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 November
Famous Tree Destroyed
A fierce windstorm on August 14, 2010, in Monroe County, Kentucky,
ended the 126-year life of Gamaliel Cemetery's famous American
arbor- vitae tree. This tree was made famous due to its enormous
height, and in the 1950s, it was considered to be the largest
of the species.
In 1884 Mrs. Robert (Elizabeth Comer) Hibbitt, daughter of Maston
Comer, planted a small arborvitae tree by the side of her husband's
grave. It is understood that Mrs. Hibbitt purchased the tree
for $1.50 in Celina, Tennessee, where she lived immediately following
her husband's death. The tree was approximately 18 inches tall
at the time it was planted in the cemetery. Elizabeth died on
December 13, 1887, and was buried next to her husband, but on
the opposite side of the tree.
Lightning is believed to have struck the tree, resulting in the
top of the tree having to be removed several years ago. A windstorm
broke off the remaining part of the tree, resulting in the removal
of the entire tree on August 24th. The tree had stood watch over
the Gamaliel Cemetery for 126 years.
When this tree fell, it landed on and broke the oldest headstone
in the cemetery, that being the headstone of John D. Welch, who
died on August 29, 1844. Welch was the first person buried in
the Gamaliel Cemetery.
The words arborvitae are Latin and stand for "tree of life."
P. O. Box 99
Gamaliel, KY 42140
After 60 Years
Thanks to The Kentucky Explorer for putting me in touch with
some college classmates I haven't seen or heard from in over
60 years. We all went to Eastern Kentucky University from 1946
to 1949 when it was known as Eastern Kentucky State Teachers
I taught agriculture in Lawrence County for almost two years
and then left there for Ohio where I worked for North American
Aviation for 19 years. From there I went to Marietta, Georgia,
to work for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation on the C5A program.
I last had contact with my college classmates in 1954 when I
visited two of them in their home in Richmond, Kentucky. Over
the years I lost contact because of several reasons; then about
two years ago, I submitted a letter to The Kentucky Explorer.
Nancy Hudnall Thornberry, one of my old classmates, who lives
in Florida, was visiting a neighbor who subscribes to the magazine
and read my letter. Nancy wrote me and gave me her phone number.
I called her and we had a long conversation and reminisced about
college friends and of some who have passed on. I invited her
to stop by my home, whenever she was up this way. She did in
2009, and we had a good time, and I learned more about our old
In August 2010, Nancy's family had a reunion in Pigeon Forge,
Tennessee. My wife and I went to visit with them and got to see
Nancy's brother, Virgil, who also went to EKSTC, and his wife,
Myrtle. Virgil was one with whom I had lost contact. It turned
out that Virgil went back into the Army after college and retired
as a colonel.
Thanks to The Explorer for getting us back together. It has been
a joy to see and hear about several more of my old classmates.
Keep up the good work.
120 Beechwood Drive
Sweetwater, TN 37874
Carter Family Reunion Held
The 55th Francis Marion Carter Family Reunion was held August
1, 2010, with 47-50 family members and friends present. Out of
11 children of the Francis Marion family, five were represented.
President Glorianna Robbins called a short business meeting before
the meal. Oma Highley, the oldest and wisest present, was presented
gifts. Marion and Loretta Highley traveled the farthest. Three-month-old
Addison Sophia Thompson was the youngest present. Addison is
the daughter of Brandan and Chelsie Pieratt Thompson, granddaughter
of Marty and Cathy Pieratt, great-granddaughter of Martha Pieratt,
and great-great-granddaughter of Nick and Mollie Clark Gadd.
Danny Gadd, Glorianna Robbins, Krissy Robbins, and E. Dale Carter
were the new officers elected.
One known death in the family this year was that of Bill Curry,
husband of Ola Gadd Curry.
Prayer was held over the meal and for the family members who
were sick. Everyone enjoyed an abundance of food.
The Kentucky Carter/Ingram family reunion was held on October
24, 2010, at the Lyons Club in Owingsville, Bath County, Kentucky.
1155 Neave Milford Road
Falmouth, KY 41040
These are just samples of the many
letters in each issue of The Explorer.