Letters To The Kentucky Explorer


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


Getting A Great Response

Dear Editor:

I have asked for things, and I have gotten so many calls, e-mails, and letters, trying to help me. I just wanted to share with you folks something that was sent to me.

I had mentioned how much I loved the state of Kentucky, and how I wanted the words to a song. Dollie Hann sent me a tape with several songs concerning the South on the "B" side. On the "A" side, it had songs all about Kentucky, including "Kentucky," by Gail Davies. This will make folks my age shed tears.

Then I received a letter from Mae Tucker, telling me she would get me a picture of an old school that so many folks have asked me about.

Yes, The Kentucky Explorer and several other folks, like the two I mentioned, have made my day. Thank you.

Gene Pitman
632 Burns Avenue
Wyoming, OH 45215
e-mail: [email protected]


Living On Spicewood

Dear Editor:

First, thank you for a wonderful magazine. My husband calls it my Kentucky Bible.

It was a great surprise to see a picture of my first grade schoolhouse at Kingdom Come on page 98 of the April 2000 issue. However, if you look real close, there is another room on the right side.

Grades 1-4 were on the right, and grades 5-8 were taught in the larger room. I attended school there in 1954-55. My teacher was Monroe Isom.

There is what appears to be a sugar cane stalk seen (on the right) in that picture. I remember a big sugar cane field across the creek from the school. In the fall, they held a "stir-off" and made molasses out of the sugar cane. They invited all us school kids over and gave us a stalk to dip into the foam while it was cooking. It was a real treat.

My family lived on Spicewood Hollow. My father is Slaney Fields. We lived in my grandpa's, Andy Fields, old homeplace. There were five families living on Spicewood when we lived there. Noah Fields lived at the head; we were next; then my great-great-grandma, Ma Jane Fields; her daughter, Tilda Banks, was next; and at the end of the hollow lived Vernon Banks.

No one lives on Spicewood anymore, except maybe Vernon's wife, Aileen. It has probably been 40 years since anyone has lived there. There is a family cemetery about halfway up the hollow, where Grandpa Andy, Ma Jane, and my mother are buried. I think Mother was the last one to be buried there. She died in 1957. All the paths and roads have grown up, and you have to walk through the creek to get to the cemetery.

The only evidence that anyone ever lived there is a chimney and wall at Grandpa Andy's place. At Ma Jane's house, the chimney, tin roof lying on the ground (the house burned down), a snowball bush, and purple lillies are the only things left in her yard.

When we lived there in 1954-56, we didn't have television. We only had one station on the radio, and it went off the air at 5:00 p.m. Red Foley would sing, "Come home, come home, it's suppertime."

I also have wonderful memories of picking wild= greens, pawpaws, pippin apples, and ripe mulberries.

The last time I was there was in 1997. It was like a family reunion. My aunts, uncles, and cousins were there to decorate the graves, and to see people they hadn't seen in years.

There is an old post office and grocery store building still standing at the mouth of the hollow. It was called the Oscoloosa Post Office at Kingdom Come, Kentucky. It is empty and no longer in use, but I thank whoever owns it now for not tearing it down.

We moved from Kingdom Come to Kings Creek, Kentucky. It was here that I finished grade school and started high school at Whitesburg.

In 1963, we moved to Delphia, Kentucky, and I graduated from Leatherwood High School in 1965. I moved to Ohio in the fall of 1965 and have lived here ever since.

I have not seen or heard from any of my classmates since I graduated. I would love to hear from them, and would like to attend a class reunion, if any are still being held.

If anyone has any information about the school or my classmates, I would love to hear from you.

Clara Fields Hoskins
5830 Elwynn Drive
Milford, OH 45150


Train Stop At Lilly

Dear Editor:

My search is for information on an L. and N. train stop called Lily, located just south of Cynthiana and north of Paris on the Licking River. It no longer appears on any Kentucky map that I can find.

I lived there in my early childhood, before moving to Paris ca. 1928, when my father, George Sim Bruner, who worked for L. and N., was transferred.

My memories are of a one-room schoolhouse, and a teacher named Maggie Smith. I can't remember there being any town, but there was an empty distillery, as this was during the prohibition period.

If anyone has any photos or history of Lily, I would love to hear from you. Thank you.

Inas Bruner Otten
34 Sweet Bay
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926


Pinkston School

Dear Editor:

I first saw the Kentucky Explorer in the grocery store. I like to read about things in the state, so I got one. I love the part about the families of Kentucky.

I am working on a reunion (July 2000) for the Pinkston School in Washington County, Kentucky, and I need some help. I am having trouble finding a girl named Rena Mullins. Her father was Willie Mullins. Someone told me she was the only one still living in her family, possibly in Ohio. She would be in her 70s.

Also, I need information about former classmate Mertie Ann Royalty. Any information on these two women would be appreciated.

Edna Evans Harley
119 Eagle Drive
Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
502/839-4639


Clay County Feuds

Dear Editor:

I recently received the April 2000 issue of The Kentucky Explorer. I enjoy the magazine very much.

Here is a little more to add to the letter about Clay County feuds: My father, Pearl Hampton, got his name changed in 1903 to Hampton, from Benge, when he was two years old. His parents were Sidney Benge and Tishie Mae "Irvin" Benge Hampton. Sidney's mother was a Filpot, but I don't know her first name. Thanks.

Earl Hampton
15200 HWY 39
Eubank, KY 42567


Elixir Springs

Dear Editor:

The Kentucky Explorer is both entertaining and informative, as it gives the history of Kentucky from a personal viewpoint.

The query on Elixir Springs, in the March 2000 issue, struck a personal chord, as I would also like information on this springs. Elixir Springs Resort was started ca. 1902 by my grandparents, Frances Marion and Rachael "Bettie" Fletcher Sims. They operated the resort until 1910, when they traded it to a former patient, Reuben Houchen of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for a farm in Anderson County.

Mr. Houchen owned the resort until 1926, when it was bought by a group of investors and managed by John Coulter. We believe the hotel/resort closed in the mid-1930s, and it stood deserted until it burned ca. 1959.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has any information, pictures, and stories to share about this hotel/resort.

Ethyl Sims Letcher
304 Meriwether Drive
Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
e-mail: [email protected]


Photo Identified

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to a photo published in the March 2000 issue of The Kentucky Explorer. On page 74, there is a picture of my great-grandmother, Caroline Richardson Sparks. I didn't know who she was when I first saw it.

On March 22nd, I got a letter from my cousin in Michigan, who is a Sparks, and a grandson of Caroline. He only lives about ten miles from the lady who sent in the photo. He said this a five-generation picture taken at his father's, Hubert Sparks, yard in 1933, at Slade, Kentucky.

Hubert lived in and ran a store at Slade. Great-grandmother Caroline had a son, John Andrew Stamper. She later married Grandpa Sparks and had six children that I know of: Sarah Jane, Gabriel (Gay), Hubert, Floyd, William, and James.

I only saw my great-grandmother one time, and that was shortly after the photo was taken. She moved in with my grandma, Sarah Jane Sparks Powell Elam, who lived on Mill Creek, where the lake at Natural Bridge State Park is today.

In the picture on the right, in the black dress, is Caroline Richardson Sparks. Behind Caroline is her daughter, Gay Sparks McCoy. Next to Gay is her daughter, Sarah Margaret Woodard. In front of Sarah is her daughter and granddaughter.

After I got the letter from my cousin, I called Dorothy Garza to tell her who was in the picture. I found out that someone else had already called her.

Again, The Kentucky Explorer has brought a family together. I might say that I just recently got a letter from a cousin in Stanton, Kentucky, who is part of the McCoy family. Her mother was a Sparks, also. She is a granddaughter of Caroline.

Thanks again for a great magazine.

Joseph A. Dalton
6501 Germantown Road, Lot 402
Middletown, OH 45042


Seeks Info. From Owsley

Dear Editor:

I was given an order form, with a copy of an article from your magazine about two years ago. I have been hooked ever since. I read and re-read each volume, always finding something interesting. I can't wait for the next issue to come, and I go through withdrawal on the months that are doubled up. You are doing such a wonderful job. Don't ever stop.

Over the last two years, I have been trying to research my mother's family from Owsley and Clay Counties. I have met so many interesting people, who have given me help, that I can't even begin to say thank you to everyone.

Unfortunately, I have hit a big brick wall for a couple of reasons: because the courthouse burned down, and because people don't remember the old stories anymore. I hope that some of your readers can help me fill in the blanks.

My line from Owsley and Clay Counties includes the following surnames: Seale, Gilbert, Moyers, Stewart, Wilson, Roberts, Strong, Ambrose, Clark, Moore, Morris, and Sandlin. I don't think I left anyone out.

Last summer, I was able to make many trips to Kentucky, looking for information. I visited old graveyards, and took lots of pictures. I was even able to find the grave of my great-great-grandparents, thanks to a little help from a very sweet man by the name of Bo Barrett.

My great-great-grandfather came to Owsley County in 1849 or 1850 with his brother, John King Seale, looking for their fortunes, after hearing Daniel Boone talk of all the riches of the area. Joseph met a woman by the name of Martha Ann Gilbert, who was already in the area when he arrived. There are several land grants in her name dated from as early as 1844.

They married and settled in Owsley County, living there until Joseph died in 1902. Martha then moved to Clark County, probably with one of her children. She died in 1915 and was brought back to Booneville, Kentucky, to be buried next to Joseph, on what, at the time, was Seale Land.

Who was Martha Ann Gilbert (1826-1915)? I have checked and can find no link with the Clay County Gilberts or any other of the surrounding counties. I would be greatly appreciative of anyone who can give me any information on this issue. Thanks.

Kathy McKenzie
104 Westrock Farm Road
Union, OH 45322
e-mail: [email protected]


Rev. A. A. Allen Material Wanted

Dear Editor:

I was wondering if you or any of your readers have any books, magazines, or tapes by the famous evangelist, A. A. Allen?

My son is very much interested in A. A. Allen's writings and sermons. We would appreciate and treasure anything by Rev. Allen.

If anyone has any of these items, please contact me.

Ann Crouch
611 Stanley Street
Middletown, OH 45044


Goosetown Schoolhouse

Dear Editor:

We read The Kentucky Explorer from cover to cover. It is a very good magazine.

I am looking for a photo of the Goosetown Schoolhouse. It is located in Menifee County on Highway 173, about two and a half miles from the Menifee County High School.

If anyone has one, it would be greatly appreciated.

Aubrey Faulkner
HC 69 Box 540
Frenchburg, KY 40322


Family Tree Information

Dear Editor:

I wrote a letter regarding the Angel-Faubus families, and received a telephone call from a man with the last name of Allen. However, the number he left for me to return his call was apparently written down incorrectly. I tried returning the call, but it was a place of business in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. If Mr. Allen would please contact me again, I would appreciate it.

I am printing the family tree on the Faubus-Angel families, and the Wallingford-Garrett families. There are other families included: Applegate, Simms, Reeder, Hamm, and Bramel.

Any interested parties who would like to share information, feel free to contact me.

Rita C. Parsley
9860 HWY Y
O'Fallon, MO 63366
636/240-9183
314/413-7624
e-mail: [email protected]


Baptist "Orphans" Home

Dear Editor:

My father, Garrett Osborne, died at Middlesboro, Kentucky, in 1917 when I was one year old. My brother, Lester, was two. Dad was a "machine" man at the Black Mountain Coal Company at Saint Charles, Virginia.

My brother and I were placed in the Baptist Orphans Home, while our mother, Lora Day Osborne, worked. Shortly after 1918, Mother married J. C. Keller, who was a fireman on the I. C. Railroad at Princeton, Kentucky.

He was the only father I ever knew. He was wonderful to us. He came and got us after he and Mom got a house ready. I remember getting off the train and seeing Mom.

About two and one-half years ago, a man from the Baptist Children's Home was visiting the churches in Calloway and other counties. I told him my story about living at the home in Louisville, and he told me that I was, no doubt, the oldest living person who was at the old home. I am 83 now. I can't remember the street that the home was one, but I remember the cars that traveled it.

My grandfather was Charlie Day, who lived and died at Middlesboro. Mother was born in Laurel County.

There are a lot of Osbornes in Harlan County, Kentucky, and there are several Days in Harlan and Bell Counties.

Charles E. Osborne
920 Lawrence Road
Murray, KY 42071


Warren County Native

Dear Editor:

Reading Pauline Conyer's letter in the March 2000 issue of The Kentucky Explorer brought back memories of my childhood on a farm near Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky. It was a custom in our family to give the birthday person a pinch, a slap, and a hair pull for each year of age, then they were rolled under the bed.

When it was my birthday, my three brothers would come running for me. I would call for Mom to help me. She would remind the boys that their birthdays would soon follow.

I can't help Pauline with her inquiry of this custom, but like her I would like to know the origin.

Thanks for a wonderful magazine. It often takes me down memory lane.

Elouise Carden
9009 Fawn Court
Louisville, KY 40242


Clayhole, Kentucky

Dear Editor:

In the March 2000 issue of The Kentucky Explorer, on page 103, there is a picture entitled, "The Old General Store at Clayhole 1905." The article was written by Sewell Landrum, ca. 1983.

I am interested in this article and in the area, because in 1894, Clayhole was the voting place where the Tharps and the Days met and a gunfight took place. Oliver Tharp was killed, and his son, William, was shot.

There were three Day brothers. All three were shot, but I don't know if any of them were killed. I have very little information on this story.

If anyone has any information on this incident or knows exactly where the voting house was, I would appreciated hearing from you. Oliver was my great-grandfather and is buried on Smith Branch.

The article also mentioned that the store's charge account books are still in existence. Does anyone know where these books are?

Erb James Thorpe
183 Chatham Avenue
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
732/531-2720
e-mail: [email protected]


Buckhorn School

Dear Editor:

I really enjoy your magazine. I went to school at Witherspoon, Buckhorn, Kentucky, and graduated in 1931. I've been in Northern Kentucky since then, but I love to read about the people from Breathitt, Owsley, and Perry Counties.

I am 86 years old and live a good life with my daughter, Nancy Sebastian. My son is also nearby, and my four grandchildren.

I like the old-time stories, as I can associate with them. I look forward to the best reading each time I get the magazine.

Ellen Griffith
723 Janet Drive
Taylor Mill, KY 41015


Rural Life In Kentucky

Dear Editor:

I'm a regular reader of your magazine and enjoy it very much. The Kentucky Explorer is a great source for hard-to-find, personalized information on the history of the state.

I am writing because I am currently doing research on a paper about daily rural life in the 1930s and '40s in Eastern Kentucky, specifically in Lee City and the surrounding environs of Wolfe County.

I was wondering if anyone might be willing to share specific details and anecdotes that would help me understand what life was like in this region at that time. I would very much appreciate it. Thank you for your time.

Laura Marsan
560 Beechtree Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45224
513/761-8517
e-mail: [email protected]


Bus Disaster

Dear Editor:

I really enjoy your publication. I am writing a book about the 1958 school bus disaster that took place near Prestonsburg, Kentucky. If anyone has any information about this tragedy, please contact me.

Sally J. Hall
1928 Spurlock Creek Road
Prestonsburg, KY 41653


Wants More About Franklin Sousley

Dear Editor:

I am interested in learning more about Franklin Sousley, one of the brave marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima in the South Pacific, during WWII, after defeating the Japanese in a fierce battle.

I have heard that Sousley was later a casualty in another engagement. His gravesite is at Elizaville Cemetery in Fleming County, Kentucky. I visited his grave and saw the monument honoring him.

My late wife is also buried in this cemetery. Her name was Mildred Alexander. Her father was Milliam H. Alexander.

I would like to hear more about Franklin Sousley and this small community. Anyone having information concerning this matter, please contact me.

Leo Fitzgerald
Belle Tower Apartments
631 Woodlawn Avenue, #311
Hamilton, OH 45015


Quilt Patterns Wanted

Dear Editor:

I was born in Perry County, and I remember my grandmother, aunts, and neighbor ladies sitting around an old quilting frame that was suspended from the ceiling. I could look at those quilts and recognize an old dress of mine or my grandmother's, or an old shirt.

Grandma is gone now, and I regret not being more interested while she was still here. I am no longer working, and I want to get into making quilts.

I am hoping that someone might have some quilt patterns and helpful hints to get me started.

Jean Alongi
554 N. Fraser Drive
Mesa, AZ 85203


Clay County Veterans

Dear Editor:

I am in the process of writing a book called A Tribute To Clay County Veterans. It will be a book on the history of Clay County veterans, and one which every veteran or family member will enjoy through the ages.

I am asking for a small photograph, a short autobiography of 150 words or less, or any photographs and personal stories that someone would like to share with fellow veterans and Clay Countians. I am sure the veterans and their families will be glad to have this opportunity to participate in such an historic event.

I would like to have the photos and autobiographies of veterans from all wars and those presently serving.

David Harmon
RR 3, Box 32
Manchester, KY 40962
606/598-2070
606/598-3369


A Friend Found

Dear Editor:

Thank you so much for helping me find a friend.

I received my copy of The Kentucky Explorer on a Saturday, and saw that my letter was printed in it. On Sunday afternoon, I got a call from my long lost friend.

Just think, after 55 years, we are in touch again, because of this magazine. We plan to meet soon and renew our friendship. I am so excited about this.

Thank you for a great magazine. I look forward to each copy.

Alpha Daniels
185 Southland Drive
London, KY 40744
606/878-9201


Looking For Pine Mountain Settlement Teacher

Dear Editor:

I am from Bledsoe, Harlan County, Kentucky. When a friend of my husband found out that I was from Harlan County, he said his mother once taught school at the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Her name was Ruth Gay, born at Mayfield, in Graves County, Kentucky, ca. 1897.

Ms. Gay graduated from Berea College in the early 1920s. I called the school, but they were unable to find her name in any of their records.

If anyone has any information, or if they remember Ruth Gay, please contact me. Her son would be thrilled.

Ocie Nicholson
829 Campbell Town Road
Walhalla, SC 29691
864/638-9840


Turner/Stine Family

Dear Editor:

My mother just ordered nine back issues of The Kentucky Explorer, and I really enjoy reading them. It's the finest thing since toilet paper replaced the old Sears and Roebuck catalog in the old outhouse.

Most of my people live in the London area, but my mother's people were from the Harlan area.

If anyone knows anything about the Turner or Stine families in those areas, from the 1930s and '40s, I would love to hear from you. Keep up the good work.

Reba Gibson
1022 Buckeye Street
Hamilton, OH 45011


Family Found

Dear Editor:

You recently helped us find family members whom we didn't know about. We got a phone call from Randall and Peggy Colson, Benton, Kentucky, who had seen my husband's name in The Kentucky Explorer. Randall wanted to know if my husband, Clay, was related to him.

Randall has a genealogy book on the Colsons. We also have one, but could not figure out the proper relationship.

The next day our son, Robert, came home from Connecticut. After reviewing both genealogy books, he figured out that 15 generations ago in Virginia, there were two brothers from whom each family descended.

As a retired nurse, I wonder how their DNA would compare today. Randall and Peggy were such lovely people that we felt related immediately.

Thank you for such a good magazine. Hang in there, genealogy buffs. You may find a new relative any day now.

Nellie K. Colson
RR 3, Box 214
Brodhead, KY 40409


L. and N. Engineer

Dear Editor:

I read, with much interest, your story about L. and N. Railroad engineer, Harry Nunley, in the March 2000 issue of The Kentucky Explorer.

I am a retired L. and N. engineer, and I had the pleasure and privilege of driving for Mr. Nunley many times on both steam and diesel locomotives. Not only was he a good man on an engine, he was also a gentleman.

I learned a lot from Nunley. He was a good man handling the air brake. I put in 43 years as a fireman and engineer.

I rode my first engine, when I was nine years old, with Engineer Eugene Partington. That settled it for what I wanted to be when I grew up. The other engineers let me ride their engines until I went to work on July 14, 1941. I retired July 14, 1984.

Since then, I have been running steam and diesel locomotives for the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and also for the Chattanooga and Chickamauga Railroad in Lafayette, Georgia.

I have always loved steam engines, and I have two steam traction engines: a 1919 Model-16 HP Nicholas and Shephard; and a 1984 half-scale Model-15 HP case mode.

I enjoy The Kentucky Explorer very much, as it reminds me of when I was a boy growing up during the Depression. Keep up the good work.

Billy M. Byrd
369 S. Harrig Street
Madisonville, KY 42431
270/821-4390


Born On Kentucky Border

Dear Editor:

I was born on the Kentucky/Tennessee border in Graves County. The state line ran just a little bit from our front porch, and we had as many neighbors in Tennessee as we did in Kentucky.

Dukedom, Tennessee, is where our village post office was. There was also a bank, three country stores, and a funeral home. On the Kentucky side, there was a general store, pool room, blacksmith shop, and a gas station.

I am 88 years old. I was born a triplet, but I'm the only one still living. We lived a lot like the folks in Eastern Kentucky. We had straw beds, home-grown vegetables, ground meal from the mill, coal oil lamps, and more.

I enjoy your magazine very much. I sure will miss Clifton Caudill's writings. Keep up the good work.

Rupert Buck
433 Chestnut Cove
Mayfield, KY 42066


M. H. and E. Railroad Depot

Dear Editor:

I really enjoy the magazine. Just like all the others who read it faithfully, I can't put it down until I've read it all.

I was born at McHenry, Ohio County, Kentucky, in 1930. We moved to nearby Hartford in 1937, after the flood waters had gone down enough to make the seven-mile trip.

In your October 1999 issue, there is a story about Hartford in 1875, and a photo of the old L. and N. Railroad depot. On the photo was written, "M. H. and E. Depot, Hartford, Kentucky" some 90 years ago.

This depot was located about 200 yards from my home. Our property touched the railroad right of way, and our barn was less than a stone's throw from the tracks.

I remember this old depot so well, as I passed it every day on my way to school. The M. H. and L. stood for Madisonville, Hartford, and Ellmitch. They called it the "Mud, Hell, and Eternity;" why they gave it that name, I don't know.

A Mr. Hart was the last station master, as far as I know. He came to Hartford from Fordsville, Kentucky. I think he was station master there, because about that time, the train only came as far as Hartford, and the tracks from Hartford to Ellmitch were taken up. A turntable was put in just west of the depot, and the engine would turn around and head back to Madisonville.

This took place during the war years in the 1940s. I left Kentucky in 1947 and served 21 years in the U. S. Army. I never found my way back to my home state to live, but I still come back for visits, since many of my relatives still live there. I have two sons and a daughter still living in Hartford, in the Beaver Dam area.

I would like to read more about the western part of Kentucky, especially about Ohio, Butler, Muhlenberg, and Daviess Counties.

Also, I would like to hear from friends of long ago, from the Hartford, McHenry, and Beaver Dam areas.

Robert E. Ashby
109 Merle Lane
Linn, MO 65051


Happy Top School

Dear Editor:

I want to say how much I enjoy the magazine. When I finish reading it, I pass it on to my brother-in-law.

My mother is Delmer Cain. Her parents were Willie and Dora Dixon Cain. Mother's siblings are Snowden, Miley, Troy, Malcolm, and Dempsey. She attended a one-room school at Happy Top in Estill County, Kentucky. Her teachers were Joe and Gertrude Collins.

If anyone has any photos or information about this school, please contact me.

Reta Adams
125 Haiti Road
Berea, KY 40403
859/986-4508


Ghost Stories Wanted

Dear Editor:

I am seeking ghost stories from anyone who has any. I enjoy reading and listening to ghost stories. If anyone has any, please send them to me.

Jeanette Miniard
2261 Krypton Lick Branch Road
Hazard, KY 41701
606/439-4884


Seeks An Old Friend

Dear Editor:

I am trying to locate Herman Drake of Brown's Fork, Hazard, Kentucky. He is the son of Shelt Drake and went to school with my brother, Lucien Davidson, at Berea, Kentucky in the 1930s. He visited our home at Barwick, and he and my brother fished together.

We're told that he went back to Barwick a few years ago looking for us, not knowing that we had moved to Georgetown. If anyone knows where he is, please get in touch with me.

Edith Davidson Duff
5493 Paris Pike
Georgetown, KY 40324
502/863-4848


Clifty Creek In Wolfe County

Dear Editor:

I have written you before and gave directions to Clifty Creek, at Valeria, Wolfe County, Kentucky, which borders my great-grandparent's farm. Enclosed is a photo of my trip down the creek last summer. It is hard to take good pictures there, for it is so dark down in the creek, even on a bright day.

I am unsure where the creek actually begins, but it doesn't become rugged until a mile from the Menifee County line at Route 746. I have been down in the creek many times, but this past summer, I hiked the center of it all the way to Red River. The round trip was about five hours. During cold weather, ice is a danger.

Small caves and high cliffs make it a miniature grand canyon. The water is sandy colored from all the sandstone. Some of the wildlife in the area include turkey, owls, deer, raccoon, birds, and minnows. The vegetation is very dense, and the humidity and moisture are intense.

Years ago, my uncles found Indian artifacts along its cliffs. What is believed to be ancient Indian hominy holes can still be found in the creek's floor.

Though part of it lies within the Clifty Wilderness area of the Daniel Boone National Forest, help in a crisis situation is still pretty far away, so don't go to it alone. Clifty Creek will test your true backwoodsmanship, and at the same time, show you yet another of God's majestic wonders.

Larry Helton
6570 Crest Circle
Middletown, OH 45042


Appalachian Funerals Author Gets Huge Response

Dear Editor:

My mailbox runneth over! I am still reeling from the overwhelming response to my "Appalachian Funerals" essay, which ran in the February 2000 issue.

The Kentucky Explorer certainly has a wide-awake and enthusiastic bunch of readers. In my more than 20 years of writing on Appalachian themes, I have never felt more appreciated by any audience.

I am equally flattered by those who actually tried to find a message in my writing, who felt that I purposely dragged their good name through the Kentucky mud. It is amazing how a little shag carpet and riding lawn mower can cause some people to forget their heritage.

By the way, is there some way of clearing up the confusion about my gender? I realize my first name is misleading, but since February, I have had 17 invitations to Tupperware parties, as well as mail order advice on how to firm my breasts and buttocks. I am not opposed to keeping up my health and youthful appearance, but as a 55-year-old man, this is not the part of my anatomy that needs firming.

My thanks to everyone who wrote or called with their kind words and criticism.

Mr. Gayle Compton
P. O. Box 68
Jonancy, KY 41538


Seeks Help On Bartlett Family

Dear Editor:

As an avid reader of The Kentucky Explorer, I would like to see more articles from my section of the state. Although I am a resident of Mason County, I was reared in the Blue Licks area near the Blue Licks State Resort Park, as it is now called.

My fourth great-grandfather, James Buchanan, owned this land at the time of his death in 1806, having bought it from James Parberry. This land ran through one-half of the salt springs on both sides of the Licking River.

Several years after the death of James Buchanan, his widow, Phoebe Hildreth Buchanan, and her son, James, Jr., sold the property to her brother-in-law, William Bartlett; whom she later married in 1818. I have quite a lot of information concerning the Blue Licks area.

I have tried for several years to track down the following information, but to no avail. In the 1937 edition of The Handbook of American Genealogy, an article was placed by Rev. Charles Henry Buchanan. I believe he was born August 1, 1858.

Buchanan held degrees in education, theology, and literature from Vanderbilt University. A retired Methodist minister engaged in genealogy work since 1929, he married Margaret Gwin Baskette of Nashville, Tennessee.

I also have the genealogies of the Col. John Buchanan and Major John Buchanan families. I have searched manuscripts on Col. John Buchanan, Fourth Laird of Corbeth; Major John Buchanan, of Tennessee; Gov. John Price Buchanan, of Tennessee; George Buchanan, of Kentucky (The McAfee-Buchanan Record); Josuah Buchanan, of Kentucky; James Buchanan, The Blue Licks Family; James Buchanan and his descendants (1702-1763), Augusta County, Virginia; and Thomas Buchanan.

I am interested in the family of William Bartlett. I believe some of his descendants may still live in the Salt Lick area of Kentucky.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

June Hughes Roe
8221 Orangeburg Road
Maysville, KY 41056


Old Letters Found

Dear Editor:

A friend sent me a subscription of The Kentucky Explorer, and I am enjoying it very much.

I became interested in Kentucky and its history after my interest began in genealogy. I learned that my great-great-grandparents, Austin DePriest and Lydia Ann Gordon Thorp, were from Washington County, Kentucky. Their daughters reared families in the central and eastern areas of the state.

When it became necessary to clear out the old farmhouse, which had been in my father's Orr family since 1878, I came across some letters my grandmother, Maggie Thorp Orr, had written in 1903. She went to Kentucky the summer before her marriage to my grandfather, in April 1904, in order to meet some of her aunts' families (on her father's side) for the first time.

She wrote home to her fiance very descriptively about her experiences in Kentucky. I went through those letters and extracted the parts of each which dealt with people and places. I typed them up, in order, as a reference; they were also good to share with some of the new "cousins" I'm finding through the Internet.

I am willing to share these, if any of your readers are interested.

Della M. Shafer
181 Western
Haysville, KS 67060
316/524-7637


Families From Owsley County

Dear Editor:

Though my records are far from being complete, I have information that our families moved into the Owsley County area ca. 1830. Our direct lines include (listing husband and wife together, with approximate generational date): on my mother's side, Palmer Scott and Grace Botner (1890s to 1970s), George C. Scott and Matilda Rowlett (1870s to 1960), William Botner and Luvisa Caudill (1860s to 1950s), Whitley Wilkerson Scott and Martha Jane Mainous (1830s to 1870s), Jesse Benjamin Rowlett and Eliza Jane Brown (1830s to 1915), Isaac Botner and Sarah Harber (1830s to 1920s), Alfred Caudill and Jane Simpkins (1840s to 1820s), Henry Caudill and Lucinda/Lucy Couch (1820s to 1912), and Eli Simpkins and Polly Tirey (1790s to 1850s).

My mother is Irma Helen Scott, daughter of Palmer and Grace Botner Scott. Mother was born in 1913 at Traveler's Rest. She is in fine health, and we plan to visit home this summer.

Mother married Dewey Eugene Ward, and the Owsley connection begins with his father, Isaac Daniel, born in 1889 in Jackson County (McKee area). The line thus continues with Rev. Joseph Ward (the singing minister of Owsley County) and Orpha Farmer (1830s to 1950s), Rev. Daniel M. and Mary Elmira (Halcomb) Ward (1830s to 1900), and Rev. John and Camilla McHone Ward (1800s to 1890s).

As was common in those days, the families were large, thus the family tree is large and extended.

Since the fall of 1998, I have been planning a trip to the former homeplaces and final resting places of my descendants who lived in Owsley, Jackson, Breathitt, and Lee Counties. We know that many distant relatives still live in those areas.

Most of my direct ancestors left Owsley County in the 1930s and 1940s, moving to Northern Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, in search of increased job opportunities. This was after several generations had lived in the area since 1830.

Relatives we know still in the Owsley County area include Judy Spenser, Wallace Brandenburg, Wilma Jean Price, Lennie Mae Herald, and June Sasser (McKee).

We are requesting that anyone who may be related or have information about these families, please contact us. Though we know where several of the cemeteries are located, we are also aware of how many of these areas are hard to find or are inaccessible. Stories, photographs, or new leads will be much appreciated.
Though exact dates have not been established to visit the Owsley County area, we will be attending the Traveler's Rest annual reunion on August 12, 2000, in Burlington, Kentucky.

We are planning to spend five to seven days in Owsley County, between August 14th and 26th. Our planned trip from Yakima, Washington, will take us to Salt Lake City, across I-80 through Wyoming; with a planned stop in Weeping Water, Nebraska, to research the Milton Baldwin family. Mossie Baldwin (granddaughter of Milton and Mary Baldwin) was my grandmother, who married Isaac Daniel Ward of McKee, Kentucky.

We will drop down to Kansas City and take I-70 to St. Louis, where my father, Dewey E. Ward, is buried. From St. Louis, we'll head to Burlington, Kentucky, for the Traveler's Rest reunion on August 12th. We hesitate to call it a reunion, but our Ward relatives may try to link up around McKee, Wild Dog, and Traveler's Rest around that time.

Thanks to anyone who may be able to provide information and possible leads to relatives we may be able to contact and visit along the way.

Jerry Scott Ward
409 N. 36th Avenue
Yakima, WA 98902
509/452-5190
e-mail: [email protected]


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