Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Christmas at Home

I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped in our most successful food/toy drive ever!

This year, Christmas at home, reached almost 500 children and 256 homes locally. What a tremendous effort! Thanks to our co-sponsors - Clinton County News, the City of Albany, Clinton County Fiscal Court and Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

Twenty-one churches helped us by collecting non-perishable food items. They were: Albany First Baptist, Albany First Christian, Albany First United Methodist, Albany Independent Baptist, Beech Bottom Baptist, Caney Branch Baptist, Central Grove Baptist' CIA Children on Mission, Cedar Hill United Methodist, Clear Fork Baptist, Fairfiew United Methodist, Green Grove Baptist, Gospel Independent Baptist, Lands Chapel United Methodist, Lee's Chapel United Methodist and the Lee's Chapel United Methodist Youth Group, Peolia United Methodist, Pine Grove United Methodist, Seventy Six Baptist, Stony Point Baptist, Westview Christian Church and Walnut Grove United Methodist.

Dollar General, Blood Assurance, the CCHS Beta Club, Certa-Care Pharmacy, Clinton County Care and Rehabilitation, Cash Express and Clinton County Public Library, Charles Shelton, Crystal Bowl, Dyer Drug, Equity Group Kentucky Division, McWhorter's Variety Store, Patriot Industries< Save-A-Lot Food Store, Sub Fiberglass Products of Kentucky and the "Fall for Santa" conducted by Wolf River Dock Houseboat Association helped us by collecting toys. What a great job each of you did!

Special thanks to the City and Fiscal Court water and road departments for deliveries, and to each individual who volunteered their time to make a delivery, for those who took time out to help with gift wrapping, and to those who donated food and toys to meet the needs of many during a year of economic hardships....I say THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


"Christmas is so hustle and bustle. It's hard to find the time to enjoy it, really. We are hectic shoppers, and busy, busy, busy with EVERYTHING going on! Sometimes, we forget to slow down and reflect on what makes this time of year so very special, like the stories that ground us and the little things that make our lives feel festive year round whenever we pause to reflect on them."

A while back I was looking through a few things when I came across some old bibles I had collected over the years. One 1948 Bible belonged to my great-grandmother, Hettie Frost. In it, she wrote down different dates involving her children. I also found the bible given to me by mom and dad at Christmas of 1972. I was 13.

I was glancing through another Bible that was given to me a few short years ago, when something I had written inside the front cover caught my eye.

The date was November 24, 2001. It was a Saturday morning and I remember this incident very well. I was in the bathroom shaving, when suddenly 5-year-old Elijah appeared in the doorway. As he stood there watching me, I began playing a game with him by carving out funny looking beards and mustaches, etc. I would even add more shaving cream to keep it going. He was getting a big kick out of it, and I was enjoying watching him laugh at me. We were having fun. And then, right in the middle of our game, he suddenly exclaimed, "I wish I was you, Dad!" I said, "Why's that, son?" And, he replied, "Because you're a great Dad!" When he said that, I looked down at him and he was looking right at me. And, the way his big blue eyes were sparkling after what he had just said to me are two things I shall never forget.

"Lord, please help me to hold up to his expectations. And, when I can't, please help him to forgive me. Help me to be the kind of father to my children that you would have me to be. I know that if I strive to live up to your expectations, I will live up to theirs."

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Boy Who Couldn't Sing (A Christmas Story)

My favorite Christmas memory is the Christmas of 1971. That Christmas, the adult and junior choirs of my Church performed a musical entitled, "The Boy Who Couldn't Sing." It was about a 9-year-old boy named Donald, who dreamt of singing in the Church choir, but wasn't allowed to because, no matter how hard he tried and no matter matter how much he practiced, Donald always sang off key. His friends and even some family members laughed at him. Christmas was approaching and he was sad because he knew the choir would go caroling and unless he was in the choir, he would not be allowed to go. So, after all the jokes and the turndowns, Donald prayed to the Lord, and his prayer was answered! He could now sing!

My brother, Ronnie, had just turned nine and, up to that point, had never sang solo before. But, he could sing really good, so he auditioned and won the lead role! He was so excited. The challenge for him wasn't singing the was singing 'off key' as the part called for. But, thanks to great coaching from my dad and our choir director, Yvonne Emerson, HE DID IT!

"I can sing, I can sing. Thank you God for granting my desire, I'll soon be singing carols with the choir. It's Christmastime and soon we all will find, the reason God gave song to all mankind."

Ronnie died in an automobile accident on May 7, 1981 - almost ten years later. I am thankful for the memory I have of the Christmas of 1971 and "The Boy Who Couldn't Sing." It was a special 'happy' moment in his short life...a moment he was so proud of, and I am glad I got to witness his joy that Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Honest Brother

At a business meeting of Clear Fork Baptist Church in May of 1855, church member Isaac Wright was accused of drinking too much. His response was, 'I do not remember it!' ( is written that way in the official minutes.)

Well, at least the brother was honest! I suppose after thinking about it, Bro. Wright apparently was able to recall the incident because at the next month's business meeting, he said he DID NOT drink too much! The Church did not believe him.....and the members kicked him out! His wife, Elizabeth, did not take the news sitting down. She stood up and requested a letter of dismission, and at the same time, tried to make some sort of accusation against Bro. Joseph Denton regarding a deposition he had made in an Overton County lawsuit. I don't know what that had to do with her and Bro. Wright's situation, unless it was Bro. Denton who accused Bro. Wright of drinking too much. But, anyway, the deposition was read, but the Church found no fault with its pastor. Sister Wright withdrew from the Church.

I know the way that occured is funny to read, but in reality there is more to the story, because, you see, Brother Isaac Wright was also known as....Deacon Isaac Wright. He had been a deacon for almost six years when this episode occured. And....before that he had been a trustee of the Church from 1844 to 1849.

Isaac and Elizabeth Wright had migrated to Kentucky from Virginia. Both had been born in North Carolina; Isaac in 1789 and Elizabeth in 1803. They arrived in Clinton County in the early spring of 1841, and became members of Clear Fork Baptist Church in May of that year. From 1841 to 1855, Bro. Wright had been VERY active in Church affairs. It is proof that we all sin. No one is immune to it. Some do it more than others, sure. I am just thankful that Jesus forgives us of our sins if we ask Him too.

Isaac Wright was still living when the 1870 census was taken. He was 80 at the time. In his life, he was a wheelwright and a farmer, while Elizabeth was a weaver. The Wright's had five children; four boys and a girl.

Note: I found this entry in the minutes of the meetings from July of 1874: James Craig [is] retained as sexton (in charge of the maintenance of the Church building and/or grounds.), and "Sister Remelia Talbott will SWEEP the house!"

The Fearless Jackson

Joseph Crouch was a brother to James Crouch, one of the founding members of Clear Fork Baptist Church. While many in his family chose to migrate west, the Revolutionary War veteran chose to live nearly all of his life on Boone Creek in Washington County. He was born in 1749 and died September 8, 1830. Joseph was sheriff of Washington County from 1800 to 1806. While a sheriff, he often worked with then-Judge Andrew Jackson, who was upon the bench of the superior court from 1798 to 1804. It was while sitting at Jonesboro that he made the famous arrest of a criminal who had defied the sheriff and his posse. This occurred at the September term, 1802. Russell Bean, a resident of the town, doubting the paternity of a child born to him, cut off its ears, thereby causing its death. A warrant was issued for him, but Bean refused to be taken. Judge Jackson ordered Sheriff Crouch to summon a posse to aid him. He replied that he had summoned a certain number, but to no avail. Jackson then told him to summon the whole town if necessary, whereupon Sheriff Crouch summoned his Honor, Judge Andrew Jackson. The future national hero arose from the bench with the exclamation that, "By the eternal, he could take Bean single-handed." Procuring a pistol, Judge Jackson headed out the door for Russell Bean to demand his surrender. The judge found Bean and ordered him to either give up or be shot. Bean, terrified by the look and the determination of Andrew Jackson, surrendered without a fight.

Now, check this out: Joseph Crouch lived on Boone Creek, which was the first permanent settlement in Tennessee in 1769. He was a member of Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church. Another prominent member of that Church was Isaac Denton, Sr., who was the father of Clear Fork Baptist Church's first pastor. Both Joseph Crouch and Isaac Denton, Sr. were present representing their Church on the fourth Saturday in October of 1786 when the Holston Baptist Association was organized. There was another man at that meeting, who was there to represent North York Baptist Church of Holston. He was the church's pastor, John Frost, who....moved to Stockton's Valley in 1810 - one of the first Frost family members to settle there. He is my ancestor.

My Family Tree has an 'Executive Branch'

Elizabeth Strother Frogge, my 7th great-grandmother, was the aunt of "Old Rough and Ready" himself, Zachary Taylor, the twelfth President of the United States. And, she was the great aunt of James Madison, the fourth President of the United States and the 'Father of the Constitution', who also helped draft the Bill of Rights.

William and Margaret Watts Strother had 13 children. Their daughter, Agatha, married Augusta Co., VA clerk John Madison, the uncle of James Madison, Sr. His son, was President James Madison. Their daughter, Sarah, married Col. Richard Taylor, father of President Zachary Taylor. Their daughter, Elizabeth, married my ancestor, Col. John Frogge, Jr., Sheriff of Prince William County, VA, who was in the French and Indian War.

Alexander Frogge was a merchant in Edinburgh Scotland toward the last of the 17th century. His son, John Frogge, came to America with Dr. Hugh Graham and was a merchant of Christina, Pennsylvania. His son, was Col. John Frogge, Jr., the sheriff; followed by his son, William (1740-1811), then Arthur Robinson Frogge (1776-1855), then McKendrick Frogge (1810-1850), then Nancy Frogge Koger, who was the wife of Elisha Koger, who was killed by Champ Ferguson during the civil war. Elisha Koger was the grandfather of my great-grandmother, Nannie Koger (1890-1969). Her son, Elmer Boles, was my grandfather.

If you are interested in learning more about this rather large family tree, check out:

Frogge Family History
The William Strother Society, Inc.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Point Pleasant - The Story of John Frogge

John Frogge, Jr., my 5th great uncle, was killed in the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774. The Ohio Valley indians were trying to drive back the white invaders from their hunting grounds and the Virginians were seeking only to protect their settlements from the rifle, tomahawk and scalping knife. This battle made possible the first settlement in Kentucky.

The plan was to force the indians to accept an Ohio River boundary which had been negotiated with the Iroquois in the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. The call for volunteers went out. John Frogge, Jr., now with a young pregnant wife and a 3-year-old child at home, hesitated to enlist. But, wanting to join his cousins, neighbors and fellow countrymen for their retribution against the Indians, he told his wife that he would only provide an escort for the militia and would return prior to the engagement. He told her that he would only act as a sutler, behind enemy lines, providing them with provision such as, blankets and food between encampments.

After all the organizing had been done, the army marched on to its destination: Point Pleasant, Ohio, which was a bottom land that extended nearly four miles to the Ohio River. What the army did not realize was that the Indians were watching them. After dark on the evening of October 9, the Shawnee, led by chief Cornstalk, crossed the river on seventy-nine rafts three miles above Lewis' camp, then crept through dense growth along the east bank, and were ready to surprise the Virginians at daybreak, except.....for one unseen event.

Two soldiers had left camp to hunt deer when they found themself surrounded by indians. One of the soldiers was killed. The other managed to escape and ran back to warn the army. 300 men came scrambling after the indians. Little did they know they were about to engage the entire united force of the enemy Ohio indians. The troops had only marched about three-quarters of a mile, when they were ambushed by the indian force. There was furious fighting on all sides. The battle lasted from half an hour after sunrise, to the same time before Sunset. The Shawnees mistook a group of reinforcements as fresh troops and fled across the Ohio and back to their villages. The Virginians, even though greatly outnumbered, had managed to win the fight. But, the all-day battle had claimed the lives of many men, including John Frogge, Jr., who did not have time to return to his family prior to the engagment as he had promised his wife.

A story, told by Virginia Governor Thomas Gilmer went like this: “On the morning of the battle, back in Staunton, Virginia, a little girl named Elizabeth Frogge, daughter of John Frogge, Jr., was sleeping, when suddenly she waked, screaming that the Indians were killing her father. She was quieted by her mother, and again went to sleep. She again waked, screaming that the Indians were killing her father. She was again quieted and went to sleep, and was waked up by the same horrid vision, and continued screaming beyond being hushed. Agatha was very much alarmed at the first dream. But when the same horrid sight was seen the third time, Agatha's imagination, presented to her the spectacle of her husband scalped by the Indians. Her cries drew together her neighbors, who, upon being informed of what had happened. Soon, all of Staunton was in a state of commotion. Elizabeth was only three years old when the dream came to her. Soon, they would know that the little girls dream was real.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Lincolnite is Dead!

Reuben Wood was murdered.

A peaceable and respectable citizen in Clinton County, Reuben had gone with a company of Union soldiers to Camp Dick Robinson in Garrard County, and remained there with them about a month before returning home. On a warm August day in 1861, Champ Ferguson and Raine Philpott rode in front of his house on Spring Creek, and called him out. Reuben walked out and spoke in a friendly manner. But, Ferguson mouthed off, saying he intended to kill Reuben, to which Wood replied, "No Champ, you would not kill me. We have lived near each other as neighbors all your life, and I have never done you any harm." Ferguson said he would kill him because Reuben had carried the Lincoln flag at the camp. "Why, Champ, I nearly raised you. I nursed you on my knee," said Reuben. "You are a Lincolnite!" was the response. Champ Ferguson then shot Reuben Wood, inflicting a severe wound in his thigh. Reuben turned and ran into the house. Ferguson followed, and as he entered the house, Reuben hit him in the head with a hatchet. It was a powerful blow. Reuben lifted the hatchet to strike Ferguson again, which could have proved fatal had it not been for Philpott, who entered the room with his pistol in his hand, and told Reuben that if he hit Ferguson one more time, he would shoot him. Reuben knew it would be useless to contend with both of them, and not thinking his wound mortal, dropped the hatchet. Ferguson and Philpott mounted their horses and rode away. Reuben lingered a short time, and died. His exertions in the scuffle, added to the wound, was more than he could bear. A large and respected family was left to mourn the loss of Reuben Wood. He was 60 years old. On October 10, 1865, at a trial in downtown Nashville, Champ Ferguson was found guilty of the murders of Reuben Wood and 52 other people he had brutally slaughtered during the civil war. Ten days after the verdict, Ferguson was hanged as a confederate guerilla. Reuben Wood was his second victim.

Reuben Wood came from a family that had a long tradition of being brave soldiers willing to sacrifice everything for their new country the freedoms it offered. Samuel Wood, who had come to America from England in 1755, could not serve in the military during the American Revolution due to lameness and poor health, but performed patriotic service for his new country by giving his pewter tableware to be melted and made into bullets, and after the battle near Alexandria, he nursed the sick and wounded soldiers in his home. Many of Samuel's sons were dedicated soldiers. William served in the State Militia in North Carolina protecting the settlers against the warring Cherokee and Creek Indians. He raised a company to go north and fight in the War of 1812, and later led a company into battle at the Battle of New Orleans. At the age of 19, James Wood was in Capt. William Cross’s company during the war of 1812. In 1815, Thomas Wood dug the saltpetre used for the manufacture of the powder which made the rifles of the Kentucky and Tennessee troops very effective in their successful part in the Battle of New Orleans.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Keeper of the Key

The Baptists were the pioneers of religion in Kentucky. They came with the earliest permanent settlers. In 1776,William Hickman, Sr. was the first to proclaim "the Gospel of Jesus Christ," in the valley of the Kentucky. He labored faithfully in the field in Kentucky for more than fifty years. The first organized Church was in 1781, Gilbert's Creek Church, a few miles east of Lancaster. After the close of the American Revolution, a flood of Baptists poured into Kentucky and churches began to spring up every where.

The Green River Association, lying in what are now Warren, Barren, Green, and Adair counties, was constituted in 1800, about the beginning of the great revival in that section of the state. It contained at first, nine churches, eight ministers, and about three hundred and fifty members. The very first year of its existence, it increased to more than one thousand members, and in 1804, it contained 38 churches, and comprised so much territory that it was deemed sound policy to divide it into three bodies. The middle portion of the churches retained the old name of the association. Those of the northern portion were organized into the Russell's Creek Association, and those of the southern portion were organized into the Stockton's Valley Association with fourteen churches, eight in Kentucky and six in Tennessee. John Mulkey had established what we now call the Old Mulkey Meeting House near Tompkinsville. Mulkey and two members of Clear Fork Baptist Church, Isaac Denton and William Wood, were the leading founders of the Stockton's Valley Association. Mulkey was chosen as moderator while Wood was chosen as clerk.

In 1808, the association had to exclude several churches and some very influential preachers for adopting the New Light and heretical views of Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell. One of those preachers who began preaching Campbellism was John Mulkey. His brother, Phillip, had been a member of Clear Fork. Some of her business meetings were held at his home. One of the reformation movements strongest advocates was Raccoon John Smith, whose family was the second to arrive at Stockton's Valley, and whose father, George, had been an original charter member of Clear Fork. Everywhere, Churches were rent asunder, friends alienated, preachers excluded, meetings disturbed, and the devil turned loose in general.

On the fourth Saturday in July of 1820, the Clear Fork Church record states: "The Church says she thinks it contrary to the rule given in the Gospel for members of her body to attend the ministry of John Mulkey or men in his standing and that it is improper to receive them in their meeting house or dwelling as ministers of the Gospel. The Church says she thinks Bro. John Wood ought to be reproved for his conversation respecting his attending of John Mulkey's preaching and the reproof is postponed until next meeting."

John Wood had kept the key to the Church building and could therefore admit anyone he chose to use the building even without the consent of the Church. There is no evidence that he ever did this, but the seriousness of the charge against him in regard to John Mulkey could not be taken lightly, so he appeared before the Church in August of 1820 and made acknowledgement to the Church sufficient that they withdrew their threat of reproof. At the same meeting, the record states, "At the request of Bro. John Wood, he is excluded from keeping the key to this meeting house..." All was quite for a several weeks, but all was not forgotten. At the December meeting, the record says, "John Wood and wife are excluded from this Church for treating the Church with contempt in withdrawing themselves from the Church."

Ironically, John Wood had married Sarah Crouch, who was the grandaughter of Isaac Denton, the first Baptist Preacher at Stockton's Valley. He was the first pastor at Clear Fork Baptist Church, laboring there for a total of 46 years.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Story of Alexander Sproul

Alexander Sproul was born between 1758 and 1759 and grew up on his family’s farm in Augusta County, Virginia. During his childhood, his father, William, like others living in the colonies, complained of the taxes levied against the colonies by King George III of England. They all were forced to give up a large portion of their livelihood to others, and suffered from laws which had little relevance to everyday New England life. When the conflict turned to outright rebellion against the throne, Alexander’s community in Augusta County took up arms. Alexander joined the American continental army toward the end of the Revolutionary War.

Finally, in October of 1781, the war drew to a close. Alexander found himself in a dramatic final conflict. General Washington’s troops, along with French allies under the command of the Marquis LaFayette met outside of Yorktown, Virginia and planned a surprise attack of Colonel Lord Cornwallis’s British troops, and on October 6th the trap was sprung. The French navy blockaded the river’s outlet to the sea, while the Americans cornered the British against the river. Of all the tactics, Cornwallis sent black slaves infected with smallpox into the American lines in the hopes of infecting them, but it didn't work. Cornwallis surrendered on October 19th.

Toward the end of the conflict, Alexander became ill and was left stranded, unable to make the trip home because of his fatigue. His brother James took a wagon to Yorktown to bring him back home. Alexander returned to his wife, Jane, the first of November 1781, lay sick for some period of time, and eventually recovered. Life began anew for the couple. They conceived and bore nine children. With the increase in the size of the family, the small farm was unable to support them all. Many of their friends and family felt a similar pressure, and moved into Kentucky, where land was available for the taking. So, in the early part of summer 1805, Alexander Sproul and his family headed west on the Appalachian trail into the Kentucky wilderness, where he used his land grant to purchase 396 acres on Indian Creek just north of Stockton's Valley.

Even though the war was over, the British continued to insult and torment the people of the United States. Britain refused to withdraw from the Great Lakes region and provided arms and encouragement to the Shawnee and other Indians in that area. War was declared on June 18, 1812. Alexander and his 17 year old son, Joseph, joined Captain William Wood's company at Stockton's Valley and they headed north. At the Battle of the Thames, Alexander took the scalp of an Indian whom he had killed. On the way home, in the Pickaway Plains of Ohio, he became seriously ill, possibly with malaria. Major Wood saw that Alexander would not be able to make the journey, so he left him there with Joseph by his side. Realizing that he would not recover, Alexander sent the scalp home to his family. Twice Alexander Sproul had been in battle and twice he had been left ill along the side of the road. But, this time, there in the Pickaway Plains, Alexander Sproul died at the age of 55. Joseph returned home to Indian Creek and helped his mother take care of the family farm before eventually marrying and have a family of his own. Alexander's farm was sold at public auction to Cornelius Maguire Connor on July 23, 1822. Jane Sproul died on June 10, 1847 at the age of 94.

Adapted from: Sproul's & Barrier's of Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.

To learn more about the Sproul family click here.

Note: Cornelius Mcguire Conner was born in April of 1802 and died in 1864. His father, Lawrence, had migrated to America from Ireland. When George Washington settled in his winter quarters near Morristown in 1776, he sought more soldiers from Virginia. A number of regiments were formed, including the 12th Virginia Regiment of which Lawrence was a part of. That regiment was encamped at Valley Forge for most of 1778. Lawrence participated in many revolutionary war battles. He was wounded at the Battle of South Camden, the same battle where my ancestor, Jacob Speck, was killed.

Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...