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."
actual letters from December 2013
The Dave Davis Store
In Elliott County
In 1899 David and Mary Etta Ward Davis, my grandparents, and
their three children: Ray, William, and Mollie, moved from their
home at Rocky Branch, Elliott County, Kentucky to Wells Creek
of the same county to open a mercantile store.
The store and the Bascom Post Office, located within the store,
served the folks from miles around. It became an important gathering
place in the community, where people could buy, barter, or charge
for the everyday items they could not grow or make on their own.
Money was scarce, so they paid by swapping items of value to
Mr. Davis such as eggs, feathers, hides, and other items; or
by doing work on the Davis farm and hauling commodities from
the railroad at Redwine to the Davis store. Dave's and Mary Etta's
store not only supplied the community's daily mercantile needs,
but also served as their bank, post office, and any other service
they could provide. Mr and Mrs. Davis operated the store and
reared ten children from 1899 to 1944, when their advanced age
forced them to close the store and move to Sandy Hook to be close
to two of their sons, David L. "June" Davis, and Curt
I am in the possession of some of their store ledgers, and thought
it would be interesting to the readers of The Kentucky Explorer
to see what some items cost in 1905, 1906, and 1907, and how
those items were paid for.
Listed below are some of the people who traded at the Davis store,
what they purchased, and how they paid. This is just ten of the
many customers Mr. and Mrs. Davis served over a period of 45
Jack Elliott: Pants $2.50, hat $1, shirt 50¢, suspenders
20¢, socks 10¢, and coffee 15¢. Paid by providing
coal to Mr. Davis and by working on the Davis farm.
Robert Bowling: Shoes $1.50, horseshoes and nails 40¢, dishpan
21¢, knife 9¢, and cash $3. Paid by providing eggs,
feathers, and chickens, and hauling salt.
Add Clevenger: Overcoat $1.25, tobacco 5¢, ladies gloves
10¢, coffee 15¢, and collar 15¢. Paid by providing
wooden shingles and working on the Davis farm.
Lafe Eldridge: Muslin 46¢, dishes $1, Black Draught 25¢,
and toothache medicine 25¢. Paid by eggs, feathers, chickens,
Will Fannin, Jr.: Potash 5¢, half soles 18¢, plow handle
23¢, and ladies hat $1.75. Paid by eggs, chickens, and oats,
and hauling for Mr. Davis.
Marion Cassidy: Candy 2¢, soap 2¢, salt 6¢, wax
5¢, needles 5¢, and sugar 7¢. Paid by eggs, a
calf, and cutting corn.
Dutch Adkins: White lace 70¢, garden seed 25¢, ribbon
40¢, and writing tablet 10¢. Paid by cash and eggs,
and mowing fields.
L. B. Wells: Window curtains 19¢, broom 25¢, turpentine
10¢, gingham 75¢, and stamp and envelope 5¢.
Jesse Lewis: Plow 30¢, overalls 50¢, hoe 35¢,
syrup 25¢, oil 5¢, and flour 85¢. Paid with eggs
and by working on the farm at about 75¢ per day.
Mack Prewitt: Bucket 50¢, oil cloth 50¢, nutmeg 2¢,
coffee 7¢, and ladies' vest 50¢. Paid by cash, chicks,
146 Belvedere Lane
Georgetown, KY 40324
40th Annual Whalin
The 40th annual Whalin Family Reunion was held on October 6,
2013, at the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Station near Brownsville,
Edmonson County, Kentucky.
The Whalins are descended from Patrick Whalin, who was born in
1738, immigrated from Ireland to Virginia, fought in the Revolutionary
War, married Susannah Leach, and moved with his family to Warren
County, Kentucky, around 1800.
Patrick died in 1831, and his Revolutionary War monument is located
in the Green River Union Cemetery at Richardsville, Warren County.
Each reunion is held in memory of a deceased Whalin and the 2013
reunion was dedicated to the memory of Milburn Whalin, who was
an early founder of the reunion.
Milburn's two surviving daughters attended with their families.
All Whalins (spelling variations) are welcome.
For further information, feel free to contact me.
2303 Newmarket Drive
Louisville, KY 40222
More On Mad Stones
Responding to a letter which appeared in the October 2013 issue
of The Kentucky Explorer.
It has been several years since I have heard any mention of mad
These stones are usually from intestines of cud chewing animals
(deer, cattle, sheep, etc.) Also there is some evidence that
gallstones from animals are also referred to as mad stones.
I practiced veterinary medicine for many years and have had the
opportunity to witness different contents of animals' stomachs.
Supposedly, these stones have some healing properties and were
often used on wounds inflicted on humans by rabid animals. The
effectiveness of this treatment is highly questionable but is
an interesting part of Kentucky lore.
I possess a mad stone but have never used it for therapy. The
stones were never to be bought or sold, because that would damage
I would be glad to hear from anyone with more information on
M. Douglas Cox
227 Bluff Wood Drive
Danville, KY 40422
just samples of the many letters in each issue of The Explorer.