Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Silent Tower

This article about the old Clock Tower on the empty Marion High School was written in May of 1977. 

 The Silent Tower

Yes, there really is a clock in the tower on top of Marion Elementary School.

 But, no, it doesn't run, at least not right now. That is because no one had bothered to wind it for, more that 10 years past. 

According to Charles Talley, Marion Elementary principal, winding is about all it would take to make it tick again, once you reattached it's 15-foot pendulum.

But winding the clock, which was transferred to the present building from the old graded school, is no easy matter.

D. E. Woodall, who as custodian wound it in the old building and later in the new WPA constructed building, says it's placement in the new structure made it hard to do.

Three concrete weights, weighting 250-300 pounds are cranked up with a windlass. The weights appear to have been made from old nail kegs poured full of concrete.

Woodall recalls that the timepiece, made by E. Howard and Company of Boston, Mass., was an eight-day clock. Woodall says he wound it each Thursday.

Getting to the clock tower in the present building is no easy matter either. It's straight up two narrow ladder flights. And you start by climbing over a wash basin in the principal's office.

Talley says about 10 years ago, (this would have been in 1966) when the school was re-roofed and workmen were in the clock tower every day, they got the clock to running, but never well enough to synchronize the hand on the four faces.

Presently, in addition to the pendulum being disconnected, some of the arms going to the faces are loose.
Woodall recalls, too, that when in the old building there was a large bell with the clock which would ring out the hour and half hour. It was also rung he said for classes.

The bell, he said, was junked and eventually sold in Evansville when the old building was torn down.
In August of 1981, the present Crittenden County Elementary School was built, and the building, then known as Marion Junior High was sold.

This is the sad shape the old historic clock is in today, 2015.  Just about totally gone.  

The clock was originally installed in the new Marion High and Graded School in 1895.  When that building was torn down in 1938 to build the building that is there today, the old clock was saved and installed in this building.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Farmer Brothers Together During The Civil War.

Miss Moore tells this story of her Great Grandparents, Stephen and Rebecca Farmer. (Picture is of Miss Helen Moore, author of the story.)

Rebecca Farmer stood in the doorway of her home holding her baby girl, Jane, in her arms. She was watching a group of riders coming down the road. When they reached her house she recognized Jenny Doss and his confederate guerrillas. They were looking for her husband Stephen Farmer who was off fighting for the Union Army. Rebecca also had two sons in the Union Army – William and Henry. 

When Rebecca Allison married Stephen Farmer in Smith County, Tennessee in 1839, she was given five slaves as a wedding present, a mother Nancy, and her four children, Sam, John, Arch, and Mandy. When Stephen and Rebecca moved to Kentucky in 1852 to a farm about five miles west of Marion they brought the slaves with them.

The raiders searched the house and outbuildings and made the older girls cook dinner for them. As one of the men came by Rebecca, who was still holding her baby, somehow his gun got caught on Jane's dress and almost pulled her out of her mother's arms. Rebecca turned and called on the Southern officer in charge.

The officer called the man down and said, "We are just here after Stephen Farmer and not to harm women and children." He then patted Jane's face and said," You are a sweet little baby, but if we had your d—father we would hang him on a tree in the yard and fill him full of lead." Rebecca replied to him, "But God is in his heaven and you can not find Stephen. He is not here."

The raiders took off the last horse they had left and Rebecca told them. "It won't do you any good to take the horse as none of you will be able to ride him." It was later learned that on the way to Princeton, the horse did throw the rider and he was killed.

Raiders or guerillas came back to the farm several times. Once the Negro John hid under the smokehouse floor so long that his ears and toes were frost bitten. They had to take up the floor to get him out. John walked with a limb thereafter.

Henry and William Farmer were on "Sherman's March to the Sea" during the Civil War, as was Sam, the Farmer's slave. On arriving at the sea the men were so hungry they took the butt end of their guns and burst open clams and ate them raw. They had lived on parched corn for days.

During one battle of the Civil War, Henry and William were together. They were told to go over an embankment and take a cannon. Henry took one look and decided it was too much – he wasn't going to do that. William had been in the war longer than Henry and being in front of him, he turned and said, "If you run, I will shoot you just as if you were a Rebel. So Henry did as he was told.

Sam, one of the Farmer slaves stayed with Henry all during the war until it was over. They started home all together but somehow got separated on the way. Henry got home one day and Sam the next. Stephen and William also survived the war and returned back to the farm.

(Stephen and Rebecca Farmer are buried in the Farmer family cemetery on their home place, which is today knows as the Columbia Mine property, owned by Bob Frazer.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Early Schools in 1897

For some early history of a few of our county schools, lets visit around with county school commissioner Rev. James F. Price. These reports are from The Crittenden Press in1879.  Rev. Price tells it like he sees it.

October 30, 1879, I visited Chapel Hill School, A. C. Cruce teacher. I found a very good school and one in
which the students are making rapid advancement.

The average attendance is about 30, the teacher is alive to his work and instructs his pupils thoroughly in the fundamental principles, he has some obstacles with which to contend, one is that he is hampered up in a schoolhouse which is not sufficient to supply the wants of the district.

This is a good district, and we don't believe the citizens will allow another school taught in such a house. The discipline of the school is very good, whispering is prohibited except by permission, the children of this district are somewhat advanced in education, the teacher has classes in Physiology, Higher Arithmetic, Higher Algebra, Latin Reader and Geometry. 
October 21st, I visited Cookseyville School, G. W. Hall teacher, I found a very good school though not very large in the number of pupils. The school has only averaged about twenty, this is Mr. Hall's first school, but he evidently shows ability as a teacher.  

He keeps very good order and teaches very thoroughly; this district is not for advanced in education, but the teacher, works faithfully among the little fellows endeavoring to advance them. 

He gives them many drills besides the lessons they recite from the textbook; the school house is not so good as desired, but it does better than some. I spoke that night to a few of the citizens, after Mr. Hall and Mr. Rushing each gave a talk.

October 25th, I visited Union School, Miss Irene Cole teacher.

 I found one of the best schools I yet had the pleasure to visit; the school has averaged forty pupils; the order and system of the school is very good; but very little whispering or disturbance of any kind is found in the school; the teacher is alive to her duty.  

She is one of those live, energetic teachers that would infuse spirit and vitality into any school; she has the firmness and indomitable will to govern a school without difficulty; super-added to these qualifications for governing is a spirit of kindness which restrains the students without violence.

The instruction is through and practical, the pupils are advancing very rapidly in their studies, and are understanding it as they go. Map drawing is taught in a very systematic manner. About fifty dollars will be raised to assist in paying the teacher. 

 The schoolhouse is not so good as desired but we hope the community will erect a good house before long.

This is a good community, one that is taking an interest in education and it is to be hoped that they will raise the standard of education still higher.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Summertime In Old Kentucky

February 1, 1929
In the late part of the summer of 1928, Hollis C. Franklin, wrote some descriptive lines which he called
"Summer Time in Old Kentucky." The lines first appeared in a daily paper, which has a wide circulation in this section, and were later copied by different papers and magazines. 

 A few days ago these same lines were recorded by one of the biggest talking machine companies in the world and within the next few weeks will be advertised in practically every music store in the United States.

The music for "Summer Time in Old Kentucky" was written by Miss Adelyne Hood, who writes under the non de plume of Betsy White. Miss Hood is a well known Victor recording artist and her violin records have had an unusual sale on different makes of records. 

 Miss Hood also wrote the music for "Ohio River Blues" which was written recently by Mr. Franklin and which has been given a number of times during the last few week on the Dalhart program over WJZ and associate stations.        
Of particular interest to Marion people is the fact that the author of the song is Hollis C. Franklin, assistant cashier of the Farmers Bank and Trust Company. Mr. Franklin recently sold the phonograph rights to this song, and since that time local people have awaited with a great deal of interest the arrival of the first of the records in Marion.

Readers of the Press who are radio fans will listen with a good deal of interest for the singing of "Summer Time in Old Kentucky" by Vernon Dalhart who is one of the most popular present day recording artists. He has recorded more than seventy-five songs for the Victor Company and has made many records for Edison, Columbia and other companies. 

When he sings of old Kentucky one almost decided that even the cold, dark, damp, dreary days of winter are worth while when they bring us the spell of a Kentucky summer when "Old mother nature's laughin' loud."
Here are the lyrics of the poem, turned into a song.

Summer Time in Old Kentucky
When It's summer time in old Kentucky,
Dear old Mother nature laughs out loud;
Joy just seems to bubble over me,
By myself or in a crowd.
As the evening shadows gather 'round me,
While I sit beside the cabin door,
And when the stars up in the skies
Start to wink their diamond eyes,
Then I know it's summer time once more.
Now if you want to make me happy,
Sing of my Kentucky land,
Where all the joys in heaven and earth
Join in one big band.
I may go visiting in between,
But when I come to die,
I hope it's summer time in old Kentucky
On the day I say goodbye.

Mr. Franklin missed his wonderful days of summer when he passed away, for it was on a cold day Dec. 2, 1958.  He is buried in Mapleview Cemetery here in Marion.  His wife, Nina Jane Paris Franklin is buried next to him.