Reader Queries

Each month, The Kentucky Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from our faithful readers. Among those letters we often find queries, ranging from requests for words to songs and poems to trying to locate former classmates and military buddies of long ago.


Here are a few queries from March 2006



Searching For School
In Knott County

Dear Editor:
I enjoy reading The Kentucky Explorer very much and look forward to each issue.
I was pleasantly surprised by the response to other letters I have written, so I thought I would solicit the help of readers again
My grandfather, John Lee Ashley, lived from 1894 to 1971 and most of his days were spent living in Knott County, Kentucky. I'm wondering if anyone might know where he went to school. According to the U. S. Census reports I have of his early years, the reports indicated he was able to read and write as a child.
Perhaps someone knows of a school that existed that long ago in Knott County where Grandpa might have attended. The earliest school I have come across in my research is the Hindman Settlement School, which opened around 1905. I contacted the school, and they were not able to find any records that far back.
Also, if anyone has an old photo of John Ashley at all, please let me know. He worked for both the Knott Coal Corporation and the Wisconsin Coal Corporation as a coal miner in Knott County. Perhaps someone has an old photo showing some of the workers at one of those mines. Or maybe someone has an old photo of John showing him when he was much younger.
John Ashley was married to Norma (Combs) Ashley, and they lived for a long time in Yellow Creek near the old school there.
Tim Ashley
2400 W. Clinton Street, Apt. 15
Goshen, IN 46526
timashley1@verizon.net
574/534-8381


Songs From Fire Down Below
Dear Editor:
I would like to know the title of the song that was featured in the movie Fire Down Below. The movie was partly filmed in Hazard in Perry County and Jackson in Breathitt County, Kentucky, several years ago.
I was born and reared in Pike County. I left for a few years but came back home.
I was one of 11 children. My parents were Bessie May Baker Anderson and Thomas Anderson of Ashcamp.
In July 2004 we started a family reunion. I have hundreds of cousins that I had not met, but now by letter and telephone we are getting acquainted.
Alvin Anderson was my grandfather's brother. Alvin and Easter Anderson were featured in the November 2005 issue of The Explorer.
About five or six years ago there was an article in The Explorer about my sister, Margaret Hall, who made tapes for the blind. If any reader has a copy of this magazine I would appreciate hearing from you.
Wanda Francisco
108 Swiney Road
Elkhorn City, KY 41522
606/754-4836


Info Request On
Attempted Robbery

Dear Editor:
I am searching for information on an attempted bank robbery in 1932 at Allen, Floyd County, Kentucky, where my great-grandfather, Walter Wallen, was injured by the would-be robbers. He later died from complications.
A Floyd County newspaper reported that after their attempt at the robbery of the Floyd County Bank at Allen, two would-be robbers fled to the neighboring hills. Leffie Hobson, 34 years old, formerly of Auxier was captured near Allen. He admitted participation in the robbery. His companion was still at large. Another man, whose name was given as Frank Sillman, was held in the county jail as a suspect after having been arrested on the Mayo Trail below Allen. At least three men were believed to have been connected with the robbery attempt, and an unnamed woman was sought as an accomplice.
Leaving Allen in a Wallys-Knight sedan, the would-be robbers fled in the direction of Prestonsburg. Rounding a curve near the home of D. B. May, a mile below Allen, the auto struck a horse ridden by Walter Wallen of Dwale, seriously injuring both horse and rider. Mr. Wallen was taken to Beaver Valley Hospital in Martin, where it was found that his leg was broken in several places. Walter died from complications with gangrene. His horse was so badly injured that it was necessary to destroy the animal.
The woman mentioned in the case was driving a coupe. She appeared at the scene of the wreck offering use of the car to take Wallen to the hospital and was later seen driving to and fro along the Mayo Trail. It is suspected that she was following the sedan in which the bandits fled, planning to have them switch cars and make a dash to escape capture.
The wrecked automobile bore license plate No. 455-082 issued in Johnson County to Estill Robinson of East Point. The license plate was reported by Mr. Robinson as stolen.
Any information would be appreciated.
Phyllis Hoyt
4236 Hickory Lane, #301
Sioux City, IA 51106