Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Peg McKamey Bean Made it by God's Amazing Grace

Peg McKamey Bean went home to be with the Lord this morning (Tuesday). On Dec. 11th, the family said she had been admitted to the hospital with a stroke. (She underwent triple bypass surgery six years ago tomorrow, Wednesday).

Peg was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall Of Fame in 2016. "Known for her spirited style on stage, you knew when Peg took the stage with her white hanky that God was going to be honored,” said SGMA President, Arthur Rice.

The group was originally formed as a trio of sisters: Dora, Peg, and Carol McKamey, in 1954 in Clinton, Tennessee. Their father was a preacher. The group went on to become one of the most popular gospel groups ever. In 2018, they announced that they would end full-time touring in November of 2019. In 2021, Peg and her husband, Reuben's daughter, Connie Fortner, her husband, Roger, and their son, Eli, began performing as McKamey Legacy.

The McKamey's signature song, at least for Peg, was "God On The Mountain” written by Southern Gospel Song Hall of Fame member Tracy Dartt in 1973. It is one of the most well-known Southern Gospel songs ever and has been recorded over 200 times, but (in my opinion) no one will ever sing it like Peg did. The McKamey's released the song on their 1988 album "Gone to Meetin' Live" (MorningStar). It became their third of sixteen #1 hits.

The McKamey's sang at Holy Temple Separate Baptist Church in Clinton County on Sunday, Nov. 20, 1983. On Sunday, Oct. 21, 1984, they performed with the Lyles on the square at the Foothills Festival. Their song, "Who Put the Tears (In the Eyes of the Lamb?)," from the "Tennessee Live!" album, had just become their first #1 hit and because of their popularity, it would be the first time ever that a huge crowd would pack the square on a Sunday afternoon at the festival. (The festival stopped having Sunday events several years ago).

"So let me sing you one more song in case I leave
I know how I made it, I made it by God's amazing grace"
- "Made it by Grace" (Joy in the Journey/2011)

Friday, December 8, 2023

Ralph Cundiff: From County Agent to KIA in WW2

Ralph Cundiff had just begun what was expected to be a bright and promising career in agriculture until World War II came along. Born in 1911 and raised in the Faubush community of Pulaski County, he graduated from Berea college with a degree in agriculture in 1938. Later that year he became the assistant county agent in Wayne County, serving until March of 1939, at which time he was appointed county agent of Clinton County. A prominent and highly respected citizen, he was a Deacon at Albany First Baptist Church and was a leading member of the Albany Lions Club. He had married Hazel Dalton, daughter of Walter Dalton.

Then came his induction into the U.S. Army in October 1942. He was assigned to Unit I Company, 330th Infantry Regiment of the 83rd Division, commanded by Major General Robert C. Macon. News correspondents nicknamed the 83rd "The Rag-Tag Circus" due to the resourcefulness of Major General Macon, who would order the supplementing of the division's transport with anything that moved with an attitude of "no questions asked."

The 83rd arrived in England on April 16, 1944 with its first divisional headquarters at Keele Hall in Staffordshire. After training in Wales, the division, took part in the Allied invasion of Normandy, landing at Omaha Beach on June 18th 1944. Nine days later they entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan.

"Mrs. Ralph Cundiff has been notified by the War Department of the death of her husband, SSgt. Ralph Cundiff, on July 6, 1944 in France."

He was 33.

The Allied forces' hard-won foothold on the bloody beaches of Normandy on D-Day was only the beginning of what would become a costly, foot-slogging effort to retake, field by field, town by town and house by house, all French ground the Germans had occupied since 1940. By the beginning of July the Allied invasion of Normandy, was not progressing as rapidly as anticipated.

The British Second Army had yet to secure one of its primary objectives, the pivotal crossroads city of Caen, effectively halting its advance on Paris before it began. To block the advancement the Germans deployed a staggering force of tanks and armored fighting vehicles along a tight 20-mile front. The most formidable obstruction was the countryside itself, dotted with small farms or orchards, each bordered by thick hedgerows that ranged anywhere from 4 to 15 feet in height. The Germans did not defend every hedgerow, but no one knew without stepping out into the spotlight which ones he did defend. As GIs emerged from the rows they became easy targets for German artillery and nested machine guns. The fighting continued for two days, ending with the Germans in retreat, but the battle was costly, as there were more than 15,000 American casualties.

Six other soldiers from Cundiff's company were also killed that day. He was awarded a Purple Heart, the WWII Victory Medal and a Combat Infantryman Badge. He is buried at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France. His widow later married John Dorris Jr. She died in 1975 and is buried at Goodlettsville. Ralph Cundiff's name is on two monuments, the War Veterans Monument located outside the Clinton County Courthouse and on a monument outside the Pulaski County Courthouse.

By the way, Cundiff's replacement as Clinton County Agricultural Extension Agent was D.E. Salisbury, who moved from assistant county agent in Wayne County to county agent in Clinton County at the beginning of 1943.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Honoring our Soldiers

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403 service members and wounding 1,178 more. One of the 19 U.S. Navy ships to be completely destroyed was the battleship U.S.S. Arizona. Half of those who died in the attack were on that ship, including Storekeeper 3rd Class Clay Cooper Rector, who was the son of Wendell and Lela Cooper Rector of Albany, Kentucky.

The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

Today, we honor all 35 Clinton County, Kentucky hero soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice during the war. Their names are listed on the War Veterans Monument located in the court­house yard. I encourage you to visit the monument if you haven't.

They are Juland Archie Aaron, Gleason Asberry, Chester H. Beaty, Garvin G Brown, Herman Brown, Lambert F Burchett, Alvin Wilber Butler, James Earl Butler, Jerry Wendell Combest, Johnie R. Cooksey, John L. Cooper,Johnnie Delmer Cope, Ralph Cundiff, Marvin W. Foster, John Paul Grider Jr., Thompsie Joe Guffey, Clyde Beaty Guthrie, Hugh Edward Irwin, John E. Mason, Floyd Willard Neal, Bobbie Braxton, Bill Ray Pennycuff, Edward Frank Perdue, Norman J. Pierce, Earl C. Polston, Clay Cooper Rector, Calvin Sidwell, Rosco L. Simpson, Wendell Fred Smith, Nathan Tallent, Willie Randell Taylor, James Roger Tuggle, James Curtis Witham, Phillip A. Wright and Marvin T. York.

I spent all of this mornings hours visiting each one's page on findagrave, reading their information, looking at their faces. Not everyone came back. They are our heroes, just like all veterans are our heroes.

God bless them and (You) today and every day.

Clay Cooper Rector's chaplain was Captain William A. Maguire. He said "Don't say we buried with sor­row. Say we buried with con­viction. Our men died manfully and we will wipe out that treach­ery come what may. The spirit of these men lives on."

Monday, December 4, 2023

The Bird that sang at a Funeral

Luther York was a retired journalist from Pall Mall community of Fentress County, Tennessee who lived in the Sunnybrook community of Wayne County, Kentucky. For years, he wrote a column for the Wayne County Outlook and several other newspapers. In 1972, when the editor of the Everglades Observer in Pahokee, Florida wrote a story about birds that squatted in the trees in front of the Observer office, York responded with a story of his own.

"This is for the birds," he wrote. "There are birds and there are birds. The little brown birds that so pestered the editor in Florida are schooled In the art of creating a nuis­ance. They are experts at it. But not so for the little nuthatch," which was the subject of the story he published in the Outlook two weeks later on Nov. 30th.

In reality, the story was one that had been passed down by York's wife's great-grandfather, the reverend Johnathan Bertram. It was a story about a little bird that sang a mournful funeral dirge, or lament, over the coffin of a dearly departed.

The story began as Rev. Bertram and a few others were working across from the Pinnacle in Clinton County at a place called, believe it or not, Possum Kingdom. There's a name for you. In all the years, there was only one mention of Possum Kingdom in the Outlook. It was on March 5, 1908, when the writer of the news from Powersburg said "Jason Coleman of the Possum Kingdom has moved to W. H. Denney's farm at Denney Hollow."

Everything was going good for the men working until one of them fell ill and died within a few minutes. "Dying in a place like Possum Kingdom can present problems," Bertram said. "There's no way to get into the place nor out of it except to walk or ride a surefooted horse or mule."

So, how were they to bring the man to the cemetery at Sunnybrook? After a while it became clear that there was only one solution. They would, have to carry the man out. This meant building a casket and then carrying it up the western face of the Pin­nacle and down the eastern side.

Well, it was no easy task, but it was accomplished. When the pallbearers had crossed the Pinnacle and finally reached the cemetery, the crew that was digging the grave had not yet finished it. So, the pallbearers just deposited their burden on the ground under the spreading limbs of a beech tree and waited there until the grave was done.

Unbeknownst to them the funeral service was about to begin, because suddenly a little nuthatch bird flew down and alighted on the lowest limb, just above the casket. When someone tried to shoo him away, he burst into song. When the song was finished, the nuthatch flew away and the grave, by then, was finished. The remains of the departed were lowered to their final resting place. It was perhaps the only funeral service for a man ever conducted by a bird.

Bro. Johnathan Bertram (1823-94) was the son of William and Nancy Stinson Bertram. He preached at Pleasant Hill and Taylor's Grove. He and his wife, Pharaba, had several children. Nearly all of them lived around Sunnybrook. Luther York co-authored the "Bertram Book," a collection of annotated pictures of Bertram residents of Wayne County and their descendants. The book was first published about 1958 and re-released in 2010 by the Wayne County Kentucky History Museum. Luther's wife, Georgia, had been the associate publisher of the "Upper Cumberland Times" prior to her death in 1994. Luther died in Florida in 1978. He and Georgia are buried at Wolf River Cemetery.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Sweetly Sleeping

Little birds are flying daily
Over the grave of the one I love
Singing songs so sweet and gaily
Songs God gave them from above
To the memory of my loved one
Who lies sleeping in a cold grave
Who was called away so suddenly
Though it was our Master's will
Norman, you are sweetly sleeping
No more trouble, no more pain
You have not gone away to forget me
And our meeting will be so great
You are sure to be with Jesus
Waiting for me at the gate

Frances Pierce Groce of Albany wrote this beautiful poem in memory of her only son, Pvt. Norman Johnson Pierce, who was killed in action in France on Nov. 16, 1944, while serving with the 313th Infantry of the 79th Division. Pvt. Pierce, who was 27 years old at the time, is buried at the American Cemetery and Memorial in Epinal, France, which contains the graves of 5,252 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine River and beyond into Germany.

In the years following his death, usually near the anniversary of it, Mrs. Groce would publish a poem or a memory of her son in the Clinton County News. This poem, which I titled, "Sweetly Sleeping," was published the week of Nov. 16, 1958. Pvt. Pierce was also the son of Prentice Pierce, sometimes spelled Peercy. His wife was Idell Guffey (1918-2003). She later married Cordell Guffey. Idell is buried at Walnut Grove.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Chester Booher, WWI and the Spanish Flu

In October of 1918, a Louisville newspaper reported that Chester Booher, who had fought in Germany during WWI, had become the first Clinton County soldier to die of the Spanish influenza. He was 21.

When the war in Germany was declared on April 6, 1917, young Booher was at New Castle, Indiana. He enlisted there and after receiving training at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, arrived in France in November and participated in several battles, including helping to capture Cantigny, the first town taken by the Americans on May 28, 1918.

Booher was a bugler with Company M of the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. He was present during the Battle of Soissons that began on July 18, 1918, which was part of the much larger Allied Aisne-Marne counter-offensive. In four days of continuous attack from the line, Saint-Pierre L'Aigle-Cutry, the First Division AEF penetrated 11 kilometers into the German lines, capturing by assault on the morning of July 21st the Chateau and heights of Buzancy and the village of Berzy-le-Sec, which were the main supply routes for the German forces. Germany never regained the initiative and would be on the defensive until the end of the war.

During the second day of the battle, Booher sustained multiple wounds to his left arm, rendering it useless, a devastating occurrence for a horn player. Sadly, while recuperating in the Boston City Hospital, he succumed to the Spanish Influenza pandemic and died there on September 28, 1918, even though he had been pronounced out of danger. His grave marker at Tuggle Cemetery says he died while being treated for wounds received in the war with Germany and his name is listed as one of the casualties of war on the War Veterans Monument that stands in the courthouse yard in Albany. His name is also on a monument on the Soissons - Château-Thiery road west of Buzancy, France. It honors all First Division soldiers who died in the Soissons campaign. 2, 213 soldiers were killed during the offensive and 6,347 were wounded.

Robert Chester Booher was the seventh of thirteen children born to George Washington (G.W.) and Freely Clementine Choate Booher on Dec. 30, 1896. They lived at Brown's Crossroads and he had attended school at Five Spring before joining the Army.

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 infected an estimated 33% of the world's population. There were no effective treatments and no widespread efforts to prevent the spread.

Over a period of 13 months, 243 men were inducted or volunteered for service in WWI from in and around Clinton County.

The G.W. Booher family. Chest Booher is at the far right on the very end.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

The Old Red White and Blue

I’ve led you in battle... as smoke filled my threads
Lowered to half...while honoring the dead
Popping in the wind...high above your head
Fifty stars strong...with stripes of red

From shore to shore...and every state hall
I’ve hung silent but ready... till I got the call
Representing pride and freedom... to those great and small
A symbol of valor...and justice for all

Never hitting the ground...flying strong in a fight
Carried by Washington...with the enemy in sight
Hoisted in my soldiers' delight
Glory and Liberty...till morning was night

Fabric now old...that once was new
My colors have faded...and my patriots few
Adorned and the brave and true
In God we still trust...the old Red White and Blue

Adam Latham (2023)

My Collection of 100+ Year Old 78 r.p.m. Records

I collect 78 r.p.m. records, but not to the point that I must put the disc onto a turntable and play it. If I am able to do that, fine. If not, it is no biggie. They are great conversation pieces. Even the turntable is something to talk about in today's modern era. I am old school when it comes to turntables and vinyl records. I get a thrill out of just researching the recording; the label, the artist, the song etc. and then telling someone about it Don't misunderstand me. There is much, much joy in playing the disc on a turntable. I love doing that, mostly because I grew up doing that.

I have numerous labels that I am proud of: Okeh, Columbia, Victor, Edison, Superior, Champion Electrograph - labels that have great histories. And, I have a really, really old Edison phonograph that I wind up occasionally just to get a fix on one of the most beautiful things in life. Currently, 71 of the disks in my collection are 100+ years old. Below is that list.

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

2. All Star Trio - Poor Little Butterfly Is A Fly Gal Now (18641-A). Fluffy Ruffles (18641-B). Victor Records 1919.

3. American Quartet - When You Wore A Tulip (17652A). Peerless Quartet - The Red, White and Blue (17652-B). Victor Records 1914.

4. Andre Benoist - Old Black Joe (50292-L). Valse In E Flat (50292-R). Edison Records 1915.

5. Anna Case - Old Folks At Home (83059-L). Annie Laurie (83059-R). Edison Records 1916.

6. Billy Murray - When Tony Goes Over The Top (18510-A). Arthur Fields - Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip! (18510-B). Victor Records 1918.

7. Charles Hart, Elliot Shaw and The Calvary Choir - Shall You? Shall I? (80529-L). Charles Hart & Elliot Shaw - Is My Name Written There? (80529-R). Edison Records 1919.

8. Chatauqua Preachers Quartette - Softly Now The Light Of Day (39476). Let The Lower Lights Be Burning (39477). Standard Talking Machine Company 1914.

9. Chester Gaylord - Love's Old Sweet Song (80613-L). Edna White - Recollections of 1861-65 (80613-R). Edison Records. 1920.

10. Collins and Harlan - Just Help Yourself (3695). Cal Stewart - Uncle Josh Joins The Grangers (3706). Standard Talking Machine Company 1907.

11. Collins and Harlan - On The 5:15, United Talking Machine Company (39697). Ruff Johnson's Harmony Band (39698). Standard Talking Machine Company 1915.

12. Columbia Quartette - War Song Hits - Part I (A2428). War Song Hits - Part 2 (A2428). Columbia Records 1918.

13. Dabney's Band - Beautiful Ohio (A-12081). Hindustan (B-12081). Aerolian Vocalion 1919.

14. Edison Band - Medley Of American Patriotic Airs (50212-L). Medley Of American War Songs (50212-R). Edison Records 1914.

15. Edison Quartet - The Star Spangled Banner (80172-L). America (My Country 'Tis Of Thee (80172-R). Edison Records 1914.

16. Edison Quartet - He Lifted Me (80204-L). Let The Lower Lights Be Burning (80204-R). Edison Records 1914.

17. Edward Hamilton - Just Like The Rose (4725). Charles Hart & Elliot Shaw - Let The Rest Of The World Go By (4726). Emerson Records 1919.

18. Elizabeth Spencer & Henry Burr - You're Still An Old Sweetheart Of Mine (18590-A). Lewis James and Shannon Four - The Gates Of Gladness (18590-B). Victor Records 1919.

19. Elizabeth Spencer - Call Me Your Darling Again (80098-L) 1916. Metropolitan Quartet - Annie Laurie (80098-R). Edison Records 1914.

20. Elizabeth Spencer & Thomas Chalmers - Abide With Me (80276-L). John Young & Frederick Wheeler - When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder (80276-R). Edison Records 1915.

21. Ernest L. Stevens Trio - If I Had My Way Pretty Baby (51026-L). Red Mon Waltz (51026-R). Edison Records 1922.

22. Esther Walker - How Sorry You'll Be (Wait'll You See) (18657-A) Nov. 18, 1919. Billy Murray - He Went In Like A Lion And Came Out Like A Lamb (18657-B). Victor Records Jan. 2, 1920.

23. Frank Ferera/Anthony Franchini - Bright Moon (19088-A). Hawaiian Nights (19088-B). Victor Records 1920.

24. Fred Bacon - Old Black Joe (50351-L) 1916. Massa's In De Cold, Cold Ground (50351-R). Edison Records 1915.

25. Fred Van Eps - Medley Of Southern Melodies (51145-L) April 1923. Darkey's Dream and Darkey's Awakening (51145-R) Edison Records 1922.

26. Geoffrey O'Hara - Send Me A Curl (18441-A). Lewis James and Shannon Four - All Aboard For Home Sweet Home (18441-B). Victor Records 1918.

27. Happy Six - I'm Nobody's Baby (79798) Cherie (79802). Columbia Records 1921.

28. Helen Clark & George Wilton Ballard - In The Old Sweet Way (50534-L). I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles (50534-R). Edison Records 1919.

29. Henry Burr - Are You From Heaven (18435-A) 1917. Sterling Trio - Give Me The Right To Love You (18435-B). Victor Records 1919.

30. Henry Burr - Then You'll Remember Me (414). Mrs. Stewart Holt and Frank C. Stanley - 'Tis But A Little Faded Flower (3402). Standard Talking Machine Company 1910.

31. Henry Burr - Throw Out The Life Line (3205) 1905. Stanley and Burr - What A Friend We Have In Jesus (3756). Talking Machine Company 1907.

32. Henry Burr - Abide With Me (A236). Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight (A236). United Talking Machine Company 1908.

33. Henry Burr and Peerless Quartet - Broadway Rose (18710-A). Sterling Trio - Mother's Lullaby (18710-B). Victor Records 1920.

34. Henry Burr - That Wonderful Mother Of Mine (18524-A) 1919. Charles Anthony/Lewis James - Salvation Lassie Of Mine (18524-B). Victor Records 1919.

35. Henry Burr - Just A Baby's Prayer At Twilight (18439-A). Percy Hemus - On The Road To Home Sweet Home (18439-B). Victor Records 1918.

36. Irving Kaufman - Oh! Oh! Oh! Those Landlords (78445). Billy Murray - And He'd Say Oo-La La! Wee-Wee (78536). Columbia Records 1919.

37. James Craven - Georgia Rose (2172-A). Ernest Hare - I Want My Mammy (2172-B). Brunswick Records 1921.

38. Jaudas' Society Orchestra - The Missouri Waltz (50428-L). Poor Butterfly (50428-R). Edison Records 1917.

39. Joe Hayman - Cohen Telephones the Health Department (29685). Prince's Orchestra - Serenade (46167). Columbia Records 1915.

40. John Steel - Tell Me Little Gypsy (18687-A). The Girl Of My Dreams (18687-B). Victor Records 1920.

41. Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra - Alice Blue Gown (18700-A). Tripoli (18700-B). Victor Records 1921.

42. Kelly Harrell - Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (20103A). My Horses Ain't Hungry (20103B). Victor Records 1914.

43. Lewis James and Peerless Quartet - Smile And The World Smiles With You (18545-A). Sterling Trio - That Tumble Down Shack In Athlone (18545-B). Victor Records 1919.

44. Louise, Ferera and Greenus - Kawaihau Waltz (77798). Hawaiian Breezes (77884). Columbia Records 1918.

45. Maggie Teyte - Ma Curly-Headed Babby (82159-L). I'se Gwine Back To Dixie (82159-R). Edison Records 1919.

46. Metropolitan Quartet - I Will Sing Of My Redeemer (80300-L). I Love To Tell The Story (80300-R). Edison Records 1914.

47. Metropolitan Quartet - Come Where The Lillie's Bloom (80321-L) 1915. Thomas Chalmers - My Old Kentucky Home, (80321-R). Edison Records 1914.

48. Metropolitan Quartet - The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane (80484-L) 1918. Betsy Lane Shepherd - I'll Remember You, Love In My Prayers (80484-R). Edison Records 1917.

49. Metropolitan Quartet - Darling Nellie Gray (80010-L) 1914. Elizabeth Spencer & Vernon Archibald - Ever Of Thee I'm Fondly Dreaming (80010-R). Edison Records 1920.

50. Orpheus Male Chorus - Dixieland Memories No. 2 (80395-L). Dixieland No. 1 (80395-R). Edison Records 1917.

51. Pale K. Lua and David Kaili (Irene West Royal Hawaiians) - Cunha Medley (17774-A). Hula Medley (17774-B). Victor Records 1915.

52. Rae Eleanor Ball; Jessie L. Deppen - Havana Moon (50857-L). Wonderland Of Dreams (50857-R). Edison Records 1921.

53. Sam Ash - On The Road To Happiness (46130). Reed Miller and Frederick Wheeler - Keep The Home Fires Burning (46135). Columbia Records 1915.

54. Sam Ash - When I Leave The World Behind (45647). Herbert Stuart - When The Lusitania Went Down (45660). Standard Talking Machine Company 1915.

55. S.C. (Steve) Porter [Chimes] - Safe In The Arms Of Jesus (A239) 1902. Henry Burr - Savior Lead me Lest I Stray (A239). Standard Talking Machine Company 1905.

56. Selvin's Novelty Orchestra - Dardanella (18633-A). My Isle Of Golden Dreams (1863-B). Victor Records 1919.

57. Sibyl Sanderson Fagan - L'Ardita - Magnetic Waltz (80453-L). Sibyl Sanderson, Fred Hager and Harvey Wilson - Sundown In Birdland (80453-R). Edison Records 1918.

58. Sousa's Band - U.S. Field Artillery March (18430-A). Liberty Loan March (18430-B). Victor Records Dec. 21, 1917.

59. S.W. Smith, U.S.N. And Bugle Squad - U.S. Army Bugle Calls Pt. 1. (50452-R). U.S. Army Bugle Calls Pt. 2 (50452-L). Edison Records 1918.

60. Thomas Chalmers - Nearer My God To Thee (50002-L) July 21, 1913. Elizabeth Spencer & Frederick Wheeler - Dreams Of Galilee (50002-R). Edison Records 1915.

61. Thomas Chalmers - Beulah Land (80549-L). Fred East & Lewis James - Only A Step To Jesus (80549-R). Edison Records 1920.

62. Thomas Chalmers - The Palms (82055-L). O Holy Night (82055-R). Edison Records 1914.

63. Thomas Chalmers - Recessional (82133-L). Battle Hymn Of The Republic (82133-R). Edison Records 1917.

64. Toots Paka Hawaiian Company - Kilima Waltz (4795). Hilo March (4798). Emerson Records 1919.

65. Vasa Prihoda - On Wings Of Song (82236-L). (a) Songs My Mother Taught Me (b) Poem (82236-R). Edison Records 1921.

66. Venetian Instrumental Quartet - On The High Alps (50065-L) 1914. American Symphony Orchestra - Wedding Of The Winds Waltzes (50065-R). Edison Records 1912.

67. Waikiki Hawaiian Orchestra - One, Two, Three, Four Medley (50455-L) 1917. Ford Hawaiians - Ellis March (50455-R). Edison Records 1916.

68. Walter Van Brunt - Hickey Dula (50348-L). Collins and Harlan - On The Hoko Moko Isle (50348-R). Edison Records 1916.

69. Walter Van Brunt - Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You (50357-L). Billy Murray - Are You From Dixie ('Cause I'm From Dixie Too) (50357-R). Edison Records 1916.

70. Walter Van Brunt & Elizabeth Spencer - On The Banks Of The Brandywine (80160-L). I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (80160-R). Edison Records 1914.

71. Whitney Brothers Quartet - Home Of The Soul (16372-A). Stanley and Burr - I Am Praying For You (16372-B). Victor Records 1912.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Nelson Harper was known as a Christian Soldier

Nelson Harper was born a slave into the family of William Harper before the civil war, in a cabin near where the Seminary, Kentucky Post Office stood in Cumberland County. Although he was not sure of his actual birthdate, "Uncle Nels" was believed to have been over one hundred years old when he died at War Memorial Hospital on July 18, 1956.

He had suffered a stroke while helping repair the pump to the well at New Hope Church at Highway, where the annual reunion and homecoming was taking place. He lived adjacent to the church and had been a deacon and lay-leader there for a great number of years and was noted for his piety and deep concentration to the cause of Christ.

Uncle Nels would often talk about events that had taken place during and after the Civil War. Older folks who remembered him as a grown man when they were children told how their parents had said Uncle Nels was a good sized boy and able to do small chores on the farm before the war ended.

He first married Mattie Alexander. Their daughter, Pearl Craft, was living in Muncie when Uncle Nels died. After Mattie died, Uncle Nels married Laura Staley and they had four children; David, Clarence, Edgar and Nora. Edgar, his only other surviving child, was living in Cincinnati when his father died. A half brother, Gerald, lived at Highway. Another one, Eugene, lived at Bakerton. He lived to be 101.

Uncle Nels was buried at Harper Cemetery near Seminary, following a funeral at New Hope Church. Both the service and a visitation at Sewell Funeral Home had been attended by a large number of people wishing to pay tribute to the man who was highly esteemed by all who knew him.

He proved to be faithful as a Deacon of his church. He was called a Christian soldier who was ever ready to wage war with the enemy and stand firm until the battle was ended. He loved his church and good preaching and often encouraged the speakers with his amens. The light he left behind lit the path for others who followed.

The burial site for William Harper, who lived between 1815 and 1892, is unknown, but his wife, Mahalia Brown Harper (1814-1888) is buried at Harper Cemetery. There are four graves there: Nelson Harper, Mahalia Brown Harper, Laura Branham Harper (1849-1920) and her mother, Emily Wilson Branham Burchett, a slave brought to Clinton County from Danville, Virginia by Barnabas Branham. Her surname was Wilson. She was sold away from her husband, King Harper, and 3 or 4 of her children. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Friday, November 3, 2023

The Ordination of Bro. Adam Davidson

The Ordination of Bro. Adam Davidson is scheduled for this Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. central time at Clear Fork Baptist Church in Albany, Kentucky. This is going to be a momentous occasion and one that is very historic. Bro. Davidson is the son of Alice (Stockton) Davidson. Their ancestor, Thomas Stockton, was the first settler in our area, arriving from Sevier County, Tennessee in about 1795. Clinton County was first called Stockton's Valley. Irwin Cemetery, where Thomas lies buried, was originally on his property. He was also one of the thirteen original charter members of our church in 1802.

Five ordinations are mentioned in Morris Gaskins' book, "A Lighthouse in the Wilderness," which covers the first one hundred years and then some. Isaac Cross, John Crouch and Jonathan Smith in 1821, William Cross in 1824 and Joseph Denton in 1853.

The last one mentioned is that of Printis Bertram, who was ordained in 1928 and served as our 10th pastor from 1932 to 1933. The son of Alvin Bertram, our fifth and seventh pastor who served a total of 38 years, Printis was saved and joined Clear Fork in 1921. He also served as Deacon and Trustee.

Bro. Davidson has served as an usher, Sunday School teacher, Bible Club teacher and Deacon, and was called to preach on July 6, 2022. He and his wife, Tanisha, have three children: Tayton, Titus and Emma.

Bro. Davidson's ordination will be a very blessed event and you are invited to join in this joyous occasion. We will begin the service at 6pm. Bro. Danny Whetstone will be preaching and there will be special singing. Refreshments will be served afterwards. We ask that you be in prayer for Brother Davidson as he formally accepts the position and responsibilities as an appointed servant of God. 🙏

(The Adam Davidson family)

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Sacrifice and Valor in the service of Liberty

James Roger Tuggle was born on Oct. 9, 1913 in Cumberland County. He attended Clinton County High School and was part of the Class of 1939 at Western Kentucky University, where he was Captain of their ROTC Program. Following college, he joined the service and was sent to Fort Francis E. Warren in Laramie, Wyoming for training.

Captain Tuggle served with the U.S. Army's 101st Philippine Division, 101st Field Artillery Regiment and was a training officer for the Philippine Scouts. On May 7, 1942, following the fall of Bataan, the most intense phase of the Japanese invasion, probably in a skirmish at Mindanao, he was taken as a prisoner of war. The Japanese invasion of the Philippines is often considered the worst military defeat in U.S. history. About 23,000 American military personnel and about 100,000 Filipino soldiers were killed or captured.

Captain Tuggle was first kept in Cabanatuan Prison Camp #1 and then later at Bilibid at Muntinlupa, several miles southeast Manila, until December 1944, when he was transferred to the Oryoku Maru, a Japanese passenger cargo ship that had been commissioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy as a prisoner of war transport ship for transport to Japan. He survived an American aircraft bombing of the ship in December 1944, which killed 200 Allied POWs and was eventually transferred to the Brazil Maru on a voyage from Takao to Moji.

The ship had been hauling livestock and no attempt was made to clean out the manure prior to the boarding of the prisoners. Records indicate that Captain Tuggle died of acute colitis from eating or drinking contaminated food or water while aboard the Brazil Maru. An estimated 500 prisoners would die aboard the Brazil Maru, although sources vary. The ship was sunk by a mine at Kobe on May 12, 1945.

Captain Tuggle was listed as dead at sea on Jan. 11, 1945, at the age of 31. His name is on a monument at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines. It is also on Clinton County's War Veterans Monument. Manila American Cemetery contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of WWII, more than 17,000. Another 36,286 are listed as missing in action. Over 500 Philippine Scouts are buried there according to the American Battle Monuments Commission. The cemetery, and all who are there or mentioned, including Captain James Roger Tuggle, is an epic story of sacrifice and valor in the service of liberty.

Captain Tuggle was the son of William and Bessie Tuggle, who are buried at Highway Cemetery. A plot for Captain Tuggle is also there. Another son, Fred, was an Army Major who served in Korea. He is buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville. Sister Reba Barrett is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, where Kentucky Governor and Clinton County native Thomas Bramlette is buried.

Captain Tuggle was awarded a Silver Star.

Thomas Stephens was at Valley Forge

My ancestor, Thomas Stephens, who lived in Fentress County, Tennessee, was a Corporal in the Virginia Continental Line during the American Revolution. He served at Valley Forge and is noted on their muster roll.

Valley Forge was the location of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington. The British were occupying Philadelphia and Valley Forge was only a day’s march away and it was where the Army could train and recoup from the year’s battles and keep an eye on the British and prevent them from foraging in the countryside for the food they needed. On the down side, while the winter weather stopped the fighting, it proved to be a great trial for the 11,000 American soldiers stationed there.

As Washington's men camped in crude log cabins and endured the cold conditions, the Redcoats warmed themselves in colonial homes. There were shortages of everything from food to clothing to medicine. Hundreds died from scurvy, smallpox and dysentery.

It was written that one out of every six soldiers that marched into Valley Forge in December did not march back out in June, but the suffering troops that remained were held together by loyalty to the Patriot cause and to General Washington, who refused to leave his men.

That winter camp provided the foundation for what would later become the modern United States Army. While no battle was fought there, it was considered the turning point of the Revolutionary War. By June of 1778, the weary troops emerged with a rejuvenated spirit and confidence as a well-trained fighting force.

Thomas Stephens was my 5th great-grandfather through his daughter, Jennetta, wife of Jesse Cobb. Then through his grandson, David Smith, his daughter, Deborah, wife of George Boles, then Hige and on down to me. Thomas was born between 1745 and 1750, possibly in Richmond County, VA. By 1833, he was living in Fentress County, where he died in 1850, He and his wife, Sarah, are buried at Albertson Cemetery near where Glenoby Road and Livingston Highway meet in Fentress County, Tennessee. Note the Revolutionary War medallion on his grave marker.

Bro. Isaac Hucaby

It has been said that Isaac Hucaby inspired thousands with both his sermons and his Christian life. When he died at age 78, he was one of the area's great Baptist preachers. During his ministry, Bro. Hucaby preached over 1,300 funerals, performed over 500 baptisms and over 300 marriages. He not only performed weddings in churches, but also under sycamore trees and along a dark roadway with only a cars headlights. About the large number of funerals he conducted, someone once told him, “It sounds like the dead people like to hear you, the same as the living.

Bro. Huckaby once said he had performed baptisms from the Cumberland River to farm ponds. He preferred performing baptisms in creeks because he said the service seemed more meaningful. Once he was baptizing 24 people in a rather shallow creek. The last man weighed 220
pounds and instead of the usual procedure where the minister lifts the individual out of the water, Brother Hucaby's foot slipped and he went under the water, instead. The man he was baptizing reached down and picked the soaked preacher out of the water.

Bro. Hucaby was born on July 1, 1909 into a family which had four separate sets of twins, he and his twin sister were the two youngest of thirteen children. All of the twins were sets of a boy and a girl, except one set of boys who died in infancy. The family had a large two-story house located on a 220 acre farm in the Burfield community near Barrier in Wayne County, Kentucky.

He was ordained in 1930. There was a time when he was pastor at five Churches. They were quarter-time churches, which meant once a month preaching. He would do the preaching on Satur­day afternoon and then Sunday afternoon. During his first years as a minister, Hucaby walked 15 miles to church. He later rode a horse and in 1934 purchased an automobile to travel to the country churches.

Hucaby entered the ministry at age 18 after being converted when he was 10-years-old. He began his preaching career at the Old Beaver Creek Church, now l75 feet under water at Wolf Creek Dam. His second pastorate was at Gap Creek Baptist Church, originally called Otter Creek Church. He was pastor at the Gap Creek Church for 12 years in succession, away two years and then back two years. He laid the foundation for a full-time church with preaching every Sunday. During his years at Gap Creek Church he also preached at Bethel Church in Parmleysville, Big Springs Church, New Hope Church on Beaver Creek near Cooper, Sandusky’s Chapel Baptist Church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and various other churches across the county.

It is safe to say that Isaac Hucaby probably preached at least once in every Baptist church in the region, serving as pastor of a variety of churches in Clinton, Cumberland, Pulaski and Wayne counties, including a brief pastorate at my church, Clear Fork, in 1933. He retired from the active pastorate in 1971 and then dedicat­ed himself to supply work and evangelistic work.

Bro. Hucaby married Lena Campbell in 1933, and lived with her until her death in 1970. After 27 months, he married Eula Bartleson, the widow of James Bartleson. He last married Dona Bertram, the widow of Arnold Bertram of the Windy community. He died on Dec. 14, 1987 at the age of 78. He and Lena are buried at Elk Spring Cemetery in Monticello, Kentucky. He truly was one of all-time great Baptist preachers from our area. (Information for this article was obtained from a Dec. 17, 1987 article by Linda Jones/Wayne County Outlook).

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Who Were Champ Ferguson's Victims?

Following the Civil War, a military commission met in Nashville on July 11, 1865 for the trial of Champ Ferguson, the most notorious of the many guerilla fighters who fought to control the Upper Cumberland Plateau region during the war.

Two charges were placed against him. The first charge was being a guerilla and organizing and associating with a band of lawless men, and being their leader, without any lawful authority or commission from any military power, and that he continuously carried on a predatory and barbarous guerilla warfare, committing many acts of cruelty and inhumanity, becoming a notorious murderer, robber and freebooter in Clinton County, Kentucky and Fentress County, Tennessee, and in the neighboring counties of these states from the year 1861 to May of 1865.

The second charge was murder. Fifty-three murdered victims were named in the indictment. Who were they and what were the dates and occasions surrounding their murders?

1. Nov. 1, 1861 - William Frogg, age 22, Clinton County, 12th Kentucky Regiment, Co. D (my third great uncle). He was home sick in bed with the measles when Ferguson confronted him about being at the Union Army's training camp, Camp Dick Robinson, near Standford. In Champ's world, many of his once long time friends and neighbors had become his enemies. He despised what the training camp stood for. Regardless of who or what they were, he was compelled to target and eliminate those who had been there. ‘I reckon you caught the measles at Camp Dick Robinson,’ Ferguson said just before he shot him dead. Findagrave 217632875

2. Dec. 4, 1861 - Reuben Wood, age 56, Clinton County. Ferguson shot him twice at his home near Albany on Dec. 1st. He died three days later. Findagrave 69578994

3-5. April 1862 - Joseph Stover, William Johnson and Lewis Pierce, near Henry Johnson's house on Wolf River in Clinton County. Ferguson shot and stabbed Pvt. Stover of 1st Ky Cavalry. He chased Johnson and shot at him, causing him to fall over a steep cliff resulting in his death. He shot Pierce.

6. April 1, 1862 - Fount Zachary, age 18, Fentress County. Fount surrendered the shotgun he was carrying, but Ferguson shot him anyway. Almost as soon as he hit the ground, Ferguson was on him with his Bowie knife, and Fount became the first of four Zachary males to fall to Ferguson. Findagrave 149433579

7. May 2, 1862 - Alexander Huff, Sr., age 51, at Pall Mall. He shot him in the head at the old Conrad Pile home. Findagrave 30015273

8. June 1, 1862 - Elisha Koger, age 32, at Oak Grove (my 3rd great-grandfather). He was shot over 30 times outside his home, not far from the Oak Grove Church Cemetery. Findagrave 59105584

9. June 1, 1862 - James Zachary, age 48, Fentress County. Fount Zachary's uncle. He was a magistrate. Findagrave 110262343

10. Aug. 27, 1862 - Joseph Beck, age 45, Poplar Mountain at Duvall Valley Findagrave 31965322

11-14. Oct. 5, 1862 - John Williams, William David Delk, John Crabtree, unknown African-American girl, near the home of Mrs Piles in Fentress County. They were taken from John Huff's mother's home in Fentress County, tied up, removed about a hundred yards away and found dead in a horse lot at Mrs. Piles' home. Williams was shot in the head. Delk was shot once through his chest, and a bayonet ran through it. Crabtree was cut up all over. The unknown negro girl was cut up into pieces in a barbarous manner.

15. Oct. 28, 1862 - Washington Tabor, age 55, Clinton County. He was taken outside his home near Snow and shot. Findagrave 43940663

16. Nov. 1862 - Dr. William McGlasson, Cumberland Co. He was told to run or be killed. He did but was killed anyway, plus robbed and stripped of his clothes. Ferguson denied this.

17-19. Jan. 1, 1863 - Peter and Allan Zachary of Pickett County and Pvt. Elam Huddleston. It happened at the home of Capt. Rufus Dowdy in Russell County. The home was under construction. The upstairs had but a few planks on the joists. Huddleston was shot from an upstairs window and was believed to be dead when he fell to the ground floor. Ferguson killed Peter Zachary and Allan Zachary was killed by the others under Ferguson's command. Elam Huddleston Findagrave 810673. Huddleston was at the Battle of Mill Springs and is buried at the national cemetery. The Zachary's were from Pickett County.

20-39. Feb. 22 1864 - Nineteen unknown soldiers, TN 5th Cavalry. Operations against guerrillas at Johnson’s Mills and Calfkiller River in White County, TN. During this time frame, Ferguson was accused of murdering (unknown) 19 men of the U.S. 5th TN Cavaly.

40-52. Oct. 4, 1864 - Twelve Federal Army soldiers, plus two colored soldiers, all unknown. The First Battle of Saltville (October 2, 1864) was fought over an important saltworks near that town in Virginia. The participants included one of the few black cavalry units. The murder of captured and wounded black soldiers after the battle has been called the Saltville Massacre.” Champ Ferguson fought in this battle. Two of the charges accused him of murdering surrendered United States Colored Troops after the battle had ended. Thomas Mays’ 1995 book, "The Saltville Massacre," recalls the testimony of Pvt. Harry Shocker, a wounded prisoner who watched Ferguson calmly walk about the battlefield killing both white and black prisoners. Champ denied killing any black troops at Saltville.

53. Oct. 7th, 1864 - Lt. Eliza Smith, a Clinton County resident, lay wounded at Emory and Henry College Hospital at Emory, Virginia, when Ferguson burst into the room, approached his bed and placed his gun a foot from the helpless Smith’s forehead. After three misfires, the gun discharged and Smith lay dead with a bullet through his head. Lt. Smith is buried at Knoxville National Cemetery. His wife, Lucy Staton Smith, is buried at Dr. Smith Cemetery in Clinton County. Findagrave 2972

Even though he was charged with killing fifty-three people, Ferguson boasted of killing over a hundred. He said those he had killed were seeking his life and that he was justified by killing in self defense.

He said, "I am yet and will die a Rebel … I killed a good many men, of course, but I never killed a man who I did not know was seeking my life. … I had always heard that the Federals would not take me prisoner, but would shoot me down wherever they found me. That is what made me kill more than I otherwise would have done. I repeat that I die a Rebel out and out, and my last request is that my body be removed to White County, Tennessee, and be buried in good Rebel soil."

The trial ended with Ferguson's conviction on Sept. 26, 1865. He was hanged on Oct. 20, 1865. Per his request, he was buried at France Cemetery, north of Sparta, TN, off Highway 84.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Odd goings on at Lake Cumberland

Did the odd goings on at Lake Cumberland on Good Friday, March 27, 1964 have a connection to an earthquake that had occurred three minutes earier at Anchorage Alaska 3,000 milesl away?

While University of Kentucky scientists said there was little possibility of a connection, the superintendent of Lake Cumberland State Park confirmed reports by fishermen of a series of mysterious waves that swept across the lake at about the time as the earthquake.

John Flanagan said the waves were a foot to 18 inches high, and snapped two cables on the Jamestown Boat Dock. Other reports told of the lake falling and rising from three to four feet several times. The boat dock operator said the lake was acting funny - calm in the middle but whirling in circles near the shore.

Ten to twelve people who were at the boat dock witnessed the phenomenon. Two fishermen, William Kaiser, Jr., and James Young, both of Fern Creek, said they saw a weird shift in the waters of the lake eight or nine times, with the water several times dipping as much as four feet.

There were no reports of earth tremors or other natural phenomena in the area. Flanagan said it was like a big boat going by and throwing its wake at the shore, except none of the small power craft boats that were on the lake at the time were large enough to create waves of the size indicated.

Lake Cumberland wasn't the place reporting strange occurrences. A U. S. Army engineer at Wolf Creek Dam reported that someone called up from the park and asked what they were doing with the water at the dam. The engineer said he knew of nothing that would cause such an occurrence.

Lake Cumberland and Wolf Creek Dam weren't the only places to report strange activity that night. Witnesses said the water near Dix Dam at Lake Herrington, some 50 miles north­east of Lake Cumberland between Mercer and Garrard Counties, slopped around like it does in a dishpan. One man said pieces of a dock, each weigh­ing several tons, were tossed against each other like matchboxes. Another person said waves reached five to six feet.

The Great Alaskan earthquake occurred at 9:36 p.m. Albany time, triggering massive landslides near downtown Anchorage and several residential areas, damaging or destroying thirty blocks of dwellings, commercial buildings, water mains and gas, sewer, telephone and electrical systems.

Ground fissures, collapsing structures and tsunamis resulting from the earthquake caused 131 deaths. Lasting four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the magnitude 9.2 earthquake remains the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in North America, and the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the world since modern seismography began in 1900.

A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 300 miles from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage out to 25 miles. In the early afternoon of August 23, 2011, millions of people throughout the eastern U.S. felt shaking from a magnitude 5.8 earthquake near Mineral, Virginia. Although not the strongest earthquake to have occurred in the eastern U.S., let alone the western U.S., the Virginia earthquake was likely felt by more people than any earthquake in North America’s history. This is due to the large distances at which people felt ground shaking and because of the density of the population in the eastern U.S.

The magnitude of an earthquake is related to the length of the fault on which it occurs. That is, the longer the fault, the larger the earthquake. A fault is a break in the rocks that make up the Earth's crust, along which rocks on either side have moved past each other. No fault long enough to generate a magnitude 10 earthquake is known to exist, and if it did, it would extend around most of the planet.

The largest earthquake ever recorded was a magnitude 9.5 on May 22, 1960 in Chile on a fault that is almost 1,000 miles long…a “megaquake” in its own right.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Kenny Bilbrey and The Monkees

Everyone knows how much Kenny Bilbrey loved The Monkees (as does his brother). Kenny had told me recently that "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was his favorite Monkees song. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was recorded on June 10, 1967, with Michael Nesmith on electric guitar, Peter Tork on piano, Micky Dolenz sang the lead part and played acoustic guitar, and Nesmith and Kenny's most favorite Monkee, Davy Jones, sang the harmony parts. The song, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, is about dissatisfaction with living in the suburbs.

"Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burnin' everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care"

Davy Jones, they say, was a very warm and caring person, just like his character on the show. Kenny and Kelly met him after a show in Indiana. Standing at the edge of the stage, the brothers yelled out "I love you!" and Davy replied that he loved them. It was a great moment in their lives. I know, because when they returned home, one of their first stops was at the radio station. Both of them had tears in their eyes as they described what they had experienced at the front of the stage. I interviewed them on the air and they kept the recording of it in Kelly's vehicle. More than once I could hear it blasting from the car if they saw me pass by or pull in to a restaurant or gas station where they were. Surely, their passion for The Monkees was unequaled.

Twenty-five years after the TV series finished its first run, Davy Jones recorded “Free (The Greatest Story Ever Told).” Kelly called me this morning (Thursday) and said this was Kenny's favorite Davy Jones song as a solo artist.

"All my life is just a stage i’m going through
The director has written lines for me and you
And we must act accordingly
All I know is this is the greatest story ever told
And we’ll never grow old
We just pan away, fade to light"

Kelly said Kenny would always say when he had seen or spoken to Randy "Specktacular," with strong emphasis on that last part. When I was running for city council, I gave him a campaign card. I reckon, from all accounts, he showed it all over town. It was one of the favorite things I did as a candidate.

Kenny left out Wednesday aboard that last train to Clarksville. Until we see you again, we will always remember you, singing...
"Hey, hey, we're The Monkees!" 💕

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

"Samuel Fulton Stephenson"

"Dr. Samuel Fulton Stephenson is one of Clinton County's most dependable and well loved physicians and one of our most loyal and respected members of the medical profession," wrote the New Era in 1950. He was born in Clinton County on March 16, 1876. During his early childhood, the family moved into town, where Samuel acquired his early education before attending the Kentucky School of Medicine, now a part of the University of Louisville, from which he graduated in 1898 at the age of 22. He took a post graduate course in ophthalmology and while he enjoyed a large general practice through his professional career. At the same time, he devoted special attention to testing eyes and fitting glasses.

At the time of his death, Dr. Stephenson was Clinton County's oldest practicing physician. He started out practicing at Byrdstown and Albany his first five years. In 1903, he moved his office and residence to Albany. During the first 15 years he did most of his traveling by horseback. By 1914 he had become one of the few people in Clinton County to own an automobile. Very few people in Clinton County owned an automobile until the late 1920's.

Dr. Stephenson practiced medicine for 52 years. He was known by every­one throughout Clinton County and was well known in adjoining counties. In 1948, the university he had attended presented him with the Golden Anniversary Certificate, issued-to graduates who have practiced their profession for 50 years. It was written that he was a 'clean christian doctor' devoted to his profession and to the people whom he served. In addition, he was always interested in the welfare of his people, his town and always took an active part in Church work.

Samuel Stephenson was 74 when he died of a heart attack at his home just south of the square on Nov. 22, 1950. His funeral service was held three days later before a large and sorrowing congregation at Albany First Baptist Church, where he had been a devoted member most of his life. Burial was at Albany Cemetery under the direction of Sewell Funeral Home. Albany's four remaining physicians: Drs. Samuel Bristow, Ernest Barnes, Floyd Hay and Raymond Faulkner, along with Byrdstown physician Malcolm Clark, were honorary pallbearers.

Dr. Stephenson was a member of the large Stephenson family of Russell, Clinton and Cumberland Counties, which consisted of such notables as Dr. Tom Stephenson, who was a prominent dentist in Columbia, and Dr. J. M. Stephenson, the well-known dentist in Burkesville. He was the 10th of thirteen children of Thomas Stephenson, the once prominent Albany merchant, and Esther Dalton Stephenson. His wife was Burcie Mulllinix Stephenson. While they didn't have any children there were 24 nephews and nieces and numerous descendants.

Clinton County took pride in our Dr. Stephenson, not only as a successful professional man, but also as one of her finest and most useful public-spirited citizens.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

CCHS Football, the Early Years

Superintendent Robert Polston announced in September of 1971 that work was officially underway on a football field at the new Clinton County High School in Albany, Kentucky and that a football coach would be employed in the near future. Although all the nearby counties, except for Adair County, had been playing football for some­ time, CCHS had never had a football program. Developing a football team from scratch would be a slow process and it would take some­ time before the school would be able to play a regular schedule.

Behind the idea of having a football program at Clinton County High School was math and economics teacher Jim Dick, a CCHS alumni. He took the initiative to make it all happen and was the person most responsible for rallying player prospects. Before the announcement was made that a football field was under construction, he had already begun talking about and teachings the rules and basic fundamentals of football to those prospects who were interested. By May of 1972, forty prospects, now known as players, were being taught football by Coach Dick. A large number of those players were eighth and ninth graders. The headline in the Clinton County News said "CCHS Football Team Looks Promising."

I consider Jim Dick to be the father of football at Clinton County and much gratitude and respect is due him for his efforts in getting the program underway. The 1964 CCHS graduate worked the players into shape during the spring of 1972 and by fall scrimmage games and a junior varsity schedule was organized. A new football field was being readied for what was to come. By August, the field was nearing completition. Bleachers and lights were forthcoming.

Most of the equipment Coach Dick used was practice equipment. On March 16, 1972, the board of education began accepting sealed bids for football equipment; fifty helmets with face guards, fifty shoulder pads in different sizes, hip pads, thigh pads and knee pads, fifty practice jerseys and practice pants, shoes, mouth pieces, elbow pads, six footballs, blocking and push-back dummies, goal line flags, a lineman chain, field and yard line markers and accessories, and two blocking sleds.

By late summer, Custer, South Dakota native Tom Gaebler, the first of­ficial head football coach who had been All-State at Bourbon County and All-Conference at Eastern Kentucky University, and Coach Dick began working with the football prospects as the 1972-73 school year was just getting underway. CCHS football's first head coach said his first concern with this team was to get the players in shape before attempting any real practice. Plays and 'run throughs' would come later, he said, after he felt the boys could take it.

1972 was a season of five scrimmage games only, for learning the rules and fundamentals of the game (a junior varsity team also played a few games). We lost the first two scrimmage games, at Metcalfe and Russell counties. The first official home football game played in Albany was on Oct. 17, 1972 against the Adair County Indians. We lost 28-to-24, after having just defeated the Indians 14-to-8 two weeks earlier on Oct. 5th at Columbia in the third scrimmage game of the season. In that game, Adair County scored on their second possession. Just before the first half ended, Clinton County's Kenny Sells' back to back touchdowns and Junior Conner's successful extra points gave the Bulldogs a 14-to-8 lead. Neither team scored after that, although the Bulldogs came close several times. We won the final scrimmage game 14-to-0 at home game against Wayne County on Oct. 25th. It was two touchdowns by Kenny Sells and a very good defense that gave the Bulldogs a rare win over the Cardinals, but a great one for our young program. So, we won two games and lost three that first year of football at CCHS.

Official varsity competition would begin in 1973 and what happened in 1972 was a promising beginning. Here is that team's roster according to the Clinton County News.

Teddy Aaron, Linebacker
Willie Arms, Linebacker
Dale Cole, Running Back
Junior Conner, Running Back
Gary Elmore, Tight End
Kevin Lowborn, Tackle
Mike Massengale, Quarterback
Garland McWhorter, Guard
Junior Melton, Wide Receiver
Bobby Reneau, Tight End
Kenny Sells, Running Back
Earl Stearns, Tight End
Ned Sloan, Tackle

Barry Barnette, Tackle
Ricky Burchett, Guard
Larry Claborn, Tackle
David Cross, Tackle
Leon McClard, Tackle
Lonnie Perdue, Wide Receiver
Rickie Wallace, Tight End
Anthony Wilson, Tackle

Johnny DeRossett, Quarterback
Jeff Fryman, Defensive Back
Larry Perdue, Running Back
Mike Staton, Linebacker
Tom Thrasher, Quarterback
Leon Wilson, Tackle

Junior Couch, Danny McFall

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

From Dixie to Yankee Doodle to Home Sweet Home; Patriotic Songs that Stirred Hearts

It is said that during the Civil War, two large armies were on opposite banks of a river in Virginia. Late one afternoon, just before sunset, the Confederate band played' "Dixie," that favorite song so dear to every Southern heart. At the close loud shouts of exultation went up from thousands of gallant Confederate soldiers. Immediately, the band of the Union Army played "Yankee Doodle," equally a favorite song of the federal soldiers. When it ended, the voice of thousands brave Union soldiers burst forth in applause. In a few moments both bands, simultaneously, struck up "Home, Sweet Home," and when the last sweet strains of music died away, tears were flowing freely from the eyes of thousands of war-worn and battle-scarred veterans of both armies. It appealed to the voice of conscience, and brought to them the remembrance of other and better days.

The song, "Dixie," aka "I Wish I Was in Dixie," was written in 1859. It cemented the word "Dixie" in the American vocabulary as a nickname for the Southern United States. During the Civil War, it was a rallying song of the Confederacy, a national anthem. Abraham Lincoln loved it. It was played at the announcement of General Robert E. Lee's surrender.

In 1906 in Wayne County, Kentucky, a crowd of around 2,500 people were assembled at the fairgrounds to attend the 4th of July Celebration, which was given by the Wayne County Fair Association. Interesting and patriotic orations were delivered in the forenoon by Judge John P. Hobson, a member of the Court of Appeals, and Wayne County Judge Joseph Bertram. The Outlook reported that the music for the occasion was furnished by the Monticello Brass Band. "To say that they did well would be putting it lightly, considering the time that they have practiced, they did ex­ceptionally well. The only fault we find with them is that they don't play "Dixie" enough. They should play it every other time, at least. It was the only tune that received an applause. It stirs the southerners heart as nothing else can."

"I wish I was in Dixie
Hooray, Hooray!
In Dixie land, I'll take my stand
To live and die in Dixie!
Away, away, away down South in Dixie!
Away, away, away down South in Dixie!"

"Yankee Doodle" predates the American Revolution, originally sung by British soldiers to mock the disheveled, disorganized colonial Yankee who, they said, thought that he was stylish if he simply stuck a feather in his cap. It became popular among the Americans as a song of defiance. Verses were added that hailed George Washington as the Commander of the Continental army. By 1781, "Yankee Doodle" turned from being an insult to being a song of national pride. It was played at the British surrender at Saratoga in 1777.

"Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni,
Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy."

"Home Sweet Home" was written in 1823. It was a favorite of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. That night in Virginia, in the words of Frank Mixson, a private in the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, "Everyone went crazy during the playing (and singing) of "Home Sweet Home."Both sides began cheering, jumping up and down and throwing their hats into the air. Had there not been a river between them, he said, the two armies would have met face to face, shaken hands, and ended the war on the spot.

"Mid pleasures and palaces,
Though I may roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There's no place like home.
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home!
There's no place like home!"

In his 1905 essay entitled, "Fourth of July, The Birthday of the United States of America," school teacher Samuel L. Coffey wrote in the Adair County, Kentucky newspaper, "The American flag is the emblem of national unity and strength, a nation whose strength lays in the conscience of its people and whose perpetuity depends on the virtue, the intelligence, and patriotism of its people. Thomas Jefferson said "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." Every true American citizen should be able to say, "Where our flag flies there is my country. It represents every great achievement that has been accomplished in our country's history in an intellectual, moral or material way, from its beginning to the present time. It insures protection abroad and security at home. The citizen seeing it waving over his home feels safe indeed. It makes no difference whether the band plays "Dixie" or "Yankee Doodle." Seeing the emblem of power and free­dom waving in the breeze, one feels at rest and can sing with pride and pleasure, "Home, Sweet Home," whether he or she lives in the North, South, East or West."

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Ben Dyer and the Zip Code

It was sixty years ago this year, in 1963, that the post office began using zip codes. Albany postmaster Ben Dyer announced in June of that year that a new system of improving mail dispatch and delivery would begin on July 1st. The zip code, five digit numerals to be placed on all correspondence, will cut up to 24 hours between the time of the deposits and delivery of mail, he said.

Local post offices that were assigned numbers were Aaron 42601, Albany 42602, Alpha 42603, Highway 42623, Huntersville 42627, Seminary 42644 and Static 38586. Everyone in these communities were asked to use the numbers on all correspondence to not only speed deliveries but to reduce the chance of missent mail.

Dyer also instructed residents on how to include the zip code with the address. "This prefix is to be used on all mailers, whether they are post boxholders, have home boxes or get their mail by general delivery."

For the first time ever, the new zip code plan would permit post office employees to decrease repeat readings of addresses. Previously, the address on mail often had to be read eight or ten times in order to get it to the proper destination. Each handling slowed the process of mail dispatch and added to the opportunity for human error.

The zip code allowed the United States to have 'the most modern system of mail distribution in existence,' Dyer said, and he encouraged everyone to learn their zip codes and use them on return addresses on all correspondence and that in answering mail the zip code taken from incoming mail should be used.

Ben Dyer was appointed postmaster in November of 1959, replacing Odell Cummings, who had been acting postmaster for one year following the retirement of W.H. "Bill" Vitatoe. Ben served as postmaster for 22 years, longer than anyone else who served before him. He retired in January of 1981.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Ella Nunn was the First Lady

Ella Andrew Nunn of Albany, Kentucky authored two books at the age of 91. “Pioneer Days in the Foothills of the Cumberland" was written for her children. It covered what she remembered of olden times, and what her mother and father had handed down. It dealt with the events of the entire area. “Things I Remember About Clinton County," her most sought-after book, was about people and events in Clinton County and Mrs. Nunn's memories of her life here. Written in 1982, it was an excellent history of the county, from the 1880s through the early 1900's, and contained many rare and early photographs depicting various historical figures, buildings and happenings from that era. It was her legacy, other than her family. The books have been out of print and unavailable for a while now, but so cherished that it isn't often you see one for sale, a wonderful testament to not only a great writer, but a great local historian.

In 1981, Byron Crawford, columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, wrote that Ella Nunn, who was born on Oct. 28, 1889 at Seventy Six, was an authority on firsts in Clinton County. He called her the "First Lady." If you wanted to know who had the first washing machine in Clinton County, ask Ella Nunn, he said, and if you wanted to know who owned the first automobile in the county, Mrs. Nunn could tell you that, too. It was such factual trivia like that brings history to life, he had said. "Yet, much of it is forever lost, simply because no one thought it worth remembering." Crawford said Mrs. Nunn might never have preserved her recollections of the past had her son, Bill, not pushed her into it. After she died in 1984, Bill donated his mother’s books to the public library.

In 1934, Ella Nunn became the first woman to be elected to the Clinton County Board of Education and for a while after her second husband, W.H. Nunn, passed away in 1942, she was the publisher and editor of two newspapers, The New Era in Albany and the Pickett County Gazette in Byrdstown. Along with being the mother of seven children, she did other things too, like president of the American Legion Auxiliary, first Worthy Matron of Albany Eastern Star #429, president of the Homemakers Club, a school teacher and she taught Sunday School.

She would later write, "all of this is material and doesn't amount to much. What counts is having a mother who took us to church when we were young. She always had our clothes starched and ironed for Sunday school and church. I began to teach a Sunday school class in my early teens (14). One night during a revival, something came over me. I saw some of my friends giving themselves to the Lord; Mary Guthrie, Dorothy Thomas and others. It was then that I knew that I needed God. When I went home, I couldn't sleep. The next day, after dinner, I went out into a field under an old chestnut tree. It was January and very cold, and there I gave my heart to God. I remember I was crying and praying. All at once I looked up, and there, alone with God, I said, "Dear Lord, I give myself away. It's all that I can do." I was so happy. Now I know that He was waiting for me to surrender my whole life to Him. That was the happiest day of my life. I joined the church that night and was baptized the next day in a creek that had ice flakes in the water and snow was falling. I owe much to Him and my parents and friends that I love."

Byron Crawford was right. Nancy Lou Ellen "Ella" Andrew Nunn really was the First Lady. Next January will be 40 years since she passed away at the age of 94. True to what her obituary said, she is today remembered for her rich store of memories about Clinton County, her contributions to home, church and community and, most of all, her love of Clinton County and its people. In a letter she wrote on May 13, 1909, seven months before her first marriage to Blaine Campbell, she wrote "I do feel proud of my friends. I feel like I have a host of them. If I have an enemy in the whole wide world I do not know it. I would be really sorry if I knew I had some. I am not as pure and good as I ought to be but I try to be kind to all. For what pleasure would life be without friends and someone to love? It would not be worth living."

Mrs. Nunn's granddaughter, Nancy Speck, said, "I never knew anyone who did not love her and to this day when I see elderly people in my home town they always say "You're Mrs. Ella's granddaughter?" I am always proud to say, Yes I am!"

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Some Hopkins Family History

Jimmy Boles, the great grandson of Cyrus Booher Parrigin, and my second cousin once removed, who was born in New Castle, Indiana but raised in Clinton County, Kentucky, once wrote that his great aunt, Elizabeth Jane Mackey Hopkins, was a woman of great fortitude and courage, undaunted when faced with superior forces. During the Civil War, with her husband, George Wash­ington Hopkins away from home serving with the home guard, Champ Fer­guson and his men rode up to the Hopkins homestead, which was located near Mountain View Park. Already known for robbing and looting at will, Champ was in the process of stealing a horse and was unhitching it from a plow when Elizabeth, came out of the house with a gun and fired one shot, which hit the beam of the plow. She then ordered Champ Ferguson and his men to leave the property. Overwhel­med by a brave and determined woman, Champ retreated as ordered, without the horse or any other property belonging to the Hopkins family. Washington's tombstone says he was a member of Seventy Six Church for 58 years. His grandfather, Elijah, was the first deacon there.


Speaking of property belonging to the Hopkins family, both Ella Nunn, in her book, "Things I Remember About Clinton County," and Jack Ferguson, in his book, "Early Times in Clinton County," both wrote that a Hopkins ancestor, Stephen Hopkins, was a passenger on the Mayflower when it departed for the new world in 1620. When it landed in America, Stephen carried with him an iron kettle that had been used as a churn on the voyage to America. When the Pilgrims celebrated their Thanksgiving it was used to help cook the first Thanksgiving dinner in America.

Supposedly, the kettle remained in the Hopkins family and was handed down to the oldest son from generation to generation and was eventually inherited by John R. Hopkins, who lived in Clinton County and is buried at Albany Cemetery. It is said that Scott W. Dowell, clerk at Clear Fork Baptist Church, certified on paper that he knew John R. Hopkins when he was a member of the church, and had heard him talk about the kettle. Boles wrote that when John died the kettle was passed on to a Bob Hopkins, who lived in Texas and that Ammazoo Hopkins of Midwest City, Oklahoma had relayed this story to him. Another story Boles said was that an old kettle that sat in the old Albany Bank in the 1920's was the kettle that came from the Mayflower.

The photo is only a representation of a kettle brought over on the Mayflower.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Seventy Six, Kentucky

One of the most beautiful spots in Clinton County, Kentucky is Seventy Six Falls, located six miles north of Albany on beautiful Lake Cumberland. It is not known positively who the first white man was that discovered the falls, but it may have been the first families, namely Smith, Stock­ton or Wood, who settled at Stockton Valley after 1795 that ventured as far north as the falls.

During Clinton County's sesquicentennial celebration in 1986, Jim Deforest wrote in the Mountain Echo newspaper that, contrary to popular belief, Seventy-Six Falls was never 76 feet high, and it did not get its name from its height. The falls, he said, were between 83 and 84 feet high until the formation of Lake Cumberland in 1950, which reduced it to its present height of about 44 feet.

In his book, "Early Times in Clinton County," Jack Ferguson wrote that the name was derived from the station number in the original survey, where the members of the surveying party had built a shop and lodging quarters near the top of the precipice.

The water that pours over the falls is known as Indian Creek. This spot has been the scene of recreation ever since the horse and buggy days. Back then, there was a croquet court above the falls. On Sunday afternoons youth from all over the county gathered there to play croquet or sit around and watch others play.

As early as 1806, John Semple originally purchased the land near the falls and laid it off into 116 city lots, hoping to start the town, but his dream didn't come true for himself, as he died in 1824. While a town never materialized, there was a village. According to Ella Nunn, who was born at Seventy Six, in 1864, John C. Andrews, Frethias Andrews and Cyrus Wells would later buy the land around the falls, enlarge a gristmill that was already there and add a sawmill, a blacksmith shop and other improvements. Dr. Add Aaron operated a general store a little farther up the creek. The village flourished very well for over half a century as people came from all around to have their lumber sawed and wheat and corn ground, as there was no other gristmill around closer than Albany. Eventually, though, the village faded away.

The most notable person from Seventy Six was Edgar Paul Warinner, who served in the Kentucky state senate from 1951 to 1959. "Ed P" was born at Seventy Six on Aug. 18, 1909. Among his titles was farmer, railroad clerk and owner of a motel, service station, boat dock and grocery. He was born at Seventy-Six on August 18, 1909 and died on June 20, 1959. He is buried at Albany Cemetery.

Lake Cumberland was originally impounded from the Cumberland River in 1952 with the building of Wolf Creek Dam. A year later, James H. McKinley wrote, "when I was a teenager and used to climb the steep grade from the foot of the Seventy-Six Falls, I didn't know that some day I'd go to the top of these falls in a boat. When I used to swim in the seven-foot swimming hole on Ind­ian Creek I didn't know that some day it would be a 77-foot swimming hole. No one could have ever made me believe that some day I would catch a fish 100 feet above aunt Ann Ellen Grider's chimney.

The village, mill and all of the buildings are long gone, but the beauty of Seventy Six Falls still remains.

Monday, July 3, 2023

America (My Country Tis of Thee)

In 1984, years before he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, 1st Lt Garlin Murl Conner of Albany, Kentucky was honored at a July 4th commemoration at Camargo Church of God in Mount Sterling for being one of the highest decorated military veterans in Kentucky. The war hero spoke to a crowd of about 365 people. There was a flag ceremony, the presentation of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the congregation sang "The Star Spangled Banner," “America, the Beautiful” and “America (My Country Tis of Thee)."

Did you know that ''The Star Spangled Banner'' wasn't adopted as the official national anthem of the United States until 1931? Before that, the nation had a few de facto national anthems, and ''The Star Spangled Banner'' wasn't even the most popular. That honor goes to ''America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)." For a century, this was the most beloved 'unofficial' anthem of the nation.

The hymn was written In 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith, a student at the Andover, Massachusetts Theological Seminary, who had been asked to translate the lyrics in some German school songbooks into English. The "God Save the Queen" melody caught his attention, but rather than translate those lyrics, he was moved deeply by the desire to create a national hymn that would allow the American people to offer praise to God for our wonderful land. And so, in just thirty minutes, "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)" was born. The song was first performed on July 4, 1831, by a children’s choir in Boston.

All four stanzas of "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)," glorify freedom and liberty. God is the author of liberty. The hymn acknowledges no limits on freedom. The first three verses encourage and invoke national pride, while the last verse is a petition to God for His continued favor and protection of the United States of America. "Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light," 2 Corinthians 3:17 says “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (aka freedom)," which is to say Christ is where true freedom is found. It is a freedom that lasts for an eternity, not anything temporary. The kind of freedom we will never have to worry about being stolen or taken away. All four stanzas glorify freedom and liberty. God is “author of liberty” and unlike “America” the poem acknowledges no limits on freedom.

My country, 'tis of thee
sweet land of liberty
of thee I sing
land where my fathers died
land of the pilgrims' pride
from every mountainside
let freedom ring!

Click here to read more about 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner

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. ...