Monday, November 28, 2022

Marion In The Year 1913

 In the year 1913, Marion was small town but it was growing with several new business opportunities. The town was built back up and progressing nicely after the 1905 fire that wiped out all of the business district.


Jan. 5, 1913 - A Clean Town

There is no town of the size of Marion in the State that is kept cleaner and more sanitary than our town. Our streets and yards are far above the average.

Most of our citizens are doing their best to make their homes comfortable and beautiful. Quite a number of our houses have been painted and the out buildings whitewashed. Yet there are a few that have neglected some things that go to make us perfect.

Our streets have been cleaned and oiled but recently and already on many of them is to be seen paper and rubbish of all kinds.

Our post office is supplied with a receptacle for waste paper and yet some have persisted in throwing it in the gutter to be blown over town. Let us have more of these receptacles for banana peals, that great fly producer, and other things that are not sanitary.

This coming Friday will be “clean up day.” Our best citizens are behind this and they are anxious that there will be no building left without a coat of paint or whitewash. Lime will be furnished to any one who is not able to buy it and wagons will cart away all rubbish that may have accumulated around your house. Have this rubbish in a pile on the side of the street or alley so that no time may be lost in getting to it.

If there is anything that should be burned place it where there is no danger of setting anything else on fire and burn it. Let us have a clean town.


Here are some of the businesses that was contributing to Marion's progress and also profiting from the growing town.

The tobacco business was a contributing factor to this busy time in Marion's history. In March 1913, the Press tells us that about one hundred wagon loads of tobacco were received at the three houses which opened for business. At the A. B. Jarvis, Stemming District Association factory, B. L. Wilborn and T. J. Woody were busy looking after the tobacco deliveries there; at the Farmer's Union factory, A. J. McMullen was on hand to receive and D. N. Kemp to grade. At the Independent warehouse where S. T. Dupuy holds forth, everything was running as smooth as a river and an immense lot of tobacco was received, more than at both of the other factories put together.

During the month the deliveries of tobacco here in Marion 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. While the prices have not in all cases been as high as had been hoped for, the farmers as a rule seem well pleased with the situation.


The mineral outputs of the county were on the rise and contributed greatly to the progress Marion was making. The mining and shipping of fluorspar, zinc, ores of both carbonate and sulphides, lead ores and barytes have, during this year, perceptibly increased in tonnage as well as values. From the Crittenden Springs property a great body of zinc and lead ore are found. The size of the crystals of zinc and the cubes of lead are greater than the ordinary ores of the district. They carry a matrix of white calc spar and with our ordinary limestone, produce an ideal concentrating and cleaning proposition. The Commodore mine is also producing large quantities of ore and zinc.

Seven hundred and fifty tons of zinc ores have been shipped during the month from this point valued at $20,000. Lead values were considerably less, amounting to $1,200. The value of fluorspar shipments as compared with other seasons will aggregate really more on account of it superior quality, much of it going into hydrofluoric acid production and for enameling use. Shipments of fluorspar during the month, from this district aggregate 1,150 tons, of a value of $10,350.


In March of 1913. Boston's new lumber emporium is nearing completion and is an immense establishment worth a visit from any citizen of the community who is interested in the growth and development of our various enterprises.

Few, if any of the enterprises in Marion, since the city was laid out almost three fourths of a century ago, have succeeded better and are on any more firm foundation than the Boston Mills and Lumber plant.

The growth of Marion and contiguous farming territory added to the great amount of material used for mining shafts and other buildings of all characters around these mines have lent valuable help to the splendid business sagacity and acumen of Mr. J. N. Boston the owner of this fine property. He has also had valuable help in the conduct of his office from his two sons, Messrs Maurie and Ted Boston.

Altogether its a strong team, and the equipment in the way of machinery and buildings is unsurpassed in this section of the state. Their new ware-rooms and offices near the I. C. Depot are not only immense but are stored with everything that goes into a house. Their machine shop and engine rooms and planing mills are now being reconstructed and enlarged and at the same time not put out of commission.

They handle lime, cement, nails and all kinds of builders hardware and have recently installed a self measuring apparatus for gasoline where motor can be filled and the gasoline measured and strained at the same time. This is a new invention and a patent will worth going a long distance to see.

In fact few people in Marion know to what extent this business has grown and would be surprised to take a trip through all its departments and see its immensity.


New Enterprise Launched - Eskew Brothers Open Branch Establishment

No one who knows the Eskew Bros., will be surprised to learn that they have bought the Stembridge wagon works and machine shops on Bellville street recently operated by A. J. Stembridge, who relinquished it only because of a lack of capital to operate it successfully.

The Eskew Bros., who are noted for their thrift, industry and enterprise will put the new branch under the charge of L. J. Randolph as foreman and Myron Frisbie as Master Mechanic, steel workman wagon builder and carriage maker. This certainly insures the patrons of this shop with work of the highest class and they can depend on finding here also a horse-shoer of national reputation.

The wagon manufacturing will be pushed. Their is room for it here. Marion above all things needs factories. Give Eskew Bros., the home support they deserve and they will surprise you in a short time with their new wagon work and machine shop.


These are some of the happenings in Marion in the year 1913. One hundred and two years ago.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Weston and Bells Mines in Military Action During the Civil War



 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 union on the board and were readily driven off by the firing of whole volleys from the boat.  There were casualties on both sides.  The boat's captain refused to land to allow the infantry to burn the town, citing orders to not land on the Kentucky shore.

Another dated incident that took place at Weston was on Sept. 4, 1864, when 14 Confederate prisoners who were being transported under guard on board the steamboat Colossus, overpowered the guards, killing several of them and forced the boat to the Kentucky shore at Weston from which point they escaped. 


The seconded documented military action in the county occurred at Bell's Mines about 3 miles east of Weston.  Lt. Thomas W. Metcalfe with 46 men of Company C, 56th Kentucky Mounted Infantry departed Cloverport, Ky., on July 5, traveling through the Green River country.  They were attacked at Bell's Mines on July 13, 1864 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 1 killed, 11 captured and 22 horses and rigging taken. 


There are a few Civil War markers at Bells Mines Cemetery.  There may have been more but are now lost to time.

John W. Jarrell, He was a member of Co. E, 48th Illinois Infantry, Union.  The Databases of Illinois Veterans, says he was 5'6, hair, light, Eyes, Blue, Complexion Light.  His occupation was a farmer, birth about 1838 Crittenden Co, KY.  

When he was discharged from the war he came back to Crittenden County and lived in the Bells Mines community and worked in a grocery store.  He married Sarah Mandeia Gray and had 4 children.  When he died about 1880, Sarah remarried and her and the children moved away from Crittenden County.

William R. Stites, from Arkansas.  Enlisted in the Iowa 3rd Light Artillery Battery on Sept. 26, 1863, and served with the state of Iowa. 

How he got to Bells Mines is a mystery and have nothing on his family or his life.  

According to his information provided for his military stone, it does say he died on March 2, 1879 but no information who ordered the stone.

On the 1870 Bells Mines Census he was working in the coal mines.


 George W. Tudor, born in 1846 to William H. and Sarah Catherine Miller Tudor.

Enlisted at Henderson, Kentucky, as Corporal and  Served with the Union, Company C, Kentucky North Cumberland Infantry Battalion.

Mustered out on Aug. 28, 1865 at Henderson.

He was back home and living at Bells Mines in the 1870 Census and was working in the Bells Coal Mine.

His death date on his military headstone request is Aug. 3, 1873. His papers for request of his military headstone doesn't say who it was requested by.  

J. P.  Gore (John P. Gore).

Enlisted in Company K, Kentucky 17th Cavalry Regiment on Aug. 16, 1864 at Owensboro, KY.

Lived in Union County.  No family information other than his Union County Death information said he died Dec. 28, 1875 of pneumonia.  His occupation was listed as a miner.

He must have worked in the Bells Coal Mines.

Elias Cissell.

Company D, 120th Regt. Illinois Infantry.

Family lived in Union County, KY

Monday, October 31, 2022

Crittenden County High School, Shamrock, And Rockets


The Crittenden County High School was built in 1949 and the first school year for this building was 1950-51.

For a couple of years, the new high school was just known as Crittenden County High, and they had to choose their own colors and a new name for their annual. The students chose for their New Colors - Green and White and the Shamrock would be their emblem. This is their first annual after become Crittenden County High.

In the school year 1954, the students created a school Newspaper and it was named "The Rocket." The name was a big success and that same year the Crittenden County emblem of the Rockets was born for their new Mascot, and they were then known as the Rockets,  although their yearly Annual still remained as the Shamrock until a few years later.  
                    Here is where the "Rocket" name was born.


In 1956, the enrollment at the Marion high school had dropped to only 138 students. The state department recommended the two high schools consolidating to form one High School. The County and City boards met in joint session to take the legal steps necessary to merge the two schools. 

After many meetings and much discussion, the two high schools did merge, and in the fall of 1957, Since the Crittenden Co. High School building was the newest and more modern building the city district students were merged into this building. (First year for the consolidated students was 1958.)


Much debating and arguing went on between the students of the two schools; with the rivalry that had been so intense during the years, both schools wanted to keep their school colors and their name. Marion wanted to continue being the Blue Terrors and have their colors of Blue and White and Crittenden wanted their Rocket and colors of Green and White.

They finally compromised with the County name of Rockets, and the City colors of Marion, which were blue and white. Their annual that year became the Rockette. 


The Rocket in front of the school was placed there in April of 1971. 


The Crittenden County High School INTERACT Club (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Marion) gave students ages 12-18 the chance to make a real difference while having fun. Every INTERACT club carried out two service projects a year: The students chose one that would help install their school spirit. They though a real rocket at their school would be a great project as everyone was proud of their Rocket name. The project started with each member having to write letters to the Air Force to request the “surplus” rocket and telling their reason why. Their letters must have been very persuasive for they got their rocket - with the condition that if it was ever needed again it would be returned to the Air Force.

This Rocket was a symbol of pride for the school and students. 

(This information is from a program I have given several times to the 8th Grade Middle School students, it's called "A History of our Schools.")

Monday, October 17, 2022

Night Riders of Crittenden County


 A lawless element that roamed our county during the early 1900's was the Night Riders.  Operating at their peak in 1906 and 1907, the Night Riders burned tobacco barns and factories, beat the owner if he could be found, and often rode off into the night singing "The Fire Shines Bright in My Old Kentucky Home," to the tune of "My Old Kentucky Home."

The riders were not part of the Klu Klux Klan, but operated in a similar fashion.  Their biggest enemy was the American Tobacco Company.


The Night Riders also took other matters into their own hands and did some punishment of their own to some folks they thought weren't living right. 

One night the Night Riders, consisting of fifty-two local men, went to J. Sliger's looking for his two sons.  The boys, it seems, had been stealing chickens and jelly.

When the Night Riders arrived the mother of the boys stuck the stolen jelly into a churn of buttermilk.  

Only one boy was there and he crawled up the chimney to hide.  While the night Riders thoroughly searched the house, the boy stood on the cross-piece of the chimney, happily escaping the punishment.


A family man was known to be very lazy and his wife had to make all the living.  The Night Riders decided to change this so they when to his house and found him, and whipped him so hard that he began working and almost worked himself to death.


There was a young girl, who had too many men on the string and was simply living the wrong kind of life, and was in dire need of chastisement.  Finding her one night, the Night Riders gave her a good sound whipping.  

From then on she "straightened up and flew right."


Always fun and interesting to read are these colorful stories from long ago. These are from an unknown writer, written many years ago, but thoughtfully saved for us to read today.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Wallace Ferry aka E-town Ferry Road


The E-town ferry road and landing have a long history attached to it.  The ferry's beginning actually began in the early 1830's and it was known for many years as the Wallace Ferry and Wallace Ferry Road. 

William Wallace, one of the Wallace family that came to the Tolu area in the 1830's and built the plantation homes of Ridgeway, Westwood, and William's home of Richland. 


                 Today the area where Richland stood is farm land.  

William's home was built on the northwest corner of the intersection of now Hwy. 135 and the E-town ferry landing Road.  William also owned and ran a country store.   Having the Ohio River on his property and not too far a distance from his home and farm, he hired a man to purchase and bring a ferry boat from Louisville to his location ab 1834.   At the time the river was the only means of transporting supplies and goods to the North and South and also being able to receive goods.  At this time the Wallace Ferry was established.

 William Wallace sold his home and land to George Croft and I don't know any history of the area for many years.   This house and land was later owned by J. T. May.  In the late 1990's J. T. sold the Richland house to a couple from Texas, they took the house down log by log and moved it to Texas where they rebuilt it and made it into a bed and breakfast, but it's original look was changed when it was rebuilt.


In the 1930's Charles L. Brazell owned and ran a good ferry business between the Kentucky side landing across the river to Elizabethtown (E'town, Ill).  Mr. Brazell knew the people on the KY side needed a way to get to the spar mines in Southern Ill., many went this route to get married, and still some used the ferry regularly to purchase liquor from E'town.

He hung a bell on the Kentucky side of the river, and when the ferry was needed, if he was on the Illinois side, they would ring the bell and Mr. Brazell would come across and pick the people up, or perhaps bring them some alcoholic beverages, for which this was a well used place for this purpose.  I believe this is the time period that the ferry became known as the E-town ferry.


After Mr. Brazell owned the ferry, Mr. Russell Hardesty owned and ran the ferry from 1944 until April 1964.  Mr. Hardesty announced that his ferry service between Crittenden County and Elizabethown, Ill., would be closed. Mr. Hardesty said that he had sold both the tow boat and the barge.  Business had fallen off since the fluorspar mining had declined in Illinois and truck traffic was subsequently less. 


In 1987 a new modern boat ramp was being built at the old ferry landing.  The ramp and new parking lot for boats and trailers was completed sometime later after Nov. 1987.

The E-town Ferry landing as it looks today, Oct. 2022.

View of Elizabethtown or E'town, Ill. from the Kentucky E'town Ferry Landing site .

The very historic old Wallace Ferry Road, today known at E'town Landing Rd.  Notice the high banks on each side where the old road bed had worn down the land being used for nearly 200  years.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Ruby Laffoon Trail through Crittenden County

 The history of roads through Crittenden County can be very interesting.  I don't remember ever seeing this stretch of road from Dycusburg to Shady Grove being named the Ruby Lafoon Trail on any old Crittenden maps, so I don't know when the name was dropped and just the State Highway numbers were used.  Maybe when the later updated road maps were redone.

 Crittenden Press, March 25, 1932. 

Senator Marion F. Pogue (from Frances, KY), introduced the following bill to the last General Assembly.

"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:  That the road leading from Smithland, Livingston County, KY, via, Tiline, Dybusburg Ferry on Cumberland River; Thence via Frances, and Mexico over State Project No. 70, to State Highway No. 91, at Cliffie McClure's; thence over Highway 91, to Marion; thence over State Project No. 120, to Shady Grove, thence across Tradewater River to Providence, Webster County, connecting with Federal Highway No. 41; thence with Federal Highway to Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky."

The road to be known hereafter, as the Ruby Laffoon Trail, has the support of the Governor and he has urged the completion as soon as possible.  

Governor Ruby Laffoon has signed the bill establishing a road project running from Smithland, thru Marion and Princeton to Madisonville, to be known as the "Ruby Laffoon Trail."

This will cover the route traveled by Governor Laffoon while he was Circuit Judge of this district.

Here is Gov. Laffoon's Historical Highway Marker located in Madisonville, KY.

Gov. Ruby Laffoon Marker image. Click for full size.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Cemetery Stories

I love our old cemeteries.  They all have so many stories to tell and so much of our past history lies buried with these people.   Let's visit the beautiful hillside cemetery of Dycusburg and meet some of their long ago businessmen  that are buried here. 

James H. Clifton, postmaster and notary public, was born in Montgomery, Tenn., April 4, 1835 to Miles W. and Mary J. Walker Clifton.   His career was a long, successful and honorable one.
  He learned the blacksmith trade and followed it for 18 years at Dycusburg.  It was while working at the forge that he formed a large acquaintance and established a reputation for business integrity.
 When he began merchandising at Dycusburg, his business grew as the years went by, and he was one of the leading business houses in the county.  He handled dry goods, groceries, notions, clothing, hardware, and in fact "Everything" except whiskey and coffins.
 Mr. Clifton's fair dealing, his honesty, and his enterprising spirit as a merchant made him an important figure in the community.
Samuel H. Cassidy, was born to Howard and Mary Cassidy August 30, 1835 in Princeton, Ky.      At the age of twenty-one years Samuel began engineering on steamboats plying the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers.  This he followed until 1861, when he partnership with his brother-in-law, W. E. Dycus, and they began merchandising at Dycusburg.  They dealt extensively in tobacco for export and had two large stemmeries in Kuttawa, and four at Dycusburg.  
  Politically Mr. Cassidy was a Democrat, had been deputy county clerk for about 20 years, and for many years treasurer, and one of the town trustees of Dycusburg.  He was instrumental in introducing the telephone line over  this section  of the county. 
    Mr. Cassidy is a typical example of what untiring energy, backed by good common sense will accomplish.  All in all, Dycusburg owes much to Mr. Cassidy

William Micelberry Hill, located in Dycusburg in 1855 to take a position with Cobb, Gellatly & Co., one of the largest business houses in Dycusburg.  He remained with the firm for 15 years. 

He served the town as police judge several years, making a good reputation as a fair and impartial officers.  

  He later owned and ran is own hardware and grocery business.  He carried a select stock of good, keeps the store in splendid shape.  His affable disposition, good humor, and social qualities make him a popular man, and then in a business way he is honorable and trustworthy.


James M. Graves, M. D., was born in Jefferson County, Ky., November 20, 1848.  He was the son of Dr. John M. and L. A. Graves.

At the age of 25 years James began the study of medicine with Dr. W. S. Graves, at Dycusburg.  He graduated at the Medical University of Louisville, in 1877, and has since had a very successful practice at Dycusburg.