Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Crystals From Mexico

From an article published in 1948 about the Fluorspar Industry at Mexico, Ky.

Pictured at right are Fluorspar specimens, showing cubic crystals and octahedral cleavage, which is the smaller ones.

Crystals from Mexico - some of them are transparent as glass, others translucent, that is, clear enough to permit light to shine through them.

And they are in various colors, white, amber, green, rose, blue and purple.

Are these crystals precious stones?  No, but they look so much like gems that they are frequently called false ruby, false emerald, false amethyst, and so on, depending on their color and the precious stones they resemble.

The colors are imparted to the crystals by impurities that they contain; the purple hue is believed to be due to traces of manganses.

Some forms of these colored crystals are made into vases and other ornaments.  Very perfect uncolored crystals are used in making fine lenses.

What are these crystals?  They form the structure of a mineral called fluorspar or fluorite, which is a combination of calcium and flurorine having the chemical name, calcium fluoride.

This is was taken underground at the 500-foot level of the Tabb No. 1 Mine, which was a part of the Lafayette Mines located between Mexico and Frances, Ky.  

You can see the veins of fluorspar on the left.  Pictured drilling into the vein was James O. Farmer and Larnie Kinnes.

Made in 1948.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hurricane Furnace

Some of our forgotten past history is kept alive today by our Historical Highway Markers scattered throughout the county at historical places of interest.

On Hwy 135 in the western part of the county is the Hurricane Furnace marker.

The history of the furnace is told on the markers.

According to history of the area, the first important mining venture of the county seems to have been that of a company headed by President Andrew Jackson, which undertook development near the site of the present Columbia mines, in Crittenden County in 1835.   

Soon after President Jackson retired from the presidency, he bought hundreds of acres of land in this part of the county and mined iron, to handle which he built and operated a big furnace.  Jackson himself did not give his personal attention ot this ventue, but placed it in the hands of his adopted son.

For years the ore was dug and the furnace operated, being one of the populous and busy places in all the region.  The pig iron was made at the furnace site, loaded on carts and hauled to the Ohio River for shipment on barges. 

But the deposits of the metal finally gave out, the furnace was abandoned and now it is only a memory preserved on this marker.

The furnace was actually located in the woods off of the Hurricane Church Road.  Huge pieces of iron ore that were used are still visible today if you have someone to show you were they are.  The owner of the farm they were on has passed away now and a stranger owns the land.  Perhaps he doesn't even know the history of the land he owns.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hamilton- Stalion Family

Located in the mid-west section of the county on an old farm place is the unusual marker for the Hamilton-Stalion Cemetery.  The large monument was erected by Dr. J. R. Hamilton, of Mitchell, Ind. in 1965.  The original nine monuments are now set in the one large concrete base with the large monument on top giving a detailed family genealogy of the families.  I will have to say it is hard to follow.

 Direct descendants of Joshua Hamilton 1818-1876 whose number is many in the Hurricane community of Crittenden County and scattered throughout many states have visited the family monument in the Glendale community over the years.
 Joshua Hamilton history on one side.  This side has 3 of the stones.

Stalion on the opposite side.  This side has 6 of the stones.
Pictures made in October 2003.
I hope the monument is still in place today and in good condition.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sugar Grove School

Another one of our old rural county schools was the one-room Sugar Grove School.  It was located about 1/4 mile down from the Sugar Grove Church on the Sugar Grove Church Road.  It's beginning started in the 1800's.

According to Miss Ruby Dean, who taught there at one time,  she remembered the school sat on the hillside where it appeared to be wedged and seemed to have been there forever.  She taught school there in the early 1900's.  

In 1930 families that were attending were Urie Conger children: Alice, Delphia and Kattie Conger;
James Walker's daughter Mary Bell Walker; Everett Woodside, son of Lester Woodside; Bethel Woodside, son of Herbert Woodside; Herman Travis children,Wilbur, Cliford, Glendal, Melborn and Mildred Travis;, Thomas Hunt children, Gustava, Barney, and Holis Hunt; George East, son of James East; Thomas Travis children, Brinnie, Fred and Lela Travis.

By 1950 there were very few students attending the school.  The last teacher was Arrie Joyce.  When the school was closed in 1950 the students were sent to Shady Grove.

This is a picture of the old school.  Do not have a date on when this was made.

(Sue Sigler Keeling shared this picture with me several years ago)