming up in the Eastern sky and was shining from behind the scenes that I saw, but as you drove on by and stopped to look back, the shining effect of the scene wasn't visible, only from the view with the sun shining from behind was the beauty visible.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Historical Home

Many of our old historical homes are gone now, whether it be from sitting empty too long and deteriorated being repair, too expensive to renovate for modern living, or many not interested in preserving the past history of the old homes.  Whatever the reason, they are few and far between.

This is the history of  the W.R. Cruce home that sits atop what we always called Crayne Hill, it's located 5 miles south of Marion of Hwy 641 on the hill before you enter the tiny community of Crayne.

The home place of William Richard "Uncle Dick" and "Aunt Minnie" Cruce.  The beautiful old two-story home has been a landmark for many years.  It sits at the top of what is known as Crayne Hill.

Uncle Dick and Aunt Minnie always kept their Civil War era home is top repair, and it was a show place of the area.  The picture above is the way their home used to look in the 1920's and up until the past 10 years or so.  Time has altered the appearance of the house. Today the porches are still there but the screened in sections have been removed and the second story balcony and railings have been removed.  It's hard to tell that it is this same home that is in the picture.

Today, Edna Nell Cruce Dunagan, the fifth generation of Cruce's, lives in the house.  There is some new work going on at the home with bricks being laid on the porch floors and bottom of the columns, even further changing it's original appearance. 

Aunt Minnie Cruce was known for her love of flowers and her beautiful flower gardens.  Her flowers were a showcase of color in the summer.  One I remember so well was her pink and white Peonies.  Aunt Minnie was known as having a "green thumb" in that all she planted grew to be large and beautiful.  She shared her flowers for many special occasions with the residents in the Crayne area. 

The story was told that when she died, July 30, 1965, that she had made arrangements for her favorite garden hoe to be buried with her.  Several years later when I was talking with the local undertaker, he told me that this was true that she did have the hoe placed in the casket with her.  I'd say there are some beautiful flowers in Heaven today.