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 October
Relates To Articles
Thanks for keeping this wonderful little magazine going. I can
relate to so many of the articles, even though I'm not from Kentucky.
I grew up during the Depression and my grandparents lived on
Blacksburg, Virginia, where I live, is located on a large anthracite
seam. I remember the big explosion in 1946 when I was in high
My husband was from Hazard, Perry County, Kentucky.
Mary Elizabeth Lindon
P. O. Box 10504
Blacksburg, VA 24062
Lieutenant Jesse Orin Creech was Kentucky's only WWI ace pilot,
shooting down eight enemy planes for the Army Air Corps.
Jesse was a native of Harlan County, Kentucky, and the son of
William and Martha Short Creech. He attended public school in
Harlan County, the University of Kansas, and Cornell University
before he joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. After serving
in Canada, he served as a flight instructor in Texas. In early
1918, he transferred to the United States Air Service and was
assigned to the 148th Aero Squadron on July 4, 1918. On September
2, 1918, two flights of his squadron engaged 15 Fokker D. Vils
of Jasta Boelche. In the ensuing battle, Creech and four other
Sopwith Camel pilots were shot down. Taking part in his squadron's
last patrol of the war, Creech scored his final victory on October
28, 1918. Prior to WWII, Creech held an administrative post in
Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. Becoming ill on November
9, 1947, he was admitted to the Nichols Veteran Hospital in December
1947 and died there six weeks later. He was 52 years old.
My father, Walter Creech, was the son of Sara Jane Creech. Sara
had a brother named William A. Creech, a carpenter, who had a
son named Jesse Orin Creech, born 1895 in Harlan County, Kentucky.
Jesse would have been my father's first cousin.
Jack E. Creech
70 Cross Creek
Hollisburg, MS 39402
My husband's parents, Thomas and Grace May Spencer, were from
Breathitt County, Kentucky. They had four children: Joseph Quenton
(my husband) and Thomas Phenton, who were twins; and two girls,
Erma Ivan and Joye Ray.
Joseph's aunt, Zora Craycraftgan, loaned her latest issue of
The Explorer to us, and Joseph was intrigued.
We are looking forward to a whole year's issues.
5745 Haney Mill Road
Crandon, WI 54520
Old Songs Article
Brings Back Memories
I enjoyed the article in the July-August 2010 issue of The Kentucky
Explorer, about old songs, written by Bob Smith.
I remember my mother singing some of these songs as she rocked
a child to sleep or churned butter. Nobody on either side of
my family were musically inclined. I recall the lyrics "the
great ship went down." This must have been part of "The
Sinking of the Titanic." I also remember fragments of other
songs she sang. They are "The Little Log Cabin In The Lane,"
"Old Black Joe," and "Just Before The Battle,
An additional song I remember, in part, has the stanza "There
is a long, long trail a winding into the land of my dreams."
Perhaps someone has all the words to these old songs.
Fred H. Salisbury
314 Jeremiah Drive
Richmond, KY 40475
Editor's Note: Bob Smith is a contributing writer to The Kentucky
Explorer who shares articles on folklore and history of Kentucky.
He is the editor/publisher of the Three Forks Tradition located
in Beattyville, Kentucky.
Bob Drake was born in Russell County, Virginia, in 1853, and
died February 12, 1939, at Old Landing, Lee County, Kentucky,
where he is buried.
Bob went to Sandy Ridge, Wolfe County, Kentucky, in 1854, with
his grandparents, William and Jane Stinson Drake, and his parents,
John and Charlotte Steele Drake. Bob had seven siblings, all
reared on Sandy Ridge. Rebecca "Becky" was born in
Kentucky, probably Breathitt County, in 1870 and died in 1956
at Old Landing, where she is buried. Becky was the daughter of
Liberty Crawford and Joannan Little Crawford.
Five children were born to Bob and Becky: Vina McFarland, Greely,
Florence Ritchie, Frank, and Jerry, who died as a child. Both
Bob and Becky were previously married and both had lost their
spouses. Bob was married to Alifair Whisman with whom he fathered
five children: Lottie Overbee, Eliza Oaks, Mary Miller, Rachael
Gross, and Mandy Oaks. Becky was married to Granville Brewer
and had six children: Jim, Charlie, Corbett, William, Cordellia
Davis Pence, and Sally Gayheart.
I am the son of Frank Drake and the grandson of Bob and Becky
More information is available if readers are interested.
Franklin Drake, Sr.
1555 Mill Creek Road
Beattyville, KY 41311
These are just samples of the many
letters in each issue of The Explorer.