Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Children's Day At Mt. Zion

July 17, 1913 - Children's Day at Mt. Zion.

Sunday morning at an early hour wagons, buggies, horseback and footbackers began to arrive till several hundred people had gathered, then came the auto with R. Kemp as driver with some of Marion's best citizens as passengers.

At 9:30 the house was called to order by the pasator Rev. J. A. Wheeler.  A song by the choir.

The program was then taken up for the children, it was very interesting.  

At 12:15 in the beautiful grove such as surrounds a country church, dinner was spread. Some wondered how this multitude could be fed, it was like the five loaves and fishes, there was plenty of as fine dinner as the writer ever saw, and everybody seemed to enjoy it.  

During all this time Mr. E. L. Nunn one of the building committee for our new church, had his book and pencil at work with the result of something over $300 subscribed.

At 1:30 out in the grove we prepared another program.  Bro. John A. Moore was called for, Bro. John responded with one complaint he couldn't talk - Well Paul, couldn't talk but the Lord loosened his tongue.  John's tongue got loose and he gave us a good talk.

There were several who made up the program that have already been mentioned.  Some of those who made up the afternoon program are as follows:  Bro. Gordon who used no direct subject but made us a fine talk, Ed Stone who gave the children a splendid talk.

Bro. Jim Pickens advocating a standard of moral and spiritual life and next was Thomas Enoch with a good talk.

The program was closed by Sister Duvall who by this time was so fill with the holy ghost that she gave us an old fashioned holy ghost talk.

To say the least of it we had an all around good time that will dwell with the memory through time and eternity.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Visit To Old Piney Fork

                                                                                         Piney Fork Speaker's Lectern.

The lectern was removed from the tabernacle located next to the Piney Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church when the historic old shed was taken down in the spring of 1970, due to damage caused by the heavy winter snow. The tabernacle shed was built in 1886. 
This lectern was made at this time, also constructed from lumber cut from the Henry Brown farm and hauled by oxen to the sawmill by Jim Bugg. It would be placed at the front of the new tabernacle. 

Also unique about this pulpit is that it has three podiums attached to it, the middle one for the Evangelist who was holding the services, the one of the right was for the pastor of the church at the time, and the one on the left for the song leader. 
On the front is built a bench, this was for sinners to sit on that had come down to except salvation after the invitation was given at the end of the sermon. Some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons at the Piney Fork annual camp meetings. 
(This piece of Piney Fork history is located at the Crittenden County Historical Museum)

From the Crittenden Press, August 24, 1936.

The annual services of Old Piney Fork Camp Ground closed last Friday evening, August 21, after eleven days of exceedingly successful communion, which resulted in 26 conversions and 30 additions to the church roll.

The Rev. J. E. Bell of Oklahoma, assisted the pastor, the Rev. Guy Moore, and preached from the same pulpit from which some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons, interest grew from the opening service and large audiences listened attentively to the great spiritual messages. 

Piney Fork is the oldest church in Crittenden County regardless of denomination, having been started in 1810.  The organization was completed in 1812 on a sixteen acre tract of land given by John Travis and George Greene.

The present building is 70 years and is the third building that has stood.

The revival which just closed, was held in the open-air tabernacle which seats 2,000 people. It was built about 50 years ago and is the second tabernacle to have been erected on that site.

Piney Fork Camp Meetings are famous throughout the land.  One hundred and four annual revivals have been held there.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Banker-Farm Day

In the 1950's the local banks of Marion, Farmers and People's, sponsored what they called Banker-Farmer Days at a local farmers farm.  The event was to share new and improved features on the farm, so other farmers could learn about these improvements and used them on their own farms.

In July 1950 this important and fun day was held on the Tom Carters Farm, located on Hebron Church Road.  Here is some of the history from an article in the July 7, 1950 Crittenden Press.

Improved pastures, fine beef cattle, a large farm reservoir and newly constructed terraces and diversion ditches for erosion control will be the main features observed on Tom Carters Farm.  

A large turn out always attended these special days of interest for our local agriculture and cattle raisers.

A tour would be conducted with stops at different points of interest and it would be pointed out their practical application as to how to help the farmers.  

Cattle was also an important part of the county and the Carter farm had some excellent cattle on hand to show the visitors.  Crittenden County had been breeding and producing a high grade of pure bred cattle for many years. 

At the close of the morning tour free lunch by the two banks would be served.  The lunch would be served by the Hebron Homemakers.  Around 300 attended the special farmers day.

In the afternoon there would be talks of interest by William Jonstone, Field Agent from the University of Kentucky, and Crittenden County's Farm Agent, O. M. Shelby.

Events such as these are now almost a thing of our past, as farming procedures have changed and there seems no need for these informative and enjoyable gatherings of our forgotten past.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marion in the year 1910

It's interesting to learn of our past history from the old newspapers of long ago.  From The Crittenden Press files of January 1910 comes these interesting findings. 

January 1910.  Monday dawned bright and clear with the mercury too close to zero for one to be comfortable, and yet the people from all over Crittenden, Webster, Caldwell, Livingston and Union counties were in evidence, so that by noon the street was alive with busy stock buyers and traders.  It was the day for county court and the very popular "Jockey lot" day.

The newly elected officers of the county met in the court house at Marion and duly took the oath of their various offices.  The names of the new officials were:  
  • W. A. Blackburn, County Judge
  • John A. Moore, County Attorney
  • Learner E. Guess, County Clerk
  • Joel A. C. Pickens, Sheriff
  • Robert . Flanary, Circuit Clerk
  • William Wallace, Jailer
  • Ewell Jeffrey Travis, Supt. of Schools
  • Robert Thomas, Assissor
  • J. E. Sullenger, Surveyor
  • Dr. George W. Stone, Corner.
Here are three of the newly elected officers.  Left to right: John A. Moore, County Attorney, Ewell Jeffrey Travis, County School Superintendent, and Learner E. Guess, County Clerk.

Fluorspar brings boom in Crittenden.  Recent discoveries causes old mines to be reopened.
The recent developments, aided by the increase from $4 to $8 , and in some instances, $15 a ton for fluorspar has created an interest in mining circles.

The shipment from Marion also in the past couple of months has reached 16,000,000 pounds, or 8,000 tons, which has increased the deposits in the two banks in Marion a little less than $100,000,000.

Some surprisingly rich discoveries have been made in old mines abandoned 50 years ago for the reason that the richness of both lead and zinc was not known.  

Every mine is now working full force and many of them are putting in new machinery and increasing their capacity.

Other activity in the city and county for the month of January included deliveries of tobacco.  During the month of January the deliveries of tobacco here have been quite heavy.  Thirty, forty or fifty loads come into town every day.  The greater part of the tobacco goes to the stemming District Tobacco Association at the Jarvis factory.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pleasant Paris, Civil War Veteran

The Paris reunion was held Sat. October 14th, 2017.  Descendants of James Paris of Smith County, Tenn., and friends attended.

As a special event for the day, Ralph Paris and kin, portrayed Union soldiers Pleasant Paris and his son, William J. Paris, at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, on Pleasant Hill Cemetery Rd. a short distance from Marion.   Pictured above is Rodney portraying Pleasant Paris, and tells of his military history and his journey to Crittenden County.

Pleasant Paris' Civil War stone had been relocated from it's original site, which was a short distance from the Pleasant Hill Cemetery (used to be the Floyd Turley Farm), and placed here, as it would be more accessible to be cared for and preserved. 

The old abandoned cemetery were it was originally located was in terrible shape, as it hadn't been cared for in many years.  What few stones were there had been removed from their original location and placed by a tree.

Pleasant was the son of James Paris and Sarah Elizabeth Pendleton Paris.  He was born about 1813 in  Smith Co. Tennessee, was in Company B, 48th KY Inf.  He died Nov. 23, 1864 according to the application for his military marker.  

Robert Ward, from Caldwell County was on hand to give the dedication of Pleasant Paris's new stone location a Civil War gun salute.

It is always wonderful to see and learn the history of our Civil War veterans in such an authentic setting and location.  Thanks to Rodney (or Ralph) Paris for preserving this history.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Gay Party of Picnicers - 1894

Until the era of artificial pastimes, people enjoyed going to places of natural beauty or curiosity together with others for picnics, relaxation and fellowship.  A favorite destination was the beautiful Piney Bluffs.

Here's one story of such an event.  The C. P. Sunday School went on a picnic last Thursday to Iron Hill and the beautiful bluffs of Piney.  

It was a jolly crowd. The forenoon was spent in chatting, fishing, gathering wild flowers and strolling over the hills and bluffs and native forests of Piney.

The noontide hour was spent in enjoying the delicacies prepared for such an occasion.  

In the late afternoon we winded our way back to Marion over the hills and dells of our beautiful countryside.

All said they enjoyed the day. 

There are several of these wonderful old pictures that have been saved during the years, but none of them have all the people identified. 

 In the picture above only one person was identified, and that was of Ollie M. James, in the center of the picture standing and leaning against the bluff with his white hat in his hand.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marion Free Will Baptist Church

One of Marion's old landmark churches is in the process of being torn down.  It is the Marion Free Will Baptist church that is located on South Main Street. It was one of two churches for the Black citizens in our community.  The other was a Methodist Church located on Maple Street, it was torn down many years ago.

                     (This is a picture of the church made in 1955.)

This church of Baptist denomination was active until approximately 10 years or so ago, according to Bob Hill, one of it's member's.  Maybe closed before 2007.

(From the little booklet titled: Churches In Our County, 1974).  The Free Will Baptist movement had been a continuous one, although at times the outlook was dark.  Hence, about June 21, 1887, Rev. Lank Grissom, Brother Jiles Hamilton, and others organized the Free Will Baptist church in Marion on old Salem Street. 

This church was torn down and our little group worshiped in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church while the present church was being erected on South Main Street under the leadership of Rev. E. S. Moody.

In 1974, the pastor was Rev. T. R. Hamilton, and Levi Jackson and Robert Qualls were deacons.

The church was remodeled sometime after 1974 when the booklet was printed and covered in wood siding and the bell tower was taken off.

The old landmark church is in the process of being taken down in October of 2017.  A few items of memorabilia has been saved and will be placed in the Crittenden County Historical Museum.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Kentucky Theatre

In 1926, W. W. Runyan  opened a new theatre on Main street in the building now housing the Botanicals Florists and Gifts, (before that the Marion Cafe).   He named his new theatre "The Kentucky Theatre."

The Kentucky Theatre will be quite an addition to the business section of Marion.  Everyone is looking forward to it's opening with one of Harold Bell Wright's pictures as the feature attraction.  The title of the picture is "A Son of His Father."   from the Crittenden Press.

In Sept. of 1926, the owner of the building the theatre was located in, Mr. J. H. Orme, was returning to Marion and wanted to re-open his Drug Store in it, so the theatre had to be moved across the street into a building owned by Mary Carmeron.

In 1936, W. E. Horsefiled of Morganfield purchased the Kentucky theatre from Mrs. W. W. Runayn.

In May of 1940, C. W. Grady saw the need of a new building to house this popular attraction and he started making plans to begin construction of a new theatre building.  It was to be located on the lot adjacent to the present building housing the theatre.

In December of 1940 the new Kentucky Theatre had its grand opening.  Modern in all respects, the building was the outstanding structure in the western portion of the state.  

This newly constructed theatre didn't get to stay  new for long as in December 1943 this beautiful new facility was struck by another of Marion's disastrous fires.  The theatre was totally destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.  (as far as I know there isn't any picture of this building from 1940).

The Kentucky Theater was built back within a year and was again showing movies in Oct. of 1944.  The large neon sign that hung above the entrance was the largest sign of its kind in Marion.  The seating capacity was 484 and on Saturday nights it would be standing room only.  Mr. Harry Gass now was owner and operator of the theater.

There were two showings of the movie and both showings the theater would be packed.  The line to purchase a ticket would reach the end of the block in front of Farmers Bank.  The ushers would have a hard time holding the second group of people back until the theater could be emptied of its first group of views.  

TV's, movies on videotape and the allure of going to a bigger town to see a move, all probably hurt our hometown theater and by the late 1970's it wasn't being used as it once was.  

It had to close it's swinging glass doors in 1978 due to lack, of businesses.  Two of the big attractions shows that last year were "Star Wars" and "Grease."

The theater building went on sale in Dec. 1980, and Larry Orr purchased the building in May of 1982.  The building was renovated and redesigned and it's unrecognizable as we remember it.

When the Kentucky Theater closed its doors Marion lost a great piece of its hometown history and we lost an old childhood friend.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weston, Flood of 1913

Living in the river-port towns of our county, was a great place to live, as they were busy with river traffic and had more commercial commodities available for those that lived here.  But there were hazards and the worse was the floods.  The flooding usually happened in the spring when the ice and snow from the harsh winters up north would start to thaw and overflow the Ohio, Cumberland and Tradewater rivers that border our county.

The town of Weston on the Ohio River was always hard hit when the floods came.  

The Weston Grocery Store and Pharmacy that belonged to Mr. Ewell Travis was flooded during the flood of April 1913.  Dink Sturgeon, the owner of the houseboat, is helping Mr. Travis move his supplies from his flooded store.

Here is some history from the Crittenden Press.
April 3, 1913 – Weston
We are having more rain in this section. It is the belief of everybody that the water will be higher than it has been for years. The river is rising fast. Our mail carrier, J. R. Collins, did not carry the mail Tuesday, the waters of the creeks being up so high he couldn't cross. 

There was a large crowd gathered on the bank of the river at Weston, Saturday, looking at the great body of water, something that none of us have even seen in Weston before. Our postmistress, Mrs. Jerrie Rankin, was compelled to move the post office to Mrs. Jane Hensell's on account of the high water.

The largest crowd that has been in Weston for years was here Sunday. About 500 people from different places were here viewing the water that has covered our little town. Business in this place is closed down. 

All of the business houses have water in them, and most of the dwelling houses. It is about two feet higher than it was in the 1884 rise.

April 10, 1913 – Also during this flood of the Ohio the entire town of Caseyville, in Union County is afloat or ruined, the inhabitants of the place say it will never be rebuilt. They were encamped last night on the hills back of the town site. The town hall, a frame building, floated off, after the records had been saved in rowboats. The colored Baptist Church and the courthouse are slowly floating away. The only livery stable left in town started away but was caught and tied to a tree. Not a house will be left standing. 

All that is left of the town of Shawneetown are a few substantial brick and stone buildings behind the main levee, and they are considered unsafe.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cool Spring Water Runs Deep In County's History

Crittenden County seems to be honeycombed with mineral springs.  Of course Crittenden Springs was at the head of the list, and there are others that were once known for their medicinal virtues.

Another well-known spring in the early 1900's was the Hill Spring or Mineral Springs that was located from Marion about six miles on Hwy. 506 until you reach the Y and then take Hwy. 1107 until you get to  the church house on the right, the old road ran by the church house, (road not there anymore), and the Hill spring was located on the old road.

In those early days, it was a summer resort for many of Marion's prominent families.  They would pack up a week or more of supplies and head for the the little woodland paradise

Drink the water, and, unless you prove an exception to the rule, these results will follow: Your appetite will improve from the first day, it will wax vigorous and strong, and the pure enjoyment of eating will be revealed to you; sleep will become sweet and sound; the whole system will become invigorated and life will put on new attractions.

These waters tone up the stomach and stimulate the liver and kidneys, and are what the physicians call a diuretic and alternative.

You can boil eggs in this water, cook tomatoes, beets, onions or anything else that can be cooked in ordinary water. If boiled with a liberal supply of "red cow coffee" makes a splendid beverage for the morning meal. By adding two pounds of bacon cured and two gallons of this famous water and boiling for two hours you can have as fine beans as can be had in Boston or as delicious cabbage as you can get in Detroit. This water will freeze at a temperature of about ten above and make first class ice.

 The spring was surrounded by a 30 foot square of concrete with a shed built over the spring. It had a pump so that the water could be pumped out and taken by bucket to the camp sites for use or you could sit under the shed and drink the water. 

Business men of Marion had even built cabins around the spring site, so their families would have a summer home to enjoy the area and partake of the health-giving waters.

Crittenden County has had many of these springs, many of them now have dried up, either by acts of nature, or by acts of man, and the names of many of them have been lost over the years as the families die out and the lands are sold and the wonderful mineral waters dry up by not being taken care of.

But these natural springs are definitely a part of the history of our past and many of the springs continue to serve the farmers today as water for their stock. 

But the tin cup or gourd that used to hang on a tree near many of the springs for the passers-by to use for a cool drink, are absent now, as we are afraid to drink of these waters, as they aren't as pure as they once were.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fords Ferry Road, August 1925

Here's is an interesting article found in the August 21, 1925 Crittenden Press.


Courier Journal of Sunday, August 16, Devotes Page to New Project and to Historical Legends of Early Days.

In the feature section of the Courier Journal of last Sunday a whole page was devoted to our new Ford Ferry and Cave in Rock.  It said in part:

On a decision of the Illinois Highway Department, expected next month, hangs the hope of a large section of Western Kentucky for the early construction of an inter state highway which, in Kentucky and in Southern Illinois, will traverse a section as filled with history of dark deeds, romances, crimes, and unmentionable tales as the landscapes of the section are filled with midsummer haze. 

The road, which will connect the section through which it is to be built with concrete roads Illinois is building, now financed partly by bond issues totalling $160,100,000 and give to Southern Illinois a inlet to the Louisville-Paducah road, now under construction, will run from Hopkinsville to Princeton, Marion, Fords Ferry and Cave in Rock.

Mystery surrounds Fords Ferry.  The man whose name is attached to that Ohio river point remains a man of mystery after a century.

Historians are as yet unable to unravel his secret.  Legends ascribed to him the leadership of bandit in the section during the early years of the Nineteenth Century, but his character and life will ever remain in doubt - whether it was the whole truth or not.

Cave in Rock, which is on the Illinois shore near the ferry, is a most interesting point. About it centered crimes of which many early voyageurs of the Ohio river were victims.

The pirogue, the batteau and the flat boat of the early trader often found Cave in Rock thier last port of call, and the brave crews saw their last glimpse of earth near it's portals.

The bandits and pirates of Cave in Rock would have shamed Blackbeard and Jean Lafitte by their misdeeds.

The status of the road, is Kentucky's treasury will have no funds available for roads until July 1926.  The possibility of its construction before that time is to have it designated a federal highway and let the surrounding counties aid in the construction.  Mack Gailbraith, federal engineer in Kentucky, has recommended it as a federal highway on condition that it be so designated by Illinois.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Marion Graded School Building

Evelyn Graves wrote this about the Marion Graded School building in1926.

The graded school building stands on the corner of College and Carlisle streets, its front entrance facing the post office building and the side entrance facing the Methodist church.

The main part of the building was constructed in 1894 when Charles Evans was superintendent of the Marion school system.

The building was used for the first time Jan. 19, 1895 and in it seven teachers were employed.  Both the graded and high school were housed in it.

In 1904 the school district realizing that the new graded and high school building was entirely too crowded, voted bonds for an annex.  With this new section, the present auditorium and the class rooms above the building, now used for the graded school alone, the school was completed as it now stands.

The first high school class that graduated in Marion consisted of two, Edward Gray, now of Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Perry Maxwell, also of Ardmore, who graduated in 1896.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Some Early Crittenden County Pioneer Citizens

Here is some history and genealogy of some of our early pioneer citizens.

Crittenden Press, Nov. 9, 1903.

James Hickman Walker. 

He was born on a farm near Tolu, Nov. 14, 1827 and spent his early life on a farm.

As a young man he became associated with the government of the county.

He was appointed deputy sheriff of the county for three years and four months, beginning in 1851.

 He was elected sheriff in 1854, and re-elected in 1856. He was deputy U.S. Marshall in 1860, and census enumerator in 1860, taking the census of half of the county.

He was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court in 186t2 and served in this office until 1874.

He was a splendid official and served in each office with credit to himself and the people who elected him.  

James Hickman died June 16, 1906 at the age of 79.  He is buried at Mapleview Cemetery with his wife, Hortense Gregory Walker.  

Crittenden Press, Sept. 19, 1895

Robert W. Foster

R. W. Foster was born in Oldham County, KY., Sept. 7, 1817, and was a son of A. G. and Lucy Duerson Foster.  His parents came to Kentucky at an early day.

 Mr. Foster came to Crittenden County in 1852, and settled on a portion of the land he owned at his death.

He was a most successful farmer and at his death owned one of the finest farms in the county.

He was postmaster at the Hurricane post office for several  years.

He was never married and for years his widowed sister, Mrs. Threlkeld, has kept house for him.

He had a lovely home overlooking the valley of the Ohio and there surrounded by all that was needed to bring comfort to him.  

He passed away on Sept. 14, 1895 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.  His sister, Susannah F. Threlkeld is buried next to him.

Crittenden Presss, July 1896

Phineas C. Barnett

Phineas C. Barnett was born in Warren County, Ky., Feb. 16, 1809.  His family moved from Kentucky to Missouri, where he remained until he was 17 years old when he returned to his native state, and a little later he entered Cumberland College at Princeton.

In 1835 he came to what is now Crittenden County and settled on the farm where he spent the last 60 years of his life, located a few miles outside of Tolu. 

He had a love of fine horses and had several of these on his farm.  He was an industrious man of his day and owned a large amount of land and operated a successful farm and livestock herd of cows and horses.

In 1831 he was married to Miss Jeanetta Threlkeld.

Mr. Barnett died at his home near Tolu, on Friday July 24, 1896.  He was buried in the Barnett-Miles Cemetery located outside of Tolu on his farm.

The old Barnett-Miles Cemetery is located today on land that belongs to the J. T. May family.  It has been destroyed many years ago by cattle.  All the stones are knocked down and some even missing. 

The Barnett name today is remembered  by the Barnett Chapel's Church and also the county road that is named the Barnett Chapel Rd where the church is located. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Marion's Newspapers

There is a saying that goes "The local paper is the fabric of a town, they give small towns their identity."

Here is some history on the newspaper of our town.
  • In February, 1878, the MARION REPORTER was founded by J. J. Nall, R. H. Adams and James M. Clement.  It was ran under this management until October 1878, when it was turned over to C. F. Champion and R. C. Walker to see if they could increase advertisement subscription, the lifeblood of an infant newspaper.  But unable to put the Reporter on a profitable basis by the end of the year, the paper was returned to its owners.  Murrell Adams issued one number in January 1879.
  • R. C. Walker founded the CRITTENDEN PRESS, May 28, 1879, on a five-column outside patent as a weekly.  Like the other Marion businesses it experienced an amazingly rapid growth from 1879 to 1894, and it grew to a seven-column outside patent to an eight-column all-home- print patent by 1894.  Press subscriptions grew from two hundred (200) to five hundred (500) in the first few years to fourteen hundred (1,400) in 1886 to eighteen hundred (1,800) in 1894.  The PRESS no doubt prospered on a similar scale under Walker until it was sold to S. M. Jenkins about 1903.(The paper was first known as "Crittenden Press", when Mr. Jenkins took over the paper in 1894 the word, "The" was official added to the title.)
  • A few years later the MARION MONITOR made its appearance before the public, B. F. Copeland being the editor and publisher of the new paper.  After a short and financially unsuccessful run, Mr. Copeland sold out to S. C. Haynes and at the death of Mr. Haynes a year later, the paper passed into the hands of A. C. Moore and W. S. Adams, and finally into non existence and restful oblivion, the Press taking over the type and fixtures of the plant.
  • On July 15, 1904, the firm of  James E. Crittenden and C. H. Whitehouse founded The CRITTENDEN RECORD which was greeted with almost instant success by the growing community as is shown by the subscriptions which grew from fifteen hundred (1,500) soon after it started to over two thousand (2,000) by the time of dissolution of the Crittenden-Whitehouse Firm in November 1905.    In 1912 the homeless Crittenden Record merged with S. M. Jenkins' Crittenden Press and Jenkins edited and published The Crittenden Record Press through 1917.  The name was eventually changed back to just The Crittenden Press as we know it still today.
Although The Crittenden Press has changed hands several times through the past years the name has stayed the same.  And although many of the younger generation prefer to get their subscription to the paper on line, many of us still love to be able to hold our beloved Crittenden Press in our hands and leaf through the pages to read about our town and community.

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.