Monday, February 29, 2016

Crayneville, Kentucky

Crayneville, Kentucky

Have you ever driven through the little community of Crayne and wondered how it got it's name and how it used to be many years ago? Like so many little communities, about all that is left of its businesses is the post office. 

In or about 1888 the Ohio Valley Railroad Company was going to build a new railroad through this area of the county. Mrs. Emma Crayne owned the land where the railroad wanted to lay the tracks, Mrs. Crayne agreed to give the right of way for this railroad to come through their land. In honor of this the community was given the name Crayneville.

This railroad opened up a new way to travel and move products. It ran North to South from Evansville to Princeton. There were three passenger trains running north and three trains south a day, each stopping at Crayneville, plus the freight train schedule. There was a nice depot where many agents worked through the years. Located on the east side of the railroad, known as the freight yard, was a tobacco factory.

There was also a Drug Store and Hotel building which was located next to the large general store and freight yard lot. This beautiful two-story building was owned and operated by Mr. Forest Pogue. The first floor was the Drug store, with the second story being the Hotel.

Crayneville had four medical doctors. Dr. O. C. Cook, who lived on the farm of James Cruce, located south of Crayne. Dr. Vernon Fox lived on the corner of Highway 91 and the Crayne Cemetery Road. Dr. Story also lived at this location, and Dr. Russell who lived south of Crayne. 

In the 1890's the owners of the general stores were Mr. P. H. Woods, Mr. R. B. Dorr, and Mr. Hugh Glenn. In the early 1900's Mr. Wyatt Brookshire, Mr. Weldon, and Mr. J. C. Carlton owned the stores. The Carlton store was located where the Calvary Baptist Church stands today Jan. 2016. 

In the 1890's, Mr. James Franklin Dorroh came to Crayneville and was hired by Mr. Hugh Glenn as a clerk in his store. Being employed, he found lodging at the home of Mr. Benjamin Crayne. Here he met Mary Malinda "Linnie" Crayne, fell in love and married her. In later years he bought the inventory of the Glenn store and the business became known as Dorroh Brothers Store. It was a large wood building with a coal stove near the back, a checkerboard, and a wooden bench for people to rest on and visit. In the front of the store was the post office and close by was a big showcase full of candy. In the back of the store was a barber shop operated by Mr. Dorroh's sons, William and Eugene. William did the shaving and Eugene, an excellent barber, did the hair-cutting. 

In the early 1900's there were also two blacksmith shops, and a grist mill. A Mr. Dobbs and Mr. W. B. Binkley. Mr. Binkley and his family came to Crayneville from View, Ky, in 1906. He labored hard daily at the forge and with a hammer making iron parts to repair machinery, wagons an horse shoeing. He also had a grist mill located near the blackshmith shop.

In October of 1907, the Crittenden Record Press tells us that the name of the thriving little town of Crayneville, Kentucky, has been changed to Crayne. The reason being that the similarity of Caneville Ky. to Crayneville, Ky., both being located on the Illinois Central Railroad, which caused mail and freight to go to one or the other through error. Crayne, as it is now called, is a prosperous little town on the I.C.R.R. located four miles South of Marion.

January 3, 2000 a devastating tornado hit down just at the south edge of Crayne and ripped all the way through the community, leaving behind  most all the homes damaged or destroyed, and tore up the beautiful old maple trees that had lined the highway all those years, most all them had to be taken down they were so damaged.   Although no one was seriously injured, Crayne was never the same afterwards.   

The Post Office is still in it's same location but the hours have been cut back to 4 hrs a day, trying to hold on and stay a part of what is left of the community.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Maxwell Park

Public Park for Greater Marion,
May 1909.
As the result of the baseball team's successful ball playing, a number of Marion's public spirited citizens wanted to have a public playground, a new and grand park for this ball team to play, something they could be proud of when they invited other teams to Marion. 

They thought a permanent playground was a much-needed addition to the town and every person who takes pride in her advancement, or enjoys any of her pleasure, should help liberally and encourage this enterprise.

The first step was to form the Marion Playground Association Incorporated. This was done and members of the ground committee consisted of Clem S. Nunn, John H. Orme and Wilbur V. Haynes. Others helping in this project were, Edward J Hayward, O. R. Hurley, C. W. Haynes, Gus Taylor, John A. Moore, John Wilson, C. V. Franks and T. H. Cochran.

Several areas were looked at, but what the committee thought the best suitable ground was picked out and it was located south of the Old Cemetery, in a beautiful lot of about three or four acres and was shaped by nature for a pleasure resort.

It was the intention of the promoters to purchase the ground and lay off a baseball diamond, tennis courts, and so improve it as to make it suitable for all athletic sports.

It will be dedicated to the people of town and county and the pupils of the school, where they may congregate for recreation and athletic games.

In August of 1909 the Marion Playground Association purchased this piece of property from Presley S. Maxwell.

They at once got to work and started getting the land in fine shape, the grounds were laid out and prepared, a tall board fence was built on the front and side and a grand stand for seating was installed.

The businessmen and citizens are to be congratulated for their liberal assistance in assisting and encouraging such an enterprise, for there's not anything that would add more to the beautifying of our city than a first-class park. 

Maxwell Athletic Park, Marion's New Ball Park, was formally opened in a fine game with Sturgis, in which the Marion aggregation was victorious by a score of 4 to 2.

Maxwell Athletic Park was named after P. S. Maxwell, whom the Marion Playground Association purchased the property from. Mr. Maxwell also held with the preparation of the park 

The park was located where Riley's Tool Shop is today and the park continued across the area to Blackburn Street and to where Crittenden Farm Supply store used to be.

In Nov. 1918, Levi Cook purchased this property from the Marion Playground Association and it was then known as Cook's Park.

 In the 1930's the Civilian Conservation Corp was located in this area.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Corn Fluorspar Mines

A fluorspar operation was started and operated in the early 1900's at Pleasant Grove, off of Hwy.723 S. in Crittenden County, known as the Corn Mines.

    (A group of workers from the Corn Mines.  Names are unknown)

The mines were started from an out cropping of fluorspar on the side of a hill on the Mary Corn property.

Mining began with pick and shovel at the surface and continued to operate as an open cut.

Tons of fluorspar were mined and washed with a log-washer, then hauled to Marion with wagons and teams to be loaded in a railroad car for shipping.

The operation was financed and carried out at different time by the following people: Gip Watkins, Ross Givens, Gene Guess, Jim Henry, and R. P. Davidson.  Their foreman was John W. Corn, who ran the operation for them.  

A large quantity of fluorspar could be produced, but the problem of selling the ore was that it was high in silica.

The foreman's time book on July 26, 1915, kept by Jim Henry, showed the employees were paid $1.25 per day and the foreman received $2.00 per day.  A week consisted of six working days, and a total of $69.20 was the weekly payroll for all the weekly employees.  

Employees were:  J. W. Corn, Dallas Jones, Claude Belt, J. J. Watson, Will Dameron, Tom Watson, Tom Jones, Joe Curnel, Evans Ingram, Marshall Tharp, Albert Sweat, and L. Barker.  

Farmers could work at the mines during the summer after crops were laid by.  This extra work served the community with income for their families.  The crew consisted of about twelve men at all times.

This interesting piece of our history was taken from the Crittenden County History  Book, Volume I.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Robert F. Wheeler, Early Crittenden County Pioneer

Robert Franklin Wheeler born Dec. 19, 1865, died Aug. 13, 1966, the eighth child of Isaac and Elvira
Wheeler, was born on a farm five miles east of Marion in the house built by his father in 1852.

Uncle Bob, as he was known by his friends in the county, operated the farm after his father's death.  

After graduation from High School he entered college in Southern Indiana.  He was forced to drop out and return home to help the family when his father died in 1896.  He taught school for almost twelve years in the one-room county schools in Crittenden County.

Besides his farm, school teaching and banking experiences, he was also in the mercantile business.  He owned a retail grocery business from 1913 to 1917, but sold the business and went into the wholesale grocery market for fourteen years.  

He was president of the Farmers Bank and Trust Company for five years, and had been on the Board of Directors of the bank since 1918 .

After that he devoted his time to this two hundred acre stock farm.

He also served as a Sunday School teacher, lay leader, and elder in the Marion First Presbyterian Church.

He is buried in the James Wheeler Cemetery, which is located on Just-A-Mere-Road off of Hwy. 120, on the farm which he was born and raised.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Meeting Place For The Birth Of Crittenden County

This old historic home was located on Hwy 641 a couple miles south of Crayne.  It was build about 1815 by James Cruce.  

When Kentucky's General Assembly passed an act creating the county of Crittenden from Livingston Co., at Frankfort, Ky. on January 26, 1842, the act also included a provision for the commission to accept a donation of land upon which to erect public buildings and offices for the new county.

The Justices of the Peace for the new county were Joseph Hughes, Jame Cruce, Robert H. Haynes, Abner Larrowe, Peter Clinton, John D. Gregory, Martin Williams, Robert Hill, Henry R. D. Coleman and Samuel L. Phillips.

These men met with John S. and Nancy Gilliam (the people that at that time owned the land where Marion would soon be located), at James Cruce's home and drew up the deed for the land that was to house the public buildings and offices of the newly formed Crittenden County.

Many years later in the 1940's, the well-known and well-respected Dr. O. C. Cook and his family lived in this home.  That is the Cook family in front of the house.  

The old home was torn down in 1948 and a new ranch-style home was built for Mr. Allie Myers.  It was located at 5143 Hwy. 641.  The house is still there today, although it has been re-styled and updated to look more modern.