Letters To The Explorer

We enjoy hearing from our readers. Write us soon! P.O. Box 227, Jackson, KY 41339

Editor's Note: Readers, please feel free to write any of the following if you can help them. Our readers are so kind and many of you do help. For this we are thankful!

39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry

Dear Editor:

I am currently working on a regimental history of the 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, U. S., and Eastern Kentucky Union Regiment. If you or any of your readers have any photos, family histories, suggestions for sources, locations of repositories of official papers, or any other materials related to the service of this regiment, could you please contact me.

I thank you for your time and patience.

Robert M. Baker

c/o The Bushwhacker Bookseller

1501-J S. Main Street

London, KY 40741

606/877-3154 / 606/877-9860 / e-mail: [email protected]

McLean County

Dear Editor:

I have been a subscriber for some time. I really enjoy The Kentucky Explorer and think it's an outstanding magazine. It does a great job of promoting Kentucky and all its counties.

I am helping my home county of McLean County, Kentucky to develop an historical and genealogical museum. We've been involved in the project only since August 1999. In one or two weeks, we will have a nonprofit corporation completed for the operation of the museum.

If you, or any of your readers, have any references, such as: any article, write up, or piece of information about any person or event of McLean County, and any county or similar museum, you are encouraged to send suggestions on the establishment and management of a museum, especially ones of rural or small population status. Information can be sent to the McLean County Historical and Genealogical Museum, c/o Mr. Wayne Austin, 1487 HWY 81 N, Calhoun, KY 42327.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks for everything.

James D. Hansford

104 Riverside Drive #505

Cocoa, FL 32922


"Funerals" Article Didn't Do Justice

Dear Editor:

My husband and I enjoy your magazine. Since we are from Eastern Kentucky (Pike and Perry Counties), the history it contains is familiar to us.

We were somewhat concerned, however, by an article regarding Appalachian funerals, which appeared in the February 2000 issue. While the article is humorous and well written, it does not do justice to a tradition that is solemn and somber, and is very personal to a mountain family.

My husband and I grew up attending wakes and funerals in Eastern Kentucky. They are not a "social function." People come and pay their respects and go home. Some do graciously spend the night to provide comfort to the family. The body is not viewed while drinking Dr. Pepper and eating bologna sandwiches. Food and drink are not the main event, nor is fashion the greatest concern.

Some form of wakes have been practiced in all parts of the world. I am sure this custom varies from place to place, and from family to family.

My husband and I remember a different wake and funeral tradition from that of the writer, a tradition that shows the love and concern mountain people have for their families and each other.

Sharon Richie McClellan

929 Walnut Road

Frankfort, KY 40601

Loved "Funerals" Article

Dear Editor:

Now you've gone and done it! Where on earth did you find Gayle C. Compton, who wrote that hilarious (and accurate) account of Appalachian funerals? Please hang on to him. Encourage him to write about "hill country" weddings, hog butchering days in November, sorghum-making, quilting bees, "Court Days" at the county seat, and the final-day program at the one-room school, when the big boys and girls had to hurry home to hoe corn.

You've got a keeper, here. Don't lose him!

Ora E. Anderson

9010 Lavelle Road

Athens, OH 45701

Stereotyped "Again"

Dear Editor:

I am disappointed and deeply saddened by an article in the February 2000 issue of your magazine. The article is on pages 48, 49 and 50, entitled "Appalachian Funerals Are Sometimes A Little Different."

This is another chance to have Eastern Kentucky people stereotyped as ignorant, foolish, and a laughingstock for our state. The article states that there is "drunkenness, fighting, killings, and babies conceived at the wild wakes."

I am from a family of eleven, in Wooton; a community on Highway 80 in Leslie County. I have an extraordinarily high number of relatives, and have been attending funerals in Eastern Kentucky all through my life. In my 74 years, I have never, ever observed any of this degrading behavior at any funeral.

It is true that some mountaineers like the coffin open, and do sit through the night with loved ones and the family. I always felt this a matter of respect, though unusual.

In earlier years, funerals were quite emotional, with loud grieving, but in recent years, they are more composed and subdued.

I feel this article is out of the ordinary for your good magazine. You seem to respect all the people of our state. Many of us are sick about this blatantly false, disrespectful depiction of the behavior at funerals of our precious kin.

If the writer of this article sees himself as a writer of comedy or "tongue-in-cheek" stuff, he should better learn proper subjects for his display of insensitivity. The loss of our family members and relatives should not be one of his subjects, and should not demand a sense of humor.

Please print my letter in full so your readers will be allowed to know the other side.


Vivien Hoskins Reinhardt

P. 0. Box 2l5

Pewee Valley, KY 40056

Editor's Note: We have heard from several of our readers, who expressed their feelings about the content of this article. We appreciate each and every response. As mentioned in the previous letter, this article was, indeed, intended to entertain through the writer's "tongue-in-cheek humor." It was never our desire to stereotype, poke fun at, or offend anyone. Funerals are sad, solemn affairs, regardless of which customs we observe or practice.

Thankful For Information

Dear Editor:

I can never thank you enough for placing my request for information on my grandmother's family in your May issue. About a week after the May issue came out, I received a phone call from a gentleman that said his mother and my grandmother were sisters.

I was very excited. I went to visit him and his wife. They were so nice and friendly. They gave me a lot of information about my aunts, my great-grandparents, and other relatives that I didn't know about. They gave my pictures of family members.

I thank God that I placed the request in The Kentucky Explorer. I didn't get to spend as much time with my cousin as I would have liked, because he passed away in December, but I am so glad that I got to know him. His name was Norman Hackworth. He lived at Catlettsburg, Kentucky. His mother was Laura Wright Hackworth, and my grandmother was Margaret Jane Wright Smith.

Thanks to The Kentucky Explorer, I found some very nice family members. I really enjoy your magazine.

Magdalene Cantrell Skeens

2930 State Route 247

Hillsboro, OH 45133

22nd Virginia Cavalry

Dear Editor:

I recently moved to Grundy, Virginia, a small town in southwestern Virginia, close to Kentucky and West Virginia. I am a Civil War and backwoods enthusiast.

I was recently in Pikeville, Kentucky, where I picked up your magazine. I loved reading it. I read an article in your January 2000 issue and found out that my great-grandfather was in the 22nd Virginia Cavalry, Company A. His name was Andrew Stephens. Can anyone tell my how to purchase the book "The 22nd Virginia Cavalry," by James C. Weaver, published by H. E. Howard?

I have tried to find information on my great-grandfather for 20 years and ran up on this by pure luck.

Keep up the fine work.

Donald D. Stevens

RR 4 Box 369

Grundy, VA 24614


Tarfork, Kentucky

Dear Editor:

My mother's family grew up in Rush County, Indiana and have never known where they were from. I would love to hear about Tarfork, Kentucky, or anyone from there.

This is a wonderful magazine, and it brings back memories, as I visited Hardinsburg, Kentucky many times.

Donna Woodcock

3271 E 544 S

Gas City, IN 46933

The Blue Hole

Dear Editor:

Some years ago, while serving at Fort Knox, I had noticed on military topographic maps one item; a geographic feature called "The Blue Hole." At that time, I had intended to go to the place and see what it might be. It is located northeast of Otter State Park. I did not get around to seeing it.

Lately, upon studying the "Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer," I discovered another "Blue Hole," located east of Allendale on Big Branch Creek, according to the map. I wonder what the significance may be of these two features, which by themselves, do not seem to be significant. But someone, at some time, named them, and they continue to be shown on maps printed today.

Could anyone give my any information on this discovery?

Francis S. Obradovich

1 Kris Circle

Terrace Park, OH 45174

Found A Friend

Dear Editor:

I would like to share the joy of finding long lost friends and family with The Kentucky Explorer family.

In the November issue, on page 101, the picture of Logan and Beldon Cornett and Buck Woods brought a letter from a daughter of Buck Woods, whom I have never met; and a phone call from Irene Cornett Hayden, a sister of the two Cornett brothers, who visited our home on Cutshin Creek in Leslie County, Kentucky.

In the January 2000 issue, the picture of my mother, Mary Lou Sparks Powell Dalton, brought a response from my mother's first cousin from Rogers, Kentucky. He is the son of the late Rev. John Frank Powell, who was a well-known preacher in his day. I have been able to share the picture in the November issue with Buck Woods' family, and also the Cornett sister.

In August 1999, my wife and I went to Hazard, Kentucky for a reunion with three of Buck's sisters, who had found me through an article in the May 1999 issue about the Frozen Creek flood.

I have urged many people to get involved with the Explorer family. I am still getting information about my family from a lady in Louisville, Kentucky. I would like to say a great big "thank you" to her, and to everyone else that has helped me.

Joseph A. Dalton

6501 Germantown Road Lot 402

Middletown, OH 45042

Yeary Family

Dear Editor:

Thank you for printing my request for information on the Yeary family. I had such great response. I found out that my grandfather had seven siblings, and I got all their names, birth dates, and whom they married. I got letters from two of my cousins that I didn't know I had. I got a lot of information on my great-grandparents, Daniel Boone and Mahala Powell Yeary.

The Kentucky Explorer really is a great magazine.

Irene Yeary Tester

RR 3 Box 73

Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Window To The Past

Dear Editor:

Thank you for a great magazine. It is very entertaining, but more important is its historical content. It gives its readers a window to the past, and makes us more aware of the hardships and dangers our forefathers endured, up to two centuries ago, as pioneer settlers of Kentucky. It brings them closer to us. I look forward to the arrival of each issue.

Keep up the good work.

Walter Sparks

449 Lindell Road

Germantown, OH 45327

"Goose Craw" Beans

Dear Editor:

First, I want to express my thanks for a wonderful magazine and tell you that you have been responsible for a few overcooked meals at my house. I have to sit down and read as much as I can, so things get cooked too done. I enjoy your Kentucky Explorer. It is a great magazine.

I notice there are few articles about Letcher County. My mom and dad used to grow beans in a cornfield. The bean was about six to eight inches long and about 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. The seed was a grey and brown mottle. Mom and Dad called them the "goose craw." They were very good.

I would love to have some seeds if anybody has any. I also would like to have a yellow-hulled stick bean. The seed is brown.

Also, I have almost 8,000 B. and W. coupons, if anyone can use them. I will make almost any kind of deal.

I grew up in Letcher County at Premium, McRoberts, and Hemphill on Jackhorn. Dad was a coal miner and followed the work wherever it was. Sometimes, I was in three different schools within one year. I surely learned to accept all kinds of people.

Keep up the good work with the magazine. It is wonderful reading. There are a lot of memories in the stories.

Gladiola Meade

719 Big Hill Road

Berea, KY 40403

Wants Hickory Nuts

Dear Editor:

I received The Kentucky Explorer as a gift from my daughter. I think it tops other books you can get.

I saw in the magazine where one can get hickory nuts. I would like to have some. When we lived on the farm, we had plenty of hickory nuts. I haven't seen or had hickory nuts for years. I will pay for some nuts. I would really appreciate them.

Sallie Brady

4211 W. HWY 146

La Grange, KY 40031

WWII Veterans

Dear Editor:

I am a proud reader of The Kentucky Explorer and enjoy it very much. I am interested in corresponding with anyone who was in the Army in WWII, with my deceased husband, Ernest H. Cotton.

He was inducted into the Army at Olive Hill, Kentucky. He started in the 10th Mountain Division and was sent to Italy until the war was over. He mentioned meeting people from Kentucky, and one was from Louisa. I have some pictures that he brought back.

Ernest passed away in 1970, and I later married a man, Dan M. Stone, that had been in the Army for 20 years. I lost him in 1980.

Thanks to everyone, especially to The Kentucky Explorer.

Marie Stone

8660 Lilly Chapel Georgesville Road

West Jefferson, OH 43162

Information Wanted

Dear Editor:

I enjoy your publication. I am writing a book on the life of Cowboy Copas. He was a star of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. He died in the plane crash with Hawkshaw Hawkins, Randy Hughes, and Patsy Cline.

Anyone who has information about him, or memories, such as him in concert, please contact me.

Jobee R. Simon

8721 Pond Creek Road

Portsmouth, OH 45663


Found An Old Friend

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank you, and everyone else, for helping me find an old schoolmate. I have been trying for years to find Rose Caudill. Turns out that Donald (Dan, as I remember him) Caudill was Rose's brother, and had gone to school at Big Willard in Busy, Kentucky with us. I sat down and wrote him, and he is the son of Dave and Polly Caudill.

He sent me Rose's phone number, and I called her. It had been 67 years since we had heard from each other. It was a joy to hear her voice again. Dan wrote me a letter, talking about our life back in the 1930s. I laughed and cried, while reliving those days.

Thank you so much for helping me find people that I went to school with. Thanks to Dan, I have found my friend. I don't want to miss a single magazine. It is great!

Martha Hall Williamson

17 State Route 10

Ranger, WV 25557

Old Homeplace

Dear Editor:

I surely enjoyed reading Roy Nave Jr.'s article in the January 2000 issue of The Kentucky Explorer, especially his photo of "the old homeplace on Chestnut Ridge." That photo could very well be of my grandfather's place in Hart County.

See the two front doors? I wrote an article previously about that type of architecture, but heard no more about it. I surely would like to know the origin, whether it is state-wide or not. I know for a fact that Hart, Edmondson, Grayson, Larue, and most adjoining counties that have old houses still standing, have front doors like that. It surely does bring back some old memories.

Most of the homes also had two swings, if they had a porch. Many a tobacco or corn crop was planned out in those swings. I also saw many an ear of corn shelled for chicken feed and what not. No telling how many kids were swung to sleep. I know I was many a time.

I encourage all the readers of The Kentucky Explorer to share their experiences. I would really like to know where my forefathers got their ideas.

James David Jaggers

425 N. 20th Street

Louisville, KY 40203

"Penitentiary Gulch"

Dear Editor:

We sure do enjoy your magazine. I am hoping that someone will put an article in your magazine, or let me know, about a place called "Penitentiary Gulch." I am told that it is located several miles on down the road from the Swiss Colony Cemetery, but before you get to the Whitt Cemetery, near London, Laurel County, Kentucky.

I am told that it was called this, because of its natural stone base, and that prisoners were kept there during the Civil War. It was supposed to have held 1,000 people. I would like to know more about it, and a picture would be nice.

My dad was born near London, Kentucky. We go down every year to visit cousins, and go to the cemeteries. It is so beautiful down there.

Thank you for your help.

Elsie Bustle Lewis

14356 N. County Road 3400 E.

Mason City, IL 62664

Marriage Bonds

Dear Editor:

The marriage bond of my great-grandfather was issued from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and reads as follows:

"Be it known, that we, S. Lunceford, as principal, and J. D. Miller, as surety, are jointly and severally bound to the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the sum of $100."

The condition of the bond is as follows: "That, whereas, marriage is intended to be solemnized between the above-bound S. Lunceford and Laura Singleton. Now, if there is a lawful cause to obstruct said marriage, this bond shall be void, otherwise it shall remain in full force and effect.

"Dated at Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, this 27th day of March 1897. Signed by: S. Lunceford and J. D. Miller, county court clerk."

What exactly is a marriage bond? What does the legal jargon really mean? Did an individual have to put up $100? This was an awful lot of money in those days. Was the money forfeited if, for some reason, the groom got cold feet and didn't follow through with the marriage? I noticed that the bride didn't have to sign the bond.

I have also run across the word "surety" on guardian's bonds. What is a surety and its responsibilities?

When I got married in 1972, I didn't go through the process of the marriage bond. When did this practice stop?

Thanks, in advance, to anyone who can provide answers, as I am a novice in family research endeavors.

Cecil Houk

RR 3 Box 308

Brodhead, KY 40409


CDs Wanted

Dear Editor:

The Family Tree Maker (www.familytreemaker.com) has information about Dillingham Kidd on CD #13 and CD #15. Does anyone have these CDs? I would like to see what kind of information they have on Mr. Kidd.

Any help with this would be appreciated.

Dorothy Hunter

HC 68 Box 2625

Mariba, KY 40322

Train Wreck At Barwick

Dear Editor:

I didn't know there was any such magazine as The Kentucky Explorer until just recently. A neighbor gave me a copy, and I read it from cover to cover, before quitting. Other neighbors found out I enjoyed it so much, they started bringing me copies. One man brought me 40 issues.

I noticed in your magazine lots of pictures of trains, railroads, and tunnels. While I am on the subject of trains, I was wondering if you ever had a story that tells about the train wreck at Barwick many years ago? I remember the wreck, but I don't remember the date. I think it happened before daylight.

The train hit a log, or something on the track, and the engine rolled over, close to the river. One man, either the engineer or fireman, was scalded to death. It seems like his name was Marlow.

There was a house at the mouth of a hollow, and a family by the name of Bush lived there. Mrs. Bush took what sheets she had and spread them over the dead man's body. After the funeral, the man's wife took Mrs. Bush some new sheets to replace the ones she had donated.

If anyone knows more about this, I would appreciate hearing from you. Keep up the good work.

Edith Davidson Duff

5493 Paris Pike

Georgetown, KY 40324

Seeks Family Member

Dear Editor:

I enjoy your magazine very much. When I get all my new ones read, I go get some of the back issues and reread them. Some of the stories are funny. I don't want to ever run out of this wonderful magazine.

I would like to hear from a cousin that I have never seen. I think his name is Richard, or Rickie. His father was Richard Burchett, who lived and died in Indiana. If anyone knows how I can contact him, please contact me. It would be greatly appreciated.

Lodena McCleese

1832 Railroad Hollow

South Webster, OH 45682

Norton Country School

Dear Editor:

I am looking for a teacher's name that, on our list, looks like Emma Preaing, that taught at the country school, Norton, in 1903. This is a part of Norton's family history. I have names from 1895 to its closing in 1964.

I would be glad to share information with anyone. Thanks for a great magazine.

Lena Norton Hayes

2925 Liberty Road

Crab Orchard, KY 40419

Song Wanted

Dear Editor:

I am a new subscriber to The Kentucky Explorer and enjoy reading it. Just last week, I mailed, to another one of your subscribers, a song she had requested. She wrote me back and said she got at least 20 copies (from her inquiry).

I was wondering if you, or any of your readers, have a copy of the song, "That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine." Some of the lines were, "If I could recall all the heartaches, dear old Daddy, I've caused you to bear. If I could erase those lines from your faces, and bring back the gold to your hair . . ."

I remember hearing the song when I was a child, and that has been a long time ago.

Thank you for a good magazine. I would appreciate any response.

Celestus J. Lewis

111 W. High Street

Springfield, KY 40069

Thankful For Magazine

Dear Editor:

Thank you, so much, for The Kentucky Explorer. The genealogy part of your magazine is a great help to us researching our family tree.

Keep it up, and thanks again.

Faye Hall Watkins

747-14 N. 3rd Street

Richmond, KY 40475

Song Wanted

Dear Editor:

I am writing concerning a Christmas song, "Silent Night," and a song about a pine tree. I heard it over one of the Kentucky Bluegrass stations in December 1997.

If anyone knows who sings this song, let me know. Several people want this tape.

Liddie Forman

6275 KY HWY 519

Morehead, KY 40351

Seeks Army Buddies

Dear Editor:

I would like to receive information on the following men, who served with me in the Army during World War II. Here are their names and addresses, when they entered the Army:

Ellis T. Marshall, Four Mile, Kentucky; Charles K. Diane, Jr., Frankfort, Kentucky; David H. Johnson, Frankfort, Kentucky; Bernard Lee, Frankfort, Kentucky; James Lynn, Frankfort, Kentucky; Douglas M. Phillips, Frankfort, Kentucky; Garnett W. Preston, Frankfort, Kentucky; John N. Brooks, Russellville, Kentucky; Nathan D. Blanton, Turla/Lurila/Furila, Kentucky; and Francis B. Sneider, Toll City, Kentucky.

I would appreciate some help finding these old Army buddies. Some of them might have passed away, after so many years, but I would like to hear from their families.

Paul E. Taylor

605 Old Stover Road

Monroe, TN 38573

Mystery Solved?

Dear Editor:

A recent article in your publication mentions a bit of memorabilia that was painted on Burke's Bakery, in Junction City, concerning Centre College defeating Harvard in 1921. The article describes it as "Center 6, H 0."

That was not the original configuration. The original lettering was "C 6, H 0." It was white letters on red brick. The building was painted later.

There was never any spelling of the name, "Center," until sometime after I moved to Louisiana, in 1956. In fact, during the early 1930s, you could find C 6, H 0 letters on many buildings around Danville.

I can also remember when Burke's Bakery would bake its bread daily; and when it got the first slicing machine, everybody in Junction City had to come and see it perform.

Lee Estes

3200 Deborah Drive

Monroe, LA 71201

318/651-0683 / e-mail: [email protected]