Letters To The Editor

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 December 2013

The Dave Davis Store
In Elliott County
Dear Editor:
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 Davis.
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 years.
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, and oats.
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, and eggs.
Robert Davis
146 Belvedere Lane
Georgetown, KY 40324

40th Annual Whalin
Family Reunion
Dear Editor:
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.
Charles Whalin
2303 Newmarket Drive
Louisville, KY 40222

More On Mad Stones
Dear Editor:
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 stones.
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 the effectiveness.
I would be glad to hear from anyone with more information on the subject.
M. Douglas Cox
227 Bluff Wood Drive
Danville, KY 40422

These are just samples of the many letters in each issue of The Explorer.