Letters To The Editor

Each month, The Kentucky Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from our faithful readers. Whenever possible, we try to publish as many of them as possible in the 12 pages we have set aside for "Letters to the Editor."


Here are actual letters from September 2007


Letcher County Man
Recalls Last Hanging
Dear Editor:
I would like to share an old newspaper article from Icie Miles Collier Woodard's scrapbook. Unfortunately, the date is not on the article, but it was published some time after 1938. Interestingly, the price of the newspaper was "Ten Cents Per Copy."
Icie was my grandmother who was born in 1903 and died in 1973.
The article reads as follows: "Lewis Cook, 88, remembers what he declares to be the last legal hanging in Letcher County, Kentucky.
"He should. He was the executioner. The last legal hanging in Kentucky was June 3, 1938. Cook, as sheriff of Letcher County, mounted the gallows one day back in 1909 to take his place beside Floyd Frazier, who had been convicted of the murder of Mrs. Ellen Flanery on nearby Pine Mountain. Two of those in the courtyard, Cook said, were former teachers of Frazier, and he dressed them down for having corrected him in his school days. Then, turning to Cook, he said, 'Man, don't you have a heart?' Cook replied, 'Son, I'm performing my sworn duty.' By 'duty' in those days, the sheriff personally was required to cut the rope. Cook was a good mountain fiddler in younger years, 'but not any more,' he says, 'too nervous.' He operated a mill at one time, and was a carpenter, helping in the building of many homes in the mountainous Eastern Kentucky district. He's retired now, and his main interest is young people. Married three times, he reared nine children and has many descendants. He says he doesn't know how many."
Billie Sue Graybeal
2327 Grant Avenue
St. Albans, WV 25177


Sheet Music Wanted
Dear Editor:
I would like to have sheet music to the songs I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand and Who At My Door Is Standing.
Thanks to anyone who might send these to me.
D. Garrett
P. O. Box 7291
Indian Lake Estate, FL 33855


Blue Eyes Fly Fishing Lure
Dear Editor:
I enjoy reading The Kentucky Explorer.
When I saw the house in the photo on page 37 in the June 2007 issue, I remembered the good times I had with my grandfather and grandmother. They taught me how to fish and hunt and live off the land.
I am 52 years old and live in South Carolina. Grandfather had some family in Kentucky around Lexington, with the last names of Smith and Bell. They sent him some fishing lures they called Blue Eyes Fly from Kentucky which were wooden flies about one inch long with legs, and he kept them in his tackle box. He also had some old guns.
He left me these items at his death. While we were laying him to rest, someone broke into his house and stole everything he had.
If any reader can share any information about the Blue Eyes Fly from Kentucky, please contact me.
Donald Bell
201 Stone Court
Summerville, SC 29483


Wants Words To Silly Poem
Dear Editor:
Following are a few lines from an old, silly poem I heard many years ago:
Me and my brother went a hunting, we did.
We tried it up a lappaw, papaw, sycamore, sourwood, and sapling.
Thirty feet above the top he banged away and missed and down it came.
I picked it up by its two, four hind legs and throwed my shoulder across it.
The original poem is very lengthy.
If any reader knows the rest of the words to this poem, I would enjoy hearing from you.
Stanley Spencer
11952 Crum Road
Winchester, OH 45697


Old Letters Available
Dear Editor:
I have in my possession numerous letters dating back to the early 1900s, even 1906 and 1908. They are from a Sgt. Claude Brown, and I believe he was from Vevay, Indiana. Some of the subjects mentioned are Mary, Duncan A. Brown (nephew), Golda G. Anderson, and many others.
If an individual is interested in these letters, they are free.
All the stamps have been removed.
Joe M. Ritchie
2007 Pleasant View Drive
Elizabethtown, KY 42701
270/769-0486