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 May 2009
Through The Kentucky Explorer
I am a little embarrassed that it has taken me so long to thank The Kentucky Explorer for publishing my letter in the April 2007 issue. I would also like to extend a very big thanks to all the people who wrote, phoned, and sent email in response to my letter.
The response was far beyond my expectations. I am sorry to say I didn't keep a record of those who replied, but I will acknowledge those whom I remember.
First, there were two gentlemen, Ivory Wicker and Ralph Scott, who called. They were neighbors on Stone Coal Branch, Floyd County, Kentucky, where I was born. It was a pleasure and surprise for me to hear from them.
Ivory and my older brother, Hansel, joined the military during WWII. Ivory went into the Army, and Hansel joined the Navy.
Ralph's father owned the local general store, where all the kids and young men hung out. Ralph and I have had several good phone conversations.
Secondly, I received a phone call from a lady in Wyoming. I don't recall her name. Another lady living in Florida called to inquire whether or not we are related. It doesn't appear that we are.
Thirdly, there were three responses from Washington. One gentleman just wanted to say hello to a fellow Kentuckian. Another was from a lady who lives only about ten miles from me at Lake Stevens.
I think the biggest surprise, though, came in a phone call I received from a man who shares my last name. He was also born on Stone Coal Branch.
His name is Marvin Hicks, and after exchanging information, we realized we are cousins. Marv's grandfather was Green Hicks, and mine was Thomas Hicks. They were brothers. I am not sure, but I think this makes us third cousins. Marv is a little older than I, and like me, he left Stone Coal at about five years of age. I am sure this is why we never knew of each other. Marv and I met for coffee once and plan to get together again soon, as we live only about 75 miles apart.
A special thank you to Evelyn Jacobs of Owensboro for sending the lyrics of two songs that I requested information about.
Two classmates from Allen Grade School, Charles Porter and Sam Lowe, called me, and I have talked with each of them several times. They have shared what they know about other classmates. I would like to hear from others who attended Allen schools from 1946 to 1953.
I had hoped to make a trip to Kentucky this past summer but was unable to do it. When I do come again, I will have quite a number of folks to visit, and I look forward to visiting all my friends, new and old.
Denver C. Hicks
7830 Timber Hill Drive
Everett, WA 98203
Enjoys History Articles,
I would like to say how much I enjoy The Kentucky Explorer. I appreciate all the work put into the magazine. I can only imagine all that it entails.
I like everything about the magazine: the history articles, the letters from readers, and the photos. I have seen items in the magazine from my old neighborhood of Balkhan, Bell County, Kentucky, my old school, and a class photo from there.
I would like to see more articles regarding Bell County.
Anna R. Lee
6787 Transparent Avenue
Clarkston, MI 48346
Bates Article Brought
The story of Rachel Bates on page 33 of the February 2009 issue of The Kentucky Explorer was, at times, like reading my own autobiography. One part in particular really sent me down memory lane.
Like Rachel's family, we also had a "coal bank." Dad made a sled by putting a dish pan on runners pulled by a rope. When I was about eight years old, my six-year-old brother and I would help Dad get the coal. Dad would pick the coal while my brother and I pulled it out of the mine. When we had enough, we put it in burlap bags (we called them coffee sacks) and carried them about 200 feet down the mountain to the house. At that time we lived at what is now Hall Branch Road in Topmost, Knott County, Kentucky.
I am a descendent of Archelaus Craft.
James R. Slone
432 English Avenue
Harrodsburg, KY 40330