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.”

Dear Editor:

After serving four years in the Navy in 1958, I got out, married, and settled outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
Not knowing it, my buddy, Thomas Alfred Griffin, had done the same. He was from Alabama, and I was from Kentucky.
My wife died in 1961 after my second son was born. I moved back to Kentucky in 1964. I worked for Ford Motor Company in Louisville for 30 years and retired in 1994.
In 2000 I heard about the USS Albany Association and joined it. When I attended a meeting in Albany, New York, the city the USS Albany CA123 was named for, I met many old friends but didn’t see Al, as he was called aboard ship. We were given a directory with all the members’ addresses and phone numbers. Al’s address was listed. The following Christmas I sent him a card and received one from him. Each year after that we sent each other Christmas cards.
My oldest son had settled in Franklin, Massachusetts. I made many trips there to see him, his wife, and my grandkids. Each time I planned on looking up my old buddy, but got busy with the grandkids and never did. Then it turned into going up to see my son, grandkids, and great- grandkids.
Well, this year I made it a must to look up my old Navy buddy, as I was pushing 80 years old.
When the GPS took me to his house, I rang the doorbell. When he opened the door I asked, “Are you Thomas Griffin?” He said, “Yes.” I said the Navy is in need of good gunner’s mates. I was going to say report to the nearest naval station, when he said, “Mullins.” I said, “Yes,” and he said, “Come on in.” I think the USS Albany CA123 hat I was wearing gave me away.
After meeting his lovely wife, Lin-
da, we went into the parlor to swap old Navy stories. He had written a book and autographed it “to John Mullins, my old Navy buddy.”

John Mullins 195 Briscoe Lane Taylorsville, KY 40071 

Dear Editor:

My late mother was born in
Grayson County, Kentucky.
I am seeking the recipe for the pecan cake she baked at Christmas, because we did not like fruitcake.
It was a big simple cake that required six cups of pecans and a jar of chopped maraschino cherries. The recipe was popular between 1990 and 2000.
Perhaps a reader will share a copy of the “six-cup pecan cake” recipe.

Janet L. Haddock
4192 Sardis Road Hazlehurst, MS 39083

Dear Editor:

In 1961 as a constable on patrol late one summer night on Highway 245 in Bullitt County, I heard a woman scream for over 30 minutes. I gave up trying to find her.
The next day I returned to the area and confronted a Bernheim Forest Ranger who advised me that I could have looked all night and not located her, as what I had heard was a bobcat.
I live in Mount Washington, Kentucky, on the north side of Salt River. One night about five years ago, I heard the same woman’s scream. The next day I contacted a neighbor who lives on Greenwell Ford Road who said he also heard the scream.

Charles Long 434 Riverview Drive Mt. Washington, KY 40047

One of the popular features found in The Kentucky Explorer each month is genealogy, often published in the form of letters, queries, photographs, and stories. Several serial features, such as Kentucky Genealogy Help Line, Genealogy From The Long Ago, Strictly Kentucky Genealogy, and Kentucky Kinfolk are dedicated solely to this purpose and continue from month to month.

Thursday , June 16, 1898

My grandfather came from North Carolina in 1815 from Nollichucky River. His name was Zadok. He came to Clay County and settled on Sexton’s Creek at the mouth of Spivey Branch.
His father’s name was David Spivey. He was ten years old when his father removed to Kentucky. My grandfather was the first settler on Sexton’s Creek. My great-grandfather was a brick-layer and came from Germany. He died in North Carolina. He had but one child, Zadok, my ………….

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June 17 , 1898

My grandfather, Richard Nichol- son, emigrated from Wales to America. He was a colonel in the Revolutionary Army. The brass mounted powder horn which he carried in the Army is yet in our family. It holds exactly a pound of gun powder. He came to Clay County very early and settled on Goose Creek. He owned a great deal of………

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June 15, 1898

My great-grandfather, Achaelous Craft, was born on a vessel en route from England to America 1750. His father settled in North Carolina. I do not know where. He had but two sons. My great-grandfather was in the Revolutionary War. He never saw his brother after the war closed. In 1867,
I went to North Carolina on a visit to see my brother-in-law, Col. Ben Caudell. In Wilkes County I was on the farm that my great-grandfather owned before he came to Kentucky. As Wilkes County was the home of Daniel Boone it is not strange that he followed the pioneer to the wonderful land which he had explored. Consequently, after the war he came to Fayette County, Kentucky, and laid his claim where a part of the city of Lexington now stands. But his wife reared the Indians, and to please her, he…………..

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One of the popular features found in The Kentucky Explorer each month is genealogy, often published in the form of letters, queries, photographs, and stories. Several serial features, such as Kentucky Genealogy Help Line, Genealogy From The Long Ago, Strictly Kentucky Genealogy, and Kentucky Kinfolk are dedicated solely to this purpose and continue from month to month.

Seek info. on Frank Morgan or Clarence Morgan, lived near Rosetta King, at Fincastle, Lee Co., Ky., in the 1930s. Area was possibly known as Walker’s Creek. Any info. appreciated. Will share info.

Lavern Winkleman 201 N. Wildwood Crandon, WI 54520

Seek info. on Coleman and Cook families of Pike Co., Ky. Any info. appreciated.

Brenda Catanzano 21509 16th Place W. Lynnwood, WA 98036 bcatazano@live.com

Seek info. on Mattie Parker, b. Miss., 1877, lived and d. in Paducah, McCracken Co., Ky., m. 1st, Rudolph De- laney, m. 2nd, a Turpin. Any info. appreciated.

Marti Parker 212 DuClain Court Brandon, MS 39042

Seek photos and info. on John William Jacobs, b. ca. 1836, Ky., m. Gillian “Tillie” Ann Jones, had Robert, b. 1864; Laura, b. 1869, m. g. grand- mother, m. John H. Brown; Nanton, b. 1872; Newton, b. 1873, Jefferson, b. 1874; Bill, b. 1877; John, b. 1879; Mary, b. 1882; and Artie, b. 1884. Any help appreciated.

Jerry Wright 9406 Kerby Lane Mancelona, MI 49659 jorjwright@torchlake.com

Leewright- Scott- Shettlefield

Head-Minter- Verbrycke
Clay-Marston- Williams

Hot Cross Buns
French Poached Eggs
Baked Stuffed Cucumbers
Summer Salad
Baked Beans
Potato Puff
Creamed Cabbage
Sugar Cookies

Daugherty Family Of Lincoln County


Every reader of The Kentucky Explorer, no doubt, has a special memory. Why not write it down and share it here in this column? Help preserve the story of our vanishing past for today and tomorrow. We need memories and photographs from every part of Kentucky and beyond.

Growing up during the 1950s and 1960s, I did not realize I was rich. I thought everyone lived in a cozy four- room house in the country. I didn’t now some people paid a landlord every month for permission to stay in upstairs apartments with fire escapes but no pets. I thought every kid rode a school bus one and one-half hours to and from school. I didn’t know some children were driven by the parents every day or lived close enough to walk.

No one ever told me that some kids didn’t know what it was like to carry firewood in a wagon and then into the woodbox by a dusty wood stove, and that some heat could be summoned by just the flip of a wrist or the twist of a knob.

I never tired of the pinto bean smell of the tiny kitchen, where I would always find my mother when I came rushing in from school. Didn’t everyone start their morning with hot biscuits and oatmeal and end their evening with cornbread and buttermilk?

We were so close to a country
store that we never ran out of anything for very long. Daddy
 didn’t explain that our sulfur water drawn from a well in the back yard was different from the neighbors who had sinks with faucets where water poured freely. But from commercials I learned that such items could stop up and re- quire a product called Draino.

An outhouse for me was no problem. We sure didn’t fight over it or spend much time there. I had an antique dress- er and mirror in the bedroom I shared with my big sister and baby brother. Not to mention the free clothes my sister passed down to me and the party dresses my granny made especially for me.
I never dreamed some folks…..

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The following was written by my late uncle, James C. Haven.

“Once upon a time, on October 20, 1917, in an old log house in Ohio County, Kentucky, six miles from Beaver Dam; and at a wide place in the road called Rob Roy, I was plopped out and saw the light of day after a whack to my rear end. The Dr. rode six miles to deliver that whack, and I protested with a loud wail.

“Dad leased a 175-acre farm owned by the Porter family of Beaver Dam. At about the age of four, I remember the tearing down of the log house and erect- ing a new frame house with three fire- places. We lived in a tent while the house was being built.

“Dad and Mom had a large family; six boys and two girls. The oldest child, Eugene, died as an infant.

“The local school I attended was called Rob Roy, names for a couple of brothers who ran a small grocery at a crossroads near our home.

“We had our ups and downs, as usual with a family of that size and a lot of fun and memories. I remember one out- ing at school. The older boys went skating down the frozen creek during lunch period, and we returned as school was letting out. Imogene Plummer was the teacher. She promptly sent the group to a nearby willow thicket to cut our own switches; she wielded them with a vengeance too. Dad didn’t help the situation with his paddle when I got home.
“I remember…..

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Shank’s mare, also known as shank’s pony or shank’s nag (Scottish spelling is naig), means to go on foot. As many of you know, a shank is the shin bone of an animal. You can buy pig shanks at some groceries today. How our ancestors came up with shank’s mare to mean walking is beyond me, but it does.

When I returned to Kentucky in 1953, after my dad’s retirement from the Army, we settled on the old homeplace at the head of Rockhouse Fork of Big Willard Creek in Perry County. The first thing that jumped out at me was the lack of amenities found in towns and cities where I was mostly raised, the most notable was the lack of telephones and public transportation.

There were no telephone lines strung up the hollows. The closest tele- phone was at the mouth of the creek, a distance of about five miles, and only there because the L&N Railroad had tracks there and phone lines were necessary for safety reasons, plus the depots needed them. This left all of us isolated. Further, had there been telephone lines up the hollows, few would have gotten them because of the depressed economy. Miners were only getting two to three days of work per week and needed their money for more important things.

To compound the problem was the lack of cars and no public transportation. Unlike today, where most families have at least two cars in the garage, many families had none. Today, there are so many students driving to school, it requires a rather large parking lot and often parking permits. Now, there is always someone in your circle of friends who….

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100 Photographs Inside!

One of the most tragic events in the history of Kentucky took place within the confines of the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park on October 3, 1786. A group of 14 families were moving to Central Kentucky. They made camp one night and failed to post a guard. Throughout their journey they had taken every precaution against Indian attack. On this particular evening they felt that since they had traveled this far without attack they could relax. After they had retired for the night, the Indians attacked the camp and massacred all but three members of the group. A man, woman, and little girl survived the slaughter. Twenty-four people are known to have perished in the attack. The site, shown above, became known as Defeated Camp or McNittʼs Defeat which was the determining factor in the establishment of the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. The history marker (enlarged above) stands next to the burial ground. The park is located just south of London in Laurel County. For further information on the park visit its website at parks.ky.gov/parks/recreationparks/levi- jackson/ or call 606/330-2130.

A photo posted by Kentucky Explorer (@kyexplorer) on

Other popular features found in our magazine each month pertain to items that our readers have for sale. These generally appear in our Kentucky Explorer Classified Ads and Kentucky Explorer Book Page, but occasionally are found in Letters To The Editor or other pages, too.

Classified ads may be placed in The Kentucky Explorer

at Ten Cents Per Word – Minimum $3.00 per issue – Payment Must Accompany
All Advertising Copy. Sorry we cannot accept classified ads over the phone.