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 June
A New Wonder Discovered
In R. D. Clark
I would like to share the following article which was taken from
an old Louisville newspaper in 1897 regarding my great-grandfather,
Ras Ditto "R. D." Clark:
"Another 'phenom' will now glitter in the constellation
of league ball tossers representing Louisville. It is Col. R.
D. Clark in the Bluegrass country. "Phenom," before
exploited, are usually guaranteed to be perfect revelations in
fielding and holy terrors in swinging the ash.
"President Pulliam is the authority for the statement that
this Kentucky Colonel can cover any two positions on the infield
at the same time, and can rip the cover off the ball with just
one good swat. This is the story of how 'Cunnel' Clark of Kentucky
came to affix his signature to a Louisville contract.
"Last summer Attorney Zach Phelps, while spending a short
vacation on a stock farm near Lexington (Fayette County), took
a drive around the neighboring country. Mr. Phelps was leaning
back in his seat in a omi-doze, and the old "plug"
was jogging quietly along the road, when a crash, way off in
the distance, caused the horse to shake his bones and dash ahead
at a break-neck pace, Mr. Phelps sawed frantically at the reins
to get the animal's head, but the plug had a will of his own
and refused to be satisfied until he had tumbled the attorney
in a heap in the dust.
"The next thing Mr. Phelps knew, he was lying on an embankment
with his head bowed against a rail fence, while a farmer's wife
told the whole story, how the Corncrackers had played the Elkins,
and how Clark, of the Elkins, won the game by driving the ball
through a two-inch plank in the left-field fence, clearing the
bases and winning the game. A strange light gleamed in Mr. Phelps'
"'Clark, you say,' muttered the Louisville barrister, 'take
me to him right away. I am interested in the Louisville Baseball
Club, and if I can get the man Clark, we'll drive those League
twirlers to drink a week after the season opens.'
"Mr. Phelps had a lengthy interview with Clark. He refused
to consider any proposition to become a professional ball player,
but Mr. Phelps has worked on him persistently and finally succeeded
in getting him to sign a Louisville contract."
4764 Mary Ingles HWY W.
Foster, KY 41043
See related photo in photo
In the April issue of The Kentucky Explorer, I sought information
as to where I could locate greasy bean and hickory cane corn
I would like to report that wonderful readers from Perryville
and Greenup, Kentucky, and Fostoria, Ohio, came to my aid. I
was able to obtain enough seeds to be able to share with four
Don K. Flowers
154 Ashley Avenue
Springfield, KY 40069
In reference to a letter in the February 2013 issue, on page
104, I would like to share information regarding three graves
at the Cundiff Cemetery at War Creek in Breathitt County, Kentucky.
Two graves I can identify, as one walks up on the hill, are those
of John Henry Trent and Hattie Hounshell Little Trent. Price
Trent was their son. Price's brother was Everett Mark Trent and
his sisters were Lillian Trent Childress and Dessie Trent Watkins.
Price could have had some brothers or sisters not living before
I knew him. He is buried on the upper side of the hill from his
mom and dad.
Everett passed away in 1995 and is buried in the Evans Cemetery
at Campton, Wolfe County, Kentucky.
3770B Dug Hill Road
Irvine, KY 40336
Hopeful Hatfield Connection
In a previous issue of The Kentucky Explorer, a lady requested
articles of the Hatfields and McCoys. I don't have the article
or magazine, but she said her grandfather was a Hatfield. I am
hoping we can make a connection.
My grandparents were Hatfields, too.
Grandfather Ewing Taylor Hatfield was born in Jackson, Breathitt
County, Kentucky, and his wife (my grandmother) was Effie Combs,
who was born in Wolfe County.
From the looks of the photos of Devil Anse Hatfield, he and my
grandfather could be brothers.
Grandfather was a good worker throughout the week, but on weekends
he was drunk and mean.
Nancy P. McKenney
119 Cumberland Drive
Georgetown, KY 40324
Regulators In Casey County
After the end of the Civil War, two members of a family were
killed by possible regulators on my farm here in Casey County.
I have found three articles from the Kentucky Digital Library
regarding trouble between two families, where 20 to 30 masked
men showed up one night and fired into a house. The men were
not expecting the family members to return fire and a brother
and sister in the home were killed. Not much is known about who
the regulators were.
The articles are dated August 1869 and appeared in The Danville
Advocate, a newspaper in Louisville, and The New York Times.
If anyone is interested in hearing the story, we'd be happy to
forward copies of the articles and would be interested in hearing
any suggestions about how to explore other avenues for more information
336 Fishing Creek Road
Yosemite, KY 42566
Catty Corner Kings:
A Checker Game
While growing up in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky, during
the 1940s, one of my favorite pastimes was playing checkers.
I played regular checkers and a game called Catty Corner Kings.
I have mentioned this game, Catty Corner Kings, to others over
the years, and all I get is a blank look.
My question to the readers of The Kentucky Explorer is as follows:
"Was Catty Corner Kings a checker game confined only to
the east end of Newport, or did other people play it?"
Catty Corner Kings was played using the standard 8x8 block check
board and 12 checker pieces. The 12 checkers were converted into
six kings. The kings were placed in the six black blocks located
in the lower right of the board, as viewed by the players. This
gave each player an inner row of two kings and an outer row of
two kings. The kings were allowed to jump their own men without
penalty and move in any direction from black block to black block.
Like regular checkers the object of the game was to capture all
of they opponent's playing pieces. So, to repeat my question,
did anyone else ever play this version of checkers?
As the undefeated, 1945-1951, Catty Corner Kings Champion of
Oak Street in Newport, I will take on all challengers.
Charles H. Bogart
201 Pin Oak Place
Frankfort, KY 40601
just samples of the many letters in each issue of The Explorer.