Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Christian Church Has New Quilt Squares

The placing of Quilt squares on structures throughout Crittenden County has become very popular in the past two years.  They started out as being called Barn Quilt Squares and were only placed on barns.  Lately they have been showing up on homes, garages, and all kind of out buildings. 

 The latest addition of these beautiful and colorful pieces have been placed on a local church, Marion Christian Church, on West Bellville Street.

They were placed there by a member of the church, Merle Myers, as a tribute to her late husband Jim Myers, who died in March of last year.  

The quilt squares also serve as a nod to the state's quilting heritage and the church's participation each year in is displaying quilts during Marion's Back-roads Tour and Festival, each April.

This church building was built by a Methodist congregation, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in 1890 after a storm destroyed their first church.  The Methodists worshiped there until April 12, 1912 when they moved into their present church on College Street.

Various organizations used the building until it was sold to the Christian Church congregation in 1947.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hayward Building Then and Now

Soon after the great fire of 1905 that wiped out Marion's downtown business district, the local businessmen  of Marion started to rebuilt the town very quickly.  On of the first store buildings to be finished was on the corner of Main Street and E. Carlisle Street.  It was build by prominent business man E. J. Hayward, who was associated with the Farmers Bank.

Soon after it was finished the Yandell-Gugenheim Dept. store rented out the space and their clothing store was located there for many years.  

With very little change over the years, the front of this store stayed the same, with the glass display windows always a vital part of down town Marion.  

Through the years, the businesses of Carnahan's Dry Goods, William's Department Store, and The Style Shop occupied this prominent space on Main Street.

In the early 2000's attorney Bart Frazer purchased this building and turned it into law offices.  With the new owners also came the remodeling of the front entrance.  Gone are the large plate-glass displays, to be enclosed with smaller windows, also added was the balcony, which made a very different look to the old historical  main street building.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Our Fluorspar History

In the year 1922
To the region around Marion, in Crittenden County, America looks for its supply of fluorspar.  To the average layman, fluorspar as such means nothing until he discovers that it has revolutionized the making of steel, that it enters into the manufacture of his pocketknife, his automobile, his watch and every article in common use which contains steel.

Where fluorine originates no one knows.  It emanates somewhere deep in the earth's interior, it finds its way through volcanic channels, and in those few spots where it has been discovered, combines itself with calcium and becomes fluorspar.

Almost invariably, fluorspar is found in crevices of the earth - what geologists speak of as faults and runs in vertical veins.   

As it has been said, the region around Marion supplies about 85  percent of all the fluorspar used in the United States.  Although spar is found elsewhere, but such discoveries are in most cases merely of interest to the mineralogist and form no basis for commercial mining.  This area, then, has a practical monopoly of the mining of the product.

This behind the scenes picture was made in 1926, and is from a booklet entitled "Mines Safety Inspection,".  the description with the picture said, "general view taken from on top of #1 Tabb (Lafayette Mill) shaft house looking toward the Wheatcroft and May Helen mines."   In the far right background, you can see some of the homes and the water tower of the Lafayette Heights community.  

The railroad  played an important part in transporting fluorspar from the area.  It was loaded from the Lafayette Mill conveyor belt and hauled to the Marion Depot to be shipped to other locations up north.

The railroad and trestle  in this photo was not visible from the highway, and it makes this a very special picture

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How Some Of Marion's Streets Got Their Names

Many of our streets in Marion today still carry the name that was given to them over a hundred years ago.  Most were named for prominent businessmen, or a family that owned the land when the street was built.
  • Rochester Avenue.  William H.  Rochester was a Marion pioneer in the important profession of blacksmithing.  He came to Marion in 1845 and set-up the town's first machinist shop.  He purchased a two hundred fifty acre farm off the northeast corner of Marion in 1853.  He built a two-story log home on the land.  The farm was known then as Rochester Grove and the new home was given the name Waveland. 
  • Kevil Street was given that name in honor of the Kevil Family.  Joseph Bell Kevil was one of the founders and original owners of the Marion Roller Mill, which was located in the area that the Marion Feed Mill is today.  Mr. Kevil served the county in many positions, as county surveyor for many years, and had a thorough knowledge of Crittenden County boundaries of any man who lived here.  He also served a s County Attorney, Mayor of Marion and Police Judge.  The Kevil family home was at the end of Kevil Street located on the East Depot side of the street.
  • Walker Street that runs in front of Fohs Hall and the old hospital.  It was named in honor of R. C. Walker.  Their family home was located on this street.  Mr. Walker founded and published the first Crittenden Press in 1878 and operated the paper until 1900 when he and his family moved to Colorado.  
  • Jarvis Street is located a little north of down-town Marion.  It was named in honor of A. B. Jarvis, an important business man with ties in Marion through his tobacco factories.  At the time when tobacco was the "cash" crop of Marion, Mr. Jarvis was in charge of the tobacco business in Marion.  He owned and operated two tobacco factories.  One of his factories was located on Jarvis Street.
  • Travis Street is also located in the vicinity of Jarvis Street.  After the close of the Civil War, the great increase in the business zone of 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 together and founded the Kiln that produced most of the brick, if not all, used in Marion's construction before 1917.  The alleyway where the kiln was located later widened into a street named Travis Street in his honor.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

KentuckyTheater Building - Then and Now

 The building that we remember being the Kentucky Theater was build in October 1944.  It has previous burnt in December of 1943.  

Mr. C. W. Grady owned the lot where the theater was and he rebuilt it.  It would be a beautiful modern facility for the town of Marion and Crittenden County.  The large neon sign that hung above the entrance was the largest sign of it's kind in Marion.  The seating capacity would be for 484 people, and on Saturday nights it would be standing room only.  It was well lighted with new cushioned seats for comfort while watching the latest movies.

This is a good photo of the Theater as most of us remember it.  Picture was shared by Tommy Woodward.

We enjoyed this wonderful home town theater until it closed it's swinging glass doors in 1978.   The allure of going to a bigger town to see a movie, and movies you could get on tape and watch at home, may have been a big factor in our little theater having to close it's doors.

The building went on sale in Dec. 1980 and local resident Larry Or purchased the building in May of 1982.  He soon started renovating the old building and made it into his CPA PSA Offices.
This is the building as it looks today.  There is nothing that is left to even remind us that this was once the beloved Kentucky Theater where many of us grew up going to the movies on a Saturday afternoon.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Repton's Old Baptist church

The little railroad community of Repton in Sept. 1894 was getting ready for the dedication of their new church.

From the files of The Crittenden Press, Sept. 13, 1894.  Sunday was the day for the dedication of the new Baptist Church at Repton.

Long before the hour for services the people began to arrive from the surrounding country, many coming
from a long distance to hear the sermon and to take part in the services.

There were enough people present to fill the beautiful building two or three times.

After the morning sermon a bountiful dinner was spread on the ground and the multitude fed to repletion.

In the afternoon another service was held, and it was decided to continue the meeting indefinitely, and at the regular hours all his week services will be held.

Rev. Spurlin, of Sturgis, preached the dedicatory sermon.
This old church served the community until 1957, when the members voted to buy land at Mattoon from Fredrick Brown and construct a new building.

The old building was getting in need of updating and they decided to build the new one in a more centralized location, and just off of Hwy. 60 N.   The last event in this church was the wedding of Percy Summers to Willie Jewell Hendrix in July of 1954.

This old wooden frame structure church was located about a half mile off of Hwy. 60 on the Repton-Fishtrap Road.  There isn't anything left of the old church and the location is now part of a farming field. 

This is a picture of the Repton Baptist Church today.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Singing Sheriff

Several years ago in the 1950's Marion had several musical bands that played at different functions and everyone enjoys these events.  All the members of the group were local folks which made it even better.

One of the well-known groups was The Kentucky Wonders, it was formed by Ray Wlson.  Ray was our
county sheriff from 1950-1954, so he became known as "The Singing Sheriff."

His band consisted of Leman Little, Guitar; Bernal "Little Jack" Little, Fiddle; J. D. Orr, Steel guitar; and Sparky Winders, Base fiddle, Bill Marvel also played guitar for the group.

The Kentucky Wonders was a popular band and played many functions around the area, at local meetings, on the court house lawn on week-ends for everyone to enjoy.  They also taped several songs at Mr. Wilson's house to be played on a Princeton Radio Station.  The Kentucky Wonders also appeared on a Henderson T. V. Station.

The Kentucky Wonders also cut a few records, some of the titles were "Waiting with Tears in My Eyes, What  Have You Done With My Heart, Plain American Boy and Heart Stealer.

When Mr. Wilson took a job as U. S. Marshall in Owensboro the band broke up and he had to move to where his job was located. 

  But Mr. Wilson was always known and remembered as our "Singing Sheriff."  He came back often to Marion and played for special functions that were being held.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Marion and Crittenden County Should Be Proud

An interesting article appeared in The Crittenden Press on Nov. 11, 1909.  It was titled "Things That Marion and Crittenden County Should Be Proud."  A nice way to help preserve our past history.

  • Home of Thomas J. Nunn now serving with distinction as Chief Justice of Kentucky.
  • Home of William J. Deboe who served six years in the United States Senate.
  • Home of Hon. Ollie M. James, now serving his fourth term in our National Congress and who is one among the most highly recognized Statesmen of the United States.
  • Marion is one of the twenty-three towns of Kentucky with a second class post office.
  • The Wilbur Haynes Post Card business pays enough postage in a single month to pay the post office expenses here for a whole year, paying in every month for postage, from $2,400 to $3,400 or about $36,000 a year.
  • Marion is the home of one of the best and most reliable Marble Works in Kentucky and truly the only producers of a high grade granite and marble for the rough stone in all Western Kentucky owned by Henry & Henry.  (still doing business today)
  • The home of the Marion Milling Company, the recognized producers of the most popular brand of flour on the market.
  • The home of the Fluor Spar Co.  This is the greatest mining district in the world today and will be proven so in less than two years.  Statistics show this to be true now and very soon the whole United Sates will be coming here for spar.  
  • The home of the Heath Manufacturing Company, makers of Heath's hand made mission furniture.
  • The home of the Record-Press, now in its thirty-first years and with the largest circulation of any county newspaper in the State.
  • Marion has two tobacco factories that handles the tobacco from 2,800 acres, at an average of eight hundred pounds per acres. 
  • Crittenden produces fine corn, wheat, hay, sheep, hogs, cattle, horses and mules.
  • Marion boasts two of the finest hardware stores in Western Kentucky, a number of large dry goods and clothing houses, a number of large groceries and meat markets; an ice plant, electric light plant, a splendid graded school building, two beautiful drug stores, two banks, a number of fine churches, - no saloons and an empty jail.

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Salem School

The New Salem School was located nine miles west of Marion on the south side of  Hwy. 60 not far from the community of Midway.  It was part of the farm that was owned by the Lan Waddell family, the home place of th elate Dr. Roy Waddell of Salem.

There were two school buildings.  The first was a wood frame building and was destroyed by fire in 1944.  It was replaced by a concrete block building and so remained as a schoolhouse until the consolidation of  many of the little one and two room rural schools.

In July of 1958, the Crittenden County Board of Education announced that four more small schools would be closed, and New Salem was one of the school that was closed and the students bused to Marion.  

When the New Salem school building and lot were sold the next month, the residents of New Salem school district were sad to realize their school had been closed and the building sold.  They had hoped that the building which the people of their community worked so hard to build would still be used for the community. 

Today there is nothing to show where this school once stood.

New Salem School 1931

1st row bottom, L-R:  Lon Ainsworth, Jim Ainsworth, Helen Wring, Horsmelva Howard, Billie Nell Tyner, Alois Wring, Billie Jean LaRue, Wayne Maxfield, Tincey LaRue, Bennie Lee Maxfield
2nd row: Helen Harpending, Clara May James, Adeline Wring, Louis (Tad) Childers, Teacher Daisey Dean Hill, J. D. Bradford, Edwin Bradford, William Tyner
3rd row: Lois McCune, Fanny May Merdith, Melva LaRue, Edward Wring, Lowery Vaughn, Bradley Noward, Dorothy Tyner, Marion Harpending
4th row: Sherman Kirk, James LaRue, Howard Hayes, Bryce Vaughn

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Silent Tower

This article about the old Clock Tower on the empty Marion High School was written in May of 1977. 

 The Silent Tower

Yes, there really is a clock in the tower on top of Marion Elementary School.

 But, no, it doesn't run, at least not right now. That is because no one had bothered to wind it for, more that 10 years past. 

According to Charles Talley, Marion Elementary principal, winding is about all it would take to make it tick again, once you reattached it's 15-foot pendulum.

But winding the clock, which was transferred to the present building from the old graded school, is no easy matter.

D. E. Woodall, who as custodian wound it in the old building and later in the new WPA constructed building, says it's placement in the new structure made it hard to do.

Three concrete weights, weighting 250-300 pounds are cranked up with a windlass. The weights appear to have been made from old nail kegs poured full of concrete.

Woodall recalls that the timepiece, made by E. Howard and Company of Boston, Mass., was an eight-day clock. Woodall says he wound it each Thursday.

Getting to the clock tower in the present building is no easy matter either. It's straight up two narrow ladder flights. And you start by climbing over a wash basin in the principal's office.

Talley says about 10 years ago, (this would have been in 1966) when the school was re-roofed and workmen were in the clock tower every day, they got the clock to running, but never well enough to synchronize the hand on the four faces.

Presently, in addition to the pendulum being disconnected, some of the arms going to the faces are loose.
Woodall recalls, too, that when in the old building there was a large bell with the clock which would ring out the hour and half hour. It was also rung he said for classes.

The bell, he said, was junked and eventually sold in Evansville when the old building was torn down.
In August of 1981, the present Crittenden County Elementary School was built, and the building, then known as Marion Junior High was sold.

This is the sad shape the old historic clock is in today, 2015.  Just about totally gone.  

The clock was originally installed in the new Marion High and Graded School in 1895.  When that building was torn down in 1938 to build the building that is there today, the old clock was saved and installed in this building.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Farmer Brothers Together During The Civil War.

Miss Moore tells this story of her Great Grandparents, Stephen and Rebecca Farmer. (Picture is of Miss Helen Moore, author of the story.)

Rebecca Farmer stood in the doorway of her home holding her baby girl, Jane, in her arms. She was watching a group of riders coming down the road. When they reached her house she recognized Jenny Doss and his confederate guerrillas. They were looking for her husband Stephen Farmer who was off fighting for the Union Army. Rebecca also had two sons in the Union Army – William and Henry. 

When Rebecca Allison married Stephen Farmer in Smith County, Tennessee in 1839, she was given five slaves as a wedding present, a mother Nancy, and her four children, Sam, John, Arch, and Mandy. When Stephen and Rebecca moved to Kentucky in 1852 to a farm about five miles west of Marion they brought the slaves with them.

The raiders searched the house and outbuildings and made the older girls cook dinner for them. As one of the men came by Rebecca, who was still holding her baby, somehow his gun got caught on Jane's dress and almost pulled her out of her mother's arms. Rebecca turned and called on the Southern officer in charge.

The officer called the man down and said, "We are just here after Stephen Farmer and not to harm women and children." He then patted Jane's face and said," You are a sweet little baby, but if we had your d—father we would hang him on a tree in the yard and fill him full of lead." Rebecca replied to him, "But God is in his heaven and you can not find Stephen. He is not here."

The raiders took off the last horse they had left and Rebecca told them. "It won't do you any good to take the horse as none of you will be able to ride him." It was later learned that on the way to Princeton, the horse did throw the rider and he was killed.

Raiders or guerillas came back to the farm several times. Once the Negro John hid under the smokehouse floor so long that his ears and toes were frost bitten. They had to take up the floor to get him out. John walked with a limb thereafter.

Henry and William Farmer were on "Sherman's March to the Sea" during the Civil War, as was Sam, the Farmer's slave. On arriving at the sea the men were so hungry they took the butt end of their guns and burst open clams and ate them raw. They had lived on parched corn for days.

During one battle of the Civil War, Henry and William were together. They were told to go over an embankment and take a cannon. Henry took one look and decided it was too much – he wasn't going to do that. William had been in the war longer than Henry and being in front of him, he turned and said, "If you run, I will shoot you just as if you were a Rebel. So Henry did as he was told.

Sam, one of the Farmer slaves stayed with Henry all during the war until it was over. They started home all together but somehow got separated on the way. Henry got home one day and Sam the next. Stephen and William also survived the war and returned back to the farm.

(Stephen and Rebecca Farmer are buried in the Farmer family cemetery on their home place, which is today knows as the Columbia Mine property, owned by Bob Frazer.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Early Schools in 1897

For some early history of a few of our county schools, lets visit around with county school commissioner Rev. James F. Price. These reports are from The Crittenden Press in1879.  Rev. Price tells it like he sees it.

October 30, 1879, I visited Chapel Hill School, A. C. Cruce teacher. I found a very good school and one in
which the students are making rapid advancement.

The average attendance is about 30, the teacher is alive to his work and instructs his pupils thoroughly in the fundamental principles, he has some obstacles with which to contend, one is that he is hampered up in a schoolhouse which is not sufficient to supply the wants of the district.

This is a good district, and we don't believe the citizens will allow another school taught in such a house. The discipline of the school is very good, whispering is prohibited except by permission, the children of this district are somewhat advanced in education, the teacher has classes in Physiology, Higher Arithmetic, Higher Algebra, Latin Reader and Geometry. 
October 21st, I visited Cookseyville School, G. W. Hall teacher, I found a very good school though not very large in the number of pupils. The school has only averaged about twenty, this is Mr. Hall's first school, but he evidently shows ability as a teacher.  

He keeps very good order and teaches very thoroughly; this district is not for advanced in education, but the teacher, works faithfully among the little fellows endeavoring to advance them. 

He gives them many drills besides the lessons they recite from the textbook; the school house is not so good as desired, but it does better than some. I spoke that night to a few of the citizens, after Mr. Hall and Mr. Rushing each gave a talk.

October 25th, I visited Union School, Miss Irene Cole teacher.

 I found one of the best schools I yet had the pleasure to visit; the school has averaged forty pupils; the order and system of the school is very good; but very little whispering or disturbance of any kind is found in the school; the teacher is alive to her duty.  

She is one of those live, energetic teachers that would infuse spirit and vitality into any school; she has the firmness and indomitable will to govern a school without difficulty; super-added to these qualifications for governing is a spirit of kindness which restrains the students without violence.

The instruction is through and practical, the pupils are advancing very rapidly in their studies, and are understanding it as they go. Map drawing is taught in a very systematic manner. About fifty dollars will be raised to assist in paying the teacher. 

 The schoolhouse is not so good as desired but we hope the community will erect a good house before long.

This is a good community, one that is taking an interest in education and it is to be hoped that they will raise the standard of education still higher.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Summertime In Old Kentucky

February 1, 1929
In the late part of the summer of 1928, Hollis C. Franklin, wrote some descriptive lines which he called
"Summer Time in Old Kentucky." The lines first appeared in a daily paper, which has a wide circulation in this section, and were later copied by different papers and magazines. 

 A few days ago these same lines were recorded by one of the biggest talking machine companies in the world and within the next few weeks will be advertised in practically every music store in the United States.

The music for "Summer Time in Old Kentucky" was written by Miss Adelyne Hood, who writes under the non de plume of Betsy White. Miss Hood is a well known Victor recording artist and her violin records have had an unusual sale on different makes of records. 

 Miss Hood also wrote the music for "Ohio River Blues" which was written recently by Mr. Franklin and which has been given a number of times during the last few week on the Dalhart program over WJZ and associate stations.        
Of particular interest to Marion people is the fact that the author of the song is Hollis C. Franklin, assistant cashier of the Farmers Bank and Trust Company. Mr. Franklin recently sold the phonograph rights to this song, and since that time local people have awaited with a great deal of interest the arrival of the first of the records in Marion.

Readers of the Press who are radio fans will listen with a good deal of interest for the singing of "Summer Time in Old Kentucky" by Vernon Dalhart who is one of the most popular present day recording artists. He has recorded more than seventy-five songs for the Victor Company and has made many records for Edison, Columbia and other companies. 

When he sings of old Kentucky one almost decided that even the cold, dark, damp, dreary days of winter are worth while when they bring us the spell of a Kentucky summer when "Old mother nature's laughin' loud."
Here are the lyrics of the poem, turned into a song.

Summer Time in Old Kentucky
When It's summer time in old Kentucky,
Dear old Mother nature laughs out loud;
Joy just seems to bubble over me,
By myself or in a crowd.
As the evening shadows gather 'round me,
While I sit beside the cabin door,
And when the stars up in the skies
Start to wink their diamond eyes,
Then I know it's summer time once more.
Now if you want to make me happy,
Sing of my Kentucky land,
Where all the joys in heaven and earth
Join in one big band.
I may go visiting in between,
But when I come to die,
I hope it's summer time in old Kentucky
On the day I say goodbye.

Mr. Franklin missed his wonderful days of summer when he passed away, for it was on a cold day Dec. 2, 1958.  He is buried in Mapleview Cemetery here in Marion.  His wife, Nina Jane Paris Franklin is buried next to him.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Granville Franklin Clement Home

 The Granville Franklin Clement Home later known as the the Hurst Home was located approximately seven miles east of Marion on Hwy. 120.  It was build by Granville Franklin and his wife, Margaret Saline Phillips Clement.  Granville and Margaret were married in July 1833, and their home was probably built soon afterwards.
This picture of the beautiful old home was made about 1910 after the Earl Hurst family was living there.  Left to right are: Lura Bell (Kemp) Hurst, holding daughter Katie; Louisa Jane (Woolf) Hurst; Ormond Hurst; Robert Earl Hurst; Fred Hurst; Roscoe Dye - a neighbor; and Leonard Hurst, husband of Lura, father of Katie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Sunday Law - Marion, Kentucky

Times certainly have changed.  From the old files of The Crittenden Press, May 1900 we can read about their city law forbidding working on Sunday's.

Sec. 24. - No work or business shall be done on the Sabbath Day, except the ordinary household offices, or other work of necessity or charity.

If any person on the Sabbath Day shall himself be found at his own or any other trade or calling, or shall employ his apprentices or other persons in labor or other business, whether the same be for profit or amusement, unless such as is permitted above, he shall be fined not less than two, nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.  Every person or apprentice so employed shall be deemed a separate offense.

The Mayor's statement in the Press has set the town agog, and a warm discussion of the matter continues.  

There are those for it and those against it and it is likely to be a matter of local interest for some time to come.

The following are the expressions of a few of the citizens touching the matter:  All are prominent business men of Marion.
  • Harry V. Stone - I am in favor of enforcing the law:  Six days are enough for any man to work.
  • Sam Gugenheim - I don't want to do any business on Sunday, the other fellow can do as he pleases.
  • Wiliam B. Yandell - I am not in favor of transacting business on Sunday.  Let others be governed by their conscience.
  • Thomas H. Cochran - I am for closing every business on Sunday
  • George M. Crider - I favor enforcing the law.
  • Robert F. Haynes - There should be no whiskey sold on Sunday.  Two hours is enough for any business on Sunday.  Drug stores should be allowed the privilege of keeping open to 10 a.m.; and then close until 1:30 p.m.  We fill on an average ten prescriptions every Sunday and to close up and go home, would keep us on the run all the time.
  • Robert Fowler - I am not for it.
  • James Paris - I wouldn't close the butcher shops.
  • J. B. Grissom - I am against any Sunday law; if a fellow wants something to eat, he out to get it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Marion's New Graded School 1895

Saturday evening, January 18, 1895, was a red letter day in the history of Marion.  

The magnificent new graded school building was on that day formally turned over to the people and dedicated to the cause of education.

When the hour for dedicating the new building that punctuates the new chapter in the county's educational affairs at last rolled around, it is no wonder that the building was crowded, and people had to turn away for want of room.

From the time the first spadeful of dirt was moved until the weather vane was set in its socket on the tower, the relations between the board and the contractor were of the most agreeable nature.

Everything came up to contract and even better.  The trustees are especially indebted to the contractor and his skilled foreman, Mr. C. J. Burget, of Marion.

The building which was completed Saturday, embraces eight rooms and four large hall ways, besides six cloak rooms.  On the first floor are four large school rooms.  In each which may be easily seated sixty pupils.

On the second floor are two school rooms similar to those below, besides the music room, and the auditorium or chapel, the latter will seat four or five hundred people.  

The rooms were all constructed with an eye to comfort and convenience.

There are two flights of steps leading from the first floor; the building has three entrances and into a commodious hallway, through double doors.

Just before the tower was completed, some enterprising spirits conceived the idea of putting in a clock, and in a few days a big $600 clock and bell will tell and toll off the time, and as it measures off the days and years the people of Marion will cheer their hearts with the fact that they have placed within easy reach of every child, be he great or small, a heritage so rich that it can not be computed in dollars and so permanent that reaches to eternity.
This beautiful old building was torn down in 1938 to built the new High and Graded School which is still standing today, and I feel it's days are numbered, for as each day goes by it gets in worse condition.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Graveyard Knob

Crittenden County has beautiful scenery all across the county.  Out in the Eastern part of the county are many hills and bluffs that almost make the area look like you are driving into the Smokie Mountains of Tenn., especially early of a morning when there is a fog hanging on the top of the bluffs. It is a beautiful sight.

Many of the bluffs and hills have names that have been carried down through the ages by family and people that lived in the area.

One of these beautiful and mysterious bluffs is known as "Graveyard Knob".  It is located from Marion on Hwy 120 about 5 miles.  I don't know who owns this bluff now but back in the 1800's the Stewart family owed it.   

Mr. J. N. Dean who lived at Deanwood and wrote in-valuable articles about the area told in one of his stories that at one time there was a graveyard located on top of the bluff.  He even stated that there was a row of graves and that Mary Newell Stewart's grave was there.  Mary Newell Stewart was the wife of William Stewart.  

Children that lived in the area and could see the rounded bluff from a distance would tell that they thought a giant was buried there, as the bluff resembled a huge coffin or grave from a distance.  As you can see in the picture above it does resemble a grave.

Moses Lam, born Jan. 16, 1788, son of John and Comfort Beller Lam, died when he was about sixteen years of age from 'cramps."  He had been working in the harvest field and went into the creek bathing when he was too hot and died a the result.  He was buried on the Graveyard Knob.

There must have been other family members buried here as Mr. Dean stated he saw a row of graves, but there is nothing now that anyone can find. 

B. C. McNeeley told me back in 1995 that the knob had been logged for timber, and the sandstone rock monuments were suppose to have been stacked against a tree. 

 Mr. McNeeley and myself searched for a long time in March of 1995 and we never found these rocks or anything that looked like a grave.  But after a wooded area has been logged, the heavy equipment would have destroyed anything that once was there.

Mr. McNeeley, takes a break from our searching and rests against one of the unusual rocks that were located on the bluff.

Graveyard Knob, and the lost burials that are there, are now just a part of our Forgotten Passages of time, few now, even know of it's existence.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Early Attorney's

Attorney's played an important role in the early day's of our county's history.  They not only had many cases to try in Court at Marion but when the need arose, they would travel to the different districts in the county and would have court there.  Towns such as Shady Grove and Dycusburg had their own city courts and the attorney's would handle the cases.

Two of these young attorney's in 1895 were A. C. Moore and John A. Moore.

 A. C. Moore, a native of Crittenden County, 38 years of age, of prepossessing a distinguished appearance, he makes sad havoc with the preconceived ideas of the twelve good men and true in the jury box, provided, their thoughts of the verdict to be rendered are contrary to his side of the case.

Educated largely in our high school, supplemented by the Madisonville normal, he placed himself under the directing touch of Judge L. H. James, the eminent lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in 1888.

Alfred Clay Moore died in Dec. 11, 1946 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.

John A. Moore is devoted to his professional practice of the law.  He has been city attorney for the past five years.  Mr. Moore's experience has been for so young a man - 3- years - varied and extensive.

He graduated from the Marion high School in 1890 and was admitted to the bar in 1894.

John A. Moore died in 1952 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.

 This is their ad that appeared in The Crittenden Press in January 1895.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Barnes-Nunn Home

The Barnes-Nunn home, another one of our old historic homes is located on West Bellville St., a short distance from the Court house.  These old homes are becoming fewer and fewer.

No 'for sure' date is known for when it was built, but history shows it would have been in the 1870's.  It was built by Lemuel James, a noted lawyer in Marion, at the time.

In January 1893 the home was sold to Mary L. Barnes.  Mrs. Barnes moved to Marion, from the Dunns Springs area, and purchased the home after her husband died.

The family included Mrs. Margaret Barnes, her children, James M., Ninna, Della and Lemah.  This was truly a family home, for in 1894, daughter, Leman Barnes married Clement S. Nunn, a well-known attorney and they made this their home, all the family continued to live here until 1896, when son James, got married and moved to a home of his on.

C. S. Nunn, who was an Appeals Court Judge, and wife Lemah lived out their lives in this beautiful home and in later years the home was always referred to as the Barnes-Nunn Home.

Thankfully the home is in beautiful condition today, and holds the offices of Crittenden County Attorney, Rebecca Johnson.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pleasant Grove School

Another one of our county schools was Pleasant Grove School.  It was located on what they called the Irma-Salem Road, and later became S. R. 723 S.

Early settlers built the first school house in this community.  It had a dirt floor, a large fireplace and a stick chimney daubed with mud.  The seats were made of logs that had been split open and had pegs for legs.

This building was located south of the Pleasant Grove Church near a spring.  This was the water supply for both places.

As the community grew there was a need for a larger building.  A second one was built on the west side of the church on the road known as the Pleasant Grove and Lola Road.  This was also a log structure, quite a bit larger and with some improvements over the first building.  Some of the improvements included a puncheon floor, glass windows and a stone chimney.

As time went along another building was needed.  This was the third building.  It was much improved over the other two.  It was frame with modern seats and windows for that time.   Slates had been used in the previous buildings but this one had a large blackboard across one end of the room.  

The fireplace had been replaced with a coal heater that had a large jacket around it.  There would be no more carrying water from the spring because a cistern had been dug and a latticed shed was built around it.

The fourth building was erected in 1909 or 1910.  It was located on the Salem and Tolu road and at that time it was a narrow dirt road.  Later it was made wider and was blacktopped and would be S. R. 723.

Due to the growing number of students the fourth building was much larger than the preceding ones.  Enrollment was somewhere near 70 or 75.  That did not mean the attendance was always that many.  Boys that were large enough to do farm work would have to drop out and help during the harvest season.  During the cold winter months, the smaller chilren couldn't make it every day. 

This was a one room school for several years, but later another room was added, as you can see in the picture above.

The last year for school here was the 1957-58 school year.  The old building burnt and the students were sent to Tolu School.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Genealogy Society Meets

The Crittenden County Genealogy Society met this past Saturday at the Library.

Member Steve Eskew presented an interesting and informative program on scanning and organizing old photographs.  He had a collection of some of his old photographs that he shared.  

On the screen behind the group he had a collection of his family photos.  Steve has created folders for the different family ancestors so they will all be in their own group, such as his Eskew family, Stembridge, Canada, and Roberts, just to name a few.  

If we could all manage to do this with our photos, it would be a great way to preserve our family history for our future family generations to have.

Left to right:  Betty Croft, Don Foster, Darlene Eskew, Anna Rhea Belt Porter, presenter Steve Eskew, Rita Owen Travis, Fay Carol Jackson Crider and Doyle Polk.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Early Marion Main Street

This old photo was made between 1890-1905, as these buildings were all burnt in the great fire of  1905 that destroyed all of Marion's business district.

The building on the right was the Marion Bank.  Built in 1890, it was Marion's first bank, and a much needed asset to the town, as the closest bank would have been at Princeton, 23 long miles away. 

The stores in this picture were Goodlow Grocery, Morris & Hubbards, Marion Hardware Co., McConnell's Dry Goods, and M. Copher's grocery, the rest of the block wasn't shown in this old photo.

Marion's old water pump is visible on the left side of the photo, which supplied the water for the town.  (you can click on the photo and it will enlarge for better viewing these objects)

Another interesting site are the ladder-like structures around the Marion Bank.  Upon closer look they must be some kind of protection that was built around each of the small trees. 

Note the absence of light and telephone wires and poles, they would come later.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Highway 91 North, Ollie James and Davy Crockett Highway

The road running North-West  from Marion to the Ohio River was  first named the Ollie M. James Highway, in honor of Ollie M. James, Crittenden County's United States Senator. (1913-1918) 

In July 1955, Highway North 91, or the Ollie James Highway was in for a change.  The highway from Nashville, Tennessee to Chicago, including the Ollie James highway was to be designated as "The Davy Crockett Route."  

The TV show the "Legend of Davy Crockett" and the sequel, Mike Fink and the River Pirates had become so popular that someone suggested a highway be named for him. 

At the time Walt Disney movies was filming a movie about Davy Crockett and the river pirates at the Ohio River with the ferry boat and on the Cave-In-Rock side with the big cave a major part of the movie. 

Ceremonies for the formal dedication to the new Davy Crockett Route was held at the Cave-In-Rock Landing on July 10, 1955.

Fess Parker, who was the star in the TV series and in the Davy Crockett movies, would be there to christen the ferry boat, the same day the road was official dedicated.

This is the picture that appeared in the Crittenden Press on July 10, 1955.   

Fads of the time move on and things once popular fade away and no longer seem important.

In May 1956 the citizens of Crittenden County had decided that the Davy Crockett Highway should be re-named as the Ollie M. James Highway.  Ollie James was a native Crittenden Countain who was U. S. Senator and prominent in Democratic circles in Washington for many years.

The Highway Department and officials in Frankfort granted the request that the highway be renamed as the Ollie M. James Highway, that it was proper and fitting in memory of the great statesman from Crittenden County.

Oddly, after all that trouble, the Ollie M. James Highway is today simply known as Highway 91 North.  

But as we travel down this scenic road we will know it is a road with a history, once carrying the name of the great pioneer, Davy Crockett, and then back to our famous native son, Senator Ollie M. James.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Caught In The Middle

Crittenden County played no commanding role in the Civil War  and there were not any battles fought on the soil of Crittenden County, but the county was over run by the troops of both armies.  

All known military actions were confined to the northeastern corner of the county, and represented a spilling over of the military activities in Union County.

Guerrilla activity was sustained within the county and the largest military action involved an attack on a Federal troop transport at Weston in early September 1863.  There were also several scrimmages around and near the community of Bells Mines, with several being killed from both sides.

Horses were stolen and all the people's food and supplies, that could be found, were taken.  All families tried to hide their stock, food and supplies, in secret places, but many times the plundering soldiers were able to locate the hidden goods.  They soon learned the favorite place to hide food and family items by the housewives of the day. 

The sufferings of the family of Robertus Love Moore were well recorded.  Moore had a two-story homestead located on the northern ridge of Mattoon at the junction of the Marion-Morganfield and the Flynn's Ferry Roads.  He operated a dry goods store.  He became a target for Federal raiders and his store was cleaned out, as was his smokehouse, all of the metal and farm implements were taken. 

Also in this same area of the county a few politically motivated murders took place. 

 On January 13, 1863, William Brantley, an older gentleman, as at his well in his yard, when Capt. F. P. Hawkins and his men came riding through, plundering the neighborhood.

When Mr. Brantley refused to pledge his allegance to the Union side, he was shot.  He is buried in the Brantley Family Cemetery in the Cave-Spring area of the county.

Hawkins was arrested and committed to the Crittenden jail, but was gotten out by his band of robbers and not captured again.

A few years latter, not too far from the Brantley homestead, another innocent man was murdered by a band of Union men.

Dr. Green Crowell was a local country doctor.  His descendants tell the story that was handed down through the family.  One night, a band of Union soldiers stopped at their house and ask for the Dr.  they said they had a wounded man that needed his help.  Once outside, the Dr. was asked to pledge his support to the Union side, when he refused he was shot and killed. 

Dr. Green Crowell died on May 6, 1865 and is buried in the McKinley-Phillips cemetery located on a bluff above the community of Nunn Switch.

A terrible fate for two innocent men.  William Brantley was my 4-great grandfather.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lake George

Here is some interesting history about Lake George, Marion's reservoir, and the picnic shed that just never really made it as a popular place to go.

This is from April 1958.  Lake George, the new  City Lake Park, located a little over two mils from the city limits, will soon be open to the public.  The park was completely last year.  It is the result of a cooperative effort by the Marion Business and Professional Women's Club and the city government.

To get to it is a drive of about three miles from Marion.  You drive by the city waterworks on Chapel Hill Road.  This road goes past Earl Patmor's farm house to the earthen dam of the new lake.  A right turn here takes you to a parking lot by the park.

                      This picture made January 2014

The site is shady and restful.  Sturdy concrete picnic tables and grills are available, and a shelter house if it rains.  

The new lake has been stocked by the state Fish and Wildlife Department, as has the older lake nearby and excellent catches have been reported in its waters.

In March of 1969 a marker was erected near the entrance to what was usually just referred to locally as "the new city lake."  It was erected in tribute to the man who made the original survey for the lake back in the early 1950's.

George Strickler moved to Marion in 1951 from Auburn, Kentucky and was with the soil conversation service here until 1954.  Mr. Strickler is now deceased and the marker is a tribute to him and his dedicated service to the people of Marion and Crittenden County.  

Mr. Strickler received no remuneration for his work and the marker is a fitting tribute to the man and a job well done. 
The park/picnic area never really became a popular place to go, it was rather remote, with no conveniences (no restrooms at all) and no electrify available and the city had to keep the drive locked to keep out vandals, so you have to ask (I'm not sure who) for a key to open the lock so you can drive up to the picnic shed.

But the lake is a very popular fishing spot for folks that enjoy fishing.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Marion was Boomin' in 1900's

From the files of The Crittenden press comes some interesting facts about Marion and Crittenden County in the year 1901.  Many exciting things were happening and the future looked bright and promising.

Wonderful veins of minerals, deposits of fluor spar, zinc and lead, are many in our county.  Indeed it would be no exaggeration to state that the Iron and Steel Industry of the United States is largely indebted to our county for that indispensable aid to the production of our finest steel - which is fluor spar.  

This picture post card made in 1902 made on Main Street in downtown Marion, showed a convey of wagons with their loads of spar and zinc as it made it's way to the depot to unload.   On the left you can see Farmers Bank, and farther down the street, also on the left, our Court House can be seen.

Raising of tobacco is another feature of Marion's commercial aide.  The sorting, curing and exportation of the home raised Kentucky tobacco is a big boost to the economic growth of Marion.

Immense buildings of wood tastefully constructed three or four stores in height and occupying the greater portion of a city block are filled with the numerous grades of tobacco in the various processes of curing.  The tobacco in packages of leaves, just the right color to please the smoking devotee, is delivered at the 'stemmery' as these buildings are termed by the planter.  

The tobacco is finally pressed into large casks and shipped to Liverpool, from whence it is returned to America in tastefully enameled tins, with the English trade mark, and we cheerfully pay a dollar per pound for it.

There are two well conducted banks in Marion, The Bank of Marion, and The Farmers Bank of Marion.  Mr. Thomas Yandell is the cashier of the Bank of Marion.  The two banks pay handsome dividends to their stockholders.

The city also has many handsome well-appointed commercial houses, too many to individualize in an article.  The High School house is of the latest and most approved style of school building architecture.  The churches are numerous and well attended.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Crayne Cumberland Presbyterian Church

 The first Crayne Cumberland Presbyterian Church was destroyed by lightning during a late afternoon storm on Monday July 26, 1943.  The blot struck directly into the bell tower and the blaze burst forth immediately.
(Crittenden Press, July 30, 1943.)

All contents of the building were saved including the piano and pews but the structure was a total loss.

I have wondered many times if there was a picture of this early church building.  I have never been told by anyone about seeing a picture of it, or even how it looked.

The 2nd church was completed in Feb. of 1949.  It was built of concrete block construction. 

 The dedication service would be held Sunday, February 27, 1949, with Rev. Eugene Lindsey in charges of the services.  Talk by Harry Haynes on the Church and Rededicating of lives.  Rev. James Houston Jones gave the opening and closing prayers.
This vintage photo of the new block church building shortly after it was completed in 1949, was shared with me by long time friend and Crayne neighbor, Harold Cannon.
 My early child hood memories are from attending this new church.  Attended until it closed in the 1970's.
Today, in 2015, this little white block building in not recognizable.  It has been totally redone with several new rooms and lots of footage added on, plus a whole new look as it is now covered in tan/brown bicks.   It is now the home of the Unity Baptist Church.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cassidy Enterprise At Dycusburg Was Quite Large

Dycusburg information gathered from the Crittenden Press, dated 1894.

S. H. Cassidy, the senior member of the firm of S. H. Cassidy & Co., was born in Princeton, August 30, 1835.  

When he was quite young his parents moved to Eddyville and form there to Dycusburg when Mr. Cassidy was 18 years old.  He has continued to reside in Dycusburg, making that his home ever since.

At the age of 21, he engaged in steam boating, serving a regular apprenticeship as engineer, and filling successively various positions in a boat from engineer to captain on boats plying the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

Then in 1861 he engaged in the mercantile business with W. E. Dycus at Dycusburg, under the firm name of  Dycus and Cassidy.  In addition to being a large general store, the largest in the county, it also had a large commission and business that dealt in grain, tobacco and general produce.   

Mr. Cassidy continued the business under the firm name for several years when he gave up all the branches except that of grain and tobacco.  The members of the tobacco firm were W. S. Dycus and F. B. Dycus, and in tobacco alone, these men are perhaps the largest dealers in the county.  They operate two large plants.

      Pictures of Mr. Cassidy's tobacco operation in Dycusburg in 1894.

Mr. Cassidy stands high as a Mason, having joined the order when 21 years of age.  He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and in politics he is a firm believer in the doctrines of the Democracy.

Samuel H. Cassidy died May 31, 1907 and is buried in the Dycusburg cemetery.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Old Kentucky Sassafras Tea

This story appeared in The Marion Reporter in February 1955. 

 Tea is Good For Business.
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Whitt of the Frances community have turned an idea into an industry. There has been much talk and quite a bit of effort of late to attract industry into Marion in order to relieve the economic slump created by the withdrawal of the fluorspar operations, and the Whitts have come up with a novel means by which they, and the town, hope to ease the situation somewhat.

Rather than sit around and wait for something to break, the Whitts capitalized on an idea that they inherited from a past member of the family. It concerns a process for refining sassafras into tea. How did the idea get going?

 Well according to Mrs. Clara Lee Whitt, her husband, Oliver, was sleeping about eight hours, working about eight hours and eating about four out of every day. What with the slack season on in the sweet potato field, Oliver decided that he had about four extra hours there that were going to waste. 

 This is a picture of the Whitt's Old Kentucky Sassafras Tea.

Starting the Sassafras idea more as a hobby than anything else, Oliver dug the roots and used the family refining process (which he has since applied for a patent on), and started distributing the new product himself.The product is called "Old Kentucky One Minute Sassafras Tea," and has been received with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in this area. 

Most everybody is acquainted with sassafras; many of the older readers will remember it well from their childhood, for not too many years ago it was considered to have therapeutic value. Even though that kind of thinking has changed through the years, the fact remains that was sassafras in a very delightful and refreshing beverage, easily prepared and inexpensive to serve.

Old Kentucky One-Minute Sassafras Tea is an example of the kind of ingenuity that can put Marion back into a position of economic stability. With the promotion of the people of the community it can grow into a substantial supplement to the commerce of the city and county. 

 Local stores and merchants now have old Kentucky on their shelves.
This is a picture made in front of the Kroger Store in Marion in 1955, when the first load shipment of the Whitt's Sassafras Tea arrive for sale.

According to Mrs. Whitt, their tea business didn't last too long, it was a lot of work  getting it ready for sale, and someone from Tennessee had copied their tea making business and packing, so they just decided to end it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

127th Annual Hurricane Church Meeting

This week June 8-14, marks the 127 Annual Hurricane Church Meeting. 

Here is an interesting article about a meeting that happened in 1913, from The Crittenden Press.

Night Riders Send Threatening Notes.  Demand That Admission Fee For Services Be Stoped at Hurricane. 

The first attempt of night riders in Crittenden County to broaden the scope of their operations from tobacco matters alone to other affairs came today when the committee in charge of Hurricane camp meeting, sixteen miles north of here, received threatening letters demanding that they drop their custom of charging admission at the gates of the camp grounds.

In order to defray the expenses of the meeting, which has been an annual affair for many years, the committee decided last year to charge a small gate fee on the two Sundays during which the meeting went on.

The plan had met with some dissatisfaction, but on the whole seemed to be working out very well.

The notices were found scattered all over the camp grounds Thursday morning, but admission was charged nevertheless.  Special guards have been installed and the committee, composed of some of the best citizens of the county, propose to proceed as before.

Monday, June 1, 2015

North Main Street Homes

On North Main Street in Marion are some beautiful older homes.  The W. O. Tucker home was built in 1921.  

Here is a picture of the home with the Tucker family on the steps of their newly built home in 1921.
Back row: W. O. "Tuck" Tucker, Mrs. C. S. Nunn, Mrs. George Eady, Mrs. T. J. Nunn, Mrs. W. O. Tucker.
Front row:  seated, John Nunn, Mrs. Miles Flanary, Virginia Flanary, Thomas N. Tucker, C. S. Nunn, George Eady and the Tucker's dog, "Puppy."

From the Crittenden Press in March 1921:
Plans have been prepared by M. V. Arnold, Engineer for a new residence for W. O. Tucker.  This new home is to be erected on the corner lot.

The new building will be of the semi-bungalow style and will contain a living room, library, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, pantry, four bed rooms, bath and sleeping porch.  The house will have all the modern improvements and conveniences including both plumbing and heating systems.

Mr. Tucker, for whom the house is to be built is one of the firm Foster & Tucker.

Work will be started in the early  months of this spring on the new residence.  When completed it will be one of the most beautiful and complete dwellings in our city.

The home is still beautiful and well-cared for today.  I believe a family by the name of Armstrong lives there today.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remembering On Memorial Day

A picture of the war Memorial at Mapleview Cemetery and the white marble crosses that honor our fallen hero's.  

Each year the American Legion Post 111 place an American flag by each cross, and have red, white and blue flowers placed in the urns around the memorial.  It is a very impressive sight to see with the breeze blowing the flags. 

There were ten local men killed or died related to the war in WWI, Forty-eight  in WWII, four in the Korean War, Six in the Vietnam War, and one in the Cold War.

Each Memorial Day and Veterans day, Daryl Tabor, editor, of The Crittenden Press, has a full page Honoring Our County's Hero's.  Pictures for most are included on the memorial page.  

 Several pictures of local men have not be found yet.  They include for WWI:  Pvt. Luther H. Horning, Pvt. John E. Samuel, Pvt.William Curry, Pvt. Harry W. Threlkeld, CPL James Cecil Turner, and Sgt. Maj. Freda E. Baker.
For World War II: PFC Forest E. Brantley, Army, Sgt. Herbert A. Hoover, PFC James B. Truitt, Sgt. Denver L. Marvel, Army National Guard, Sgt. Jack L. Woody, Army Air Force, PFC John Dancy Hodge, PFC Herman Carter Shewcraft and PFC James C. Yandell.  

Korean War: Sgt. Junior Raymond McDowelll and Sgt. James Rodger Bissell

It is amazing that we have been able to find as many pictures and history that we have, it would be wonderful to complete the memorial with pictures of the above named.  If anyone can share a picture and/or history of any of these men it would be greatly appreciated.  You may submit to The Crittenden Press at 270-965-3191 or email thepress@thepress.com  or contact me at bunderdown@apex.net.
Thank you.