Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Early Beginnings of Our County Roads


Some interesting county road names and their origin.

  • Flynn's Ferry Road - As named in the County Court Order book, dated 1845, had already been established and was probably the earliest trail through the county.  It was George Flynn, who opened his Ohio River ferry in 1803, and caused the widening of the trace or trail into a wagon road.  This wagon road was improved all the way from Flynn's Ferry landing to the the home of William Prince, who lived at the big spring, which later became the site of Princeton.  When the early pioneer migration started the Flynn's Ferry Road became the main highway for the overland-traveling pioneers to Illinois and the trans-Mississippi region to the west and northwest, and it is said that a covered wagon was always visible on this road.
  • Ford's Ferry Road - Was named after James Ford that ran a ferry from the Kentucky side to the Illinois side of the river.  In the early days before we were Crittenden County, this was also a main trail that was traveled to get to Fords Ferry in order to cross the river to the Illinois side.  The little village where the ferry was located was also named Ford's Ferry.
  • Daniel's Ridge Road - Was named for the Drury M. Daniel family that lived there.  The Daniel's family was an early pioneer family that came to Crittenden County from Bedford Co. Tennessee in 1850 and settled in the area.  Drury M. Daniel was a country Doctor, he was engaged in the practice of medicine in the county for 24 years.
  • Cotton Patch Hill Road - According to Uncle Bob Heath, an old gentleman of years past, tells us that in the 1800's a wild, fierce woman, named Mrs. Clayton settled on what we know as Cotton Patch Hill.  Here she built a cabin, hunted wild animals, and cleared and fenced about an acre of ground on which she planted cotton.  After living on the hill a few  years she went away as suddenly as she came.  After she left the hill was always referred to as "Cotton Patch Hill."
  • Nunn Switch Road - Back in the 1880's the family of Samuel and Sarah Nunn lived in this area.  In 1886, the Illinois Central Railway bought their home place and some of their land, as it was needed for the new railorad that would be coming through the county.  The extra land was needed for a place to build a depot and loading pens.  After the Nunn's sold part of their land to the railroad the depot was built there, and it was given the name of Nunn's Swith.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Noirma Club Of Marion


The Noirma Club of Marion.  Mrs. J. W. Blue, Mrs. G. M. Crider, Mrs. Charles Evans, Mrs. T. H. cochran, Mrs. A. Wilborn, mrs. W. B. Yandell, Mrs. Carrie Maxwell, Mrs. J. T. Franks, Mrs. A Dewey, Mrs. P. H. Woods, Miss Nellie Walker, Mrs. S. M. Jenkins, Mrs. J. H. Orme, Mrs. G. C. Gray, Mrs. R,. F. Haynes, Mrs. J. J. Clark, Mrs. H. A. Haynes, Mrs. H. K. Woods.

Oh yes, Marion in its day had societies for the town ladies, clubs of different kinds, musical gatherings and many interesting things to keep them busy.

One of these was The Noirma Club.  It was formed in 1900.  The officers were: Mrs. T. H. Cochran, president; Mrs. W. J. Deboe, vice-president; Mrs. G. M. Crider, treasurer; Miss Nelle Walker, Secretary. 

The president made the following address.
 We are all familiar with the old saying, "We can not stand still; we must not go back."  I wish we each might say, "we will not go back,"  Let us hitch our wagon to a star as we used to do when we were school girls.  

We can not rise higher than our ideals, as we all know.  I know of no more royal road to success in all that is broadening and elevating in thought, in enriching and happifying our lives, in teaching us to be of service to others than this same course of study.

Another thing, let us be more punctual in attendance.  We have read and heard all of our lives, of the value of punctuality, but we have scarcely begun to appreciate its importance. 

At some of their meetings they studied about music.  At one meeting at the pleasant home of Mrs. W. O. Tucker,  Schubert composition both instrument and vocal and his life was discussed. 

 The object of these musical meetings was to create a greater interest in music, to study the music and the lives of the old masters and the history of music. 

My note: I wasn't able to find any information if the Noirma Club was a nationally known club for women, or perhaps it was just formed locally.  The name is an odd one,  if you un-jumble the letters it also says "Marion."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July - Once A Big Event In Marion


(From the files of The Crittenden Press, July 4th, 1949.)

All Roads Will Lead To Marion Monday, July 4th.  It is going to be one one of the biggest and best ever to be given in many years. 

The fun starts at 8 o'clock on the court square with the High School band assisted by Ray Wilson and the boys of his band.

There will be hand sawing contests and nail driving contests, and for the women, egg contests, and cracker eating contests for children, and most of all let's not forget the babies.  There will be a baby buggy rolling contest and the mother must bring long the babies in their buggies and strollers and enter the fun.

From there the fun moves to Grady Field where there will be many games and plenty to eat.  Barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and ice cream and other goodies will be available.

Boxing matches will be one of the main featues of the morning.  Paul Woodall has promised plenty of action for all attending.

At 2:00 p.m. there will be a softball game between the Marion Globetrotters and Frances.  This is expected to be one of the hottest games of the year.

The bands will give another concert at 7:00 o'clock which will be worth traveling miles to hear.

There will be ponies to ride for the kiddies, the well-known Bingo game, and other games where the older people may enjoy themselves.

The most complete arrangements of fireworks ever to be displayed in Western Kentucky will start at 9:00 o'clock sharp, so let nothing keep you away from Marion on this glorious 4th of July. 

***
My thoughts:  These wonderful old days of community fun gatherings are gone, for now nearly everyone leaves town to find entertainment somewhere else, and it's just another empty day as usual. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Blackburn United Baptist Church


Blackburn United Baptist church, was organized October 5, 1886, with 30 charter members.  Most of these charter members had been baptized by Rev. Elisha Bell Blackburn.  Thus the church was named after Rev. Blackburn.

In July 1887, the first delegates were elected to the Ohio River Association.  

In February 1888, a committee was selected to raise money for missionary purposes.  Even though women were not allowed to speak at business meetings, they never the less were very active in the life of the church.

In 1918, Mrs. Alpha Tudor, Mag Warren, and Bill Stembridge were appointed to purchase an organ. 

 In June 1920, Mr. G. T. Boyd, J. W. Tosh and Bill Warren served on a committee to purchase a large bell.  

This bell was rung to notify the community that services were being held.  It would also be rung for graveyard cleanings and for deaths in the neighborhood.

This original building burned in Feb. 1960.  Worship services were held in the home of Mrs. Mabel and Walter Hopkins until another church could be constructed.


By July of that same year, a 29 foot by 40 foot concrete block building was completed and a concrete base and platform was built to place the bell.


This large, heavy bell was stolen in 1988 and has never been recovered.  A shame it was stolen and taken from it's home.

With the passing of most of the older members, regular worship services  had to be discontinued but special meetings were still held at the church.  

The Blackburn Church Cemetery is located on church ground just uphill from the little block building.  Many of the former church members are buried in this cemetery.

Friday, June 16, 2017

S. H. Hodge & Company, 1894

1894 - From Marion's early history, the town has been wonderfully favored with men of capital and advanced ideas, who have sought the dry goods and clothing parade, located within it's precincts and through its tempting displays, and made it a mart where dry goods are dispensed in volumes that would do credit to much larger cities and brought to its doors a trade that is far-reaching and steadily growing.

In this respect S. D. Hodge & Co., placed as one of the leaders for their enormous annual sales.

The individual members of the firm are S. D. Hodge and R. E. Bigham, both of men of superior business qualifications and marked executive and financial abilities, such as are destined to lead successfully an important mercantile life.

Their store building in 22.80, beautifully finished in hard wood, and made attractive by tasteful decorations and has ten thousand stock in fine display.

they carry dry goods, clothing dress goods, boots, shoes, and the very best of goods that can be bought in the wholesale houses of the north and east.

Mr. Hodge is a native Kentuckian and has been for ten years in the mercantile business.  He received his schooling from J. N. Woods, the merchant of Marion, who has sent from behind his counters into the active business world, scores of men whose success has been imminent since they opened their business to the public, and Mr. Hodge's success has been exceeding flattering.

S. D. Hodge & Co., have gained a fine reputation as dealers in clothing and have just opened up a stock to which they respectfully invite attention.  These suits are made from the most fashionable cloth, cut in the latest styles, so you can not fail to be suited, and they guarantee to fit you perfectly.
      ***
This store, I'm sure, had to have burnt in the 1905 fire of Marion's business district.  I don't have any knowledge of where it was located on Main St.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ben Franklin Store Going 'Self-Service' 1956


 An inside view of the popular Ben Franklin Store in the 1950's.
It had anything that one would want or need. A wonderful place to shop.

An interesting article from The Crittenden Press in 1956 about the old Ben Franklin Store that was on Main Street.  One of everyone's favorite places to shop.

Joe H. Jones, owner of the Ben Franklin Store in Marion, this week announced that his completely remodeled store will re-open Friday, June 29.

The store is being completely remodeled for self-service, featuring all the most modern fixtures and equipment designed for the ease, convenience and pleasure of everybody's shopping.

In keeping with a rapidly growing trend, many home-owned Ben Franklin Stores all over America are going 'self-service' - because folks have proved that they prefer to shop this way.  They would rather look around, take their time, just the way they do in a library, or in a cafeteria, or in a super market, until they find what they want.

According to Mr. Jones this new self-service system is also the answer to all those exasperated shoppers who left their shopping lists at home on the kitchen table.  Actually, he says, shopping lists may  just as well be left there, because each self-service counter is a shopping list in itself.

A wide assortment of new, popular priced merchandise will be displayed everywhere, and every article will be within easy reach, with prices clearly marked.

Customers will find self-service shopping very simple.  When Mrs. Shopper finds what she wants, she places it in one of the handy light-weight baskets which are provided for her convenience.  The friendly Ben Franklin sales staff will be ready as always to give information and assistance when needed.

Every Marion resident is cordially invited to the grand re-opening of the new Ben Franklin Self-Service Store.


The store as it was announcing it's closing in June 1978.






 

* This store was last used by Paula's China Shop.  It has now sit empty for several years.  A sad, lonesome reminder of Marion's once busy Main Street.  As are several other empty stores on Main Street.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rail Road Rumors


Railroad rumors in 1909 were that a new railroad would be coming to the county.

Crittenden Record Press Aug. 13, 1909 - Lige Curry, who is lumbering below Golconda tells his brother-in-law, Lee Yeakey a day or two ago that a actual work was in progress on the new railroad building from Golconda up the river to Elizabethtown and that from inside sources he had also learned that this road was heading for Cave-In-Rock where, in due time the system promulgating the scheme expect to bridge the Ohio River and run out to Marion, Ky., via the famed Crittenden Springs, as now a vast summer resort with a large hotel, crowded at this very time, with visitors, mostly from Evansville and Louisville, yet this new line is designed to open this great watering place more advantageously to St. Louis and Chicago society people.

The railroad would also run near the great Commodore mines on it's way to Marion and would be most useful in transporting their stock piles of zinc and spar to the depot in Marion.

It is 7 miles due south of Cave-In-Rock. This was good news to Mr. Yeakey who owns the Cave-In-Rock near where the north piers of the contemplated bridge will rest on solid limestone. 

As we all know, these were only rumors as the plans for this railroad never was even started.  These railroad dreams ended in 1910.  The Crittenden Springs Hotel was soon to be only a wonderful memory of it's glory days, and the Commodore had to continue to transport their minerals to Marion by horse and wagons.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Oxford, Marion's First Post Office


A post office was established in Marion, in 1843 and it was called Oxford.  It is believed this was the post office of old Livingston County that was at Oxford Academy, which was located near the former Piney creek Baptist Church site on Flynn's Ferry Road (now State Road 1077). 

 Early history states that the academy was named Oxford from its teacher, or teachers that were from Oxford, New York.

From other past history recorded the Oxford Academy must have been in the former site of the Brown Academy which was closed in 1824. 

 As you can imagine, history in this time period is hard to located.  

Since the new town of Marion was not on a main mail state road until after its incorporation, its mail was sent eastward to be mailed from the post office at Oxford Academy on the Flynn's Ferry Road.

When the new post office was established at Marion on April 29, 1843, Sumner Marble was the Postmaster.  The mail was postmarked Oxford until April 14, 1846, when the named was changed to Marion, alsmost two years after the towns incorporation. 

Postmasters during this time were Sumner Marble, April 29, 1843, James M. Smith, July 12, 1844, and Milo L. Smith, Dec. 16, 1845.

The post office was discontinued from January 21, 1862, during the Confederate occupancy and then reestablished again on April 2, 1862 under David N. Stinson, and has been in continuous operation ever since, although at different locations.

This is believed to be the Post Office, book store, and home of Mr. George Perkins when was postmaster in 1859-1861.  

It sat on the southwest side of the court house, where the Ambassadors of Christ Church is located today.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10th, 2017 - Confederate Memorial Day in the South


Crittenden County In The Civil War -

  Crittenden County appeared to have been fairly regularly visited by Federal troops, although it by itself rarely served as a military target. More commonly it was an east west through route for Federal troops.

The largest military action in the county took place at Weston on June 21, 1864. The steamboat Mercury, carrying the entire 7th Ohio Infantry was fired on by Confederates as it passed the north end of town, the attackers firing from behind a bluff and buildings on or near it. The attackers apparently didn't realize the strength of the unit on the boat and were readily driven off by the firing of whole volleys from the boat. There were casualties on both sides, but the boat's captain refused to land to allow the infantry to burn the town, citing orders to not land on the Kentucky shore.

The second documented military action in the county occurred at Bell's Mines in the extreme northeastern corner of the county. Lt. Thomas W. Metcalfe with 46 men of Company C, 56th Kentucky Mounted Infantry departed Cloverport, Ky. on July 5th traveling through the Green River Country. They were attacked at Bell's Mines on July 13th by a reported 300 guerrillas and the force was reported captured by the Evansville Daily Journal of July 19, 1864. The company record gave its loss as one killed, 11 captured and 22 horses and rigging. 

The next dated incident in the county took place, again at Weston on September 4, 1864, when 14 Confederate prisoners who were being transported under guard on board the steamboat Colossus, overpowered their guards, killing several of them, and forced the boat to the Kentucky shore at Weston, from which pint the escaped.
(Some of this information from research History Pays, by James E. Jacobsen who was gathering information for the Civil War markers that were placed in our county in April 2005.)

Following are local stories handed down through families of some of the plundering and terrorizing that was done to innocent people. Most of the stories, that I have been fortunate to learn about, have been in the north and northeastern part of the county.

Out in the Cave Spring area on top of a hill was the home place of William and Mourning Brantley, (Now owned by Paul Edward Crowell). William was killed in his own yard standing by his well by a Capt. Fountain Hawkins as he and his troops plundered and terrorized the neighborhood. William wouldn't pledge his allegiance with the Union troops, so they shot him. The date was Jan. 13th, 1863. William was 70 years old. He is buried in the Brantley family cemetery not far from the old homestead.

 This happening is documented in a book titled "Incidents From The Farm Account Books of James Beard Crutcher 1857-1893, Union County, KY. By Tess Elliott". 
The entry in this book states "Nov. 14, 1865, The Grand Jury of Crittenden Co. found a true bill against Capt. Fountain Hawkins for the killing of William Brantley whilst in command of a Company of US troops. Brantley was a citizen and was killed at his own house some 2 or 3 years ago. Hawkins is arrested and was committed to the Crittenden Jail not allowed bail. Fountain P. Hawkins commanded Company A of the 48th KY Volunteer Infantry (North) all Union Co. men. 

I don't know what happened, but Hawkins didn't stay in jail, for later he was documented as raiding Robertus "Bart" Moore's store, (in the Mattoon area), cleaning out his smokehouses, and taking all of his metal farm implements and other items.

There were more men in Crittenden County that joined the Union Army than the Confederate Army.  There is only one government Confederate monument in Crittenden County, it is at the Repton Cemetery.  It belongs to Stephen F. Crider.
           Sir,  Thank you for your service, we salute you.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Crittenden County Folks - Jennie Clement

This article was written in the fall of 1936. It is about one of our Crittenden County folks, and a member of one of pioneer families that settled here and help make us what we are today. These articles give us a glimpse back in time to another way of life, a time when life was very different than we know it today. 

 Miss Jennie Clement with a group of her students at the White Hall School, just West of Crayne.

One fine autumn morning, nearly sixty years ago (abt.1876), a young woman, still in her teens, auburn haired and fair, gathered together books, a slate, tablets and pencils were few and far between in those day, and, dressed in her daintiest frock, tripped, light-hearted and gay, hopeful and ambitious, down a shady country lane in the southern apart of Crittenden county to open her first school.

The fine young woman who not only knew how to teach school well but how to make friends and get along well with both patrons and pupils closed her first school year with the praises of the community, still sounding in her ears.

The next year came and the next and then one and on, and this young woman continued to teach school, always giving her best in service to those communities in which she taught and teaching always, in addition to the Three R's, reading', riting' and 'rithmetic, those qualities which make of school children the finest types of citizens, common honesty, sobriety, truthfulness and an appreciation of the good and wholesome and worthwhile things of life.

For forty-six successive years, this girl, grown into mature womanhood now taught in Crittenden County Schools. Then she decided to leave the teaching of Crittenden County's

Young Americans to younger pedagogues and for a few years she watched the process of education in this part of Kentucky from the sidelines. 

Then she found that the old urge to teach was too much for her to resist so she went back to the work which she knew and loved best.

Four more years she taught. Then she came to realize that she tired too easily, the days were, oh so long, and that her eyes that only yesterday, it seemed, were aglow with the joy and sparkle of youth, were growing dim and that her vision was no longer dependable. Then this woman of high ideals and noble character, removed the clapper from her little school bell, closed her school record book for all time.

Looking back over the school records of Crittenden County for more than half a century, we find this Crittenden County teacher taught that first year, nearly sixty years ago, at Owen. Later she taught thirteen years at White Hall, two at Chapel Hill, two at Brown, two at Fairview and one or more years at Lily Dale, Crayne, Lone Star and possible at other places.

This woman in now 76. She always votes. If things are not run, politically, in the county, state and nation as they should be run she has the satisfaction of knowing that she did what she could to remedy them. She exercises her right of suffrage whenever the opportunity to vote presents itself. Is she worn out? No! In the local option election held in Crittenden County two weeks ago she had no way to come to town to register her vote against the sale of intoxicating liquors in her home county so she walked into town, a distance of some four or five miles, and voted.

Her parents were Henry and Sarah Clement. She makes her home now with her sister, Mrs. Susan Bigham, near Crayne, Ky.

A few days ago this Crittenden County woman who almost sixty years ago opened her first school at Owen in this county became the first person in Crittenden County to be awarded and Old Age Pension.

All Crittenden County will join in extending to this woman felicitations and good wishes and will unreservedly give their approval to the pension authorities of the county and state who saw fit to award this benefit to this most excellent woman. Her name? Possibly we did neglect to mention that – Miss Jennie Clement.

Miss Jennie Clement lived to be 82, she died at her home in the Chapel Hill community August 16, 1939 and was buried in the Chapel Hill Cemetery. For the past several years advanced age had prevented activities in school and school affairs around which her entire life was centered. 

One of the oldest school teachers in Western Kentucky, "Miss Jennie" was known, loved and respected throughout the county. For many years she was an instructor in the public school system and numbered among her pupils many of the successful men of today.
*******


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

City By-Laws - March 22, 1882


In 1882 the town trustees had been busy preparing some by-laws for our fair city.  The laws were to be abided by in order to make our town a better place to live.  Here are a few.  They still sound like good rules to live by even today.
  •  Any person or persons violating the law by not paying for a license to sell liquor, and continue to sell ardent spirits in the own of Marion, shall forfeit and pay a fine.
  •  Any person or persons, who shall be drunk within the town of Marion, shall be fined in any sum not less than $1 nor more than $10 or may be imprisoned in the county jail not more than 24 hours or may e both fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the court.
  • Any person or persons who shall be guilty of profane cursing or swearing, not in a clamorous or boisterous manner, in the town of Marion, shall be fined $1 for each offense and any person or persons, who shall be guilty of profane cursing or swearing, in the town of Marion, in a boisterous or clamorous manner, shall be fined not less than $2 or more than $10 for each offense.
  • Any person, who shall be guilty of an indecent exposure of his person in any public place or any grossly improper conduct in the town of Marion, shall be fined in any sum  not less than $5 nor more than $20 in each offense and in default to payment may be sentenced to hard labor upon the streets or other public works of the town.
  • Any person or persons who shall be guilt of running immoderately or recklessly riding or driving any horse or horses, or mules through or on the streets or alleys of the town of Marion, shall be fine in any sum not less than $1 or more than $10, in default of payment of any fine imposed under this section, the party so offending shall be committed to the county jail at the rate of $2 per day to pay said fine.
  • Any person, who shall be guilty of selling directly or indirectly an goods, ware or merchandise of any kind or quality in the town of Marion on the Sabbath day, except it be for shrouding, medicine or other articles of extreme necessity shall pay a fine of $2.50 for each and every offense.
  • Any person or persons who shall shoot off any gun or pistol loaded with powder in the town of Marion, shall be fined in the sun of $5 for each offense, except the same may be done in the protection of life or property.
  • Any person who shall engage in any game of chance playing of dice, cards, or either device whereat anything of value is be, won or lost, shall be fined for every such offense not less than $10, nor more than $50.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Traveling Our Old Roadways


Seems are fair county has always had a problem keeping are roadways in good traveling condition. In the 1920's the conditions of the roads were a main topic that was always talked about and discussed.  

Local citizens that had moved to other states in search of good jobs would could back home and complain the whole time about how awful our roads were.  

The people in Crittenden County had grown tired of listening through the years to the multiplicity of disparaging remarks, which had been made about our creek bed roads.  They set about to try and do something about this so Crittenden County got aboard the good roads band wagon.

Here are some interesting items found in The Crittenden Press about the improvement of our roads.

                                                  The pike team headed for Crayne.

Nov. 25, 1921 - Crittenden's First Pike, Marion Road.
A section of the pike teams passed through Marion headed for Crayne where the gang will be located and work will proceed each way from that point.  The men, teams and tools are located at Crayne and actual work on Crittenden's first pike begun Monday.  Mr. W. R. Cruce, who worked persistently and valiantly for this road, and to him the whole citizenship is debtor, placed the first shovel of dirt on the road.

April 1924 - Sheridan Road Improved
Progressive communities and good roads go hand in hand.  Crittenden is fast taking her place and counties with superior roads.  Get in a car and drive out one of her highways toward Princeton or Salem and Paducah.  During the past week we have witnessed some splendid work on the Sheridan-Tolu road, one of the most desperate roads of history.  The work has only started, yet the improvement will measure 100 percent.  A moderate amount of continual work will make it possible for the teamster to pull 4000 pounds with greater ease than he has for months.  Then if one drives out this way in a car he can do so with comfort and cease criticism of the county roads. 

July 1927 - Work Starts on Federal Road 60
Work was started this week on the surfacing of the Marion-Salem portion of United States highway Number 60.  Ben E. Clement, of the Holly Fluorspar Company, holds the contract for the graveling of the slightly more than eight mile section of road.  The first loads of crushed rock were laid this week.

December 1927 - Funds for Road To Dycusburg
The dream of a hard surfaced road to Dycusburg will soon be a reality, according to County Judge L. E. Waddell, who has made public a list of the donors to the fund to be used in the construction of this road.  A partial list of those contributing:  J. A. Graves, M. E. Stephenson, T. W. Brown, W. W. Bennett, Claude Fletcher, J. C. Brasher, J. E. Shadowen, L. C. Brasher, James Riley, Elmer Parish, M. F. Pogue, W. I. Tabor, J. H. Beavers, A. H. Shadowen, J. M. Polk, C. L. Lindsey, Harlan Peek, J. L. Patton, G. C. Oliver, and J. H. Beavers, to name a few interested citizens that contributed.

December 1927 - Plans Laid for New State Road To Shady Grove
A proposed bill, which was drawn up by Edward D. Stone, Crittenden attorney, establishing a primary road project, a road leading from Marion to Shady Grove. The road would extend from Marion to Shady Grove, starting at the Masonic corner in Marion, goes east to the end of Bellville Street and follow in the general direction of the old Shady Grove Road by way of Tribune and Deanwood into Shady  Grove where it connects with other state highways to Princeton, Providence and Madisonville.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dycusburg, A Glance at Her Past


             This history was written about Dycusburg in 1894. 

The second largest town in Crittenden County is Dycusburg, and it is a town of no small importance, although the advent of the railroad has interfered materially in the shipping business, which was at one time a leading feature.

In its best days Dycusburg probably did more business than Marion, its location on the bank of the Cumberland river making it close to the marts of the world drew some of the best merchants the county ever had.

The native forest of that vicinity was first broken by a Mr. Seyester, on the farm now owned by the widow Brannum.  

In 1833 J. W. Simpson built a rude warehouse below where the town now stands.  In 1838 a brick warehouse and residence was built and other houses followed in rapid succession.

In 1848 the town was incorporated and business began to grow rapidly.
  • Jackson & Cobb were selling good, buying and shipping tobacco
  • Cobb & Cobb succeeded this firm
  • Smith & Head carried on a big mercantile business in 1851
  • David Moore & Bro.
  • M. L. Smith
  • J. N. Flanagan
  • Wm. Bennett & Company
  • T. T. Martin
  • Yancey's
  • L. L. Level
  • Cobb & Gellantley
  • Pritchett & Cardin
  • Wm Dycus and Dr. Graves are some of the names associated with the early history of the town.
Two neat church buildings, Methodist and Baptist, a commodious school house, some pretty residences, large tobacco and grain houses, large store rooms, filled with $8,000 and $10,000 stocks, all indicate continued prosperity.

A fine farming country on both sides of the Cumberland contribute to the material welfare of the town, and the town in turn affords the country the conveniences necessary for the well being of all well regulated households and hence a spirit of friendliness exists among the people.

A daily mail from Kuttawa supplies the town and it's quota of letters and papers.
Among the men who add to the substantial worth of Dycusburg today are:
  • Sam Cassidy
  • J. H. Clifton
  • the Yancey boys
  • Eugene Brown
  • Wm Mays
  • F. B. Dycus, the Burks
  • George Graves
  • Dr. Graves
  • William Hill
  • Ed Ramage
  • P. K. Cooksey
  • Tom Yates
  • Ab  Henrty
Dycusburg is up with the times, there is not a more progressive community in the county and morally it is the equal of any.     (August 1894)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

James Wheeler Cemetery




A new sign was placed yesterday, April 3, 2017 to mark the little historic family cemetery of the James Wheeler family, an early pioneer family of Crittenden County.  After all these years, over 168,  this cemetery has it's first sign.

Mr. Noble Travis, a descendant of Lindley M. Travis, who is buried here, is responsible for the recent cleaning and placement of this beautiful sign.


The beginning of the James Wheeler Cemetery, located on Just-A-Mere Road.
James Wheeler came with his parents to Kentucky at the age of twelve years. He entered 400 acres of land on the North Fork of Piney Creek on February 1, 1802 at old Centerville on Livingston Creek in Livingston (now Crittenden County), . This land was surveyed on August 19, 1803. He built his house on this tract of land where he lived. He built first on the point of the hill just North of the Creek. Later, about 1842 he built on the same ridge a few hundred yards North where he lived the remainder of his life. This would have at one time been the B. C. and Elizabeth McNeely farm. The cemetery is just down the road from their homeplace.  (The farm was sold several years ago after Mr. and Mrs. McNeely passed away.)

John Elder Wheeler was the second son, and third child of James and Mary (Elder) Wheeler. He was the first one to be buried in the James Wheeler grave yard. 

John Elder Wheeler came into this world a victim of unfortunate circumstances. The latter part of the year of 1811 and early part of 1812 was a time of severe earthquake shocks along the Mississippi river near New Madrid and other points, when the earth sank and Reel-Foot lake was formed. These earthquakes were continuous and very severe for a time.

Mary the mother of John Elder Wheeler being in a delicate condition would become very nervous when these earth tremors began. Under these stressful times and her nervous condition, John Elder Wheeler was born. He was a very nervous child, and this condition lasted him through life.

He was devoutly religious. A neighbor, Mrs. Mary Ann Lamb, said he could pray the best prayer she ever heard. His mother said he was the most thoughtful of her wishes and comfort than any of the other children. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Piney Fork and at one time was secretary of the Sunday School. He had what would be a very good education for the people of his locality at that time. His handwriting was legible considering his nervous condition. He never married.

John Elder Wheeler was the first to be buried in James Wheeler family cemetery. He died Nov. 20, 1849, 37 years, 10 months and one day. 

The family history tell that John's sister, Susannah C. Wheeler Travis, grieved over him being buried by himself, and in less than a month on Dec. 15, 1849, she was dead, and was buried near him.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dr. John Robert Perry


Thanks to the wonderful old obituaries in the Crittenden Press a lot of history and family information was shared and now makes a good source of family genealogy information.  Here is one on a prominent Crittenden County citizen and physician.

Dr. John Robert Perry
1833 - 1930
Dr. John Robert Perry was truly a Crittenden County, physician. He was born on a farm twelve miles northwest of Marion, February 23, 1883. His grandfather, a pioneer Methodist minister, had come into this area as a circuit rider, having served in various sections in Kentucky but chiefly in Crittenden County, where he reared his family and spent his last years. 

Dr. Perry grew up on his home farm, attended the local schools, graduated from the grade and high school of Marion, and in the fall of 1903 entered the medical department of the University of Louisville. He received his M. D. degree June 30, 1907. He returned to his native county and practiced for a short time at Ford's Ferry and Tribune before opening his office in the county seat of Marion.

Realizing the need for better medical facilities for mother and babies, Dr. Perry took special training in this field, but he returned to Marion to live and practice among his many friends in his home community. Returning to Marion he set up his practice in the William Fowler Building on West Carlisle Street.

For many years Dr. Perry was the attending physician for the County Farm; he was a member of the County and State Medical Associations, Kiwanis Club, Bigham Lodge, and Marion Methodist Church. He also served on the city council in Marion.
In 1907 at Louisville, he married Miss Beulah Franklin, also a native of Crittenden County and member of one of Crittenden County's oldest families. 

For thirty-two years Dr. Perry devoted his talents to the people of Crittenden County. After attending to his patients all day, he died with a heart attack at his home September 26, 1939. He was only 56 years old but was regarded with the highest esteem paid the older successful practitioner.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Barnett School


The first Barnett school, was a one room log building built in the 1800's and was located in southwestern Crittenden County near Tolu.   It stood on the property of William Barnett.

Later Mr. Barnett gave the school trustees enough land to build a new school building.  It was located just east of the original log building in a corner of his land.  

                                                 Barnett school before it as torn down.

In 1879 the school census showed 22 students attending.  Julius Newman was the teacher.  Some family  names in the area were Ferrell, Hardin, Dooley, Belt, McMaster, Tinsley, Lawrence, Curry, Davis, Kemper, Hardesty, Hale, Glore, Croft, Stone, Kimsey, Stone, Barley, Lynn, Wright and Turner.

In 1913 a church was built on land deeded by Buckner Croft and joined the Barnett School lot.  The church was named Barnett Chapel due to the Barnett School being there and widely known.

In 1948 the school ceased operation, along with several other one-room schools in the area, and consolidated with the Tolu School.

In 1949 the members of the Barnett Chapel church voted to build a new church where the schoolhouse stood.  

The school building was sold to Russell Hardesty for $300 and the Barnett Church, as is is now, was built on the old school lot.

As with so many of our old schools, they are almost forgotten now, a thing of the past, and most all who attended gone also, leaves nothing to carry on the wonderful memories of these one-room schools.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Business's in 1958


Marion, Once a busy place with several industries providing many jobs for our local county.  The growth of the city and county looked promising for the future.  Things have changed a lot in the past 59 years.

April 24, 1958
  • Moore Business Forms, Inc. which started operations in Marion in November, 1950 is Crittenden County's leading industry.  The firm employs about 125 people, 55 percent of them women.  The local plant's principal product is what is known in the trade as "salesbooks."  This actually covers all kinds of bound printed forms as well as those used in selling.  Moore Corporation, Ltd. of Canada, the parent company, is the world's largest producer of business forms.
  • Mi-Marker makes stamping kits widely used by men and women in all branches of the armed services.  The little plastic boxes containing the kits and marked "Marion, Ky." are familiar sights on post exchanges around the world.  The kits basically contain an alphabet of rubber letters and numbers, a wood block for mounting the letters on, a stamp and a pad of ink.  It employs about 20 people.
  • Watson Produce, in business here for 10 years, deals in poultry and eggs, furs and hides, and walnuts.  It buys throughout West Kentucky and southern Illinois and makes deliveries throughout the Midwest.
  • Henry & Henry Monuments on Sturgis Road in Marion produces fine quality monuments and has been operating in the same family since the 1870's.  
  • Winn & Tobin Milling Company mills flour, meal and feed.  it serves customers in Crittenden, Livingston, Webster, Caldwell and Lyon Counties.  It has been in business since June 1949.
  • Marion Silica Company on the edge of Marion is now on a stand-by basis.  Formerly locally owned it was bought in 1956 by Continental Uranium Company, a subsidiary of the Helene Curtis cosmetic firm.  Its property includes a large quantity of some of the finest quality sand available.
  • Alexander Stone Company, the large quarry on U. S. 60 north of Marion, employs about 35 men during is peak season and has an annual payroll of $90,000.  It produces agricultural lime, concrete stone, all sizes of road stone, rip rap and ready mixed concrete, its latest line.
Henry and Henry and  is the only one of the above that is still in business today.  Alexander Stone is also still in operation, although at a different location and was bought by Rogers and Company.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Watch Charm Mystern, by J. N. Dean


One of my favorite families of Crittenden County is the Dean family that lived at Deanwood. 


What a colorful and interesting family.  Mr. Joseph Nathan Dean was a wonderful story teller and was also a wonderful historian.  He kept all kinds of interesting items written down for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

Here is one of his true short stories, it's titled "Watch Charm Found After 70 Years".  It was written in 1956.

Late one afternoon in the year 1880 (when the writer was 12 years old) a government official, who was taking the U. S. census for that year, called at Madison Dean's home nine miles east of Marion, now known as the Turner farm, to take my father's census list and spend the night.

At supper our visitor told us that as he rode down Piney Hill, one mile east of us, his watch charm in some way came loose from the chain and fell to the ground in a rocky, sandy place.  He got off the horse and searched for some time but failed to find it.

Early next morning, at his request, two of my older brothers went t the hill with him and searched with no luck.

If I remember correctly the census official was a Mr. Cruce of the same family as the late Mr. Dick Cruce.

A few years ago, about 70 years later, Mr. and Mrs. Edd Clark, formerly of this community but now of Providence, rode up in front of my store at Deanwood, and called to me and said, "Joe as we were riding down old Piney hill a bit ago I saw something bright in a rocky place in the road. I got off my horse and found it to be a nice diamond shape watch charm. - I don't need it and make you a present of it."

It was some time later that it dawned on me that it was the one lost by the "Census taker," in 1880.

It just goes to prove that nothing in the old world in ever really lost, no matter the circumstances - somebody will someday find it.

                          The old Deanwood General Store that Mr. Dean owned.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Rev. John Travis



Rev. John Travis, whose family settled in what is now Crittenden County in the early 1800s, was distinguished by being the first Methodist preacher circuit rider sent west of the Mississippi River to lead men to God.

Rev. Travis after traveling eight years relocated back in Crittenden County and married Miss Cynthia Traylor.  They married in Caldwell County on Sept. 23, 1815.

They settled on a farm not far from his brother, Arthur Travis, Revolutionary War veteran.  This land was in the Piney Fork area, located on the Travis-Alexander Road.  

There are two family cemeteries located near by.  John's wife, Cynthia, has a stone in the little Travis Cemetery, but John does not have one, or it has been lost over time.

The other cemetery is the Wilson-Travis cemetery, it was located near Arthur's home place, but he or his wife, Patsy Ramsey Travis have a stone.

So much history lost in these little cemeteries through the years, by either not ever having a tombstone or the tombstone being lost or destroyed over the years.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

School News from 1937


Always fun and interesting to remember are the school days from yesteryear.  With items from the old Crittenden Presses we can enjoy once again the simpler days of our local community schools, the good times they shared and he memories that were made.  Here are some 1937 school items.

Mattoon School March 1937 - The Senior class gave an interesting chapel program recently.  The program was opened by the school singing "America."  The class then gave a brief history of the flag and showed how it should be displayed.

The 7th and 8th grades have been practicing on the filed day events for the fair that will be coming up shortly.

Those on the honor roll are: First Grade, Everett Ray Marvell and Jackie Riley; Second Grade, Douglas Brantley, Leon Cook, LaRene McMurrey, Willie Jewell Walker, Georgia Tudor,Georgia McDowell, Kathleen Walker and Alberta Marvell; Third grade, Grace Arflack, Irene Brantley, Charles Conyer, Dorothy Kappler, Anna Katherine Railey and Helen Joe Stone; Fifth grade, Harold Stone, Glenn Newcom, Burnie Perry Howerton; Sixth Grade, Evelyn Lowery and J. C. Howerton; Eighth Grade Geneva Gahagen, Glenna Nunn, Jane Truitt, J. C. Little, Robbie McDowell and Henry Vanhooser.

                                                                               ******

Sept. 1937 - The regular monthly meeting of the Crayne P. T. A. was held Friday afternoon.  Mrs Cozette Scott is president.  The ladies were entertained with singing by some of the girls and the children enjoyed a fish pond very much.

The ladies are patching an apron at the present time to raise funds for the school.  A small sum of money is placed under each patch.  

We are having a fine school with Mrs. Opal Wicker Scott a teacher.

                                                                 ********

October 1937 - Frances School - The basketball boys have  been doing unusually well under their new instructor, Mr. Gardner.  They are expected to play some good games in the near future.

The junior class are working on the play "Wild Ginger" which will be given some time during the month of November.

Miss Virginia Wallace from Symsonia, Ky., has taken John Yandell's place as teacher of the intermediate grades here.  She is a graduate of Murray State Teachers College.

At an official class meeting Monday the seniors decided to wear caps and gowns at their commencement exercises.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Marion's Two Oldest Businesses


HENRY AND HENRY MONUMENTS


Prior to 1881, J. S. Henry was engaged in the monument business in Madisonville, Ky.


At that time he moved his family to Marion and Established Henry and Henry Monuments.

After being located at his home on South Bellville Street for several years, he purchase the Concrete Building on East Carlisle St. in 1906 (Where Wheeler Antiques are today).

After his death his sons, Albert M. and Howard managed the business until their death, at which time their sons, J. Albert Henry and Searcy Henry became owners.

In 1947 J. Albert, son of Albert M. having bought out Searcy, built the above building at their present site on Sturgis Road.

The business is still family owned today, with grandson, Billy Fox handling most of the everyday business.


                        THE CRITTENDEN PRESS

The newspaper was founded in 1879 by R. C. Walker.  It changed hands five times from then until Evers Mick purchased the newspaper in 1960.  

Since that time his descendants have owned and operated The Crittenden Press.

Evers Mikc, a Marion native, had been working in Madisonville in the printing and radio industries before he bought tne newspaper in 1960 from Charles Pepper.  

Mick owned Modern Printers, a commerical letterpress and offset printing shop in Madisonville.

Evers graduated from Marion High School in 1932 and worked on electronics equipment for the U.S.Government during WWII.

Mick and his wife Lucille, along with sons, Charles and Paul, returned in 1960 to Marion where he had grown up while his father, W. E. Mick was active in the fluorspar mining industry.

Paul and wife Nancy ran the paper after Paul's parents passed away.

And today Paul's daughter, Allison and husband Chris Evans own and operate the paper.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Logging Adventures By J. N. Dean


Mr. J. N. Dean was a wonderful historian and history writer.  I love his wonderful history stories and stories about the colorful and fascinating Dean family.  Here is one of his stories about Matt Dean and a logging adventure in the Piney Creek near Deanwood.

Many times in rafting did Uncle Matt or his helpers stumble off into cold, deep water, and have to swim out or be rescued by others.

Logs to be rafted were floated down small creeks into Piney, Tradewater River and on into the Ohio, thence down to Golconda Metropolis or Paducah.

Jim Ellis was a dealer in all kinds of timber, and bought on all these streams.

The logs were usually collected in backwater, along-side-by-side, a whallen (a small tree split open) laid across each side of the raft and fastened by wooden pins to each side of the raft, and fastened by wooden pins to each log. 

There were often 50 or more logs in a raft.  It required two or more men to float the raft down stream.

Spike poles (a 12 foot pole with a spike and hook combined and fixed at the end) was used to pull or push the raft from trees and other obstructions along the stream.  The speed was slow in backwater, but in head water, though faster, it was more difficult and dangerous.

Mr. Ellis devised a two-wheeled log wagon.  These wheels were about 12 feet in diameter, and the logs were swung under the axle, and the front ends lifted by a device that secured them.  With three or four yoke of oxen he could haul-in the largest logs, some of them six feet in diameter. 

When this monster of a wagon went from Weston over the old Flynn Ferry road, it created more excitement among the country people than a circus.


An old photo of one of Crittenden County's giant trees being hauled on a wagon and pulled by many oxen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Montezuma Bridge Over Tradewater


The old one lane Montezuma bridge that connected Crittenden County to Webster County on  Hwy. 120 was quite a structure when it was completed in the mid 1920's.


At that time, people in that eastern end of Crittenden County traveled to Providence probably more often than they did to Marion.  A bridge to replace the old ferry was really looked forward to by the surrounding area.
Here is  photo of a group of local men that help construct the bridge. 

In 1977 this old iron one-lane structure was torn down and a new modern three-span concrete structure 34 feet wide by 220 feet long was built.  

 It would be constructed at the same location, but the roadbed was to be raised high enough to put the bridge above normal flooding of the Tradewater River. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Early Days of Marion


The town had been established only for the purpose of a County-seat or as a centralized location for the erection of public buildings to house the government and public records of the new Crittenden County (1842).

Its subsequent rapid growth into a mercantile and residential community was not planned nor even visualized by most of the early Town Fathers, many of whom were also early County Officials.

                                          A group of men bound for county county day.

It has been noted that at first the county Officials did not reside in or near Marion, but would commute to and from their homes on horseback when court was in session.

As it would be most logical to expect, Harvey W. Bigham, the first Crittenden County Court Clerk, must have soon found the rapidly increasing records of the County becoming too bulky for daily carriage in his saddlebags, which had previously been his practice.  He was determined to build a permanent residence in Marion on land which he had purchased from Dr. John S. Guilliam.


At the time there were a few log and frame cabins scattered through which is now downtown Marion and along the Fords Ferry Road (now North Main Street) and the Centerville (now Moore Avenue) Roads within one-half mile of the public square.

Despite the rather persistent rumor that the town was called Oxford before its incorporation as "Marion"  (effect of Feb. 22, 1844), it was always referred to in official records by its proper name.

 The rumor was based on the fact that early mail from Marion was postmarked "Oxford" but this was because that since the new town was not on a main mail stage road until after its incorporation, its mail was carried eastward to be mailed from the post office at Oxford Academy on the Flynns Ferry Road.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sugar Grove Area Filled With Nature's Beauty and History


All sections of our county have many aspects of historical interest and beautiful scenery.   Many are hidden from view as they are not located on the main highways.  That makes them all the more beautiful if you have to walk to find them.  It's always good to have a person that lives in the area and knows the spots to visit and also the local history on them.

Some history located on the Sugar Grove Church Road about six miles from Marion off of Hwy. 120.  

The first Sugar Grove church was build in a narrow thickly wooded valley near a beautiful spring, which flowed from the hillside among countless Maple Sugar trees, from which the church took its name.

The windows were made seven or eight feet from the ground and formerly had heavy wooden shutters for protection from Indians.  The church was build on a small incline that looked over the meadow and creek.

In 1884 the church members, with the help of the community built a new frame church about three fourths of a mile northwest of the old church on high ground, which was more convenient to get to.  Where the present Sugar Grove Church is located.






When the new church was built, the congregation marked the old historic location with a monument and an engraved marker in hopes of preserving the location of the first church.









This area is well blessed with many natural caves and rock overhangs, or shelters as they are called.
Indians and probably the first pioneers found shelter under many of these when they first arrived in this area.


One of these scenic view is located across Sugar Creek not too far from the old church location.  To the local families that lived in the area, this was known as the Ora Murray Cave.

The Indian Fireplace overhang, named by the young boys that loved to roam and explore these exciting natural wonders.

No better way to spend a day than hiking and seeing these wonderful beautiful sights in our county.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Crittenden County Once Filled With Mineral Wealth


This article about our fluorspar history was written in 1909.

The area designated as the Mexico-Claylick District embraces three general fault zones extending between Mexico, Claylick Creek and View.  It was practically confined to southern Crittenden County in the area between Claylick and Livingston Creeks.  

 Pictured above is the flourspar storage and loading yard, which was located on the Illinois Central Railroad at Mexico.  Here, loads of spar from the different mines were brought and unloaded, waiting shipment by rail to the Marion Depot to be processed and shipped to other states

The points of shipping were Mexico, located seven and a half miles south of Marion, and Crayne, four and a half miles south of Marion on the Illinois Central Railroad.  

The chief development was the fault system extending from Mexico to Frances, known as the "Tabb" faults.  

The Pygmy Mine included two shafts that ran along a course of a mile south of Mexico and on both sides of the Illinois Central Railroad tracks.

The Haffaw mine, was situated one-half mile west of the Pygmy mine.  The course between the Haffaw main shaft and the Pygmy making the general trend of the Tabb fault zone in this vicinity.  The Haffaw was one of the best developed mines of the entire field.

 
Calcite was prominent in parts of the vein, frequently spotted through the main vein filling of fluorspar.  The vein carried both lead and zinc values.

Keystone Fluorspar Co., had a main shaft one-half mile west by south of the Haffaw mine, still on the Tabb fault system.

The Tabb Mine was  one of the earliest mines of the field, being first opened in the late 1800's and production was continuous into the 1900s.  Numerous shafts and pits were in evidence.

Asbridge Mine was situated on the Tabb system, west of the Tabor mine, and was about two and a half miles from Mexico. 

The Pogue Mine was located close to the west of the Asbridge mine and was also on the Tabb system.