Aldridge - 2007
formed between the people who lived in Blue
Diamond, Perry County, Kentucky, and whose family members worked
in the coal mines are strong and lasting. James and Rose Hickman
and their 14 offspring were an early part of that network, moving
into Blue Diamond in the early 1900s.
Two of the Hickman siblings, Len and Bess, came to the coal camp
as youngsters and stayed until the 1960s when Blue Diamond Coal
Company phased out its operation. Those years were filled with
friendships that would last a lifetime and beyond.
When the mining industry phased out, Blue Diamond families went
their separate ways to find employment, further their education,
and, for some, retire. Some families purchased their camp houses
and moved them to other locations, preserving even more memories.
Scattered all over this great country of ours, the Blue Diamond
people continue to touch thousands of lives and share their Appalachian
heritage. Through the years, many have kept in touch with each
other and passed on a special and unique heritage. Through children,
grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and generations to come,
the proud Blue Diamond people will keep the memory of the little,
coal mining town alive. Networking between the generations will
continue based in a solid foundation set in Appalachia.
and Bess Hickman at Blue Diamond, Perry County, Kentucky, in
The communities of Harveyton, Bonnyman, and Typo were home to
many of the Blue Diamond coal miners. Some of the residents had
other occupations and professions. Postal workers, educators,
store owners, and farmers were a few of them. Many of these families
or their descendants still live in the small close-knit communities.
They are happy to see many former residents who travel back to
the area annually for a reunion. Mallie Elrod and Leona Gibson
organized the first reunion shortly after Blue Diamond shutdown.
Today, fellow reunion participants keep the tradition going.
The group meets at Buckhorn Lodge the weekend after Labor Day
each year. People come from several states including Arizona,
California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. These reunions
provide an opportunity for the group to renew friendships and
A Great Sport To Travel
To An Ice Cream Supper
Raised Usually Went
To A School
socials and pie suppers were once two major fundraisers for schools
and churches in Eastern Kentucky. These five young adults enjoyed
an evening at a pie supper held in September 1940 at Quicksand
School in Breathitt County, Kentucky. The money collected was
used for repairs and supplies at the school. (Marion Post Wolcott
Wilson - 1939
cream was a luxury rather than a part of
many normal meals, it was a great sport to go
miles across country to an ice cream supper. Though this function
is hardly dead as yet, it has so changed that I can write its
obituary. It has been some 15 years since I last attended one
that had all the earmarks of the only genuine one.
Most ice cream suppers were ostensibly to raise money for some
worthy cause, usually school or church. The women of the community
contributed eggs, milk, sugar, and flavoring. Sometimes I have
seen the cream made by dumping all of these items, raw, into
a freezer; I have even eaten such. Stylish ones cooked the materials
into a custard and chilled the custard in the well or cistern,
along with the milk, using coolers especially designed for the
spring or cistern. Some boys or man was dispatched to the county
seat to get ice and some other things that went along with ice
cream such as candy chewing gum, cigars, soda pop, and Crackerjacks.
Meanwhile, the women cooked tea cakes and other cookies to be
served with the cream.
The great day arrived. Dusty buggies and wagons hove into sight.
The stands had been built, and the ice cream was being manufactured
in freezers. The other things were laid out, beyond the reach
of bad boys, in the stands. Often a barker stood a few yards
away and called the attention of the crowd to what could be bought.
One such boy that I knew smoked the fine cigar that others could
buy merely by stepping up. Much envied boys or men ran the stands.
I always wanted to be one of these and actually became one a
few times. It increased one's social standing considerably among
the smaller boys.
Soda pop used to come in heavy bottle with a strange stopper.
It almost hurt the hand to press down the stopper slowly, and
to hit it suddenly caused an explosion. One was sure to get some
of the colored water and sugar and flavoring on his Sunday-go-to-meeting
The ice cream was the big thing, of course. It was served in
saucers with teacakes added. Once when I was selling cream, a
boy ate three saucers in rapid succession and walked off without
paying, just as a joke on the stand. My dignity has not yet recovered
from that affront. Boys were either too stingy or too poor to
spend anything. We fellows who ran the stands felt ashamed of
them and sometimes told them so.
Candy was just candy then, nothing fancy. Stick candy was the
kind most often sold. We had whole buckets of it in pound packages
and sold it with considerable profiteering, though custom forbade
our asking more than a nickel for a bottle of pop. Crackerjacks,
often pretty stale, were devoured in great gobs. In each package
was a prize, often kept indefinitely, some little metal toy or
a small balloon, worth about 5¢ a hundred.
The numerous things we sold were just extra. The real eating
came with the dinner on the ground. By mid-afternoon, we could
count on seeing several small children and sometimes older people
who had eaten so much that they had become sick. Thus did we
enjoy ourselves, creating lifelong stomach ailments for some
are invited to share memories and history articles with The Kentucky
Explorer. NO FICTION. Mail articles and photos to:
Explorer, P. O. Box 227, Jackson, KY 41339