Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Inspiring Others in the Face of Hard Times

Why doesn’t God heal everyone? Why not me? Have you ever thought that? Well, there is a scene in Season 3, Episode 2 of the Angel Studios series that is also partially on Netflix entitled The Chosen, that resonates with me in a big way, and I find myself going back to it over and over again.

Jesus directs his disciples to go out in pairs into the villages of Galilee and gives them power and authority to drive out demons and cure diseases, to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. In the scene I am talking about, one of the disciples, James, son of Alpheus, also called Little James, has a form of paralysis and walks with a limp. After witnessing Jesus performing many miracles of healing, he wants to discuss his own disability with Him...

"You’re sending us out with the ability to heal the sick and lame…so You’re telling me that I have the ability to heal? I just find that difficult to imagine, with my condition, which You haven’t healed.”

Jesus tells him that he was chosen, in part, because of his disability, that he will have a unique story when he learns to praise God in spite of his disability, and focus on things that matter more than the body.

“You are going to do more for me than most people ever dreamed. When you find true strength because of your weakness, and when you do great things in spite of this, the impact will last for generations."

Earthly life can involve hardships, even for those who are faithful. Jesus taught that Christians should expect hardships, a warning He gave specifically to prevent discouragement in the face of hard times. (

We all have something that we wish we could change about ourselves. Actor Jordan Walker Ross, who portrays Little James in The Chosen, was born early with many health problems, including Scoliosis. He said doing the scene in Season 3, Episode 2 was therapeutic for him. “I was able to release a lot of these frustrations I’ve had in my own life,” he said. “After doing that, I felt so much better.” He said "just because you're different, doesn't mean you're broken. You are just as worthy of love and just as capable of giving love and using your circumstances to do good in the world and to help others and uplift and inspire others."

I like the title I gave this piece: "Inspiring Others in the Face of Hard Times." Like Mr. Ross said, try to set a course to do good in the world and become a positive influence to those around you, no matter your circumstance.

Monday, February 20, 2023

A Bill Creating Clinton County, Kentucky was Signed into Law on this Day in 1836

Clinton County, Kentucky was formed from parts of Cumberland and Wayne counties in a bill co-sponsored by Senator's Ambrose Bramlette of Clinton County, who was serving his first term, and Frank Winfrey of Columbia. The General Assembly passed the bill in 1835, and it was signed into law by Gov. James Morehead on February 20, 1836.

The first government was organized on April 1, 1836 at the home of Pleasant Williams, later the home of the Alford Frank Burchett, on Kentucky Highway 639 at Wago, where I grew up, and you know the rest of the story about how the first county seat was established at Peolia, then later moved to the present site originally known as Benny Dowell’s Place.


" wit beginning at the state line due North from the mouth of Wolf River, and thence a straight line to the plantation of Alexander Smith, including it, thence a straight line to the mouth of Tear Coat Creek on Cumberland River, thence up said river to the Russell County line, thence with said line to within a half mile of Beaver Creek, up Beaver Creek to the mouth of Otter Creek, thence up Otter Creek so as not to run nearer than within one half mile of said creek to Jacob Citt’s, leaving him in Wayne County, thence to the twelve mile post on the road that leads from Monticello to Stockton Valley: thence to the Poplar Mountain at Peter Stockton’s, leaving him in the new county, thence up said mountain to the top; thence with the top of said mountain to the state line; thence with the same at the beginning, shall be erected into one separate county known as the County of Clinton."

Nearly all histories written about us say the county was named after Dewitt Clinton, the distinguished governor of New York who died in 1928. A second story tells us that Frank Winfrey had a son named Clinton. He was born the year Dewitt Clinton died. Perhaps the two namesakes combined made for a stronger reason to name it Clinton County and we should leave it at that. Clinton Winfrey was the owner of Winfrey Hotel in Columbia, the site of a cholera epidemic in 1873 that resulted in the deaths of 42 people, including Clinton and two of his children.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Adolph Rupp's Dilemma About Brad Lair's Bed

Brad Lair played basketball for the Monticello, Kentucky Mountaineers from 1928 through 1930. At 6'10 1/2, he was the tallest high school player in the state of Kentucky at that time. He towered over his opponents and newspaper reports noted his basketball skills regularly, but one teammate, Bill Wray, would later say the Lair's greatest asset was not his heighth, but his agility. During his junior year, he scored 50 points in a game against Whitley City on January 10, 1930. He scored 33 points in the first half alone. Also on that team other than Lair and Wray was Frank Hedrick, Jack Phillips, Red Wilson, Roy Barrier, Sidney Back and William Gottshall. The coach was George Taylor.

Prior to the 1930-1931 season, Lair left Monti­cello to play his senior year at Jeffersonville, Indiana. The Red Devils won fifteen straight games without a loss because of him, but prior to the end of the season tournament, the school at New Albany filed a protest that 'unique influence' had been used to bring Lair to Jeffersonville. The Indiana High School Athletic Association agreed and suspended all athletics at Jeffersonville until the first day of June 1931.

Even though he had only played a total of just barely three years of high school ball, the media exposure he received at Jeffersonville attracted the attention of the new basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, Adolph Rupp.

Coach Rupp thought Lair had the greatest potential of any player he had seen up to that point, so he offered him a full scholarship and rolled out the red carpet for him, but there was a issue - finding a bed long enough to keep Lair from having to sleep 'catter-cornered' in a bed at UK. He thought about sending for Lair's bed back at home. "He lives in Monticello and has a bed there that fits him," the coach decided. "I'll bring it up here on a truck and then I'll have a hold on him."

He said he would have a 'hold on him' because he had discovered that a 'neighboring university' was trying to talk Lair out of attending UK, even though he was already enrolled there. According to a story in the Wayne County Outlook on September 29, 1932, Coach Rupp cut in on a telephone conversation between Lair and a representative from that 'northern school' and what he told that man was a masterpiece in public speaking. "If there is an extra charge for profanity over the telephone, I'd hate to see your bill this month," Rupp told UK athletics director Stanley "Daddy" Boles after slamming the phone receiver down.

By Thanksgiving, Coach Rupp was confronted with another issue: What to do about Lair's bed since the Wayne County giant had become homesick and departed Lexington for his home in Monticello. Instead of bringing Lair's bed from his home, Rupp had a nine-foot bed built for him. "But with Lair gone," wrote the Lexington Herald Leader, "Coach Rupp wants to either sell the bed or find a basketball player that will fit it. He prefers the latter."

His stint at UK wasn't the last of Brad Lair's basketball playing days. In 1934, he played for the House of David, a barnstorming comedic professional team out of Indiana whose players were famously known to wear long beards. The team lost just one game during Lair's only season with them. It was a two point loss to the Harlem Globetrotters. Like the Globetrotters, the House of David stretched and sometimes outright corrupted the rules of basketball, using their exhibition games as comedy routines – although unlike the Globetrotters, the House of David played against legitimate local teams instead of supplying their own submissive opposition.

Bradford Lair died on July 17, 1974 at the age of 61. He was inducted into the Monticello High School's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. Mr. Lair and his wife, Louisa Conley Lair, are buried at Elk Spring Cemetery in Monticello, with two of their five children. Most people in Clinton County, Ky remember their daughter, Betty, who was the wife of Eugene Groce.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Burt Bacharach Wrote Uplifting Lyrics

"What the world needs now is love sweet love
No not just for some but for everyone"

Uplifting lyrics.

Remember that song? Burt Bacharach composed the music for it and Jackie DeShannon was the first to record and release it (April 15, 1965) after Dionne Warwick turned it down saying she felt it was "too country" for her tastes and too "preachy," though she did record it later.

An instrumental version of the song was featured regularly on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for many years, most frequently heard when pledge amounts were announced on the broadcast.

He also co-wrote "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," another set of uplifting lyrics which describes a person who overcomes his or her troubles and worries by realizing that "it won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me." B. J. Thomas took it to #1 in January of 1970.

Bacharach died Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. He was 94.

Bible Mission School and Orphanage

In a Kentucky Historical Society article for Explore KY History, author Tim Talbott, my cousin, wrote that Wayne County native John Samson Keen received the call to preach while a young man and by age twenty was riding a large circuit in southcentral Kentucky. A few years later he received the call to start a school and the place was in the Highway community of Clinton County.

John and Hannah Keen's school grew so much that in 1890, they saw the need for a better building and room for more students. Money was raised from all over the country and in 1894 there was a new and better building. From that point on, Bible Mission School grew at an even more rapid pace. Students were coming in from all over the United States. By comparison, according to Kentucky Public Documents, Vol. 4 of the Kentucky General Assembly, during the 1896-97 school year, Albany High School, now in its tenth year, had 154 students and three teachers, while Bible Mission School, in its third year in the new building, had 187 students and nine teachers.

Around 1900, John S. Keen turned the school over to W. H. Evans and became a minister in Texas. By 1904, Evans had also left for Texas after enrollment at Bible Mission School had started to decline, probably for two main reasons: a health epidemic and a new school that had opened in Columbia,

Bible Mission School closed in 1905, but it would later be celebrated because of a few things, including Dr. Alexander B. Mackey, president of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, and Rev. Robert Johnson, whose son, Keen was Kentucky's forty-fifth governor, were students there.

In 1954, Eula Gamblin Mackey, whose husband, William Hunt Mackey, was a relative of Dr. Mackey, wrote in The New Era newspaper that when the U.S. had 45 states and five territories, each state and territory was represented at the school at Highway.

She also wrote that camp meetings were held each spring and fall in two tabernacles that were located on the grounds and that four or five thousand people attended with singing, praying and shouting taking place all over the school grounds. "People prayed through and were sanctified. Highway [community] was a holy place," she said.

Get this...when the Board of Regents met to decide the location for Lindsey Wilson Junior College, Highway lacked one vote getting it. One vote. "At the time," Mackey wrote, "Highway already had the buildings and Columbia had to build them." Go figure.

A marker erected at Highway Cemetery, submitted by John and Mareeda Gibson in 2006, signifies that location as the burial ground of 25 to 30 orphans who died during an epidemic [probably typhoid fever and/or Tuberculosis] at the orphanage at Highway in the late 1890's. It states that eight of the orphans died in one week and that no names have been found.

It is known that Mahala Reed Keenan, a revivalist minister who rode a white donkey side saddle through the hills of Kentucky, singing and preaching as she traveled, moved to Highway in 1896, wanting her sons to be educated there. But, she soon became sick with tuberculosis and needed a healthier place to live and breathe. In 1899, she and her son, Elva, who had the same illness, undertook a wagon journey to Floresville, Texas, but Mahala died shortly after her arrival there. Elva died four months later.

Historical Marker #1927 in the yard at Highway Church of the Nazarene tells about Bible Mission School and Orphanage that operated from 1891 to 1905 just past the church on Groce Gibson Road.

Tim Talbott's article

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Whack, the Barber

My great, great-grandfather, John Alex Craig, born in Albany, Kentucky in 1853, was one of the town's barbers. Appropriately, he was given the nickname, "Whack." If I had been the one to give him that nickname I would have included an exclamation point at the end of it...WHACK! to give it more character, not that he needed it probably.

The barbershop Whack operated from was located inside or near Huff Hotel, which was where Campbell New Funeral Home is today. One of his best customers who came in every day for a shave was a man they called Uncle Jim Vincent, and since he was such a good customer, Whack only charged him 5¢. That went on for years until one day, instead of a nickel, Whack kept a dime out of the coin Uncle Jim had handed him.

"Say," said Uncle Jim, "I thought you agreed to only charge me a nickel for a shave!"

"I did," replied Whack, "but when I told you that I didn't expect you to live forever!"

John Alex Craig died in 1927 and is buried at Peolia Cemetery alongside his wife, Analize Leslie Craig, who was the daughter of Ellison Leslie, a carpenter who put the roof on the new Clinton County Courthouse when it was rebuilt after the original one was burned during the civil war. He was also the brother of Kentucky Governor Preston H. Leslie. John Alex and Analyze had four daughters: Nora Talbott, Lela Smith, Della Means and Jennie Davidson.

In the photo made at Clear Fork Baptist Church, John Alex "Whack" Craig is on the far left. Beside him is Jim Pitman, Mariam Owens, Emmy Looper, Tressa Pitman, Jack Looper and Brooks Ferguson. Behind them is Robert Wood, Grant Dowell and Joe Denton. (A Lighthouse in the Wilderness, Morris Gaskins, 1971)

My 78 RPM Disks (1905-1924)

1. Albert Campbell - Dreaming (3701). Steve Porter - Flanagan At The Vocal Teacher's (3705). Standard Talking Machine Company 1907. 2. ...