Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Matthews Cemetery Update

Back in December 2009 I had an article about the cleanup of the Matthews Cemetery located on S.R. 855 South, near the community of Frances. 

Another phrase of the restoration has been completed with the new sign that had been placed at the entrance of the cemetery.

Yet to come is the resetting and repair work on some of the fallen and broken stones.  But as you can see in the photo made June 20th, 2010, it is looking good.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chapel Hill Church

Chapel Hill Church, one of our old rural churches was built in 1884 and served its community and surrounding area of Chapel Hill until 1996 when it was torn down.  

Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church was formed by a group of members from the old Presbyterian Church that was on the corner of Bellville and College street (now the home of the Crittenden County Historical Museum.) in July 1883. The two-acres of land for their new church building, and future graveyard, was purchased from T. M. Hill.  This probably being the origin of the name Chapel Hill. 


In 1975 the church, wanting to preserve their rich history of their church and it's beginning, purchased a Kentucky Historical Marker for their church.  You can see the maker of the left side of the church in the picture above.

This was a wonderful thing for them to do, for today the marker  marks the former location of the church and tells the history of its beginning.

The church doors were officially closed in July 1967.  Lack of membership and attendance caused its closing.  The older people of the community were gone and the younger members of families had moved away for better jobs.  People now drove to attend other churches in different areas, and the closeness of the rural communities was gone.  

In the picture at the right was taken in February 1996.  The church was in the last stages of being taken down.  The church building was only a shell,.  The sign, which used to hang about the front door, had been removed, and the structure was set for demolition later that year.   Roy Beshears, Ruby Bigham Barfield and Glen Patmor, former members of the church have one last look and recall memories of their home church before it is gone.  Glen Patmor said the church was deteriorating and being vandalized.  We all hated to see it rot.  Glenn had a lifetime invested in the small country church that at full capacity seated about 125 people.  Ruth Hill Patmor, his mother, was a direct descendant of the church's charter members.  Long time church member Roy Beshears hated to see the building come down to.  He was a member there for more than 20 years.  Ruby, a life -long member of the church, was very unhappy to learn the fate of her beloved place of worship. With fond childhood memories still in her mind, Ruby didn't feel comfortable joining another church.  This was my home church she said.

Today Ruby Barfield is the only surviving member of the group in the picture. Roy passed away in Oct. 1996 and Glen in April of 2010.  Ruby turned 95 this past March.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rochester Family Home

Marion has lost another one of it's historical homes.  Although it had been in a sad state for several years, the old Rochester home in East Marion was torn down in May 2010. The name Rochester is another one of the early prominent family names in Marion's early history, but now has disappeared from our families living here.

The Rochester family came to Marion soon after it was a town.  William H. Rochester set up Marion's first machinist shop in 1845.  He purchased a two-hundred-fifty acre farm off the northeast corner of Marion in 1853 which now includes much of the present northeast quarter of the city.    This is in the area of the Town and Country Riding Club subdivision and near the present day City Park. 

One of William's children build the house in the picture above.  It was located on Rochester Street (named for the family) and sat next to the National Guard Armory.  The house was built in the early 1900's or late 1890's.  In 1904 Judge J. G. Rochester lived there and he added a second story to the home.  The name of the home was Waveland. 

In 1915, Miss Vivian Rochester gave a delightful lawn party at her suburban home "Waveland".  The time was spent in playing games and refreshments were served by Miss Elizabeth Rochester.  This home was the scene of many a family gathering and good times.

Sometime earlier this year a notice was sent out that the Armory had purchased the Rochester House on Rochester Avenue and it would be demolished.  They didn't say the reason for purchasing the land or tearing down the old home.  But they were true to their word.  This is all that was left on May 24, 2010.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Genealogy Group Trip to Smithland

The Crittenden County Genealogy Group took a field trip to Smithland Sat. June 12th.  We met at their log cabin visitor and genealogy center for our program.  We enjoy meeting and sharing programs with our neighbors of Livingston County, since these counties  were one until 1842.  The program was given by Don Foster, president, of the Livingston Co. Genealogy Society and Doris Cochrum, on some of the history of Smithland 's old homes.

In the picture above were our members that made the trip.  Left: Connie Gould, Doyle Polk, Dot Kunnecke, Fay Carol Crider, Rita Travis, and Ann and Don Walker, formerly of Crittenden County, and now live the winter months in Arizona.

Don Foster, also a member of our Society, and who presented the program on old homes in Smithland. Don was also our tour guide for the day and we walked around and looked at some of the old homes and business buildings that are left.

After the program we ate lunch at the Smithland gazebo, appropriately named, Buzzard Roost.  From here you can get a wonderful panoramic view of the river(s).  I say rivers because it is here when the mighty Ohio and the Cumberland river meet.

Also from this point you can see in the distance the Smithland Dam.  When this dam was completed in 1979 and was placed in operation, Crittenden's obsolete wicker-type Dam 50 was destroyed.  New history for Livingston was created and old history from Crittenden was destroyed.

 The picture at the right is where the Cumberland and Ohio rivers meet.  The blue-green water is that of the Cumberland and the muddy-brown waters are that of the Ohio.  The Ohio has a reputation for being one rather a dirty body of water.  It's amazing to see the straight line where the two bodies of water meet.  It's as if they are reluctant to merge together.

You can see the great Smithland Locks and Dam  in the far distance of the picture.  This is the first structure of this size on the Ohio River and the world's largest twin navigational locks system.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

McFee and Weldon Monuments

In the Dec. 7, 1893 edition of the Crittenden Press  there is a small article telling the readers of two nice new monuments being carved.  The article reads:  Henry Bros. are engaged in carving from the crude marble a handsome but not expensive monument to mark the last resting place of the late W. E. Weldon.  It is composed of five pieces, all except the base being Georgia marble, and will stand seven feet high.  It will be the handsomest in the grave-yard at Deer Creek, when completed.

At right is W. E. Weldon's monument as it looks today.  Picture made June 2010.

His obituary from the Crittenden Press, April 6, 1893 reads:  Tolu Community Items:  W. E. Weldon died here, March 30th, and was buried at Deer Creek the 31st.  Billy was a good man and died happy.  He will be much missed in his church and community.  Sixteen wagons, hacks and buggies, besides riders followed him to the grave from Tolu.  It shows what a hold a good man has on the people.

This firm also has an order for a family monument for Mr. A. D. McFee.  It will be a shaft ten feet high, beautifully proportioned, with tasty decorations in relief.  It too is to be of Georgia marble, and will stand on the McFee lot in the new Marion cemetery.

Crittenden Press, May 3, 1900:
Col. A. D. McFee, one of the most highly respected citizens of the county died at his home after an illness of six days of heart disease.  Arthur Douglass McFee was born near Belfast, Ireland,  in April 1827.  His father was a wealthy and prominent native of the Emerald Isle, and his mother was a Scotch lady, and a defendant of the famous Douglas family of Scotland.  When Arthur was twelve years old the family came to America, settling at Brooklyn, N. Y., where they remained a number of years.  Later the family moved to Ohio, near north Bend, where the parents died.

Arthur sought and found employment on the famous line of steamers that plied the waters from Cincinnati to New Orleans, and was well known in river circles.  He was married to Miss Annie Marcus, of Boone County, Ky.  They lived in Boone County, Ky and then moved to Crittenden County about twenty years ago, (abt. 1880) buying and settling upon one of the best river bottom farms in the county where he lived until about a year ago, when they moved to Marion.

In the late 1880s the McFee family name was well-known in Crittenden County.  They owned a large river bottom farm in the area of Fords Ferry and Clementsburg area.  The McFee name is one of the old family names that has disappeared from our county.  Buried in the McFee family lot at Mapleview are: Annie V.McFee, died Oct. 27, 1934, wife of A. D., Son, S. D. McFee, Jr. died Jan. 10, 1893, Son Edward McFee, died Feb. 1938, Dau. Florence B. Gregory, died July 11, 1892.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Piney Fork Camp Meetings

Another well-know Camp Meeting that used to be held in Crittenden County was the Piney Fork Camp Meetings.

This shed-like building was built in 1886 to hold services during the yearly camp meetings held on these church grounds starting in 1812.   This was the second such shed to be built here; the first was built around 1867 - it replaced a brush arbor.  This building, (picture above) which was designed to seat 1,000, was torn down in the spring of 1970, after extensive damage was done to its roof by the heavy winter snowfall.  The logs from which the lumber for this building was sawn were cut from the Henry Brown farm and were hauled by oxen to the sawmill by Jim Bugg.  The old pulpit that was used in the shed and several other items are in the Crittenden County Museum.

From the files of The Marion News, August 28, 1936, here is an interesting article about one of the old camp meetings at Piney Fork.

The annual services of Old Piney Fork Camp Ground closed last Friday evening, August 21, after eleven days of exceedingly successful communion, which resulted in 26 conversions and 30 additions to the church roll.
The Rev. J. E. Bell of Tecumseh, Okla., assisted the pastor, the Rev. Guy Moore, and preached from the same pulpit from which some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons, interest grew from the opening service and large audiences listened attentively to the great spiritual messages.

Piney Fork is the oldest church in Crittenden County regardless of denomination, having been started in 1810.  The organization was completed in 1812 by the Rev. Finis Ewing, who was pastor for several years.  The first building was erected in 1812 on a sixteen-acre tract of land given by John Travis and George Green.  The present building is 70 years old and is the third building that has stood.

The revival which just closed, was held in the open-air tabernacle which eats 2,000 people.  It was built about 50 years ago and is the second tabernacle to have been erected on that site.  

Piney Fork Camp Meetings are famous throughout the land.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Look at old Hurricane Camp Meetings

Soon it will be time for the 122 Hurricane Camp Meeting, June 7-12.  In by gone time the camp meeting was looked forward to for many reasons, most for religious purposes, some for a time for renewing old friendships and making new ones.  Some wanted to use this gathering time as a means to sell their goods,  which were not always so good.  Seems there was always some groups of wayward souls, known as the "Blind Tigers" trying to sell their good near the church grounds.  Where the name Blind Tigers came from, I'm not sure, but it was the men that stayed in the shadows and had liquor for sale.

The picture at right above is of the old Hurricane Meeting shed that burned in 1921.  The cemetery is visible on the ground behind the shed. The house in the background is possible one of the cabins that people stayed in during the meetings.

Here is a news items that appeared in the local paper in Sept. of 1904.
The annual camp meeting is now is session at this place and the attendance is as good as expected.  Only the hotel people are allowed to sell anything on the grounds and that is such as lunch goods, ice cream or watermelons.

It appears that "blind tiger" resorts were wont to spring up on camp grounds but by some means the eyes of many of the tigers have been opened and their masters have found enlivening pursuits elsewhere and most all who were under suspicion have been apprehended but possibly one or two others may yet be caught.

Next Sunday is expected to be the biggest day of the meeting. The ground on the inside of the camp enclosures is all covered with grass and the many shade trees make it a pretty grove.

 The Hurricane Camp meeting shed as it looks today.  All cleaned up and anxiously waiting for the people to come each night and listen to the non-denomination old fashioned revival sermons. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Early Automobiles

In January of 1912, J. W. Wilson, the local Ford automobile agent in Marion, received his first 1912 consignment of automobiles, consisting of a car load of Ford machines of various types, one a four door passenger of the latest 1912 model, one a run about, and one for delivery purposes and general utility uses, such as express, ice, laundry, groceries, milk or other public utilities.

In the picture at the right Mr. Wilson lined his new shipment of automobiles along Main Street for all to see.   

The old news item about this scene describes it as quite a pretty sight as the automobiles moved up Depot Street after being unloaded from the train, and were displayed on Main Street.

Although a luxury to own and a time saver for traveling the new automobiles also had their dangers, not only for the owners but for passengers, and passers-by.  Here are a few items from the early 1900's Crittenden Presses telling about these accidents.
  • Three automobiles were reported destroyed by fire in the county.  A Ford belonging to Fred Crayne was burned.  Mr. Crayne was driving the automobile when the machine caughtt fire from a short circuit.
  • C. M. Dillard, of Marion, lost a truck by fire while on his way to Rosiclare, Ill.  The flames from the burning machine ignited the dry leaves and the woods caught fire resulting in the burning of a fence.
  • A Ford car belonging to Frank Butler caught fire from the backfire in the carburetor while being driven near Frances and was destroyed.
  • Miss Dezzie Arflack was out buggy riding with an escort Sunday afternoon near Marion, while alighting from the vehicle almost got run over by an automobile resulting in a number of painful bruises.  The chauffeur said it was unavoidable on his part.
  • Mr. H. B. Hamby was driving a buggy in the vicinity of Haffaw Mines near Mexico, he was run into by an automobile and the buggy wrecked.  Mr. Hamby escaped with slight injuries, as so did the horse.  The driver of the machine was not reported.
  • Dr. J. R. Perry, while cranking his car Friday afternoon, had his right arm broken near the wrist.
  • Mr. Odis Paris while cranking his car had his right arm broken below the elbow.  Physicians dressed and set the wounded limb and Mr. Paris is now able to be out, carrying his arm in a sling.