Monday, January 31, 2011

Witherspoon Cabin

The Witherspoon log cabin is located about 5 miles from Marion on Hwy. 91 N. and then on the Forest Grove School Rd.  There is a sign by the road that says Wheeler's Log Cabin.

The originial house was a large log room.  Later another log room was added, just as it stands today.  

The log house was built in about 1835 by Uri Witherspoon and his wife, Susan Johnson.  Uri met his wife in Mount Vernon, Illinois and brought her back to Kentucky where their made their home. 

When you visit the home it is truly like a step back in time.  Everything is authentic to the time period of the log home.

Today the log house and it's surrounding buildings are owned and cared for by Barbara Wheeler of Marion.  In the summer months Barbara raises all kinds of herbs and flowers that she dries and uses to make her one of a kind wreaths. 

The picture above is one of the small storage buildings that sets close to the house.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Amish Children Snow people

I guess for playtime at the little Amish School on Hwy. 91 North this week, the students build a yard full of snow people.  It was an amusing site as you drove by to see the snow people scattered about their play area and  even one was built on the fence post to wave to the passersby.

This is a picture of the Amish School.  Pictures made Thursday, Jan. 27th.  Most of the snowfall from Monday night was gone by this time.

Below you can see the snow people scattered about the area.  You can't see in the pictures, but most had on hats, or scarfs or other items of attire.                       

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Crittenden County has two cemeteries that were named Mt. Pleasant.  One is a Black cemetery located in the Bells Mines community. 

This article is about the old cemetery that is located on the Crittenden Springs Hotel land on S. R. 1668.  
 At one time there was a good congregation of Methodists at Mount Pleasant Church, which was located back of the Crittenden Springs Hotel.  It is not known what year it was organized but it was a thriving church in the 1850's.  From an item in the Crittenden Press  August 22, 1912, The regular annual graveyard cleaning will take place, Saturday, August 31, at the old Mt. Pleasant Graveyard on the Crittenden Springs land.  Those interested will please come and bring tools.  signed: W. M. Clark, Committee.

The old cemetery has been abandoned for many many years.  Without the help of someone that knows where it is located, it's almost impossible to find.  Located on a hill side, most all the stones are down and most are broken.

In the picture at the right you can see a few on the stones, a few standing and some leaning against trees.  It seems such an unlikely area for a cemetery.   It is thought the old church might have been located close by in the same area.

This is the stone of Nancy Brown Moore.  Born Dec. 27, 1802 and Died April 6, 1859.  She and her husband, Robert Moore, came to this area in 1834 from Orange County, North Carolina, and settled on what is now called Moore Hill (on Hwy. 60 west).  Her stone was  broken but we were able to locate the two pieces.

Nancy's husband's, Robert Moore,was  born Feb. 11, 1780 and died Feb. 27, 1858.  The top half of Robert's stone is broken off and we were unable to locate it in the thick covering of leaves.

This interesting little stone with the Angel playing the harp is for Marietta Franklin, daughter of Angereau and Lucinda Stephens Franklin.

The stone was very ornate and still in good condition to have been there since 1857.   She died at the young age of 21.  Wonder why she died so young.

 A younger brother, Wm. A. Franklin, was also buried close by. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Memories of Bells Mines

The old coal mining town of Bells Mines always will be a mystery to most of us.  Oh yes, we've heard a few stories and read some interesting tidbits about it in the old papers, but there is so much that is just lost to the world about the old town and it's coal mines.

My father, Billie Travis spent many years of his young life there, but he never talked about it very much.  Not good memories I guess, things he's rather not recall.  He kept telling me that he would tell me about it, and also he was going to sketch out a picture of how he remembered the old mining town.  Dad was a good sketcher and could draw most anything he wanted.  I looked forward to these items of history that only he could provide for me.  But he put it off too long and when he passed away in 1993, the history and stories went with him.  

The picture is of my dad, Billie Travis, on the right and his cousin Kermit Sarlls, on the left.  The picture was made about 1928.  They are standing at the base of the coal tipple or coal loading dock that was at Bells Mines. They looked happy and carefree in this picture of long ago.

Kermit was the the son of Richard and Cora Travis Sarlls.  They also lived at Bells Mines.  The Sarlls name is gone from Crittenden County now.  Gone like most all the people that remembered the old community of Bells Mines.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marion's Early Car Wash

In the year 1925 Marion was busy and buzzing with many new automobiles.  In order to keep up with the times a new business was added to Marion' directory.  How about an Auto Laundry?

From the files of The Crittenden Press, August 1925 comes this interesting article about Marion's new business.

How about a new place where you may get your autos and 4ds washed.? 

When Mr. Levi Cook built his auto laundry it was the finest thing of it's kind in America in a town any where near the size of Marion.  Equipped for speed and this together with a desire to render service at a moderate price this establishment is always busy.

The demand for this service grew to such an extent that Mr. Cook has added to the equipment by installing a deep well electric pump for supplying water for the radiators of such motor cars as need a drink as they go by.   All you have to do now to water your radiator is to drive up and reach over and grab the hose and press the handle of the faucet while holding the nozzle in the proper place.  A quick service gasoline station is also maintained.

Mr. Pid Threlkeld is in charge of the establishment and he will see that if you drive up, either for an automobile bath, or to have a tank filled with gas, that you are made welcome and waited on with a smile.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hood'sCreek School

Hood's Creek School - early 1930's.
1st row - 2 boys sitting down:  L -R:  Sam Robertson and Loyce Ford
2nd row: E. L. Phillips, James C. Brantley, Frankie Robertson, J. D. Orr, Glenn Brantley, Edna Ford, Norma Phillips, Margaret Phillips.
3rd row: Naomi Ford, Nenna Orr, Ersie Ford, Glenn Tosh, Bill Ford, Hershel Brantley, Mary Edna Dome, Guthrie Ford.
Lady on left in the back is their teacher - Susie Orr.

To reach the site of the old Hood's Creek School you would travel on Highway 60 E to the top of Rosebud Hill.  Turn right onto the Nunn's Switch Road.  The school was located about three-fourths mile from Nunn's Station, a railroad switching station on the Illinois Central Railroad between Repton and Blackford.  The school was so named because of Hoods Creek which flowed by it.  

The old school ended as many of the old wooden frame school houses, it burnt one cold winter day in the 1940's.  The first fire in the old pot bellied stove somehow set the roof on fire.  After that the 18 students were transported to Mattoon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Early Telephone Office

This is another one of the wonderful old vintage photos from years ago, it has no names, dates or information written on it, so we have to guess it's history. 

Mr.  T. J. Alexander brought the first telephone service to Marion in Jan. 1899 and it was in operation by Feb. 23, 1899.    There were eighty telephone instruments in the town of Marion.  By June 1900 there were 159 paid subscribers.  

General information to use the phone was to give the bell   crank one sharp turn, then take the receiver from the hook, place it firmly to your ear and listen for the operator to answer, give the operator the number of name of the party with whom you wish to communicate and the operator will at once make the call for you.  Subscribers are requested not to enter into conversation with the operator.

I would guess the picture was made during this time as someone would think this historical event was worthy of a photograph.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crittenden County Genealogy Society Meets

The Crittenden County Genealogy Society had it's first meeting of the new year today, Jan. 8th.  Some of us braved the cold and snow to meet at the Library to get the show on the road for 2011.

Our meetings are very informal but very informative.  Not always just about genealogy but other interesting topics that have to do with our families and also history of the county.

Today's program was titled: The 1930's Depression - How it affected the county and do you have family stories handed down about that time in our past history.  Everyone had some information or a family story they shared and it made for a very interesting program. 

Members and visitors present today were:  Back row:  Fay Carol Crider, Brenda Underdown, Don Foster, Anna Rhea Porter, and Steve Eskew.
Front row: Doyle Polk, Betty Croft, and Ed Shewcraft.

Steve has a new Crittenden County research book out which is titled "Crittenden County, Kentucky Obituaries ad Death Notices, Vol. I. 1886-1899.   It is a great addition for the genealogist researching their families in Crittenden County. If you might be interested in one you can Contact: him at: or order directly from the printer.  The web page address is:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Col. Ephraim Washington Hill

This interesting and informative article and photo appeared in the April 3, 1893 edition of The Crittenden Press.  Articles such as these are a great help to Genealogists for they tell of things that otherwise would have been lost through the years.

Of the men who first looked upon what is now Crittenden County, before but little of its virgin forest had faced before the woodman's ax, but few are living today.  Among the thinned ranks of those pioneers is Col. E. W. Hill, born August 7, 1805, at the old Hill farm about one mile south of Marion.  For 88 years he has been a citizen of this section and his home during most of that period has been the old homestead, where he was born and where he now resides.

His father, Col. David Hill, came from North Carolina one hundred years ago this fall.  He was a young man and accompanied James Richey, a well-to-do man, who settled here and opened a farm, building a cabin on what is known as the Wm. Clement farm.

The next year of about 1784, Mr. Hill returned to North Carolina for a short visit, and then returned to Kentucky, accompanied by a number of settlers.  He began life by building his cabin and opening up the farm now known as the old Hill place.  Col. E. W. Hill remembers well when his father left home and joined the ranks of the soldiers who fought in the War of 1812-15.

Col. Hill has always been a hard working citizen, and in his day and time has earned many a dollar.  I used to make lots of money, he said, raising pork and tobacco.  I always shipped my produce to New Orleans by flat boat and got good prices.  Had I saved my money I would have lots of it now, but I loaned it out, not to make money, but to accommodate my friends, and lots of it never came home. 

Col. Hill's word was always as good as his bond, and he has been an important factor in the settlement of the county.  Col. Hill was married to Mary B. Porter, daughter of E. P. Porter.  Three children were born to them, two of them are still living - Mr. Ephraim Porter Hill and Mary Dowell, wife of Judge R. E. Dowell who moved to Kansas.

Col. E. W. Hill died Feb. 23, 1899 and is buried in the Old Marion Cemetery, where many of Crittenden County's early pioneesr and founding fathers are buried.  His stone has weathered so that it is almost unreadable.