Letters To The Editor

Just Saying Hello!

Dear Editor:

Thanks for helping me find some of my friends. I have had calls and many letters from friends who attended school with me many years ago.

My dad, L. P. Hall, was a Church of Christ preacher. He lived and worked all over Kentucky.

It is like going home when I read The Kentucky Explorer.

I would like to say hello to all my family in Kentucky.

Martha Williamson
17 State Route 10
Ranger, WV 25557

Finding Old Classmates

Dear Editor:

I have been receiving your magazine for over a year, and I especially enjoy reading about reunions of old classmates.

This brings me to the purpose of my letter. I, also, am interested in getting in touch with my classmates and friends.

My name is Wendy Ophelia Lawson Hammons. I attended grade schools at Happy, Defiance, and Vicco, during the years 1954-1961. I also attended Dilce Combs High School from the eighth grade on and graduated from there in 1966.

I would love to hear from anyone who might have gone to school with me. Any response to this will be appreciated.

Wendy O. L. Hammons
139 1/2 Paulanna Avenue
Austin, IN 47102

WWII Records Lost

Dear Editor:

I am trying to get some information about when I was in WWII. I would like to find out what happened to my old outfit. The Veterans Administration said that my military records were destroyed, and I can't find out anything.

I was a replacement for the 75th Infantry Division. In my travels on a troop trains while being sent to the front line, the Germans blew up the engine and killed 17 sailors.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who may have served with me. I am now 81 years old.

James T. Perryman
3410 State Route 120
Marion, KY 42064

More About USS Magoffin

Dear Editor:

On page 37 of the February 2001 issue, I found a story that brought back many memories to me.

The USS Magoffin (APA-199) was in one of the San Diego-based amphibious squadrons (I think, Phibron 3) when I served on her sister ship, the USS Navarro (APA-215), with Phibron 7 based in Long Beach.

Later, I was assigned to Landing Ship Squadron 4 (Lanshipron 3) in San Diego and saw Magoffin frequently.

As for armament, as with most ships in the post-war period, it changed. Gone were the 20mm guns, and most lost the five-inch, .38 caliber off the fantail. Their peacetime armament consisted of the quad and twin 40mm mounts. Of course, the real "main battery" of an attack transport is her boats, in any case.

Magoffin and Navarro were part of what was called the Haskell Class. They were converted from Victory ship hulls and carried the Maritime Commission designation of VC2-S-AP5.

All are gone from active duty, and I am not sure if there are even any left in the Marad Fleets on the East and West coasts. If there are any, they will never see active service again. It would be nice if one was selected to become a memorial to all the sailors, soldiers, and Marines who rode them and assaulted the beaches.

Of additional interest, a sister ship, USS Sanborn (APA-193), played the part of the attack transport Belinda in the movie Away All Boats.

As far as I know, the only attack transports in service, and they may have been withdrawn by now, are the ex-Francis Marion and the ex-Paul Revere, which were serving with the Spanish Navy. They were bigger than the Magoffin, as they were built from Mariner Class merchant hulls, ca. 1950.

It would be of interest to historians if people who have served on ships named for counties, cities, or historic sites in Kentucky would write of their experiences.

Robert B. Pyle
P. O. Box 55206
Tulsa, OK 74155

Oil Paintings A Mystery

Dear Editor:

I would like to have help in finding information on some oil paintings that I came across in Fleming County, Kentucky. They are beautiful paintings of trees and water. It is like a walk through the woods. On the back of one of the paintings is the information, "Painted in Brown County by Ann Varner in the year 1971."

Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

Kathy Hamm
P. O. Box 1852
Olive Hill, KY 41164

More About Old-Time Mail Carrier

Dear Editor:

I was so delighted to see my grandfather's picture on the back cover of the February 2001 issue of The Kentucky Explorer. However, there was a mistake on his date of birth and date of death. He was born April 5, 1885, and he was killed in a house fire on January 2, 1969.

My grandfather was a wonderful man. He belonged to the Old Regular Baptist Church at Stone Coal for 55 years. His memories live on with us, and we miss him dearly.

My family is so pleased to get The Kentucky Explorer. It is a wonderful magazine. We enjoy it very much.

Nancy C. Gibson
P. O. Box 92
Willard, OH 44890

Thanks For Rev. Stott Tribute

Dear Editor:

We, the family of John Stott, wish to thank you for publishing the article of his early ministry in Leslie County. I know he would have been very happy to have received letters from any of his friends from that time of his life. The last several months of his life were unbearably hard.

I really appreciate The Kentucky Explorer, and I have passed it on to friends, who are passing it on to their friends.

Christine S. Hart
101 Edison Lane
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

The Devil's Den

Dear Editor:

In the early 1950s I used to play in the hills above Fullerton, Kentucky. The part that was once called "Devil's Den" is gone now. Route 23 took it when they built the new road.

My grandfather, Stanton Dowdy (preacher and pottery peddler), lived there in Greenup County on Route 23. We used to hike to a place that overlooked the Ohio River to Portsmouth, Ohio, and we could see up the Scioto River for miles toward Lucasville, Ohio. It was called "Devil's Den." We were always afraid to go down in it, because we heard there were snakes and a bottomless pit inside. There were carvings, initials, and old dates everywhere on the rocks and cliffs.

I also remember a radio tower close by that overlooked both rivers. We used it as a landmark.

A couple of childhood friends that I remember were David Arthur and Don Dunaway. We took a flashlight one time, but we broke it before we got there, so I never got to see what it looked like inside.

If anyone knows the history of this place or has photos, please contact me.

Lowell Keaton
HC 75 Box 6185
Wellington, KY 40387
e-mail: [email protected]

76 And Counting

Dear Editor:

My parents, Betty and Tinsley Fugate, celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary, November 27, 2000. They reaffirmed their wedding vows on their 75th anniversary at Typo Church of God in Perry County. The ceremony was conducted by Rev. Gene Huff of London, Kentucky.

Tinsley, the son of Elhannon Fugate, was born in Perry County on January 5, 1905. Betty Huff Fugate, the daughter of Irvin Huff, was born in Leslie County on October 20, 1909. The Fugate's have three sons, one daughter, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

Denver Fugate
228 Terrace Drive
Radcliff, KY 40160

Rev. Harvey Murdoch

Dear Editor:

Rev. Harvey S. Murdoch left a secure position as assistant pastor of a Brooklyn church in 1902 to found Witherspoon High School (my Camelot) at Buckhorn, Kentucky.

At the time, Buckhorn was an isolated mountain community on the Middle Fork of the great Kentucky River. Freight and supplies reached Buckhorn via oxen and mule trains or flatboats. The nearest railhead was Jackson, some 40 miles distant by horseback.

I graduated from Witherspoon High in 1934, as its class president. I have written a book entitled Lesverse, which contains a poem about my "Camelot at Buckhorn."

Only two of "Camelot's" original on-campus structures still stand: the gymnasium and the log cathedral.

Lester Hugg
2191 S. W. 30th Terrace
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Editor's Note: At this time, we are not printing poems.

Looking For Army Buddies Of William J. Gaddie

Dear Editor:

I have received your magazine for several years, and I have always been pleased with it.

I was the executor for my uncle's (William J. Gaddie) estate, who lived in Jefferson County. I would like to find someone who served with him in WWII, in the 456th M. P. E. G. I have over 25 photos of scenes in Belgium and France with a number of fellow soldiers.

I would like to donate these photos to someone or someplace that would make some use of them.
Thank you for any assistance you can give me.

Harold Gaddie
9605 Old Six Mile Lane
Jeffersontown, KY 40299
e-mail: [email protected]

In Memory Of Marie

Dear Editor:

Just a note to let you know that Marie Gearheart Richey (1919-2001), born at Flatwoods, Kentucky, probably one of your first subscribers, recently passed away in Zionsville, Indiana. She is the one who gave me a copy of the magazine, and now I am a longtime subscriber.

She had a great desire about genealogy. She worked very hard doing research. She will be missed.

Mary Gearheart Henry
500 S. Columbia Street
Frankfort, IN 46041

Successful Reunion

Dear Editor:

The 2000 Annual Dillion Asher Reunion was held October 6th and 7th. Relatives from more than 20 states attended a dinner, followed by a delightful "social time" on Friday evening at the Pine Mountain State Resort Park.

George Matt Asher of Morristown, Tennessee, founder of the reunion in 1980, received a "Certificate of Appreciation" for beginning the 20-year event, followed by a standing ovation.

Monte Hendrickson of Seattle, Washington, 92 years "young," a dedicated genealogist for the family and founder of the Hendrickson reunion, received the "Eldest Member Certificate."

An all-day picnic on Saturday at the Cardinal Inn at Red Bird, near the original Dillion Asher homestead, was a wonderful time of fellowship and fun.

A most enjoyable time was had by all in a "sing-along" with Harry Leon Smith performing a beautiful rendition of music. Harry Leon is the husband of Gwendolyn Asher, daughter of the late Edgar Asher and Clara Bowen Asher.

A genealogy exchange was held after the picnic. Numerous genealogical books were available during the entire reunion.

Elected officers for 2001 were Steve Bingham, Hazard, Kentucky, president; Bob Asher, Hyden, Kentucky, vice-president; and Janene Carole Simpson, Pineville, Kentucky, secretary/treasurer.

The Hendrickson Reunion was held Sunday, October 8, 2000, in the Conference Center at the Pine Mountain State Resort Park.

The date for the 2001 Dillion Asher Reunion will be October 5th and 6th, and October 7th for the Hendrickson Reunion.

Janene Carole Simpson
P. O. Box 1352
Pineville, KY 40977
e-mail: [email protected]

Loves Kentucky

Dear Editor:

I am not a resident of Kentucky, but I have been married to a wonderful woman for 45 years, who was born and reared in Eastern Kentucky in the hills of Knott County. I was born and reared in foothills of the Ozark Mountains on the Oklahoma and Arkansas border.

I love the mountains and the people of Kentucky. They remind me of people back home. Kentuckians are the most friendly people I have ever met. I enjoy going down for my wife's family reunions.

A friend of mine gave me one of your magazines. It is a very enjoyable and wonderful magazine with a lot of good reading.

Keep up the good work.

Edmond Taylor
P. O. Box 121
McGuffey, OH 45859

Finding Relatives

Dear Editor:

In 1997 I wrote to you telling you that I had read several copies of your magazines. I also told you that one of my great-aunts, Sarah Hawkins, had remarried John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee. I had asked if there might be any Hawkins descendants out there.

Soon after my letter appeared, I received a letter from a gentleman living in Indiana, who was a descendant of John Sevier.

One of my great-grandfathers and his brother was instrumental in building the Old Mud Meeting place at Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Keep up the good work.

F. Eugene Hawkins
1404 N. Mantorville Avenue
Kasson, MN 55944

150th Birthday

Dear Editor:

The Liberty United Methodist Church, in Lynn, Greenup County, Kentucky, is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. We are anxious to reach as many of those who have been part of our history as is possible.

We would love to hear from former ministers and from those who have worshipped with us in the past, but who have moved out of our area and have lost touch with us.

Our church has a long history in this community, and we hope to share our joy with many people.

We are planning a two-day celebration at the church during the weekend of October 6-7, 2001. We hope to hear from those who have lost touch with us and renew old friendships.

We are actively seeking old photos of church activities and stories of favorite memories. If anyone can help, it would be appreciated.

Elizabeth Dupuy Mann
RR 1, Box 1195
Greenup, KY 41144
e-mail: [email protected]
Brenda Boggs Howland
RR 2, Box 409
South Shore, KY 41175
e-mail: [email protected]

Prohibition Era

Dear Editor:

I am working on an article about the Prohibition era, sparked by an old photo of my father and some other IRA agents and hangers-on standing in the yard of the Boyd County Courthouse in Catlettsburg, back in 1927. They are proudly displaying two big illicit copper stills that had just been brought in and chopped up.

My research, however, into the Prohibition era (long before, during, and after) turned into a far greater effort than I had anticipated. Those old Kentucky pioneers were either big drinkers of homemade corn liquor, or they fought it like homemade sin, especially the women. This eventually led to the only amendment to the U. S. Constitution that was ever subsequently repealed.

Ora Anderson
9010 Lavelle Road
Athens, OH 45701

New Reader

Dear Editor:

I am a new reader of The Kentucky Explorer. It is by far the favorite magazine in my house. I look forward to many more years of reading and sharing your great magazine.

I would like to know if any of your readers have heard of a book about the history of Carter County, Kentucky? I would be very grateful for the information.

I look forward to hearing about Northeastern Kentucky in your future magazines.

Thanks again for your great magazine.

Kendall Stephens
P. O. Box 473
Amanda, OH 43102

Kettle Island Mine Explosion

Dear Editor:

I am researching the March 20, 1930, gas explosion in the Pioneer Coal Company mine at Kettle Island, Bell County, Kentucky. This explosion caused the deaths of 16 coal miners, leaving 15 widows and some fatherless children. This mine operated at Kettle Island from 1912 until 1949.

The names of the 16 miners killed were as follows: Luther Hodge, John L. Cox, John R. Engle, John C. Mason Fultz, Jefferson E. Hill, M. C. Van, Elmer Steele, Raymond Simpson, Dave Sowders, Harve Allen, Jess Lasley, Aaron S. Helton, Ed Osborne, Lee A. Johnson, Samuel F. Profitt, and James L. Jones.

I am attempting to collect as much information as possible on the events surrounding this mine accident, and the families of those miners involved.

Anyone with knowledge of this accident, or any of the families involved, please contact me. Anything you can offer will be appreciated.

John F. Wilson
1750 Druid Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
e-mail: [email protected]

Collected Information

Dear Editor:

Over the past few years I have been collecting largely anecdotal information on my great-grandmother, Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin of Covington. My sources are her grandchildren and those few of her great-grandchildren who knew her or who recall tales from their elders; along with some written materials.

Nancy was born in 1852 in Boone County, Kentucky, and died in 1945. She was in a brief Civil War skirmish as a young girl; worked as a newspaper editor; toiled long and hard for women's suffrage; and served as an auxiliary in all wars fought on her watch from 1860 on.

For those of us who count ourselves her descendants, she is the lone beacon still shining from that long-ago generation. Such power of personality!

Charles E. Stevenson
P. O. Box 7152
Redlands, CA 92375

A Favorite Magazine

Dear Editor:

Since discovering The Kentucky Explorer a few years ago, it has become my favorite magazine. It appeals to my interests in many ways. I have always enjoyed history, and this magazine is pure history.

Reading biographies, in my opinion, is a creative learning tool. The stories in this magazine help us to see and experience history through the eyes of the individuals who have lived it. The writers who share family chronicles submit stories that are a pure joy to read.

If I were a teacher, I would use this magazine in my curriculum. It could be useful in a variety of ways.

If I lived closer, I would be willing to volunteer a portion of my time each month to help you with this magazine. That's how much I value your publication.

Thank you for your help.

Sherry A. Farmer
6373 N. State HWY 7
Grayson, KY 41143

Oscar Bowling's Sister

Dear Editor:

I am the sister of Oscar Bowling, who was killed in action at Loraine, France, in 1944. We were reared in Hazard, Kentucky. Our dad, Robert Bowling, was born in Clay County ca. 1906 and worked in the mines for 47 years. He died in 1990 at age 84. My mother, Sally Barger of Leslie County, was born in 1900 and died in 1956.

If anyone remembers my brother, please contact me. I would really appreciate any information about him, especially from his Army buddies or friends (see photo at left) he had.

Thanks for your help.

Alta Bowling Madden
2409 Wanda Way
Lexington, KY 40505

Filled With History

Dear Editor:

I thoroughly enjoy each issue of The Kentucky Explorer. My mother purchased me a subscription last summer. Each issue fills me with the history of our great state. It brings back fond memories of my youth.
Although I was born and reared in Columbus, Ohio, I spent many weekends and summers in Martin County, Kentucky. My father, Dennis Glenn Farley, was born and reared on Wolf Creek. My mother, Nadine Spence Farley, was born and reared near Tomahawk.

I would like to request stories about the history of Martin County, especially the areas where my parents were from. I really enjoyed the series on Daniel Boone. I would love to see stories about Jenny Wiley.
I've always loved Kentucky, and I am proud of my roots. I make my pilgrimage home at least once a year. My parents now live in Lawrence County, near Blaine.

Thank you for a wonderful magazine and the enjoyment it brings. I have passed the word to my fellow Kentuckians whom I've met in Texas.

Dennis Farley
2926 Emberwood Drive
Garland, TX 75043

Editor's Note: This is only about half of the letters appearing in the April 2001 issue of The Kentucky Explorer. For access to remaining letters, purchase your hard copy of our magazine at your local newsstand. Thanks!