Albert A. Cardin Was One Of Western Ky.’s Top Farmers
Submitted by By Brenda Underdown – 2014
During the early 1900s, one of Crittenden County’s best- known residents, Albert H. Cardin, had perhaps the most immaculate and innovative farming operation in Western Kentucky. Mr. Cardin was a nominee for the Governor of Kentucky on the People’s Party ticket. Although he didn’t win, he made a strong showing which showed his strength and popularity as a citizen.
Cardin’s large farm was located in the rural community of View, which was about five miles south of the county seat of Marion. When a post office was to be established there in 1886, Mr. Cardin was asked to provide a name for the area. His wife, Mary, gave it the name of View, as she thought that the area had the most beautiful view of anywhere around. From the location of their comfortable home, located on a small knoll, one could see for miles around, and indeed, it was a beautiful view.
The farm was known as Gum Grove, consisting of 1,200 acres and by nature was adapted to stock raising. Every improvement in the way of building and fencing had been made that added to the farm’s utility so that it was considered one of the finest farms in the county.
Cardin conducted his farming and stock raising on scientific principles, and it was of value to the country. His farm was stocked with the best blooded stock. His cattle were of the Jersey and Hereford breeds, and each of his herd was recorded.
Cardin also raised horses. With the innate love every Kentuckian has for the fine horse, he devoted a great deal of time as well as money to the improvement of his herd. He had bought from Woodford County some of old Lexington’s colts, of which proved to be fine brood mares. From these sprang the splendid roadsters and saddlers that could be seen grazing on the grassy acres of Gum Grove.
At the time, Tom Slasher, a colt of Mountain Slasher, one of the country’s famous saddlers, was the head of Cardin’s herd. Mr. Cardin had the honor of exporting the first horse from Crittenden County across the waters. He sold a superb young saddle and harness mare to parties in Liverpool England.
The residence of the Cardin family was a handsome home with beautiful surroundings. There were large shade trees, a good bearing orchard, and various kinds of small fruits. There were large lawns, wagon and machinery sheds, tobacco warehouses, and houses for tenants who farmed the land and prepared the tobacco for shipment. The land was fertile and
yielded abundant crops of wheat and tobacco. Cardin gave a lot of attention to the grasses, knowing their importance to having good pastures for his cattle and horses.
Besides having a thriving and prosperous farm with his own tobacco factory and sheds, Cardin also owned a large tobacco house in MarionHere he bought, packed, and shipped by far the greater part of the tobacco that was sold from this area. He also sold to large dealers in foreign countries. He employed over 100 people all year round, which was an object of importance to a small town the size of Marion.
During 1906 trouble was brewing among the tobacco men of the state, especially in the Black Patch area around Hopkinsville (Christian County). The Tobacco Night Riders were organized in 1906. Their purpose was to force all tobacco growers to join the association, to force independent dealers to co-operate with the association, and to force the trust companies to buy tobacco only from the association at its set prices.
On the night of February 9, 1908, approximately 150 masked and heavily armed men rode the country road from Fredonia (Caldwell County) to the A. H. Cardin farm. They knew Cardin was an independent tobacco dealer and at one time was temporary chairman of the Planter’s Protective Association, but later withdrew to continue business for himself.
When arriving at the farm about 2:00 a.m. a hundred revolvers were fired. Receiving no response, the raiders entered the house to find no one at home. Cardin and his family had gone to Evansville, Indiana, the day before to attend the funeral of a former member of a firm for which Mr. Cardin handled tobacco.
Proceeding to the tobacco warehouses nearby the Riders applied the torch to the two big frame structures, which contained 35,000 pounds of tobacco. They also burned his residence. Their claim for destroying the warehouses was that Cardin had been buying independent tobacco while he was a member of the association.
Cardin learned of his loss when he returned home the next day. After this devastating event, the Cardin’s moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana, for a year or so. When Mr. Cardin returned home to Crittenden County, he never rebuilt the house or any structures, and his well-cared-for farm land had grown up. History doesn’t tell us what happened to his prized cattle and horses that he took such pride in.
The Cardin family cemetery is located there, but it is in a state of disrepair with overgrown weeds and trees and the stones are lying on the ground. Cardin died in July of 1918 and chose to be buried in the Mapleview Cemetery at Marion. Nothing is left to tell the history of the once beautiful and prosperous Gum Grove farm.
Today the view across the valley is peaceful and beautiful as it must have been in those early days, but without knowing its history, no one would guess that the little community of View was once the finest places in the valley. There is nothing left to show that it was ever there.
Brenda Travis Underdown, Crittenden County Historian, 139 Oak Hill Drive, Marion, KY 42064; Marion, KY 42064; firstname.lastname@example.org, shares this article and photos with our readers.
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