Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolutions of Respect

For a genealogist these old Resolutions of Respect placed in the paper by the Masons and Woodmen of the World organizations to  honor a deceased member are wonderful.  Some give more information than others but all are good information resources.

Crittenden Record Press - Sept. 12, 1912
Resolutions of Respect.  Whereas, it has pleased the Grand Architect of the Universe, in His infinite wisdom, to call from his labors on earth to eternal refreshments in the Celestial Lodge on High, our brother, Andy E. Rushing, who departed this life September 7th, 1912.

Whereas, Bro. Rushing was one of the oldest members of Bigham Lodge, No. 256, F. & A. M., having been born Sept. 26, 1831, and had he lived nineteen days longer would have been 81 years old. (the birth date in the paper and what is on his stone are a couple days off.) He was initiated Jan. 8, 1876, and until his death remained one of our most faithful members.  Therefore be it  Resolved, That in the death of Bro. Rushing, this Lodge has lost a true and faithful member, the community a useful and honorable citizen, and the family a kind and loving father.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be spread upon the records of our Lodge, that a copy be sent to the children, of the deceased brother, and a copy be furnished the Marion News and the Crittenden Record-Press for publication.
C.W. Lamb, Jones O. Gill and Robt. E. Wilborn.

Mr. Andrew E. Rushing was buried in the Mapleview Cemetery.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shady Grove Lodge

The picture at the right is of the Shady Grove Lodge.  Picture was made in the early 1920s.  The people on the porch were unidentified.   The writing on the old photo says Odd Fellow and Modern Woodman of American Hall. W of A

An article in the Jan. 21, 1909 Crittenden Press tells us some history about this old building.

Friday, January 1st, was a great banner day in the history of Shady Grove Camp No. 12422 Modern Woodmen of America.  They met at the Hall in regular session.  Officers for the ensuring year were installed and future work of the order was planned.

The past year has been a most prosperous one and the ensuring year promises to be a more prosperous one.  Following are the officers elected for th ensuring year:  S. D. Asher, Consul; W. F. Brown, adviser; C. M. Drennon, banker; Kelley Simpson, clerk; S. W. Towery, escort; J. C. Skelton, watchman; Thomas Travis, secretary; Bert Woods, Chief forester; Rev. Eman Bosster, Chaplain; Dr. R. O. Davis, camp physicion; T. B. Kemp, Henry and Johnnie Birchfield, board of manager.

They went on with the good work until 4:00 in the afternoon, they they marked through the village of Shady Grove and back to W. H. Birchfield's residence, where they found a sumptuous supper awaiting them.  Mrs. Birchfield certainly had everything on the table that could have been appetising.

There were three new members to be iniated and the ceremonies held the camp in session long after midnight.  The meeting was long to be remembered and strikingly illustrated the growth and healthy condition of the Shady Grove camp.

This camp No. 12422 was organized August 26, 1908, has more than 50 members and is rapidly increasing in membership.

The ladies present at the supper were Mesdames Will Birchfield, Jane Tudor, Willis Tudor, Sam Asher, Jim Skelton, Will Brown, Sheek Towery, Jeff Elder, Rassie Eskew and Miss Auda Campbell.

This picture of the Shady Grove Lodge was made in March of 1996.  It still looks almost the same as it did in the other photo, but for a few changes.  It stands at the intersection of roads S.R. 139 and S. R. 1917.

The Lodge is still used today for the meetings of the Eastern Star organization.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gazebo on Court House Lawn

The picture at the right is of the Crittenden County Court House that was finished being built in 1961 and had its dedication ceremony on Dec. 9, 1961. 

The gazebo at the right wasn't built until 1998.  Marion's Zeta Alpha Chapter of Beta Sigma International Sorority headed the project of having a new bandstand gazebo constructed on the courthouse lawn.  This gazebo was constructed at the intersection of Main and Bellville Streets at nearly the same location as the original bandstand was located.  The purpose of this bandstand gazebo was to restore some of the old history, and with this new structure perhaps keep alive the memories of a simpler time, and that music will play, policicans will speak, and friends will sit and visit on the public square once again.

Funds to help build this gazebo were raised by the selling of memorial bricks that are laid all around the foundation of the building.

These are bricks that were purchased by myself and my husband in memory of our parents, and my grandfather.  They include, In Memory of Billie M. & Evah Lee Travis.  In Memory of John & Jewell Underdown, and In Memory of my Grandfather, Judge E. Jeffrey Travis, who was the County Judge for Crittenden County for several years.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Illinois Central Centennial Marker

This is a picture of the Illinois Central Centennial Marker that was shown in the previous post.  The marker has been relocated and now sets of the side of the Court House facing Farmers Bank.  The front faces Main Street.

I bet if you showed most of the people in Marion and Crittenden County a photo of this marker, they would not have a clue what it is, or where it is located.

Marion, once proud, and thankful for having a thriving Depot and the use of the railways was honored to received this monument. The railroad, once such a vital part of our history, is now just a memory of the past, as this once distinguished marker is.

The history of this markers is as follows:
This 1500 pound Indiana Limestone Boulder, symbolizing a century of service to Mid-America, was presented to our community on Thursday, September 27, 1951 in the Courthouse yard, in a dedication ceremony by the Illinois Central Railroad.

The two 11-inch bronze medallions set in the face of the boulder are the work of the famed sculptor Julio Kilenyl.

Lon Kavanaugh, Agent for the Illinois Central Railroad and chairman, made and interesting talk and C. S. Collier, Train master, of Princeton, presented the marker to Crittenden County. Acceptance for the county was made by our County Attorney C. D. Chick, and for the City of Marion Hollis C. Franklin, Vice-President of the Farmers Bank & Trust Company.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marion Court Square 1954

A view of how the court house square looked in the year 1954.  To the right of the court house is the popular old gazabo that for many years was the center of entertainment and gatherings of all the city and county folks.

All kinds of entertainment took place in this wonderful old structure.  All kinds of musical entertainment, political and religious speakings, much sharing of the local business news and gossip of the town, and there were games of checkers and the big thing on Saturday's - the swapping and trading of knives.  It was also a wonderful place for the local children to play and always fascinating to go inside and see what the big people were doing.

The concrete foundation in front of the gazebo was the covering of the old community well.  The well was, is the early days of Marion, the main source of water for the business district.  In later years it was filled in and covered with the concrete slab.  On top of it is a Illinois Central Centennial Marker.  I'll use the history of it in the next entry.

The beautiful old Court House and Gazebo were torn down in 1961 to make room for the new court house.  The local officials decided that this court house had served it's purpose and was beyond saving or trying to update, and the same for the Gazebo.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fluorspar Usage

From my previous article about the Fluorspar Mining History in Crittenden County, many people do not know what Fluorspar is or what it was used for at one time. The picture at the right will only give you a small glimpse into the Fluorspar world. These are small specimens and do not really show how beautiful the mineral can be.

Fluorspar was the major dependent for some industries survival and existence. Hundreds of things about the home and the everyday life are possible because of Fluorspar.

Major uses included making steel, hydrofluoric acid, glass and enamel and iron foundry.

Fluoride can also help strengthen bones and teeth with thousands of tons of the substance going into the water to prevent decay and breakdown.

All of the aluminum that man uses can also be attributed in part to Fluorspar as Fluorspar salts and cryolite are used in the process to form the aluminum.

High octane gas, insecticides, refrigerants, dyes, plastics, solvents, clothing fibres, synthetic rubber, all get minor contributions for this mineral in their production.

During World War II, Fluorine (taken from the mineral fluorspar) was second only to uranium in making the atom bomb.

Marion in Crittenden County is very fortunate to have the Ben E. Clement Museum, home to the most unique collection of Fluorspar and minerals in the world. Many of the Fluorspar specimens were taken from the many mines located in our area.

The reason the mining industry was taken from Crittenden County and Southern Illinois, causing many, many familes to be without an income and many of our families having to move up North to the car and steel factories for a living to support their families, was that the fluorspar had begun to be imported into this country from foreign land in large quanities, and which has been produced by cheap foreign labor. This being allowed due to low tariff and poor import restrictions on foreign goods being brought into our country.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fluorspar Mining in Crittenden County

The picture at the right is of the Lafayette Mine that once was located at Mexico, KY. The mine was owned by several different companies through the years and was known by different names.

In 1948 it was known at the Tabb No. 1 plant of the Fluorspar Division of the U. S. coal and Coke Company. When the mines closed for the final time in 1973, it was known as Calvert City Chemical Company Mexico Mill.

When the mines finally closed it was a devastating blow to Crittenden County, and it's largest industry was gone. Many men lost their jobs and had to look elsewhere for work.

There is a lot of history recorded about the early days of the fluorspar mining industry in the Mexico, area. In 1904 it was recorded that thousands of tons of fluorspar was in the freight yards ready for shipment by train to plants up North. Mexico was the natural shipping point for a large scope of mining territory, embracing the Hodge, Riley, Pogue, Yandell, Asbridge, Tabb, Wheatcroft and other mines located near by.

In 1924 the mines in the Mexico and Frances area were the largest producing fluorspar mines in the nation. The mining district provided hundreds of jobs for the men in the surrounding towns and communities.

The underground mining of fluorspar was a dangerous and health threatening job, but it was a risk they took to provide a good living for their families.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Matthews Cemetery, Frances Kentucky

Matthews Cemetery is located near Frances, KY on State Route 855 South.

Crittenden County has many small family and community cemeteries that are uncared for, not that there aren't family members left, but for different reasons they are unable or just forget the need to care for them. Maintenance of these cemeteries is expensive for one or two people to have to bear the load of the fees, and time consuming if you have to try and keep the area mowed and trimmed yourself. So most of them are just left uncared for and nature takes them over.

Rita Owen Travis through a local grant application has acquired a small grant to help get the Matthews Cemetery cleaned. In the picture at the right is Steve Underdown with power saw cutting and trimming hanging limbs and overgrown shrubs that have become overgrown and out of control. The ice storm of Jan. 2009 also caused a lot of damaged to fence rows and tree limbs.

Rita also wants to have some of the over-turned and broken monuments reset and restored to their former state.

Some of the families that are buried in this cemetery are Matthews, Brown, Perkins, Tabor, Shewcraft, Millikan, Polk, Parish, and Asbridge. These are just a few of the family names you will see on the tombstones.

Hopefully with this initial cleanup family members will take a renewed interested in their family history and possible help with future care of the cemetery.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Carlyle Towery - Walking Legend

A familiar sight around Marion is Mr. Carlyle Towery. Although pushing 90 years old, he takes his exercise walk everyday. This morning he was walking around one of our local grocery store parking lots.

Carlyle Towery is one of our local sport heroes from yesteryear. In 1936 he was co-captain of the Shady Grove Bear Cats. He was the high point star for the team and measured 6ft 5 in tall. He received much praise from spectators for his good basketball style.

After graduating from Shady Grove High School Mr. Towery went to school at Western Ketncuky University. At 6'5" Towery played center for the Hilltoppers, leading them to the NCAA tournament in 1940 in Indianapolis where they lost to Duquesne 30-29.

Towery made the All-American team in 1940, just the second Hilltopper to earn the honor. He is listed as the 21st all-time scorer for the school although, judging from the words of praise of some of his peers, it is clear he is much more well thought of than that.

Following his collegiate career, Towery went to the old Nation Basketball League, forerunner of the National Basketball Association, with the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. The club won the league title in 1944. Towery's pro career was delayed by military service and then was ended by a near-fatal automobile accident in 1950.

Our hats off to you Mr. Towery.