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 April 2006
Eastern Kentucky Quilters
I am a county extension agent in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. I have been granted a six-month sabbatical by the University of Kentucky to work on an oral history project to document the work and stories of Eastern Kentucky quilters. I was reared in Breathitt County in a family with a wonderful quilting history, so I am excited to spend some time on this project.
I would like to hear from anyone who knows a quilter who does excellent work. Of course, it is also good to know that the quilter would consent to an interview. I am especially looking for older quilters or those who have a story to tell.
I am also looking for information on two quilters from the 1930s. Each of these quilters were winners in the 1933 World's Fair quilt contest sponsored by Sears. Martha Steele's address was listed as: c/o R. L. Turner, Beattyville, Kentucky. (I have found some information on R. L. Turner in genealogy searches, regarding weddings.) The other quilter, Nora Griffith, has an address of South Fork, Kentucky (Breathitt County). It is my understanding that information on these two quilters has been lost as have the pictures of their quilt entries.
I would greatly appreciate any information that readers can share with me. Information from this project will also be available to anyone interested.
Hazel Bowling Jackson
P. O. Box 1484
Mount Vernon, KY 40456
Debates Are Lifeblood
Recently a good bit of my free time has been taken up by scanning copies of back issues of The Kentucky Explorer that I obtained through the magazine's "Letters" column from a lady here in Missouri. They included most issues back through April 1996, and now I'm hoping to obtain copies from there back to the first issue.
A number of items in these issues caught my eye, but one seemed worthy of writing this letter. Just as there continues the debate over whose bones now rest in Kentucky graves of the great Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca (theirs or those of slaves that some of my crafty fellow Missourians allowed Kentuckians to spirit away), I noticed in the July/August 1996 issue that the Kennedy plantation in Garrard County, Kentucky, was Mrs. Stowe's inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin. I mention this because, as I was reading these stories, an Associated Press release on January 16, 2006, announced that the state of Maryland had purchased a site in Bethesda, Maryland, that they claim was the basis for the book. I feel such debates are the lifeblood of history, as long as they remain cordial.
I'm still hoping to connect with others researching the pre-1850 Kentucky families that I descend from: Barclay, Briscoe, Cox, Doyle/Doyel, Dudley, Faulconer, Gearheart, Graves, Green, Haydon, Henton, Lillard, Morton, Rawlings, Rees/Reese, Spencer, and Van Meter.
My other favorite publication is The Tombstone Epitaph of Arizona's "town too tough to die" that I've visited a few times. In its most recent issue was a reprint of an 1899 "Food For Thought" item reading, "A Kentucky editor dashed this off: 'When you talk about there being a better state than Kentucky, every potato shows its eyes, every beet gets red in the face, every onion grows stronger, every wheat field is shocked and corn picks up its ears, and the rye strokes its beard and every foot of ground kicks.'"
L. Carey Bankhead
5101 Business 50 W, 14A
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Editor's Note: The first five volumes of The Kentucky Explorer, with index, are available on compact discs to be used with a computer. See page 2.