Friday, April 29, 2011

Heirloom Quilts In Marion

This is the annual Backroads Tour in Marion and Crittenden County.  It coincides  with the Quilt Show at Paducah, as visitors there like to visit sites in the surrounding area.  The historic flood of 2011 will cause some problems, as many of the county roads in the Amish county are impassable due to the flooding of the Ohio River.

But if your big interest is Quilts, Marion has many displays for you to see starting today and tomorrow.  It looks like it's going to be a beautiful 2 days, so maybe you can come see all the many, many quilts that have come out of storage for these two days.

Here are just a few that are on display at the Crittenden County Historical Museum at 124 East Bellville Street.

This heirloom quilt is the oldest quilt that the Museum has.  The information with this quilt says that it was made by Elizabeth Kirk Hodge in 1856-57.  She was the wife of Robert Washington Hodge.

The Tumbling Block Quilt was made by Nancy Jane Farmer Hamilton, and it was handed down to her daughter, Elizabeth Hamilton Moore and then to granddaughter, Helen Moore.  You see more than one patten design when you first look at the quilt, but at a closer view they are all boxes.

This colorful quilt is just one of our many "Friendship Quilts".  This one was made by Annabel Alexander, a favorite county school teacher of many years ago.  She had her family and friends in the Piney Fork and Fredonia areas embrodiery their name and a design on their block.  It was started in the 1930's, but just recently finished by her daughter, Sarah Alexander Ford.

All of our quilts are from local families and each quilt or hand-made blanket we have has a little history to go with it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marion - Kentucky's Hidden Treasurer

Marion was lucky enough several years ago to be able hire a person as the Tourisum developer for Marion and Crittenden County.  

She started at once to find items of interest related to our town and county.  She came up with the slogan of Kentucky's Hidden treasurer, Marion and Crittenden County.  

This mural that was painted by Crittenden County students in 2005 tells of some of our hidden treasurers that most people do not realize we have.  This mural is displayed on Larry Orr CPA office building (used to be our old Kentucky Theater building).

Shown in the mural are: left to right an Amish barn and buggy, showing our Amish community, which tourists love to visit and purchase their items for sale, some include  hand crafted furniture, all kind of homemade food, just to name a few;  an old Fluorspar mines that reflects our rich history when Crittenden County was the number one producer of this mineral at one time. Many items of this era are on display at the world famous Clements Mineral Museums;  a field of wild turkey and deer, although I don't care for hunting, they say a hunters paradise for these; and the Cave-In-Rock Ferry, only two of these ferries are used in Kentucky today and this is one of them, it is a beautiful ride across the waters of the mighty Ohio.  So we do have things that we take for granted each day, but to people from other States, we do have hidden treasures for them to enjoy. 

If you might be interested in more about Marion and Crittenden County visit their  website at:  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bell's Mines Travis Family

I can never write anything about Bell's Mines unless it reminds me of my Travis family that lived in this old community.  A very handsome family of five brothers and 3 sisters.  Actually there were 4 sisters, but little Sarah Julia died at only 5 years old, lacking only three days of dying on her birthday, Dec. 6th. 

The sons were: front sitting down, L. to R.
Ewell Jeffrey (my grandfather), Gutherie Wynn,
Back: William Charles Harvey, Sumner, and John  Monroe.

William Charles "Charlie" was killed in a boiler explosion at the Bell Coke & Coke Mining Company Nov. 13, 1910. He was 43 years old. It was a horrible accident.  Charlie is buried in the Bells Mines Cemetery.  But he or his wife, Nannie Sarrls Travis, have a stone to mark their graves.

These Travis brothers were blessed with numerous musicals talents, a great singing voice plus were able to play different musical instruments without any professional training.

The Travis sisters were: L to R.
Verna Travis, she married Charlie Yates and lived in the Bowling Green, Ky area.
Cora Travis, married Richard Sarlls and they lived at Louisville, Ky in their later years.  Cora had beautiful auburn hair when she was young.
Alvatine Travis, married Cam "Doc" Truitt of the Bells Mines community.  They are buried in the Bells Mines Cemetery.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Civil War Marker at Bells Mines

Crittenden County wasn't very active in the Civil War, as not many battles were fought on the soil of our county.  But the county was over run by the troops of both armies, who often plundered and terrorized the county for their won reasons.

One documented site was at Bell's Mines.  The skirmish was between Company C, 52nd Kentucky Mounted Infantry (USA) under Lt. Thomas W. Metcalfe and a band of 300 guerrillas on July 13, 1864.  Metcalfe, with 46 men, had left Cloverort, Kentucky on July 5, 1864, to patrol the Green River country.  The patrol was attacked at Bell's Mines by approximately 300 guerrillas.  The company's records recounted its losses as 22 horses and "rigging," one man killed, and 11 men captured.  The Evansville Daily Journal stated that six of the men had escaped and reached Shawneetown where they reported the action.

This Civil War Marker was placed near the Bell's Mines Cemetery in April of 2005.  

Bell's Coal Mines were first owned by John Bell from Tennessee.  Bell ran for President in 1860 as the candidate of the Constitutional Union Party.  Kentucky was one of three states he carried.  The picture on the right of the marker is of John Bell.  The flag in the center was a Campaign Flyer from Bell's run for the Presidency as Constitutional Union Party. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Marion Christian Church

Seeing the Dogwood trees blooming this week and the weather going through a very unsettling and very cold uncomfortable few days, made me think that this is surely Dogwood winter.  Today in our fair town it got to 48 degrees with a wind chill of 38.  Very uncomfortable.  

The Dogwood trees next to the Marion Christian Church on West Bellville tried to brave the rain and wind today and even if it was cold and miserable the trees are a beautiful sight.  The wind has damaged some of their petals after today.  

This church has a long and varied history.  The church was built in 1890 as a Methodist Episcopal Church South.  The Methodists worshipped there until April 12, 1912 when they moved into their present church on College Street.
After they moved various organizations used the building and it was once used for storage from a near by hardware store while they were working on their store.

In Sept. 2009 the church was awarded an official status as a Kentucky landmark.  The award identifies the Marion Christian Church as an "architectural, archaeological and historic property."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fohs Hall History

Fohs Hall located at 143 N. Walker Street is certainly not the oldest building in Marion, but it is the most historic.

F. Julius Fohs planned and had the building built in 1926 and presented the magnificent building to the Marion Board of Education.  It was built for the high school grades. The picture at the right was made soon after it was finished in 1926. 

The Fohs family moved to Marion from the state of New York in the year 1890.  Julius attended school at the Marion schools, and as a boy, through the exploring of the surrounding hills, caves and mines, he got the inspiration of the rocks as a basis for his life work.  He went on to be an internationally known geologist.

Even though he became very wealthy and was well known all over the work, he always remembered his roots and wanted to do something for the community where he grew up and learned to love the rocks and minerals of the earth.  His dream was a wonderful school and auditorium for these people.  
On Oct. 22, 1926 Julius Fohs said in his Fohs Hall dedication speech "In providing for you, in this building, a better basis for a better education and a better cultural background, this gift is a fulfillment of that dream I have for your community.  I present this building, Fohs Hall, the only building of its kind in America, to the Marion School Board as a gift of love to the the community of my childhood, to be used for the furthering of those worth-while things which really make life worth living.

Fohs Hall today is looked after by Fohs Hall, Inc., a group of interested citizens interested in the preservation of the building.  Fohs Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 1982, and in June of 2001, a Kentucky Historical Marker was placed at the entrance of the building. 

Today  Fohs Hall is used as as a community center and civic auditorium.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April Genealogy Meeting

The Crittenden County Genealogy Society met this past Saturday with another interesting and informative meeting.  

Present at the meeting in the picture at right are:
LtoR: Betty Croft, Brenda Underdown, Connie Gould, Dot Kunnecke, Doyle Polk
Backrow: Steve Eskew, Fay Carol Crider and Don Foster.

The program was about Genealogy and History gifts that one can make for Christmas gifts or just as a special gift to members of your family.  Some of the ideas discussed were: 
  • Family Reunion Cookbooks, at your family reunion make family group photos and gather family members recipes;  Not only family photos but also favorite family recipes to pass down through future generations
  • Family recipe cookbooks, included with the recipes, some family history
  • Family photo albums with some history for each photo; Don't leave those special pictures just laying around, place them in an album or on a CD to share with family members, have dates and the occasions listed with the photo
  • Calendars with family members birth dates, anniversaries, special occasions, or other information about the family, also photos can be used with the calendars.
We as the family historians are responsible for collecting and saving our family history and photos.  Always remember to write the date, and the names of the people on the back of the photos.  A little time in doing this will be appreciated many years later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Historical Museum Opening Today

The Historical Museum will be opening for the season today, Wed. April 6th.   Schedule is Wed.-Sat. 10:00-3:00.

Roberta Shewmaker is our curator again this year. 

If your in the area stop by and visit the Museum.  We have lots of local history items for you to see.  And Roberta is familiar with the area and can help with questions you might have.

'One new item we received is an old permanent wave machine.  Used many years ago.  It has the cords with clamps on the end to put on one's hair to make it curl or wave.  It looks like some kind of torture machine.  A must see item.

Also in a few days we will have our quilts out for you to see, several different kinds from different periods in our history.

I'll also be at the Museum several days a week, so maybe I'll see you there.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Victorian Calling Cards

In the day of genteel manners and formal introductions, the exchange of calling cards was a social custom that was essential in developing friendships.  

The custom of carrying calling or visiting cards began in the early 1800's.  Calling cards were left at each persons home the individual went to visit, whether they were home or not.  The person visiting would typically either leave their card in a "card receiver" which was set on an entry table in the foyer or on a parlor table.

There were many different styles of calling cards. Early calling cards were created one at a time by a skilled penman.  Each card displayed the bearer's name written in calligraphy with a bit of flourishing.  Doves, wheat, and flowers were commonly added as ornamentation on these early cards.  On each of these cards, the pen was held perfectly still while the card itself was rotated.  This cherished and highly skilled craft of calligraphy and embellishment of that era is unsurpassed today.

The two cards above were from families in the Sullivan, Ky area.  The top one is James F. Seely, and the bottom one Herman E. Nesbitt.

This calling card was known as an Envelope Card.  The tiny envelope attached to the card has the word Affection on it, and when you lift it up it says "From John to Alice.  Jan. 3, 1882,"  It must have been a special little card for someone those many years ago.

Here are some more examples of the early calling cards with Doves and Flowers added as ornamentation.

The two belong offer "Good Luck" wishes from Virgil O. Nesbitt  and perhaps some wishful thinking as "You Have The Key  To My Heart" imprinted on the other.                                                             
With the development of early penny post cards around the turn-of-the-twentieth century, visiting became less common and the postcard era began.