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:

My husband and I have been enjoying The Kentucky Explorer for many years. We enjoy the photos and the stories of life in the “old days.”
I thought readers might enjoy this anecdote from the life of my great- grandfather, Drury Grimsley.
Drury had served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. When peace finally came, he took up farming and became a minister-evangelist in the Baptist Church in Lawrence County, Kentucky. Evidently he was quite a powerful preacher. Even some 70 years later “old timers” still talked about the big revivals he held and the number of baptisms he performed.
One particular revival had been very successful in the number of converts. The weather was lovely. The whole community turned out for the baptismal service. The water was very clear, and the sand in the bottom of the creek was white. The bottom was very visible. Following a few appropriate songs, Drury stepped down into the water and reached up a hand to help the first candidate down into the water. He raised his hand to pronounce the baptismal formula. As he did so, his false teeth feel out. Calmly he leaned over, picked up the teeth, put them in his pocket, and continued with the service.
Shortly before Drury’s death he sat up in bed and quoted II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” He was buried in the family graveyard at Skaggs in Lawrence County.
The Skaggs Post Office is no longer in existence; it is now known as Martha, Kentucky.

Jo Holbrook Tuttle 8157 Highplains Court Westerville, OH 43081

Dear Editor:

Due to my query on page 95 of the March 2016 issue of The Kentucky Explorer, regarding Frances Slone Bentley, I received many letters and phone calls. I now have the information I need.
I tried to answer everyone by letter, but if I missed anyone, thanks to you, too.

James R. Slone 432 English Avenue Harrodsburg, KY 40330

Dear Editor:

Does anyone have any Kentucky white half-runner bean seed? I will pay for them. I lost all my beans last year due to flooding.

Veva Blaylock 204 Ryason Street LaGrange, IN 46761

Dear Editor:

My family has a rare hereditary disorder called benign familial hematuria or thin-basement-membrane neuropathy.
I read an article recently that stated that there are less than 200,000 persons in the United States with this disorder, so there is a good chance that those of us with this disorder are related in some manner. I am currently working on the trees of the Walter William Gilford/Joseph Sam- brook/John Andrew Taylor families who lived in the Livingston area of Rockcastle County.
If anyone has this disorder or knows anything about any of these families, please contact me.

Clifford Taylor 179 Mystic Lane London KY 40744-9517 k5fbs@yahoo.com

A few of the great stories inside!

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.

May 31, 1898

Yesterday morning, Monday, I left Hyden to come to this neighbor- hood to see about getting permission to furnish a teacher for this school district. There are 109 scholars in the census. I want to put a Wilmore teacher here, full of the Holy Ghost, to get the people saved. As I passed near the schoolhouse, there were 10 or 12 men sitting at the roadside on blankets or coats, playing cards. There were two games on. I stopped and warned them mildly, but they never stopped playing or made any reply. I went to see Harrison Napier, a trustee, a merchant living two miles above the mouth of Wooton’s Creek. He is 44 years old, or nearly so, and five weeks ago married a girl not quite 14 years old. He has grandchildren, several children at home. She came to the store, looked as she is, a little girl, with a short dress on, very childlike in her manner and appearance. Mr. Napier told her to go back to the house as that was the place for the children. He is a very bright man, is considered the best salesman in the county. He said that he would employ any teacher that the district wanted, but I am told he has a man whom he wants to put in. He gave me no encouragement and was not disposed to talk about the matter. He is very displeasing and his impurity led him to kill a man whose wife’s affections he had alienated, a man named Bailey. His excuse for marrying a child was that he knew that she was pure, and, being a child, she and his children would get along pleasantly together. This is a hard community, though there are some good citizens in it. There is a lawless element; two stills were cut up a few days ago.

June 9, 1898

I was born in Laurel County, Kentucky, in 1817. My mother was Tamsey Campling of Madison County, Kentucky. My father was William Cottongin. He born in North Carolina. His mother was a widow when they came to Kentucky. There were four sons and two daughters. They came with Darling and Robert Jones and their families, and located near Bush, Laurel County. There were William, Pearcy, Daniel, and Dillon. Pearcy married Widow Lucas, mother of Col. John Lucas. My father went to Madison County and married. He was not grown when he came to Kentucky. I have heard my father say that when he came to Laurel County there were only three families in it. (I suppose that was all in the neighborhood where they settled. J. J. Dickey) Reed Cottongin of Perry County is my brother. Rev. William Cottongin of this county is the son of Pearcy Cottongin. I do not know what the nationality of the Cottongins is. They were large, robust people. I was married to William Roat when I was a young woman. We lived together over 50 years.

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 my g. grandparents, Thomas Leonard Swink, b. 9/15/1848, Ky., d. 4/7/1865, Hamilton Co., Ohio, son of Henry Jackson Swink and Anna Hansford, m. 8/24/1865, Ky., Sarah Ann Corder, b. 7/15/1848, Ky., d. 7/27/1911, Borden, Clark Co., Ind., dau. of Thomas Corder and Eleanor Newton; had the following children: John E. Swink, b. 2/25/1867; Rebecca Jane Swink, b. 6/26/1869; my grandmother, Elizabeth Frances Swink, b. 2/22/1874, Trimble, Pulaski Co., Ky., d. 2/21/1957, Silverton, Hamilton Co., Ohio, m. 9/2/1900, Maud, Hamilton Co., Ohio, John Francis Xavier Prenatt; Osla Ann Swink, b. 12/12/1875, d. after 1910; Malinda Len- Elen Swink, b. 3/14/1878; Alta Margaret Swink, b. 5/14/1883; James R. Swink, b. 2/12/1888; and William Leonard Swink, b. 6/15/1889. Any info. appreciated.

Doug Prenatt 3819 Elljay Drive Sharonville, OH 45241

Seek info. on Joseph Dunn, d. 1805, Harrison Co., Ky., had Edmund Dunn, d. 1844, Harrison Co., Ky., m. Jane Clark, and had Elijah Dunn, d. 1853, Harrison Co. Elijah m. Sarah Foster, 1805, had Montrivill, Wilson, Samuel, James, Milton, John, Polly, Jane, Betsy, and Mary Elizabeth. Any info. appreciated.

Bradley Sue Howell 722 Ridgeway Street Dallas, TX 75214 bshowell@ont.com
Seek info. on the following: my g. grandfather, John Fugate, b. 1873, Jackson Co., Ky., d. ca. 1910, Lee Co., Ky., m. Sarah Coomer; and info. on my g. g. g. g. grandfather, Crews Denney, b. ca. 1805, Madison Co., Ky., m. 1st, Elizabeth ?. Need gravesites for all. Any help appreciated.

Tony Denny 33 Terrence Court Dayton, OH 45449 937/859-1451 tmdenny55@gmailcom

Seek photos and info. on my g. g. grandparents, Nelson Puckett and Em- ma Ware Puckett, possible descendants of Josiah Puckett and Bertha Winburn or Vernon Puckett and Della Wiseman. Also, seek info. on Billy Cooper, now in his late 80s, lived in White Oak area, friend of my grandmother, Loreida “Rita” Winburn. Any help appreciated.Will share info.

Kellie Scott 529 Meadowview Drive Paris, KY 40361 859/707-6089 scottkellie6@gmail.com


Hathaway- Timberlake

Strawberry Short Cake
Cream Sauce
Rice And Tomato Croquettes
Scrambled Eggs
Apple Sauce
Pot Roast
Nut Oatmeal Cookies
Stuffed Onions


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.

Over the dinner table, my husband, Willie, told me a tale about an incident that almost scared him to death when he was young and growing up in the hills of Floyd County in Eastern Kentucky. He lived in a place known as Penhook, which was only a creek that ran up the hollow with houses built on each side. His house was at the end of the hollow and was the biggest farm in those parts. It was a long way out of the hollow, or so it seemed to ten-year-old Willie and his siblings, Gene, Barb, Joyce, Nadine, Maudie, and Charlotte. Every day they walked to school. After dark and even in the daylight, they feared to pass an old coal bank. It had been a coal mine at one time and the company had piled over- burden out in front of the opening to make what they called a coal bank. The opening was still there where the men had gone in to dig the coal when the mine was in operation, but it was partially hidden by the bank of overburden piled in front of it. Folks went there to dig coal to burn in their stoves. It was located about halfway up the hollow along the creek and was full of dark shadows and ghostly sounds. Willie and his sisters would break into a run each time they passed it, never looking back to see what was behind them.
One day, Willie, who was a naughty-looking boy with dark ragged hair, was in the kitchen reaching for a cold sweet potato on the top of the stove that his mother, Erlan, had cooked ear- lier in the day, when he heard a knock on the door. He peered out the screen door and saw a man standing there. It wasn’t someone he recognized, and being leery of strangers and only ten years old he went to find his mother. Willie yelled out the back door where Erlan was out in the back yard hanging up clothes to dry and told her someone was at the door. She dumped the wet sheet she was about to hang on the line back into her wash basket and hurried in through the back door. Straightening her grey house dress she walked to the screen door and cracked it open just a bit to see who it was. A short man with a voice too soft for the hardness of his eyes stared back at her. Two knotty knees protruded through holes in his trousers, his shirt was a faded blue with food stains down the front, and his fingers were dirty with earth.
With a bow, the man removed his hat, placed it over his heart, and asked if Erlan could spare a bite to eat. She stared at him for a long moment as if contemplating the danger this man might bring. Being a good Christian woman, she opened the screen and motioned him to come in. Willie, who had been standing behind her, moved out of the way.
“Come on into the kitchen, I might be able find some food for you,” she told him. The man and Willie followed Erlan through the living room into the kitchen.
“Sit down,” she said as she reached into the sink for a clean dish. He took a seat at the kitchen table and so did Willie, since he was curious about the plight of this stranger. She placed a cold sweet potato and a hunk of cornbread onto the plate and placed it in front of the man. He ate ravenously, then wiped his mouth on his sleeve, got up, and said he had to move on, that it would be dark before long, and he’d need to find a place to bed down. Willie thought for a moment that his mother was going to offer the man a place to sleep, but instead she said, “Willie, go into the back bedroom and bring those old clothes that are in a pillowcase here for this man.” Willie marched out, came back with the pillow- case full of clothes and handed it over to the man. “Here are some clean clothes for you to change into,” Willie’s mother said.
The man tossed the bag over his shoulder, thanked them for their hospitality, and headed out the door. Soon, Willie forgot about him.
Willie had to go up and down the hollow to deliver milk and eggs just about every day. He always held his breath until he had passed the coal bank.
With a cool breeze tickling the back of his neck and darkness approaching, he set out on his journey out of the hollow to deliver his milk and eggs. Willie’s folks furnished fresh eggs and milk to several neighbors outside the hollow, and he told me he didn’t know if his parents ever got paid or not. The mountains were already starting to hide the sun when he headed down the creek. He watched the darkening sky make shadows along the way that seemed frightful. With the sound and smell of the creek in the air and his heart hammering in his chest, Willie approached the old mine opening beside the coal bank. Shivering, he tried to …………

100 Photographs Inside!

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.

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