Friday, July 30, 2010

Steward Chapel Church

One of Marion old historic churches was the Steward Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church that was located on North Maple Street in Marion.  It's congregation was of Black people.  

The beautiful and stately old church was rebuilt in 1916 under the pastorate of Rev. P. W. Garrett.  The plot of ground on which the church and parsonage stood was given by Mr. Herrod Travis.  Herrod Travis was a brick maker and had his old kiln.

The church was closed in the late seventies and the beautiful building torn down.  Today there is only the foundation of the church.  It's hard to think that this church once stood on this place.

The picture on the left is all that remains of the church.

After the close of the Civil War, the great increase in the business zone in Marion, plus the movement of freed slaves from the farms to the cities to secure employment called for additional mercantile lots and an industry for Marion.  Herrod Travis, an ex-slave got several former brick-maker's and founded the kiln that produced most of the brick, if not all, used in Marion's construction before 1917.  The ally way on the North side of this addition later widened into a street named Travis Street in his honor, and the North-South Street is now called Maple Street.

This is a picture of the office of Herrod Travis that was located in this area.  The old building has been gone many many years. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ollie James Monument

Even though we are a small rural community, we have a very impressive city cemetery, which is Mapleview Cemetery.  Many beautiful carved ornate tombstones are located here.  I've used several different ones in past articles. 

The tallest monument is the cemetery belongs to former U.S. Senator Ollie M. James.  How disappointed he would be today if he knew the shape our county has gotten itself into.

Ollie James was a young, dynamic Democrat that was thought to be the most able and logical man to succeed Woodrow Wilson as the chief executive of this country.  He was considered the party's outstanding orator and many thought him to be the favorite for the Democrat's 1920 presidential nomination.  His death in 1918 at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, of a kidney disease, cut short a most brilliant career.  He had just turned 47 on July 27th, 1918.

His wife, Ruth Thomas James, purchased the monument for her deceased husband.

The monument is a gigantic structure of granite, weighing 44,300 pounds.  It is eight and one -half square feet at the base and is thirty-five feet high. 

The monument arrived at Marion on flat train cars at the Marion Depot in July 1920. The City Coal and Transfer company had the contract to move the monument to the cemetery.  The largest of the four sections weighs twelve tons and there was only one chance of obtaining a convey-carrier large enough to handle the enormous load.  This was a log wagon which had been used for moving large boilers.

Part of a speech delivered by Senator James is engraved on the base of the stone:
I shall go forth to take my stand in that great arena and vote the sentiments of Kentuckians; to defend them as I would my honor; to protect their money as I would my own; to reflect their will and do their service; and when I shall come to lay off that great toga, dearer to me than anything Republic, the words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Henry Bennett Whipped By The Night Riders

There are very few documented incidents that tell of the Night Rider activities in Crittenden County.  Two that I know of are the beating of Henry Bennett at Dycusburg and the burning of the Cardin tobacco barns that were located a short distance from the community of Crayne.

This story is about the beating of Henry Bennett.  The Bennett Brothers owned an independent factory at Dycusburg, and they had been reported as buying tobacco from non-association growers.  This caused the Night Riders to pay Mr. Bennett a visit.

The picture at right was the sight of the terrifying visit paid Henry Bennett by the Night Riders on Feb. 3, 1908.  This home was located just outside the town of Dycusburg on Hwy. 295.  It was built in 1897 and was one of the handsomest residence in the county.  The attractive gabled home must have been a grand sight in its day.  It sat empty many years and was torn down in 2000.  What a shame we had to lose this important part of our past history.

Henry Bennett's name is etched in Crittenden County history as the man that was called from this home on the night of Feb. 3, 1908 and severally beaten by the Night  Riders.  In March 1910 when the trial of these Night Riders came to Court, Henry Bennett was there to identify some of them.  Bennett alleged that the night riders took him from his home when he was caring for his sick  child.  He declared that they stripped him of all his clothing but his trousers and undershirt, and he begged them to allow him to put on his socks that he might walk over the frozen ground, he alleged they said: "d.. your socks."

Bennett also said that more than seventy thorns were taken from his body after the whipping.  He also said that his face was badly beaten and great lumps were on his head.

Mr. Bennett is buried in the Dycusburg Cemetery.  He died Oct. 20, 1910.

His wife had engraved on the back of his stone, "Killed By The Night Riders".   Etched on the stone and in our history the cause of his death.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tolu Methodist Church

The Tolu United Methodist Church located at Tolu, Kentucky as it looks today.  It was built in the fall and spring of 1947-48.  The lots on which the church sits were donated by the Lowery brothers, the sons of the late Dr. O. T. Lowery.

The church was built from lumber that was once the Chapel at Camp Breckenridge, located at Morganfield, Ky.  So it has a history of it's own.

The bell in the belfry is from the old US Presbyterian Church that was once in Tolu.

On May 30, 1948, eighty-four people gathered for the first services in the new church.  Dedication services for he new Tolu Methodist church were held on Sunday, June 16, 1957.

In July 19th, 2008, the church and tiny town of Tolu celebrated the churches 100 anniversary with special services and activities for the day. 

Picture made June 25, 2010.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

History on a Plate

Sometime in the 1970's the Marion Methodist Church had a series of Historic Plates printed as a fun raiser for their church. Today these beautiful plates are a collector's item, at least for folks here in the Crittenden County area, and I would guess for anyone that was from Crittenden County would have a love for these plates.  There were four of them printed.  Marion Methodist Church, Marion High School, Fohs Hall, and the U.S. Presbyterian Church (the oldest church building in Marion, and home of the Historical Museum).  The first three seem to always be surfacing around the area, but the one of the old Presbyterian Church has not been located or seen anywhere for several years. 

The Crittenden County Historical Museum is the proud owner of the Marion Methodist Church, Marion High School and Fohs Hall.  These display plates are not only beautiful to look at  but on the reverse side it gives the history of the building it displays.

On the back of the plate:  Marion Methodist Church.
The Methodist Episcopal Church South, Marion, Kentucky was organized in the 1860's.  Presiding Elder L. B. Davidson told Mrs. Kitty D. Hodge to get ten members and he would organize the church legally.  The first services were held in the Court House.  In the 1870's a frame church was erected on what is now West Bellville.  This building was destroyed by lightening and replaced by a brick building about 1881.  Due to defects in architecture it was torn down and in 1891 another brick church was completed.  The present building was built and dedicated May 12, 1912.  In 1939 the Southern and Northern Methodist  were consolidated and thereafter this church was known as Marion Methodist.

 History of Marion High School
The fist building housing a graded grammar and high school in Marion, Kentucky was dedicated Saturday, January 19, 1895.  January 21 the school opened with 266 pupils.  The faculty consisted of Mr. Charles Evans, Superintendent and six teachers.  The school board consisted of W. B. Yandell, H. A. Haynes, J. M. Freeman, J. W. Blue, Jr., and R. C. Walker, who served for about ten years.  The first class to graduate were Edward Davis Gray and Perry D. Maxwell in 1896.  The old moot congress, in which the high school and the eight grade were formed into a body modeled after the United States Government held regular Monday night sessions.  These sessions drew great interest.  The present building was completed in 1939.

Fohs Hall
Fohs Hall was a gift of F. Julius Fohs to the people of Marion and of Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Mr. Fohs formally presented his gift to Marion, the home of his childhood, on Saturday, October 23, 1926.  The address of the day was made by Dr. Charles Evans, founder of the Marion Schools.
"Ferdinand Julius Fohs, who gave this building to Marion, has achieved life's true great victories, one the development of a clean and rounded character, the other a life of useful service.  To him, a faithful son, a true father, a distinguished scientist, citizen and benefactor, the people of Marion place this tablet in grateful tribute. 1926."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old National Guard Building Torn Down

Marion lost some more of it's past history this week, as the old National Guard Building was torn down to make room for a new Fire Station for the City.  Most people did not see it as historic, just another old empty building that was deteriorating each day.   The picture above is the way the building looked just last week.

It was build in the fall of 1925.  It was to be the new home of C Company 149 Infantry of the National Guard's.  Mr. A. M. Shelby was responsibly for having the building built for the National Guard.

The new building was of cream faced brick, beautiful large plate glass windows, of ample size for the requirements of the company in drilling and for indoor games as well.  The building was very modern throughout, with hot and cold running water, and all the modern conveniences.  

The officers as this time were: Clifford M. Braswell, Captain; J. Roy Johnson, First Lieutenant; Ben H. Price, Second Lieutenant; Otha A. Allen, First Sergeant.  Thy had sixty-five members, the full quota.

Over the years the building had been used for by many different businesses but has sit empty now for the past several years.  It was said that it was just beyond saving.  But it had been a part of the West Bellville business section all the many years, and was sad to see it go.

So yesterday, July 5th, 2010 the demolition was started and it will soon just be a thing of the past and a new expensive Fire Station will be taking it's place.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Fourth" Celebration on July 4th, 1927

Happy Birthday America
and we pray God Bless Us.

The 4th of July Celebrations held in Marion long ago must have been a grand event and enjoyed by many.  It's been many, many years since such a celebration has been in our little town of Marion.  From the files of The Crittenden Press here are some exciting things that happened on that July 4th, 1927.

The big Independence Day celebration staged Monday, July 4th, by the American Legion, and Ellis B. Ordway Post No. 111, was attended by probably the largest crowd that has been in Marion for a number of years.  

The entire program was staged in Cooks Park and started with the raising of a flag on a pole that had been erected for the occasion on the highest part of the grounds.

One of the best features of the day was the music by the American Legion band, with played patriotic airs and other selections thruout the day. 

A number of stands had been erected in various parts of the grounds and from them were sold cold drinks, sandwiches, candy, cigars and other miscellaneous articles.

Several hundred people were served at the noon hour with a barbecue dinner served cafeteria style.

A baseball game between the legion baseball team of Marion and a Morganfield team was played.  The game was a thriller for the local fans.  The final score was five to three in favor of Morganfield.

A larger crowd was pesent in the evening to witness the display of fireworks than at any other time during the day.  The display included rockets in many colors, a number of noise making devices, dozens of designs in different shapes and colors including the "Niagara Falls" the American Flag and a special Good Nite piece.  

The crowd was estimated at twenty-five hundred to witness the big fireworks display.