Friday, May 25, 2018

A Few Of The Crittenden County Heroes from the 83rd Division of the US Army, WWII

Remembering some of our Crittenden County Fallen Heroes from World War II.

 They gave their young lives for the freedom we have today.  May they never be forgotten.

The 83rd division began its training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana in 1942 where it was the first division to open this camp. In July and August 1943 it participated in Second Army maneuvers in Tennessee and in spite of being the “youngest” division taking part in the maneuvers proved itself a tough, aggressive outfit. In September 1943 the division moved to Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky and trained there for the remainder of the year and for the first two months in 1944.
The 83rd departed the United States for foreign duty on April 6, 1944. They arrived in England on April 16, 1944. After intensive training in England and in the northern part of Wales, the Division landed at Omaha Beach, June 18, 1944, and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carenta on June 27th


Feb. 8, 1945 – Information has been received that Pfc. Forrest Eugene Brantley, 32, of Repton was killed in action on Jan. 13th. He was serving with the 83rd Division in Belguim. Sgt. Brantley had been wounded on July 11th, in the invasion of Normandy and had been back on duty only three weeks when killed. 

 He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Eula Brantley. His wife, the former Miss Ruth Hubbard of Shady Grove, lives in Washington, D. C. His body was returned to US under the WWII dead program from Belguim. Sgt. Brantley is buried is the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

 July 16, 1948 – Memorial services were held at Seven Springs Baptist Church for Pfc. Degarth Hall, July 8th. Degarth was the son of Mrs. Jennie Hall of Dycusburg, Ky.

 He was captured in France July 4, 1944 and died in prison camp July 6, 1944. He was brought to his home July 7, 1948, and was buried in Dycusburg Cemetery beside his father, Mr. Ed Hall. The memorial address was given by an Army Chaplin from Camp Campbell, Ky. Pfc. Hall was in Co F 83rd Inf.

  PFC Guy Edward Hodge, son Guy and Stella Thomas Hodge was born July 16, 1922 and was killed in action in France on July 4, 1944. 
 He was a member of the 331 Infantry 83rd Division. Pfc.

 Hodge is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Department du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France.

 August 18, 1944 – Pfc. Victor Hershel Orr, was killed in action in France July 10, according to War Department telegram last Saturday to his father, Albert Orr. Pfc. Orr was a member of the 83rd Division, he arrived in England three months ago. After entering service Oct. 24, 1942, he received training at camps in Indiana and Tennessee before assignment to Camp Breckenridge. 

 He graduated from Marion High School in 1942.

 He was the son of Albert and Myrtle Edwards Orr. PFC Orr was buried in Normandy France, in the St. Laurent Cemetery.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Remembering Some Of Our Older Businesses

In August of 1983 two new businesses were opening up in what was known as Darben Plaza, created by Darrell Jent.  

Crittenden Press, August 4, 1983.  Two new busineses are expected to open soon in the former Tresslar Home and Family Center building in Marion's Darben Plaza.

Family Dollar, a Charlotte, N. C. based variety chain, will open a store here at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 11, and a Pizza Hut restaurant plans to be in operation by late September.

The 12,000 sq. ft. area formally used by Tresslar has been divided into a 9,000 saq ft. section for Family Dollar and a 3,000 sq. ft. area for Pizza Hut.

Over the past few weeks, carpenters have been preparing the Family Dollar portion of the building for its grand opening, and this week merchandise is being placed in the store.

Al Boyd, former Tresslar manager, has been named as manager of the store here, which will be Family Dollar's 23rd store in Kentucky.

The store will carry merchandise geared toward family and home needs, including clothing and shoes, health and beauty aids, housewares, school supplies, candy, toys, paint, a sewing department, and auto supplies.   It was a great store for a small town like Marion to have. 

What is so unique about these two stores is that they both, Pizza Hut and Family Dollar Store are still open and doing business.  

Through the years, other stores that were located in the plaza weren't so fortunate and had to close, there have been a department store, a video store, and others, one of my favorites, and during the seventies was really popular, was a great dinning place called "The Rustic Inn."   It was a great restaurant with really good food.

CVS Drug Store is the only other business still active in the area known as Darben Plaza.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Lafayette Fluorspar Company

Crittenden County, KY., once known for being the largest fluorspar producing area in the nation.

Our fluorspar history is quickly being forgotten, as the generations of families that remember these times are also quickly fading away.

From the archives of the Crittenden Press we can go back to the mid 1920's and learn of some of the things that were happening at that time.  Exciting things were beginning to happen in the Mexico and Frances community with the coming of the LaFayette Fluorspar Company.

June 1923 -The Press in behalf on the people of Marion and the mining interests of Crittenden County, welcome the advent of the LaFayette Fluorspar Company into this county. The company has taken over a considerable part of the property of the Kentucky Fluorspar Company, one of the first mining companies organized here in recent years, and has begun to set the wheels of the mining industry revolving at an increased velocity. All this has taken place in the last few weeks and at the expenditure of large sums of money. 

Crittenden County has embedded beneath her soil the finest quantity of fluorspar and other minerals, it is hoped that the new company, possessing all the improved mining methods and an abundance of capital, will add greatly to the mining interests of Crittenden an adjoining counties. We welcome it's advent.

Field work was done in the area before the actual purchase was made. Early in 1921 preliminary investigations were started by engineers from the Oliver Iron Mining Company, in Duluth Minnesota.
Later in October of 1921 arrangements were made to explore the veins by means of diamond drilling. Drill rigs and crews were dispatched to the area from the Iron-mining district of Minnesota. 

As a result of the drilling, investigations and mine examinations of the active operating mines, a group of properties was purchased from the Kentucky Fluorspar Company. 

The actual transfer took place June 9th, 1923 when Judge A. A. Northern, President of the Kentucky Fluorspar Company accepted a check from Pres. W. J. Olcott of the newly organized Lafayette Fluorspar Company.

In July 1923 additional property was acquired from M. F. Pogue, S. H. Matthews and others. In August 1923 another group of local properties was purchased from the Blue Grass Fluorspar Company which was owned by George P. Roberts, Sam Gugenheim and associates. Also the Big Four group, located near Sheridan was purchased from Avery H. Reed and associates.
One of the few remaining landmarks of this era is Lafayette Heights. What a wonderful story this historical area holds of that long ago special time of the fluorspar boom in our county.

Lafayette Heights, located in the community of Frances, Kentucky, must have started to be constructed soon after the coming of the Lafayette Fluorspar Company. The company built modern houses surrounded by beautiful yards and gardens for five families of the office personnel. 

The company also maintained a community house where motion pictures were shown weekly and all other social activities were held there also. 

From an article in the Dec. 16, 1927 Crittenden Press it says the employees of the Lafayette Fluorspar Company at Mexico have just completed a new community building to be used for social activities of the company's employees.

The new community building being built in 1927.

On December 28, 1938 the Lafayette Fluorspar Company ceased to exist. This occurred through the transfer of the properties and the active management to the United States Coal and Coke Company, subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In January 1939, the Lafayette Fluorspar Co.'s name was changed and the large plant is now known as U. S. Coal & Coal Co.

Even after the U. S. Steel owned the mine and property they were responsible for the upkeep of the yards and landscaping of Lafayette Heights.

All the houses were connected by a system of sidewalks and the children could skate or ride their bicycles from one end of the property to the other. The area was well lit at night with lights along both the front and rear yards. 

Some of the families that lived here during this period of the history were: In the first house was Elmer and Banche Sorensen, he was chief clerk. In the second house lived Avery and Alma Reed. He was chief engineer.