Saturday, December 23, 2017

Joyful Memories of Christmas Past

Christmas used to really only come once a year, not like today's time, when one gets whatever they want all year long, or many do anyway. 

 It was once a special time to look forward to, and the Christmas season only started in the month of December.

One of those long ago, once a year, Christmas scenes at my home at Crayne. 

 A woodsy good smelling Christmas tree from the near by woods, pop corn rope to help decorate the tree.  And much waited for presents under the tree.   

Here are a few memories for the year December 1935 that was printed in The Crittenden Press.

Local merchants now have on display one of the most adequate and wide selection of gits and holiday goods ever offered to the Christmas shopper.

Practically every form of gift item is offered from the smallest and inexpensive articles to that of the most costly and difficult to procure.

The business establishments are lavishly decorated carrying out the decorations of the season and during the course of the past week shoppers have been much in evidence from all parts and portions of the county.

During the Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday shopping hours, all stores will remain open until 9 o'clock thus offering to those who are otherwise employed the opportunity to visit the various polaces and select their gifts.

The business section, Main Street from Crittenden Motor Company to Runyan Chevrolet Company is a veritable canopy of multicolored liglhts strung across the thoroughfare.  Likewise is Carlisle Street from  Main to the Crittenden Hotel.  

At the intersection of Salem and Princeton highways, Standard Oil, Co. station of Winstead and Hunter have festooned a gas pump with cedars and lights as likewise has Clifton Robertson at City Service Station.

Many store windows are also outlined in colored lights and the Santa Clause banner at Main and Bellville Streets is lighted by flood lights.


Two popular businesses places to shop for Christmas gifts in the  1930's.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Old Marion Depot and It's History

As the railroad track and train became a reality for Crittenden County in 1887 a depot would soon be needed to handle the daily railroad business.

In a few years a depot would be built near the tracks.

I have no history of this wonderful old picture, but on the back of the photo it says, I. C. Depot, Marion, KY 1890.   That makes the depot being built about three years after the railroad tracks were laid and the train was running.  You can see only a portion of the depot  on the right in this picture.

 I have recognized a couple of well-known men of the day in the picture.  Rev. James F. Price in kneeling on the bottom right with a white shirt, bow tie and mustache.  Ollie M. James is on the left near the back with his signature white hat on.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to know what they had all gathered by the depot.  

In 1912 Marion would be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Ohio Valley (later the Illinois Central) rail road coming to the county and the small depot had grown too small for all the business that took place at the tracks.

In honor of this special occasion the I. C. railroad was going to help overhaul the old depot.  Several rooms were to be added at each end, new floors, vestibules and halls and it would be modernized in every way.  The dedication of the new depot would be May 1st, 1912.

                   A picture postcard of the newly remodeled Marion Depot in 1912

This depot served the community for many years.  What an exciting time in Marion's past history, this new modern deport that helped the whole town and county grow in so many ways and connected Marion and Crittenden County to many other town and cities.

As the years went by the way of the train tracks were less used as the passenger travel became more by automobiles and the hauling of items was done by truck.  But the depot was still used, just not as much, so it gradually started to get rundown.

                           This is a picture of the Depot in 1976

In February of 1981 the Illinois Central Gulf abandon the 90 miles of railroad tracks between Princeton and Henderson and this would include the line that ran through Crittenden County.

 In August of 1985 the old depot was torn down.  Here is a picture from the Crittenden Press documenting the date it was torn down, August 1985.

Although some tried to convince the city that it would be worth saving for it's historical purposes, others thought it was in too bad of a condition to save.    The no vote won, as it usually does in a case such as this.  It's always easier and cheaper to tear something down than to save and restore it.  I think they call it progress, not me I just see another piece of our history gone.

So ended another important piece of Crittenden County history and becomes a part of our Forgotten Passages of time.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Days of Stills and Illegal Sale of Whiskey

I'm sure it's not just our county, but all county's must have had the same problems back in the early days with the making and sale of illegal liquor. But we certainly seemed to have had our fair share of stills and bootleggers located around the county. 

The last time Crittenden County was voted to be a wet county, was from 1894 until 1906. In 1906, local citizens were given the choice of dry or wet and the people voted dry. 

From the archives of the Crittenden Press I found that boot-legging was running rampant in the period after 1906 and continued for many years until 1933 when prohibition was abandoned. Even then the bootlegger did not become extinct, and continued to thrive as an illegal business in many places throughout the county. 

I found it interesting to learn where the word 'bootlegger' originated and found that it apparently came into general use in the Midwest in the 1880s to denote the practice of concealing flasks of illicit liquor in boot tops when going to trade with the Indians. The term bootlegging soon became part of the American vocabulary.

 A typical home-made still that was used to make moonshine whiskey

Some of the interesting articles that appeared in the Crittenden Press during this time.

Moonshine Still Reported In Crittenden! Crittenden County has acquired the distinction of having a “real” moonshine still. Some of the boys of Tolu were hunting a few days ago and found a fully equipped still in the woods on the farm of Mr. John L. Franklin.

Some one had taken without Mr. Franklin's knowledge or consent, a tank belonging to him and used it in building the still, which has a sixteen gallon capacity. Mr. Franklin immediately notified the United States revenue authorities of his find, and to preserve the still moved it into his cellar, where it will be safely kept until an investigation has been made. The tank was about one-half full of meal which evidenced the fact that it had been tested and used.

Still Captured! Moonshine Still Found on Premises Of A Man Near Piney Fork.
On suspicion derived from previous information, Sheriff P. R. Taylor went to the man's home, who resides two miles from Piney Fork church, with a warrant to search the premises. Upon their arriving there the man readily gave his permission to have his house searched.
In a barn near the house the officer discovered a still covered with sorghum fodder, which they took possession of and brought to the court house in Marion.
The owner denied all knowledge of the still being on his premises, and said it must have been brought there by some one unknown to him during the night.
The still is of about 15 gallon capacity, is in good condition and seems to have been recently used. It is of copper throughout.

Captures Illicit Moonshine Still. J. U. G. Claghorn, while out squirrel hunting, stopped at a supposedly unoccupied cabin on the John Nation farm, near Fords Ferry, looking through a window discovered a family in the cabin and a man working around a still.
Returning to town he reported to the authorities here and with a warrant Deputy Sheriff Taylor in company with Claghorn went to the cabin, took charge of the still and arrested the man under a warrant charging him with having in his possession an illicit still.
The man gave his name as George Simmons and stated he came through from Illinois. The still and the prisoner were brought here and Simmons, failing to execute bond was placed in jail to await the action of the grand jury.
The captured still was of copper and of about ten gallons capacity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tucker Funeral Chapel

Some history of the Tucker Funeral Chapel.  This article was in The Crittenden Press, Oct. 1970

The beautiful Tucker Funeral Chapel located at 117 W. Bellville Street and is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Tucker.  The new chapel is in the remodeled building which housed Tucker Furniture Store until this past spring.

Prior to the opening of the chapel, the Tucker's operated the Tucker Funeral home at 251 W. Bellville.

Construction and remodeling work began for the chapel in early spring with completion of the fully carpeted and air conditioned funeral chapel being within the last two weeks.

The building contains a 200 seat chapel, a large reception lobby, a smoking lounge, several other lounge and display rooms and a business office.

Tucker Funeral Home originated in 1902 with John Nunn and W. O. Tucker.  During the First World War, W. O. Tucker bought Mr. Nunn's portion of the business and combined it with Hobert Franklin in 1923.

They operated together until W. O. Tucker's death in 1948.  Mr. Franklin died in 1949.  Thomas Tucker then continued the business beginning in 1952.

It was at this time that Thomas and Ethel Tucker began operating Tucker Funeral Home from their residence at 251 W. Bellville.


Thomas and Ethel operated Tucker's Funeral Home until May of 1981 when they sold the business to Terry and Sandy Gilbert.  Today two of the Gilbert's sons, Brad and Keith, own and run the business.

They did extensive remodeling to the outside of the historic on building.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving's Past

Even in the 1950's, Christmas wasn't thought of just yet, Thanksgiving came first and it was special in it's own right, not like today, where it sometimes feels as if it is just pushed aside as Christmas decorations and toys have already been thrown in our faces before Halloween is even over.

In the 1930's our Drug stores and Department stores ran ads in the Press telling of their items for that special Thanksgiving day. There was fruits and candies available from the drug stores.

And  the department stores had many new clothing items for that trip to the Thanksgiving services or for visits with the kin folks over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

 One of the churches in Marion always had a special service on Thanksgiving Day with a Union Service for everyone to attend. Many of the county churches and schools also had a special Thanksgiving Day service.

Community service held at Southern Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. Thursday morning Rev. J. M. Damron delivered the annual Community Thanksgiving sermon to a packed house at the Southern Presbyterian Church. Assisting pastors were Rev. Charles A. Humphrey, pastor of the Marion Methodist Church and Rev. J. W. Flynn, of the Christian Church.

At noon the Parent Teachers Association served a Thanksgiving dinner at the Woman's Club building and in the evening another dinner was served.

Practically every business house in Marion observed a holiday on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Children's Day At Mt. Zion

July 17, 1913 - Children's Day at Mt. Zion.

Sunday morning at an early hour wagons, buggies, horseback and footbackers began to arrive till several hundred people had gathered, then came the auto with R. Kemp as driver with some of Marion's best citizens as passengers.

At 9:30 the house was called to order by the pasator Rev. J. A. Wheeler.  A song by the choir.

The program was then taken up for the children, it was very interesting.  

At 12:15 in the beautiful grove such as surrounds a country church, dinner was spread. Some wondered how this multitude could be fed, it was like the five loaves and fishes, there was plenty of as fine dinner as the writer ever saw, and everybody seemed to enjoy it.  

During all this time Mr. E. L. Nunn one of the building committee for our new church, had his book and pencil at work with the result of something over $300 subscribed.

At 1:30 out in the grove we prepared another program.  Bro. John A. Moore was called for, Bro. John responded with one complaint he couldn't talk - Well Paul, couldn't talk but the Lord loosened his tongue.  John's tongue got loose and he gave us a good talk.

There were several who made up the program that have already been mentioned.  Some of those who made up the afternoon program are as follows:  Bro. Gordon who used no direct subject but made us a fine talk, Ed Stone who gave the children a splendid talk.

Bro. Jim Pickens advocating a standard of moral and spiritual life and next was Thomas Enoch with a good talk.

The program was closed by Sister Duvall who by this time was so fill with the holy ghost that she gave us an old fashioned holy ghost talk.

To say the least of it we had an all around good time that will dwell with the memory through time and eternity.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Visit To Old Piney Fork

                                                                                         Piney Fork Speaker's Lectern.

The lectern was removed from the tabernacle located next to the Piney Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church when the historic old shed was taken down in the spring of 1970, due to damage caused by the heavy winter snow. The tabernacle shed was built in 1886. 
This lectern was made at this time, also constructed from lumber cut from the Henry Brown farm and hauled by oxen to the sawmill by Jim Bugg. It would be placed at the front of the new tabernacle. 

Also unique about this pulpit is that it has three podiums attached to it, the middle one for the Evangelist who was holding the services, the one of the right was for the pastor of the church at the time, and the one on the left for the song leader. 
On the front is built a bench, this was for sinners to sit on that had come down to except salvation after the invitation was given at the end of the sermon. Some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons at the Piney Fork annual camp meetings. 
(This piece of Piney Fork history is located at the Crittenden County Historical Museum)

From the Crittenden Press, August 24, 1936.

The annual services of Old Piney Fork Camp Ground closed last Friday evening, August 21, after eleven days of exceedingly successful communion, which resulted in 26 conversions and 30 additions to the church roll.

The Rev. J. E. Bell of Oklahoma, assisted the pastor, the Rev. Guy Moore, and preached from the same pulpit from which some of the greatest ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have delivered sermons, interest grew from the opening service and large audiences listened attentively to the great spiritual messages. 

Piney Fork is the oldest church in Crittenden County regardless of denomination, having been started in 1810.  The organization was completed in 1812 on a sixteen acre tract of land given by John Travis and George Greene.

The present building is 70 years and is the third building that has stood.

The revival which just closed, was held in the open-air tabernacle which seats 2,000 people. It was built about 50 years ago and is the second tabernacle to have been erected on that site.

Piney Fork Camp Meetings are famous throughout the land.  One hundred and four annual revivals have been held there.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Banker-Farm Day

In the 1950's the local banks of Marion, Farmers and People's, sponsored what they called Banker-Farmer Days at a local farmers farm.  The event was to share new and improved features on the farm, so other farmers could learn about these improvements and used them on their own farms.

In July 1950 this important and fun day was held on the Tom Carters Farm, located on Hebron Church Road.  Here is some of the history from an article in the July 7, 1950 Crittenden Press.

Improved pastures, fine beef cattle, a large farm reservoir and newly constructed terraces and diversion ditches for erosion control will be the main features observed on Tom Carters Farm.  

A large turn out always attended these special days of interest for our local agriculture and cattle raisers.

A tour would be conducted with stops at different points of interest and it would be pointed out their practical application as to how to help the farmers.  

Cattle was also an important part of the county and the Carter farm had some excellent cattle on hand to show the visitors.  Crittenden County had been breeding and producing a high grade of pure bred cattle for many years. 

At the close of the morning tour free lunch by the two banks would be served.  The lunch would be served by the Hebron Homemakers.  Around 300 attended the special farmers day.

In the afternoon there would be talks of interest by William Jonstone, Field Agent from the University of Kentucky, and Crittenden County's Farm Agent, O. M. Shelby.

Events such as these are now almost a thing of our past, as farming procedures have changed and there seems no need for these informative and enjoyable gatherings of our forgotten past.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marion in the year 1910

It's interesting to learn of our past history from the old newspapers of long ago.  From The Crittenden Press files of January 1910 comes these interesting findings. 

January 1910.  Monday dawned bright and clear with the mercury too close to zero for one to be comfortable, and yet the people from all over Crittenden, Webster, Caldwell, Livingston and Union counties were in evidence, so that by noon the street was alive with busy stock buyers and traders.  It was the day for county court and the very popular "Jockey lot" day.

The newly elected officers of the county met in the court house at Marion and duly took the oath of their various offices.  The names of the new officials were:  
  • W. A. Blackburn, County Judge
  • John A. Moore, County Attorney
  • Learner E. Guess, County Clerk
  • Joel A. C. Pickens, Sheriff
  • Robert . Flanary, Circuit Clerk
  • William Wallace, Jailer
  • Ewell Jeffrey Travis, Supt. of Schools
  • Robert Thomas, Assissor
  • J. E. Sullenger, Surveyor
  • Dr. George W. Stone, Corner.
Here are three of the newly elected officers.  Left to right: John A. Moore, County Attorney, Ewell Jeffrey Travis, County School Superintendent, and Learner E. Guess, County Clerk.

Fluorspar brings boom in Crittenden.  Recent discoveries causes old mines to be reopened.
The recent developments, aided by the increase from $4 to $8 , and in some instances, $15 a ton for fluorspar has created an interest in mining circles.

The shipment from Marion also in the past couple of months has reached 16,000,000 pounds, or 8,000 tons, which has increased the deposits in the two banks in Marion a little less than $100,000,000.

Some surprisingly rich discoveries have been made in old mines abandoned 50 years ago for the reason that the richness of both lead and zinc was not known.  

Every mine is now working full force and many of them are putting in new machinery and increasing their capacity.

Other activity in the city and county for the month of January included deliveries of tobacco.  During the month of January the deliveries of tobacco here have been quite heavy.  Thirty, forty or fifty loads come into town every day.  The greater part of the tobacco goes to the stemming District Tobacco Association at the Jarvis factory.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pleasant Paris, Civil War Veteran

The Paris reunion was held Sat. October 14th, 2017.  Descendants of James Paris of Smith County, Tenn., and friends attended.

As a special event for the day, Ralph Paris and kin, portrayed Union soldiers Pleasant Paris and his son, William J. Paris, at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, on Pleasant Hill Cemetery Rd. a short distance from Marion.   Pictured above is Rodney portraying Pleasant Paris, and tells of his military history and his journey to Crittenden County.

Pleasant Paris' Civil War stone had been relocated from it's original site, which was a short distance from the Pleasant Hill Cemetery (used to be the Floyd Turley Farm), and placed here, as it would be more accessible to be cared for and preserved. 

The old abandoned cemetery were it was originally located was in terrible shape, as it hadn't been cared for in many years.  What few stones were there had been removed from their original location and placed by a tree.

Pleasant was the son of James Paris and Sarah Elizabeth Pendleton Paris.  He was born about 1813 in  Smith Co. Tennessee, was in Company B, 48th KY Inf.  He died Nov. 23, 1864 according to the application for his military marker.  

Robert Ward, from Caldwell County was on hand to give the dedication of Pleasant Paris's new stone location a Civil War gun salute.

It is always wonderful to see and learn the history of our Civil War veterans in such an authentic setting and location.  Thanks to Rodney (or Ralph) Paris for preserving this history.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Gay Party of Picnicers - 1894

Until the era of artificial pastimes, people enjoyed going to places of natural beauty or curiosity together with others for picnics, relaxation and fellowship.  A favorite destination was the beautiful Piney Bluffs.

Here's one story of such an event.  The C. P. Sunday School went on a picnic last Thursday to Iron Hill and the beautiful bluffs of Piney.  

It was a jolly crowd. The forenoon was spent in chatting, fishing, gathering wild flowers and strolling over the hills and bluffs and native forests of Piney.

The noontide hour was spent in enjoying the delicacies prepared for such an occasion.  

In the late afternoon we winded our way back to Marion over the hills and dells of our beautiful countryside.

All said they enjoyed the day. 

There are several of these wonderful old pictures that have been saved during the years, but none of them have all the people identified. 

 In the picture above only one person was identified, and that was of Ollie M. James, in the center of the picture standing and leaning against the bluff with his white hat in his hand.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marion Free Will Baptist Church

One of Marion's old landmark churches is in the process of being torn down.  It is the Marion Free Will Baptist church that is located on South Main Street. It was one of two churches for the Black citizens in our community.  The other was a Methodist Church located on Maple Street, it was torn down many years ago.

                     (This is a picture of the church made in 1955.)

This church of Baptist denomination was active until approximately 10 years or so ago, according to Bob Hill, one of it's member's.  Maybe closed before 2007.

(From the little booklet titled: Churches In Our County, 1974).  The Free Will Baptist movement had been a continuous one, although at times the outlook was dark.  Hence, about June 21, 1887, Rev. Lank Grissom, Brother Jiles Hamilton, and others organized the Free Will Baptist church in Marion on old Salem Street. 

This church was torn down and our little group worshiped in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church while the present church was being erected on South Main Street under the leadership of Rev. E. S. Moody.

In 1974, the pastor was Rev. T. R. Hamilton, and Levi Jackson and Robert Qualls were deacons.

The church was remodeled sometime after 1974 when the booklet was printed and covered in wood siding and the bell tower was taken off.

The old landmark church is in the process of being taken down in October of 2017.  A few items of memorabilia has been saved and will be placed in the Crittenden County Historical Museum.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Kentucky Theatre

In 1926, W. W. Runyan  opened a new theatre on Main street in the building now housing the Botanicals Florists and Gifts, (before that the Marion Cafe).   He named his new theatre "The Kentucky Theatre."

The Kentucky Theatre will be quite an addition to the business section of Marion.  Everyone is looking forward to it's opening with one of Harold Bell Wright's pictures as the feature attraction.  The title of the picture is "A Son of His Father."   from the Crittenden Press.

In Sept. of 1926, the owner of the building the theatre was located in, Mr. J. H. Orme, was returning to Marion and wanted to re-open his Drug Store in it, so the theatre had to be moved across the street into a building owned by Mary Carmeron.

In 1936, W. E. Horsefiled of Morganfield purchased the Kentucky theatre from Mrs. W. W. Runayn.

In May of 1940, C. W. Grady saw the need of a new building to house this popular attraction and he started making plans to begin construction of a new theatre building.  It was to be located on the lot adjacent to the present building housing the theatre.

In December of 1940 the new Kentucky Theatre had its grand opening.  Modern in all respects, the building was the outstanding structure in the western portion of the state.  

This newly constructed theatre didn't get to stay  new for long as in December 1943 this beautiful new facility was struck by another of Marion's disastrous fires.  The theatre was totally destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.  (as far as I know there isn't any picture of this building from 1940).

The Kentucky Theater was built back within a year and was again showing movies in Oct. of 1944.  The large neon sign that hung above the entrance was the largest sign of its kind in Marion.  The seating capacity was 484 and on Saturday nights it would be standing room only.  Mr. Harry Gass now was owner and operator of the theater.

There were two showings of the movie and both showings the theater would be packed.  The line to purchase a ticket would reach the end of the block in front of Farmers Bank.  The ushers would have a hard time holding the second group of people back until the theater could be emptied of its first group of views.  

TV's, movies on videotape and the allure of going to a bigger town to see a move, all probably hurt our hometown theater and by the late 1970's it wasn't being used as it once was.  

It had to close it's swinging glass doors in 1978 due to lack, of businesses.  Two of the big attractions shows that last year were "Star Wars" and "Grease."

The theater building went on sale in Dec. 1980, and Larry Orr purchased the building in May of 1982.  The building was renovated and redesigned and it's unrecognizable as we remember it.

When the Kentucky Theater closed its doors Marion lost a great piece of its hometown history and we lost an old childhood friend.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weston, Flood of 1913

Living in the river-port towns of our county, was a great place to live, as they were busy with river traffic and had more commercial commodities available for those that lived here.  But there were hazards and the worse was the floods.  The flooding usually happened in the spring when the ice and snow from the harsh winters up north would start to thaw and overflow the Ohio, Cumberland and Tradewater rivers that border our county.

The town of Weston on the Ohio River was always hard hit when the floods came.  

The Weston Grocery Store and Pharmacy that belonged to Mr. Ewell Travis was flooded during the flood of April 1913.  Dink Sturgeon, the owner of the houseboat, is helping Mr. Travis move his supplies from his flooded store.

Here is some history from the Crittenden Press.
April 3, 1913 – Weston
We are having more rain in this section. It is the belief of everybody that the water will be higher than it has been for years. The river is rising fast. Our mail carrier, J. R. Collins, did not carry the mail Tuesday, the waters of the creeks being up so high he couldn't cross. 

There was a large crowd gathered on the bank of the river at Weston, Saturday, looking at the great body of water, something that none of us have even seen in Weston before. Our postmistress, Mrs. Jerrie Rankin, was compelled to move the post office to Mrs. Jane Hensell's on account of the high water.

The largest crowd that has been in Weston for years was here Sunday. About 500 people from different places were here viewing the water that has covered our little town. Business in this place is closed down. 

All of the business houses have water in them, and most of the dwelling houses. It is about two feet higher than it was in the 1884 rise.

April 10, 1913 – Also during this flood of the Ohio the entire town of Caseyville, in Union County is afloat or ruined, the inhabitants of the place say it will never be rebuilt. They were encamped last night on the hills back of the town site. The town hall, a frame building, floated off, after the records had been saved in rowboats. The colored Baptist Church and the courthouse are slowly floating away. The only livery stable left in town started away but was caught and tied to a tree. Not a house will be left standing. 

All that is left of the town of Shawneetown are a few substantial brick and stone buildings behind the main levee, and they are considered unsafe.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cool Spring Water Runs Deep In County's History

Crittenden County seems to be honeycombed with mineral springs.  Of course Crittenden Springs was at the head of the list, and there are others that were once known for their medicinal virtues.

Another well-known spring in the early 1900's was the Hill Spring or Mineral Springs that was located from Marion about six miles on Hwy. 506 until you reach the Y and then take Hwy. 1107 until you get to  the church house on the right, the old road ran by the church house, (road not there anymore), and the Hill spring was located on the old road.

In those early days, it was a summer resort for many of Marion's prominent families.  They would pack up a week or more of supplies and head for the the little woodland paradise

Drink the water, and, unless you prove an exception to the rule, these results will follow: Your appetite will improve from the first day, it will wax vigorous and strong, and the pure enjoyment of eating will be revealed to you; sleep will become sweet and sound; the whole system will become invigorated and life will put on new attractions.

These waters tone up the stomach and stimulate the liver and kidneys, and are what the physicians call a diuretic and alternative.

You can boil eggs in this water, cook tomatoes, beets, onions or anything else that can be cooked in ordinary water. If boiled with a liberal supply of "red cow coffee" makes a splendid beverage for the morning meal. By adding two pounds of bacon cured and two gallons of this famous water and boiling for two hours you can have as fine beans as can be had in Boston or as delicious cabbage as you can get in Detroit. This water will freeze at a temperature of about ten above and make first class ice.

 The spring was surrounded by a 30 foot square of concrete with a shed built over the spring. It had a pump so that the water could be pumped out and taken by bucket to the camp sites for use or you could sit under the shed and drink the water. 

Business men of Marion had even built cabins around the spring site, so their families would have a summer home to enjoy the area and partake of the health-giving waters.

Crittenden County has had many of these springs, many of them now have dried up, either by acts of nature, or by acts of man, and the names of many of them have been lost over the years as the families die out and the lands are sold and the wonderful mineral waters dry up by not being taken care of.

But these natural springs are definitely a part of the history of our past and many of the springs continue to serve the farmers today as water for their stock. 

But the tin cup or gourd that used to hang on a tree near many of the springs for the passers-by to use for a cool drink, are absent now, as we are afraid to drink of these waters, as they aren't as pure as they once were.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fords Ferry Road, August 1925

Here's is an interesting article found in the August 21, 1925 Crittenden Press.


Courier Journal of Sunday, August 16, Devotes Page to New Project and to Historical Legends of Early Days.

In the feature section of the Courier Journal of last Sunday a whole page was devoted to our new Ford Ferry and Cave in Rock.  It said in part:

On a decision of the Illinois Highway Department, expected next month, hangs the hope of a large section of Western Kentucky for the early construction of an inter state highway which, in Kentucky and in Southern Illinois, will traverse a section as filled with history of dark deeds, romances, crimes, and unmentionable tales as the landscapes of the section are filled with midsummer haze. 

The road, which will connect the section through which it is to be built with concrete roads Illinois is building, now financed partly by bond issues totalling $160,100,000 and give to Southern Illinois a inlet to the Louisville-Paducah road, now under construction, will run from Hopkinsville to Princeton, Marion, Fords Ferry and Cave in Rock.

Mystery surrounds Fords Ferry.  The man whose name is attached to that Ohio river point remains a man of mystery after a century.

Historians are as yet unable to unravel his secret.  Legends ascribed to him the leadership of bandit in the section during the early years of the Nineteenth Century, but his character and life will ever remain in doubt - whether it was the whole truth or not.

Cave in Rock, which is on the Illinois shore near the ferry, is a most interesting point. About it centered crimes of which many early voyageurs of the Ohio river were victims.

The pirogue, the batteau and the flat boat of the early trader often found Cave in Rock thier last port of call, and the brave crews saw their last glimpse of earth near it's portals.

The bandits and pirates of Cave in Rock would have shamed Blackbeard and Jean Lafitte by their misdeeds.

The status of the road, is Kentucky's treasury will have no funds available for roads until July 1926.  The possibility of its construction before that time is to have it designated a federal highway and let the surrounding counties aid in the construction.  Mack Gailbraith, federal engineer in Kentucky, has recommended it as a federal highway on condition that it be so designated by Illinois.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Marion Graded School Building

Evelyn Graves wrote this about the Marion Graded School building in1926.

The graded school building stands on the corner of College and Carlisle streets, its front entrance facing the post office building and the side entrance facing the Methodist church.

The main part of the building was constructed in 1894 when Charles Evans was superintendent of the Marion school system.

The building was used for the first time Jan. 19, 1895 and in it seven teachers were employed.  Both the graded and high school were housed in it.

In 1904 the school district realizing that the new graded and high school building was entirely too crowded, voted bonds for an annex.  With this new section, the present auditorium and the class rooms above the building, now used for the graded school alone, the school was completed as it now stands.

The first high school class that graduated in Marion consisted of two, Edward Gray, now of Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Perry Maxwell, also of Ardmore, who graduated in 1896.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Some Early Crittenden County Pioneer Citizens

Here is some history and genealogy of some of our early pioneer citizens.

Crittenden Press, Nov. 9, 1903.

James Hickman Walker. 

He was born on a farm near Tolu, Nov. 14, 1827 and spent his early life on a farm.

As a young man he became associated with the government of the county.

He was appointed deputy sheriff of the county for three years and four months, beginning in 1851.

 He was elected sheriff in 1854, and re-elected in 1856. He was deputy U.S. Marshall in 1860, and census enumerator in 1860, taking the census of half of the county.

He was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court in 186t2 and served in this office until 1874.

He was a splendid official and served in each office with credit to himself and the people who elected him.  

James Hickman died June 16, 1906 at the age of 79.  He is buried at Mapleview Cemetery with his wife, Hortense Gregory Walker.  

Crittenden Press, Sept. 19, 1895

Robert W. Foster

R. W. Foster was born in Oldham County, KY., Sept. 7, 1817, and was a son of A. G. and Lucy Duerson Foster.  His parents came to Kentucky at an early day.

 Mr. Foster came to Crittenden County in 1852, and settled on a portion of the land he owned at his death.

He was a most successful farmer and at his death owned one of the finest farms in the county.

He was postmaster at the Hurricane post office for several  years.

He was never married and for years his widowed sister, Mrs. Threlkeld, has kept house for him.

He had a lovely home overlooking the valley of the Ohio and there surrounded by all that was needed to bring comfort to him.  

He passed away on Sept. 14, 1895 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery.  His sister, Susannah F. Threlkeld is buried next to him.

Crittenden Presss, July 1896

Phineas C. Barnett

Phineas C. Barnett was born in Warren County, Ky., Feb. 16, 1809.  His family moved from Kentucky to Missouri, where he remained until he was 17 years old when he returned to his native state, and a little later he entered Cumberland College at Princeton.

In 1835 he came to what is now Crittenden County and settled on the farm where he spent the last 60 years of his life, located a few miles outside of Tolu. 

He had a love of fine horses and had several of these on his farm.  He was an industrious man of his day and owned a large amount of land and operated a successful farm and livestock herd of cows and horses.

In 1831 he was married to Miss Jeanetta Threlkeld.

Mr. Barnett died at his home near Tolu, on Friday July 24, 1896.  He was buried in the Barnett-Miles Cemetery located outside of Tolu on his farm.

The old Barnett-Miles Cemetery is located today on land that belongs to the J. T. May family.  It has been destroyed many years ago by cattle.  All the stones are knocked down and some even missing. 

The Barnett name today is remembered  by the Barnett Chapel's Church and also the county road that is named the Barnett Chapel Rd where the church is located. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Marion's Newspapers

There is a saying that goes "The local paper is the fabric of a town, they give small towns their identity."

Here is some history on the newspaper of our town.
  • In February, 1878, the MARION REPORTER was founded by J. J. Nall, R. H. Adams and James M. Clement.  It was ran under this management until October 1878, when it was turned over to C. F. Champion and R. C. Walker to see if they could increase advertisement subscription, the lifeblood of an infant newspaper.  But unable to put the Reporter on a profitable basis by the end of the year, the paper was returned to its owners.  Murrell Adams issued one number in January 1879.
  • R. C. Walker founded the CRITTENDEN PRESS, May 28, 1879, on a five-column outside patent as a weekly.  Like the other Marion businesses it experienced an amazingly rapid growth from 1879 to 1894, and it grew to a seven-column outside patent to an eight-column all-home- print patent by 1894.  Press subscriptions grew from two hundred (200) to five hundred (500) in the first few years to fourteen hundred (1,400) in 1886 to eighteen hundred (1,800) in 1894.  The PRESS no doubt prospered on a similar scale under Walker until it was sold to S. M. Jenkins about 1903.(The paper was first known as "Crittenden Press", when Mr. Jenkins took over the paper in 1894 the word, "The" was official added to the title.)
  • A few years later the MARION MONITOR made its appearance before the public, B. F. Copeland being the editor and publisher of the new paper.  After a short and financially unsuccessful run, Mr. Copeland sold out to S. C. Haynes and at the death of Mr. Haynes a year later, the paper passed into the hands of A. C. Moore and W. S. Adams, and finally into non existence and restful oblivion, the Press taking over the type and fixtures of the plant.
  • On July 15, 1904, the firm of  James E. Crittenden and C. H. Whitehouse founded The CRITTENDEN RECORD which was greeted with almost instant success by the growing community as is shown by the subscriptions which grew from fifteen hundred (1,500) soon after it started to over two thousand (2,000) by the time of dissolution of the Crittenden-Whitehouse Firm in November 1905.    In 1912 the homeless Crittenden Record merged with S. M. Jenkins' Crittenden Press and Jenkins edited and published The Crittenden Record Press through 1917.  The name was eventually changed back to just The Crittenden Press as we know it still today.
Although The Crittenden Press has changed hands several times through the past years the name has stayed the same.  And although many of the younger generation prefer to get their subscription to the paper on line, many of us still love to be able to hold our beloved Crittenden Press in our hands and leaf through the pages to read about our town and community.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Early Beginnings of Our County Roads

Some interesting county road names and their origin.

  • Flynn's Ferry Road - As named in the County Court Order book, dated 1845, had already been established and was probably the earliest trail through the county.  It was George Flynn, who opened his Ohio River ferry in 1803, and caused the widening of the trace or trail into a wagon road.  This wagon road was improved all the way from Flynn's Ferry landing to the the home of William Prince, who lived at the big spring, which later became the site of Princeton.  When the early pioneer migration started the Flynn's Ferry Road became the main highway for the overland-traveling pioneers to Illinois and the trans-Mississippi region to the west and northwest, and it is said that a covered wagon was always visible on this road.
  • Ford's Ferry Road - Was named after James Ford that ran a ferry from the Kentucky side to the Illinois side of the river.  In the early days before we were Crittenden County, this was also a main trail that was traveled to get to Fords Ferry in order to cross the river to the Illinois side.  The little village where the ferry was located was also named Ford's Ferry.
  • Daniel's Ridge Road - Was named for the Drury M. Daniel family that lived there.  The Daniel's family was an early pioneer family that came to Crittenden County from Bedford Co. Tennessee in 1850 and settled in the area.  Drury M. Daniel was a country Doctor, he was engaged in the practice of medicine in the county for 24 years.
  • Cotton Patch Hill Road - According to Uncle Bob Heath, an old gentleman of years past, tells us that in the 1800's a wild, fierce woman, named Mrs. Clayton settled on what we know as Cotton Patch Hill.  Here she built a cabin, hunted wild animals, and cleared and fenced about an acre of ground on which she planted cotton.  After living on the hill a few  years she went away as suddenly as she came.  After she left the hill was always referred to as "Cotton Patch Hill."
  • Nunn Switch Road - Back in the 1880's the family of Samuel and Sarah Nunn lived in this area.  In 1886, the Illinois Central Railway bought their home place and some of their land, as it was needed for the new railorad that would be coming through the county.  The extra land was needed for a place to build a depot and loading pens.  After the Nunn's sold part of their land to the railroad the depot was built there, and it was given the name of Nunn's Swith.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Noirma Club Of Marion

The Noirma Club of Marion.  Mrs. J. W. Blue, Mrs. G. M. Crider, Mrs. Charles Evans, Mrs. T. H. cochran, Mrs. A. Wilborn, mrs. W. B. Yandell, Mrs. Carrie Maxwell, Mrs. J. T. Franks, Mrs. A Dewey, Mrs. P. H. Woods, Miss Nellie Walker, Mrs. S. M. Jenkins, Mrs. J. H. Orme, Mrs. G. C. Gray, Mrs. R,. F. Haynes, Mrs. J. J. Clark, Mrs. H. A. Haynes, Mrs. H. K. Woods.

Oh yes, Marion in its day had societies for the town ladies, clubs of different kinds, musical gatherings and many interesting things to keep them busy.

One of these was The Noirma Club.  It was formed in 1900.  The officers were: Mrs. T. H. Cochran, president; Mrs. W. J. Deboe, vice-president; Mrs. G. M. Crider, treasurer; Miss Nelle Walker, Secretary. 

The president made the following address.
 We are all familiar with the old saying, "We can not stand still; we must not go back."  I wish we each might say, "we will not go back,"  Let us hitch our wagon to a star as we used to do when we were school girls.  

We can not rise higher than our ideals, as we all know.  I know of no more royal road to success in all that is broadening and elevating in thought, in enriching and happifying our lives, in teaching us to be of service to others than this same course of study.

Another thing, let us be more punctual in attendance.  We have read and heard all of our lives, of the value of punctuality, but we have scarcely begun to appreciate its importance. 

At some of their meetings they studied about music.  At one meeting at the pleasant home of Mrs. W. O. Tucker,  Schubert composition both instrument and vocal and his life was discussed. 

 The object of these musical meetings was to create a greater interest in music, to study the music and the lives of the old masters and the history of music. 

My note: I wasn't able to find any information if the Noirma Club was a nationally known club for women, or perhaps it was just formed locally.  The name is an odd one,  if you un-jumble the letters it also says "Marion."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July - Once A Big Event In Marion

(From the files of The Crittenden Press, July 4th, 1949.)

All Roads Will Lead To Marion Monday, July 4th.  It is going to be one one of the biggest and best ever to be given in many years. 

The fun starts at 8 o'clock on the court square with the High School band assisted by Ray Wilson and the boys of his band.

There will be hand sawing contests and nail driving contests, and for the women, egg contests, and cracker eating contests for children, and most of all let's not forget the babies.  There will be a baby buggy rolling contest and the mother must bring long the babies in their buggies and strollers and enter the fun.

From there the fun moves to Grady Field where there will be many games and plenty to eat.  Barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and ice cream and other goodies will be available.

Boxing matches will be one of the main featues of the morning.  Paul Woodall has promised plenty of action for all attending.

At 2:00 p.m. there will be a softball game between the Marion Globetrotters and Frances.  This is expected to be one of the hottest games of the year.

The bands will give another concert at 7:00 o'clock which will be worth traveling miles to hear.

There will be ponies to ride for the kiddies, the well-known Bingo game, and other games where the older people may enjoy themselves.

The most complete arrangements of fireworks ever to be displayed in Western Kentucky will start at 9:00 o'clock sharp, so let nothing keep you away from Marion on this glorious 4th of July. 

My thoughts:  These wonderful old days of community fun gatherings are gone, for now nearly everyone leaves town to find entertainment somewhere else, and it's just another empty day as usual. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Blackburn United Baptist Church

Blackburn United Baptist church, was organized October 5, 1886, with 30 charter members.  Most of these charter members had been baptized by Rev. Elisha Bell Blackburn.  Thus the church was named after Rev. Blackburn.

In July 1887, the first delegates were elected to the Ohio River Association.  

In February 1888, a committee was selected to raise money for missionary purposes.  Even though women were not allowed to speak at business meetings, they never the less were very active in the life of the church.

In 1918, Mrs. Alpha Tudor, Mag Warren, and Bill Stembridge were appointed to purchase an organ. 

 In June 1920, Mr. G. T. Boyd, J. W. Tosh and Bill Warren served on a committee to purchase a large bell.  

This bell was rung to notify the community that services were being held.  It would also be rung for graveyard cleanings and for deaths in the neighborhood.

This original building burned in Feb. 1960.  Worship services were held in the home of Mrs. Mabel and Walter Hopkins until another church could be constructed.

By July of that same year, a 29 foot by 40 foot concrete block building was completed and a concrete base and platform was built to place the bell.

This large, heavy bell was stolen in 1988 and has never been recovered.  A shame it was stolen and taken from it's home.

With the passing of most of the older members, regular worship services  had to be discontinued but special meetings were still held at the church.  

The Blackburn Church Cemetery is located on church ground just uphill from the little block building.  Many of the former church members are buried in this cemetery.

Friday, June 16, 2017

S. H. Hodge & Company, 1894

1894 - From Marion's early history, the town has been wonderfully favored with men of capital and advanced ideas, who have sought the dry goods and clothing parade, located within it's precincts and through its tempting displays, and made it a mart where dry goods are dispensed in volumes that would do credit to much larger cities and brought to its doors a trade that is far-reaching and steadily growing.

In this respect S. D. Hodge & Co., placed as one of the leaders for their enormous annual sales.

The individual members of the firm are S. D. Hodge and R. E. Bigham, both of men of superior business qualifications and marked executive and financial abilities, such as are destined to lead successfully an important mercantile life.

Their store building in 22.80, beautifully finished in hard wood, and made attractive by tasteful decorations and has ten thousand stock in fine display.

they carry dry goods, clothing dress goods, boots, shoes, and the very best of goods that can be bought in the wholesale houses of the north and east.

Mr. Hodge is a native Kentuckian and has been for ten years in the mercantile business.  He received his schooling from J. N. Woods, the merchant of Marion, who has sent from behind his counters into the active business world, scores of men whose success has been imminent since they opened their business to the public, and Mr. Hodge's success has been exceeding flattering.

S. D. Hodge & Co., have gained a fine reputation as dealers in clothing and have just opened up a stock to which they respectfully invite attention.  These suits are made from the most fashionable cloth, cut in the latest styles, so you can not fail to be suited, and they guarantee to fit you perfectly.
This store, I'm sure, had to have burnt in the 1905 fire of Marion's business district.  I don't have any knowledge of where it was located on Main St.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ben Franklin Store Going 'Self-Service' 1956

 An inside view of the popular Ben Franklin Store in the 1950's.
It had anything that one would want or need. A wonderful place to shop.

An interesting article from The Crittenden Press in 1956 about the old Ben Franklin Store that was on Main Street.  One of everyone's favorite places to shop.

Joe H. Jones, owner of the Ben Franklin Store in Marion, this week announced that his completely remodeled store will re-open Friday, June 29.

The store is being completely remodeled for self-service, featuring all the most modern fixtures and equipment designed for the ease, convenience and pleasure of everybody's shopping.

In keeping with a rapidly growing trend, many home-owned Ben Franklin Stores all over America are going 'self-service' - because folks have proved that they prefer to shop this way.  They would rather look around, take their time, just the way they do in a library, or in a cafeteria, or in a super market, until they find what they want.

According to Mr. Jones this new self-service system is also the answer to all those exasperated shoppers who left their shopping lists at home on the kitchen table.  Actually, he says, shopping lists may  just as well be left there, because each self-service counter is a shopping list in itself.

A wide assortment of new, popular priced merchandise will be displayed everywhere, and every article will be within easy reach, with prices clearly marked.

Customers will find self-service shopping very simple.  When Mrs. Shopper finds what she wants, she places it in one of the handy light-weight baskets which are provided for her convenience.  The friendly Ben Franklin sales staff will be ready as always to give information and assistance when needed.

Every Marion resident is cordially invited to the grand re-opening of the new Ben Franklin Self-Service Store.

The store as it was announcing it's closing in June 1978.


* This store was last used by Paula's China Shop.  It has now sit empty for several years.  A sad, lonesome reminder of Marion's once busy Main Street.  As are several other empty stores on Main Street.