Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Night Riders in Crittenden County

  This interesting article is from the Book titled Echoes of Yesteryear By Leslie McDonald, 1972.

Tobacco was the cash crop.  Dark-fired tobacco was grown especially for its value to bring in money when everything else failed.   Corn and wheat were bead for the table, hay was food for the livestock and sorghum was grown for a little sweetening.  Tobacco remained the commodity that brought a little girl a doll for Christmas, for other cash crops were practically non-existent.

By the 1890's and early 1900's tobacco was grown almost everywhere in the county.  There were large well-constructed barns on every farm to house and smoke dark tobacco.  A long aisle of hot coals was maintained on each side of the barn to "smoke" the tobacco until it cured to the color desired by the grower.

Many farmers grew large acreage of tobacco and in 1904 the price of tobacco dropped below the price it cost to product it.  This resulted in an organization called the Planter's Protective Association.  This tobacco surplus was put into what was known as "in pool".  Many planters refused to join the Association.  At first a harmless band was formed to force these planter to act but later it evolved into violence.

The Night Riders climbed into their saddles with two purposes:  The farmers must be forced to join them or not to raise tobacco.  As lawlessness increased, due to the fact that their identity was covered by a black mask and white sheets, they grew bolder.  They salted tobacco plant beds, tore up young plans and burned tobacco.  They began to burn tobacco warehouses, growers' barns and generally cause trouble.  Anyone who took sides against them soon met with their rage.

The Night Riders were soon out of control.  They used whips and clubs on individuals for real or imagined moral transgressions.  They shot into private homes for warnings.  Thorn switching was their favorite method of chastisement.  One man reported that bullets entered into the bedding of his sleeping sister.

Many threatening notes were the first indication of impending violence around Dycusburg.  Dycusburg was the location of the buying, selling and shipping of the farmers tobacco crops. 

The Bennett brothers owned the Distillery which the Night riders burned to the ground February 2, 1908.  They also burned the warehouse for tobacco owned by Henry H. Bennett.  They spared the warehouse of S. H. Cassidy. 

 They also decided to whip Henry Bennett and William Groves.  These men had continued to buy tobacco after their warning.  They were to be made into examples to warn others.  The Night Riders unmercifully whipped William Groves.  The beating crippled Mr. Groves permanently and he died a cripple, maimed and scarred some year later.   

For the chastisement of Henry Bennett, they chose to give one of the thorn-switch whippings.  One of his ears was almost torn off and he was left a complete invalid, though he lived two more years in agony.  On his tombstone in the Dycusburg Cemetery is this inscription "Killed by Night Riders".  This was March, 1908. 

Soon the entire countryside was so incensed by these brutal beatings that the word began to get around that the Night Riders would be ambushed on sight.  Some of the men would be riding in trucks while some continued on horseback.  This stopped the Night Riders for good.

A couple of the old tobacco barns that were in Crittenden County. 

 They are all about gone now.    Either fallen down, or being torn down for their lumber.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Beautiful and Colorful Vintage Christmas Cards

 Just some beautiful and colorful vintage Christmas Cards with matching envelopes for this week's post. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Civic Societies Have A Special Place In Our History

From the Illustrated Edition of The Crittenden Press, August 16, 1894, many valuable and interesting pieces of our history were written about.  

 This piece was about the Civic societies of the town.

This feature of the town will always be found a safe and reliable standard from which to judge the propensities of the men who constitute the business element of the town and surrounding country.


Banded together by solemn and irrevocable ties, for the purpose of friendship, morality, brotherly love, sympathy, counsel and support, wherever they are found strong in numbers will always be found a harmonious and united community.


Silent often in their charities, the outside world can never know to what extent it is indebted to those noble organizations.


Although doubted by some, their doubts and suspicions are the offspring of ignorance of the motives and working of these institutions. Any community in which these praiseworthy organizations exist can always be trusted as peaceful and law abiding, and a good land in which to dwell.


In Marion are four of these societies, and each has a strong membership.

Bigham Lodge F. A. & A. M. is the oldest and strongest. It has a membership of seventy and is one of the best working lodges in this section. It owns its own hall and the lodge room is well appointed. Within the last two years it has grown rapidly.


Blackwell Lodge Knights of Pythias, was organized seven years ago, and has a membership of over fifty. In 1887 a number of the Knights from Ivy Lodge, of Henderson, came over to Marion and instituted a new Lodge, with a membership of twelve. Since that time the order has been growing and the idea of their own building was conceived. The new building was finished in October 1890, and the order has just completed paying for its hall.

The new K.P. hall was dedicated in Nov. of 1890. It is made of substantial brick, handsomely finished without and within and is a credit to the popular and rapidly growing order and an honor to our town.

From the start this institution grew rapidly, and it now embraces in its membership many of our best men, especially among the young. The lodge room is elegantly furnished and is one of the most attractive in the county.

The membership is not confined to Marion, but young men from various parts of the county have united with it and it is now one of the fixed institutions of the place.


The Ancient Order of United Workmen has a membership of forty, and is growing. Its members take a great interest in lodge meetings and are devoted to the order, which is very popular in the town and country.


The Knights of Honor have had a lodge here since 1879, and its members embrace some of the oldest and most substantial citizens.


The society at Marion is as good as it is anywhere. The people are unostentatious, friendly and social. We have no aristocracy.


For the purpose of hearing the leading men of the country and bringing the best talent to Marion, forty of the young men of the town have organized a Lecture Club and through the influence of this club the people of Marion are enjoying a distinction no other has to offer, accorded to a town of this size.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Meet Some More of Marion's Past Doctors

 Dr. John Riley Clark, noted physician and surgeon of Marion and Crittenden County in the late 1800's.

Born March 7, 1834, son of William and Rosa Cunningham Clark, one of Crittenden County's early pioneer families.

He was born at a time when schools were scarce in this section, and his parents were unable to give him the educational advantages he craved, but being staunch of mind and body, the hardships of those pioneer days brought out and developed the tenacious qualities of the mind that made him successful in whatever he attempted.

When he began life for himself his only patrimony was an ambition to surmount the difficulties in the way of a professional career, and blessed with a strong body and mind, he rose above the barriers and for years stood in the forefront as a physician in his native county. He attended the Medical University of Louisville.

As a citizen he was progressive and liberal, every ready to lend his assistance to such things as he thought would benefit his fellow citizens.

For years he was been prominent in the affairs of this section. He represented Crittenden and Livingston counties in the legislature of 1879-80, and served his district with distinction. He was also one of the partners of A. Dewey Co., builders of Marion Merchants flour-mill in 1890. He also built J. R. Clark Lumber Mill.

Dr. Clark and his wife, Nannie Johnson Clark, bought a farm in the Tribune-Repton area, built first a log house and here they started out their life.

The doctor practiced in his professional line, bought more land, erected new buildings and had a splendid home and a fine farm. To this union were born ten children.

When Dr. Clark died on Sept 16, 1902, he was one of the best-known and respected citizens of Crittenden County.  He and his wife are buried at Mapleview Cemetery.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

1951 - Cherokee Indians Were in Marion


Crittenden Press, May 1 8, 1951.

On May 11th, a party of nine, including four ancestors, of the original Cherokee Indian Tribe, stopped in Marion on a tour retracing the "Trail of Tears" made by 17,000 of their ancestors 113 years ago at which time 4,000 of their tribe lost their lives.

Chief McKinley Ross, descendant of Captain John Ross, an Indian leader, presented Mayor L. D. Chipps with a peace pipe in a ceremony from the Courthouse lawn with this message.  "As Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, I  bring you greetings from my people.  113 years ago 17,000 of my ancestors passed through Marion on a march to Exile.  Today three other tribal leaders and myself are retracing that Trail of Tears.

We left our Carolina Mountain homes two days ago on the Trail of Tears journey that carry us through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and to its end in Oklahoma.  We are retracing this historic trail in the hope the people of America may learn of a forgotten page in history.

Other Cherokee descendants besides Chief Ross in the party and wearing authentic native costumes, were Leroy Wahnetah, Joe Washington and Rev. Arsesn Thompson, the first Cherokee Educationalist.

The tour is sponsored by the Cherokee Historical Association.

Attending the Welcome luncheon at the Marion Cafe besides the Cherokee party were: Mayor and Mrs. L. D. Chipps, John Quertermous, Ben Clement, Daisy Franklin, Pauline Guess, Grace Paris, Mrs. T. C. Gilland, R. Pl Davidson, N. S. Hollingsworth and Neil Guess.  

The traveling guests were presented with souvenirs of Fluorspar by Ben Clement and other favors from the down stores.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Marion's First Girl's Basketball Team


The 1920 annual of Marion High School, called "The Mirror," tells of the first in the school's history.  Their record was 0-4.  Marion 6 - Providence 16.  Marion 6 - Sturgis 49.  Marion 7 - Morganfield 24.  Marion 13 - Morganfield 15.

This was the first year for the girls of M.H.S. to try their strength in athletics and taking in consideration all the drawbacks it must be admitted that we brought forth a good team even if it was a losing team.

Although we didn't win a game we feel that the basketball season was a real success for it taught us all how to be good losers and to play harder when being defeated.

Taking into consideration that this is our first year is such sports we have made remarkable progress and expect in the future to be invincible. 

The Players

  • Elizabeth Dollar was elected captain of this year;s team and played guard throughout the season.  She was quick an good at breaking up plays.
  • Dollie Enoch played forward throughout the greater part of the season.  She did well in her position and was a dependable player throughout the entire time.
  • Jessie Elkins another of our old reliable players shone out from under our opponents' basket and made it hard for them to score.  She was our best guard this year.
  • Evalyn Moore, although short and light in weight, "Curley" won a place on the main team.  She was quick and hard to guard and for reason she was able to play forward.
  • Marie Lowery, "Tip" played center for us.  She was a good player for this responsible position and was always on the job fighting like a tiger.
  • Katherine Hughes, "Kat" played a good fast game at forward.  She was accurate in throwing baskets and co-operating in team work.
  • Leoda McWhirter, "Toadie" played guard most of the season.  She was an earnest work and dependable player.
  • Robbie Fowler, played forward most of the time but was also a good center.  Although not as tall as some , she could always evade the long arms of her guard and shoot the goal.
  • Fannie Moore, "Fan" played guard this season.  Being tall she made a good player for that position.  She always played a scrappy consistent game.
  • Melba Williams, "Babe" was our substitute and played center part of the time as well as a good forward.  She played a clean game all the time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Marion Football Team 1919


 Pictured are front row L-R: Hubert Crider, Raymond Boucher, Calvert Small, Harry Moore, Billy Eskew.  Back row: Coach George Gumbert, John Graves, Willard Daughtrey, Watts Franklin, Carols Grubbs, James Henry, Otis Wheeler, Tower Belt and manager Ernest Threlkeld.

The line-up taken from a Marion High School Annual The Mirror, dated 1920.

  • Harry Moore - Quarter Back and Defensive half.  Harry was the only man on the team that could call signals.  In the first game he made practically all the tackles.
  • Willard Daughtrey - Left Half-Back.  A hard man to get around.  He played a hard game.
  • Watts Franklin - Left Half Back.  Filled vacancy of Willard Daughtrey when he got his arm broke.
  • James Henry - Captain. Right Half Back and Safety Quarter.  Jim was a hard fighter as well as hard headed.  His hard head served as a good battering ram.
  • Calvert Small - Right end.  Fast on his feet.  A good blocker and a good tackler.
  • Hubert Crider - Best player on the team.  Good for forward passes.
  • Otis Wheeler - Full Back.  Otis is a good tackler, he can play on the line of scrimmage as well as in the back field.
  • Raymond Boucher - Left Tackle.  Although not as large as some of his opponents he never allowed himself to be run over, rather than do that he would run off.
  • John Ed Young - Right Tackle and Defensive End.  The only experienced man on the tam.  John Ed played with the team of 1917 and played a steady game all the time.
  • Tower Belt - Left Guard.  Tower on the line of scrimmage was a regular stone wall.  When he hit - he hit low and hard.
  • John Graves - Right Guard.  John would break thru the line of scrimmage and cause much excitement in the opposing back field.
  • Carloss Grubbs - Center.  Carloss was very efficient in his very important position.  He will usually make one error and then play a perfect game the rest of the time.
  • Billy Eskew - Substitute.  Didn't get to play this year.

 This photo was made in 1919 of the Marion High football team.  The first one organized after World War I.  Football actually began at Marion High School in 1915, and the team had three seasons and even enjoyed a winning record in 1917.  However, there was no football during 1918 due to the war.  The program was reinstituted in 1919 with the above players.

The teams played on Saturday afternoons at Cook Park, which was located where Riley Tool and Machine is today on Moore Street across from the once Conrad's Food Store, today named Hometown Foods.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Armistice Day Memories


An old article that appeared in The Crittenden Press, November 14, 1930, tells of an Armistice Day that was celebrated in Marion for that year.  (Armistice Day wasn't changed to Veterans Day until 1954.)

Calling the attention of a oft time forgetful public to the significance of the day, whistles and the fire alarm blown at eleven o'clock Tuesday Morning reminded Marion that 12 years ago, the signing of the Armistice at eleven o'clock on the eleventh of November brought to a close the World War.  As the whistles died away, taps was sounded in front of the Armory.

Appropriate exercises were held in Fohs Hall Tuesday morning to which the public were invited and which were attended by the entire student body of the city schools.

The program was arranged by the Ellis B. Ordway Post of the American Legion.  Addresses were made by J. Roy Johnson, who talked on The Flag; David Postlethweight on Peace Time Preparedness; C. S. Nunn, who talked on The Constitution. 

Vocal solos were sung by Mrs. Dobbyns and by W. W. Runyan; with Miss Laura Butler and Mrs. J. B. Wiggins as their accompanists.  Miss Juanita Sory gave a reading, a story of the Civil War.

Banks were closed in Marion and many of the business houses displayed the flag before their stores.  School was dismissed at the close of the exercises in Fohs Hall for the remainder of the day which otherwise passed in an uneventful manner.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Around The Court House and County News from 1924


Here is some interesting and informative items from the year 1924 from the archives of The Crittenden Press, from columns titled “Around The Court House and County Court News.”

The Honorable Judge E. Jeffery Travis presiding.

  • Jan. 11, 1924 – The regular session of the Crittenden Fiscal Court convened January 1 and was in session Tuesday and Wednesday, County Judge Travis, County Attorney Edward Stone, and all the Magistrates being present.
  • L.H. Franklin qualified as magistrate in the Union district, to succeed Charles LaRue whose term of office has expired.
  • The price for plow and team on the public roads of the county was set at $2.00 a day.
  • The windows, doors, casings, etc., of all the office buildings in the court house are undergoing a coat of paint, which adds greatly to their appearance.
  • County Clerk, L. E. Guess has issued marriage licenses to Walter Cook and Mrs. Harpye Herrin; Ernest Conyer and Miss Myra Frances Mitchell; Rob Brown and Miss Effie Campbell and Roy Herron and Miss Vera Belle East.
  • The county levy for all purposes was set at 50 cents on the $ 100, divided as follows: Road fun 30 cents, salaries and miscellaneous, 13 cents, pauper fund 7 cents.
  • Squire S. F. Peek and Constable Vernon Patton, of Dycusburg brought to Marion Wednesday morning a moonshine still which they turned over to the authorities here. The still consisted of a large copper tank, and other machinery necessary to the manufacture of moonshine liquor, including a fourteen-burned oil heater. The still was estimated to be of capacity sufficient to turn out from 50 to 60 gallons of moonshine a day. The still was unloaded Monday from the Steamer Grace Devers on the streets of Dycusburg, the river being too high for the boat to land at the Dycusburg landing. The shipping tag indicated that the outfit was from the Nation Metal Works of Paducah and was addressed to Jim Ferguson, Bulls Pasture, Tenn. The Dycusburg officials report that no reason is known why it should have been put off at that place. The court will decide what to do with it.
  • Jan. 18, 1924 – There are lots of things that our good friend, Judge E. Jeff Travis, possibly might be criticized for and about but we at least must compliment him on the stand he has taken for law enforcement. There probably has never been a county judge in this county that was more conscientious in his efforts along this line.
  • The will of Mrs. Tressa Lamb was filed for probate. Her nephew, Press McConnell, is sole beneficiary under the will and was made administrator of the state.
  • January 25, 1924 – According to the records in the office of County Clerk L. E. Guess there have been issued during the past year, 87 marriage licenses, while the records in the office of Circuit Clerk J E. Sullenger show that 29 couples have filed suit for divorce. These figures show that exactly two thirds of the couples in Crittenden County who marry stick, while the other third seek for the annulment. Cupid has it by a two thirds majority.
  • Out of more than 1,200 dogs assessed in Crittenden County the owners of only 67 of them have obtained dog license for the ensuring year, according to a report of County Clerk L. E. Guess. The law, says Mr. Guess, places a penalty of 20 percent on license after January 1, and when license are not paid, the dogs are at the disposal of the sheriff.
  • Of more than 600 automobiles and trucks owned by citizens of this county only the owners of 87 have paid their 1924 licenses. Mr. Guess attributes the delay on the part of auto owners to the many machines now in disuse owing to the bad condition of the roads.
  • The County Clerk has issued a marriage license to Mr. Steve Curry and Mrs. Mary Smith.
  • March 1924 – The Marion-Princeton road which was graded and prepared for surfacing last year will in all probability, be surfaced this season. W. R. Campbell, of Madisonville, has the contract to surface the road from Marion city limits to Livingston Creek. E. Champion has the contract to haul and put the surface on one and one fourth miles. Frazer and Son will surface the first two miles out of Marion. Mr. Campbell will have his headquarters at Crayne and will surface two miles in each direction from that place.
  • Work has begun on Dam No. 50 on the Ohio River, just above Fords Ferry in this county. The work of clearing off the land on which to erect the camp buildings was begun lat week, and actual construction will begin as soon as materials can be secured, which will be in a few days. The dam is being built by the United States Government as are the three other dams located on the lower Ohio at Uniontown, Golconda, and Brookport. The purpose of the dams is to insure a nine foot boating state in the river at all season of the year. This work will give employment to hundreds of men and four of five year time will be required for its completion. Mr. R. B. Tinsley is the superintendent in charge at Fords Ferry.
  • City Council News for March 14, 1924 – H. K. Bell, water engineer, was present and presented his final plans for a water system for Marion.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Lee Cruce, 2nd Governor of Oklahoma, born in Crittenden County, KY


Lee Cruce, the second governor of the young 4-year old state of Oklahoma, was born and raised in Crittenden County, near the small town of Crayneville. He was born July 8, 1863, to James W. and Jane (Hill) Cruce.

His story is an amazing one, one of adventure and ambition.

From the archives of the Crittenden Press it tells of Lee's activities.

Lee's early years were spent on the farm. His education was obtained in the common schools, with one year at Marion Academy. Deciding to qualify himself for the practice of law, he attended the law school of Vanderbilt University, at Nashville, but remained there only one year.

His law studies were completed in the office of his brother, Andrew Cavit Cruce, in Marion. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1887, but never practice until he moved to Ardmore, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. Andrew C., his brother, had moved his law practice to Oklahoma and Lee joined the firm when he moved there.

In the years 1888-1889 Lee was a member of the firm of Cruce Bros., and was selling goods at their family store in Crayneville. Lee could measure off a couple of yards of bleached domestic, wrap it up and make the change with lightning rapidity.

He always said if he could make enough money he would go west, therefore he practiced close economy and attended strictly to business.

By a master stroke of good fortune Cruce Bros., of Crayneville sold out. Lee gathered his hard earning together and counted it. He had $38.49. In the year 1891, he boarded a train and went west to Ardmore, where his brother was already located.

After settling in his new home, Lee practiced law for ten years and then entered the financial world as the first cashier of the Ardmore National Bank, of which he would later serve as the bank's president. In 1901 Cruce was elected as a municipal legislative member in the local government of Ardmore.

When the movement towards statehood in late 1906, with Cruce's combined positions of power in the Bank and the local government, his local Democratic party submitted his name on the primary for the 1st Governor of the newly created state of Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, his powerful and popular opponent, Charles N. Haskell defeated Cruce for the nomination. The opinion of the paper was that the over-confidence of Cruce's friends might have cost him the nomination. The vote was very light in the Chickasaw nation and Carter County, the people of Ardmore just knew he would be elected, so they didn't turn out to vote.


Lee Cruce died on July 5, 1933 at his daughter's home in Los Angeles, California. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in his adopted state of Ardmore, Oklahoma.

His parents and other members of the Cruce family are buried in their little Cruce family cemetery just a short distant from their home near Crayne.  It is completely overgrown with brambles and small trees. Once it was cared for but has been in this shape now for many years.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Alexander Tanning Yard




William Patton Alexander moved from Dawson Spring, Ky. About 1844 and brought farm land from Jacob Crider, located east of the Piney Fork cemetery. William Patton married Polly Moore and they had one child. After her death he married Lucinda O'Neal, they had eight children.


William Patton operated a Tanyard on his farm, located on the east side of the Alexander Creek near the spring that runs from the Cave. The pits were on flat land south of the spring, probably six pits were used. They were about four to five feet deep and shaped like a grave.  (These were filled in later)


In the spring of the year when the sap was up, they would strip bark off of black oaks, white oaks and red oaks and haul it to the pits. The bark could be used dried or green but had to be hacked into tiny pieces or beat with a hammer before being placed in the pits. Water from the near by spring was added to make an ooze. The hides were then added to this ooze and allowed to soak until tanned into desired color.


The Tanning yard located on the Alexander farm was used by people in a wide area around the Piney Fork community. Most people would bring their hides to the tanyard in the spring to have the hides tanned during the summer, they would then use hides for shoes and other articles.


Cowhide was used for harnesses, horse gear, sack strings, lines, bridles, shoe strings and shoes. This was the best hide to turn water. The thick part of the hide was used for soles and the think for vamps.


A Mr. Wilson from Fredonia would come to the Piney Fork community in the fall and stay with each family and make shoes for each member of the family out of the hides.  He would have different sizes lasts with him to get the proper fit. Pins for the Pin Oak Tree were used for shoe pegs before tacks were used.

Other hides such as groundhog, wildcat, squirrel, deer, raccoon and horsehide were used for various items. Sheep skin was usually tanned with hair on and used for rugs, saddle blankets and saddle cushions. 

(Sidesaddle leather made from the Alexander Tanning Yard.  Located in the Crittenden County Historical Museum)


The Black Oak would make the leather dark and it was used on heavy hides. These were used for making saddles bags, men's shoes, harnesses, etc. The White Oak made a lighter color leather and was used for women's shoes. When the leather was tanned it was picked up or some people would bring their hides and thrade them for tanned leather, making only one trip. An example of the quality of leather is a side saddle given to Flora Alexander by her father, James Calhoun, in 1901. It is now in the Bob Wheeler Museum.


Information indicates the Tanyard was closed at the death of William Patton Alexander in 1916. In 1930 Orlin Woodside operted a sawmill near the pits and they were filled in with sawdust for safety.


By: Sarah Alexander Ford from information shared with her by her Aunt Flora Alexander Guess, her mother Annabel Alexander and Braxton McDonald.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Cookseville - Sulpher Spring Baptist Church


Sulphur Spring also once called Cooksyville Baptist Church

This church is located off of Hwy. 70 about one mile on the Mexico Road. The church was organized in 1851. The first building was made of logs and was located in the woods behind the present building, close to a sulphur spring. They were a member of the Little River Association until 1883. In 1883, a committee was appointed and they met with Union Church to consider forming another association of churches of Crittenden and Livingston Counties.

The church requested a letter of dismissal so they could form another. The Ohio River Association was formed and had its first meeting in 1884.

In 1889 the log structure was torn down and a new building was completed that year. During the period of building, they met at Cooksyville School and some people called the church "Old Cooksyville." The congregation also met at the school when the church burned in 1908. A Sunday School was organized in 1890.

The present building was a colored church at Fredonia, and was torn down, moved by wagon and reassembled at Sulphur Springs. Some of the window glass is still original and has bubbles in it. In recent years a handicapped ramp has been added to the front entrance.


 The church has experienced some great revivals, with many additions to the church.

(Some of this information is from the Crittenden County History Book, Vol. II, published 1999.)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Lamb Loom

 Located in the Historical Museum at 124 East Carlisle Street, are many interesting and historical item from pioneer days of Crittenden  County.  Here is the interesting history of the "Lamb Loom."


Historic loom dates back to 1796.

By Miss Ruby Dean

If inanimate objects could only speak, the old Lamb loom at the Crittenden County Historical Society's Museum could tell us everything about itself we wish to know, as well as some hair-raising tales of pioneer days. One such tale might involve an Indian scalping which is suppose to have occurred near the very house which held this loom.

Since it can't speak for itself, we'll have to rely upon memory hearsay and a few sketchy notes left by J. N. Dean, which do not concern the loom itself but which do date the house that contained it.


When Era DeBoe fell heir to this loom, she always referred to it as the Lamb loom, although it came to her through her aunt, Mrs. Dora Wilson.


Era's “Aunt Dora” was the widow of Quincy Wilson, whose mother was Malinda Lamb before her marriage to Dr. Lysander Wilson. Dr. Wilson's early death brought her and her young son Quincy back to her father's home, where both of them lived the remainder of their lives. Malinda's father was James Lamb from whose home this loom came. Thus, “the Lamb Loom.”


James Lamb's father was John Lamb, who came to Crittenden County in 1796 from South Carolina. He had previously had three stints of service in the American Revolution. He built a log house just west of the famed spring of limestone water known as Sugar Grove Spring.


Later, about 1820, his son James built a log house a little father west. It was to this home, known for many years as the Quincy Wilson place, that Aunt Dora came as a bride about 1884. 


The loom, I have been told, was there at that time and had probably been there since the house was built. What pioneer family could survive without one?


Whether this loom served the family of James Lamb's father also, we do not know. But we would venture a guess that it did. John's family moved to Illinois about 1820, and could easily have left the loom. It would, indeed, have been very cumbersome to move. If such is the case, we can dump it right into the eighteenth century, which will make it nigh on to 200 years old. 


This log house from which the loom came stood on the old Quincy Wilson place, formerly the James Lamb homestead.


Now, let's use our imaginations and take a peek at some of those sturdy pioneer women who made use of this loom between the years 1796 and 1979: Comfort Bellah Lamb and her daughters, Catherine, Jenny, Elizabeth, Mary and Nancy; Polly Clark Lamb and her daughters, Malinda, Salina, Hulda and Betsy; Malinda Lamb Wilson and her daughter-in-law Dora Pickens Wilson.


By the early 1950's the old Jamb Lamb house was closed part of the year, especially in winter. So the loom was moved to the J. N. Dean store at Deanwood for safekeeping. While there, it was used by Joseph Gates Dean and Dorothy Dean Cook.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Sept. 18th, 2020 POW/MIA Recognition Day

 Sept. 18th. Today is POW/MIA Recognition Day.

 In their memory is this monument located on the Marion Commons lawn in Marion. 

 Also Crittenden County POW's not listed on the monument are: Degarth Hall and Elba R. Walker. There may be more but these were names I had found. May their memories never be forgotten.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Improvements Change History

 With progress and improvements comes change and many times loss of old history. So it is with the recent improvement of the sidewalk on North Main Street. 

  The sidewalks may just be a small thing, but they were a part of our local history. The installing of the new concrete sidewalks have to do with re-placing of power lines on that side of the street.

In the early editions of The Crittenden Press there were little tidbits of information that was important at the time to the growth of Marion. Such it was with the new granite sidewalks that the new homes close to downtown was installing.


Many things make up the character of a small town.  Some things we see everyday, but in our busy lives we don't have the time to see all the interesting little things that make our town special.  

These sidewalks were being laid in the early 1900's when this section of Marion was growing and new homes were being built. 

 From articles during this time period that I have read, having these new white concrete walk ways was very important to the families.  Most of the home owners paid for their section of the walks to be constructed and it was a sign of a prosperous family. 

They thought it added much to the appearance of their home, which it indeed did.  In the photos above you can see the old sidewalk toppers and how it adds a touch of class to the owners property. 

Although this stretch of North Main Street has newly laid concrete sidewalks, the decorative topper was saved and stayed in place, so we have the old with the new, which is a really nice compromise, and the touch of class from over a hundred years ago is still there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

History of Union Baptist Church

This article first appeared in The Crittenden Press, January 7, 1955. The information was traced through the church minutes and from a copy of the Centennial Celebration.

History of the Union Church.

In the early 1800's, there was only one Missionary Baptist Church in all the country. This was Old Salem Baptist, The Mother Church.

In those early times, there were no railroads, steamboats or steam-mills, for steam had not, as yet, been harnessed. The settlements were few and far between. Wild beasts and Indians prowled the forests and endangered the settlers. Wagons, buggies and farm machinery had not, as yet, been introduced. The flatboat, the horse mill, the ox cart, the tan-yard, and the ripsaw were the great inventions of that conquering civilization.

Public free schools, mail routes, post offices, and newspapers, were far away luxuries of which the wondrous wise told around the cabin fireside. The astonished listeners wondered: How can these things be? But by faith in God, hope and love, man advanced in civilization.

In August 1806 members from Old Salem Church and Rev. Daniel Brown, their Pastor met at the home of Frederick Fulkerson (in 1955 this property was owned by John and Bennett Alvis), to observe the Lord's Supper. The Fulkersons were members of Old Salem Church. Their home became a branch church of Old Salem.

Records show meetings were frequently held at the Fulkersons home until 1810. Tradition tells us a small group of devout men and women went to gather in the grove on the rocks near old Fulkerson Spring, some four hundred yards from where we worship today, here the church was organized.

Services continued and in the year of 1812 we find from Spenser's "History of Kentucky Baptists," that Union Church joined the Little River Association of United Baptists in that same year. Perhaps here is the reason it was called Union Church (United Baptists) or Missionary Baptist.

In 1823 Union entertained the Little River Association. May 1826 Union Church petitioned Old Salem for Brother and Sister Swan to be their Deacon and Deaconess. In answer Salem said, "We think the request reasonable and leave it entirely with Brother and Sister Swan."

The exact date of the first Church building isn't known, but it was located in the lower section of the present Cemetery and remained there until 1839.

Salem Church and Union were closely allied from 1805 to 1835. Our first Pastor was probably William Buckley, as his name appears in the Old Church minutes. In 1836 Rev. Willis Champion appears as our next Pastor.

In 1837 our second Church building was completed, a hewn-log building, gabled, floored, and sealed with whipsawed lumber. It was located in the cemetery near the first building. The old building was torn down two years later.

James W. Mansfield served as Pastor from 1837 to 1841. In December 1841 a committee of Union Church met at Mt. Pleasant, near Berry's Ferry and received 14 members into our Church. The following year in April these and others were given letters of dismissal to organize a Church of their own.

In 1842 Rev. Joel E. Grace was the Pastor, there were 87 white people and 35 Negro slaves members of Union Church. The following are the Union Pastors from 1844 to 1866: Rev. Collin Hodge; Joel E. Grace; Willis Champion and Isaac McMurry.

In 1860 it was learned that Union Church didn't have a clear title to the Church property. Lewis Fulkerson, L. L. Ashby, Bard, Franklin and Riese made the necessary property transfers.

Isaac McMurry served as Pastor from 1866 to 1872.

The third Church building was completed in 1872. Built of brick and wood, 50 feet long, 38 feet wide and 14 feet between flour and ceiling. The brick were made near the church on the Fulkerson property. (This building was used until 1965. At that time, the present modern building was erected with a baptistery, education department, and fully equipped dining hall.)

In 1872, the same year the third building was completed, Rev. Collin Hodge accepted the pastoral care of the church and continued until February 1881. It was then the church reluctantly accepts his resignation due to failing health.

In 1883 Rev. T. C. Carter was ordained and accepted the pastoral care of the church until 1891 when Rev. E. B. Blackburn accepted the care of the church and continued four years.

In 1892 our church bell was erected in the top of a large black oak tree standing in the church yard. In later years the bell was removed from the tree and mounted on wood posts and is still remaining in excellent condition.

During the years of 1894 and 1896, Rev. G. S. Summers and Rev. R. A. LaRue were ordained in our church. Union pastors from 1896 through 1910 were: Rev. J. S. Henry, T. A. Conway, W. R. Gibbs and T. C. Carter.

Union Church Centennial Celebration was May 29, 1910. A brief history was prepared by Rev. R. A. LaRue for the celebration, and it was published in The Crittenden Press.

Our church laws in those days were very strict; people were excluded for swearing, dancing, fighting, non-attendance without cause, for attending services of other denominations when they should have been attending services at their own church.

At one time two members were questioned by a committee representing the church about their dancing. The lady admitted she had done wrong and was very sorry and asked the church to forgive her and she would never dance again.

She was forgiven and restored in full fellowship of the church. The man when questioned replied that he saw no harm in dancing and if he was ever at another dance he would dance again. He was excluded from the church roll.

The pastors of Union from 1910 to 1955 were: Rev. W. R. Gibbs; T. C. Carter, Herman, Y. E. Holland, Rev. Anderson, Barnes Maryman, M. M. Pollard, Rev. McGee and R. F. Thurman.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Marion High School Band Formed - 1939

April 21, 1939 – Marion High School, is after these many years, to have a High School band. At least, sounds coming from the vicinity of the new Manual Arts building on the high school campus indicate that there are some instruments of brass and some thoroughly good lungs in the community and we are taking it for granted that the ultimate aim is a band. The band is being organized by Mr. Ardwll Holmes.

May 26, 1939
Marion School Band - 36 Piece Group Under Direction of Ardell Holmes, will play concerts and make other appearances during the summer months according to announcement yesterday by Holmes.

The band is composed of 36 pieces, all members being pupils of the Marion schools. Their first appearance was Achievement Night and at that time the appearance was well received.

Members and instruments are: Clarinets: Edwin Adams, Louise Shelby, George Patmor, Eddie Bruce Nunn, Thomas Carter, Margaret Carnahan, Martha Stout, Betty McConnell, Geraldine Taylor and Margaret Helen Turner. Flutes: Marilyn Loyd and Linda Lamb. Saxophones: Jane Newcom, Christine Williamson, Harry Hale, Virginia Roe Williams, and Iris Ann Travis. Drums: Laverne Taylor, John Daughtrey, and Jesse Wayne Alvis. Cornets: Betty B. Wiggins, John T. Yates, Doyle Walker, H. C. Enoch, Jr., Buddy Loyd, Willard Moore, Bobby Swisher, and Gelima Paris. Mellophones: Jim Earl Dollins, James Wm. Mayes, and Joseph Young. Trombones: Donald Thompson, L.E. Dunning and Ralph Shelby. Baritone: Mary Helen Franklin. Bass: Dennis Clark.

The Marion School Band in their new Royal Blue and White uniforms with the jaunty over - sea's style cap.

A drive has been launched by a group of civic minded business and professional men for the purpose of purchasing caps and capes for the Marion School Band. The money is to be raised by popular donations and contributions and Neil G. Guess, cashier at Framers Bank and Trust co. has been named trustee of the fund.

Ardell Homes, director, estimates that the cost will be about $10.00 per member and there are 36 members in the organization, thus the total to be raised is set tentatively, at $360.00. No profit is to be made or derived by any individual, all funds will be used exclusively for the purpose of buying the uniforms and when purchased a competent person will be placed in charge of the uniforms when not is use.

July 28, 1939. Marion School Band to appear at Court Square Saturday afternoon. The appearance is a first of of a series planned by band director Holmes. The band has been organized for five months. During that period intensive training has been undergone. Concerts are planed on primary election day and one to be held at Fohs Hall.

Nov. 10, 1939 – Band Uniforms Are Assured For Thanksgiving.
Marion School Band will have uniforms for the annual Thanksgiving grid game against Princeton according to announcement by Ardell Holmes, director.

The uniforms will be of royal blue whipcord capes lined with white satin and the skirts or trousers of white. Members are to furnish skirts or trousers but Holmes made the restriction that these must be of white material. Details of caps had not been worked out when the uniforms were ordered late Tuesday afternoon.

The funds were aided by public donation and climaxes a drive that has been in evidence since early summer. Holmes is holding weekly practice sessions for the Tiger battle and in addition is working on drill formations. The band will make its first appearance in uniforms and also of formations Nov. 30th, the date set by officials for the Marion -Princeton battle. Holmes refused to divulge the formations he has planned but said “they will be surprising.” Drum major Charles Taylor will be flanked by majorettes Louise Franklin and Louise Shelby with “Baby Lou” Williamson as mascot.

The day of the big game finally arrived. The Marion School Band would make its first public appearance in new uniforms, which include a jaunty oversea style cap. The band will enter the field preceding the team, playing a football march. At the half, Band director Holmes, said the band will form a P in front of the Princeton stands and later an M for Marion, concluding the performance with a bell formation in mid-field and from this the Bells of St. Mary's will be played.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Remembering The Men who Lost Their Lives Mining Fluorspar

In the 1930’s and 40’s, Mr. Hollis C. Franklin, a noted Crittenden County businessman and community leader, and also a talented writer, wrote a weekly column in the Crittenden Press titled Two Eyes, Two Ears and A Typewriter. 

After learning of the death of a young man, Eugene Williamson, while working in the fluorspar mine in our county, Mr. Franklin wrote his column about this tragedy. From the archives of The Crittenden Press came the following story.

June 6, 1939. Eugene Williamson, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Williamson of Farmersville and brother of T. W. Williamson, popular superintendent of the Keystone Mines, was instantly killed about one o’clock Saturday morning, June 10, while working underground in the mine which has for the past several years been under his brother’s superintendency, and which up until this time had never had a serious accident of any kind.

Young Williamson and his buddy had been working side by side during the shift. A few minutes before the accident his buddy had gone out to get some timbers. When his buddy returned with the timber few minutes later he found the lifeless body of his friend, near the spot where he had left him only a few minutes before. It is though young Williamson had picked into a loaded dynamite hole. Those who know anything about fluorspar mining know what happens on such occasions. That one act invariably spells “tragedy” where fluorspar is mined.
Funeral services were at White Sulphur Baptist Church near Crider, where he had held church membership. 

This is Mr. Franklin’s column.
Last Friday night, a little after midnight, while most of us were in our beds sound asleep, a fine young man lost his life instantly and accidentally while working underground in one of the county’s best equipped mines. This mine, as well as most of the other fluorspar mines in this section, has always used every safety precaution. It has, too, almost constantly drilled its workmen in safety practices. Even then fluorspar mining is hazardous. It is in many ways a dangerous occupation. Life was sweet to this young man who in a little more than a month would have been twenty-five. Life was sweet to him as it is to other normal, friendly and ambitious young people. He, like most of us looked forward with pleasure to what he intended to do tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.

He was fully cognizant of the fact that his task was hazardous but man that he was, he had no hesitancy in undertaking and doing a man’s work in connection with that job. He was anxious to do his job well as other men in the same work or in other fields of endeavor are anxious to do their jobs well.

I wonder if you and I have ever stopped to think of the part which the man who works in the fluorspar mines plays in our daily life. I wonder if we have ever stopped to consider the obligation which society owes to him for the things which make for better living for us all?

Those who know tell us that spar is absolutely essential to the manufacture of more than 80 per cent of the steel used in the world today. Fluorspar is essential in the manufacture of the metal with which our homes are covered, of the nails which enable us to fashion our homes as we want them, of the cars in which we ride, of the wire with which we fence our fields of the rails on which all the trains run, of the instruments which the doctor uses in his laboratories and in his offices, of the boats which run the rivers and of the ships which sail the seas.

 In a thousand ways, fluorspar as it is mined in Crittenden County, serves in its own district way to make life more comfortable, more pleasant and happier for us all. Nothing else has ever been found that could take its place.

The men who work in fluorspar mines make from day to day a notable and noble contribution to better living for us all.
Note: I have compiled a list from obituaries and death certificates that total 31 men that lost their lives in mining accidents in Crittenden County from 1900-1948.  This doesn't include the Salem area mines, and I'm sure I've not been able to find all that had died in fluorspar mining accidents in Crittenden.  

This is a rare photo of a group of underground miners in the Big 4 Mine located near Sheridan.  They were sitting on a vein of purple and white spar.  Left to right: Orville Croft, Dewey Corn, Fred Cooper, Claude Cooper, and Taylor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tidbits about James Ford - Innocent or Guilty?

James Ford, was he really the man behind the terrible reputation that has followed him down through the ages?  or was he just used as the cover up for the murderous gang that terrorized the Cave-in-Rock and Fords Ferry area of our county?  Was he as bad as this reputation has built about him.?  After reading dozens of articles and stories about him, it leaves a question mark in my mind as who he really was.

Here is some more information about James and the Ford Gang.

James Ford and the Ford's Ferry Gang

James Ford was the chief villain in this western country in the years between the Revolution and the Civil War. Evidence suggests that many killed by Ford's confederates had booked passage on a ferry he operated on the Ohio between Kentucky and Illinois from 1823 to 1833.

Supposedly, the Kentuckian amassed a small fortune from the gold and valuables his brigands stole from settlers they murdered. Ford's hand in such nefarious activity was, however, kept well hidden. To lend respectability to his activities, Ford even served as a Livingston County magistrate and sheriff for a time (Crittenden County was formed from Livingston in 1842).

While posing as a gentleman farmer, he owned a large plantation near Tolu, KY and ferryman, Ford evidently masterminded a theft ring that was rooted at his ferry landing but had branches in the rugged country around Cave-in-Rock on the Illinois shore.

In pioneer days, that cavern, now an Illinois state park, was a haven for river pirates and other such lawless folk.

"Big Jim" Ford was shot to death on July 5, 1833, and lines buried on his family farm, just off Ky. 135, west of Tolu.  (There is another post on this blog site about the Ford Cemetery)

Ford, according to the most frequently recounted version of his demise, had bought a slave from Vincent Simpson, a member of his gang. The slave, whom Ford had been told was healthy, died in two days.

That angered Ford who sent Henry Shouse, another of his lieutenants, to kill Simpson and Shouse succeeded. But a group of men formed a posse bent on avenging Simpson's death with Ford's life. They rode to Ford's plantation at Tolu on July 5 and took him into custody. Their destination was Ford's ferry house, a double-pen log cabin that sat beside the Ohio River landing, some seven miles upstream.

During the night, Ford, was seated in the "dogtrot" or breezeway of the ferryhouse. While sitting there a slave was sent to ask Ford to eat supper with the other men, but Ford knew his escape was impossible. "No," he replied to the slave, "I guess I'll eat my supper in hell tonight." Later that night he was shot by a man concealed in underbrush close by.

A second version of his death, claims Ford was shot in the back by Simpson's son. The youth was hidden inside a cabin room of which one wall was behind Ford's chair. The chair had been placed in front of a hole in the wall. The muzzle of a shotgun was slipped through the opening and Simpson's son was given the honor of pulling the trigger. The blast stuck Ford in the back at point-blank range, killing him instantly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

History of Bennett-Jackson County School

In February of the year 1917, our county schools were winding up their school year. This was an important day for the students, parents, and the community, as it was a day of gathering together and having an enjoyable day with friends and family. This article shares some information about Jackson School's end of year activities.

Many of the rural schools were named after the owner of the land that the building was located.

Some of our early one-room schools are more difficult to find information on than others. One of these schools was Jackson School, which was located near the entrance of Pond Road, which is off the Jackson School Road. 

Jackson School Road is located a short distance from the community of Mexico.

Mrs. Virginia "Tatty" Garnett Higgins recently shared some history of this area with me. She said the road known today as Pond Road used to continue on and come out on S.R. 902 close to Livingston Creek. This first old school was located approximated halfway between this area.
When this school first came into existence it was called Bennett School, as the land was deeded to the district by W. B. and Susan Bennett in March of 1878, but was listed as the Jackson School District, as C. M. Jackson was also listed on the deed, and his children attended school there. 

At the time the school district consisted of parts of Crittenden, Caldwell and Lyon Counties and the deed was made in consideration of the advantages arising of having a school in or near the farm of the late J. F. Bennett, it consisted of three fourths of an acre lying between Dycusburg and Fredonia Road and C. M. Jackson Lane and West of where said Jackson's Lane intersects of said Road.

In some interesting old school information dated June 30, 1891 taken from the Teacher's Register and Report book shows that the Bennett school had a total enrollment of 46 students, 23 males and 23 females. The teacher was S.J. Koon.

The schoolhouse was a frame building, built in 1876. Condition was common, the value about $100.00. The dimensions were 30 feet long, 20 feet wide and 10 feet high. It had 1 door and 10 windows. Seating capacity was 60. It had no maps but did have blackboards, and it wasn't properly ventilated or properly heated. Also had no proper outbuildings. 

Sometime after this period of time the school was just known as Jackson School.

The Jackson school closed in the mid 1950's along with other small schools that were being consolidated.  The students at Jackson were sent to the Frances school.

Monday, August 3, 2020

A Look Back At The Community Of Bells Mines

The once busy coal-mining tow of Bells Mines has many memories for many people.  It is rich in history of earlier and harsh times in our county.

In 1842 John Bell, a politician from Nashville, Tennessee, purchased thirty-one acres of land from John Lamb and John Rourk. This land was located in Crittenden County next to the Tradewater River.

This was the starting of the coal-mining town called Bell Mines. By the late 1840's and early 1850's European immigrants had learned about the mines and came there for employment. In the 1850 Crittenden census it lists people with names of Hina and Green from Germany, Mangin and Piper from France, Church and Wheatcroft from England, just to name a few.

The boarding house had miners with home places listed as Bavaria, Prussia, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, along with names from New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois.

An October 1922 article in The Crittenden Press states, A few months ago, the Bell Coal and Navigation Company purchased 5000 acres of land in the vicinity of the old Bells Mines, located in the northeastern part of Crittenden County.

This is one of the oldest mining cities in the county, the mines being founded and first operated by John Bell the Tennessee statesman and politician, about a century ago.

For about seventy years prior to the purchase by the Bell Coal and Navigation Company, all mining operations thee have been suspended.

The company is not operating one shaft, but has in contemplation, the sinking of three or four other shafts. The coal produced has the reputation of being of the best quality and is unexcelled by the product of any other mine in the state. The coal is being hauled by wagons to Sturgis and put on the market, but a branch railroad is being constructed from the mines to Sturgis to facilitate the marketing of the coal.

The company is also building a power plant of 500-housepower to furnish electricity to run the machinery and for lighting purposes. A washer is being constructed to wash the output of the mines and nothing but clean coal will be sent out. A grinder will also be put in and the company will furnish coke for the market. A number of residences have been built and others are under construction.

A handsome clubhouse of thirteen rooms, supplied with bathtubs, toilet, washbowls and all modern conveniences is under construction. The building will be heated by a large furnace in the basement. Mr. William Herbert, a Welshman, by birth, is general Superintendent."

A rare picture of the old  Bells Mines train track that ran through the mining town to the Tradewater River.

This once coal-mining and farming community of Bells Mines is mostly remembered by descendants of families that lived there.  I've never been able to locate any old photos of the area or community.   Without the old articles found the archives of The Crittenden Press, we wouldn't know as much history as we do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Grand Jury - July 2, 1896

Always interesting to read about the people and events that happened in our county years ago.  Let's meet the Grand Jury of July 1896.

Crittenden Press, July 1896.
The Grand Jury
During a lull in business, Thursday, while the grand jury was engaged in discussing a basket of fine peaches, with wide open doors, the Press scribe was invited in. He timidly accepted the invitation and soon found that he was with as jolly a set of folks as one usually meets, and no where did he find any racks, screws or tweezers to be used in pulling facts from witnesses, no instruments of torture were seen. 

 The pleasant faces of a dozen of the best citizens of the county indicated no woe for the boys, who insist on going fishing about court time. There were:
  • W. J. Hodges, a big 49-year-old Republican, and a Cumberland Presbyterian.
  • William A. Woodall aged 41 years, and a Republican for 41 years, and a Baptist for more than a score.
  • David Wyatt Brookshire, who stands charged with 56 years of time, a Republican and Baptist.
  • David W. Deboe with a luxurious hirsute growth on his chin, but with a dearth of a similar production on the top of his head. He pulls the beam of time at 54, and is a Cumberland Presbyterian.
  • William Fowler, who has been knocking around this county for 57 years; he is a Democrat, and according to his statement, "goes to all the churches."
  • John A. Yandell, whose venerable looks show plainly that he has reached three score and ten and three. He is a Republican, and don't belong to any church.
  • J. Frank Conger, the liveliest one of the whole lot, who was reading the Press, smiled as he said: "I am only 33, a Baptist, a Republican and the best looking one of the whole lot" he meant of the grand jurors.
  • William A. Adams, hale and hearty at 67, a Democrat of the old school, and a Cumberland Presbyterian.
  • H. C. Givens, who had just reached the middle point of the time allotted to man – 35 years. He is a Republican when he votes, but has voted only three times, he is a Cumberland Presbyterian.
  • George W. Parish, sturdy looking as a forest oak, is just turning the 52nd year; he is a Democrat and a Baptist.
  • R. E. Pickens, the only merchant on the panel, handsome and suave as a man of twenty-five, yet on the books he is charged up with 51 years. He is a Democrat and a Presbyterian.
  • Robert W. Wood, with a big plain honest Methodist, Democratic face, has passed by the 50th yearly milestone, but is yet as mild, unassuming and pleasant as a fresh modest youth.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Crittenden County Folks Off To Kansas

This article is about some Crittenden County families that moved to Kansas and made their homes there.

Kansas Bound

In the late 1800's and early 1900's many settlers from Crittenden County felt the need to move on to new territory. With the promise of great land opportunities in the west in such states as Washington, Oklahoma and Kansas, many of our families packed their belonging boarded the train and headed for new territory.

This article is about the history of that time and some of the families that chose Kansas as their new home. Many stayed and built a new life, but some got homesick for their ole' Kentucky home and returned to finish their life in Crittenden County.

Agents for Kansas sent ads to many papers. In our Crittenden Press in 1902 the ad says KANSAS, Great Land of Opportunities. There is for sale a large acreage of choice wheat, corn and alfalfa farms, in tracts of 160 to 800 acres, ranging in price from $10 to $50 per acre. The wheat grown on these lands this year will make from 20 to 40 bushels per acre.

Soon families were leaving Crittenden County to see about these land opportunities. As early as 1884 families from this area were loading up their belongings, catching the north bound train and heading for the state of Kansas. Some of these early families were: John and Lamira Jane Fralick, and their son, Dave Fralick; Albert and Emily Hillyard; William and Mary Crider and four small sons; Frank and Alice Crider and son; and John and Mary Jacobs.

In March 1904 another company of fourteen persons, citizens from the same neighborhood, boarded an I. C. north-bound train for Kansas, where they aim to make their future homes.
The company consisted of Sam Woodall, Albert Cliff, wife and daughter, Albert Dunn, Thomas Carter, wife and daughter, James Carter, Will Murray and wife, James McCormick, Sherman Woodall and Luther Murray.

Also during this time period, groups of men would travel to Kansas to work in the wheat fields. A. C. Babb and Alonzo Duvall had a threshing crew that traveled to Hoxie Kansas. When the harvesting season was over they would return back to Crittenden County.

October of 1904, Dr. John Reynolds from Webster County visits Kansas and he shared with The Crittenden Record the Kentucky Settlement, where our people are showing their mettle.
We are home again after making a tour through the state of Kansas, and with the hope many good people who read The Crittenden Record may, with a certain degree of satisfaction, peruse these items, we shall endeavor to write something concerning the "Kentucky Settlement" in the counties of Phillips and Sheridan.

The Kentucky Settlement is in the northeastern part of Phillips County and is composed of ex-Kentuckians who were former citizens of Crittenden and Caldwell Counties in Kentucky.
The Kentuckians are too numerous to remember all the names but the most familiar are the following: Alexander, Blackburn, Brantley, Bugg, Cannon, Crider, Farmer, Fralick, Hillyard, Jacobs, McCain, McDowell, Morse, Paris and Wilson.

Among the many farmers of Phillips County, who have made it pay by attending strictly to business, are the following F. B. Cannon, J. B. Moss, Albert A. Hillyard, John Jacobs and various others. The worth of these distinguished former Kentuckians but now Kansans is estimated from ten to fifty thousand dollars.

When we made our advent into Sheridan County, we were met at Selden by W. D. (Bud) Brantley and Sherman Woodall, two former Kentuckians whose courtesy, sociability and hospitality are unsurpassed.

They soon equipped a conveyance, Brantley furnishing two horses and Woodall a surrey, we spent two days driving over the level country and seeing the farmers, towns, jack rabbits, ground-squirrels, and prairie chickens.

While making this drive we saw the families of two or more former Kentuckians, T. H. Carter and J. A. Hillyard. We spent one night with Mr. Hillyard. We also heard of other Crittenden Countians who reside in Sheridan County, whose names are; Allen, Asbridge, Beckner, Clift, Morse, Towery and Wilson.

The time spent in Sheridan County was brief, as well as pleasant, and I thank Mr. Brantley and Woodall for a pleasant time.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Crittenden County's First Peach Pie

Robert F. Wheeler, at age 100, on his Ford tractor.

Robert F. Wheeler, during his lifetime in Crittenden County, wrote many historical and family history stories.  Here is one of his family stories about Crittenden's first peach pie.

I think, but an not sure, that the pie was made by the folks of Moses Shelby, brother of Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky.

Moses Shelby and John Wheeler, my grandfather, had served together in the Revolutionary War.

In after years they migrated to Kentucky and settled near each other in what is now Crittenden County.

As customary, they planted fruit trees the first year, so that the wait for fruit might not be long delayed in their new homeland.

One of their peach tress, thriving best, bore a few peaches before the others.  There seemed to be enough if all could be saved to make a pie.

The peaches were closely watched.  No one, black or white, was allowed to touch them.

In late summer, when they were good and ripe, the peaches were gathered and a pie made on Saturday evening.  

At last the lid was taken off the dutch oven in which the cobbler had been baked. 

The young folks all gathered around to view the tempting pie, something they had not seen since leaving their North Carolina homes several years before.  To say they were ready to start on the pie might be deemed an understatement.

But it was suggested, and agreed to, that a hot cobbler was not so good as a cold one.  They decided to set it away to cool overnight so that the Sabbath could be celebrated by eating it the next morning.

Accordingly, the dutch oven was set in the cabin window to cool out through the night.  

During the night, one of the Wheeler's old cows, rummaging about about the yard, smelled the tantalizing aroma, found the fresh fruit peach pie - and ate it.

Needless to say, come Sunday morning, the family was very disappointed, and some angry thoughts were made at the cow.