Thursday, December 29, 2016

Old Pictures Save History

Nothing like old pictures to preserve the history of our town.  The streets around the old court square were full of businesses, people, and automobiles.

Must be a County Court  Day, it was said that was a busy day for Marion, as everyone came to town on that day.  Much visiting and sharing of events were found going on around the Court House.

In the back ground in the old 2-story home of Robert F. Wheeler, now where the Farm Bureau Insurance modern office building sits.

Mrs. Lottie Terry's building is to the right, torn down in the 1980's and now the Christian church parking lot.

Through these wonderful old photographs we can visit the town of Marion many years ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Season In Full Swing - 1938

Christmas in Marion was very different many years ago.  As I'm sure it was in all small towns.  All the stores on Main Street were full of businesses, and at this time of year, all the windows would be full of their Christmas merchandise and beautiful decorated with colorful lights and items of Christmas.  Simple decorations but beautiful to the small child looking at them all.

From an article in Crittenden Press, Dec. 16, 1938.  The holiday season is in "full swing" in Marion with stores stocked to capacity for Christmas shoppers.  All are beautifully decorated and clerks in readiness to meet the last minute rush of shoppers.

The business section, Main St. from Crittenden Motor Co. to Runyan Chevrolet Co. is a veritable canopy of multicolored lights strung across the thoroughfare; likewise is Carlisle from Main to Crittenden Hotel.  The electrical work was done by Kentucky Utilities Co. employees without charge.

Local merchants now have on display one of the most adequate and wide selection of gifts and holiday good ever offered to the Christmas shopper.   Practically every form of gift is offered from the smallest and inexpensive article t that of the most costly and difficult to procure.  Stores are open to 9 o'clock each night.

Many windows are outlined in colored lights and the Santa Claus banner at Main and Bellville Streets is lighted by flood lights from City Drug Co. and Red Front stores.

Business has been brisk for the past four days with today, tomorrow and next week expected to bring forth the last minute rush.  All merchants urge shopping early.

One of the favorite stores to do your shopping, and not only at Christmas time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Joe Clifton Drive in Paducah has Marion Connections

Joe Clifton Drive in Paducah, Ky. was named for Joseph C. Clifton who was born in Marion, Ky. on October 31, 1906.  He was the son of Thomas Clifton and Pearl Cook Clifton.  He had one brother, Robert Clifton.  Their father died May 20, 1910 while the boys were very young.  Their mother moved to Paducah with her little boys to make her home near her parents.

Some information on the internet about Joseph C. Clifton says that he was born in Paducah, Ky., but he was actually born in Marion.  An item in the Crittenden Press, dated Nov. 8, 1906, says that "A new boy arrived at the home of Thos. Clifton last Wednesday morning, which Robert Gordon, the older brothers, says is a dandy.  Another item dated, Feb. 21, 1907, says that "The two little sons of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Clifton, were christened Sunday morning at the Methodist Church."

Here is some more information on Joe Clifton.

After graduating from Tilghman High School with honors, Joseph received an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

He graduated there with honors and during World War II, he was commander of the U. S. Ship Saratoga.  He was a navy pilot and was known as "Jumping Joe" during the early years of the war. 

He retired to California as an admiral USN, died there on Dec. 25, 1967 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Clifton family had deep roots from Crittenden County, as Joseph was a grandson to James H. Clifton of Dycusburg.  The family resided in Dycusburg in the 1870's and James H. Clifton was a prominent business man in the town of Dycusburg.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some Businesses in Marion in 1900.

All sorts of merchandise was for sale in the many different business stores in and around Marion in 1900.

  • The Marion Milling Company was run by Clark and D. B. Kevil.  It was located east of Marion near the railroad tracks.
  • Clark and Paris were in the lumber business.  
  • Tobacco was one of the farmers' principal money crops and there were two large tobacco factories, one run by Mr. Dupuy and the other by Cardin Bros.  During the tobacco season it as not uncommon to see 100 wagons loads of tobacco around these factories and in the various streets. 

  • There were two livery stables.  One (above) was run by Dudley Wallingford and the other by Pierce & Son.  There were around 80 horses in the two stables and a number of buggies and hacks.  Drummers and other traveling men would rent the vehicles for as long as a week at a time, taking along a driver from the stable, as they made their rounds throughout the county.  They would take their wares to all the country stores to sale.
  • James G. Gilbert had a first class blacksmith shop, as did Sandy Adams.  A number of blacksmiths worked here for both Adams and Gilbert.  The most prominent of these was Joe Hopson, who was strong enough to put his shoulder between the legs of an average horse and lift it off the ground.
  • There were two barber shops in Marion, one operated by William Morgan and William Woolridge and the other by Samp Bigham.  
  • General merchandise stores were run by Pierce-Yandell and Gugenheim and J. H. Clifton and Sons.
  • Grocers were M. Schwab, Herman Koltinsky, M. Copher, A. M. Hearin, J. M. McChesney, James Paris, Ed Haynes, McAfee and Hill.
  • The Crittenden Press was the only paper published in the county, its editor and publisher being R. C. Walker
  • Joe Stewart and Mr. Kingston were the photographers, and there are many examples of their work in the county today.
  • The Kentucky Fluorspar Company, operating the Memphis and Hodge Mines, was the largest shipper of fluorspar.  The pure white spar was very much in demand for the glass industry.  Harry A. Haynes was secretary and treasurer of this business.  The Company had it's loading facilities next the the railroad track at the Marion Depot.
  • These are only a few of the many places of business in Marion at this time.  Marion was indeed a growing and busy town.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cross Salve

Cross Salve, created in the early 1930's by James Henry, Jr., could cure - Sores-Burns-Piles.  His ad in 1933 stated that for over a quarter of a century down in the hills of Western Kentucky a locally made salve has been creating a truly amazing record in the treatment of sores, burns, and skin diseases.  Many cases of years standing and extremely aggravated cases have defied all other remedies, have been cured.

Some testimonies from users include Mr. E. L. Guess, of Marion, who had an x-ray burn.  Two thirds of the back of one hand was an open sore; bones and leaders exposed.  He went to two hospital, several doctors, suffered untold agony for over a year.  

One application of this salve gave him his first sleep in several weeks without being under the influence of an opiate.  Within one month his hand was cured and he returned to work.

W. H. Holloman, of Crayne, had piles for 16 years.  In bed a week at a time unable to move.  Less than one jar of this salve permanently cured him, and he was able to work again.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Daniel W. Stone Medicine Co.

Stone's Specific, created D. W. Stone Medicine, Co. His ads appeared in the Press as early as 1915. He produced Stone's Healing Oil, a blood purifier and system builder. It was good for rheumatism, chills, malaria, torpid liver, indigestion, eczema, and bad stomach, to name a few. 

 The D. W. Stone Company also sold a chocolate tablet for constipation, stomach, liver and kidney troubles, chills, malaria, lagrippe, colds and run down systems, is was made from herbs like your great grandfather used and lived to be 90 to 100 years old, why? Because this is nature's way of cleansing the system, purifying the blood, without any ill effects upon the nerves, so his ad's told us.

Some of the businesses that sold Stone's Medicine supplies were: in Marion they were available by Haynes & Taylor Drug Store; at Tolu by R. H. Lowry & Co.; in Salem the Farris Drug Co.; at Deanwood by J. N. Dean; and at Sheridan by A. J. Bebout & Son.
Local resident, Miss Helen Moore, who is now in her late 90's, shares with us that Daniel Webster Stone, was the head of the Stone's business operation.

Mr. Stone ordered the wonder tablets through the mail, and they would arrive in a large can. The tablets were orange and made of a herb type mixture. The tablets would be re-packed in little packages that had Stone's Special Tablets printed on the label. 

After the tablets were repackaged and ready to sell, Mr. Stone would travel to the communities in the county and sell his product to the Drug Stores. He also had a mail order business for his miracle tablets. 

Miss Moore remembers when her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth "Bessie" Moore, would help with the packaging of the tablets when the Stone's got behind in their orders. The Stone residence, although getting in bad condition, is still standing today, located East Bellville St. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Marion Bargain Days- 1931

With the promoting of small business days coming soon, let's look back at a few of Marion's Bargain Days that was created in 1931 to promote some of the town's businesses.  Marion's main street from East Bellville for two blocks were once filled with many different kinds of stores.

They were looking for large crowds of shoppers to invade the stores during the three day community sale.  Shoppers were advised to come early tht they might partake of the many values. 

Taylor and Cannon located in the Masonic build on the corner of Main and Bellville Streets, was one of the county's best known dry good stores.  (Later this store would become Hunt's Department Store.)

All three member of the firm, Gus Taylor, C. W. Lamb and J. Doyle Vaughn are Masons. Mr. Taylor, the senior member of the firm has been in the dry goods business in Marion for the past thirty years and was in business my himself at the beginning. His store has always been located in the same block and since the construction of the present Masonic temple after the destructive fire of 1905, the Taylor store has occupied the same building.

For seventeen years Mr. Taylor had for his partner, W. D. Cannan. In 1918, after Mr. Cannan disposed of is interest, C. A. Taylor became a member of the firm and the business was operated as Taylor and Taylor.
In 1924 the present firm was organized. All three devote their full time to the business. Miss Louise Love is employed as clerk. The store prides itself on the high quality of material sold, which includes dry goods, shoes, ladies, ready-to-wear and men's furnishings.


                                   Yandell and Gugenheim is Oldest Store

Yandell-Gugenheim Company, local dry goods dealers, has the oldest merchantile establishment in Marion, this business being well over forty years old. Years ago Samuel Gugenheim was the owner of a dry goods store here and Pierce and Yandell another. Several years before the beginning of the twentieth century these two stores were consolidated and became known as Pierce, Yandell and Gugenheim. The Pierce referred to is the late J. P. Pierce, who later retired from the business, which since that time has gone under the firm name of Yandell-Gugenheim Company.

Partners in the business are W. B. Yandell, Samuel Gugenheim and R. B. Cook who are assisted in the business by Samuel A. Gugenheim and Ernest Butler. Mr. Cook first became connected with the business about thirty-five years ago. Mr. Butler has been with the store twenty-four years.

Every individual connected with the store has for years been connected actively with community affairs and by their business policies they have won the warm friendship of their fellow citizens. Their store stands on one of the business corners in Marion.

Yandell-Gughenheim and Company has long been one of Marion's most successful stores and it is prophesied that continued good patronage will follow them. (This store was located where Frazer and Massey's Law Office is today.)


                                                             City Drug Store

It is owned and managed by two of Marion's youngest business men, Ted Frazer and G. N. Rankin, both of them born and reared in Marion. In addition to the proprietors two clerks are employed, Bernal Hill and Chastain Frazer.

At least two reasons may be assigned as to why the City Drug Store has so quickly taken its place in the foremost ranks of local business establishments. First, the store itself, attractive and well lighted, is modern in every respect, from its up-to-date soda fountain, its line of drug sundries and novelties to a complete prescription department with a graduate, registered pharmacist in charge; second the modern business method and progressive ideas of the owners, who identify themselves with every movement for civic betterment and community progress.

The City Drug Company occupies two floors of the Flanary building on Main Street. On the first is located the soda fountain, the prescription department, and well stocked cases of cosmetics, toiletries and novelties.
The wall paper, paint and glass department is located on the second floor. Here they have two complete lines of wall paper on display at a price range of five cents per roll up.

(The City Drug Store, as the articles speaks of, closed on May 14, 1992)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Forgotten Korean War Veteran To Get Tribute

A forgotten man in a long ago war, Junior Raymond "J. R." McDowell is finally being recognized for making the ultimate sacrifice for his county during the Koren War.

McDowell, a Crittenden County native, was killed early in the war that started when communist forces from North Korea invaded South Korea in the summer of 1950.

Until just recently his name had not been among those engraved on granite crosses at the Mapleview Cemetery war memorial in Marion.  It is still a mystery how this Crittenden County war hero somehow was accidentally left off the KIA list.

After finding a notice in the Sept. 8, 1950 Crittenden Press, that read Sargent McDowell, Jr., son of Lou Vena McDowell has been reported missing in action in Korea since July 25, 1950 and then in Dec. 1955, an obituary was published.  "The body of Sergeant First Class Junior Raymond McDowell, who died in Korea, Nov. 6, 1950, will arrive at the Hunt Funeral Home in Marion Sat. morning, Dec. 10, 1955. Funeral services will be conducted at Sugar Grove Church, with full military rites.  
Survivors include his mother, Mrs. Lou Vena McDowell, Marion, two sisters, Mrs. Geneva James, Marion and Mrs. Ruth Rogalski, Detroit; one brother, James Dalton, Dalton, Ky.; two half-brothers, Herbert McDowell, Dalton, and Hobart McDowell, Princeton.

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, a public ceremony is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Mapleview Cemetery where McDowell's cross will be dedicated.  Joining the ranks of those for fellow Korean War casualties and dozens of other men killed during World War II and the Vietnam War. 
We salute you Sgt. Junior R. McDowell, 
may your sacrifice never be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dairy Farms

Several years ago Crittenden County had several farms.  There are none in the county today.  

One of these dairy farmers once said "it's the only kind of farming with a regular income, but is is confining, you milk twice a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  If it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, it doesn't matter, you go milk, if you got pneumonia, you go milk, if someone in the family dies, you bury them and go milk."

One of these farmers that operated a dairy farm in the 1920's was Paul I. Paris.  It was located about 2 miles East of Marion on Hwy. 120.  Mr. Paris sold and delivered bottled milk to Marion each day.

He also sold milk to the Evansville branch of Trice State Milk and Butter Company.  He would take his buckboard wagon full of his milk in the metal cans to the depot in Marion each morning.  There he would send a load of milk to Evansille, and pick up the empty cans from the shipment the day before.  This would be a regular two mile trip each day.

Another creamery that many of our local farmers used to sell their milk was the Sugar Creek Creamery in Evansville, Ind. 

 The 5-gallon cans of milk would be left at the local depots, Marion, Crayne, Mexico, Repton, and Nunn Switch. 

The passenger trains that ran through the county, twice a day, on their return trip to Evansville, would stop at the depots and pick up the full cans of milk and deliver them to the creamery in Evansville.

The next day on the return trip through Crittenden County the empty cans would again be left at the depots. 

This old cream can of yesteryear belonged to Mrs. Addie Vaughn of the Hebron community.  The little metal plate has her name and location where to leave the empty can.

These milk cans that were such a necessity for farmers, that had to have them to transport their milk to the creamery, over the years have become a treasured piece of family heritage.  

They are also used a decorative pieces for homes and a novelty item to display on porches.  They are also sold in antique stores as a piece of our past history.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Crittenden County's Old Court House

Nov. 29, 1959.  By November 1961, there should be standing on the present site of the antiqued and dilapidated Crittenden County  Courthouse a modern structure, the fourth on this location since the county was established in 1842.

Voters at the November 3, 1959 election approved by the overwhelming margin of 2,437 to 624 a $175,000 bond issue for building a new courthouse. 

Construction is expected to get under way by mid-spring of 1960.  Still to be decided is whether the old building will be razed at the start or the new structure built around the old one and it torn down after the new one is completed.

Crittenden county's first two courthouses were destroyed by fire, the first set fire by Confederate renegades because the courthouse was being used as a barracks by Union soldiers during the Civil War.   (All the records were saved, although some people think that we lost those early county records, they were removed before the fire was set.)  The second

The second court house fire was accidentally set by a tinner who was repairing the roof and left his hot tar sitting on the wooden shingles. 

The third court house, the one being torn down in the pictures was built in 1871, and served the county well until it was torn down in 1961.  

The walls came tumbling down on the once beautiful historic old court house in the fall of 1960.  Wreckers from the Colonial Brick Company of Mt. Vernon, Indiana. figured it would take about two jerks by a truck to pull the front portion down.  Lines were attached to the wall and the truck and work was started.  A downpour of rain put a stop to the proceedings, (perhaps saddened to see the old building torn down) and the workers had to finish the razing the next day.

The new modern courthouse was dedicated on December 9, 1961.  It is still being used today.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Abia "Abe" Benjamin Rankin, Crittenden County Pioneer

Abia Benjamin Rankin, familiarly known as "Uncle Abe" was born in Henderson County , the son of John and Elizabeth Clay Rankin.

Abe began working on the Ohio River when a young man, loading flatboats and piloting them down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans.  

On one such trip he traded his boat for the tract of land between Ford's Ferry and Weston, from which the Damn 50 Reservation site was sold.  He brought his family here about 1858 and he continued to run the flatboats down the river.

He conceived the idea of planting 1,000 winter apple trees and when their fruit was harvested he planned on loading them on his flatboat and taking them to New Orleans.  When the trees came into bearing they turned out to be summer apples and there was not much could be done with them, it seemed they overdid themselves in their production.

A cider mill was set-up under the trees and barrels of cider were taken south by flatboat.  People came from all around and made what cider they wanted and left without ever going to the house, it turned into a community orchard.

Uncle Abe, tho never much of a farmer, had a yen for "bidding in" any tract of land that was sold at the Court house door, if it joined his tract.  At his death, he owned twelve or fifteen hundred acres, extending from the river for many miles around, including Ford's Ferry island. Mr. Rankin died May 23, 1898 and is buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery.

Abe Rankin's first wife was Sarah Ann Smith of Illinois, the mother of Ben, Jim and Tom; after his first wife's death (Sept. 1, 1865, Mt. Zion Cem) he married Nancy Heath of Tennessee, who was the mother of Lee Rankin and Sallie Rankin Holeman.  All five of these children spent their entire lives in Crittenden County.
(2nd wife, Nancy Heath Rankin died April 20, 1910, also buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery)

(Story was shared with The Crittenden Press, Nov. 1955, by Sadie Rankin Terry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

1951 Crittenden County High School Graduating Class - Special Memories

On Sept. 17th, 2016, the 1951 graduating class of Crittenden County High School held their last reunion.  This class holds a special place in the history of the Crittenden County Schools, as they were the first graduating class of the new High School.

All reunions are special and a much looked forward to event.  This reunion was a bitter-sweet one for these last few remaining classmates.

The Crittenden County High School was created in 1950-51.  This new High School was built for the purpose of closing the four county high schools, which were Mattoon, Shady Grove, France and Tolu.  

The county high schools had dwindled in student number until there was only 3 or 4 graduates at the schools.  Tolu School was probably the largest with the most students.  

All four of these county high schools made up the new Crittenden County High School.  What an exciting adventure and learning experience for these students.

They had a reunion every 5 years since they graduated in May of 1951.  There were several reasons they decided that this reunion would be there last.  Bad health, unable to travel long distances to the reunion and the age factor were all reasons they felt it was time to end the gatherings.

Here are the people that were able to attend their 65th reunion.
Front row/left to right.  Hazel Greenlee Guess, Jerry Hughes Beavers, Wanda Easley Ditty, Mildred Underdown Delaplane, Clara Nation Brinkley, Doris Oliver Brasher, Louis Wilson Howerton.
Back Row: Betty Linzy Young, Ray Belt, Paul Davenport, Brooks Travis, Erroll Leet, Robert Brantley, Harold Woodside, Clayton Shewcraft and Anna Walker Herzer.

A more detailed article will be in the Crittenden Press on October 20th.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Historical Highway Markers

Crittenden County is fortunate enough to have had people to care enough about their past history to get Kentucky Highway Historical Markers erected at different important location in the county.

At the junction of Highway 60 East and State Road 654 N, about 6 miles from Marion, is a important marker telling of the Flynn's Ferry road and importance of that road.

 And on the reverse side, telling a short history of Weston, a once prospering river port town.

Acquiring these Historical Markers, is an expensive and very time consuming application to fill out.  I'm afraid they aren't really noticed much now days, much less taking the time to stop and read what they say. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Electricity In Crittenden County

This interesting history article appeared in The Crittenden Press in 1959.

The first electricity was put in Marion, Kentucky in 1900 by R. W. Wilson.  This small plant consisted of a 100 horsepower steam engine which would produce 1150 volts, single phase.

This was the best thing that ever happened to Crittenden County in an improvement toward its future business production.

This power plant was located on Depot Street near the railroad.  It was a very small plant that only ran at night.  There was a special time for people with electric washers to wash their clothes, which was on Tuesday morning.

The plant ran on Thursday morning until dinner so people with electric irons could iron their clothes.

The plant had a moonlight schedule, which meant they didn't burn the street light on a moonlight night.

In 1921 Mr. Marshall Jenkins, who had taken over the plant in 1915, put in two diesel engines.  One hundred horsepower and one fifty horsepower, 1150 volts three phase.  They ran steam in the day and diesel at night.

The only line going out South Main in 1900-1920 was one line going to Travis Street.

The Curry Nichols place (where the Crittenden Health Nursing Home is now) was the only one to have electricity in that neighborhood.  Nobody had electricity on Cherry Street.

In 1926 the Kentucky Utilities Company bought out Mr. Jenkins.  They ran lines to Mexico, Dycusburg, Frances, and Crayne.  

This helped the natural resources very much, thus enabling  the mines of that area to operate much better and they could get out more ore and ship out more.
In 1942 the R. E. A. came into the county.  The line ran down the Ohio River bottoms to Weston, to Dam 50, and to Tolu.  From Tolu the lines of the R. E. A. went all over the county.

Thus electricity again helped the county for this enable farmers to have electricity on the farm. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hills Dale Methodist Church

One of our old churches that has faded into the past, without much history recorded or any known pictures of it for us to see, is New Salem or Hills Chapel Methodist church. 

It was one of the first churches established in the county with it's beginnings starting in the 1830's.

The first structure sat on the little knoll on the left side of Copperas Spring Road (Flynn's Ferry Rd.) a short distance before you reach Piney Fork Cheek, just across the road from the James Conger Rd.

This building burned, as so many of the log structures did in those early days, and then the congregation was moved to a location near Tribune. 

They remained there for several years and then moved to where the Copperas Springs School house used to be, in front of where Paul Edward and Ruby Crowell live today.  (The old school has been torn down)

From this location it was moved back to Tribune in a new wooden frame structure and the named changed to Hill's Chapel, named for the person who donated the land for the new church.

Uncle Billy Joel Hill, as he was known to everyone, donated the ground for the new church house.  It sat on the left side of the road in the corner from Hwy. 120 and Hwy. 654 south.

The building burnt in the 1950's and the congregation formed the Union Grove Church that was located close to the Repton bridge on Hy 60 East.

In 1918 in honor of the Crittenden County boys serving in WW I.  Felta Virginia Hill designed and made the service flag in this picture.  A star for each young man in service.  It was dedicated to the Church.
Left to right:  John Marshall Hill, Ettie Maydew Hill, Felta Virginia Hill, Mary Adelia Hill and Henry Clay Hill.  This was the "Hill Family" of Tribune.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Towns of 1890

In a special Illustrated Edition of The Crittenden Press in August 1894, it tells about "Towns" in Crittenden County.
  • Tolu is located on the Ohio River, and is situated in the midst of a fine farming district giving it prominence, to say nothing of its importance as a shipping point.  There are dry good stores, groceries, a hard-war store, a gristmill, a sawmill, repair shops and other industries that go to make a thriving village.  The town was founded by J. W. Guess, some years ago, and has grown right a long.
  • Fords Ferry is one of the busiest towns of the county.  Early in the century it was a great crossing place and it is associated with the name of Ford.  The town has lost much of its ancient glory, but there is still considerable shipping don from that point, and there is one large general merchandise store and other smaller business affairs.
  • Weston is also on the Ohio River and is still a good business point.  The stores have good stocks of goods, and the cheap river freight rates gives it some advantages.  A good schoolhouse and church are among the institutions of the town.
  • Shady Grove is on the line that divides Crittenden and Caldwell counties and is not for from Webster and neighbors with Hopkins Co.  There are several stores in Shady Grove and the merchants enjoy a good patronage.  In the village are merchants, doctors, and ministers, and all the industries that make a complete community.
  • Iron Hill is a post office and country store, on the Marion and Shady Grove Road and a good deal of business is done there.
  • Repton is a new town new the Ohio Valley Railroad.  The railroad is a shipping point for a large scope of the surrounding country. There is a good store and the town promises to grow.
  • Crayneville is one of the most prosperous towns on the Ohio Valley Railroad.  There are two splendid business men here that run grocery stores and they keep goods stocked.  They have a small depot and a large tobacco factory.
  • Frances between Crayneville and Dycusburg, is a post office.  It has three stores and some good citizens.  Here is also located Liberty Lodge F. & A. M. and they have a nice hall.
  • View, another post office, is near A. H. Cardin's farm.  A well-filled country store, handled by a thrifty, stirring business man, and a splendid blacksmith shop constitute the business portion of the town.
  • Levias gets daily mail from Marion, has three stores and other enterprises.  There are some good business men here.
  • Sheridan has three stores, a blacksmith shop, a Masonic Hall and plenty of good citizens.  A daily mail runs out to Sheridan from Marion, and by Irma, another post office, and a good business point to Tolu.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Oak Hall Box Supper

In October of 1939, one of our little county schools was getting ready for a fun night at their school.  Probably to help raise some money for items needed at the school.  These were much looked forward to events, and the custom carried on for many years.

The old Oak Hall school.  Located on the old Ford's Ferry Road about six miles from Marion.  

The school was made from pupils from the Forest Grove district and the Heath district.

The schoolhouse was used through the summer months for church and preaching occasionally.  

The school formed a Literary Society and would meet every other Friday night.  The school children with the help of their teacher, gave programs, speeches, debates and recreation.  

An ad to announce the Box Supper to be held.
Don't forget the box supper at Oak  Hall Friday night, Oct. 6th.  Everybody come.  
If your think you are too old come - bring a box and see how young you feel -
 if you think you are too young - come and bring a box and see how "grown up" you feel.

These county schools formed a close social group with their community and everyone knew each other and worked together like a family.  That is why these schools were so important for a community.  

I attended Crayne school in the community of Crayne.  Although a few years later than this advertisement, we still had Box Suppers to raise funds for the school, what fun they were.  

Wonderful times to remember.  Thankful to have these memories.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Press Scribe Visits Shady Grove

Mr. J. B. McNeely, was the press scribe back in the year of 1912. As he visited all the little towns selling advertisements for the paper, he would write about them and then share the news with the readers of the Press.   Through these entertaining articles we can learn a lot of history about our towns of long ago.

August 25, 1912
Shady Grove is situated in the eastern part of Crittenden County near the Webster County line.  It is a village of about three hundred inhabitants and the merchants are enjoying a good trade.  
There are three dry good stores, one drug store, grist mill, post office and cold drink stand.  Here are the names of the business firms as we take them from our note book.  
  • Drs. Jeff McConnell and G. C. Collins are the physicians, and there are no better to be found in this end of the State.  They carry a stock of drugs in connection with their professional trade.
  • Owen Beard wants to sell you cold drinks.  Give him a call.
  • Messrs J. H. Lamb and W. F. McDowell are the blacksmiths and they can make anything from a horseshoe nail to a steam thresher.
  • Mrs. B. C. Birchfield wants to supply you in  the latest styles of ladies hats.  Call and see her.
  • Fred Lemon wants to trade with you, he handles a variety of goods.
  • W. D. Tudor is the postmaster and no better can be found than Willie Tudor.  He is polite and attentive to everyone that has business with him.  
  • T. C. Land is the barber; he is careful in his work and gives satisfaction.
  • Richard McDowell is the carpenter and is kept busy.
  • Tudor and Horning are dealers in general merchandise and controls a large trade, in fact, all that Shady Grove need to do is advertise her business for she is situated so as to draw a large trade.
  • Sheck C. Towery and wife, Josie, keep one of the best hotels in this section of the state.
  • Opportunity for worship is well provided for.  There are two churches, Baptist and Methodist.  
  • There is also a splendid school building.
All this wonderful old establishment buildings are gone now, only the Baptist Church building is still standing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hunt Brothers Feed Store

In January 1984, one of Marion's favorite stores was getting ready to close it's doors.  It had to happen sooner or later.  But the closing of Hunt Brothers Feed Store would be a sad day for many friends and customers.

The feed store was always a favorite loafing place for folks with a little time on their hands.  A good game of checkers or just a laugh or two could always be found at Hunt Brothers, and the 35-cent soft drinks were an attraction too.

But time just wouldn't stand still for the feed store.  After nearly 30 years in business at the East Bellville Street location, an era had ended.

The feed store opened its doors for the first time July 1, 1954, as Guess and Hunt, a partnership between Bill Hunt and Homer Guess.

On Jan. 1, the following year, 1955, John A. Hunt bought out Guess and the name became Hunt Brothers.

A few year later, in January of 1959, Arnold 'Shorty" Hunt replaced John A. in the business after John A's health wouldn't allow him to continue to operate the store.

Since then Shorty and Bill became fixtures in the place, and they catered to the needs of even the smallest gardener.  

Over the years, as the feed mills came to town, the large volume feed and seed business dropped off.  Where the store once sold 25 tons of feed per month, recent sales dropped to about one ton per month.  

But the slack was taken up by the paint business which remained good all along.  The store started with a line of Jim Martin paint, and also sold Vanex Color, Inc., paints.  

After 30 years of faithful service to the public, the friends and customers would miss stopping by Hunt Bros., and Bill and Shorty said they would also miss their good customers and friends.

Just one of our old county stores that has left good memories for a lot of people, and good memories of some fine Crittenden County folks.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Marion's Cannery

In 1943, Mr. W. R. Winfrey, county extension agent was working to get Marion to have a community cannery.  

A boiler was needed to establish the local center, after the boiler was accrued and placed the other equipment would be gotten without delay.  

The best location was found to be behind the Marion High School building on College Street.  (The building is still standing today.  It was later used as a Band room for Marion High School and then the location of the mentally challenged pupils.  Today it is an apartment.)

In August 1943 the cannery was ready for operations.  Facilities were available to anyone at the rate of two cents per can, or anyone could bring their own jars and lids if they wanted to.  If you didn't, these items could also be purchased at the cannery.

Someone would be present who was acquainted with the use of the equipment and proper methods of preparing foods for canning and preserving them.

All cans were to be sealed electrically with skilled workmen to handle the operation of the sealer.

The cannery was open all day and and also at night.  It was also equipped with tables and everything that was needed to prepare your meats and vegetables for canning.  There was only a small fee charged for people that did their own work, it was to pay for fuel, water and electricity.

In October of that year the Press tells that over 4,000 cans of corn and pumpkin had been cleaned, prepared, processed and canned by approximately 100 families.  Eighteen pints of jelly was made in 30 minutes and more than 2,000 quarts of vegetables canned.

In July of 1951 the cannery was still open and running, on a three day week schedule.

I don't have any information on when the cannery closed down or what happened to the machinery that was used.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Beginning of Repton Community

The Ohio Valley Rail Road began construction of its tracks along a right-of-way which bisected the Old Mattoon flats or camp-ground in the late 1880's.

 It was the practice of the Railroad company to set up supply-points for their construction crews along the route, unless there were already town or villages nearby which could be reached, and these spots were selected considering the later establishment of depots and loading pens.

As the tracks ran a mile south of Moore's store at Mattoon and a few miles north of Willow Grove, (near the entrance of Wilson Farm Rd.) the OVRR set the supply point at the railroad crossing of the Marion-Fishtrap Road near the Repton Branch bridge. 

Two merchants from Union County, Silas McMurray and J. S. Sullivant were coaxed by the Railroad into building two general merchandise stores on this site. 

 The busy little village of Repton soon sprang up around the stores and the railroad tracks as a depot, warehouses and extensive loading pens for livestock were built along the switch tract there.   

This picture was made in 1997, just two years before the railroad tracks were removed.  In the early days, the large stock pens were located to the left of the little depot.  Farmers drove their stock here from as far away as Weston and Bells Mines to be held until they could be loaded on the train cars and hauled to the stock yard in Evansville, Ind.

There was also a Post Office established here and a Repton Baptist Church built a short way from the center of town not far from the little depot office.  The Repton Post Office was discontinued in January 1958, with it become Marion, Route 7 & 8.

In 1957 the Repton Baptist Church was discontinued at this location and a new church was built near the village of Mattoon near Highway 60.  It is still an active church today.

The situation remained static, with population and business centers at Moore's store and Repton in the neighborhood, until the advent of the modern transcontinental highway system with the construction of U. S. 60 in the mind-1920's.

 The new highway bypassed far to the north of Repton, taking the business, which now began to flow more and more on the wheels of the automobile, away from that village. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Marion's First Brickyard

 The old office of the Travis Brick yard.  Torn down many years ago.

After the close of the Civil War, the great increase in the business zone in Marion, plus the movement of freed slaves from the farms to the cities to secure employment, called for additional mercantile lots and an increased industries for Marion.

Herod Travis, a former slave, got several former brick-maker's together and founded the Kiln that produced most of the brick, if not all, used in Marion's construction before 1917.

Many of these brick-maker's had learned how to make brick while they worked on their former owner's farms through out the county.  Several of these rural farmers had small brick making operations so that they were able to have their own bricks made for their homes and outbuildings.  The bricks were hand-made and sun dried from the abundant Crittenden County clay.

A picture of some of the early hand-made, sun-dried bricks.

 The brick making office was located at the corner of North Maple and Travis Streets.  Travis Street, today, was named for Herod Travis.

Herod Travis died Dec. 7, 1899, and has a stone in the old Colored Marion Cemetery, located at the end of Weldon St.  He might be called the "father" of his people, the honored and revered "Uncle" of his race.  He was industrious and frugal; he had many good business qualities, keen, but strictly honest.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grocery Stores of The Past

Truly a thing of the past, the little groceries stores of years ago.  How I miss the old county grocery stores.  There used to be several located in all the little communities in our county.  All you would need you could find at these stores.  So wonderful to have grown up during the time that these communities and grocery stores were alive and doing well.

Here are some that were located in the small community of Crayne, my hometown.

Dorroh Bros. store was located near the railroad track on the northern end of our community.

James Franklin Dorroh came to Crayne and went to work for  Mr.Hugh Glenn.  He soon purchased the building and stock of good, and he spent his life in this business.

Later his sons and daughter operated the business from around 1892 to the late 1940's.

Pictured left to right:  Eugene and Robert Dorroh. 

This is the Brown's General Store, Walter and Lois Brown.

 Dully Baird is resting on the bench.

Those wonderful old wooden store benches, what memories they bring back. 

This building burned in 1959. 

One of the grocery stores that Crayne used to have was the Myers Grocery.  It was owned and operated by Allie and Mary Emma (Dorroh) Myers.  The block building was built in 1960, on the location of the former Dorroh's Store.  The inventory consisted of groceries and some hardware.

This is a picture of the store in 1961.  In the picture are left to right: Henry Ordway, Allie Kirk and Mr. Allie Myers, owner of the store.

Later they sold the inventory to a Mr. and Mrs. Locket Nunn of Sturgis.  in 1964 Mr. and Mrs. Nunn moved the store inventory to old Kuttawa.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Some Fluorspar History from Crittenden County in 1902

The Kentucky Fluor Spar Company is the only company in America that is able to fill their contracts and orders at the time specified.  Located near the depot at Marion in close access to the railroad.

The three great reserve dumps at Marion, at Mexico and at Crayneville, on the Illinois Central Railroad, enable the company to do this.  Good weather, bad weather, or muddy roads make no different.  Scores of teams and wagons do the hauling to the railroad and hundreds of men are at work in the mines.

The Eagle Fluor Spar Company of Wheeling W. Virginia have a great vein of this spar gravel in their Asbridge mine, situated near Mexico station.  The mining and raising of their product is carried on systematically and economically and a large tonnage is shipped for fluxing purposes.

The Crittenden County Lead, Zinc and Fluor spar company own lands in the immediate vicinity of the well known Memphis mine, a great producer of the best kind of grinding fluor spar. 

Located three miles west of Frances on Claylick Creek was the Riley Mine.  

(1905)  Very few people of Marion are aware that one of the best-concentrated zinc plants in this country is within a two hour ride by buggy from Marion.

  The concentrating plant is on an eminence several hundred feet above the territory surrounding it and here the shaft, 174 feet deep has been sunk and around about it has been erected a plant the equal of any in America.  

At present hundred of tons of ore rough, are on the dumps and also many tons of crushed ore and concentrates.    One feature of the plant is the reservoirs, two of which are located at the mill on the hill, and one in the creek with a depth of 9 feet, which two steam pumps throw the water to the reservoirs on the hill.
Did you know that Crittenden  County sent a very large mineral exhibit to the great 1903 World's Fair that was held in St. Louis?  It must have been an  impressive sight  to behold.

In the exhibit ores, forwarded by Blue & Nunn from the "Old Jim" mine were two huge lumps of sulphide of zinc, each weighing over 3,000 lbs., the two aggregating 3 tons; also one immense piece of mixed galena was sent weighing over 1,000 lbs.

The exhibit carload also contained a most impressive lot of choice fluor spar, as well as typical grades of fluor spar, several different colors of purple, blues, yellows and white, some of them weighing more than a ton each and are beautiful to look upon in their pearly luster.

(What a treasure of history we would have if only some pictures of this wonderful load of Crittenden County minerals had been taken and saved at the World's Fair of 1903.)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Geneva Dycus bids good-bye to her home in Dycusburg in 2001

Geneva Cooksey Dycus shared some memories of her home in Dycusburg that she had spent 93 years in.  She was born in this home. She had decided that due to some health problems she needed to give up her family home and move to an apartment in Marion.

She had lived in the house almost her entire life.  She moved to teach for several years but otherwise she had lived in the Dycusburg home.  After her husbands' death in 1946, and her daughter moving away in the early 1950s, Dycus had lived alone.

I've lived a wonderful life here.  Dycusburg is the greatest place to me, she said.

Mrs.  Dycus said she wouldn't have a hard time adjusting to life in town, she remembers when Dcusburg was a booming river town.

We had five grocery stores, an ice cream parlor and many other businesses.  

She also remembers when boats would dock in Dycusburg, many of the deckhands would come up to her house.  Hr parents and others would play music and they would dance way into the night.

She has had many positive memories of her home, however, there have been two unfortunate occasions when the home was broken into.  But despite these break-ins, she has never been afraid to live there.  

The home was built in 1857 by Mrs. Dycus' grandparents, Theopolis and Harriet Jacob Cooksey.  Then it became the home of their son and Mrs. Dycus' father, Robert P. Cooksey and family.   

Geneva Cooksey Dycus and husband Mark Dycus was deeded the home in Oct. 1936 by Mr. Cooksey.

Mrs. Geneva Cooksey Dycus, didin't live long after she moved to Marion, only a few months later she died Oct. 16, 2001 and is buried next to her husband in the Dycusburg Cemetery.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Eberle Hardin & Co.

In the late 19th century most whiskey was sold by the barrel to a liquor store, druggist or tavern. The whiskey was then sold to consumers who would often bring in their own bottle or jug, but distilleries and rectifiers often offered jugs for sale to the consumer.

What a treasure it would be to have one of Marion's old whiskey jugs from years ago when spirits or vinous liquors were legally sold.   

Marion at one time in the early 1900's had several saloons and drug stores along Main Street that had license to sell these.  

Some of these places had their own stone jugs made for use and for advertisement of their stores.

One of these places was the Eberle & Hardin, Co. Saloon.  It was located on Main Street next to Orme Drug Co., which also sold whiskey.

Here is a picture of one of the wonderful old jugs from the Eberle Hardin & Co.   cira. 1905. 

An advertisement from the Crittenden Press August 1905.  Although the business location burnt in the March 1905 fire that destroyed all of Marion's mainstreet businesses, the company must have set up somewhere else to sell their wares, as the advertisement was dated August 1905.  They didn't rebuilt their place of business back after the fire.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Stores Close on Wednesdays

Remember when Marion would just about close down come Wednesday at noon?  Most all the business on Main Street would close up at noon.  

Here is an interesting article from The Crittenden Press, April 19, 1957.

Most businesses in Marion will close at noon Wednesday from May 1 to September 25 as the result of a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting was called by Gene Beard, acting president of the Businessmen's Association, and was attended by representatives of 27 Marion business houses.

Others had sent word they would go along with the group's decision on the matter.

Votes at the meeting first approved the principle of closing one afternoon a week during the summer, then chose the period the practice was to remain in  effect, then decided to retain Wednesday as the closing day.

Voted down were supporters of both longer and shorter inclusive periods, and setting Thursday as closing day, desired by some to provide an afternoon off without having to return to town for prayer meeting and to meet Princeton's off day.

As has been the practice in past years, stores will remain open Wednesday afternoons when a national holiday falls during the same week.

Stores and offices agreeing to close Wednesdays were:
  • T. H. Cochran & Co.
  • Hill's Hardware,
  • Hunt's Department Store
  • Williams Department Store
  • Marion Dry Cleaners
  • The Peoples Bank
  • Franklin-Biggs
  • Phelps Grocery
  • Woodall Insurance Agency
  • Farmers Bank & Trust Co
  • Andrews' Jewelers
  • Fritts Grocery
  • Red Front
  • City Barbara Shop
  • Arflack Radio & TV
  • Johnson Electric Co.
  • McConnell Barber Shop
  • Grady's Super Market
  • Marion Barber Shop
  • Taylor & Vaughan
  • Western Auto Associate Store
  • Rose Cleaners
  • Cox Five and Dime Store
  • Crittenden Grocery
  • Ben Franklin Store
  • Marion Shoe Store
  • South's Grocery
  • Aubrey Grady & Co.
Sad now to see our main street so empty of businesses, only The People's Bank and Farmers Bank & Trust are still in Business.   Their hours are on Main Street are different from the older days, as they are open Mon-Fri, 8:30 to 4:30 and closed on Sat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Regarding the Piney Fork Camp Meeting- 1905

This interesting article appeared in The Crittenden Press in 1905.  -

 Regarding the Piney Camp Meeting Postponement.  August 25, 1905.
Yes, the camp meeting was postponed at Piney.  The writer of this article think the church did a righteous deed in not having camp meeting this year.  

Yes, there is always some soul saved without doubt, but there are at the close of the meetings so many nearer hell than they were before.  For many years some have gone away from camp meeting with stained characters and heart-broken parents.

Yes, they have been having camp meetings at Piney Fork for nearly a hundred years, but the camp meeting now are not like they used to be.  Years ago people would come from miles away to camp meeting, but they came to honor God.  Nowadays it is more of a picnic than anything else.  The people go and camp, but they don't do so in order that they may honor God, but merely to have a good time and be in in the fashion.

There are some faithful ones, I know, but what can they do with the sinners when there is everything that can be thought of to draw them away?   There are six or eight stands every year and the Lord only knows what they sell.

As I said before, some will go just to have a good time.  Yes, they will sit at their camps in time of meeting talking and laughing with their friends.  I have heard so many say:  "Well, I would not go to camp meeting, only I see so many people I never see any other time."  The Lord is not going to bless people until they come to Him right.

I think they would do away with camp meeting and have protracted meeting they would do more good.  I have heard many of the Piney Fork members say they would rather have a protracted meeting, then maybe those who came would do some good.  

Anyway we would not have all these stands to draw the people away.  Oh, that the people of God would pray earnestly for a revival throughout our country.

When we used to go to Piney Fork to the camp meeting the people would leave their camps when the horn blew and there were quite a number of times the shed wouldn't hold them - they would come as close as they could to hear the gospel and their meeting did good back in those days.  Now they have the modern bell, and when it rings some will go and others won't - they are now putting on more style.

Three years ago the people began on the first of April, people began preparing for camp meeting.  Every time they met for Sunday school one could hear on every side:  "Well, are you ready for camp meeting?"  There were more finely dressed people than were ever known to be at camp meeting before; and they didn't have much of a meeting either. Some blamed the preacher's wife for not carrying the meeting on longer; some said they would never camp any more.  So I think it would be best to drop camp meeting and have protracted meetings.

May the people of God pray for the up-building of Piney Fork church.  Yes, I say water the the gold plant, but be sure you use the right kind of water, in the fervent desire of one who, for years, has been a  - Silent Observer.
Piney Fork continued to have the Camp Meetings until 1955.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Marion Attorneys At Law in 1895

Attorney's played an important role in our County's early history, for not only did they have many cases in Court at Marion but when the need arose, they would travel to the different districts in the county and would have court there.

 J. W. Blue, Jr. of t he law firm of Blue and DeBoe, was educated in the public school  and Marion Academy, and graduated from the Marion Academy in 1880.  He then entered upon the study of law in his father's office and also supplemented that knowledge by attending lectures in the Louisville Law School, graduating in 1885.

By his oratorical powers and persuasive presentation in addressing a jury, the force of his argument is very powerful. 

John Wm. Blue, Jr., died in 1934 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery. 

John W. Blue, Jr. in 1895.

Wm. J. Deboe the second partner of this firms, also received his early education in the public schools of the
county and at Bethlehem Academy.

After graduation, he taught for five years in Crittenden and adjoining counties.

He then attended Ewing College in Illinois, studying both law and medicine.

He was admitted to the bar in 1889.  His magnetic personality and easily recognizable abilities soon place him among the top attorney's in the area.

William J. Deboe died June 14th, 1927 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Business In A Tent

The business men of Marion didn't sit around idle and wait for a new store to be built after the devastating fire of March 28, 1905 that destroyed all of the east side of Main Street.

 Just a short time after the fire, they had gathered what they had saved from the fire and sit up in tents around the court house square, or in other businesses places that had been saved from the fire.

Here is an ad telling about Woods & Orme, and R. F. Haynes, and how they were doing business.  It's from the Crittenden Press of April 1905.  

Thankful that the Press was spared from the fire, or we wouldn't have these wonderful history items from the past.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Avery Reed Family

A well-known name associated with the mining industry during this time was Avery H. Reed. He was a mining engineer and consultant in the zinc and fluorspar business. His name is mentioned in many of the articles about fluorspar mining in the early 1900's as he opened, and had an interest, in many of the mines here in Crittenden County.

Avery H. Reed and his family lived in Marion in 1902 until 1907, moved away for a few years, and returned to stay in 1911. They lived and raised their family in the beautiful old home that sits 428 South Main.

A while I received a letter from Mr. Ronnie Doyle, a guide at the Mammoth Cave National Park. I wanted to share the letter, I think you will find it interesting also.

Mr. Doyle wrote, I have been intrigued by the name of Avery Reed, Marion, Ky., which is smoked on the ceiling of Mammoth Cave in the Frozen Niagra section, in Sandy Avenue of the New Entrance tour.

The signature is fairly large in size, and excellent penmanship. Whomever this person was they took pride in their penmanship and the appearance of their signature. It also took some time to write this name on the ceiling.

Each time I take a group through this section of the cave I cannot help but wonder who this individual was.

This section of Mammoth Cave was not discovered and opened to the public tour until 1923. This area of the cave was owned by George Morris, who was also a mining engineer, and shown to the public from 1923 to 1931.

In 1931 Mr. Morris sold his section to the State of Kentucky. After this time the public was not allowed to put their names in the cave.

I sent Mr. Doyle information that I was able to find on Mr. Reed, his family, and his profession here in Crittenden County.

 In reply, Mr. Doyle told me the information is now on file in the Mammoth Cave Library, and he shared with us a photo of the smoked signature that is in the cave.

Interesting to know a part of our local people and history is shared with people from all over the United States.

This is a picture of the name in the cave.