HISTORY OF BELL COUNTY KENTUCKY
HENRY HARVEY FUSON
XI Industrial Life 1
XII The New Industrial Period 22
XIII Participation In The Wars 37
XIV History Of Bell County Schools 52
XV History Of Schools Continued 71
XVI History Of The Churches 74
XVII Literary History Of Bell County 107
XVIII The Medical Profession 117
XIX History Of Middlesborough 128
XX Roads Of Bell County 143
XXI Recreation In Bell County 152
XXII The Future Of Bell County
I. FARM LIFE--1780-1889
In pioneer days, the immigrant
took up land, and built a log house on it, from timber at hand, for a residence.
He built his barn corn-crib, and smoke-house from logs similar to those
of his residence. Then a portion of the land was cleared for the crops
of corn, oats and vegetables.
Photo Kirby Mill
The buildings were erected at "workings," in which his neighbors participated. At these "house-raising" or "workings" the neighbor men and some of the women were invited by a messenger, usually one of the children of the family, to aid in erecting the building or buildings, and the women to help prepare and serve the dinner for the workers. This dinner was a veritable feast. The farmer usually had a few jugs of good moonshine whisky to encourage the workers. Hard work, rivalry among the men, and joking were carried on at these "workings." Feats of skill and acts of heavy lifting of the logs were loudly applauded by the workers, and often the worker became the butt of a joke at some mistake or awkward move he made. But the crowd, on the whole, was one of the best natured, jovial and lively crowds that could be imagined.
Many tables had been arranged, from plank on the farm, for the dinner, and these were loaded with the products of the farm. A hog or two had been killed, or perhaps a calf or two, or some sheep, and these, together with milk, butter, preserves, pies, cakes, and vegetables graced the board. When at the table the men turned their jokes at the women, teasing them about some article of food or about some gossip of the neighborhood. But I can remember that the men didn't make much off of the women. They were their equals in repartee.
At the "log-rollings,"
the logs, which had previously been sawed from the trees cut down, were
rolled into piles by short spikes or poles, usually cut from sour-wood,
over the field or clearing, preparatory to being burned. After the log
heaps, which contained some of the finest big timber, poplar, oak, walnut
and hickory, had dried out sufficiently, then the farmer fired these and
kept them chunked-up until all the pile was consumed by the fire. Following
this the field or clearing was plowed by a bull-tongue plow, corn planted
and cultivated. Later, the ground, after the roots had rotted, might be
sowed in oats or grass, in order to give the ground a rest. Then following
either of these, the ground was put back in corn. Usually the hillsides
were used for corn and oats, and the bottoms for grass.
But every few years the grass-land was plowed up, tended in corn for a year or two, and then put back in grass.
The stock, horses, cattle and sheep, were usually turned out in the forests, during the summer months, to graze. The hogs ran out all the time, except when they were put up in pens to be fattened. The horses, used for plowing, were usually turned out on grass near the house and fed some corn or oats, or both.
Nearly all the tools used on the farm were homemade. The plow-stocks were made from wood on the farm and the plows were fashioned from iron in a crude black-smith's shop on the farm. Two kinds of plows were generally used the old bull-tongue, long and narrow, and the shovel plow, broad and short. The bull-tongue was used to break up the ground, preparatory to planting, and the shovel plow was used to cultivate the corn, potatoes, etc.
Hoes were also made from iron in the shop on the farm and a handle inserted in an "eye" in the hoe. The broadaxe, for hewing logs, the axe, the frow, for riving boards, and even nails, were made from iron in the shop.
At first, the pioneer
raised crops for his own use only. He had no markets, except as products
were sold to neighbors. Men working for the farmer were usually paid in
products from the farm. Later the Carolinas began calling on the farmers
of Bell and adjoining counties
for hogs, horses and cattle. Then the "drover" business began. Droves of hogs, or herds of cattle or horses, were collected at some central point, in Bell County this was Cumberland Ford, from which place they were driven on foot to the Carolinas.
Later came the local country store, which bought up gin-seng, bees-wax furs and other products of the farm and forest, and, by degrees, a limited market was found for the surplus products of the farm.
The corn was pulled from the stalk, after the fodder had been stripped from the stalks, pitched into piles, when the first frosts came, it was hauled to the crib in a sled. It was piled in a shed by the side of the crib. Then the corn-huskers would surround the pile of corn and begin shucking, pitching it into the crib. Men and women both participated in the corn-shuckings, and, when a red ear was found, the finder had the privilege of kissing the nearest women (if he could.) Than a laugh would resound through the crowd, since the women would interfere in the process and try to prevent the kiss. Sometimes the woman would run and the man after her, to the amusement of all. Then all would settled down and the corn would fly into the crib.
Following the community
"corn-huskings," "log-rollings," and "house-raisings," the evening, after
supper, was turned in to a "party." The young people of the community came
in with one of the old-time fiddlers and proceeded to clear away the furniture
in the large room, usually the sitting room, for the "party." The fiddler
played, in turn, "Skip-to-my-Lou," "Sourwood Mountain," "Chase the Buffalo," and so on, as the participants skipped over the floor. Often these parties extended into the wee hours of the morning.
I can remember the corn-shuckings, logrollings, and house-raisings as a boy. The barn on my father's farm, which is still standing, was erected in this way, and the logs on most of the fields on my father's farm were piled-up at these log-rollings. The number of corn-shuckings at my father's place would run into big numbers, with parties, the night after, thrown in.
I was a boy of eight or ten years of age before the first cook stove came to our house. Before that time my mother cooked on the open fire place in the living room. This was characteristic of our people generally in Bell County before the time of the Civil War.
Grass was cut with a mowing blade by hand and oats were cut with a "cradle," a blade at the lower side with five or six fingers of wood, about the same length, to catch the oats when cut. With the hand the cut oats were lifted off and thrown down in rows, later to be taken up and tied in bundles after curing.
Hogs were killed in the frosty or snowy part of November or December, cut up and hung in the smoke-house where later a small fire of hickory wood smoked the meat. When first cut up after killing the hogs, the meat was thoroughly salted and left on a bench till the meat had taken salt. In the fall of the year, the farmer would often kill a few yearlings for beef or some sheep for mutton, in order to vary the diet of pork. In this way the farmers of Bell County lived before the industrial era began.
Nearly every farmer had his cane patch, from which molasses was made. Molasses formed a regular diet for the Bell County farmer's family. This largely took the place of other sweets. I can well remember the big vats on the furnace in which the juice of the cane was boiled down. Sometimes it was boiled in large kettles set in the furnace in rows, but later vats were made of sheet iron. A ladle was used to skim the boiling liquid. The cane was ground on an old cane mill, the cane stalks being run between two upright rollers and the juice caught in tubs below. At the top of the mill a large sweep pole extended out from the mill, to which a horse was hitched, and the head of the horse was tied in such a way that he walked in a circle.
The stir-off was the final
boiling of the liquid just before it was taken out of the vats, or probably
got its name from the taking of the hot molasses from the vats or kettles.
These stir-offs were usually at night and the neighbors from far around
would gather in. The cane stalks were all piled up around the mill and
the boys would run and play on these. Near the vats was a hole in the ground
where the skimmings were poured during the process of boiling down the
liquid. One of the tricks of the boys was to cover this hole over with
the ground up stalks and let same smart boy run his foot and leg into
this hole. The boys, in their playing, could always maneuver someone
into it. This, of course, was considered great sport. Some maple syrup and sugar were made from the sugar maple.
The old water mill came along with the pioneer. Usually the water mill in Bell County was of the turbine type. In some other parts of the country there was the overshot type. These were both water mills. Saturday was usually milling day and the roads of the county were lined with the boys going to mill with their corn sacks under them. Around the mill the boys fished or parched corn while they waited for their turn. A sack of meal was called a "turn." In the dry seasons of the year, many of the streams dried up so that grinding could not be done on the water mills of the neighborhood and the people would have to go to Flat Lick, on Cumberland Gap, to get grinding done.
Shelton Evans ran a mill on Little Clear Creek; Henry Rice, and his father before him, had a mill on Cumberland River in the Narrows above Pineville; Rev. John C. Colson ran a mill with horse power in Middlesborough, before the founding of this town; Calvin Smith ran a mill in Little Clear Creek just above Clear Creek Springs; the Haynesses had a mill on the lower end of the J. T. Fuson farm, this being one of the first Mills on Little Clear Creek; Alec Carroll had a mill on Greasy Creek; Frank Creech, and his father before him, had a mill near the mouth of Pucketts Creek; there was a mill on the old Shelton farm on Big Clear Creek; and, as I remember it, there was a mill near the mouth of Straight Creek.
I remember that Shelton Evans, on Little Clear Creek, had an upright, straight saw attachment to his mill, where he sawed lumber for the neighborhood. I can still see this old long saw going up and down through a log. It was a slow process. But many of the houses on Little Clear Creek have lumber in them today that was sawed on this old Mill.
Pumpkins were an important crop on the farm. They were usually planted in the corn where the land had an overflow soil. Some of these pumpkins grew very large. I can remember my father telling me about two pumpkins my grandfather had on one vine in what is now known as the Jeff Fuson bottom, an overflow bottom. One of the pumpkins weighed one hundred pounds and another one weighted seventy-five pounds. Pumpkins were used to feed hogs and cattle. They were also cut in strips and dried for family use. They were made into pies or stewed and fried in grease for table use. Often pumpkins were piled up under fodder and kept till longer after Christmas. The cushaw was another product of this type and was sweeter and better than the pumpkin.
Every farmer had his large
garden. Most everything was raised in this garden: peas, onions, Irish
potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, mustard, muskmelons, water melons, beans,
cucumbers, strawberries, corn for roasting ears, tomatoes, cabbage, and
other garden vegetables. Often the garden would contain from two to five
acres. This was heavily manured each year and kept to the highest state
Chestnuts were gathered from the forest in great quantities. People would often take horses or mules, with sacks, into the forests to gather chestnuts and come back loaded with twenty-five or thirty bushels of chestnuts. Sometimes some of these were sold, but, in the main, they were consumed on the farm. Black and white walnuts were also gathered in for use on the farm or for sale. Hickory nuts were also brought in to be cracked on the hearths before the fire on winter evenings. The chestnut blight, in the last few years, has killed all the chestnut trees and this has been a great loss to the remaining farmers in Bell County, since the masts cannot be counted on so well for hogs anymore.
Huckleberries were picked in the woods and blackberries in the fields and canned for Winter use.
The pioneer had his bees also. From these he supplemented his sorghum with these sweets. Nearly every farmer had his bees, and still most of the farmers, or a good many of them, at least, have bees. My Uncle James Arthur Fuson, who lived only a half mile from us, in his old age, made a special study of bees and kept them on a large scale. He sold large quantities of honey, and at one time had over one hundred bee hives. I like to think of him as the "keeper of the bees."
The pioneer early planted his orchard with trees of the apple, peach, and pear. In the main they were apple orchards. Apples did well in this mountain region, but peaches and pears did not do so well. Certain types of apple tree, like the old limber-twig, seemed to be native to the country, or were so well adapted that they produced an abundance of apples. Then, too, the limber-twig was a winter apple and could be holed up in the ground or put in closets near the fire and kept all winter. When I was just a boy, there were large apple orchards all over the county. Most of these have died out, and many of them have not been kept up. There are fewer orchards in the county today than formerly. This is accounted for from the fact that there are fewer farmers in the county today than formerly. The soil has washed away from the hillsides, many of the farmers have gone to public works, and the new generation is not interested in farming like their fathers were.
Some of the best farming land of the county is as follows: In the Yellow Creek Valley around Middlesborough, along Cumberland River from the Harlan County line to the Knox County line, on lower Pucketts Creek, on Greasy Creek, in the Fuson Settlement on Little Clear Creek, the lower part of Big Clear Creek, and some parts of the two Straight Creeks. The district of South America is a kind of plateau region and was a good corn and grass section. In addition to these farm lands there was rich coves up in the mountains that afforded a good place for raising corn, or other crops; but most of this cove soil, where it was cleared off, has washed away and the land is growing up in timber.
After the earliest pioneer
period, the lumber business started in the mountains. The large poplar
was brought out to the streams and floated down them to the mills, which
were located far away, at first. The first mills were the Jones Lumber
Company and the Kentucky Lumber Company, both located at Williamsburg, Kentucky. The logs were hauled out of the mountains with oxen, later with mules, branded and rolled into the streams, to be floated away to the mills when the tides came. These tides were usually in the fall and spring. The logs were rolled into the stream-beds before the tides came, and, when the tide was on, men went along the banks of the streams with long poles and kept the logs afloat. At the mills long booms, logs connected with chains, were stretched across the river to hold the logs, so that they could be fed into the mills as needed.
One of my first boyhood occupations was driving oxen in hauling out logs, big fine yellow poplar logs. One log, I remember, the tallest man could not look over the end of it. It must have been about eight feet through. I remember it had to be quartered up in order to get it out of the woods. Roads were made into the woods, mere trails where the bushes had been cut out, and the logs were hauled along these trails to the "dumps." On some of these trails, there were very steep places and the oxen knew these places as well as we did and kept out of the way of the logs when they slid down these places. On one occasion, my oxen started to run on one of these steep places and the log caught on a rock sticking up in the bed of the trail, and one oxen changed ends and lay on his doubled up neck. I yelled bloody murder, I was so scared, and the men ran to me, cut the bow from the yoke with an axe and the steer jumped up and ran off. It took some time to catch him because of his fright. I was sure he was dead while he lay there, but I was jubilant when he jumped up and ran off.
Later, mules were used to haul logs from the hills, and, at the foot of the mountain, where the dump was, the logs were put on log wagons and hauled to mills in the local community. After the poplar and walnut were taken out, then mills came to almost every part of Bell County and sawed out the oak, what poplar was left, and other timbers.
On this second invasion of the timber areas, T. J. Asher, of Wasioto, had the largest saw mill that was ever in the county. It was located at Wasioto, and brought logs from the upper Cumberland in Bell County, and from the three forks, Martin Fork, Clover Fork, and Poor Fork, of the Cumberland in Harlan County. This mill employed hundreds of men and had millions of feet of lumber on its yards over a period of twenty or twenty-five years. Somewhere around 1909 or 1910 Asher went out of the lumber business and went into the coal business. The large lumber period was over. What timber was left was just about sufficient to take care of the mining business. Since mining business began the small timber, as well as the large, is being cut down, and the forests now are beginning to look like brush mountains, the thick small growth is so thick and tangled up with the fallen tree tops.
Jack Asher, brother of
T. J. Asher, at one time, had one of the largest stave mills that was ever
in the county. His dam was across the lower part of Straight Creek and
staves were floated down the Left and Right Forks of Straight Creek to
his mill. He obtained his staves from his extensive lands on the two Straight
In the later farming period, from 1840-1889, better houses, barns and out buildings were built. With the coming of saw mills, the old log house was torn down and plank houses, as they were then called, were built, or the old log houses were weather boarded on the outside and ceiled on the inside and an addition to it was built. Painted houses became more common in this period, and yet many tenant log houses remained and a few of them can be seen even today. The log barn gave away to spacious frame barns, with big halls running through them, with horse stalls on either side. Smoke houses were improved and the old ash-hopper, for making lye as an ingredient of soap, soon disappeared during this period, since stores began bringing in soap.
Tobacco has never been raised in Bell County on a commercial scale. Nearly every farmer raised his tobacco, but it was for his own use. He tried to supply his own demand with his tobacco, allowing a sufficient amount for giving away a lot of it. There were professional tobacco beggars in those days. The fellow who was too lazy or indifferent to raise his tobacco always begged it, and he got by pretty well, since the average farmer was generous with these fellows.
In the early days in Bell County, cotton was grown, together with some hemp. Sheep were kept for the wool, and the household garments were made from the cotton, wool, and flax. These were spun and woven in each home, and the clothes made from them for the family. I must have been fourteen or fifteen years of age before I ever wore any "store" clothes. We wore our jeans and cotton made at home. Our shoes were also made from leather we tanned with oak bark in troughs, or vats. The farms were sufficient unto themselves in those days. They supplied the needs of the family for food and clothing.
I remember an incident in this connection, showing the reliability of the mountain farmer on his own products and the effect it has when he does not have a farm that will produce these. One of our native boys left Browney's Creek and went to Texas. The one crop was cotton where he was. He bought his food and clothing on the credit and paid for them when he sold his cotton crop. After about three years of this he came back to his old home place. He was asked why he came back, and his reply was "I am tired of living out of a poke." In Bell County a paper bag is called a poke. What he meant was this, that he was tired of living on a farm where he could not raise a diversified crop for his own use. In this he was true to the nature of his Bell County people. The centuries of his inheritance could not be changed in a few years. He came back to his own, and his own received him gladly.
Some of the leading farmers
in the county, in the most active farm period from 1840 to 1889, were Little
Clear Creek: William K. Evans, Shelton Partin, Wesley King, J. J. Evans,
Mose Lake, James Mason, Silas Miracle, John Evans, Robin G. Evans, Ingram
Evans, Peter Evans, John Evans (son of John Evans), W. L. Fuson, James
Robinson Fuson, Sr., Mathew Fuson, Millard Fuson, James Robinson Fuson,
Jr., Elijah Smith, Judge Beth Ann Fuson, Henry Jefferson Fuson, John Thomas Fuson. James Arthur Fuson, Shelton Evans, Enoch Smith, Andrew Smith, Calvin Smith, and some of the Hendricksons near the Moss farm, between the Moss farm and Smith Hill.
Big Clear Creek: Rufus Moss, J. M. C. Davis, Lovell near the Shelton farm, Sheltons on the Shelton farm, Bratcher Mason, Philip Lee, Rife Mason, Martin Head, Tom Fuson, Alvis Partin, James Henderson.
In the district known as South America, a district cut off from Whitley County and added to Bell, some of the farmers were I. A. Overton, John Partin, Shelton Madon, Bill Madon, Scott Partin, James Madon, Beth Fuson, who lived near the Whitley-Bell County line, and Davis.
On Greasy Creek, the farmers were Judge John Goodin, Bill J. Goodin, W. H. Dean, Dan Dean, Will Dean, Bill Tinsley, the McGaffeys, Ebenezer Bronster Goodin, and his father John (Jack) Goodin, Thomas Goodin, father of John (Jack) Goodin, Rev. Ebenezer Ingram, Thomas Ingram, John Fuson, Thomas H. Fuson, Will Fuson, John Fuson at head of the creek, James Robinson Fuson, Hard Goodin, the Begleys, the Goldens, John Faulkner, Joe Faulkner, the Thompsons, the Collins, and the Goins family.
On Red Bird there were two prominent farmers, Rev. Wilk Asher and Bill Knuckles.
The two Straight creeks had a large farming population and some of the farmers were Berry Howard, W. P. Slusher, John Lock, Henry Broughton, P. W. Woollum, A. J. Bailey, John R. Howard, Jim Howard, Jack Asher, Isreal Woollum, the Saylors, Jasper Howard, the Elliotts, the Burns, and others.
Up Cumberland River from Wasioto to the Harlan County line there were T. J. Asher, Bird at the mouth of Bird Branch near Wasioto, Hugh Browning, Levi Hoskins, Joe Parsons, Lewis Green, Nute Hoskins, Nute Creech, James Kirby, Blind John Taylor, Hamp Lewis, the Taylors, Dan Collett, Skelt Collett, Jahu Collett, Mount Pursifull, Gilmore Cox, and others.
On Browney's Creek and leading farmers were Robert Wilson, Bob (Red Bob) Wilson, J. M. Wilder, John B. Cox, Joe Lee, Levi Lee, John Lee, James Hoskins, Mose Wilder, Jeff Wilder, Bill Wilder, Nute Wilder, John (Er John) Lee, and others.
On Hances Creek there were farmers Rev. John C. Buell, Rev. Henry Calvin Miracle, Rev. Abraham Miracle, Henry Risner, Feeling Risner, James Durham, Chesley Thompson, John Durham, Jerry Pittman and others.
On Yellow Creek, including
Stony Fork, the farmers were William H. Baughman, Jeff Henderson, Rev.
J. C. Colson, J. C. Colson, the Marsees and Turners, others.
On Puckett's Creek some
of the farmers were Bob Howard, Big Bill Howard, the farmer of Frank Creech,
Brit Lee, Brit Howard, David Lee, and others.
Photo Robert Howard
On Cannon Creek some of the farmers were Simon Peace, T. J. Kellems, J. E. Kirby's father, Alex Givens, Granvel Givens, and others.
On Cumberland River below Pineville, the farmers were Silas Woodson, who later became Governor of Missouri, Roberts, his father-in-law, who lived near the mouth of Greasy Creek, Frank Hendrickson, Judge John Goodin, Bill J. Goodin, later Frank Creech, Gillis Hendrickson, Allen Gibson on Turkey Creek, Grant Brown at Wallsend, and others.
II. PRESENT STATUS OF AGRICULTURE
IN BELL COUNTY
A. SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The approach to the economic problem in Bell County in 1938 was largely influenced by a general five-point program adopted the first part of the year, at which time Bruce Poundstone, Field Agent in Farm Management, Experiment Station, Lexington, Kentucky, met with a group of farm leaders from different sections in the county.
The 1938 Bell County Agricultural extension five-point program adopted was as follows:
1. Live-at-home gardens
2. Thirty "Four H" clubs in 30 communities
3. Soil conservation
4. Forestry management
5. Co-operation with the Agricultural Conservation Program
The things actually done in Bell County in 1938 were...
1. 161 families took part in a garden contest sponsored by the Middlesborough Chamber of Commerce.
2. 22 Four-H. clubs were organized in 22 communities.
(a) 566 club members completed 628 farm projects valued at $15,686.
(1) 438 boys enrolled and completed 489 farm projects,
and 128 girls did likewise with 139 farm projects.
(2) 256 boys and 17 girls enrolled and completed 273 corn projects. 141
of this number grew one acre, each, to Johnson County white corn. The remainder
grew one acre, each, native corn.
(3) 58 boys and 34 girls set 10,375 strawberry plants to finish 92 small fruit projects.
(4) Other 4-H club projects enrolled and completed: 41 boys in the big project; 11 boys in the Irish potato project; 25 boys in the woodwork project; 93 boys and 88 girls in the garden project (None of these were among the families taking part in the adult garden projects contest); 3 boys in the poultry project; and 2 boys in miscellaneous projects.
(5) 100% of the number enrolled finished.
3. Soil conservation work.
(a) 612 soil building and conservation practices adopted by 524 farmers as follows:
(1) 176 farmers sowed 13,083 pounds of rye grass seed on 872 acres.
(2) 115 farmers spread 1687 tons agricultural limestone on about 325 acres.
(3) 130 farmers used 12,800 pounds (64.4 tons) TVA superphosphate on about 644 acres grass and clover lands.
(4) 94 farmers sowed 6,082 pounds Crimson clover on 606 acres corn and soybean land.
(5) About 100 farmers sowed other clovers, timothy, redtop, orchard grass, and turned under crops of rye, crimson clover and soybean land.
4. Forestry management.
Three farmers planted a quantity of black locust seed in May for the purpose of distributing seedlings in November to 4-H club boys (Quantity planted was about 60 pounds of unhulled seeds).
The Asher heirs reported they have 20,000 acres cut-over forest lands which they have fire protection for with the State Forestry Service.
5. Cooperation with the Agricultural Conservation program.
Forty-one days were spent by the County Agent in working with ACP Bell County Committee in holding meetings and acquainting farmers with their rights and duties as described in the Agricultural Conservation Act.
The fine work of the Executive Field Clerk,
who usually spent seven days per month in the county, and the Bell county
Clerks, made it unnecessary to use more than 41 days in promoting
ACP in detail.
6. Other agricultural extension activities actually performed:
(a) Approved feeding practices carried out by 41 flock owners of 3475 laying hens.
(1) 16 houses with additions were built.
(2) 900 birds vaccinated against colds, etc., by six flock owners.
(3) 312 laying birds blood-tested by a local hatcheryman for pullorum. These seven flock owners were the first to ever do this type of work in the county.
(4) 74 flock owners have housing facilities for 10,225 birds. Toward the latter part of the year three of this number quit... sold their laying birds.
(5) There is one local hatcheryman in the county and located in Middlesboro. According to his report he hatched and sold 70,000 baby chicks this spring ranging in price from $6 to $9 per hundred. The hatching eggs came from seven flock owners in Tennessee and Virginia. Bulk of his eggs came from Tennessee Flocks.
(6) 1200 house-wives in Pineville and Middlesboro were circularized with monthly letters, beginning in June and running through September, calling attention to the appetizing edibility of infertile eggs over other eggs in warm weather. Results were fairly good. The 34 flock owners of 3,160 laying birds of infertile eggs were unable to supply the demand. Prices received by these producers were above market price for other eggs.
(7) Roy Asher, Poultry 4-H boy, bought 185 White Leghorn baby chicks in the spring. November 30, this year, he had 103 laying pullets. His expenditure amounted to $106.68. His cash receipts for sale of eggs and fryers (counting what the family used at market price) came to $115.20.
(8) A total of $12,890 worth of poultry and eggs reported sold by 41 flock owners and one hatcheryman.
(9) Eleven dairymen sold $10,640 worth of milk from 113 cows. One dairyman with 21 cows ranging on 42 acres of pasture land sold $4,332 worth of milk. The feed bill, labor (excluding his labor) miscellaneous, and delivery costs, came to $2,782. Eighteen of his cows were in production throughout the year.
(10) Twelve farmers planted 10 1/2 acres of Hybrid seed corn. One of this
number planted nearly 3/4 acres to Kentucky varieties of Hybrid corn on
steep land. His claim, along with the other eleven, is that hybrid corn
failed. The other eleven planted out of state
varieties and they are positive it has no place in crop growing in Bell County.
(11) UPTOPIA WORK
(a) Seventeen young men and 4 young women enrolled and completed their projects.
(1) Ten boys and three girls planted 13 1/2 acres of Johnson White seed corn. Three boys planted an acre, each, to native corn. Five Utopians set 700 aroma strawberry plants. One young lady planted an acre to nine varieties Hybird seed corn, furnished by W. C. Johnson, Field agent in Agronomy, Experiment Station, Lexington, Kentucky. The so-called Ky-69 showed 37 1/2% increase in yield over the native variety planted in the same field.
(12) Twenty-six rural leaders cooperated in the 4-H program in 22 communities.
(13) Adult leaders aided in promoting the Agricultural Extension program in 30 communities. Twenty-one men and 3 women took part in this work.
(14) Three poultry judging teams were trained.
(15) Seven farm practice demonstration teams, two members each, were trained.
(16) State fair.
(a) Poultry judging team--No placing
(b) Secretary's record book, 6th place.
(c) Potato record book, first place.
(d) Poultry record book, second place.
(e) Potato exhibit, 4th place.
(f) Strawberry record book, 4th place.
(g) Seven communities were represented at the state fair with a poultry judging team and 10 exhibits.
(17) Twenty-six farmers grew about 12 acres of burley tobacco.
(18) Five farmers grew about 35 acres to Johnson County white corn.
(19) Three hundred eighteen farmers were visited 1,214 times.
(20) Fifteen method demonstrations, with an attendance of 220 were held.
(21) Sixteen boys and one leader attended the 4-H club camp in August.
(22) Two leaders attend the 4-H club leaders' conference at Quicksand, Ky., in June.
(23) Three garden tours, with 15 in attendance, were made. Also, two tours and eleven in attendance, visiting the pig and strawberry projects.
(24) One hundred seven meetings were held with 3,427 in attendance. Also, 54 meetings by 4-H club leaders were held with 1,059 attending.
(25) 11,473 miles were traveled in promoting the agricultural extension program.
(26) 664 individual letters were written; 44 circular letters; and 102 news articles, relating to the agricultural extension program, were sent.
(27) Weights from seven 4-H club members growing one acre, each, to Johnson County white corn, and Tennessee red cob corn, showed an average yield of 49.7 bushels per acre.
B. COUNTY PLANNING
Bruce Poundstone, Field Agent, Farm Management, Experiment Station, Lexington, Kentucky, met with twenty-one farm leaders, December 3, 1937, in Pineville. At this meeting a five-point approach for promoting that phase of economic life relating to the farm was planned as follows: (See the five points set out at the beginning of this paper). How well this five-point farm program was carried out in Bell County will be partly told in the rest of this report.
C. THE LIVE-AT-HOME GARDEN PROGRAM
The Middlesborough Chamber of Commerce became interested in this portion of the five-point agricultural extension program relating to the growing of vegetables for family use. A committee was selected to work with the county agent and arrange for a contest. Prizes to be awarded to the gardeners growing the greatest number of varieties of crops in the garden.
and new articles, resulted in 161 families taking part, and much interest
was shown. The contest was county wide, and two tours by the committee
were made in every community where the garden work was being done.
The rainy season came along, and for the first time in a generation more rain fell through May to August than was ever known. This discouraged every one to such an extent that few records of accomplishments were reported. One gardener reported the selling of $141.00 worth of green onions and cash expenditures of $33.00. Another gardener reported the harvesting of twenty-four bushels Irish potatoes from the planting of two hundred pounds of cobblers after his family of eight used from the crop two months.
Many of these gardeners are asking if there will be a 1939 garden test, thereby indicating their willingness to try it again. The Chamber of Commerce is willing and so the same thing will be repeated next year.
D. 4-H CLUB WORK
Although the 1938 program called for thirty 4-H clubs in the county, one in each of thirty communities, twenty-two were organized with a total of 966 boys and girls enrolled in 1,146 farm and home projects. Nine hundred forty-nine club members completed 1076 projects.
Statistical review of club work in the county: Members competing: 1930, 33; 1931, 139; 1932, 276, 1933, 488; 1934, 687; 1935, 682; 1936, 944; 1937, 889; 1938, 949. Organized clubs: 1930, 1; 1931, 7; 1932, 11; 1933, 14; 1934, 21; 1935, 28; 1936, 30; 1937, 32; 1938, 22. Leaders: 1930, 3; 1931, 3; 1932, 15; 1933, 19; 1934, 24; 1935, 26; 1936, 58; 1937, 59; 1938, 53. Projects: 1930, 42; 1931, 142; 1932, 302; 1933, 596; 1934, 741; 1935, 956; 1936, 1147; 1937, 1196; 1938, 1076. Estimated value: 1930, $210.00; 1931, $568.00; 1932, $906.00; 1933, $2394.00; 1934, $2964.00; 1935, $7624.00; 1936, $11470.00; 1937, $12896.00; 1938, $15686.00. Corn project members competing: 1936, 36; 1937, 127; 1938, 273; Garden project members competing: 1936, 453; 1937, 262; 1938, 181; Poultry project members competing: 1936, 24; 1937, 8; 1938, 3; Pig project members competing: 1936, 30; 1937, 6; 1938, 41; Small fruits project members competing: 1936, 9; 1937, 10; 1938, 92; Woodwork project members competing: 1938, 25; Miscellaneous project members competing: 1938, 4; Irish potato project members competing: 1938, 11. For the year 1938, 438 boys and 128 girls enrolled in 628 projects, and finished the same number.
E. THE SMALL FRUITS PROJECT
The two Kiwanis clubs in Pineville and Middlesborough distributed 10,375 Aroma strawberry plants to 92 club members. Certain Kiwanians have the name of one or more 4-H club members. The club member will pay his or her Kiwanian sponsor for the plants by returning one half gallon berries at picking time for each 100 plants received, and the plants become the property of the club member at the end of the berry season in 1939. Club members in nine communities received plants.
F. THE CORN PROJECT
Boys and girls, to the number of 273, in 20 out of 22 clubs, planted one acre each to corn. Of this number 141 planted Johnson County white seed corn. The corn for 139 out of the 141 was donated by two banks and two wholesale grocery companies in Pineville and Middlesborough. Each club member receiving this corn will return, and is now returning, 20 ears to the donors as payment for seed. The corn received will be stored and redistributed to another group of club members next spring. The Middlesborough Chamber of Commerce offered its second annual award of $25.00 to the club members growing the most corn per acre. It almost appears the award will go begging this year as the yields are very, very disappointing to all concerned. Reports from seven club members show production varying from 32.1 bushels per acre to 74.4. Average yield, 49.7 bushels per acre. Top yield of 74.4 bushels was by a boy growing the Tennessee red cob variety. Last year, the highest yield was 132.7 bushels, Johnson County white.
This was the worst season for corn, garden, small fruits, and orchards, for a generation or more. Many club members and farmers were forced to plant their entire corn crop in June. Those that planted earlier were unable to cultivate their crop. It was just an all-round bad season. No corn show this year.
G. POULTRY 4-H PROJECT
Three boys enrolled in the poultry project. One bought 185 white leghorn baby chicks. His expenditures to November 30, amounted to $106.68. His assets on that date were, cash receipts for sale of birds and eggs, $115,20; and 103 laying pullets. Another boy bought 300 Rhode Island Red baby chicks. His project is a practical loss. Less than half of his 100 pullets are laying. The third boy started out with 190 yearling hens. A report from him the first of July, 1938, shows that he made a profit of $1.59 1/2 per bird above feed cost the first six months of the year.
H. WOODWORK PROJECT 4-H
Twenty~five boys were enrolled in this project which is handled by a young farmer in Middlesborough. The boys made one article each. Things made were: tie racks, hat racks, broom holders, and row boats. Six of the latter were made and sold by two boys. This is our first year to take this work seriously. It is hoped the work will spread to other communities and that the number in the Middlesborough 4-H club will be more than doubled the coming year.
I. THE 4-H PIG PROJECT
R. T. Kincaid, a Kentucky-Virginia farmer, living in Middlesborough and owning a small farm of 26 acres in Bell County, conceived an idea of giving a number of pure bred Poland-China gilt pigs to boys near Middlesborough. These boys were to feed and care for the pig, and at farrowing time, pay for their pig by returning to him half of the first litter. Five pigs were placed on this plan. Six boys are in the breeding project, and 35 in the fat pig project.
J. OTHER 4-H CLUB ACTIVITIES
Seven communities were represented in the county contest by two club members from each club in the seven communities. The winning team was composed of two boys who demonstrated the building of a row boat. This team represented Bell County in the district contest for farm practice demonstrations, held in London, Kentucky, the last week of May, prior to Junior Week, in Lexington, the first part of June. It was the first time a farm practice team had ever used a practice other than some straight farm practice.
Sixteen boys and one club leader attended the Junior Camp Week in August. Two men leaders attended the 4-H Club Leaders' and Officers' Conference at Quicksand, Kentucky, in June.
Three poultry judging teams, composed of three members each, were trained to take part in the county contest. Winning team to represent Bell County in the state meet in Louisville at the state fair the second week in September. The team failed to place.
For the first time 4-H exhibits entered in the state fair took first place. This achievement was a first placing on a crop record book, and second placing on a poultry record book. A 4th placing was won by a potato exhibit. Altogether, seven clubs were represented at the state fair by a poultry judging team and 10 exhibits.
Two community corn shows were held, and prizes of a merchandising nature were awarded the winners. These prizes were given by a local wholesale grocery company in Pineville.
K. SOIL CONSERVATION
Bell County figures show approximately 15,000 acres planted to cultivated and summer legume crops, annually, for the past five years. These deserted looking fields take on a grim picture as winter approaches. There they lie, bare and naked. The winter rains and freezes taking a heavy toll. One eminent authority on agriculture said to a group of 4-H club members a few years ago in the county, "many of these fields should never have been de-forested, much less, planted to cultivatable crops, but they have been, and here they are. It's up to us to do the best we can."
In addition to these 15,000
acres of cultivatable crops there are probably that
many acres or more given over to pasture lands. These being either too steep, or completely worn out fields and unfit for crop production on many farms. Cover crops for the cultivated crop lands, lime and phosphate added. It was no trouble to show the farmer how his farm was wasting away. He knew that already and for the past 25 years had been making some sort of a living for his family from sources other than the farm. (There are probably 1800 farmers in Bell County, and there are less than 100 who are able to secure two-thirds of their living from the farm). At one time, and that was a generation ago, practically every farm provided a living for the family on it in Bell County.
This was the picture of our situation when we met in December, 1937, and planned out five-point program to help the farmer help himself. The farm leaders knew what we were up against, and they knew that there was nothing to do but to tackle the job.
Some, over 1200 farmers were in the Agricultural Conservation Program, and it was hoped this would be an incentive for the farmers to use practices that would build and conserve the soil. The triple AAA began with 18 farmers in 1934 receiving benefit payments; 32 farmers in 1935; 133 in 1936; and 349 in 1937. By the middle of summer, this year, it became apparent there would be a slight increase in the number of farmers adopting soil building practices over previous years. A study of the situation showed the greatest increases in 1937 and 1938 in soil building practices in Bell County were among the farmers who used TVA superphosphate on assignments. Local merchants turned thumbs down on accepting assignments for grass and clover seed.
Late in the season, and only with a few days to go, W. C. Wilson, Assistant State Agent for this part of the state, came to the county and suggested one more attempt to persuade some merchant to accept seed assignments. The merchant was found and 176 farmers, who would not have adopted any soil conserving practices this year in time to qualify for benefit payments under the Agricultural Conservation Act, seeded 20,337 pounds of a mixture of rye grass, orchard grass, red top, and timothy, on 872 acres of crop land. Much of this seeding, 13,183 pounds, was rye grass. Our first experiment with this cover crop. Reports are coming to the County Agent, showing enthusiasm for this new cover crop, and best of all, keen interest in the Agricultural Conservation Program.
Prior to finding the merchant who would agree to take seed assignments, a local man had been located who agreed to accept assignments from farmers for agricultural limestone. Forty nine farmers, who would not have accepted a single practice in time to qualify for benefit payment under the Act, gave assignments to the local limestone dealer for 641 tons of limestone which was spread on nearly 200 acres of crop land.
Farmers receiving limestone:
50, 651 tons; 65, 1036 tons. Farmers receiving TVA superphosphate 130,
64.4 tons. Farmers receiving grass seeds: 176, 20,337 pounds;
125, 8,000 pounds. Farmers turning up soiling crops: 75. Total number of farmers: 356 assignments. Total number of farmers not making assignments 265. Total practices adopted by both groups: 621. 96% of those making assignments would not have qualified for benefit payments under the 1938 Act. Applied farm practices on 1666 acres crop land by assignment farmers. Applied farm practices on 1275 acres crop land by non-assignment farmers. Three, and sometimes four, practices were applied on a single acre by farmer in both groups.
Our chief concern is to cover the cultivated lands in 1939 with a growing crop. We hope to have found a way to encourage our farmers to protect their farms.
L. CRIMSON CLOVER
Our second year for growing crimson clover found this cover crop increasing in favor with the farmers. Ninety-four farmers seeded 6,082 pounds on 606 acres. It is estimated, 40 farmers seeded 120 acres to crimson clover in 1937. When crimson clover was turned under in the spring of this year and planted to corn, chiefly, no production records were obtained in the fall, but by observation it was noted that crops growing on such fields were better than usual.
Last year three farmers planted 3 1/2 acres to hairy vetch. This year 6 farmers report the seeding of 200 pounds on 14 acres. This cover crop has received attention from too few to draw any conclusion as to its place as a cover crop in Bell County. When grown with small grain it has done much better and so has the grain crop.
N. FORESTRY MANAGEMENT
Our forest lands are so close to us that we have not taken them seriously, and will not until our state Legislature takes a more definite hand in the way of appropriation for a Forester in each county.
Three farmers were given
about 60 pounds of black locust seeds unhulled. About 30 pounds came from
a cultivated locust planting over in Whitley County. These seeds were hulled
by two farmers who prepared a seed bed and sowed the seed the first part
of May. Five seedlings were observed in July in one of the two beds by
the County Agent and the farmer. None in the other bed. About 30 pounds
of unhulled black locust seed were obtained by the County Agent from trees
growing along the highway on top of Log Mountain, this county, and these
were given to a farmer in South America
section of Bell County on the Whitley line. The farmer didn't want to hull the seed and so he sowed them in the pod or hull the latter part of May. When inspected by the County Agent in July it appeared most of the seed were good, for numerous seedlings were found in the plant bed. The bed has not been observed since.
The Asher heirs reported the placing of 20,000 acres of cut-over timber under fire prevention with the State Forestry Service.
O. AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Of the 1800 farmers in Bell County 1219 are in the agricultural conservation work. About 23,000 acres of crop land are in these ACP farms. It is estimated that about 500 farmers will receive benefit payments for this year's work.
P. THE UTOPIA PROGRAM
This year 17 boys and four girls enrolled in utopia work. Three boys and one girl set 500 Aroma strawberry plants in the spring. The four girls and 14 boys grew 18 1/2 acres to corn this year.
Q. OUT OF STATE HYBRID SEED CORN
Eleven farmers planted hybrid seed corn on about 10 acres. Another farmer planted one half acre in yellow hybrid seed corn. The corn turned out less than the poorest corn in the county.
It is estimated 26 farmers are growing 12 acres to Burley tobacco. Two tobacco grading demonstrations were held in the county in October to show the growers how to strip, grade, and prepare tobacco for the market. Audrey Waits, Kentucky farmer and special agent for grading demonstrations; which were attended by nearly all the tobacco growers in the county. Bell County tobacco is usually sold on the Tazewell, Tennessee, market where prices have been regarded as the highest for Burley tobacco over a period of years.
There were 74 known poultry
flock owners with more than 10,000 laying birds, at the beginning of the
year in Bell County, independent of the various flocks owned all over the
county by farmers. One flock owner with 275 laying birds had a profit of
70 cents per bird over feed cost from November 1, 1937, to October 31,
1938. Another poultryman with 150 laying birds sold clean eggs and had
a profit of $2.20 per bird.
A local seed and feed merchant in Middlesborough has 27,000 egg incubator in the rear of his store. This year he bloodtested 18 poultry flocks for pullorum in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
T. DAIRY PRODUCTS
Very little work has been done among dairymen in the county because of two factors. one is the presence of a local milk concern which ships into the county about 70% of the milk sold annually. Seven years ago, a check of the milk business showed 76% of the whole milk sold in Bell County came from outside the county. Today, the percentage is somewhat lower.
There are same 10 or 12 dairymen with about 200 cows who sell milk the year round in Pineville and Middlesborough. They are local Bell County men who run these.
U. ORCHARD MANAGEMENT
Nineteen farm owners have around 400 acres growing standard fruit trees. We were in a big way for a good fruit year when along came the late spring freezes and destroyed everything but a few pears.
Black berries, red and black and purple raspberries, dewberries, boysenberries, strawberries, and some others are grown in the county, or grow wild.
V. LOOKING AHEAD IN BELL COUNTY
It appears the following item should be given more than passing thoughts in helping some of the Bell County people to become a little more farm minded:
1. Promote the Agricultural Conservation Program.
2. Save our soil
(a) Cover crops on all cultivated lands and summer legume fields.
(b) Lime and superphosphate on 600 farms.
(c) Fire protection for all woodland owners.
3. Grow our own food.
(a) Develop the home garden
(b) 200 for 1939
4. Eligible boys and girls enrolled in 4-H club work
(a) Urge local civic leaders' co-operation with soil conservation service for construction of commodious buildings on government project for housing of large numbers of 4-H club members in their summer camps.
(b) Chief objects: corn and small fruits. Minor projects: Poultry, pig, potato, garden, and woodwork.
5. Find farm facts
(a) Annual cost and income data on the better farms.
THE NEW INDUSTRIAL PERIOD
LUMBER AND COAL PERIOD 1888 TO THE PRESENT
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad was extended from Corbin and reached Pineville in 1888. This was the beginning of the new industrial era of Bell County. I was in Pineville the day the first train came in. The people from all over the county must have been there. I well remember the large crowds. I was then a lad of twelve. When the railroad was being built through the Narrows, when it was extended from Pineville to Middlesborough, I remember what a time we had getting to Pineville through the Narrows when the blasting was going on. We were often held up for hours, and we could hardly hold our horses when the boom of the blast occurred, and then after the blasting was over, the horses balked at the smell of the powder. Some of them had to be left at the mouth of Clear Creek and we had to walk into town and carry our loads, or tote them as we would say in Bell County.
Mr. Robert L. Kincaid, of Harrogate, Tennessee, Executive Vice-President of Lincoln Memorial University, has furnished me some very interesting data on the coming of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad into this section. The information was furnished him by John M. Scott, Secretary of the L. & N. R.R. Co., Louisville, Kentucky.
"Construction of that part of the Knoxville Division of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad from Lebanon southward was begun in February, 1865, and by July 1, 1866, had been completed as far as Crab Orchard. On February 4, 1868, the extension was opened for business as far as Broadhead, and trains were operated to M. Vernon on November 16, 1868. Operation to Rockcastle River began September 8, 1870. By July 1, 1882, the road was in operation to London, and the extension reached the Tennessee State Line at Jellico in April, 1883.
"That part of the Cumberland Valley Division of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, from Corbin, Kentucky, to Norton, Virginia, was completed and put into operation as follows: From Corbin to Pineville, May 1, 1888; from Pineville to Cumberland Gap, September 1, 1889; from Cumberland Gap to Big Stone Gap, Virginia, April 15, 1891; and from Big Stone Gap to Norton, May 15, 1891.
Since the building of
the main line through the county extensions have been made throughout the
county, to the various coal fields in the county: up Bennett's Fork and
Stony Fork above Middlesborough; to Harlan from the main line at Wasioto; up Yellow Creek, from the mouth of this stream, to the mines on Clear Fork of Yellow Creek; up Puckett's Creek; up Tom's Creek; to the mines at Cardinal; up Big Clear Creek; from Wasioto to Chenoa; up Greasy Creek to the mines there; up Four Mile Creek; up Straight Creek, both Left and Right fork; up Clear Fork of Cumberland River, where both the Southern and Louisville and Nashville railroads operate. Both of these roads operate through the tunnel under Cumberland Gap in and out of Middlesborough. The Southern Railroad operates only in the county in and around the Middlesborough valley and the head of Clear Fork of Cumberland River. All the other roads are owned and operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, to which company the county owes its development.
The Kentucky Lumber Company and the Jones Lumber Company, Williamsburg, Kentucky, in the '80's and '90's were floating logs down the Cumberland River from Bell County to their plants. The lumber business began with the floating of logs to mills outside of the county. About this time some few saw mills operated in the county, but did not amount to much because of the lack of getting the lumber out to the markets on account of no railroads. With the coming of the railroad in 1888 all this was changed.
I. T. J. ASHER AND SONS, WASIOTO, KENTUCKY
The Pinnacle Printery, Of Middlesborough, published a book by J. C. Tipton, in 1905, known as THE CUMBERLAND COAL FIELD AND ITS CREATORS. This book gave a history of the industrial development of Bell County up to that time. The coal business, at that time, was sixteen years old. The lumber business of T. J. Asher and Sons came along with the early development of the coal business. Mr. Tipton says of this company:
"The business was originally founded by Rennebaum & Slawson in 1886, as a circular saw mill with capacity of some 18,000 feet of lumber per day, in its present location about two miles above the now flourishing city of Pineville. In 1890 the property was purchased by the present owners and the mill was changed to a band saw mill increasing its capacity to 30,000 feet per day.
"The mill is most admirably
located on the Cumberland River just at the point where the Louisville
and Nashville Railroad leaves the river on its southern and eastern course
through the Cumberland Coal fields. The railroad gives them access to the
markets of the world and the Cumberland River and its tributaries bring
right to their booms the various kinds of high grade timber for which eastern
Kentucky is notably celebrated. Owing to good business management and the
high grade of these products, the business has been eminently successful
under its present management. In 1895 the plant was entirely remodeled
by putting in a strictly modern saw mill plant with a capacity of 50,000
feet daily and adding an up-to-date planing mill of large capacity, enabling
them to fill orders promptly, of any size, either for lumber in the rough
or dressed. As the plant now stands it is one of the best equipped in the
elsewhere and the raw material they control, in the quality of the timber and its accessibility is surpassed by none and equaled by few in America. Soft yellow poplar lumber is their principal output and the quality is such that it gives them a world wide market. They have a very considerable export trade, their products going so far as South Africa. Certain lines of trade in Great Britain use large quantities annually of their A 1, A 2, and A 3 brands of yellow poplar. Atlantic Coast cities take probably the larger part of their various kinds of lumber, though they fill many orders from cities as far west as San Francisco and north as far as Montreal and Quebec. Whenever they have a surplus they find a ready market for it in the middle west and north of the Ohio River. The plant is run to its full capacity and has not been shut down a working day since 1895, except a week or so annually for the purpose of cleaning up and overhauling. Their timber is cut in the winter and carried to booms on the spring freshets of the Poor, Clear, and Martin's Forks of the Cumberland River. They have the only large mill in this section and control most of the desirable timber of easy access in these streams.
"They also own in fee simple, some 15,000 acres of coal and timber lands adjacent to the Louisville and Nashville and Southern roads from which poplar and pine has been cut but is heavily timbered with oak, ash, chestnut, lynn and other marketable woods.
"These lands are underlaid with various seams of coal which permeate these mountains, ranging in thickness from three to six feet, some which faces immediately on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and the farthest of it may be from either the Southern or Louisville and Nashville branch line. One vein of camel coal is now being opened on their property about one mile south of Wasioto.
"The firm stands high in business and financial circles wherever they are known and particularly so in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. They are essentially self made men of the truly American type with all the geniality and hospitality for which Kentuckians are notable. Square and upright in all of their dealings they have gained the unlimited confidence of the public and their word as to the quality they offer to sell, is all the bond required by those who know them best.
"The senior member of the firm, T. J. Asher, takes an active part in the business, being a practical mill man he superintends the operating departments. Robert Asher, the oldest son of T. J. Asher, is in charge of the office business, assisted by a stenographer and J. M. Carroll the bookkeeper. Mr. Carroll gained his experience in the lumber business in upper Michigan and has been clear through the course from prep to post graduate. Other members of the firm are H. H. Asher, G. M. Asher, and A. J. Asher, and they are each department managers in operating the plant.
"The firm also operates
one of the largest department stores in Bell County, located at Wasioto.
This business is managed by Dr. M. Brandenburg, son-in-law of T. J. Asher."
The following has been taken from the HISTORY OF KENTUCKY published in 1928 by the S. J. Clark Publishing Company, Chicago-Louisville.
"Endowed with a broad vision and keen sagacity, Thomas J. Asher has erected the guide-posts of progress and success in Eastern Kentucky and his work in connection with the development of the lumber industry, the opening of the rich coal mines in Harlan and Bell Counties and the building of railroads and highways has been of inestimable benefit to the state. He resides in Pineville (should be Wasioto) and through the wise utilization of his talents and opportunities he has become one of the wealthiest men in the Cumberland Gap region. Of a retiring disposition, he has never cared for the artificialities of life and his democratic manner, innate courtesy and kindness of heart have endeared him to those who enjoy the privileges of his friendship.
"Mr. Asher's paternal grandfather was born in North Carolina, October 5, 1777, and about 1795 responded to the call of adventure. He was one of the early settlers of Clay County, Kentucky, and aided in planting the seeds of civilization in this region. He had many encounters with the Indians but was a man of intrepid spirit, inured to hardship and danger, was an experienced woodsman, a great hunter and a splendid type of the Kentucky pioneer. He transformed the wild land into a fertile, well improved tract and resided on his farm in Clay County until his death on the 8th day of May, 1844.
"It was there that his son, Andrew Jackson Asher, was born July 11, 1817, and he also chose the career of an agriculturist, likewise becoming an expert marksman. He was industrious and persevering and through earnest, systematic effort developed a valuable farm on Redbird Creek, in Clay County, but spent the latter part of his life in Bell County. He married Margaret Hendrickson, who was born in 1821, in Knox County, Kentucky, where her parents were early settlers. She was a devout Baptist and passed away in Bell County in 1904, while her husband's demise occurred August 1, 1888, when he was seventy-one years of age.
"Their son, Thomas J.
Asher, was born on the old homestead May 21, 1848, and was reared and educated
in Clay County. When a young man he moved to Bell County and acquired a
farm near Calloway, also entering the logging business. His first logs
were sold to the Southern Pump Company, of Burnside, Kentucky, and from
1870 until 1881 his activities his activities were centered at Calloway.
He then located at Wasioto, in the same county, and increased the scope
of his labors. In 1889 he started a sawmill, in which he installed the
first circular saw used in this section of the state. About 1895 he improved
his equipment by the purchase of a band saw and erected a steel frame mill
capable of producing from fifty to seventy-five thousand feet of lumber
each day. He created a large industry and conducted the mill until 1910.
Since 1900 he has figured conspicuously in coal mining operations in Bell
and Harlan counties and constructed a railroad twelve miles long with a
two-mile branch along Tom's Creek. He is present of the Asher Coal Mining
Company, whose properties are located at Colmar, Varilla and
Tejay in Bell County and in Coxton, Wood and Chevrolet, Harlan County. The output of these mines averages four thousand tons daily and the corporation ranks with the largest of the kind in eastern Kentucky. The village of Tejay derived its name from Mr. Asher's initials. He is also president of the Bailey Construction Company, a well known firm of road contractors, with headquarters at Pineville. In his character the qualities of enterprise and conservatism are perfectly blended, thus enabling him to direct his energies into channels where fruition is certain.
Mr. Asher was married March 3, 1870, to Miss Varilla Howard, for whom the village of Varilla in Bell County was named. She is a native of Calloway, Kentucky, born May 14, 1848. Mr. and Mrs. Asher have five children: Hugh H., president of the Bell National Bank of Pineville; Robert, who is connected with a furniture house of Cincinnati; George M., a prominent dairyman and coal operator of Bell County; Andres J., who is engaged in farming near Pineville; and Verdie Ray, the wife of Dr. M. Brandenburg, formerly a physician and now a successful hardware dealer of Pineville. He is engaged in the coal business and has extensive farm holdings in Oklahoma.
Mr. and Mrs. Asher are affiliated with the Baptist Church and in politics he is a republican. He was elected county Judge of Bell County and served for four years, from 1914 until 1918, performing his duties in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. He has achieved the full measure of success and has made the 'square deal' a principal of his life. In 1916 the Courier Journal published an article written by Tom Wallace, whose description of Mr. Asher's constructive work is as follows:
The most prominent figure in Pineville, and one of the most interesting in the Kentucky mountains, is County Judge T. J. Asher, who is building the Dixie Highway in Bell County. He educated himself after he was a grown man and is now reputed to be more than once a millionaire. He lives in a cottage (two-story frame house) by the roadside at Wasioto, a station a mile or so outside of Pineville, where he had a lumber camp when he was interested chiefly in lumber.
Judge Asher is of a nervous temperament. He knows everyone and talks to everyone but he rarely stands still for five minutes at a time.
After Judge Asher went out of the lumber business about 1910, he built his railroad from Wasioto up Cumberland River to Tejay, and opened up mines on his property. The road later went on into Harlan County. Mr. Asher developed some 30,000 acres of coal lands on the upper Cumberland in Bell County and in Harlan County. Later he purchased about 20,000 acres of coal and timber lands on the upper waters of Straight Creek and on Redbird Creek. A railroad was extended up the Left Fork of Straight Creek and now these lands are being developed.
T. J. Asher is by far
the leading industrialist of Bell County, and one of the greatest businessmen
southeastern Kentucky ever produced. He did more to give the
laboring man employment, more in taxes for the building of roads and bridges, more to the cause of education in taxes, and more to the general upbuilding of Bell County than any other man who has lived within the confines of Bell County up to his day. As a tribute to his high-minded purpose and accomplishments his picture adorns the front page in this book.
II. COAL BUSINESS IN BELL COUNTY
The coal business in Bell County, after the coming of the railroad in 1888, took two lines of development. Middlesborough was the hub of one of these and Pineville was the other. In each case a large land company built the towns, and laid out the first lines of development. In Middlesborough it was the American Association. In Pineville it was the National Coal and Iron Company.
Middlesborough is the logical result of the purchase of some sixty thousand acres of the best mineral lands in this section by the American Association, a Kentucky corporation, but made up mostly of English shareholders. They invested millions here. The Town Company was formed and the embryo city was given the name of Middlesborough, after the great manufacturing city of the same name in England. The town was incorporated in 1890 and before the close of the year had a population of over 6000, a well laid out town with a street car line, an electric light plant, water works, the finest hotel between Louisville and Knoxville, numerous office buildings and business houses that would credit any city of 50,000 population. The undoubted success of the first business enterprises here led to overcapitalization and over production, and the Baring failure in England and great financial collapse in this country in 1893, following in the wake of this new enterprise, caused a reaction and the enormous shrinkage in values that swept everything before it except those that had elements of stability behind them. It is worthy of note that none of the coal companies or any of the traders failed or went into the hands of receivers. Alexander A. Arthur was the leader of this movement in the Middlesborough area.
Pineville, the present
town, was laid out by the National Coal and Iron Company. Before the coming
of the railroad in 1888, the town had occupied the Narrows south of the
present town. The boom brought a court house, office buildings, churches,
school building, business houses, and dwellings in large numbers. Pineville
became a town of four or five thousand people within a short time. After
the development of the town the company developed the old Straight Creek
mines, at the forks of the two Straight Creeks. This was one of the big
mines of the county. After the boom, a slump came. It brought values down,
some failures, and a general depression of business. But, out of this depression
and readjustment, came a permanent prosperity which has lasted, in varying
degrees, since that time. Theodore Harris and M. S. Barker were the prime
movers in this new industrial movement in the Pineville district.
From these two centers, the Middlesborough and Pineville districts, the coal business moved in different directions and spread, n a few years, over most of the county. In the Yellow Creek Valley, the line of coal development crept up Bennets Fork and on into Tennessee, up Stony Fork to its head on top of Log Mountain, across Log Mountain to Clear Fork of Cumberland River, down Yellow Creek to Excelsior and below, and toward Fern Lake. In the Pineville area, the lines of coal development went to Wallsend, up Straight Creek, up Four Mile Creek, up Greasy Creek, up Big Clear Creek, and later up Cumberland River to the Harlan County line, and how it is moving on up the Left Fork of Straight Creek into the Red Bird area and promises to develop a bigger coal field than Bell County has ever had in the years before.
A. NATIONAL COAL AND IRON COMPANY
This business was originally organized in 1888 as the Pine Mountain Iron and Coal Company. That company was the pioneer in the coal business here and the promoters of the town of Pineville. They owned practically all of the land now included in the city limits, built the first Pineville Hotel and other buildings, and advertised the town until it became a familiar name in many sections of the country. Like pioneers in many other development enterprises, the first result was disappointment to the promoters in a financial way, though it blazed the way for the development and prosperity that followed in its wake. The property was operated under another title with various degrees of success for a number of years. In 1896, the property with all of its franchises and improvements, was sold at public sale, when it was purchased by some of the present owners of the property and later an entirely new company was organized under the title of the National Coal and Iron Company, of which Theodore Harris, President of the Louisville Banking Company, of Louisville, became president. Maxwell S. Barker, a member of the Louisville bar, was made Vice-President and General Manager, and Samuel H. Stone, Secretary and Treasurer. W. R. Wood is the Superintendent in charge of the operations at the mines.
The property passed into their possession, with that since acquired, includes 15,000 acres of choice mineral and timber lands and 300 lots in the incorporated city of Pineville.
The present company began operations in 1898 with a daily capacity of 250 tons. The coal is high grade steam, domestic, gas and coking coal, and has rapidly grown in favor wherever introduced. The coal is known on the market as Straight Creek Coal.
There are 200 coke ovens in connections with the plant, but they are not run at their full capacity.
There are some valuable
deposits of iron ore on the property, and judging from its quality, location
and surroundings, the time will come when it will become one of the
valuable assets of the company. (In this Mr. Tipton missed his guess. The company has come and gone and the iron ore was never worked).
B. WALLSEND COAL AND COKE COMPANY
WALLSEND, BELL COUNTY, KENTUCKY
This plant, as it now stands, is one of the best equipped and largest producing mines in the Appalachian Coal fields, says Mr. J. C. Tipton. He continues: "The property was originally acquired in 1889 (the year after the railroad came to Pineville) and its development began at once but the venture was not a financial success until after the purchase of the property by the present company which occurred on August 1, 1904. At that time Mr. Charles E. Hall, of London, England, became president and general manager, D. B. Logan, Vice-President and E. Reno Short, Secretary and Superintendent, the later two of Pineville, Kentucky. It is a Kentucky corporation but the stock is largely held in England; some of the shareholders are among the nation's most prominent men of affairs both in politics and in the business world. The new management at once revised the conditions, the business was thoroughly systemized both inside and outside the mines. The output of the mine was largely increased until their present capacity is about 800 tons per day.
They are now working in two entries, one on each side of the valley, using the same tipple for both mines. Both pick and machine methods are used in mining. Electric motors are used in gathering the cars and the track inside the mines is a complete railway system in miniature.
For rapidity and economy in getting the coal from the Mine to the tipple the system in use here is not surpassed anywhere.
They own approximately 1500 acres of coal land on which there are other valuable seams. The company is now preparing to make an entry on another seam higher up the mountain which has a thickness of 60 inches (in comparison of 36 inches for the one they are working) at the opening now and is some eight or nine hundred acres in extent. There are fifty coke ovens located near the tipple and the coal used to make coke is disintegrated and carried from the tipple to the ovens by elevators and conveyors.
Mr. Charles E. Hall, the president and manager, is the controlling spirit in the enterprise. He devotes all of his time and the present favorable condition of the company's affairs are due entirely to his personal application and correct business methods.
Mr. Short, the Secretary,
has been connected with the mine for many years. He is Mr. Hall's right
hand man and has proved a very valuable assistant in the laborious work
such a business involves.
The central office, railroad station, telegraph and express offices are at Wallsend, Bell County, Kentucky. Wallsend today is a part of Pineville.
This mine, the Wallsend mine, was the first one to start operations in Bell County, having started in 1889 and one year after the railroad entered Pineville.
The Bell Jellico Coal Company was capitalized at $100,000.00 and had it general offices in Pineville, Kentucky. It was located on Greasy Creek. The property consisted of 1400 acres. R. G. Yingling, of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, is the president; M. L. Chadman, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is treasurer, and A. C. Bowers is the general manager in active charge of the business; F. G. Tice is secretary and in charge of the store and books.
C. OTHER INDUSTRIES IN THE
D. B. Logan was one of the prime movers in developing Pineville after it had come through the slump after the boom days following 1888. He made large investments in Pineville property and in coal lands around Pineville. The Pineville Hotel, originally built for an office building for the National Coal and Iron Company, was remodeled and turned into a hotel. The stockholders of the hotel company were Dr. Tilson Ramsey, President; T. J. Asher, Vice-President; D. C. Burchfield and D. B. Logan. The hotel flourished for many years as the leading hotel of Pineville.
The Bell National Bank was organized in 1904, and, for many years, was a faithful and strong institution in the development of Bell County. The Board of Directors were C. J. Johnson, T. F. Gibson, T. R. Ware, W. R. Wood, E. G. Conant, D. B.Logan. D. B. Logan was made president and C. J. Johnson Vice-President and E. G. Conant cashier. The capital stock was $25,000.00
D. THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION, INCORPORATED
This corporation is the
successor of the parent of all the developments that have followed their
coming into the field in 1889. They sowed with a lavish hand but others
have gathered most of the yield so far. They and their friends built the
railroad lines converging here, and dug through the Cumberland Mountains
at the expense of many million dollars. They purchased and opened up for
development nearly 50,000 acres of mineral lands and built railroads in
order to make them accessible. They furnished the Town Company money to
improve the town; they built the Harrogate Inn, and the magnificent Four
Seasons Hotel, (some of the buildings and grounds are now occupied by Lincoln
Memorial University); the Middlesborough Hotel, water works, electric light
plant, churches and school houses, business blocks, and in fact it was
their money that changed this plateau and wild mountain valley from an
almost inaccessible wilderness
to their present high degree of development and prosperity.
In an attempt to save
their original investment they felt compelled from time to time to make
large additions to their first capitalization until the aggregate reached
far beyond what the developments will justify for years to come. They built
the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville Railroad 81.80 miles; and
Middlesborough Belt Railroad 28 miles, and the Marietta and North Georgia
Railroad 259 miles, making a total of 368.80 miles, together with all the
rolling stock and other equipment, but the English investors lost all the
money they put into railways and rolling stock. They now own between sixty
and seventy thousand acres of mineral lands in Bell County, Kentucky, Claiborne
and Campbell Counties, Tennessee, and in Lee County, Virginia. That much
of the property is underlaid with rich and valuable mineral deposits cannot
be disputed, but in order to give them any commercial value an outlet had
to be provided, and here is just where the promoter and first manager of
the company, Mr. A. A. Arthur, lost his bearings. It was a case of "biting
off more than he could chew." It would have been a draft on the Bank of
England to have financed the numerous developments and improvements he
set on foot. He failed to take into consideration the fact that the country
was new and undeveloped, that new markets had to be secured, that there
was a bitter opposition to be overcome, and that there was no support in
sight for the numerous fine hotels he built, towns projected and industries
financed, and that it take years for a new railroad through a new country
to become self-supporting. He induced the Association to put up the money
to buy the properties and build the railways, but as the earnings never
met the interest charges, or current expenses, the properties all went
one after another into the hands of the receivers. The Baring failure in
London and the panic of '92 and '93 in this country contributed to this
end somewhat, but early mismanagement made the step unavoidable in the
end. In 1891 some of the largest shareholders, becoming dissatisfied with
Mr. Arthur's management, looked about to find someone to take his place,
and selected an old personal friend, James Herbert Bartlett, an engineer
by profession, a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of England,
the American Institute of Mining Engineers, and of various other engineering
societies. In November, 1891, an arrangement was made, and Mr. Bartlett
arrived at Middlesborough in January, 1892, as general manager of the American
Association, Limited, and in 1893 was made receiver for the Middlesborough
Belt Railway and for the Association's landed property, and in that capacity,
to some extent, straightened out the tangled affairs of the company and
put it on a business basis. In the reorganization which followed the investment
of the English shareholders who owned about two and half million dollars
in ordinary and preferred shares was wiped out. The bondholders' interest
was not paid and they had to take the property for their debt; new stock
and bonds were issued and sold to buy the property from the receiver. After
the reorganization was completed, Mr. Bartlett was made managing director
and has not only put their property on a sound basis, but by good business
judgment and conservative management has brought the credit and standing
of the community up with themselves to a position where they have both
the respect and confidence of the outside
Though the original investments were lost, the improvements made were of a substantial permanent character, and are here yet. The money spent has enhanced the value of other property in this part of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, a hundred fold. The aggregate of taxes collected here now is dollars where twenty years ago it was cents. The business affairs of the company and the entire community is now on a basis where success is assured.
A large proportion of the coal lands in the Middlesborough district belong to the Association, some of it leased to mining companies. There are now eleven mines in operation on their property, mostly located on Bennetts Fork of Yellow Creek, which are served by both the Southern and Louisville and Nashville railways. About one million tons of bituminous coal were sent to the market in 1904. Since the reorganization of the company they have cut loose from all subsidiary companies and devote their entire attention to developing the mineral resources of their property, and Mr. J. H. Bartlett, the Managing Director, has been indefatigable in his efforts to bring additional capital and additional prosperity to this community, having incorporated and promoted the Middlesborough Mineral and the Cumberland Railways, which are now being built to develop the Clear Fork region and the land of the Association, and one of which is projected to go to Harlan, the surveys having been completed and rights of way secured. The investment here is large and the ramifications of the business covers a wide field and it requires a high degree of both financial skill and executive ability to properly manage the property and arrange for further and future development. Photo Coal House
The opening of the Clear Fork district, which will probably take place this year, will enable an entirely new and extensive coal field to be developed. The Southern Railway and the Louisville and Nashville Railway are jointly building the new line so that all the Association's lessees here will have the exceptional advantage of being able to reach all Southern markets over two main trunk lines, the Northern markets over one. Nowhere else in this country can such another situation be found.
The Association's lessees at present are: Fork Ridge Coal and Coke Company, Bryson Mountain Coal and Coke Company, Yellow Creek Coal Company, Reliance Coal and Coke Company, Mingo Coal and Coke Company, Nicholson Coal Company, Ralston Coal Company, Sterling Coal and Coke Company, Fern Lake Coal Company, Winona Coal and Coke Company, Turner Coal Company, Excelsior Coal Company, Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Company, Middlesborough Pressed Brick Company. The offices of this company are in Middlesborough, Kentucky, U.S.A., and its officers are J. H. Bartlett, Managing Director; J. D. Templin, Superintendent; J.C. Richardson, Mining Engineer; G. W. Easton, Resident Attorney; H. M. Axline, Secretary; T. Milam, Treasurer; Frank McIlhiney, Janitor.
John Ralston is one of
the pioneer coal men of the Middlesborough section. He came in ahead of
the railroad and was actively developing his plans while Middlesborough
was yet in the hands of its promoters. The Mingo Mountain Coal and Coke
Company was the first coal company in the Middlesborough field and Mr.
Ralston was president of this company. Mr. Ralston continued as president of this company until 1894, when additional capital was infused and an eastern man was chosen for the position, Mr. Ralston taking the place of Vice-President and an active manager. He remained in that capacity until 1901, when he ceased to be actively engaged in the Mingo property, having previously organized the Ralston Coal Company, of which he was the president and active manager. This company was successful from its inception. In 1902 the Stony Fork Coal Company was organized with Mr. Ralston at the head and his son, Charles E. Ralston, as Superintendent. His son Robert L. Ralston is Vice-President and Superintendent of the Mingo Coal and Coke Company. He has five sons, all but one actively engaged in the coal business here. Robert L. and Charles E., as before mentioned, Herbert M. is Superintendent of the Ralston mine, and James Howard is in the general mercantile business at Ralston mine and Stony Fork. Mr. Ralston is a native of Scotland, coming to this country with his parents when a boy of six years. The family settled in Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, where our subject made his home before coming to this field.
C. M. Woodberry came to Middlesborough in 1889 when the town was yet in the embryo state; he was the first vice-president of the Town Company, and took an active part in the developing the young but prosperous city. He was the general manager of the Electric Light, Heat and Power Company, Vice-President of the First National Bank and held other positions of trust and responsibility. In 1891 he formed a connection with the Mingo Mountain Coal and Coke Company, taking the position of treasurer and sales manager. In 1895 the Mingo Mountain Coal and Coke Company was reorganized and named the Mingo Coal and Coke Company, and Mr. Woodbury was chosen President. One of his sons, Daniel Corydon Woodbury, is a rising Electrical Engineer, located with a prominent railroad company in New York City; another son, Edward N. Woodbury, is a cadet at West Point; while William N., a third son, is at Yale College taking a Mining Engineering course.
Fork Ridge Coal and Coke Company is the largest mine in the Middlesborough (1904) district. This company has leased 3,000 acres and their leases extend for fifty years.
The company began operations in 1895 and worked with surprising degrees of success until 1899 when it passed to the present owners, who have operated the mine since that time under the same charter and corporate name.
Hu L. McClung is President of the company, Tecumseh Milam, Treasurer, and E. B. Taylor is General Manager in active control of the Property. Mr. Taylor is a native of England and by profession is a mining engineer. He came to this country in 1889.
The Middlesborough Coal
Company, Middlesborough, Kentucky, was largely a coal selling agency for
the Reliance Coal and Coke Company. The incorporators of the Reliance Company
were: Job Whitehead, John Gent, J. B. Huff, Hunt Evans, and Thomas Ingram.
Three years after the organization P. C. Swab purchased the
holdings of Mr. Sanner and became the sole owner. Mr. Walter Whiteman, of Philadelphia then became President and Daniel Cooper Swab, son of P. C. Swab, became Vice-President and Treasurer. D. C. Swab, G. W. Whiteman and Q. A. Tipton were the owners of the Middlesborough Coal Company. Mr. Tipton was in active charge of the Reliance mines.
Bryson Mountain Coal and Coke Company began operations in 1890. Mr. T. Cockill is President of the company and holds the majority of the stock. Mr. J. H. Keeney took charge of the mines as General Manager in 1900.
The Nicholson Coal Company was organized by W. F. Nicholson in 1902. He was connected with the Excelsior Mining Company before that time. He is a native of Virginia and spent his mature years in banking and mining.
J. L. Manring came from Ohio in 1895 and began work as a bookkeeper for the Middlesborough Coal Company. He later organized the Manring Coal Exchange, a coal sales agency for the Middlesborough district, and handled insurance in connection with the agency. He was Vice-President and General Manager of the Fork Ridge Coal and Coke Company. In 1903, Mr. Manring aided in the organization of the Sterling Coal Company and was its first president. In 1904 the Manring Coal Exchange was organized with J. L. Manring as President and R. E. Hess as Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. J. L. Manring and others purchased the Bennetts Fork Coal and Coke Company but reorganized it and named it the Winona Coal and Coke Company. Manring was chief executive. The offices of the Manring Coal Exchange, the Queensbury Coal and Coke Company, the Sterling Coal and Coke Company and the Winona Coal and Coke Company are all in the two-story stone front building on Twentieth Street, erected for the Watts Steel and Iron Syndicate.
The Sagamore Coal Company on Stony Fork began operations in 1892, with M. J. Saunders, President; Burke H. Keeney, Vice-President; James L. Larmour, Secretary; A. M. Chamberlain, Treasurer and General Manager. Mr. Chamberlain owns the controlling interest in the mines. The railroad was completed to the mines in 1903 and the first shipments were made January 1, 1904.
Luke and Drummond Coal Company was also located on Stony Fork. George Luke and Hugh Drummond were the owners of the stock in this company. They came to this field in 1896 and were connected with the Bennetts Fork Coal Company. In 1903 they left this company and formed the Luke and Drummond Coal Company.
The Yellow Creek Coal
Company was located on Bennetts Fork near the Kentucky-Tennessee state
line. This was one of the large companies of the Middlesborough field.
The men who promoted this company and owned the stock in it were: John
G. Fitzpatrick, who married a sister of Congressman David G. Colson; Joe
Bosworth, who went to the Kentucky house and senate a number of terms and
who was the father of good roads in this section; and E. S. Helburn, who
figured large in the
development of Middlesborough and the surrounding territory. J. E. Evans, who was city Judge of Middlesborough, was bookkeeper for this company for many years.
The Turner Coal Company, of Middlesborough, was organized just before the year 1904, and worked what was known as the Turner Vein. It is some 200 feet lower than the Bennetts Fork seam. The mine was located only about one mile from Middlesborough. The company was made up of local people, Mr. William H. Turner being the president and general manager of the company.
E. OTHER INDUSTRIES OF THE
There were two banks which played an important part in the early development of this section around Middlesborough, the National Bank of Middlesborough and the Citizens Bank.
The National Bank of Middlesborough was organized in 1903 and began business January 4, 1904. The officers were R. C. Ford, President; L. L. Robertson, Vice-President; W. C. Sleet, Cashier. The Directors were J. Goodfriend, of J. Goodfriend & Company; E. S. Helburn, Treasurer of the Yellow Creek Coal Company; L. L. Robertson, M. D.; Daniel Cooper Swab, Vice-President and Treasurer of the Reliance Coal and Coke Company; C. N. Miller; of Miller Brothers Merchants; Ray Moss, railroad contractor; J. L. Manring, President of the Sterling Coal and Coke Company; C. M. Woodbury, President of Mingo Coal and Coke Company; George W. Albrecht, President of the Pinnacle Printery and Post Master; John Ralston, President of the Ralston Coal Company; R. C. Ford.
The Citizens Bank had a capital stock of $25,000 and was organized for business in 1903. The Directors were W. F. Nicholson, J. L. Manring, B. H. Perkins, and A. I. Miller.
The Middlesborough Pressed Brick Company was organized and incorporated in 1894. The coal, fire-clay, plastic clay and shale of the highest quality are in the hill just in the rear of the plant. The company is composed of J. F. Harkness, President and Treasurer; Will S. Harkness, Secretary. Directors are J. F. Harkness, Andrew Harkness, James Harkness, Will S. Harkness, and Alex Harkness.
The New South Brewery
and Ice Company was located at the foot of Cumberland Mountain beneath
the Gap and began business in 1893. In 1904 this brewery was selling annually
twenty-five thousand barrels (liquid measure 31 gallons) of their products
in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina
and throughout the south, and some of their brands of bottled beer went
regularly into Cincinnati, Chicago and other northern cities. The officers
of the company were Fred W. Wolf, President; Charles H. Schreiber, Vice-President;
Steve Hauser, Secretary; and William Wallbrecht, Treasurer and General
Manager. Mr. Kumli was their brew master.
The Dabney-Ould Company was organized in Middlesborough in 1903. The wholesale house handles everything in the way of staple and fancy groceries, druggists' sandries, provisions, hay, grain, feed and flour. E. H. Ould, President of the company, is a resident of Norton, Virginia, and head of the Norton Hardware Company, wholesale hardware dealers of that city. George R. Debney, the Secretary and Treasurer and active manager of the business, is a resident of Middlesborough. The incorporators were E. H. Ould, George R. Debney, and E. W. Morris.
The New Cumberland Hotel is located at 18th Street and Cumberland Avenue, and has three hundred feet of broad verandahs. It is an up-to-date hotel with a large number of rooms. F. D. Hart, Jr., is proprietor (1904).
F. SOME PRESENT COAL COMPANIES
NOW OPERATING IN COUNTY
The principal coal companies now operating in the county are--
Kentucky Ridge Coal Company,
Crocket, Kentucky, J. Whitfield, Manager; Coleman Fuel Company, Fields,
Kentucky, C. R. Coleman, Manager; Buffalo Coal Company, Sidney, Kentucky,
W. N. Chappell, Manager; Bell Coal Company, Little Creek, Kentucky, Byron
Whitfield, Manager; Big Jim Coal Company, Blanch, Kentucky, Charles Guthrie,
Manager; Straight Creek Coal Company, Cary, Kentucky; Barker Straight Creek
Coal Company, Jensen, Kentucky, R. R. Adkins, manager, Pioneer Coal Company,
Kettle Island, Kentucky; Kentucky Home Coal Company, Dower, Kentucky, J.
M. Pursifull, Manager; Bell Jellico Coal Company, Ruby, Kentucky, Mr. Ellison,
Manager; Kentucky Straight Creek Coal Company, Belva, Kentucky, W. L. Lewis,
Manager; Southern Mining Company, Insull, Kentucky, F. J. Gilbert, Manager;
Kentucky Cardinal Coal Company, Cardinal, Kentucky, Mr. Strauss, Manager;
Cairnes Coal Mining Company, Cairnes, Kentucky.
PARTICIPATION IN THE WARS
Our people in Bell County have participated in the wars from the earliest times in this country. They were fighting the Indians and settling Bell County while the Revolutionary War was in progress. They helped to open up the Northwest Territory under George Rogers Clark. They fought against the British in the battles of King's Mountain in the Revolutionary War and at New Orleans under Jackson in the War of 1812. One of the leaders of the Revolutionary War lies buried in the county, Col. Arthur Campbell.
They did their part in the Civil War on the side of the Union. The large majority of the people of the county was on the side of the Union. However, the county furnished some men for the Confederate side of that war. They have been patriotic people, people who believed in fighting for what they believed was best in government and for the best interests of their community.
They helped to occupy Cumberland Gap, during the Civil War, under General T. T. Garrard and General George W. Morgan. They helped to stem the tide that poured through Cumberland Gap and Baptist Gap in the early stages of the Civil War. Their lands were overrun by the forces of both sides and their stock and supplies were taken away by both sides. They learned what war meant when supplies of the army came from the community where the army was in occupation or where it was on the march.
They fought in the War with Mexico and were in the Spanish-American War. Col. David G. Colson, who served two terms in Congress from the old Eleventh District of Kentucky, raised a regiment of soldiers for the Spanish-American War in Bell and adjoining counties, and was at Anniston, Alabama, when the war closed. Elsewhere in this narrative will be found listed the names of the men and officers of his regiment.
A goodly number of men went from Bell County into the World War. Many of them gave their lives for the cause. A fitting tablet to the memory of those dead has been erected in the Court House yard at Pineville.
They, together with the
other Appalachian people, turned the tide in favor of liberty and freedom
in the revolutionary War; at King's Mountain they defeated Ferguson and
turned the tide in favor of the colonies; they stood as a wall against
the South in the Civil War and
helped to Preserve the Union; they fought in the War of 1812, the War with Mexico, and all the other wars of this country. They truly are a patriotic people, and their history is closely linked with the growth and development of this country from its very beginning. They came here with a hatred of Kings, under whom they had suffered, and they still maintain that hatred, and have kept the fires of liberty aglow since the settlement of this country. The tramp of their pioneer feet can still be heard, if you have the imagination to hear it, as you stand in that famous pass, Cumberland Gap.
I. THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Mr. A. B. Lipscamb, in his POLITICAL HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, says with reference to Kentucky's part in the Revolutionary War: "Historians have overlooked the part played by these pioneers in the Revolutionary War--for, while Washington held the tide water line facing eastward, George Rogers Clark and the hardy hunters, facing westward, held the line in Kentucky which protected the rear of Washington's army at the time of its sorest need."
The Wilderness Road through Bell County furnished a highway for the soldiers of Clark, Boone and others, pushing north and west, and, for that intrepid band of hunters, who pressed south, at a critical stage of the War of the Revolution, and won a smashing victory over Ferguson at King's Mountain. Governor Isaac Shelby and Col. Arthur Campbell were two leaders of the Revolutionary forces who delivered that master stroke against the British forces. Col. Campbell, as was shown on this occasion, was an intrepid fighter, with a cool head and a dogged determination. Historians do not all agree as to which officer was in charge of the Campaign against Ferguson; but the evidence seems to point to Col. Arthur Campbell. However, that may be, it is recognized that Col. Campbell's judgment and action helped to win this decisive battle, a battle that should go down in history as the turning point in the defeat of British arms, the Battle of King's Mountain.
Col. Arthur Campbell moved to Yellow Creek Valley, the present site of Middlesborough, where he lived the remainder of his days, died and was buried. So Bell County holds the remains of one of the most valiant men of the Revolution.
W. H. Haney, in HISTORY
OF THE MOUNTAIN PEOPLE, says" "Bell County also bears testimony to the
good blood of the Kentucky pioneers. In speaking of the War of 1812, Mr.
Lewis P. Summers says: 'Colonel James Campbell died in service at Mobile,
Alabama, and Colonel John B. Campbell fell at the battle of Chippewa where
he commanded the right wing of the army under General Winfield Scott. Both
men were sons of Colonel Arthur Campbell, the father of his country. Campbell
himself died at his home, on the present site of Middlesborough, Kentucky,
in the year 1811, and his body was buried at that place according to the
direction of his will, which is on record at the County Clerk's office
of this county.' Recently the grave of Colonel Arthur Campbell was discovered
in an out of the way place with an iron slab bearing the inscription:
'Here lies, entombed, a Revolutionary sage,
An ardent patron of the age,
In erudition great, and useful knowledge to scan--
In philosophy hospitable, the friend of man,
As a soldier brave, virtue his morality.
As a Commander, prudent, his religion charity.
He practiced temperance to preserve his health.
He used industry to acquire wealth.
He studied physic to avoid disease.
He studied himself to complete the plan,
For his greatest study was the study of man.
His stature tall, his person portly,
His feature handsome, his manner courtly.
Sleep, honored sire, in the realms of rest,
In doing justice to thy memory, a son is blest.
In doing justice to thy memory, a son is blest.
A son is inheriting in full thy name,
One who aspires to all thy fame.
Colonel Arthur Campbell.'
The battle of King's Mountain
holds an important place in the history of Bell County, because of its
valiant leaders lies buried in Bell County, as stated above; because some
of the fighters in the ranks came from Bell County; and because Bell County
furnished a highway through its territory for the Kentucky contingent in
this battle to pass through to the battle ground, the battle having been
fought by Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina riflemen. These men were
hastily brought together from the mountains, principally, of Tennessee
and Kentucky and rushed to the scene of battle, without having been trained
together as an army. Many of them were trained soldiers, having battled
against the British forces before and having fought under Clark and in
the Indian wars. Many of them however, were hunters of no, or little, military
experience. The Kentuckians were brought together by Shelby and marched
on horseback and on foot through Cumberland Ford,
the Narrows, and Cumberland Gap and south to King's Mountain. After they passed the Gap they were joined, on the route, by the Tennesseeans.
Julian Hawthorne, in his HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, says:
"A company of backwoodsmen under Macdowell, chased across the Alleghenies by Tarleton, roused the settlers in the remote region to activity, and they raised a force to resist him. Isaac Shelby (afterwards the first Governor of Kentucky and one of the first owners of the present site of Pineville) and John Sevier led them over the mountains, effecting a junction with Campbell, and this little army was joined by a party of three hundred and fifty under Cleveland on September 30th. Ferguson was sent against them, and Tarleton joined him with his light infantry and the British legion. The American Western Army (as it called itself) camped at Cowpens, and there received the reinforcement of William with four hundred men; they now numbered altogether about seventeen hundred. Learning from Williams that the British were encamped in a strong natural position on the top of King's Mountain, they resolved to attack them, and nine hundred picked horsemen set out the same night on the adventure. They arrived at the foot of the precipitous mountain on the 7th of October (1780). The enemy numbered eleven hundred. The Americans divided into four columns, and climbed to the attack in front and rear, and were within four hundred yards before they were discovered. They were met by the bayonet, but although they themselves were unprovided with that weapon, they continued the attack. The battle lasted an hour; four hundred and fifty of the enemy were killed or severely wounded; Ferguson himself fell; and the rest surrendered. The Americans lost but twenty-eight killed and sixty wounded. The attack was heroically led by Shelby, Sevier, Campbell, Winston, Williams, and Cleveland."
Hallack, in his HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY, says with reference to this battle:
"King's Mountain (October 7, 1780) is as noteworthy toward the end of the war as Bunker Hill was at the beginning. The battle marks the turn of the tide in favor of the patriots."
In the HISTORY OF TENNESSEE, 1887, published by the Goodspeed Publishing Company, Gen. Bernard, an officer under Napoleon, is quoted as saying:
"The Americans, by their victory in this engagement, erected a monument to perpetuate the memory of the brave men, who had fallen there; and the shape of the hill itself would be an eternal monument to the military genius and skill of Col. Ferguson in selecting a position so well adapted for defense; and that no other plan of assault but that pursued by the mountain men, could have succeeded against him."
This statement was intended
to praise Ferguson as an officer in the battle, but incidentally Gen. Bernard
has praised the mountain men for taking this almost impregnable position.
Hence the quotation of this statement here.
Lewis Green, 1751-1835, who lies buried in the valley between Tanyard Hill and Calloway Hill, was a Revolutionary War soldier. His name appears on the roll of Kentucky pensioners and was allowed forty dollars per year. He enlisted at Blackamon's Fort on Clinch River, at the age of twenty-five, in the spring of 1776, Russell County, Virginia. He made a trip to the Kentucky settlements at Harrod's Fort and was also with Boone in scouting parties. He came to Kentucky as a surveyor and acquired a large tract of land from the top of Pine Mountain to the waters of the Cumberland.
At the age of eighty-two years, in 1833, he made application for a pension before acting Justice of the Peace, as he was unable to travel the distance of seventeen miles to the court house. He died in 1835 and was buried on Tanyard Hill near the Meeting House Branch. Lewis Green employed the use of tanning vats in the curing of skins, which gave the name Tanyard Hill to that location,
The Daughters of the American Revolution, in their effort to honor this valiant soldier, erected a marker on the side of the main highway between Harlan and Pineville and near where his body lies buried. This can be seen by the traveler along this highway.
He settled upon the farm up on which his body lies buried just after he was mustered out of the army in 1783.(His grave has been moved to cemetery on hill above where his grave was can not be seen from Rt119)crm
II. WAR OF 1812
"The records of this office
show that one John Funston (John Fuson) served in the War in 1812 in Capt.
William Garrard, Jr.'s Troop of Voluntary Dragoons, also designated as
Capt. William Garrard, Jr.'s Troop of United States Voluntary Light Dragoons,
Capt. William Garrard, Jr.'s Troop of Volunteer Light Dragoons of the State
of Kentucky, Lieut. Col. James W. Ball's Squadron, Light Dragoons, United
States Volunteers. His service commenced Aug. 20, 1813, and ended Aug.
Robert C. Davis
The Adjutant General
Dec. 17, 1926 By E.W.M.
III. THE CIVIL WAR
One of the first territories
occupied during the Civil War was Cumberland Gap. Zollicoffer rushed an
army into Cumberland Gap, in 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, came
on to the Rufus Moss farm at the mouth of Clear Creek, occupied this farm
with his army and fortified the southern end of "The Narrows" south of
Pineville. The story of this occupation will be found in the chapter on
"The Cumberland Ford Settlement."
Photo of Gibson House
Later, 1863, the Gap was occupied by Gen. George W. Morgan and the Union forces. Morgan retreated from there under very difficult circumstances. The account of the Civil War operations, in and around Cumberland Gap, will be found in the chapter on "Cumberland Gap in the History of the State." The Gap was occupied by first one army and then the other, during the whole of the Civil War. Bell County's soldiers were a part of the Union army which occupied the Gap and served in the armies during the whole of the Civil War.
James Henry Lee, my uncle, joined the Union Army when he was only eighteen years of age and fought in the Battle of lookout Mountain and was in Sherman's march to the sea. His record from the War Department follows:
"The records show that James Lee, age 18 years, was enrolled September 2, 1861, at Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky, for the period of three years, and mustered in October 1, 1861, at Camp Dick Robinson, Kentucky, as a private, Captain Mayhew's Company, 1st Brigade Kentucky Infantry, which subsequently became Company A, 8th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, and was mustered out and honorably discharged as a Private, November 17, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
August 31, 1938.
E. S. Adams,
The Adjutant General
James Henry Lee, after the war, taught school in the Public Schools in Bell County, and was elected the first County Court Clerk of Bell County, upon its organization in 1867. James Henry Lee was the oldest son of Philip Lee, who moved to Big Clear Creek in Bell County from the head of Martins Fork of Cumberland River in Harlan County about 1841. Philip Lee was a son of Andrew Lee, who was a relative of Light Horse Harry Lee. Andrew Lee settled on the head of Martins Fork near the Bell-Harlan county line and took up land there in 1819 and 1823, as shown in the records of the Patent Office, Frankfort, Kentucky.
In 1863, the 49th Kentucky Regiment of Voluntary Infantry was organized. This regiment consisted of ten companies, of which Bell County furnished Company "K." The Adjutant General's report for 1867, Schedule "A", pages 503-505, gives a list given, together with a brief history of this Regiment, and the officers.
John Goodin, Captain, son of John (Jack) Goodin and Mahala (Fuson)
Goodin, and promoted to Captain, December 14, 1863.
Henry Blendowsky, First Lieutenant
Thomas J. Ingram, Second Lieutenant
William F. Collins, 1st Sergeant
Beth Fuson, son of Mahala Fuson, Sergeant
William S. Partin, Sergeant
Larkin Webb, Sergeant
James B. Collins, Sergeant
Tyler Messer, Corporal
William Morrison, Corporal
William H. Money, Corporal
Joe D. Partin, Corporal
George T. Tunaway, Corporal
James Fuson, stepson of Hall Fusion, musician
Alexander Carroll, Wagoner
William Browner, Private
James Cusacks, "
Solomon Carter, "
John T. Crawford, "
Michael Dalon, "
John Dunn, "
Joseph Goodin, "
Harrison Gibson, "
William Goodin, "
Daniel K. Gambrell, "
Riley Gibson, "
Joseph Gibson, "
Hamilton Hembree, "
William Hage, "
Morton Hillman, "
Amos Ivey, "
Alonzo B. Kitts, "
James McMain, "
Thomas Marsee, "
Joseph Marsee, "
Bratcher Mason, "
Elijah Marical (Miracle) Private
Sion Messer, Private
Daniel S. Partin, "
Joseph Partin "
Henry S. Partin, "
Skelton Patterson, "
William Partin, "
Andrew Riley, "
Harvey Sowders, "
James A. Sparks, "
Frederick Sildwall, "
Benjamin Tudder, "
Harrison Tudder, "
William J. Wimen, "
Pearcen Webb, "
Franklin Wilson, "
John Yonkowski, "
HISTORY OF THE REGIMENT
The 49th Regiment, Kentucky
Volunteers, was organized at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, under Col. John G.
Eve. This Regiment was originally recruited for the cavalry service, but,
prior to muster-in, viz.: on December 14, 1863, the various detachments
were consolidated into ten companies, and the officers were duly commissioned
from that date. All
the companies and detachments were mustered into the U.S. service on the 19th day of September, 1863, except two, one of which was mustered in October 7, 1863, and the other November 3, 1863.
The Regiment marched as follows: It left Camp Nelson for Somerset, Kentucky, October 28, 1863; shortly afterwards two companies went to Camp Burnside, and one was put on duty at Waynesburg, Kentucky. The Regiment was moved from Somerset to Camp Burnside. On the 3rd and 4th days of January, 1864, it left Camp Burnside for Lexington, Kentucky, where it arrived on the 6th, and on the 17th it was sent to Louisville with the view of being marched against Adam Johnson's command; but it was recalled and returned to Lexington on August 21, 1864. It remained on duty, chiefly in the center portion of the state, until December 24, 1864, when it was mustered out at Lexington, Kentucky.
The veterans from this Regiment, re-enlisted by Captain J. M. Cook, were transferred to 7th Kentucky cavalry, and constituted Company "I" of that Regiment. Those re-enlisted by Captain Francis Catron were transferred to 1st Kentucky cavalry.
The official staff of the 49th Kentucky Regiment were:
John G. Eve, Colonel
Philos Stratton, Lieut. Colonel
James H. Davidson, Major
James H. Tinsley, Adjutant
George Smith, Q.M.
Walter H. Prentice, Surgeon
Henry C. Miller, Surgeon
William B. Swisher, Ast. Surgeon
Hugh W. Hagan, Asst. Surgeon
Ebenezer Ingram, Chaplain
Solomon M. Smith, Serg. Major
George M. Siler, Q.M. Serg.
James M. Adkins, Com. Serg.
John S. Henry, Hosp. Steward
W.M. Bingham, Pineville, Kentucky, popularly called "Captain," was in Company "E", 26th Kentucky Voluntary Infantry during the Civil War. His record is as follows: Enrolled March 15, 1865, mustered in at Salisbury, N.C., June 19, 1865, for a period of three years, and mustered out July 10, 1865. Promoted from Sergeant to 1st Lieutenant, March 15, 1865. There is nothing in the record to show that he was ever promoted to Captain. (See Adjutant General's Report for Kentucky 1867, page 722).
THE GEORGE W. MORGAN RETREAT
One of the most cleverly
planned and executed retreats of an army, in all history, is that of Gen.
George W. Morgan, the Union general, from Cumberland Gap during the Civil
War. Few details of this retreat
have ever been known or published. There comes from the pen of Robert L. Kincaid, in Cumberland Lore in the THREE STATES newspaper, of Middlesborough, Kentucky. the story of this retreat. It is given, in part, here.
"Many people in this section can recall that night (September 17, 1862). I talked not long ago with Uncle Sill Turner, who remembers the occasion well. 'The mountain was afire all over.' he said, in trying to describe the holocost which Morgan's men left in the wake of their retreat northward. He was a boy down on Yellow Creek, and saw the catastrophe from afar. I have read many individual accounts of soldiers who witnessed some phases of it. None of them could give a complete story, for that story has never been written. only the imagination can fill out the thrilling details.
"The story of Morgan's evacuation of Cumberland Gap is familiar to all student of local history; how his 8,000 men were slowly starving on their shortened rations; how he was cut off from help from the north by General Kirby Smith's army, which had pushed into Kentucky through Big Creek Gap, on to Cumberland Ford, and then northward to Barbourville, hurrying to join the forces of General Braxton Bragg threatening Louisville and Cincinnati; how from southwest Virginia the Confederate General Humphrey Marshall was hastening through Pound Gap toward Manchester, to cut off any possible retreat of Morgan; and how the Confederate forces under General Stevenson were threatening south of the Gap, with all roads blocked. Surrender was inevitable, as Morgan's army was slowly starving, and there was no way out. It was question of only a few weeks, at the most.
"General Morgan put up a good front. He refused to surrender to Smith. He sent dispatches daily to his superiors, saying he was safe, that there was no danger of his starving, that he had supplies to last for a long siege. This confused his friends as well as his foes. it is now known that his dispatches were written deliberately to fool the enemy, for he knew that some of his dispatches would fall into their hands.
"But the situation was serious and he knew it. He called a council of his staff officers. They went over the situation. One of his best advisers was Captain Sidney Lyon, former state geologist of Kentucky. There was only one possible way of retreat, and that was toward Ohio, almost along the 'Old Warrior's Path,' through Cumberland Ford, to Manchester, Mt. Sterling and directly north. But it was a narrow, hazardous, mountainous way; creeks and mountains had to be passed; the road little more than a rocky path over which it would be impossible to transport heavy guns.
"The decision was reached.
Evacuation was planned, with the heavy guns to be spiked and rendered useless
(including Long Tom), the vast storehouse of supplies which had been accumulated
for over three months for an offensive in east Tennessee to be destroyed.
Carefully the plans were made to fool the watchful enemy on the southern
mountain was thoroughly mined. The night of September 17 was set for the withdrawal. As soon as darkness fell, the vanguard of the retreating columns swung into line and began to file down the north side of Cumberland Mountain and along the old State Road through the Yellow Creek Valley.
"All night was required to evacuate the 8,000 men. But at two o'clock in the morning, the zero hour for settling the mines had arrived, when the last companies were falling in behind the long wagon trains. Far up in Kentucky was the army of Kirby-Smith. Somewhere in the eastern Kentucky hills General Marshall was rushing as fast as he could with his force of 2,000 men. The Confederate cavalry leader, General John Hunt Morgan, was lurking somewhere in the hills, ready to pounce upon the retreating army, with his intrepid horsemen, numbering about 600.
"It was one chance in a thousand, but Morgan was taking it. The night was pitch dark; no moon; toward morning a drizzling rain. In the retreating forces were hundreds of east Tennesseeans, turning away from their homes with heavy hearts. They had longed to rush into their native heath and recover those homes from the grip of Confederate rule. It was truly a night of defeat and despair.
"General Morgan made one last hurried survey toward midnight of September 17, 1862, to inspect the preparations for blowing up the storehouses and springing the mines which had been laid on both the Pinnacle and the Three States peaks. He wound up at Colonel Baird's headquarters near the Saddle of the Gap. He was sitting on his horse in the deep gloan, pondering the situation. Soldiers were still silently pouring down the mountainside, with orders for absolute quiet. The crunching of feet among the stones and ruts of the mountain road was the only sound. The wagons had already reached the valley.
"As Morgan sat there on his horse, contemplating the situation, Captain Gallup, who had been placed in charge of the faithful little group who were to spring the mines, came up and saluted. He announced he was ready. Everything was set. The General said: 'You have a highly important duty to perform. This ammunition and these arms and military stores must not fall into the hands of the enemy. I hope you will not be captured.' With that final word, the General wheeled his horse and disappeared into the darkness, falling in behind his staff officers. Gallup would do his duty.
"The night wore on, and two o'clock approached. Then the small force, which had been left, were ordered to take the trail. The zero hour was at hand. Three men were left with Gallup, Markham, O'Brien and Thad Reynolds, known as one of the boldest scouts and spies in the Union army. These were to set the fires to the various buildings.
"In a little while the
flames began to roll heavenward from a dozen points in the battlefield
area. Then the time came to set the trains to the mines under the ammunition
dumps. Gallup gave the order.
He waited for a little while, and nothing happened. Surprised, he went to investigate and found that by some misunderstanding the mines had not been set. He galloped to the spot where the main dump was to be exploded. Seizing some burning fagots he fired the trains with his own hands, and then remounted his horse and plunged through the Gap and down into the darkness toward Yellow Creek.
"Gallup had barely reached a safe distance down the trail when the first explosion shook the mountain. the conflagration in the Gap was at its highest and the murky heavens were lit up with the lurid blaze. The Pinnacle precipice was reddened in the torrid glow. Then the first explosion. The whole midnight mask was pierced by the terrible burst of thunder, and flames shot up toward the starless skies. The mountains were lighted brighter than by a noonday sun.
"Gallup sat for a few moments on his horse as he turned his face back toward the scene of splendor and destruction. Afterwards, in speaking of his impressions, he said: 'Every fissure and opening in the mountains around me were visible. The trees and rocks upon their sides, at any time interesting and picturesque, were now grand in their beauty. It was a scene more like enchantment than reality. I gazed lost in admiration. But suddenly the scene was changed. The large magazine with its rich stores of powder and fixed ammunition exploded. The explosion shook the mountain like a toy in the hands of a monster. The air was filled with dense smoke so that I could hardly breathe. Huge masses of rock, cartridge boxes, barrels of powder, and other materials were blown to an indescribable height, and went whirling through the air in wild confusion, falling in some instances more than a mile from the exploding magazine. A moment after, the burning roof of a building, 180 feet long, used as a storehouse on the mountain, fell in and set fire to the shells stored there.
"A historian of the time recorded: 'Before the blazing embers that shot in a fiery shower heavenward had fallen, the explosion took place in the trembling gorge, sounding like a thousand cannon let off at once. Lighted on its way by a sea of flame, and keeping step to such stern and awful music did that gallant band move off into the night.'
"The fusillade of shots and bursting shells kept up until noon of the next day. The Rebels were filled with consternation as they gazed on the lurid sky. They did not occupy the wasted area until three o'clock the next day. Silence and desolation reigned throughout the gorge, while the rocks were piled on it in one wild wreck.
"The vanguard of Morgan's
men had reached Cumberland Ford when the explosions began. They could hear
very clearly the repercussions which were shaking the Pinnacle to its base.
Wearily, the soldiers tramped on toward Manchester, where, in accordance
with Morgan's orders, they were to assemble and plan for the rushed march
further north. They escaped Marshall's army hurrying through the hills
from Pound Gap by the margin of one day. But the Rebel 'Raider,' Gen. John
Hunt Morgan, swooped out of the forest on their rear, poured shot and shell
into their ranks,
then dashed along by-roads and got in front, cut down trees across the roads, gave fight again on the vanguard, and continued to bedevil the harassed army for over a hundred miles.
"But George Morgan's men escaped, with few losses, and finally reached the peaceful Ohio, which they greeted with shouts of joy. Many had not eaten for days, except acorns, pumpkins, and parched corn, hurriedly snatched as they tramped along. One day, all the general and his staff had was one parched ear of corn, and on another day, twelve small potatoes.
"Ten women, wives and daughters of the officers, were with the retreating army. Once General Morgan found one of these women, pale and sad, resting on a log for a moment. He remarked that she did not look well, and he hoped that she was not ill. 'Oh, no, General,, she said wearily, 'I have not eaten but once in forty-eight hours.,
"The retreat of General Morgan for 200 miles out of the center of a territory held by the Confederates, and where the countryside had long been stripped of anything to eat, with the loss of only eighty men, has been considered a great military achievement. But Morgan caused a delay of Smith's army, preventing its union with Bragg, and prepared the way for the defeat at Perryville."
IV. SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR
James E. Mirick was reared on Little Clear Creek, and, for many years while James E. was growing up to manhood, his father lived on the lower end of the J.T. Fuson farm. From there James E. Mirick went to the army. This was several years, or a few years at least, before the breaking out of the Spanish-American War. James E. Mirick was stationed on the West Coast when this war broke out and he was rushed to the Philippine Islands and fought through the war there. After the war was over he went to New York City and joined the Navy. After being honorably discharged from the Navy he went to a Veterans Home in Texas where he died around 1929 or 1930. His father's name was John Mirick, who lived on Straight Creek at the time of his death. John Mirick was a Baptist preacher.
James E. Mirick fought in the Navy during the World War. He was connected with the convoy system between this country and Europe.
COMPANY "A" FOURTH REGIMENT INFANTRY
KENTUCKY VOLUNTEERS, UNITED STATES
ARMY - SPANISH AMERICAN WAR
Colonel D.G. Colson, who
was then in Congress, resigned and organized the Fourth Regiment of Infantry.
The Company "A," of this regiment, was from Bell County, the home of Colonel
Colson. the names of this company follow: Leander F. Frisby, Captain, Ebeneezer
Ingram, First Lieutenant, John L. Powers, Second Lieutenant, James R. Rollins,
Robert VanVever, George W. Ewell, Thomas J. Ingram, George L. Barkly,
Grant Mason, Charles Hoskins, James T. Donnely, Benjamin Girdner, William G. Ross, Dale York, Frederick Farris, James Metlock, George Elliott, John W. Brown, Elijah Jones, James White, William J. Williams, Daniel Alford, Tilden Daniel, Russell Carrier, Green Turner, Elijah Matlock, Hecktor Huber, John W. Alford, Stephen E. Alford, Thomas D. Alford, Martin Alford, Tarleton Alford, James Allen, David C. Baker, James L. Begley, Albert Begley, Samuel Begley, William Begley, John S. Bennett, Bentley Vintson, George Blackburn, Maynard H. Boone, Arthur Brock, James Brock, George W. Burgan, Giles Carroll, James M. Carroll, William Challes, Henderson Childers, Charles B. Cole, Richard Coleman, Joseph W. Cole, William L. Collins, Albert Cook, John Cox, Maurice H. Dudley, John G. Dudley, Isaac M. Doughlas, William J. Elliott, Matthew Fuson, James M. Gibson, John T. Gibson, George W. Hargis, Alfred B. Hayes, Ebeneezer Hemphill, Ewell Hendrickson, John E. Hendrickson, Elisha L. Hoskins, Henry Hoskins, Larkin Howard, John Howard, Ewing Jackson, James E. Johnson, Montgomery Johnson, William D. Johnson, Levi Jones, William H. Jones, Louis Lawson, Robert Lewis, John Mason, Hugh H. Marshall, John Matlock, Thomas Matlock, George C. Mason, James Milton, George Moore, John McGaffee, Lewis McKinney, John V.L. McKee, Charles M. McWhorter, John McWhorter, Robert E. Page, Adam Partin, Luther G. Perren, John L. Powers, Forrest Preston, Dudley Puckett, Wade W. Reeves, Joseph R. Ryan, John Sawyer, Lee Scalf, Harry Scarce, Ivan Scott, John C. Shelton, Samuel D. Shelton, George Siler, Sampson Siler, James R. Silvia, John Slusher, Samuel Slusher, Frank Smith, Joseph W. Smith, Harvey Sullivan, Freelen Taylor, John Taylor, John B. Thompson. E.O. Thomas, Thurman Ennis, Frank Turner, Carter Unthank, Scott Weddington, Burt Webb, Jacob A. Willis, Edwin Wilson, Newton Williams, Marcus York.
Those discharged were Alfred Martin, Alfred Tarleton, Giles Carroll, Larkin Howard, Ewing Jackson, John Mason, John L. Powers.
Those transferred were Hector Huber, James Allen, Albert Begley, Samuel Begley, William Begley, Maynard H. Boone, James M. Carroll, Henderson Childers, Richard Coleman, Isaac N. Douglas, William J. Elliott, Alfred B. Hayes, John Howard, Hugh H. Marshall, John V.L. McKee, Forrest Preston, Ivan Scott, George Siler, Harvey Sullivan, Freelen Taylor, John Taylor, Carter Unthank, Scott Weddington, Newton Williams.
Those who deserted were Daniel Tilden and James R. Silvia.
The list of this company was furnished by Hugh Lewis, Field Secretary and Chief Records Clerk in the Military Department, Veterans Division. The information was obtained from "Roster of the Volunteer Officers and Soldiers from Kentucky in the War with Spain," pages 154, 156, and 158. Photo Maj. E.S. Helburn
V. WORLD WAR
John L. Fuson, a son of
Rev. J. J. Fuson, of Middlesborough, Kentucky, served in the World War
as a private. His Serial Number was
561,902. He enlisted March 21, 1914, at Columbus Barracks, Ohio. He was in Company E, 59th Infantry. Was overseas from May 3, 1918, to September 9, 1919. He was discharged September 22, 1919, at Camp Meade, Maryland. Character, honorable.
He reenlisted September 23, 1919, at Camp Meade, Maryland, and was honorably discharged September 22, 1920, at Camp Dodge, Iowa, a private, Camp Utilities Detachment, Quartermaster Corps.
BENNET ASHER POST NO. 10, AMERICAN LEGION
It is impossible, in the
limits of a work of this kind, to get the name of all the soldiers who
went from Bell County into the World War; but is possible to get some of
them or as many as are available for the space allowed. My good fried W.F.
Durham, of Pineville, Kentucky, has very kindly furnished me the following
information in regard to the American Legion in Bell County, the members
belonging to the same, and the men who lost their lives in the war itself.
The members of the Bennet Asher Post no. 10, American Legion, Pineville,
Kentucky, are Ervin Shackleford, Hulen; James F. Dorton, Hulen; R.L. Daniel,
Alva; W.S. Williams, Pineville, Route No. 1; S.F. Twinam, Pineville; W.P.
Allen, Pineville; Alex Slusher, Calvin; Will Sutherland, Pineville; Garfield
Howard, Balkan; John J. Slusher, Pineville; N.P. Parsons, Hulen; Maurice
Tribell, Pineville; Julian Saunders, Pineville; B.P. York, Pineville; L.J.
Castell, Hulen; Lee Creech, Pineville; M.G. Slusher, Pineville; E.B. Wilson,
Pineville; J.M. Pursifull, Pineville; J.M. Brooks, Pineville; Claude S.
Hendrickson, Pineville; Foster Tolliver, Chenoa; George Lively, Pineville;
Levi Lee, Alva; George Anthanasion, Pineville; Dr. J.S. Parrott, Pineville;
B.B. King, Pineville; Jacob Green, Four Mile; R.H. Whitaker, Alva; Jesse
Hamilton, Pineville; R.H. Whitaker, Alva; Jesse Hamilton, Pineville; Hiram
L. Brice, Pineville; Frank Freeman, Calvin; Jakie Howard, Cardinal; Ed
Vanover, Pineville; Phil Gambrel, Pineville; Sim Bowlin, Chenoa; Nick Sideras,
Pineville; James E. Crowley, Pineville; Zin Girtman, Pineville; Millard
Blanton, Pineville; Frank Saylor, Pineville; Dr. C.H. Tinsley, Tinsley;
Custer Bailey, Blanche; Arthur Stroud, Pineville; Louis Lock, Rella; Clay
Trent, Middlesborough; Frank Durham, Pineville; Oscar Hall, Wasioto; Otto
Slusher, Wasioto; Andy Taylor, Calvin; John Brock, Kettle Island; Ewing
Green, Calvin; Dr. J.L. McCarty, Pineville; Frank Roark, Hulen; Arthur
Howard, Pineville; John West, Hulen; Herndon Evans, Pineville; Dilly Hendrickson,
Four Mile; Willie Brock, Pineville; Samuel J. Meyers, Field; Mertie Owens,
Pineville; Vernon Saylor, Pineville; Hobert Jackson, Pineville; Henry Sutton,
Kettle Island; George Brown, Hulen; Harry Isaacs, Pineville; W.F. Hunter,
Four Mile; Everette Helton, Pineville; Proctor Washam,
Pineville; James S. Helton, Pineville; Jack Helton, Gross; H.H. Davis, Miracle; Carl Hall, Hulen; E.H. Seal, Pineville; W.H. Moore, Arjay; Dewey Hendrickson, Four Mile; Isaac Shaw, Four Mile; W.F. Gates, Field; R.B. Baird, Pineville; C.B. Weller, Pineville; Herbert Shipley, Four Mile; Blevins Collett, Straight Creek; William E. Metcalf, Pineville; Dudley Taylor, Tinsley; George McKee, Pineville; R.M. Hinkle,
Pineville; John Asher, Pineville; W.E. Brooks, Pineville; Dillard Wilder, Miracle; John B. Sizemore, Beverly; Hobert Parsons, Pineville; Pearl Osborne, Pineville; Jesse L. Luttrell, Pineville; J.M. Rogers, Pineville; Jim Elliott, Pineville; Dr. R. B. Maw, Pineville; William Brooking, Pineville; E.H. Turpin, Pineville; M.F. Ogden, Pineville; Reed Smith, Alva; James E. Claxton, Pineville; Ralph B. Green, Hulen; Sim Collins, Pineville; George Whitt, Pineville; J.R. Howard, Pineville; F.T. Walters, Hulen; Willie Dye, Cary; General Fuston (Fuson), Pineville; B.O. Howard, Pineville; Joe E. Thomas, Pineville; James A. Bates, Pineville; Bradley Mink, Pineville; Chester McGeorge, Pineville; R.E. Wilson, Four Mile; Rima L. Lane, Pineville; Arthur Miracle, Pineville; J.B. Fletcher, Pineville; Speed Hendrickson, Pineville; Urn R. Johnson, Pineville; Ance Gambrel, Pineville.
THOSE WHO DIED IN SERVICE IN THE
WORLD WAR OR HAVE DIED
SINCE THE WAR
Bennet Asher, Pineville; Dr. Mason Combs, Pineville; John Holder, Pineville; George Burchett, Pineville; Napoleon Rose, Hulen; Than Snellins, Hulen; Dillard Hoskins, Cubage; Pearl Howard, Pineville; Captain C.H. Hill, Pineville; Garrett Hill, Pineville; Dr. Brown Lee Pursifull, Calvin.
The Dewey Guy Post of the American Legion, Middlesborough, Kentucky, elected the following officers for the year 1939; R.L. Maddox, local attorney, Commander; Neil Barry, first vice-commander; George Talbott, second vice-commander; H.P. Stickley, adjutant; W.P. Creswell, service officer; Dr. W.A. Hartwell, chaplain; C.W. Bailey, historian; and Clint Hayes, master at arms.
Dr. J.C. Carr, who is
concluding his second term as commander of the post, presided at the meeting
and was one of the several speakers on the occasion. Others addressing
the meeting were Maurice Tribell, commander of the Bennet Asher Post of
Pineville; H.C. Chappell, Joe Harris, W.J. Collins, C.W. Bailey, R.L. Maddox,
and H.P. Stickley.
HISTORY OF BELL COUNTY SCHOOLS
I. SOME EARLY HISTORY OF THE SCHOOLS
When the county was established and began to function as a county, September 9, 1867, the Fiscal Court, under the law, was to elect a Commissioner (afterwards called County Superintendent). The Fiscal Court thereupon gave notice that it would receive bids for the office Of Commissioner. There were two candidates for the office, William North and N. B. Campbell. N B. Campbell put in a bid for $24.00 for the year. Campbell got the office. Nothing is said about what North's bid was, but evidently he bid more than this since he did not get the office. Thus the first salary of a Commissioner was $24.00 a year. But Campbell has the distinction of being the first Commissioner, and something of that idea might have run through his mind at that time. N. B. Campbell served from September 9, 1867, to November 9, 1868, when he was ordered to turn over the books to his successor, William North.
"Ordered that N. B. Campbell (Order Book No. 1, page 38), former Commissioner of Common Schools for Josh Bell County, turn over all books and papers in his hands, belonging to said office, to his successor in office, William North, upon presentation of this order." From this order, it would appear that N. B. Campbell was not willing to turn over the books and papers, and it took a court order to get him to do so.
In 1869 William North, the then Commissioner, made a report to the Fiscal Court of the funds he had received and the amounts paid out. This follows in detail:
The amount received from the state $985.91, and the following amounts were paid to the districts: No. 1, $42.12; No. 2, $34.32; No. 3, $60.06; No. 4, $63.18; No. 5, $54.60; No. 6, $23.40; No. 7, $43.68; No. 8, $38.22; No. 9, $51.48; No. 10, $24.96; No. 11, $27.30; No. 12, $18.12; No. 13, $38.22; No. 14, $21.84; No. 15, $27.30; No. 16, $36.66; No. 17, $74.88; No. 18, $33.54; No. 19, $56.16; No. 20, $28.86; No. 21, $78.00; No. 22, $54.60; No. 23, $46.00; Total 23 districts, $977.54. From this it will be seen that, in the second year of the establishment of the school system of Bell County, there were only twenty-three schools. (Order Book 1, page 56).
The order in regard to
the salary of William North for the year 1869 is interesting. "Ordered
by the court that William North be allowed $49.75 for his services as Commissioner
of Common Schools for the year 1869, he having sworn that the same is just
and correct." I
don't think anyone, in this day and time, would question the justice of his oath; but, what comes to my mind, in this connection, is the generous way in which he gave his time for such a worthy cause. The day of big politics had not begun at that time.
In August, 1872, John Goodin, Commissioner of the Common Schools of Bell County, made his report for the year ending June 30, 1872, in which the number of school districts have increased to 31, and the names of the teachers are given for the first time:
"No. 1, Mack Howard $100.00; No. 2, B. F. Main $87.70; No. 3, J. A. Fuson $131.10; No. 4, William L. Davis $133.40; No. 5, William Tinsley $78.20; No. 6, John F. Marsee $115.00; No. 7, S. C. Noe $69.00; No. 8, Robert Chambers $75.90; No. 9, R. W. Faulkner $144.90; No. 10, G. B. Green $119.60; No. 11, L. F. Payne $94.30; No. 12, T.J. Hoskins $133.40; No. 13, John W. Slusher $76.20; No. 14, J. M. Pursifull $92.00; No. 15, John Hurst $131.10; No. 16, John L. Saylor $96.90; No. 17, J. M. Unthank $89.70; No.18, E. F. Green $6.90; No. 19, Caleb Slusher $124.20; No. 20, G. D. Hendrickson $115.20; No. 21, E. G. Wilson $124.20; No. 22, Millard North $112.70; No. 23, R. Tuggle $135.70; No. 24, E. Goodin & Jacob Partin $62.20; No. 25, John Green $26.80; No. 26, G. W. Wilson $64.70; No. 27, John W. Culton $85.40; No. 28, E. S. Arnett $154.40; No. 29, Garrard Hurst $101.50; No. 30, Richard Wilson $115.30; No. 31, John B. Cox $78.50; Total $3078. (Order Book No. 1, page 273)
It appears from the record here (Order Book No. 1, page 266) that John Good got $117.88 for the first six months of 1872 as a salary, and for the last six months of 1871 he received $100.00 (Order Book No. 1, page 249). But (in Order Book No. 1, page 206) it is shown that John Goodin got a salary of $100.00 for the year 1870-1871 (June 30).
The County Superintendents
of Schools (at first entitled Commissioner) of Bell County were--
1. N. B. Campbell. He served from September 9, 1867, to November 9, 1868, and received a salary of $24.00 per year.
2. William North. He served from November 9, 1868, to November, 1870, and received a salary for 1868-69 of $29.50, and for 1869-70, $49.75; and for 1870, $80.00.
3. John Goodin (son of John (Jack) Goodin and Mahala Fuson Goodin). He served from November, 1870, to October 14, 1872. His order of appointment and making bond reads as follows: "Ordered by the court that John Goodin be and is hereby appointed School Commissioner for Josh Bell County, who, after being duly sworn, entered into bond in the sum of ($3000.00) Three Thousand Dollars, together with Pete Hinkle, Hiley Hurst, and James R. Fuson as sureties." In 1870 to 1871 he was allowed a salary of $100.00; 1871 to 1872, $217.88.
4. W. M. Bingham. He served from October 14, 1872, to November 8, 1874, and received a salary, 1872 to 1873, of about $200.00, and from 1873 to 1874 of $240.32.
5. Pete Hinkle. He served from November 9, 1874, to November 11, 1876, and received a salary for part of one year of $118.21. His yearly salary was around $250.00.
6. W. M. Bingham. He served
a second term from November, 1876, to November, 1878, and a third term
from November, 1878, to November, 1880. He received a salary of around
$250.00 per year.
7. W. G. Colson. He served from November 8, 1880, to August 19, 1890. In 1886 he was elected by the people at a general election, and was reelected in 1888. In 1886 was the first election of County Superintendents by popular vote and W. G. Colson has the distinction of being the first one elected. Prior to this the Fiscal Court elected the County Superintendents. He was paid salaries as follows: 1884, $150.00; 1885, $250.00; 1886, $275.00; 1887, $250.00; 1888, $400.00; 1889, $550.00; 1890, $864.55.
8. Grant North, son of William North, a former County Superintendent. He served from 1890 to 1894. The term of tenure in office for County Superintendents was increased from two years to four years in 1890, and North was the first to be elected for a full four year term. In 1892 he received a salary of $637.80; in 1893, $924.80.
9. J L. McCoy. He served from August 13, 1894, to September 12, 1897, when he resigned. He received around $800.00 per year as salary.
10. P.W. Woolum. He was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of J. L. McCoy, September 12, 1897, and served the unexpired term to December, 1898. Following this service he was elected for a four year term and served from 1898 to 1902. His salary was around $800.00 per year.
11. Henry Harvey Fuson. He served from 1902 to 1906, after election in 1901 for a four year term. He was reelected in 1905 and served from 1906 to 1910. Salary the first four years $800.00 per year, and for the second four year term $1200.00 per year,
12. Simon Delph, He served from 1910 to 1914, after election in 1909 for a four year term. He was reelected in 1913 for a four year term and served from 1914 to 1918. His salary was $1200.00 per year for the eight years. Photo Simon Delph
13. John Hays. He served from 1918 to 1922, and received a salary of $1500.00 per year. Hays died toward the latter part of his term and was succeeded by Mary Helton who served the remainder of his term out.
14. Mary Helton. She served part of a year in 1922, serving out the remainder of the term of John Hays. Salary $1500.00 per year.
15. Cammie Wilson served from 1922 to 1928 and received a salary of $2700.00 per year.
16. Jakie Howard served from 1928 to 1932, and received a salary of $3000.00 per year.
17. James Knuckles served from 1932 to 1936 and received a salary of $2400.00 per year.
18. Sawyer Mills served from 1936 to 1938 and received a salary of $2700.00 per year.
19. Maurice Tribbell served from 1938 to 1942 and received a salary of $2400.00 per year.
II. PRESENT STATUS OF THE
BELL COUNTY SCHOOLS
Maurice Tribell, present
Superintendent of the Bell County schools gave the author the following
facts about the present status of the schools:
The census of school children, for the year 1939-1940, is 9,744. The per capita is $12.19 per census child. The High Schools of the county, with number of teachers, enrollment, and value of buildings areas follows:
HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS ENROLLMENT VALUE
H.S. EL. EL. H.S.
Bell County 13 3 106 325 $60,000.00
Prudent 6 4 160 185 15,000.00
Red Bird 5 3 97 125 20,000.00
Cubage 3 2 68 45 5,000.00
Settlement 5 3 87 84 12,000.00
Balkan Junior 3 4 160 67 18,000.00
_______ ________ ___________
Total 35 19 678 831 $130,000.00
There are three colored schools in Bell County. These are one teacher schools. Their total enrollment is approximately 76. The colored population is decreasing in rural Bell County. Besides these schools there are good colored schools in Middlesborough and Pineville.
The elementary schools for Bell County for white children, with the number of teachers in each school, are as follows:
NO. OF SCHOOLS NO. OF TEACHERS
Total 77 136
Each high school teacher is a college graduate. Eight elementary teachers are teaching with less than two years college training. Five elementary teachers are graduates of standard four year colleges. The County School Superintendent is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He lacks only his thesis of having his M. A. degree from the University of Kentucky.
Salaries in the office
of the Superintendent are as follows: Superintendent $2400.00 per year,
Secretary $1200.00 per year, Attendance Officer $1500.00, Assistant Attendance
Officer $1200.00. The minimum teachers salary in Bell County is $75.00
per month, and the maximum is $98.10, not including principals.
The elementary school term is seven months. The high school term is nine
months. The county has free text books for all grades up to, and including,
the eighth grade.
The value of all school property in Bell County, outside of Middlesborough and Pineville, is $185,000.00. The office of the Superintendent and his staff is in the Court House at Pineville. The County Superintendent is elected by the County Board of Education for a four year term, which, in the case of the present Superintendent, began in 1938 and ends in 1942.
Middlesborough and Pineville are independent city school systems and do not come under control of the County Superintendent.
A. SCHOOL OFFICIALS FOR BELL COUNTY
The Bell County Board
of Education consists of Bradley Mills,
Chairman; Dr. R. J. Alford, Vice-Chairman; Andrew Jackson; Henry Taylor; W. L. Richardson.
In the office of the County Superintendent, at Pineville, are the following officers: Maurice Tribell, County Superintendent; Lois Flynn Collett, Secretary; J. F. Knuckles, Attendance Officer; Charley Taylor, Assistant Attendance Officer.
The following are the names of the High School teachers for Bell County: Matt Asher, Pruden, Pruden, Tenn.; Foister Asher, Bell High, Kettle Island; Mrs. Foister Asher, Kettle Island; Margie Bowlin, Henderson Settlement School, Franks; Roy E. Bergstresser, Red Bird Settlement School, Beverly; W. E. Cisna, Henderson Settlement School, Frakes; T. R. Cotton, Bell High, Pineville; Hubert Collett, Bell High, Pineville; Bonnie Dixon, Pruden, Pruden, Tenn.; Lorayne Doverspike, Red Bird Settlement School, Beverly; Anna Lee Greene, Balkan, Pineville; Geraldine Gilbert, Bell High, Pineville; Mabel Henderson, Henderson Settlement School, Frakes; Ferne Holland, Balkan, Pineville; Wayland Jones, Henderson Settlement School, Frakes; W. L. Knuckles, Prudent, Pruden, Tenn.; Bill Knuckles, Cubage, Pineville; Alice Kruse, Red Bird Settlement School, Beverly; Lela Marsee, Prudent, Pruden, Tenn.; Walter Miracle, Cubage School, Cubage; Elbert McDonald, Balkan, Pineville; S. A. Mills, Bell High, Pineville; James Pursifull, Bell High, Pineville; James Reeves, Pruden, Pruden, Tenn.; Ruth Richardson, Bell High, Pineville; Benjamin Risner, Pineville; Albert Slusher, Cubage, Cubage; Richard Slusher, Kettle Island School, Kettle Island; J. Moody Taylor, Bell High, Pineville.
The following named persons
were teacher fro 1939-1940, together with the name of the school each taught
and the post office: Juanita Anderson, Wasioto, Wasioto, Ky.; Mittie Asher,
Lower Symms Fork, Rella; Edna Asher, Cowfork, Beverly; Lucy Adkins, Bosworth,
Middlesborough, Ky.; Sadie Baker, Slusher, Slusher, Ky.; Robert Barnett,
Dark Ridge, Middlesborough; Madalene Bennett, Jensen, Jensen, Ky.; Dora
Bingham, Bell High, Tinsley; Sara Bingham, Cardinal, Pineville; Blanche
Boatright, Blacksnake, Cubage; Mitzie Bosworth, Edgewood, Middlesborough;
Minnie Bowman, Arjay, Pineville; Ona Bright, Fonde, Fonde, Ky.; Glades
Brittain, Kettle Island, Tinsley; Twila
Brittain, Dean, Tinsley; Clarence Brown, Henderson Settlement School,
Frakes; Ethel Brown, Henderson Settlement School, Frakes; Ethel Brown,
Henderson Settlement School, Frakes; Agnes Brogan, Balkan, Balkan, Ky.;
John Browning, Laurel Hill, Pineville; Betty Brooks, Cold Springs, Pineville;
Martha Brock, Mill Creek, Kettle Island; Otto Brock, Mill Creek, Kettle
Island; Daisy Broughton, Straight Creek, Straight Creek, Ky.; Iola Byr1ey,
Wallsend, Pineville; Brown Campbell, Lower Clear Fork, Middlesborough;
John Cole, Ferndale, Pineville; Roy Collett, Lower Stony Fork, Kettle Island;
Mary Coyler, Straight Creek, Straight Creek, Ky.; Grace Cooper, Centennial,
Tinsley; Francis Costanza, Yellow Hill, Middlesborough; Hazel Creech, Straight
Creek, Straight Creek, Ky.; Oscoe Davidson, Buckeye, Ingram; Mrs. Oscoe
Davidson, Buckeye, Ingram; Willa Dean, Dean, Tinsley; Simon Delph, Ferndale,
Pineville; Agnes Douglas, Balkan, Balkan, Ky.; Ethel Evans, Pine Grove,
Pineville; Ruth Faulkner, Henderson Settlement School, Frakes; Edna Fanner,
Ferndale, Middlesborough; Zella Fuson, Harmony, Pineville; Mossie Gabbard,
Blanche, Blanche, Ky.; Birdie Gatman, Colmar, Colmar, Ky.; Theodore Gibson,
Davisburg, Pineville; Maude Goodman, Centennial, Ingram; Laurea Greene,
Fonde, Pineville; Pearl Harding, Blackmont, Hulen; Jean Hash, Marsee, Pineville;
Clarence Hensley, Happy Valley, Pineville; Alma Hoskins, Kettle Island,
Pineville; Thelma Hoskins, Moss Chapel, Pineville; Pascal Hurst, Williams
Branch, Pineville; Carrie Jackson, Hutch, Middlesborough; Jeanette Jeffries,
Mathel, Pineville; Bessie Johnson, Insull, Insull, Ky.; Albert Jones, Wheeler
Creek, Frakes; Gladys Kern, Red Bird Settlement School, Beverly; Grant
Knuckles, Beverly; George Matt Knuckles, Beverly; Lou Anna Knuckles, Monarch,
Middlesborough; Oscar Knuckles, Upper Four Mile, Four Mile; Thomas Knuckles,
Buffalo, Pineville; Kinningham. Reed, Mudlick, Beverly; M. F. Knuckles,
Dorton Branch, Pineville; Ruth Lamdin, Henderson Settlement School, Frakes;
Flora Lankford, Fonde, Fonde, Ky.; Dillard Lawson, Red Oak, Kettle Island;
Elmer Lee, Edgewood, Four Mile; John Lee, Varilla, Oaks; Mrs. Fred Lock,
Mill Creek, Kettle Island; Reed Lock, Dean, Tinsley; Lester Lock, Kettle
Island, Kettle Island, Ky.; John McDonald, Arjay, Arjay, Ky.; Austin Madin,
Moss Chapel, Pineville; E. G. Martin, Arjay, Arjay, Ky.; Ruby Miller, Roth,
Four Mile; James Meredith, Slusher, Slusher, Ky.; Ethel Murray, Insull,
Insull, Ky.; Elsie Miracle, Cross Lane, Cubage; Rossevelt Miracle, Mathel,
Balkan; Ester Merkle, Red Bird Settlement School, Beverly; Gracie Miracle,
Dry Branch, Balkan; Frankie Moore, Cardinal, Cardinal, Ky.; Jesse Miracle,
Harmony, Pineville; Louise Miracle, Cardinal, Calvin; Robert Mason, Martin,
Pineville; Estill McGaffee, White Church, Tinsley; Sarah Mason, Bosworth,
Pineville; Betty Lee Mullins, Bosworth, Middlesborough; Genevieve Martin,
Fonde, Fonde, Ky.; Roberta McDonald, Fonde, Pineville; Hobart Mink, Balkan,
Oaks; Ellen Napier, Dorton Branch, Field; Ray Neal, Straight Creek, Straight
Creek, Ky.; Effie Partin, Davisburg, Middlesborough; Marvin Robbins, Bird
Branch, Wasioto; Mabel Ridings, Blanche, Pineville; Walten Robbins, Hutch,
Middlesborough; Howard Ridings, Logmont, Middlesborough; Luphemia Redman,
Fork Ridge, Jensen; Jesse Rice, Meldrum, Middlesborough; Ralph Richardson,
Bell High, Pineville; W. T. Robbins, Kettle Island, Pineville; Anna Speicher,
Red Bird Settlement School, Beverly; Lee Slusher, Lower Symms Fork, Beverly;
Roy Slusher, Red Bird C., Beverly; Mason Slusher, Wilderness, Beverly;
Nell W. Smith, long Branch, Rella;
Carolyn Saylor, Calloway, Beverly; Lillian Sewell, Broadtree, Balkan; Walter Slusher, Page, Calvin; Charles Slusher, Beans Fork, Middlesborough; Della Sturgill, Edgewood, Middlesborough; Dewy Slusher, Capito, Middlesborough; Lucy Slusher, Capito, Middlesborough; Nell Jack Stewart, Dorton Branch, Pineville; Katherine Smith, Fonde, Fonde, Ky.; Hester Taylor, Cary, Cary, Ky.; Ernest Taylor, Cary, Cary, Ky.; Henry Taylor, Page, Pineville; Clyde Taylor, Ferndale, Pineville; Oma Thompson, Pittman Creek, Calvin; Foley Thompson, Williams Branch, Calvin; Herbert Thompson, Yellow Hill, Ingram; Millard Thompson, Fuson Chapel, Ingram; Rose Turner, Blackmont, Hulen; Julia Tye, Cardinal, Cardinal, Ky.; Tom Tribell, Upper Cannon, Middlesborough; Fannie Tinsley, White Church, Tinsley; Chester Watson, Ponde, Ponde, Ky.; John A. Watson, Fonde, Fonde, Ky.; Katherine Warfield, Upper Four Mile, Tinsley; Pauline Warfield, Balkan, Tinsley; Fred Webb, Laurel fork, Chenoa; Mayola Waddell, Beans Fork, Middlesborough; Eva Wilder, Bailey Hill, Hulen; Jonathan Wilder, Long Ridge, Miracle; Mayo Wilder, Flat Shoals, Calvin; Lloyd Wilder, Cross Lane, Miracle; Camie Wilson, Bell High, Pineville, Sophia Wilson, Insull, Cubage; David Wilson, Black Snake, Cubage; H. C. Wilson, Brush Mountain, Cubage; Sarah Wilson, Hances Creek, Calvin; Virgill Woods, Turkey Creek, Pineville; Leo K. Woolum, Baker, Jensen; Pauline Woolum, Jensen, Jensen, Ky.; Geneva Winchester, Pruden, Prudent, Tenn.; Nebraska Valentine, Slusher, Slusher, Ky.; Zelm Vanbever, Meldrum, Middlesborough.
III. THE PINEVILLE SCHOOLS
1. EARLY BEGINNINGS
I was Superintendent of the Pineville Schools from January 1, 1910, to May, 1912. While acting as said Superintendent I made a report each year of the condition of the schools to the State Superintendent. In one of my reports (1911) 1 gave something of the history of the Pineville Schools. I repeat that history here as it appeared in that report.
"J. G. Reynolds, now of Flat Lick, Kentucky (1910) is authority for the statement that he had charge of the first school ever taught within the present limits of what is now Pineville. The school had only one teacher with fifteen or twenty pupils, and was one of these small ungraded schools of those times. This was in 1871. Only a few houses had been built in the 'Narrows,' a gorge in Cumberland River a short distance above where the town is now located.
"But from that school,
poor in quality as it was, came one of the most prominent men of this section
of the state, a man who was elected Circuit Judge of this district twice
and who is one of the wealthy business men of this section, Judge M. J.
Moss. And from the first Board of Trustees, came later two County Superintendents,
Pete Hinkle and Capt. W. M. Bingham, men who fashioned in their own way,
feeble though their efforts may have been, the educational system of the
"I relate this, not because it contains anything new or surprising in our educational growth (for this is only typical of the schools of our country), but because it gives the reader a glimpse of the beginnings of our school system.
"Later the school was moved to larger quarters and two teachers were employed. This was further down in the Narrows in what is now called Old Town. Prof. Pierce was in charge of the school at this time. It continued in these same quarters, in the same way, till 1889 when what is known as the 'boom' came. During this 'boom' the town changed its location and grew from a mere village to a fourth class city in two years.
"A modern 8-room school building was put up, a good teaching force was employed and for years the school flourished. But a change came as all human institutions change. The 'boom' went down with a crash, taking the school business with it. Years went on, most any teachers were employed and the school dragged out a mere existence.
"But a few years ago the town waked up to the situation and realized that her system of schools was far behind the other development of the town and so started a crusade for better schools. Mr. H. Clay Rice, and an enterprising young man, born and reared in the town, was chosen Superintendent. For four or five years, with a patient and enterprising Board back of him, he labored faithfully and well for the up building of the schools. The results were these: Building repaired, and put in better condition, better grade work, better teachers, and more interest in things educational.
"I came in as Superintendent of the schools of Pineville, January 2, 1910, while this revival of education was in progress. Things were made somewhat easier on account of this.
"In 1909-1910 the school was running with an average of 290 to 300 pupils, with six teachers. Some of the rooms were crowded and some had but few pupils. But, at the beginning of the session in 1910, the Board realizing that something must be done to better attendance, employed an active truant officer for full time during the school year and paid him a regular salary accordingly. Under this arrangement the average attendance was increased to nearly 400, while the per cent of enrollment based on the lack of sufficient teachers, which the Board, at that time, could not well grant relief in. The school, on account of the crowded condition, had to fall upon the policy of getting regular attendance from those who had enrolled rather than forcing others into an already crowded building, who had not already enrolled.
"It is my opinion, after two years trial, that the truant officer, under proper regulations, will finally solve the question of attendance. It will take many years of patient hard work to work a truant system of any kind into an efficient one effective for every child organization. But I believe we are tending in that direction.
"As to the teaching force,
Jan. 2, 1910, we had six teachers,
only part of whom had attended the normal schools. Of the teachers for 1910-1911, most of them had attended normal schools, or preparatory schools of some kind, in training for teachers. A goodly number of them had state certificates. The force was increased over the previous year by two. For the year 1911-1912, twelve teachers were employed, an increase of four over the previous year. All of them have had some special training and most of them had diplomas from our very best schools. Four of them are attending the summer term of one of our leading normal schools.
"The growth of educational sentiment is probably the best thing I have to report to you. A crusade was started two years ago, for a new and up-to-date school building for Pineville. The people scouted the idea at first and pointed to the present building, an 8-room brick, saying it was large enough for all practical purposes; but the fight went on. The Truant Officer worked too well and the old building was filled to overflowing; teachers desks were moved out to give room for tables, chairs and anything that could give room by its removal for a pupil. The people were invited to see this crowded condition of the school, programs were arranged for their benefit, and everything was done that could be done to stir up public sentiment for the school.
"At the close of the last term, the school children gave two large entertainments and a display of their work for the year was put up at the school building. These things showed the people what the children had accomplished for the year, or something of it.
"Now, what has been the result of all this agitation and work? These: The people have taken right hold of the school problem, two extra school rooms are being built on the school grounds and two are being rented out in town to accommodate the pupils and the increased number of teachers. The proposition of a $30,000 bond issue for a new building is being discussed and will be put to a vote of the people sometime this fall. The people generally favor the proposition, and it is thought by many that the bonds will be voted. If the bonds are voted, the Board proposes to put up a 16-room building with all modern conveniences. In conclusion, let me say: That the average attendance of the school is on the increase; that we are constantly improving our teaching force by getting better trained normal teachers and that public sentiment in favor of our schools is stronger than ever."
Not long after this report
was written, the bonds for $30,000.00 were voted by the people, with only
12 votes against the proposition. On the day the election was held at the
Court House, all of the school children and teachers, headed by Superintendent
H. H. Fuson, were marched several times around the Court House, with large
banners flying, on which, in large letters, the votes were called upon
to vote for the children and the bond issue. I saw strong men weep on that
day and rush to the voters and say: "In God's name, don't forget the children;
vote for the bond issue." Such was the sentiment that carried the bond
issue on that day. Capt. W. M. Bingham, then an old man, and a former County
Superintendent, was there rallying the voters in favor of the bond issue.
He had much to do with its passage.
of school children at Court House
2. PRESENT STATUS OF THE PINEVILLE SCHOOLS
Prof. J. L. Lair, Superintendent of the Pineville Schools, gave me the following in regard to the status, at present, of these schools, which statement follows:
"The Pineville City Schools at the close of the year 1938-1939, consists of an Elementary School of six years, under the direction of J. C. Carty, Principal; a six year High School, under the direction of J. C. Eddleman, Principal; and a colored school made up of grades from one to twelve, under the direction of Alvantus Gibson, Principal. The white elementary school has thirteen teachers and 510 boys and girls; the white high school has thirteen teachers, with an enrollment of 337 boys and girls; the colored school has four teachers with an enrollment of 110 boys and girls.
"The Pineville High School is a member of the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, which is the highest rating that can be given a secondary school in the south. In addition to the regular instruction offered by the high school, the Pineville High School emphasized instruction in band, vocal music and public speaking. The Pineville band and chorus are recognized in Southeastern Kentucky and in the state as the best and have received the highest ratings consistently at the State Contests for the past four or five years."
The athletic program of the Pineville high School is made up of football, basket ball and track. During the past year the Pineville Mountain Lions won the championship in football and track.
The Pineville City Schools in the past have been housed in two buildings, known as the white school building and the colored school building. At present, two buildings are being constructed, a modern white high school building and gymnasium which will house grades ten, eleven and twelve, and a modern school building and gymnasium for the colored boys and girls. This will give the city schools three well equipped school buildings. In addition to the school buildings, the city schools own an athletic field, upon which will seat approximately 1500 people and a modern swimming pool which will accommodate approximately 200 people at one tine.
The following teachers have been employed for the year 1939-1940: Miss Effie Arnett, Mrs. May E. Birch, J. C. Carty, Miss Mary Fox Clardy, Miss Cora Ellison, J. C. Eddlemen, Miss Molly Greene, Miss Dorothy Galloway, Coach W. H. Grabruck, Miss Eva Gragg, Miss Ethel Hoskins, Miss Mabel Ingram, Supt. J. L. Lair, Miss Vivian Lee, Herman Moore, Miss Nannie Murray, Miss Flossie Minter, Mrs. Katherine Rollins, L. H. Shivley, Miss Mae Smith, Miss Alva E. Tandy, Miss Elizabeth Van Bever, Miss Eula. Vicars, W. F. Weddle, Miss Esta Webb, Miss Elizabeth Whittaker, Miss Josephine Wilson.
The Pineville Board of
Education is composed of the following members: R. B. Baird, Chairman,
G. D. Tinley, H. J. Lee, W. F. Durham, Foley Partin.
IV. HENDERSON SETTLEMENT SCHOOL
In 1925, Henderson Settlement School opened its doors as a school, under the leadership of that indomitable preacher, Rev. H. M. Frakes. He had been sent to Benham, Kentucky, by the Methodist Church as pastor, and, later, as pastor at Pineville. All the time he was at Benham and Pineville he was revolving the idea in his mind of establishing a school in some needy portions of the mountains. He was looking for a section cut off from the industrial development going on in the mountains. Finally, his eye fell upon South America and the die was cast. With Rev. Frakes, to find the field was to act. So, in 1925, the school was opened with thirteen pupils.
At the opening of the school, citizens had donated 120 acres of land. Those donating the land were: (1) General Scott Partin, his sons, (a) Sherd, (b) Floyd, his daughter, (c) Rosa Murray, his grandson, (d) L. L. Partin, and his brother, (e) Evan Partin; (2) Bill Henderson; (3) Scott Partin; and (4) Frank Jones. These are the men who joined the leader Rev. H. M. Frakes in the establishment of the school; but many others since that time have joined the ranks to make this school what it is.
Today the future of the school is assured. The school owns five hundred acres of land, extending from the top of the ridge on one side to the top of the Pine Mountain on the other side. The school has its own water system, the water piped from a reservoir in the Pine Mountain for six thousand feet to a tank on the grounds of the school. The school has its own light system with power from a Diesel engine. It has its carpenter shop, agricultural grounds, dining room and kitchen well equipped. It has today two hundred pupils in the grades and the high school.
One old-time cottage building is still preserved on the grounds. This shows the type of building before the school came. The following buildings are on the grounds today: Administration Building, Dairy Barn, Partin Hall, Store Building, Henderson Memorial Tabernacle, a new tabernacle building which is now being erected, residence of H. M. Frakes, some open recreation halls, and other buildings. A lake in Pine Creek in the foreground adds to the beauty of this scenic school plant, located on this rounded hill-top, with the Pine Mountain looming up as a background and a ridge in the foreground.
Rev. H. M. Frakes is the son of William Frakes and Sarah Victoria (Carr) Frakes. His grandfather was Grayson Frakes, of Grayson County, Kentucky, and his grandmother was Mary Ann (Essery) Frakes. The Frakes family is of Kentucky origin. Grayson Frakes and three brothers came across the Ohio River into Indiana, where Rev. Frakes was born. Grayson Frakes was in the Civil War on the Union side and fought around Cumberland Gap and at Lookout Mountain.
Rev. Hiram M. Frakes grew
to manhood in the hills of southern Indiana, where, because of the bad
roads and few schools, he suffered the lack of a chance for an education.
His loss has made him feel very
keenly the needs of these mountain people. He received no degrees from colleges, but his years of hard work, indomitable courage, unselfish service, and persistent faith, have all won for him a greater title, "The Sky Pilot of the Cumberlands," and he has endeared himself to the mountain people as no other "furiner" has ever done. He has traveled no less than one thousand miles a year by foot, walking back and forth to Chenoa, and over these mountains. Besides he traveled over ten thousand miles a year speaking in churches and attending conferences and institutes. To know something of the inside of the work he has done, reveals the heroic effort that he has put forth, in spite of all obstacles, and classes him with the pioneer circuit riders and the ancient prophets.
The Henderson Settlement School is owned by the Kentucky Mountain Mission of the Methodist Church, and Rev. H. M. Frakes is Superintendent of the school and Manager of the school plant and school farm.
Former Governor F. D. Sampson said of Rev.Frakes, at the tenth anniversary of the founding of the school: "To my mind your work, patience and perseverance make you a man of destiny. There are just a few human beings big enough and strong enough to do the character of work you are doing without ceasing. There is no use of suggesting to you to keep your enthusiasm high -- you will do that."
One old woman said: "For years I have prayed for better teachers and preachers." This school is the answer to her prayers.
The list of teachers for this school for the year 1939-1940 follows:
Rev. Hiram M. Frakes, Superintendent; Rev. W. E. Cissna, Principal of school and settlement pastor; Wayland Jones, teacher in the high school; Miss Margie Bowlin, teacher in the high school; Mrs. Ruth W. Lambdin, teacher in the high school; Mrs. Ethel Bowlin Brown, teacher in the grades; Clarence Brown, teacher in the grades; Miss Roxie Hunt, teacher in the grades; Earnest Partin, carpenter; C. B. Burton, general engineer; Andy Lambdin, transportation; W. T. Murray, director of Agricultural Program; Mrs. Ruby Jones, Matron Girls' Dormitory; Mrs. Dora Rose, Martron Boys' Dormitory; Mrs. W. E. Cissna, Community Nurse; J. Horn, manager of store.
Henderson Settlement School is under the control of Board of Home Missions and Church Extension of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The location of the school is at Frakes, South America, Bell County, Kentucky.
V. HISTORY OF RED BIRD SETTLEMENT SCHOOL
Red Bird Settlement School
is located at Beverly, a mountain community in the northern triangular
section of Bell County which is
cut off from the rest of Bell County by the Kentucky Ridge. It lies on the head waters of Red Bird River, a tributary of the Kentucky River from which it receives its name. Red Bird River received its name from an Indian Chief, Red Bird, who was dominant in this region when white men first visited this section.
The region in which Red Bird Settlemant School is located is very much isolated and communication with the outside world has always been very difficult. Prior to 1920, very little of the trend of advanced modern life had penetrated to this section. Schools were widely separated and of a low standard because trained teachers were unwilling to come to these isolated sections. There were no modernly trained doctors and the religious and social life of the people was not much different from the pioneer days. The forces of law and order also had very little influence in this as well as in other such isolated mountain sections. A citizen of Beverly described the situation in those days in these words: "Lawlessness was prevalent. Many of the people were engaged in 'moon shining' law was not enforced and any one was in danger who attempted to prosecute law violators. Women and children were afraid to travel the roads for fear of being insulted by some drunken man. No one cared to go to a public gathering for fear of trouble. Consequently, when there was church the people did not attend. The schools were sometimes disturbed and threatened by the croak of a 1451. On Sundays the roads were in possession of drunken men who cared little for anything or anybody and uttered profane sentences punctuated by the thundering sound of the pistol."
Some of the more progressive families tried to stem the tide of lawlessness and to bring about a better condition. They keenly felt the need of better schools for the training of their children. Among these families was the Knuckles family. When they learned that the Evangelical Church was desirous of establishing work in some section of the southern mountains, they contacted the leaders of the church and invited them to send representatives to visit this region. When they arrived the Knuckles brothers gave them a hearty welcome and offered them the choice of their land upon which to build their buildings and establish a school. These representative accepted the offer and steps were taken to begin operations.
In September 1921, Rev.
John J. DeWall, who had been appointed as the superintendent of the work,
arrived on the field and began to lay plans to erect buildings. The name
of Rev. DeWall will always be associated with the Red Bird Settlement School
for he was not only the first superintendent, he was also the founder of
the school and the inspiration of everything that has taken place since
that time. He was a man of great enthusiasm and activity. Before he was
on the field very long he had won the confidence and the cooperation of
all of the better element of the people. They saw that he was deeply interested
in the welfare of the people and willing to help them in many ways. The
lawless element, however, soon saw that Mr. DeWall and his work were incompatible
with their interests. They saw that both could not remain in the same community.
They tried to frighten him and coerce him as they had been accustomed to
do with the better people in other days.
They challenged his right to remain and he accepted their challenge. The fight was bitter but brief. It ended with the ring leaders in prison and the others cowed into submission. As a result the forces of law and order got the upper hand and in a comparatively short time the entire region became transformed. It is now one of the most peaceful and law abiding communities to be found anywhere.
Rev. DeWall was a man of great energy and within a short time he had erected a dwelling for himself and then started building a two story school building which was also used for church services. By 1923 a three story dormitory was built. In this building boys and girls from regions were enabled to live while attending the school. In a few years the school building became too small and a new, commodious, and modernly equipped school was erected. The old school building was remodeled into a boys' dormitory and the old dormitory was used for girls alone.
Mr. DeWall had not been in the work very long until he felt the need of medical work. A nurse, Miss Lydia B. Rice, arrived in 1923. Two years later Dr. Harlan S. Heim as the first doctor. In 1928, a hospital was erected. Since that time the medical work has been greatlY enlarged. There are now four nurses and two doctors, who often in one year give as high as five thousand treatments over an area of upwards of one thousand square miles. There are no other modernly trained medical workers in this entire area and this staff cannot adequately care for the medical needs of the area because travel over the steep mountains is so difficult.
In September 1928, the
school received a great shock when Rev. DeWall after a brief illness died.
He was in the prime of life and apparently in robust health. The community
was prostrated. Sorrow and despair filled the hearts of the people for
miles about. It is seldom that one sees such genuine grief manifested by
the people over such a large area as was manifested when Mr. DeWall died.
It was felt by many that the work had received such a hard blow that it
would not survive the shock or at least be permanently crippled. However,
it is a fine testimonial to the character of the work Mr. DeWall did that
though retarded for a short time, it has since that time grown in its influence
and in its contribution to the life of the community. The school has made
a great contribution to the educational life of the community. A man of
the community said a short time ago, "Before the School was built we could
hardly keep our children in school long enough to learn to read and write.
Now they all want to go to high school and many to college. There are more
of our young people in college now than there were in the seventh and eighth
grade before the school was built." When the high school was organized
in 1922, it was with difficulty that six high school students were found.
Now over a hundred are enrolled in the four year high school. Since the
school was organized about 375 different boys and girls have received training
in the high school. Of these, more than 150 have been graduated from the
high school course. While the graduates are all poor, yet the initiative
and ambition of these mountain young people is such that
about 90 per cent of them have taken some work in college. Many of them are now college graduates and some of them have taken postgraduate work. A few have earned their Master's degree. Most of these have in one way or another managed to secure enough credits to teach school. They have then taught school and earned enough to continue their education. At one time a few years ago 43 of the teachers of Bell County had received some of their training at Red Bird Settlement School.
The standard of the school has always been kept high so that graduates of the school have had no difficulty in doing college work and many of them have won honors and special merit awards. The extracurricular activities, such as public speaking, oratory, debate, music, home economics, wood work, etc., have also been stressed. In oratory and public speaking the school has won an enviable record. In the Annual District Speech Tournament in 1939 Red Bird, though one of the smallest schools in the district was a very close second to the school that won first place. In the last ten years, Red Bird has won first place in oratory in the District Tournament, eight times. Three times, the orators of Red Bird have been able to win first place in the State Oratorical Contest.
The teaching staff of the Red Bird Settlement School, for the year 1939, is as follows:
A. E. Lehman, Superintendent; R. E. Bergstresser, Principal of the High School; Alice M. Kruse, English Teacher; Lelia Bower, Science Teacher and Practice Cabin Matron; Lorayne Doverspike, Music Teacher; Mary E. Leininger, Social Science; Gladys Kern, Seventh and Eighth Grades; Ester Merkle, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grades; Anna M. Speciher, First, Second and Third Grades; Gordon S. Burchett, Boys' Work Director; Amy Hauvermale, Matron and Home Economics; Pauline Hough, Piana and Assistant Matron; R. E. Nelson, M. D., Director of Medical Work; Lydia B. Rice, R. N. Nurse; Leta V. King, R. N. Nurse; Bernita. Coddington, R. N. Nurse; Caroline Cusic, R. N. Nurse; Sarah J. Schwingle, Hospital House Keeper; Mrs. Virginia Gambrel, Dormitory Cook.
VI. LONE JACK HIGH SCHOOL
The information in regard to this school was furnished by W. M. Slusher, Superintendent. This school lies on the opposite side of the river from Four Mile and has been greatly aided in its development by the finances coming from the Kentucky Utilities plant, which is located in this school district.
The present Lone Jack
District was voted independent in 1923 and was only a graded school employing
two teachers. In 1927 bonds were voted for thirty thousand dollars, the
money from which was used to erect part of the present buildings. A high
school and grades are carried on in this building, under the control and
direction of four grade teachers and two high school teachers.
In 1932 four new high school rooms were added under the Principal ship of W. M. (Bill) Slusher and another high school teacher was added. In 1934 Mr. J. W. Hughes succeeded Mr. Slusher, who resigned to accept another position. In 1937 a new Gym was added to the plant, and at the same time the Upper Four Mile Independent Graded School was merged with the Lone Jack School.
In 1938 W. M. (Bill) Slusher became Superintendent of the Lone Jack School when Mr. Hughes resigned.
The present Lone Jack School has 810 census children in the district, with 460 as a daily attendance.
The thirty thousand dollar bonded indebtedness has been reduced to less than six thousand dollars, which amount will be paid off long before due in 1947. A fifteen cent tax is set aside to retire the bonds. The Lone Jack School has no current indebtedness.
The community has grown with the school. A modern Baptist Church is under construction in the district, more than four hundred attend Sunday School at either of the two churches, and the community is generally quiet and orderly.
The school has modern equipment; it is an "A" rated school; and this year the Board is installing a modern course in Commerce. The school boasts one of the best Basket Ball Teams in Southeastern Kentucky, for the past two years they have won the 52nd District Tournament Championship. No better school spirit exists anywhere in the mountains than at this civic spirited school.
At the present time the salaries are higher in this school for teachers than in any other school in the county. The school now employes Superintendent W. M. Slusher, a Principal, Coach, full time Music Teacher, Comrercial Teacher, Librarian, one Elementary Principal, five High School Teachers, and ten Elementary Teachers, two Janitors. The district contains about nine square miles and has a population of thirty-five hundred.
The school boasts of being one of the most active schools in the mountains. It participates in basket ball, music, debating, vocal contests, scholastic tests, etc.
The names of the teachers, Principals, Superintendent, of the Lone Jack School follow:
W. M. Slusher, Superintendent,
Pineville, Ky.; Frank Creech, Principal, Pineville, Ky.; Edgar Wilson,
Principal of Upper Fourmile, Division consisting of first six grades; Teachers,
High School: Hershel Roberts, Coach, Pineville, Ky.; Frank Creech, Pineville,
Ky.; W. M. Slusher, Pineville, Ky.; John Knuckles, Beverly, Ky.; Grade
teachers: Nell Roach, Pineville, Ky.; Effie Miller, Fourmile, Ky.; Bessie
Lovell, Fourmile, Ky.; Theda Campbell, Fourmile, Ky.; Ethel Hendrickson,
Fourmile, Ky.; Mary Dean, Fourmile, Ky.; Phoeba Jane Hendrickson, Fourmile, Ky.; Carrie Wilson, Fourmile, Ky.; Clara Sizemore, Fourmile, Ky.
The Board of Education for the Lone Jack High School is composed of the following members: Lee Woods, Chairman, Joe Lewis, Lon Lewis, Bryant Keith, and Wade Drummonds. W. M. Slusher, is Secretary of the Board. George H. Reese, of the First State Bank, Pineville, is the Treasurer. Jeff A. Fuson, Fourmile, is the custodian of the building, and has been for the past four years. Mrs. Pat Catron, of Pineville, is music teacher for the school. She is a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
VII. THE MIDDLESBOROUGH SCHOOLS
The growth of Middlesborough's public schools system in recent years has been indicative of the progressive spirit of the community. Today the system is recognized as one of the finest in the state, providing ample facilities and equipment, a well-rounded program of scholastic work and extra-curricular activities, a faculty meeting high requirements and a well organized administration setup.
In 1922 the high school was placed on the list of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. It was in that year that J. W. Bradner, then of Ashland, came to Middlesborough as Superintendent of the city schools. He still serves in that capacity.
The preceding year, in 1921, first steps were taken on an expansion program, through the voting of a school bond issue of $150,000.00, and, with Mr. Bradner's arrival, a program of reorganization, which included the addition of the high school and four ward school buildings. The school plant is now comprised of eight schools: the High School, Junior High, Central, four ward schools, a school for negroes, and a football park and stadium. Its total valuation is placed at $625,262.00.
The first school in Middlesborough was a private school taught by Ezra L. Grubb, a graduate of Centre College. It was opened December 9, 1889, over Charles Whitaker's store on East Cumberland Avenue. Mr. Grubb was assisted by Mrs. Maggie Chumley and Miss Cora Morris, who taught music and painting.
On October 17, 1890, the
city council passed an ordinance to establish a public school. Mr. Grubb
became the first principal, being succeeded by Prof. T. C. Westfall. Following
Westfall as principal was C. W. Gordinier from Valparaiso Normal School,
who was appointed by the first city board of education. The members of
the board were F. D. Hart, W. H. Rhorer, William Acuff, E. K. Pattee, M.
Park and Mr. Price. Mr. Hart was elected secretary and manager of the school
at fifteen dollars per month.
Later a high school was organized, and the first class was graduated in 1894, the members being: John Miller, Jennie Dickinson, Julia Moore, Kate Colgan, Louise Park, Mary Campbell, Denta Campbell, Nell Van Gorder, Jess Rhorer, Dora Green, W. A. Purnell and Hattie Broshear.
When the expansion program was started in 1921, the school plant consisted of the central school building for the white children and a colored school for the colored children.
Through the interest of Dr. C. K. Broshear, president, and the members of the board of education, plans were made for the bond issue, and, with the active support of the newly organized Kiwanis Club and other organizations of the city, the issue was voted in November of that year, with eight unfavorable votes. With the assistance of Judge T. G. Anderson, it was carried through the courts and finally approved by the Court of Appeals.
The board of education serving in 1922, when the reorganization was started, was composed of Dr. C. K. Broshear, Sam Anderson, P. T. Colgan, J. M. Rogan, H. A. McCamy, J. H. McGiboney, Robert Lyon, F. D. Hart, and J. H. Chesney, Secretary.
Mr. Bradner was elected for a term of four years in April and the reorganization began. Property was bought at once for four ward schools and the high school. Plans and specifications for the five buildings were drafted and contracts let. The ward schools were ready for use in January 1923 and the high school was occupied in September of that year.
In the reorganization, a secretary to the Superintendent was employed, a full time attendance officer, music supervisor, a coach added to the staff, and plans were made for a manual training department, an extended course in home economics, a four year business department and a science laboratory, and a start was made toward a junior high school organization.
The enlarged school program resulted in great impetus to the interest in the schools, as shown by the attendance figures. During the year of 1922-1923 the enrollment in the white schools was 1904, compared with 2640 in the year 1939-1940. The increase in the entire school system was 745, or 34 per cent. In the high school, the comparison of two years show an increase of 169 per cent and in the junior high school an increase of 141 per cent.
Eighty teachers are employed, twenty of them in the white high school. That they bring a wide experience is indicated in the fact that they represent fifty different colleges in their preparations for teaching. High requirements of education must be met by the faculty members and many of the teachers hold Masters' degrees.
A varied program of extra-curricular
activities is carried out, particularly in the high school. These include:
chorus, and glee club work, public speaking, dramatics, public discussion and debating, 4-H club work, Hi-Y girl reserves, Latin club, and athletic activities, including football, basket ball, gymnastic work, boxing and track.
The school band, which has been among the outstanding organizations connected with the schools in recent years, was organized in November, 1929. It has rated high in state festivals held yearly at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and is now composed of about sixty members, directed by R. A. Emberger.
The high school offers an up-to-date library of 2970 volumes, and well equipped business, home economics, and manual training departments. An efficient health program is carried out under the direction of the county health department. Organizations maintaining interests between the parents and the schools, and assisting in various phases of the school program, are active. These include, Parent-teacher units in each of the grade schools, and a band Mothers' organization. during the past several years one of the projects of the PTA at the central school has been supervision of a lunch room, which provides meals for over one hundred children daily through the school year.
A survey of the financial
setup in the Middlesborough schools reveals that the system is operated
on a per capita sum of $40.17, compared with the average for the nation
of $104.48. Eighty-seven per cent of the school fund for maintenance is
comprised of salaries. The receipts are produced from a city tax levy of
$1.29 and a per capita sum of $12.17 from the state.
HISTORY OF THE SCHOOLS CONTINUED
SCHOOLS NOW RANK WITH THE BEST IN THE ENTIRE STATE
THE BELL COUNTY LEADER, Pineville, Kentucky, in 1909, carried an editorial on the work of H. H. Fuson, and this editorial is the basis for this chapter. In 1902, when the now retiring County Superintendent, H. H. Fuson, first took office, the great industrial movement, which has grown to very large proportions in the past eight years, was then sweeping over this mountain section of Kentucky, and railroads were pushing their way into unknown parts, coal mines were developing and mining camps were springing up where only old thrown-out fields were observed before. Southeastern Kentucky, as a result, almost as by magic, became known as one of the leading coal producing sections of the Union. The eyes of the country were fixed on this section, and capital flowed into the country and bought up thousands of acres of land in large boundaries for development purposes. This work still progresses, gaining added momentum as the tide of development goes on.
Mr. Fuson, on entering office, realized the great importance of the great strides forward in business and wished to have the schools of Bell County keep pace with the movement. He could not see why the schools should lag behind, if they were, when all kinds of business and professions were moving at such a pace. So he, at once, inaugurated a forward movement and pushed school work of all kinds to the front. As a result a long list of improvements have been made. Some of the more important ones will be enumerated below.
One of the first things done was the looking into the work of the schools with reference to primary work. The Superintendent found, by taking a record of the work done while visiting schools, that only 12 per cent of the work was being done that ought to be done. The work was being done at haphazard and with no uniformity whatever. The Superintendent issued a circular calling upon the teachers to introduce a more systematic work, an outline for same being sent them at the same time, in language, composition, drawing, reading, and writing. The teachers rallied to the work and in one or two years marked progress had resulted, till at this time the work in the lower grades might be considered to be in a fair condition.
District libraries have
been established in many of the best districts of the county. These libraries
contain from 50 volumes in some of the larger and better ones. These volumes
have seen selected
with reference to the needs of the various grades of school children in the country schools and with the good of the children in view. By this method of establishing libraries a revival of interest has been created in general reading. Many boys and girls have been given food for their growing minds and many of the older people have been enlightened and blessed. Out of the 60 districts at present in the county 25 of them have libraries. The first district library was established at Wasioto in 1901 by Mr. H. Clay Rice; others followed close on to this one and the work has continued a steady growth through eight years. There are now 4,000 books and magazines in these libraries. The county teachers' library has grown from 78 volumes in 1902 to 500 or more in 1909. Professional books for teachers, novels of the better sort, histories, scientific books, essays, poetry, orations, and many other classes of books have been added. Two new sectional book clases were purchased by the county for this library, and withal the whole presents a neat appearance.
The establishment of a number of long-term schools is probably one of the best things Supt. Fuson has done. Many of them have more than one teacher and the work is divided into grades. Straight Creek School is the best example of this work. There, four teachers are regularly employed, all graduate teachers, for a term of ten months. The principal is paid, $1,000 per year, and the other teachers $750, $600, and $500. They have good grounds and a four room house valued at $35,000, and water pipped into the building from a mountain spring, 400 pupils in the district. This school has also, a high school department with a course of study three years in length. Last year four were graduated from this department. This school has been built up in seven years from practically nothing to begin with. Four Mile consolidated school has good buildings, 229 pupils, three teachers, an eight month term, and another year proposes to have a nine months term, a larger and better building, work well graded and a two year high school course. A number of others are pushing along in the same lines, but these will suffice to show what the movement means and what is being done.
All the schools of the county have been graded and systematized. The state course of study has been in the hands of all the teachers since it was issued, and has been adhered to strictly, with some slight modifications to meet local needs. This course is divided into eight grades and the amount of work to be done each year prescribed. The teachers have found the work very helpful. To add to efficiency of this course Supt. Fuson in his visits to the schools each year made speeches to the schools on some one part of this course and demonstrated to the teachers and students the applicability of the work. This has tended to make the work more and more uniform.
New houses have been built
and many others repaired. In all, since 1902 twenty-three new houses have
been built, ranging in value from $400 for the smaller ones to $3,000 for
the larger and better ones. Most of the other houses have been repaired
in some way; some with extensive repairs, others with slight repairs. Some
ten or fifteen houses have been equipped with modern furniture and supplies.
This work has gone on constantly for eight years.
The County High School has been established in Pineville. By contract with the County Board of Education of Pineville, the County Board of Education appropriates $1,000 yearly and the City Board of Education $750 yearly for the maintenance of the school. The school is for the joint use of the county and the city of Pineville, but is under the control of the County Board of Education. The people of Pineville have donated to the County Board of Education over 5 1/2 acres of ground for the site of the new high school and the County Board of Education proposes to erect a building on the site at the earliest opportunity. Two teachers have been employed and the work is now being conducted in two rooms of the public school of Pineville. This is probably, the most important work, and the most far-reaching work, of all Supt. Fuson has done.
The raising of the efficiency of the teaching force of the county. Teachers have applied themselves more assiduously to their work, have attended good schools and prepared themselves, have studied methods and means of doing their work, have had better salaries paid them, examinations have been held strictly according to law and certificates granted only on merit, and in every way the efficiency of the teachers has been raised. Now an efficient, wide-awake, up-to-date body of teachers has charge of the schools and the future of the county is safe in their hands.
Last year Oratorical and Essay associations were formed; the Orataorical for the men teachers, the Essay for the lady teachers. Contests were had at the Teachers' Institute this year, and first and second prizes in each contest, were awarded. The effort was a decided success. The teachers passed a resolution making the association a permanent part of the Institute each year, and a committee was appointed to draw up rules and regulations.
These are some of the
things Supt. Fuson has been able to accomplish in eight years of work and
they form an interesting catalogue of triumphs for the cause of popular
education. He now goes back to work in the school room, and, as we hope,
to wider fields of usefulness. He has been elected Supt. of the Public
Schools of Pineville to take charge of the work January 3rd, 1910. He succeeds
Mr. H. Clay Rice, who has resigned to take up work, in the Circuit Clerk's
office, with his brother, R. B. Rice.
HISTORY OF THE CHURCHES
The Bell County Association of Baptists (Missionary) was organized in 1896. At the time of the organization of the Association there were only eleven churches, with a membership of 704 and 16 ministers. The minutes for 1938 show a total of 65 churches, with a membership of 8,500 and 109 regularly ordained ministers. In 1896 the total value of all property was $3,425.00. In 1938 the total value of all church property was $306,242.30. Of the 16 ministers in 1896 only one. Rev. William C. Hutchins, Crab Orchard, Kentucky, still lives. The other 15 have passed to their eternal reward.
The officers for the Bell County Association of Baptists for the year 1938 are Rev. J. W. Crowley, Middlesborough, Kentucky, Moderator; Rev. Sam T. Browning, Middlesborough, Kentucky, Assistant Moderator; Rev. W. T. Robbins, Wasioto, Kentucky, Clerk; Maurice Tribell, Assistant Clerk.
I. THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF MIDDLESBOROUGH
The First Baptist Church of Middlesborough was organized in a small shack, the office of J. R. Sampson, at Middlesborough, Kentucky, September 23, 1889. At that time there were no streets, sidewalks, or permanent buildings of any kind in Middlesborough. Its streets, laid out to the extent they were in use, were marches and mud puddles. There were very few people there and none who regarded it as home.
The church was organized by council, composed of Rev. R. C. Medaris, Rev. L. M. Sharp and Rev. L. Close. Brother Medaris acted as Moderator and brother Sharp as Secretary. It organized with the following charter members: J. F. Bosworth, W. J. Eastman, Mrs. Mary Eastman, Stella Eastman, W. G. Eastman, J. S. Chambers, J. C. Teague, J. C. Tarvin, Clinton Cribins, and J. R. Sampson.
Articles of faith and church covenants were adopted and the church was thus organized. A church meeting was held with Brother Medaris as Moderator and J. C. Teague as Clerk; and W. J. Eastman, Clinton Cribens and J. C. Teague were elected Trustees, and J. C. Teague was elected church clerk.
A building committee,
composed of J. F. Bosworth, W. J. Eastman and J. C. Teague, was appointed;
and J. R. Sampson and J. C. Teague were appointed to draft a church constitution,
which was afterwards adopted.
The Middlesborough Town and Land Company agreed to give to all church denominations a lot for buildings and was to donate all brick and stone and unused lumber needed in erecting such buildings.
On October 26, 1889, the church entered into contract with W. J. Eastman to build the church for $920.00, he to donate $200.00 of that amount. The building, not very imposing, but ample for all purposes, was completed. Brother Medaris supplied for the church, from time to time, and held a meeting at which the church membership was materially increased.
On October 10, 1890, Rev. William Shelton, from the Franklin treet Baptist Church of Louisville, was called and began his pastorate, in November, 1890, and continued with the church until March, 1892, when he accepted a call to Dalton. A few years later Brother Shelton, in the prime of his life, died.
Rev. Everett Gill, a young seminary student, supplied for the church several months, from April to Novenber, 1892, when his duties at the seminary required his whole time. Later he went as a missionary to Italy and has been there ever since, and is now (1924) at the head of all Italian missionary work.
Rev. W. A. Borum, who accepted a call to the church, began his pastorate, December 4, 1892, and continued until January 13, 1897, when he accepted a call to a church at Somerset, Kentucky.
Rev. George W. Perryman was the next pastor of the church and began his work in November, 1898. The church and Sunday School increased under Brother Perryman's pastorate and very soon outgrew the building. They then enlarged the building and installed the first pipe organ in Middlesborough. Brother Perryman, in 1900, was called to the Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a few years later died.
Rev. C. M. Reid began his pastorate of the church in 1901 and continued his labors with the church until 1910. Under his ministry the church grew, during which time the church had several successful church revivals. It was through him that the present Baraca Class was organized, through him the church was enlarged and through him a number of Sunday School rooms were added. Brother Reid went from there to London, Kentucky, and then into missionary work in Colorado, where he is now living (1924) and working.
In 1910 Rev. J. M. Roddy
was called to the pastorate of the church, and, upon his return from a
trip to the Holy Land, in January, 1911, he began his work as such. He
was full of zeal and devotion and was consecrated to the service of the
Master. He was untiring in his efforts to build up the church. Withal,
he was a man of marked executive ability, not only in directing the activities
of the church, but also in its business affairs. The church had never occupied
the place or exerted the influence it could have done in the community
heretofore, but under his direction, it became not only an influence for
good among Baptists, but also among the people of the entire city.
He took a part in every public movement for moral and social uplift of the community. To his active advocacy and efforts, more than to any other man, was due the final success achieved in voting prohibition in Middlesborough, after many failures; and then it was that the city was relieved of the curse of open saloons.
The church needed a better location, a modern building and a pastor's home. The pastor's home was secured, and then he began his efforts to secure an effective and modern church building. First, the most desirable lot in the city, the one now occupied by the church, was secured, and by small contributions from men, women and children, of five cents and up, the money was raised to pay for it. Thus, working for several years, the church was ready to begin to build. The services of Mr. Palmer Sharp were secured to generally superintend the building, and Mr. A. B. Miller was secured to superintend the work. The building was designed by Brother Roddy, and he devoted a great deal of his time during the years getting ready to build and was about the building during the construction every day. Finally it was completed. The building was the most imposing and splendid structure in all this mountain section at the time it was built, and was one of the best planned for Sunday School work, with ample departments for all of the classes. It was dedicated the thirteenth day of March, 1917. Brother Roddy preached the dedicatory sermon, and in two years it was fully paid for.
In 1920 Brother Roddy was called to the Dederick Avenue Baptist Church, Knoxville, Temessee, and accepted the call in October, 1921. He was then in poor health and in a short time he suffered a nervous collapse. He suffered fearfully for more than a year. Brother Roddy recovered and then went to Springfield as pastor.
The next pastor was Rev. Sam P. Martin, who accepted a call to the church November 1, 1921, and began his labors as pastor January 22, 1922. His first service began with a revival meeting, in which he was assisted by Rev. Paul Montgomery and wife as singers. He at once entered into the work of soul winning. He soon had the church crowded, and as a result of his wonderful appeal to church menbers and sinners, a very deep spiritual interest became manifest in all. Many were converted and there were added to the church membership in that meeting over 200. In 1924 the church had a membership of 950, with an attendance at Sunday School of 700. It had the largest men's class in the state, and, under the leadership of Brother Russ Hill, the crowds were from 200 to 300 every Sunday.
Following the pastorate
of Rev. Sam P. Martin, Rev. E. F. Adams became pastor of the church September
11, 1925, and continued as pastor until August 29, 1928. During this period
the church expanded its work along all lines. The large attendance at the
Baraca Class was continued. The T. E. L. Class for women also had a remarkable
record for attendance. The whole Sunday School received special attention.
The church increased its financial progran. With the growth of the Baraca
Class and the Sunday School generally a program of church building developed.
The plan to build the present Sunday School plant was
launched in this period, and much of the construction was carried out. This program gave the First Baptist Church a plant that ranks with the best in the state.
Following E. F. Adams' pastorate, Rev. S. E. Tull was called as pastor, and took charge of the work December 2, 1928. His pastorate was one of the longest in the history of the church, terminating August 1, 1937. One of the chief problems of the church in this era was the debt incurred in the building program. The year 1929 will be remembered as the year of the crash in Wall Street, and the beginning of the so called "depression". The building debt at this peak was $65,000. Interest charges added to the principal required large sums of money. The church worked heroically during this period to save the building, and to carry on the regular Work of the church. During the pastorate of Rev. Tull the debt was reduced to about $36,000. One of the outstanding features of this pastorate was a number of revivals. Some of the leading pastors of the south were engaged as speakers. Their work was deeply spiritual and constructive.
In December, 1937, Rev. Marvin Adams was called as pastor, and moved into the field March 1, 1938. During fifteen months of his pastorate the church membership has been increased by 125, making a total membership at present of 1610.
II. THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PINEVILLE
The First Baptist Church of Pineville was organized June 7, 1889. The following named persons were charter members: John G. Pearce, Mrs. Gertie Pearce, J. C. Clark, Mrs. J. C. Clark, Mrs. Veal, Charles M. Blanc, Mrs. Bettie Blanc, John R. Bowman, Mrs. Sallie Bowman, Joseph Bowman, William Bowman, J. S. Hargis, Mrs. Amanda Hargis, O. V. Riley, J. H. Estes, Mrs. Ida G. Estes, Miss Cynthia Austin, Annie Moyer, Catherine Partin, John H. Shy, Mrs. Minnie Shy, Mattie Shy, B. F. Allen, Hannah Allen, Paralee Miller, F. L. Blanc, C. J. Hargis, Mrs. Amanda Bingham, Mrs. Lucinda Bingham, Miss Nannie Base. There were thirty members in this organization.
Rev. R. C. Medaris was elected Moderator. He, Rev. J. N. Bowling and Rev. J. R. Hicks were the presbytery. John Q. Pearce was elected Clerk. They met in the Pineville public school building. After the organization was completed the members met in regular church session for business. The name chosen at this meeting was "The Pineville Batpist Church." F. L. Blanc was elected Clerk to serve one year. Rev. R. C. Medaris was elected the first pastor.
On August 11, 1889, they voted to have their business meetings on the third Saturday in each month and the envelope system for collecting was adopted.
On September 5, 1891,
were made to have preaching services twice a month, on the first and third
Sundays. On the same date F. L. Blanc, Florence Souerbry and Carrie Newlee
were appointed a
comittee to canvass for funds for missions. They raised $9.45 and this was sent to the North Concord Association. Communion was to be observed quarterly.
On October 15, 1891, arrangements were made to borrow $1500.00 from the United States Savings Loan and Building Company, of St. Paul, Minnesota, mortgaging the church building to secure same. An organ was purchased at this time. The General Association was held at Williamsburg that year and C. J. Hargis was elected a delegate from this church.
The church at the time was calling their pastor by the year. Rev. C. M. Freeman was chosen pastor on April 1, 1892, for one year and his salary was to be $500.00. He was not elected at the end of the year on account of lack of funds to pay him.
On August 11, 1893, Rev. W. A. Borum was selected to preach one Sunday a month. The church seemed to be without a pastor from January, 1896, to September 14, 1902, when Rev. R. M. Mays was elected for one year to preach two Sundays per month at a salary of $300 J. H. Shy, J. T. C. Noe and H. Clay Rice were elected Deacons and ordained.
A church was organized at West Pineville in April, 1903, but seems to have gone down after a few months. After the year was up of Rev. Mays' pastorate, Rev. E. L. Andrews was elected to serve the church at a salary of $500 per year. Miscellaneous collections from October 26, 1902, to October 14, 1903, were only $47.34. On December 16, 1903, a motion to appoint a comittee to report to the church those members living in violation of the rules of the church was lost. On July 24, 1904, the Rev. Andrews resigned to accept a call to one of the churches in Covington, Kentucky.
Rev. S. H. Tabb was elected as pastor on February 9, 1908, for full time at a salary of $1,000 per year. Rev. Tabb resigned January 1, 1910.
Rev. L. B. Arvin was called as pastor on January 16, 1910, and resigned in October, 1910. Rev. Mays was again elected pastor April, 1911, to serve the church three Sundays per month. December 4, 1913, Rev. W. C. Sale was called and served the church until April, 1915. On June 1, 1915, Rev. J. A. McCord was called and served until April 27, 1919, when he resigned. The church had no regular pastor from that time until January 1, 1920, when Rev. L. C. Kelly began his pastorate, which he still holds.
One of the greatest revivals
the church has ever had was from November 5, 1916, to December 5, conducted
by Rev. J. B. DeGarmo, assisted by Frank McGarvy as singer. There were
seventy-two additions. Prior to the revival the church had planned a new
building on the old lot where the McCord residence now stands to cost around
$15,000. However, after the success of that revival it was planned to enlarge
on the plans, and five lots on the corner of Kentucky Avenue and Holly
Street were purchased, from Grant Mason for $1,000 and arrangements
were started for a building on the lots. The following building committee was appointed: Judge T. J. Asher, Chairman, Dr. M. Brandenburg, Treasurer, E. N. Ingram, P. J. Galloway, and J. A. Whitaker. The finance committee was a follows: T. R. Ware, Chairman, G. M. Asher, J. M. Gibson, A. B. Gilbert, R. B. Rice, G. J. Jarvis, Dr. Edward Wilson, Mrs. White L. Moss. In September, 1917, the old church and lot was sold to Judge Asher for $1,200.
Plans were adopted and work on the church was started. Work progressed rapidly and the church was completed in the latter part of 1918. The church was dedicated on March 23, 1919. During the latter part of 1919 the church purchased the present pastor's home from Judge Asher for $10,000, and as a part payment on this home Judge Asher took in the pastor's home on Virginia Avenue for $2,000 and he donated $1,000. On August 26, 1918, the church borrowed $10,000 from the Commonwealth Life Insurance Company and later some on the pastor's home. These notes are the ones to be burned here this afternoon (1939). The original church building cost a little over $60,000. The low cost was made possible through Judge Asher, who helped the church buy materials at a low cost. This church was made possible through the liberality of such members as Judge T. J. Asher, R. W. Creech, Dr. and Mrs. M. Brandenburg, and many others who contributed liberally to it.
The greatest visible work of the church, prior to 1920, was done during the pastorate of Rev. J. A. McCord, who, in less than four years, more than doubled the membership, built a new church and pastor's home, now valued at from $90,000 to $100,000. The pastor now has one of the finest homes in Pineville and the membership has one of the largest and best equipped churches in any rural community in Kentucky.
On September 13, 1922, the following Deacons were ordained: R. W. Creech, Thomas Wilson, Dr. Edward Wilson, R. H. Shipp, J. S. Chappell, I. J. Porter, J. M. Gibson. The budget for 1923 was $12,000.
On December 17, 1922, Howard Martin was appointed assistant pastor and educational director. He resigned on September 5, 1923, being called to other work in California.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Kelly the church has had a phenominal growth in membership, in spirituality and in general educational Christian work. He has shown himself a good pastor, a builder, and an everlasting fighter for the right against the wrong in our community. His slogan is, "No compromise with evil." Our financial report from 1923 on shows: 1923, $25,435.28; for 1924, $20,276.57; for 1925, $12,052.95; for 1926, $14,286.17; for 1927, $11,017.53; for 1929, $13,484.21.
The latter part of 1921
an organ was purchased for $5,500. Our quota for the seventy-five million
campaign was $25,000. Over $29,000 was subscribed and the full amount was
paid in. We know of no other church under the jurisdiction of the Southern
Baptist Convention that did this well.
Our membership has been of a transient nature, about 30 percent of those coming into the church have gone to other fields and moved their meubership, many have moved away and never called for their letters and have been placed on the non-resident list. The present membership is 904. Approxmiate membership on January 1, 1920, when Rev. L. C. Kelly began his pastorate, was around 350; September 1, 1924, 544; September 1, 1925, 680; September 1, 1932, 718; September 1, 1933, 744; September 1, 1934, 772; June 1, 1939, 904.
During the present pastorate there have been 1317 additions to the church. Since January, 1924, there has been a loss of seventy-two by death and fifteen exclusions.
The church has no indebtedness except a few current bills. Recently the church and the pastor's home have been covered with asbestos shingles and should last almost indefinitely.
Since the organization of the Pineville Church in 1889 to the present time, 1939, the following ministers have served the church: Rev. R. C. Medaris, Rev. M. C. Freeman, Rev. G. D. Henderickson, Rev. W. A. Borum, Rev. Lucius Robinson, Rev. R. M. Mays, Rev. E. L. Andrews, Rev. S. H. Tabb, Rev. L. B. Arvin , Rev. W. C. Sale, Rev. J. A. McCord, Rev. H. D. Allen, and Rev. L. C. Kelly.
III. OTHER CHURCHES OF THE BELL COUNTY
ASSOCIATION OF BAPTISTS
The Antioch-Chenoa Baptist Church was first organized at Harrison, Bell County, Kentucky, July 27, 1914. The first organization was called Tinley Chapel Baptist Church. An arm was extended by the Pineville Church, and Rev. W. C. Sale, Mrs. W. C. Sale, Rev. W. J. Adams, Rev. W. T. Robbins, acted as a committee on organization. Rev. F. M. Jones had held a revival in the old commissary and had gathered in a number of converts, sufficient to organize a new church. Rev. F.M. Jones was chosen the first pastor and Miss Ruby Lefter, Clerk. This church was later disbanded and the present church, was organized. This church owns its own house of worship, valued at $1,000 and has membership at the present time of 52. The Sunday School shows an enrollment of sixty-nine. The church is still a one-fourth time church. The pastor is Rev. H. C. Peace and the Clerk is H. L. Miracle. Photo Rev. W.T. Robbins
Church was organized in 1915. An arm was extended by Old Cannon Creek Baptist
Church. Rev. W. W. Mason, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. M. C. Miracle, Rev.
J. A. Robbins, and Rev. W. A. Cowan acted as a committee on organization.
Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization
of the church. Rev. W. W. Mason was the first pastor and Rev. J. A. Robbins
was the first Clerk. The church owns no property. The present membership
is ninety-nine. The Sunday School shows an enrollment of fifty-four. The
present pastor is Rev. Beckham Stanley, and Walter Watson is church Clerk.
Balkan Baptist Church, Balkan, Kentucky, was organized May 9, 1914. Rev. E. S. Rogers held a revival and gathered enough material by baptism and by letter. The following composed the charter members of the church: Rev. E. S. Rogers, Hattie Rogers, Viola Rogers, F. E. Gilbert, Fannie Gilbert, Miss Xenia Gilbert, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Creech and Mr. and Mrs. Newton Creech.
Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization of this church.
Rev. E. S. Rogers was chosen first pastor and Charles Barton first clerk.
The church has had the following pastors:
Rev. E. S. Rogers, 1914-1916
Rev. G. W. Jarbo, 1916-1919
Rev. Lewis Lyttle, 191-1921
Rev. G. W. Jarbo, 1921-1925
Rev. E. K. Young, 1925-1928
Rev. N. B. Osborne, 1928-1931
Rev. Henry Hubbard, 1931-1934
Rev. G. T. Hundley, 1934-1936
Rev. Bryan Harkness, 1936-1939
The church has a splendid house of worship valued at about $3,000.
The present membership is 296 with a Sunday School enrollment of 263.
Bethlehem Baptist Church is located on Dorton's Branch and was organized in 1906. An arm was extended from Mount Hebron Baptist Church. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization of the church. Rev. M. S. Webb, John Elliott, and James Elliott and others constituted a committee on organization. The church started with a membership of 30. At the present time the membership is 86 and a Sunday School enrollment of 60. The first pastor was Rev. M. S. Webb and the first Clerk was James Elliott. The present pastor is Rev. John Voluntine and Mrs. Bessie Stokes is the Clerk. The church owns no property.
Beech Grove Baptist Church is located near Pruden, Tennessee, in Bell County, Kentucky, and was organized in 1934, with a membership of 35. The present menbership is 36 and the Sunday School enrollment is 45. The church owns a house of worship valued at $500. The present pastor is Rev. Charles Browning and the Clerk is Nettie Daniel. J. M. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization of the church.
Church was organized in 1910. Rev. Hiram. Mullins, Thomas Lawson, Mrs.
Hiram Mullins, Mrs. Thomas Lawson and others constituted a committee on
organization. An arm was extended by Mount Hebron Baptist Church, for the
purpose of organizing this new
church at Arjay. The church was organized by using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. The membership was 25, but the present membership is 180 with a Sunday School enrollment of 65. Rev. Huram Mullins was the first pastor and Rev. A. L. Hensley is the present pastor. F. C. Bradshaw is the present Clerk. The church owns its own house of worship valued at $800.
Browneys Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1880. The church is located on the head waters of Browneys Creek. Rev. Will Fee was pastor of this church for many years. The membership of the church at last report was 73. The last pastor was Rev. George Reid and the Clerk was Mrs. Rosa Jane Wilson. The church owns no property.
Bryson Mountain Baptist Church was organized in 1931, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. An arm was extended from Sterling Baptist Church. Rev. S. H. Marsee, Robert Garland, Rev. W. T. Robbins, and others constituted a committee on organization. The present membership is 40. Rev. H. Hatfield is the pastor and Mrs. Ben Hamlett is the Clerk. The church owns no property and has a Sunday School enrollment of 35.
Cardinal Baptist Church was organized in 1932, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Joe Glancy, Rev. G. T. Bundley and others constituted a committee on organization. The church at present has a membership of 18 and a Sunday School enrollment of 45. Rev. George Reid is the pastor and George Wilson is the Clerk. The church owns no property.
Clear Fork Baptist Church was organized in May, 1912. An arm was extended from old Cannon Creek Baptist Church, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. J. H. Peace, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. M. C. Miracle, Rev. J. D. Hill, acted as a committee on organization. Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen the first pastor and C. G. Turner was chosen the first Clerk. The church has had only three pastors: Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. W. M. Vance, and Rev. M. C. Miracle. The membership at present is 141. The church owns no property.
Central Grove Baptist Church is located at Frakes, Bell County, Kentucky, and was organized August 25, 1935. The church is now building a new house of worship. The present membership is 25. Rev. J. G. Browning, Rev. Sam T. Browning, Rev. Charles Browning, Rev. J. L. Vanover, Rev. J. W. Wilson, Rev. R. W. Thacker, Rev. W. T. Robbins and others constituted a committee on organization. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used. Rev. Charles Browning was chosen the first pastor and Mrs. Lawrence Partin was chosen Clerk. An arm was extended by the New Vine Church.
Cubage Baptist Church
was organized July 19, 1936. The Wasioto Baptist Church extended an arm
in the organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant.
Rev. Henry Hubbard, Rev. M. C. Miracle, Rev. W. H. Jackson, Rev. W. T.
Robbins, and messengers from the Wasioto Baptist Church acted as a committee
on organization. Rev.
Henry Hubbard held a revival meeting and baptized 16 converts and gathered 10 others by letter and the church was constituted with 26 members. The church has no property. Rev. Henry Hubbard was chosen first pastor and Miss Sophia Wilson was chosen Clerk.
Concord Baptist Church was organized in 1813. The organization is so remote that very little is known of its organization. The church has a new house of worship valued at $6,000. The present membership is 180 with a Sunday School enrollment of 190, Rev. G. T. Hundley is the present pastor and James Amis is the Clerk. This great church was organized at a time when there were few people in all this section, and it has had many reverses during its history; but it has been able to live 126 years and serve its community in a great way. The new building furnishes ample room for Sunday School work.
Calloway Baptist Church was organized August 19, 1922, with an arm extended from Mill Creek Baptist Church. The church was organized at Delph School House. Rev. C. H. Elliott, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. C. E. Barnwell held a revival there and a number of new members were gathered in by baptism and by letter and the church was constituted with 20 members. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used. Rev. C. H. Elliott, Rev. C. E. Barnwell, Rev. W. T. Robbins acted as a committee on organization and the church was duly constituted. A church was constituted in this community in 1904 by Rev. J. G. Parsons and his co-workers, but lasted only a short time. The church organized in 1922 lasted only 10 years. Many of the members moved away and the church ceased to meet regularly. In 1932 Rev. Henry Hubbard held a good revival and the church was again reorganized by Rev. Henry Hubbard, and Rev. W. T. Robbins. The church organized in 1932 lasted only a few years and suffered another relapse and ceased to meet regularly. On April 16, 1939, Rev. G. W. Robbins, Rev. W. H. Jackson, Rev. Homer Barnard, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Juanita Anderson and others constituted a new organization, and Rev. G. W. Robbins held a great revival and thus stirred the whole community. The church now has a good membership and a Sunday School with bright prospects for the future. Rev. G. W. Robbins is the pastor of the church.
Cross Lane Baptist Church was organized September 30, 1923, at Oaks. An arm was extended by the Wasioto Baptist Church. Rev. E. W. Miracle, Rev. W. T. Robbins, L. D. Miracle, Rev. G. S. Miracle, Rev. W. R. Miracle, and others constituted a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. A new house of worship was built at a cost of $800. Dr. E. W. Miracle was chosen the first pastor and L. D. Miracle was chosen the first Clerk. The first year the church had a membership of 30. 22 being by baptism. The church at the present time is not a member of the Association.
Dark Ridge Baptist Church
was organized November 6, 1932. An arm was extended from the East Cumberland
Avenue Baptist Church, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant.
Rev. U. T. Lingar, Rev. B. H. Crawford, Rev. Wint Bolton, Rev. W. T. Robbins,
Deacon C. G. Turner, Rev. F. F. Wilson and others constituted a committee
on organization. The church started with 15 members. Rev. B. H. Crawford
as the first pastor and Anna M. Lester was the first Clerk. The church at the present time has 29 members, with 10 by baptism last year. Rev. H. Ingram is the present pastor and Miss Viola Cody is the church Clerk. The church owns no property.
East Cumberland Avenue Baptist Church was organized November 18, 1903. Rev. Willis Johnson, Bro. W. P. Long, Rev. A. L. Chadwell, with W. P. Long, Moderator pro-tem, Bro. S. England, as Clerk pro-tem, acted as a committee on organization. An arm had been extended by Hopewell Baptist Church for the purpose of organizing a Baptist church in the East End of Middlesborough. The following brothers and sisters were the charter members of the new body: James England, from New Friendship Baptist Church, Upper Cannon Creek; Minnie England, from Hopewell Church, Claiborne County, Tennessee; Ollie Long, Hopewell Church; Paris Long, Hopewell Church; S. H. England, Margaret England, Barton England, Sibble England, all from Friendship Baptist Church, Ferndale; W. D. Sapp, by relationship; Rebecca Sapp, by relationship. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used. Rev. A. L. Chadwell was chosen the first pastor and James England was chosen the first Clerk. Rev. A. L. Chadwell selected the first name of Middlesborough View Baptist Church. Rev. A. L. Chadwell served as pastor until 1913. Other pastors serving this church: Rev. Sam Brock, Rev. James Earl, Rev. C. B. Fultz, Rev. W. M. Miley, Rev. A. L. Chadwell 1920, Rev. E. S. Walton, Rev. Wint Bolton, Rev. Andy Buchanan, Rev. U. T. Lingar. In September 1933 Rev. Wint Bolton was chosen pastor and has served continually since. Other clerks who have served the church: Samuel Brock, Paris Long, Ollie Long, William Van Beber, Henry Hayes, Burl Smith, Lee Sharp, Claud Massingill, Ella Dean, Lula Stewart, Lonnie Martin, Laura Bolton, Amanda Haley, who has served as Clerk since 1933. The church was located on Lothbury and Tenth Street. The name later being changed to Second Baptist Church. In 1938 the church purchased a lot on East Cumberland Avenue and Eleventh Street and erected a brick building at a cost of $22,000. Again the name was changed to East Cumberland Avenue Baptist Church. The pastor is now on full time salary. The present membership is around 700 and the Sunday School enrollment is around 800. The church has extended an arm for the purpose of organizing two new churches: Marsee Chapel Baptist Church May 19, 1929, and Dark Ridge Baptist Church November 6, 1932. Rev. Wint Bolton, Middlesborough, Kentucky, is the pastor, and Mrs. Amanda Haley is the Clerk.
East Jellico, Baptist
Church was organized in June, 1912, at Tinsley. An arm was extended by
the Riverside Baptist Church for the purpose of organizing a church at
East Jellico Mining Camp on Greasy Creek, using Pendleton's Articles of
Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Grant Hubbs, Rev. John Carroll, Rev. J.
W. Perry, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. J. R. Hembree acted as a committee on
organization. Rev. Grant Hubbs was chosen first pastor and J. W. Gibson
was chosen Clerk. At the present time the church has a membership of 115
and a Sunday School enrollment of 110. Rev. Roy Collins is the present
pastor and Otto C. Hembree is the Clerk. The church owns a house of worship
valued at $600.
Edgewood Baptist Church was organized June 10, 1933. An arm was extended by the Meldrum Baptist Church and the church was constituted by Rev. Tandy Summers, Rev. W. T. Robbins, and others acting as a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Tandy Summers held a revival in the school house and gathered enough new members by baptism and letter to constitute a new church. Rev. Tandy Summers was chosen the first pastor and Mrs. Charles Hundley was chosen first Clerk. The present membership is 25. Rev. Earl Hill is the present pastor. The church owns no property.
Fonde Baptist Church was organized in 1910. The organization was effected by Rev. C. H. Otie and Rev. J. M. Newport and others acting as a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. An arm was extended by the Pruden Chapel Baptist Church and the church was duly constituted. Rev. C. H. Otie acted as the first pastor. For many years the church met in the school house, but only recently, under the leadership of Rev. R. B. Moyers, the present pastor, the church has erected a brick house of worship at a cost of from $12,000 to $15,000. The church has a membership of 403 and a Sunday School enrollment of 323. S. H. Simpson is the Clerk and H. P. Pickle is superintendent of the Sunday School.
Fork Ridge Baptist Church was organized April 1, 1910. An arm was extended by the First Baptist Church of Middlesborough. Rev. C. M. Reid, Rev. J. G. Browning, Rev. W. M. Carmany, Rev. W. J. Loveday, Rev. W. T. Robbins acted as a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. J. G. Browning and Rev. S. Owsley conducted a revival and enough material was gathered to organize a new church. Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen the first pastor and George Tye the first Clerk. The church at present has a membership of 63 and a Sunday School enrollment of 77. Rev. J. H. Hatfield is the present pastor and J. V. Farmer is the Church Clerk. The Church has a good house of worship furnished by the community free.
Fuson Chapel Baptist Church was organized in 1927. This church is located on Little Clear Creek in the Fuson settlement. Rev. T. G. Golden, Rev. J. J. L. Smith, Rev. J. J. Baker and others labored in this community until enough members were gathered together to form a new church. An arm was extended by the Harmony Baptist Church for the purposes of organizing a new church in the Fuson settlement, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. T. G. Golden was chosen the first pastor, and J. T. Fuson was chosen first Clerk. The church owns a new house of worship, valued at $1,500. The present pastor is Rev. J. J. Baker and the present Clerk is E. L. Smith. The church has a membership of 74. H. H. Fuson was one of the principal contributors to this church when it was built, and was one of the prime movers in its establishment. Chester Fuson had the contract for building the church. The church was built without any debt against it, and has no debt against it today. Photo Fuson Quartet
Gunl's Chapel Baptist
Church is located an Stony Fork, eight miles west of Middlesborough, and
was organized in 1936. Rev. Robert Pate and others constituted a committee
on organization, using
Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Robert Pate was the first pastor and Miss Irene Price was the Clerk. The church has a small membership and a small Sunday School. The church owns no property.
Hutch Baptist Church is located an Clear Fork of Yellow Creek and was organized in 1909, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. The church was first named the Piney Grove Baptist Church. Rev. J. H. Peace, Rev. N. H. Powell, Rev. W. T. Robbins acted as a committee on church organization. An arm was extended by Old Cannon Creek Baptist Church. Rev. N. H. Powell and Rev. W. T. Robbins held a revival and gathered enough members by baptism and by letter to constitute a new church. Rev. N. H. Powell was chosen first pastor and Miss Telitha Barnett was chosen first Clerk. The church was reorganized by Rev. W. M. Lephew, Rev. E. B. Robbins, Rev. H. Ingram, Rev. W. H. Jackson, Rev. W. T. Robbins acting as a committee on organization, and re-named Campbell's Chapel Baptist Church. Later the name of the church was changed to Hutch Baptist Church. The present pastor is Rev. H. Ingram and Mrs. Carrie Ingram is the Clerk. The church has a small membership and owns no property.
Hignite Baptist Church was organized July 14, 1933. An arm was extended by the Edgewood Baptist Church for the purposes of organizing a new church at the mining camp of the Hignite Coal Company. Rev. Tandy Summers, Rev. Henry Hubbard, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Clyde Creech acted as a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Tandy Summers conducted a revival and gathered enough members by baptism and letter to constitute a new organization. Rev. Tandy Summers acted as the first pastor and Mrs. Charles Hundley as Clerk. The present pastor is Rev. England. The membership is 36 and the Sunday School has membership of 40. The church owns no property.
Hensley Chapel Baptist Church was organized in 1915. The organization was effected by the adoption of Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. J. W. Branson, Rev. J. G. Browning, Rev. E. Underwood, and others constituted a committee on organization. Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church extended an arm for the purpose of organizing a new church near the Hensley Cemetery. The church was duly constituted with 16 members. Rev. J. W. Branson was chosen the first pastor and Mrs. Lula Hensley the first Clerk. The present membership is 170 and the Sunday School enrollment is 189. Last year (1938) the church held a great revival under the leadership of the present pastor, Rev. Alvin M. Gregory, which resulted in 31 by baptism and 13 by letter and statement. The present Clerk is Roscoe Turner. The church has in recent years erected a splendid house of worship valued at $2,500.00.
Harmony Baptist Church
was organized on Little Clear Creek, near Clear Creek Springs, in 1860.
An arm was extended by the Greasy Creek Baptist Church. Rev. Eb Ingram.
and others led in the oganization. Rev. Eb Ingram labored in this community
some time before
enough members could be brought together for a church organization. Very little is known about the beginnings of the church. J. M. C. Davis, father of Judge W. T. Davis, was the first Clerk of the church, and he was followed by J. T. Fuson, who was Clerk for nearly 40 years. Rev. Robin G. Evans was pastor of the church for nearly 40 years. Rev. Ingram Evans and Rev. John Evans, brothers of Robin G. Evans, preached at this church. Rev. William Evans before them preached here. An arm has been extended by this church to form new church organizations at Little Clear Creek, New Friendship, Fuson Chapel, and other points. During its past history hundreds of Evanses, Smiths, Fuson, and Davises have been converted and united with this grand old church. The present pastor is Rev. M. C. Miracle and the Clerk is W. L. Richardson. The church owns an interest in the property it now occupies. The value of this interest is $500. The following preachers have acted as pastors at different times: Rev. Eb Ingram, Rev. R. G. Evans, Rev. W. W. Mason, Rev. M. S. Webb, Rev. J. J. L. Smith, Rev. J. T. Stamper, Rev. J. J. Baker, Rev. R. D. Mason, Rev. W. C. Partin, Rev. Orville Collins, Rev. M. C. Miracle, and perhaps many others.
Ivy Grove Baptist Church was organized in 1915, on the head waters of Four Mile Creek, near the Bell-Knox line. An arm was extended from Blanche Baptist Church or Riverside Baptist Church, it is not quite clear which church. Rev. J. S. Patterson, Walter Patterson, Hiram Miller, and others acted as a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. J. S. Patterson was chosen first pastor and Walter Patterson was chosen Clerk. The church owns s small house of worship valued at $400. Rev. W. M. Garland is the present pastor and Hazel Miller is the present church Clerk. The church has a membership of 60.
Insull Baptist Church was organized in 1925. Rev. Lewis Lyttle, Rev. E. S. Rodgers, and others labored in the community and brought about the organization of the church. Letters were granted by the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg and from other churches, granting the authority to organize a new church. Thus was the Insull Baptist Church organized, using Pendleton's Articles of faith and Church Covenant. Rev. W. H. Jackson and a committee from the Balkan Baptist Church acted as a committee to constitute the church. The first pastor was Rev. W. H. Jackson and W. H. Whittle was the first Clerk. The present pastor is Rev. J. D. Lundy and and John Strunk is the Clerk. The church is now building a new house of worship. The present membership is 199 and the Sunday School enrollment is 209.
Jensen Baptist Church
is located on Elliott's Branch on the Right Fork of Straight Creek at Jensen.
It was organized in 1911. An arm was extended by Old Mount Hebron Baptist
Church on the Right Fork of Straight Creek. Pendleton's Articles of Faith
and Church Covenant were used in the organization. Rev. Green Hamlin, Rev.
C. H. Elliott and Rev. J. T. Elliott and others constituted a committee
on organization. Rev. Green Hamlin served as pastor and took charge upon
the organization. This church was reorganized as Jensen Baptist Church
May 29, 1932. An arm was extended by the Wasioto Baptist Church. Rev. W.T.
Robbins, Rev. John Voluntine, Rev. Henry Hubbard, Rev. C. H.
Elliott and others constituted a committee an organization. The church was organized by using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church covenant. Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen pastor of the new organization and Rev. C. H. Elliott was chosen Clerk. The church has a membership of 37. The church has no property.
Kettle Island Baptist Church was organized in 1920. The organization was effected by using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. C. H. Elliott, and Rev. W. T. Robbins held a revival which resulted in the organization. Rev. Lewis Lyttle, Rev. C. H. Elliott, Rev. W. T. Robbins acted as a committee on organization. Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen first pastor and Lucien Yaden the first Clerk. The first church organized at Kettle Island was effected by Rev. Isaac Horn and his co-workers about 1875, or perhaps even earlier. This church was called the Union Baptist Church. Here the Bell County Baptist Association was held in 1893. Rev. R. G. Evans was chosen Moderator and Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen Clerk. The Kettle Island Church has a membership at the present time of 56. Frank Lasley is Clerk. The church owns a good house of worship valued at $3,400.
Laurel Hill Baptist Church was organized September 8, 1935. An arm was extended by Varilla Baptist Church. Rev. John Voluntine conducted a revival at Laurel Hill School House and brought about the organization. Rev. John Voluntine, Rev. W. H. Jackson Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. C. M. Brooks acted as a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. C. M. Brooks was chosen pastor and Lillie Holloway was chosen Clerk. The church has a small meabership and no property.
Little Clear Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1863, on Little Clear Creek at the upper end of the Fuson settlement. Rev. William Evans, Rev. Eb Ingram and others labored in this community and gathered the harvest for organizing of this church. An arm was extended by Harmony Baptist Church and a committee from Harmony Baptist Church, was Rev. William Evans and Rev. Eb Ingram, effected the organization. At the present time the church uses Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant in all of its deliberations. The present membership is 48. Arms have been extended to other communities for the purpose of organizing new churches: Walnut Grove Baptist Church. Rev. Jerma Maiden is the pastor at the present time and W. W. Partin is the Clerk.
Long Ridge Baptist Church was organized in 1926 at Hulen. Rev. J. C. Warren, Rev. F. R. Kellems, G. M. Stamper and others constituted a committee on organization. Rev. Frank Masengale is the present pastor and Homer Barnard is the Clerk. The membership is 96 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 94. Rev. J. C. Warren, Rev. John Brewer, Rev. W. H. Jackson, and Rev. G. W. Robbins and others have been pastors at different times. The church owns no property.
Low Gap Baptist Church
is located on the head waters of Turkey Creek and was organized October
10, 1937. An arm was extended by the Wasioto Baptist Church, and the church
was organized using Pendleton's
Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Nathaniel Gibson held a great revival in the school house and brought about the organization. Herbert Shipley had organized a Sunday School earlier in the year and the revival grew out of this Sunday School. Rev. Nathaniel Gibson, H. Shipley, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Cecil Robbins, J. H. Mason, Sil S. Fuson and others constituted a Comittee on organization. The church in one year grew to a membership of 41. Rev. Nathaniel Gibson was chosen first pastor and Sil S. Fuson was chosen first Clerk. The church owns no property.
Moss Chapel Baptist Church was organized September 17, 1915. Rev. J. J. Baker conducted the revival and brought about the organization. The following were charter members of the church: Charity Baker, Nancy Wilson, Gracie Cox, George Hoskins, Julia Rice, J. B. Rice, Finley Rice, Lucy Rice, Eliza Phipps, Ollie Rice, Elizabeth Sizemore, Mary Phipps, Damy Hendrickson. The membership at present is 96 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 50. Rev. J. J. Baker is the pastor and F. F. Douglas is the Clerk. Tom Hendrickson is superintendent of the Sunday School. The church owns no property.
Miller's Chapel Baptist Church was organized May 5, 1906. An arm was extended by Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization. Rev. J. G. Browning, the messengers of Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church, and Rev. Miller, who had conducted the revival, and others constituted a committee on organization. Rev. Miller was the first pastor. The membership at the present time is 147 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 152. The pastor at the present time is Rev. McKinley Drummons and the Clerk is Miss Mary Turner. The Superintendent of the Sunday School is Frank Earle. The church owns a good house of worship valued at $1,200.
Marsee Chapel Baptist Church, located on Fern Lake, was organized May 19, 1929. An arm was extended by Cumberland Avenue Baptist Church (then Second Baptist Church) for the purpose of organizing this new church. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization. The following constituted a committee on organization: Rev. Wint Bolton, Rev. E. Edmonson, Rev. J. G. Browning, Rev. M. L. Hill, Rev. W. T. Robbins and others. At the present time the church has a membership of 80 and a Sunday School enrollment of 50. Rev. C. C. Earle, and Rev. B. H. Crawford were also in the organization. Rev. Earle was chosen first pastor and C. E. Ramsey first Clerk. The present pastor is Rev. D. A. Brooks and the Clerk is Miss Minnie Marsee. The superintendent of the Sunday School is J. R. Marsee, The church owns no property.
Meldrun Baptist Church
was organized in 1923. An arm was extended by Mount Mary Baptist Church,
using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. L. C. Kelly,
Rev. M. C. Miracle, Rev. C. E. Barnwell and others acted as a committee
on organization. At the time of organization the church had a membership
of 37. At the present time the church has a membership of 144 and a Sunday
School enrollment of 57. Rev. B. H. Crawford is the pastor and Miss Grace
Owens is the Clerk. The church has lost its house of worship, but now uses
the school house as a place to meet.
Mount Mary Baptist Church, located at Yellow Hill, was organized in 1904. An arm was extended from Town Creek Baptist Church at Arthur, Tennessee. Rev. C. H. Otie, J. C. Barnett, Mrs. Kittie Barnett and others acted as a committee on organization. Rev. C. H. Otie held the revival and brought about the organization. Rev. W. B. Kirk and Mrs. W. B. Kirk were also in the organization. At the present time the church has a membership of 214 and a Sunday School attendance of 50. The church lost its house of worship by fire and now meets in the school house. Rev. D. A. Brooks is the pastor and Lillie Redmon is the Clerk. The superintendent of the Sunday School is Thomas Wood.
New Vine Baptist Church is located on Laurel Fork and was organized in 1906. An arm was extended by Salem Baptist Church. Rev. M. S. Webb, Rev. W. W. Mason, Rev. J. D. Mason and others constituted a committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant in the organization. The church has a small house of worship which has been erected in the last few years. The present membership is 97 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 50. Rev. Mart Miracle is the pastor and Roscoe Hamlin is the Clerk. Morgan Miracle is superintendent of the Sunday School.
New Friendship Baptist Church as located on upper Cannon Creek and was organized in 1881. An arm was extended by Harmoney Baptist Church and the Little Clear Creek Baptist Church. Rev. James Bussell, Rev. Ingram Evans, Rev. John Evans, Rev. R. G. Evans, and others acted as a committee on organization. Articles of Faith used by the Missionary Baptist Churches were used in the organization. Rev. James Bussell acted as the first pastor. The revival was held by the above named brethren. The present membership is 53 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 50. The present pastor is Rev. M. C. Miracle and Mrs. Olah Givens is the Clerk. The church has no property.
New Yellow Creek Baptist Church is located at Bosworth and was organized in 1936. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization. At the time of organization this church had a membership of 21. While this is being written a revival is going on in the church and more than fifty have been added to the church by baptism. At the close of the revival the membership should be a least 80. Rev. McKinley Drummons is the pastor and Vibert Keck is the Clerk. The church owns no property.
Old Yellow Creek Baptist
Church was organized August 1, 1842. An arm was extended by Davis Creek
Baptist Church in Powell's Valley, Caliborne County, Tennessee. Rev. Thomas
Marsee and Rev. William Williams held a meeting in the old Yellow Creek
Valley and brought about the organization of the church. Rev. Thomas Marsee
and Rev. William Williams constituted a committee on organization, using
the Articles of Faith used by the Davis Creek Baptist Church. These same
Brethren, Rev. Thomas Marsee and Rev. William Williams, some twenty years
previously, had organized the Davis Creek Baptist Church. Also, Rev. Thomas
Marsee, laboring with Rev. Henry Wiser on the Left Fork of Straight Creek
on Wiser Branch, organized the Bark Shed Baptist Church. This organization
was effected during the year 1840, two years before
the Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church was organized. During the next 30 years Rev. Eb Ingram from Greasy Creek labored in the Bark Shed Baptist Church with Thomas Marsee and Henry Wiser. At one time Rev. Thomas Marsee lived and labored on Greasy Creek (then Knox County). It was during this period that he assisted in the organization of the Old Yellow Creek Church. The Bark Shed Baptist Church has long since disbanded, leaving the Old Yellow Creek Church as contender for the honor of being the oldest Baptist Church in the bounds of Bell County. Rev. Thomas Marsee is said to have served as the first pastor of this church. No less than 2,000 persons have first and last united with this church by baptism, and no less than 100 persons have gone out directly or indirectly as preachers from this historic church. The location of the church has been moved a number of times, but every location was on the banks of Yellow Creek, because there was much water there. The present membership owns one of the best church edifices in this section, which they have erected in the past three years under the leadership of their former pastor, Rev. Sam T. Browning. The membership has had a continuous growth until now it stands at more than 400. The Sunday School enrollment is over 300. The present pastor is Rev. John D. Lysle and the Clerk is L. B. White. Rev. J. G. Browning was at one time pastor of this church for 28 years. Let us look forward to the celebration of the 100th birthday of this grand old church. August 1, 1942. This church is the mother of many of the churches of this Association.
Old Cannon Creek Baptist Church (formerly Ferndale Baptist Church, also called the Roost Baptist Church) organized October 1, 1891. An arm was extended by the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church (now Williams Branch Baptist Church). Rev. Noah Smith, of Calloway, conducted a revival, which resulted in 30 conversions by baptism. He, with Rev. William C. Hutchins and Rev. Preston Turner, constituted the committee on organization, using Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Noah Smith was chosen first pastor and T. A. Kellems first Clerk. Later Rev. William C. Hutchins was elected pastor and the church was moved farther down Cannon Creek to where it is now located. The church during its 48 years of history has sent out a number of new preachers: Rev. W. T. Robbins, ordained February 12, 1898; Rev. J. H. Peace, ordained October 13, 1900; Rev. W. P. Golden, ordained July 11, 1914; Rev. F. R. Kellems, ordained 1912. The present pastor is Rev. Sam T. Browning and the Clerk is Fred Hendrickson. The church owns no property. The present membership is 62. Arms have been extended by this church to organize new churches, as follows: Pine Grove (now Hutch) 1909, Clear Fork Church 1912, Williams Branch Church 1910, Crane Creek 1921, Antioch-Ferndale 1915, and Dorothy 1911.
Old Salem Baptist Church
is located on Big Clear Creek about one mile above where Philip Lee lived
and was organized in 1860. Rev. William Evans, Rev. Eb Ingram, and others
brought about the organization of the church. An arm was extended by the
Greasy Creek Baptist Church. There are two organizations known as Salem
Baptist Church: (1) an Old Salem Church, (2) an Old Salem. Both date their
organization as 1860. Both have done a great work during the 79 years of
their history. Rev. Jerma Maiden is pastor of Old Salem (2), and
Photo J.G. Kellums Photo Mrs J.G. Kellums
Rev. Elisha Jordon is pastor of Old Salem Church (1). At the present time the two churches have about 179 members between them. Old Salem Church has a small house of worship valued at $500.
Pine Grove Baptist Church (now Mill Creek Baptist Church) was first organized in 1914, by an arm extended by Beech Grove Baptist Church. Rev. C. H. Elliott, Rev. John Elliott, Rev. J. T. Elliott, and others constituted a committee on organization. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were adopted. This church made wonderful progress for many years, and an arm was extended to Calloway to organized a church there. However, the church has been without a pastor part of the time, and on September 25, 1938, Rev. C. H. Elliott, Rev. Enoch Hoskins, Rev. W. T. Robbins, closed a revival which brought in some new material by baptism and by letter, and the reorganization of the church was effected. Rev. C. H. Elliott and Rev. W. T. Robbins were chosen joint pastors of the new organization. The new church has increased its membership to 45 and has a Sunday School enrollment of 80. Recently 3 more were added to the membership by baptism. The church owns no property.
Salt Trace Baptist Church was organized October 23, 1938. An arm was extended by Mill Creek Baptist Church, and the new organization adopted Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. Rev. Enoch Hoskins, Rev. Frank Saylor, Rev. W. T. Robbins, constituted a committee on organization. There were ten members to enter the church by baptism and by letter. Rev. Enoch Hoskins was chosen pastor and Rev. Frank Saylor Assistant, with E. J. Howard as Clerk. The church owns no property. The location is in a very needy community.
Pathfork Baptist Church is located on Path Fork of Puckett Creek and was organized September 13, 1932. Rev. Henry Hubbard conducted the revival. An arm was extended by Insull Baptist Church. Rev. Henry Hubbard, Rev. Audley L. Turner, Rev. George Reid, Rev. W. T. Robbins, and messengers from the Insull Church, constituted the committee on organization. Rev. Henry Hubbard was chosen first pastor and Ida Lambert was chosen Clerk. The present pastor is Rev. W.B. McGlamery. The membership is 49 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 62. The church owns no property.
Riverside Baptist Church, Four Mile, was organized in 1903. An arm was extended by the Greasy Creek Baptist Church. Rev. John Carroll and Rev. G. W. Brooks and others constituted a committee on organization. A new frame building was constructed by the congregation, which has served it purposes well as the years have gone by. However, the church is now constructing an edifice of stone and brick, which will accommodate a Sunday School of 500. The church has a membership of 373 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 371. Rev. S. R. Helton is the present pastor and Mrs. Jessie C. Martin is the Clerk. The church when complete will cost about $6,000.
Pleasant Grove Baptist
Church, located at Pearl, was organized in 1915. An arm was extended by
Fonde Baptist Church. Rev. C. E. Barnwell, Rev. J. M. Murray, Andy Maiden,
and others constituted the committee on organization. At present the membership
is 138. The
present pastor is Rev. Mart Miracle and Andy Maiden is the Clerk. The church owns its own house of worship valued at $800.
Riverview Baptist Church, located at Calvin, was organized in 1921. Rev. S. H. Marsee held a revival and brought about the organization of the church. An arm was extended by Wasioto Baptist Church to Page for the purpose of organizing the church. Rev. W. T. Robbins, with messengers from the Wasioto Baptist Church, Rev. S. C. Tyree, Rev. S. H. Marsee, constituted a committee or organization. Rev. S. H. Marsee was chosen first pastor and Mrs. Dacie Richardson first Clerk. At present the church has a membership of 31 and Sunday School enrollment of 31. Rev. W. M. Vance is the present pastor and Dexter Rowlett is Clerk. The church owns a good house of worship valued at $1,000.
Red Oak Baptist Church was organized in 1878 and is located on the outskirts of Middlesborough, under Kennedy Peak of Log Mountain. The Articles of Faith of the Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church was used in the organization of this church. The church was reorganized in 1922 by J. W. Branson, Rev. E. Underwood and others, but the new organization only strengthened the old organization. The church has a splendid house of worship valued at $1,500. The present membership is 168 and the Sunday School enrollment is 101. Rev. W. C. Partin is the present pastor and Ed Mason is the Clerk.
Straight Creek Baptist Church (first organized as Mount Hebron Baptist Church in 1885) was organized by an arm extended from the Beech Grove Baptist Church in 1918. Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. A. L. Chadwell, Rev. W. B. Kirk, Rev. C. H. Elliott conducted a revival which brought about the organization, or reorganization, of the church. The above named brethren constituted a committee on organization. The membership at the present time is 57 and the Sunday School enrollment is 70. Brother H. Shipley is the superintendent of the Sunday School. The church has a good house of worship for free use. The present pastor is Rev. George Harris and the Clerk is Miss Pauline Longmire.
Sterling Baptist Church was organized in 1930. The church came to us by letter of dismission from the Cumberland Gap Baptist Association. Rev. E. Edmonson and others acted as a committee on organization and the church was duly constituted. The church owns no property. The present membership is 76, 27 being received last year by baptism. The Sunday School has an enrollment of 40. Rev. C. C. Earle is the pastor and Ben Hatfield is the Clerk. James Bramble is the superintendent of the Sunday School.
Slusher Baptist Church
is located at Slusher and was organized April 24, 1932. Rev. W. T. Robbins
and S. H. Marsee conducted a revival and brought about the organization
of the church. An arm was extended by the Wasioto Baptist Church. Rev.
W. T. Robbins, Beatrice Patin, Rev. C. M. Brooks, Melvin Engle, and Grace
Partin, constituted the committee on organization. Rev. W. T. Robbins was
chosen the first pastor and Miss Arsee Williams was chosen the first Clerk.
The last pastor the church had was Rev. George Harris. The present membership
is 38. The church owns no property.
Tracy Branch Baptist Church, at Pearl was organized in 1911. An arm was extended by Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. Rev. J. W. Wilson, Rev. Andy Maiden, Rev. R. W. Thacker, and others labored in the community and brought about the organization. Rev. Charles Browning is the pastor and Floyd L. Partin is the Clerk. The church has a membership of 57 and a Sunday School enrollment of 76. The church has a small house of worship.
Varilla Baptist Church was organized in 1911. Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. A. D. Hill, Rev. M. C. Miracle, constituted a committee on organization. The mines at Varilla. closed and the members scattered. So a new church had to be organized. This organization was brought about by Rev. E. S. Rodgers, Rev. M. C. Miracle, Rev. W. A. Cowan, Rev. W. T. Robbins, and others. The reorganization was in 1914. There appears to have been still another organization by Rev. John Voluntine and Rev. W. H. Jackson at a later date. The church now has a membership of 37 and a Sunday School enrollmnt of 57. Rev. W. H. Jackson is the pastor and Mattie Harbin is the Clerk.
Williams Branch Baptist Church was organized in 1910. The first organization at this point was called Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and was organized in 1880. The organization was brought about by Rev. James Ledford, Rev. Calloway Simpson, Rev. William C. Hutchins, Rev. Frederick Miracle, Rev. Elisha Dixon. This church was moved to Cannon Creek and united with Ferndale Baptist Church. But in 1910 Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. J. H. Peace, Rev. M. C. Miracle and others brought about a new organization. Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen first pastor and Mrs. Nila Miracle first clerk. The church has ordained the following ministers: Rev. M. C. Miracle, Rev. W. A. Cowan, Rev. G. G. Smith, Rev. E. L. Miracle, and Rev. Bradley Browning. The present Membership is 69. The church owns no property. Rev. W. T. Robbins is the present pastor and Mrs. Voylette Hurst is Clerk.
Wasioto Baptist Church
(at first New Liberty Baptist Church) was organized April 6, 1897. Rev.
John Carroll and Rev. G. W. Brooks conducted a revival and brought about
the organization of the church. Rev. John Carroll, Rev. A. J. Pridemore,
Rev. G. W. Brooks, and messengers from the Pineville Baptist Church, constituted
a committee on organization, An arm was extended from the Pineville Baptist
Church. Rev. John Carroll was chosen the first pastor and J. E. Stepp the
first Clerk. The membership at the present time is 114 resident members
and 160 non-resident members. The present pastor is Rev. W. T. Robbins,
who has been pastor of the church for 25 years. Charles Woods is the Clerk.
The church has extended its hand for the purpose of organizing the following
new churches: East Pineville, Jayem, 1930; Riverview 1921, Calvin; Slusher,
Slusher, Kentucky, 1932; Cubage, Cubage, Kentucky, 1936; Low Gap, head
of Turkey Creek, 1937; Mount Olivet, 1931; Davisburg, Davisburg, Kentucky,
1916; Cross Lane, 1923; Middle Cumberland, 1935; and the following have
been ordained to the full work of the ministry: Rev. C. M. Brooks and Rev.
W. E. Fielden. The church in the near future plans a new house of worship.
The church has just closed a great revival, with Rev. John Isaacs, Tulsa,
Oklahoma, as leader. New members to the number of 24 were received into
Walnut Grove Baptist Church, located on the headwaters of Little Clear Creek, was organized September 23, 1934. An arm was extended by Little Clear Creek Baptist Church. The church is located at the Martin School House. Rev. W. C. Partin, Rev. C. H. Powers, conducted a revival which brought about the establishmnt of the church. Rev. W. C. Partin, Rev. C. H. Powers, Rev. M. C. Evans, Rev. W. T. Robbins, and the messengers from Little Clear Creek Baptist Church, constituted a committee on organization. Rev. W. C. Partin was chosen first pastor and J. J. Martin first Clerk. The present pastor is Rev. Mart Miracle. The membership at present is 22. The church owns no property.
West Pineville Baptist Church was organized March 8, 1936. An arm was extended from the First Baptist Church of Pineville. The location of the church is at Wallsend Rev. H. M. Hall conducted a revival and brought about the organization of the church. Rev. L. C. Kelly, Dr. J. M. Brooks, T. R. Ware, and messengers of the Pineville Church, with Rev. C. M. Brooks and Rev. W. T. Robbins, constituted a committee on organization. Rev. N. H. Hall was elected first pastor and Mrs. Alonzo Peace first Clerk. The present pastor is Rev. G. T. Hundley. The present membership is 50 and the Sunday School has an enrollment of 134. The church owns a good house of worship valued at $1,000.
Fox Ridge Baptist Church, Blance, was organized Septenber 2, 1922. An arm was extended by Blanche-Arjay Baptist Church. The church is located an Caney Creek of Left Fork of Straight Creek. Rev. A. L. Hensley held the revival and brought about the organization of the church. Rev. A. L. Hensley, Rev. Lewis Kitron, Rev. A. Bryant, Rev. Will Walden, Rev. John Mirick, Rev. W. T. Robbins acted as a committee on organization. Rev. W. T. Robbins was chosen first pastor and John Onkst first Clerk. Other churches were organized near the Fox Ridge Church. During the year 1840, Bark Shed Baptist Church was organized by Rev. Thomas Marsee, Rev. Henry Wiser, and Rev. Ed Ingram. This church was later disbanded and a new church was organized at the mouth of Caney Creek. This church was organized in 1880, and was named the Freedom Baptist Church. Freedom Baptist Church was disbanded about 1900. Rev. Caleb Slusher was once pastor of Freedom Church. The Freedom Church at one time had 204 members. Fox Ridge Baptist Church changed its name to Caney Fork Baptist Church about 1932. The church is now known as Caney Fork Baptist Church. The church is practically disbanded. The last pastor was Rev. W. T. Robbins and C. C. Frye was the last Clerk.
Alva Baptist Church, Alva,
Harlan County, Kentucky, was organized in 1928. The first church to be
organized at the headwaters of Puckett's Creek, Alva, Kentucky, was called
the Puckett's Creek Baptist Church, but in the year of 1928 Rev. F. R.
Walters, Rev. Joe Grant and others held a revival at the Black Star Mines,
and gathered enough material to effect a new organization. Pendleton's
Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization of
this Church. Rev. Joe Grant, Rev. C. R. Brock, Rev. H. C. Clark, Rev. J.
W. Dotson, have at different times acted as pastor.
The present membership is 228. The church owns its own house of worship, a brick structure valued at $11,000. The Sunday School has an enrollment of 202. Rev. H. C. Clark, Alva, Kentucky, is pastor and Mrs. Evelyn Moore, Alva, Kentucky, Clerk.
Walnut Grove Baptist Church, Four Mile, Bell County, Kentucky, was organized in 1893, by members of the original Walnut Grove Baptist Church and members from the Greasy Creek Baptist Church. Rev. J. T. Stamper held a revival in the community and baptized 11 new converts and gathered enough material by letter and the organization was effected. Rev. J. T. Stamper, Rev. Joseph E. Payne, acted as committee on organization, and the church was organized by adopting Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant. The Church started off with about 40 members. The Bell County Baptist Association held its first session 1896 in this Church. The North Concord Baptist Association met with the Bell County Baptist Association with Rev. S. Golden, as Moderator. Thus the Bell County Association was organized with Rev. W. M. C. Hutchins as Moderator of the new organization; Henry C. Rice, as Clerk.
This church was disbanded and most of its members went into the Riverside Baptist Church in its organization in 1906.
III. CHURCHES IN BELL COUNTY WHICH BELONG
TO NORTH CONCORD ASSOCIATION OF BAPTISTS
North Concord Baptist Association of Kentucky (Missionary) was organized in 1943. Present officers are: Rev. J. T. Stamper, Moderator, Barbourville, Kentucky; D. M. Walker, Assistant Moderator, Flat Lick, Kentucky; J. P. Fox, Clerk, Barbourville, Kentucky; Ed Hampton, Assistant Clerk, Barbourville, Kentucky.
Greasy Creek Baptist Church (White Church), located on Greasy Creek, Tinsley, Bell County, Kentucky,. was organized in 1835. This Church is, therefore, the oldest church of any denomination located in the bounds of Bell County. At different times Rev. Eb Ingram, Rev. Thomas Marsee, and Rev. Henry Wiser labored in Greasy Creek and planted this church. The same men labored on Straight Creek about 1840 and organized the Bark Shed Baptist Church, located on Wiser Branch, near the mouth of Caney Fork of the left fork of Straight Creek. These same men laboring with Rev. William Williams held meetings in the Yellow Creek Valley, in what is now Middlesboro, Kentucky, from 1840 to 1842 and organized the Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church, August 1, 1842. Articles of Faith Similar to J. M. Pendleton's were used in the organization of all of these churches. It appears also from records that the same ministers did work on Little Clear Creek, near the Clear Creek Springs, and gathered sufficient material to organize a new church in 1860. This church they named Harmony.
The Bark Shed Baptist
Church was later, about 1880, disbanded and reorganized as Freedom Baptist
Church. This church was organized by Rev. R. G. Evans, perhaps Rev. Caleb
Slusher. Freedom Church was
disbanded about 1902 and 1922 reorganized as Fox Ridge Baptist Church. The name was later changed to Caney Fork Baptist Church.
Greasy Creek Baptist Church owns a good house of worship valued at $1,000. The present membership is 187. Rev. Dan Roe, Himyar, Kentucky, is pastor; W. S. Tinsley, Tinsley, Kentucky, Clerk.
Centennial Baptist Church, Bell County,Kentucky, located on Greasy Creek, was organized in 1875. The committee on organization consisted of the following: Rev. W. E. Stamper (the father of Rev. J. T. Stamper of Barbourville, Ky.) Rev. Stephen Golden, Thomas Price and others. An arm must have been extended by the Greasy Creek Baptist Church. J. M. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization of this church.
The records of the church show that Rev. G. W. Brooks, Rev. John Carroll, Rev. Elisha Jordan, Rev. Speed Bain, Rev. H. C. Peace, Rev. A. J. Pridemore, Rev. W. R. Brooks, and many others have labored in this good old church at different times.
The church has property valued at $1,200. The present membership is 38. Rev. H. C. Peace, Siler, Kentucky, is pastor and Mrs. Lillie Fuson, Art, Kentucky, Clerk.
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Ingram, Bell County, Kentucky, was organized in 1896. An arm was extended by Centennial Baptist Church, Greasy Creek Baptist Church, Rev. John Carroll, Rev. G. W. Brooks, and many others had labored in this community, and enough material was gathered to organize a new church. Rev. W. E. Stamper and Rev. Eb Ingram had also labored in this community, but the church was not organized until 1896. J. M. Pendleton's Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were used in the organization.
The church has a good house of worship valued at about $1,000. The present membership is 144. Rev. R. D. Mason, Ingram, Kentucky, is pastor and Homer Brooks, Ingram, Kentucky, Clerk.
Bell Jellico Baptist Church
was organized August 19, 1922. Rev. B. F. Burch held a revival in the community
and gathered enough members by baptism and letter of effect a new organization,
and the church was duly constituted on the banks of Greasy Creek just after
the candidates were baptized. An arm was extended by the Riverside Baptist
Church, and the following constituted a committee on organization: Rev.
B. F. Burch, Rev. R. M. Mays, Rev. W. T. Robbins, Rev. J. R. Hembree, Rev.
Isaac Gibson, Rev. Dan Roe, with others using Pendleton's Articles of Faith
and Church Covenant. Rev. B. F. Burch was chosen the first pastor. The
church has control of a small house of worship which it uses to meet in.
The church lettered to the North Concord Association of Baptist in Knox
IV. HOW THE BELL COUNTY ASSOCIATION
OF BAPTISTS HAS GROWN
MEMBERSHIP NO. OF
1896 704 11
1897 913 13
1898 913 15
1899 1,066 15
1900 1,208 15
1901 1,206 15
1902 1,250 15
1903 852 14
1904 1,070 14
1905 1,144 16
1906 1,044 17
1907 1,365 17
1908 1,550 17
1909 1,693 18
1910 1,974 24
1911 2,119 30
1912 2,257 33
1913 2,240 29
1914 2,540 32
1915 2,750 35
1916 2,761 39
1917 3,121 40
1918 3,161 35
1919 3,060 35
1920 3,528 39
1921 3,888 40
1922 3,149 45
1923 4,555 36
1924 4,733 40
1925 5,064 34
1926 5,524 38
1927 5,563 38
1928 5,081 41
1929 5,744 42
1930 6,063 46
1931 6,695 48
1932 7,079 51
1933 7,555 59
1934 8,179 63
1935 7,789 65
1936 8,263 65
1937 8,290 64
1938 8,560 65
ORDAINED MINISTERS, BELL COUNTY
BAPIST ASSOCIATION 1939
Adams, Dr. Marvin, Middlesboro, Ky.
Baker, J. J., Pineville, Ky.
Barnes, C. M., Pathford, Ky.
Bolton, Wint, Middlesboro, Ky.
Bowman, W. M., Sterling, Tenn.
Browning, S. T., Middlesboro, Ky.
Browning, Charles, Chenoa, Ky.
Brooks, C. M.. Wallsend, Ky.
Barnwell, C. E., Dewitt, Ky.
Collins, Roy, Evarts, Ky.
Collins, Orville, Tinsley, Ky.
Crawford, B. H., Middlesboro, Ky.
Crowley, J. W., Middlesboro, Ky.
Dixon, Gillis, Frakes, Ky.
Dixon, John, Pearl, Ky.
Drummonds, Mack, Middlesboro, Ky.
Engle, Kale, Balkan, Ky.
Edmondson, H. H. Fonde, Ky.
Eldridge, W. W., Middlesboro, Ky.
Eldridg, Preston, Middlesboro, Ky.
Edwards, T. E.,Arjay, Ky.
Earle, C. C. Middlesboro, Ky.
Elliott, C. H. Jensen, Ky.
Epperson, E. G., Middlesboro, Ky.
Fuson, J. J., Middlesboro, Ky.
Fultz, J. I., Middlesboro, Ky.
Golden, W. P., Middlesboro, Ky.
Gibson, W. M., Tinsley, Ky.
Gibson, Nathaniel, Pineville, Ky.
Grant, Joe, Liggett, Ky.
Garland, W. M., Arjay, Ky.
Givens, Harvey, Middlesboro, Ky.
Givens, Oney, Harlan, Ky.
Gregory, A. M., Middlesboro, Ky.
Goins, Oscar, Middlesboro, Ky.
Hatfield, J. H., Fork Ridge, Tenn.
Harris, George, Pineville, Ky.
Hall, J. W., Kettle Island, Ky.
Harkness, Bryan, Kettle Island, Ky.
Hill, M. L., Middlesboro, Ky.
Hill, Earl H., Pineville, Ky.
Hodge, Fayette, Middlesboro, Ky
Hundley, G. T. Pineville, Ky
Helton, S. R., Four Mile, Ky.
Helton, Grant, Saylor, Ky.
Hoskins, Enoch, Kettle Island, Ky.
Hurst, Sherman, Pearl, Ky.
Hubbard, Henry, Calloway, Ky.
Hubbard, Barney, Twila, Ky.
Ingram, Houston, Middlesboro, Ky.
Jackson, W. H., Balkan, Ky.
Johnson, Thomas, Pineville, Ky.
Johnson, Willis, Harlan, Ky.
Jones, W. I., Middlesboro, Ky.
Jones, James, Pathfork, Ky.
Kellems, F. R., Hulen, Ky
Kelly, Dr. L. C., Pineville, Ky.
Lundy, John D., Twila, Ky.
Lamden, Jason, Clearfield, Tenn.
Mace, N. A. , Fonde, Ky.
Miracle, M. C. , Middlesboro, Ky.
Miracle, E. L., Pineville, Ky., R.R.#l
Miracle, John, Balkan, Ky.
Miracle, Mart, Chenoa, Ky.
Maiden, Andy, Pearl, Ky.
Madien, Jerma, Pineville, Ky.
Mason, Gentry, Chenoa, Ky.
Mason, R. D., Ingram, Ky.
Merritt, Tusco, Tinsley, Ky.
Matlock, Edward, Clearfield, Tenn.
Meyers, R. B. Fonde, Ky.
McCord J. A., Pineville, Ky.
McGlammery, W. B., Middlesboro, Ky.
Osborne, David, Pineville, Ky.
Peck, John, Middlesboro, Ky.
Peace, J. H., Colmar, Ky.
Peace, H. C., Siler, Ky.
Partin, W. C., Middlesboro, Ky.
Partin, Wade, Frakes, Ky.
Partin, Lawrence, Frakes, Ky.
Partin, Ulis, S., Pearl, Ky.
Partin, Neville, Pearl, Ky.
Partin, James M., Pineville, Ky.
Pate, Robert, Middlesboro, Ky., R.R.#l
Powers, C. H., Pineville, Ky.
Robbins, J. A. , Glamorgan, Va.
Robbins, W. T. , Wasioto, Ky.
Robbins, G. W. , Hulen, Ky.
Robbins, Wiley, Co Imar, Ky.
Robbins, E. B., Middlesboro, Ky., R.R.#l
Robbins, W. A., Los Angeles, Calif.
Ramsey, James. Pineville, Ky.
Reid, George, Alva, Ky.
Shoupe, W. S. , Alva, Ky.
Sampson, N. Z., Middlesboro, Ky.
Saylor, Frank, Kettle Island, Ky.
Seymour, M. H. , Middlesboro, Ky.
Smith, George G., Pineville, Ky.
Smith, E. J. , Middlesboro, Ky.
Stanley, Beckham, Miracle, Ky.
Stringer, A. L., Arjay, Ky.
Shackelford, L., Middleboro, Ky.
Thacker, R. W. Frakes, Ky.
Teague, John, Pearl, Ky.
Terry, General, Frakes, Ky.
Underwood, E., Middlesboro, Ky.
Voluntine, John, Straight Creek, Ky.
Vance, Millard, Colmar, Ky.
Vance, W. M., Colmar, Ky.
Vanover , F. L. , Frakes, Ky.
Wilson, Forester, Pearl, Ky.
Wilson, J. W., Pearl, Ky.
Williams, Story, Tinsely, Ky.
The following ministers have lived and labored in Bell County during the past, and while some of them did not remain with us for a great while, we are glad to record their names among the faithful who have made the churches what they are today.
ORDAINED MINISTERS WHO HAVE LABORED
IN BELL COUNTY (Now deceased)
Branson, J. W.
Browning, James G. Gibson, William
Bussell, James Gibson, Wiley
Borum, W. A. Givens, Alex
Brock, Samuel Golden, Stephen
Brooks, George W. Golden, W. P.
Brooks, William R. Gilbert, J. T.
Burch, William Goodin, Eb
Bryant, A. Hamlin, Vincent
Coburn, John Hamlin, George
Cowan, William A. Harrell, Richard
Collett, John Hendrickson, George D.
Carmany, William M. Hurley, Frank A.
Carmack, Job Hill, Andrew, D.
Carmack, Frank Horn, Isaac
Carroll, John Howard, Garret
Carroll, Andrew Ingram, Ebenezar
Dickson, Elisha Janeway, Samuel
Evans, William Jarbo, George w.
Evans, Robin G. Kirk, William B.
Evans, Ingram Loveday, William J.
Evans, John Lyons, George W.
Evans, James J. Ledford, James M.
Engle, John Lovell, William M.
Garland, 0. P. Mirick, John
Gibson, William H. Miracle, Frederick
Gibson Jack Miracle, L. D.
Gibson, Isaac Miracle, Silas
Pope, George W.
Pittman, J. M.
Miracle, Dr. E. W.
Pittman, E. S.
Mason, James Reid, C. M.
Mason, J. D. Rogers, E. S.
Mason, William W. Roddy, J. M.
Mason, Wesley, L. Smith, Noah
Marsee, Thomas Smith, George W.
Marsee, S. H. Smith, John J. L.
Marcum, Thomas Simpson, Callaway
Marcum, William Slusher, Caleb
Mullins, Huram. Slusher, Burdine
Newport, J. M. Taylor, James W.
Otie, Charles H. Turner, Preston
Patterson, John Tyree, S. C.
Parson, J. G. Vann, M. C.
Partin, William H. Van Bevers, James
Partin, William Webb, M. S.
Philpot, Joel Williams, William
Pickard, Henry Wilson, Robert
Partin, Shelton Wilson, James
Pridemore, A. J. Wilson, Richard
Powell, N. H. Wiser, Henry
EXECUTIVE BOARD, BELL COUNTY BAPTIST
Dr. Marvin Adams, Chairman, Middlesboro, Ky.
Rev. G. T. Hundley, Vice Chairman, Pineville, Ky.
Rev. W. T. Robbins, Secretary, Wasioto, Ky
Prof. Maurice Tribell, Pineville, Ky.
Rev. Sam T. Browning, Middlesboro, Ky.
Rev. R. B. Meyers, Fonde, Ky -
Rev. Wint Bolton, Middlesboro, Ky
Rev. A. M. Gregory, Middlesboro, Ky
Rev. Bryan Harkness, Balkan, Ky.
Rev. Herbert Shipley, Four Mile, Ky.
Rev. S. R. Helton, Four Mile, Ky.
Dr. H. S. Hodge, Alva, Ky.
Rev. J. D. Lundy, Twila, Ky.
Rev. J. W. Crowley, Middlesboro, Ky.
Dr. L. C. Kelly, Pineville, Ky.
VIII. POWELLS VALLEY ASSOCIATION
OF PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS
The Upland Church of Primitive
Baptists, organized May 10, 1910, by an arm extended by Jessee's Creek
Primitive Baptist Church, Harlan County, Kentucky, for the purpose of organizing
an independent body at the Upland on Pucketts Creek, Bell County, Kentucky.
Simpson, as Clerk, acted as a committee on organization. Letters from Primitive Baptist Churches, in good and regular standing, with Powells Valley Association of Primitive Baptists, had been granted for the purpose of organizing this new church. The Articles of Faith and Church Covenant and Rules of Decorum are those of the Powells Valley Primitive Baptists and these were used in the organization of the church. In the organization Elder Joseph M. Saylor sat as Moderator and Elder A. B. Simpson acted as Clerk. The church was constituted on May, 1910. The present pastor is Elder A. B. Simpson and the present clerk is Jessee Clark. The value of the meeting house is about $500, with no indebtedness. The present membership is 43.
Pinnacle View Primitive Baptist Church was organized November 6, 1938. Articles of Faith and church Covenant and Rules of Decorum are those of the Powells Valley Primitive Association of Baptists which were used in the constitution of the new body. Letters had been previously granted by Davis Creek Primitive Baptist Church, Speedwell, Tennessee. The six charter members to compose the organization were as follows: Elder George W. Miracle, Elder J. B. Marsee, Mrs. Vanie Wilson, Mrs. Edna England, and Mrs. H. D. Redmond. The following were chosen in the presbytery as Elders and Deacons to constitute a Committee on organization: Elder Lee Hanks, of West Atlanta Primitive Baptist Church in Merietta Association of Georgia; Elder W. A. Gregory, of Tennessee Nolychucky Association in East Tennessee; Elder W. C. McMillon, of Tennessee Nolychucky Association. The following Elders of the Powells Valley Association of Primitive Baptists: Elder Levi S. Saylor, J. A. Robbins, J. P. Bowling, A. A. Miracle; Deacons: George Maddox, John Owens, Garfield Wilson, Garfield Robbins, J. C. Minton, Leonard Simms.
Elder Lee Hanks, Atlanta, Georgia, is the Pastor. Elder J. A. Robbins, Assistant Pastor, Middlesborough, Kentucky. Mrs. H.D. Redmond, Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, is church Clerk. The new church owns a splendid house of worship, located in the East End of Middlesborough. The present membership is about 33.
Calvin Primitive Baptist
Church, organized at or near Cumberland Ford, in Knox County, Kentucky
(now Bell County) in 1844. It appears that some minister of the gospel
by the name of Elder Ingram had gathered together some converts by baptism
and by letter, sufficient to form an independent body in the Cumberland
River section, and that an arm must have been extended by some church on
Greasy Creek, or Browneys Creek, or Davis Creek, in Powells Valley, to
Cunberland Ford for the purpose of organizing a new church. The writer
has reasonable grounds to believe that Edler Eb Ingram, working with Elder
Thomas Marsee, must have gathered these Christians together at Cumberland
Ford, because Elder Marsee, working with Edler William Williams, had just
organized the Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church at Middlesborough, and the
Bark Shed Baptist Church on the Left Fork of Straight Creek in the year
1840. And, besides Elder Marsee, at the time these churches were being
constituted, lived a number of years on Greasy Creek, in Knox County (now
Bell County). Any way, we know that the church is here to show for itself.
We also know that this church
was organized using Articles of Faith and Church Covenant, such as are now used by the Powells Valleys Association of Primitive Baptists. This association was organized about 1818, or some 27 years before the Calvin Church was constituted. The writer heard Elder Silas Miracle preach a sermon one Saturday in 1882 where the school house now stands at Page. Just after the sermon was over the church people all filed down to the Cumberland River and, just above the Ford, Pastor Miracle baptized Aunt Sarah Neely. This was the first baptismal service I had ever witnessed. Somehow, this solem service made a deep impression on my mind at that early period of my life. From that day forward I had a great desire to follow my Lord in this humble manner. Brother W. A. Miracle, the present Clerk of the Calvin Church, assures me that he once attended a service of this church when it was located in a school house near the home of J. C. Blanton. This must have been at least 60 years ago. Brother Miracle remembers the following members of this church at different periods of its history: Matt Pursifull and wife, Lewis Fortner and wife, George Wilson, great grandfather of W. A. Miracle, Ambrose Miracle, John Miracle and wife, father and mother of Brother W. A. Miracle, Mary Wilder, Martha Chambers, and many others. I have no record of the names of the Elders who have gone out from this great old church. How I wish some one had preserved all the records of the different churches of Bell County, so that they now could be written into a history that we would all be proud of; but records have been carelessly kept, some have been lost, and some have been destroyed by fire. Calvin Church now owns a good meeting house, located on Williams Branch. Sufficient to say, in passing, that many good men and women hold membership, and have held membership, in this church. The present membership is 102. Elder W. A. Miracle, Washburn, Tennessee, is the Pastor, and Judge W. A. Miracle, Pineville, Kentucky, is the Clerk.
The Primitive Baptist Church at Browney's Creek. J. M. Wilder, Clerk of the above named church, on March 24, 1939, gave me the following information in regard to this church, which is one of the oldest organized churches in Bell County, so far as I know, having been a continuous organization since 1836:
The record of this old church at Browney's Creek shows that it was constituted in 1836 by Thomas Weaver, Henry Wilson, and John Dickinson. James Miracle was selected as Clerk. The Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum are what is known as the Primitive Baptist faith, that is, salvation by grace through faith and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. They say once in grace always in grace.
The old record is dim but for the last 75 years the Moderators (preachers) are as follows: Rev. Andrew Miracle, Rev. Joe Saylor, Rev. Robert Wilson, Rev. T. W. Baker, Rev. A. J. Hopson, Rev. Richard Robbins, and Rev. E. N. Slusher. Rev. E. N. Slusher is the present Moderator and J. M. Wider is Clerk.
This old church has stood
the storm of persecution for more than a hundred years and today she has
109 members and meets once a month, good or bad weather. The church practices
communes regularly. Our records show that our true name is this: "The Primitive Baptist Church of Christ at Browney's Creek."
On April 6, 1939, after I had written J. M. Wilder for some more information, he gave me this: "I am not able to give you all of the names of the church members when it was organized, but Robert Wilson told me he was a charter member of the church and was chosen Clerk of the church in 1852 and served until 1892, for forty years. He then entered the ministry and preached until his death."
Thomas Weaver, Henry Wilson, and John Dickinson were preachers. We call our ruling Edler a Moderator and no man can serve as Moderator unless he has passed under the hands of the presbytery.
Names of the many Clerks of the church are (1) James Miracle, (2) William Money, (3) Robert Wilson, (4) F. P. Miracle, (5) J. P. Boatright, (6) R. D. Wilson, (7) B. H. Wilder, (8) 0. V. Wilson, (9) J. M. Wilder, present Clerk.
The government of the church is congregational, the whole body acts for the church. It doesn't have any boards of any kind, no Sunday Schools, no man made institution, claiming the Bible as the only rule to go by.
Brother Wilder has given a faithful account of this wonderful old church on Browney's Creek, one of the oldest churches in Bell County, and worthy of a much more extended account of its activities, which would have been written but for the lack of information.
Cannon Creek Primitive Baptist Church, organized November, fourth Saturday, 1981. This Church was organized on Cannon Creek, Josh Bell County, Kentucky, by an arm extended by Harmony Baptist Church and Calvin Baptist Church, and was constituted as a United Baptist Church, but later by adopting Articles of Faith of the Powells Valley Primitive Association, became a duly constituted Primitive Baptist Church.
Elder Silas Miracle, Elder Joseph Pitman, John Crawford, Cassandra Crawford, John Hendrickson, Mary Hendrickson, William Browning, Elizabeth Davis, constituted a committee on organization. This Committee met at the home of John Crawford on the fourth Saturday, November, 1871, and was duly organized. Elder Silas Miracle was chosen first Moderator, and John Hendrickson was chosen first Clerk. Brother John Crawford was chosen first deacon and Cassandra Crawford was chosen deaconess.
Elder Silas Miracle served the church 28 years as pastor. Cannon Creek Primitive Baptist Church has granted 12 letters to constitute new Churches, as follows: Pinnacle View Church, Middlesboro, Kentucky, and Athens, Tennessee.
Oliver Hurst has served
the church 19 years as Clerk. The church owns its own house of worship
valued at $1,500. The present membership is 33. Elder E. N. Slusher, Miracle,
Kentucky, is Moderator and Oliver Hurst, Co1mar, Kentucky, is Clerk.
The Powells Valley Association
of Primitive Baptists, to which all, or most all, of these Primitive Baptist
churches belong, is a very old organization, having been organized in 1818.
Elder J. E. Hurst, 122 Anderson Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee, is the Moderator.
John F. Miller, of Maynardsville, Tennessee, is the Clerk.
LITERARY HISTORY OF BELL COUNTY
I. BALLAD LITERATURE
The old ballads form the background for the literary history of Bell County. These were sung around the fireside in the homes of the people. They brought them here, stored up in their memories, from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. As a mere lad I heard them sung around the fireside and at the parties in the neighborhood. At these old parties the old fiddler had a prominent place, and the people at the party moved over the floor to-the tune of the old fiddle. The party songs were "Skip to my Lou," "Chase the Buffalo," "Weavily Wheat," "Around the Ring," "Old Dan Tucker," "Sour Wood Mountain," etc.
I saw, at these parties, the ballads in the making. The performers would add verses to songs from time to time. In this way the old ballads were added to or changed to suit these performers. New ballads, on occasion, were produced.
There were many other ballads besides those played at the parties. These were usually sung by men or women, boys or girls, as they went about their work. It was nothing unusual to hear the girls singing them as they washed the dishes, got the meals, or while going about their other work. One of the memories of these songs comes back to me as I write this, one of the clearest memories I have. It was that of a girl going to the milk gap on a spring morning singing one of these songs. The air was still, the birds were chirping, the hills lay quiet in the sun, and all nature was in harmony with the singer. Some of these ballads were "Barbara Allen," "Fair Ellender," "Sweet William, "Soldier Won't You Marry Me," "I'll Never Marry Againt" "The Little Mohea," "Cock Robin," "Old Smokey," "When the Roses Bloom Again," "Darby's Ram," "The Soldier Boy," and "The Drunkard Husband."
There were many old fiddlers in the pioneer days and after. They persist even until today. They, in all probability, did more to preserve these old ballads than any other set of men. When the preachers, in the pulpit, were thundering against them, the old fiddlers paid no attention and went on playing and singing them. This opposition to the ballad and the parties continued from pioneer days down to recent times. A change has come over the people and the preachers in regard to the ballad and the parties. They now realize that these are factors in the developing of a literature and approve of them instead of denouncing them.
In 1932, when the Mountain
Laurel Festival was organized at Clear Creek Springs, Rev. L. C. Kelly,
who is in charge of the Baptist organization at the Springs, invited the
managers of this new
organization to put on a party and have some fiddle music for the entertainment of the crowd. The performance made a hit and, from time to time, this has been continued in this section since. The ballad is truly coming back to its own. Many schools in the county are reviving the old ballad singing, to the delight of the old-timers who love them always.
H. H. Fuson, in 1932, published a book of these old ballads, known as BALLADS OF THE KENTUCKY HIGHLANDS. This was published by the Mitre Press, of London, England. This book contained a long introduction on the history of the English ballad and some 122 ballads. This book is to be found in the principle libraries of the state. Other publications on ballad literature have included ballads from Bell County.
Gabriel Lee, my uncle, was one of the old time fiddlers. He lived in the first part, and in the middle part, of the nineteenth century, and played his fiddle from coast to coast in this country. I can remember hearing him play "The Dying Calf" for us children. He produced the sound of the calf from the loudest bawl to the last dying gasp. We always asked him to play this one whenever he took up his fiddle. Of course, he played most of those known in Bell County at the time, in addition to this one. He was in demand at the parties, the log rollings, cornhuskings and wherever men met.
Joe Lee, who lived on Browney's Creek, was a first cousin to Gabe Lee and my mother. He was one of the old-time fiddlers. He lived in the latter part of the nineteenth century and in the first part of the twentieth. He died in January, 1937.
II. PUBLISHED BOOKS
H. H. Fuson is the author of a number of books. He has published the following books: (1) THE PINNACLE AND OTHER KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN POEMS, 1921; (2) HISTORY OF THE BELL COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF BAPTISTS, 1924; (3) JUST FROM KENTUCKY, A SECOND VOLUME OF VERSE, 1925; (4) BALLADS OF THE KENTUCKY HIGHLANDS, 1932; (5) HISTORY OF THE CUMBERLAND FORD SETTLEMENT, 1931; (6) HISTORY OF THE FUSON FAMILY, VOL. 1, 1932; (7) HISTORY OF THE FUSON FAMILY, VOL. 11, 1938. He has in manuscript a number of other volumes: (1) The Duke of the Cumberland (The Old Fiddler of the Kentucky Mountains), (2) The Kentucky Cardinal (a volume of poems), (3) Pegasus in Kentucky (a volume of poems), (4) Kentucky Poetry, 1900-1926, (5) Collected Poems of H. H. Fuson, (6) The First House in Kentucky, (7) The Second Battle of Lexington, (8) Educational Productions, (9) Literary Efforts, and (10) 28 Scrap Books. He has a number of other manuscripts which have not been completed on history, poetry and in story form.
H. H. Fuson began his
literary efforts in 1902 while he was living in the old Pineville Hotel.
A good part of his first book was written while he lived in Pineville,
Kentucky, 1902-1912. Most of the other writings were done while he lived
in Covington, Kentucky, 1912-
1925. Some writing was done while he lived in Louisville, Kentucky, 1925-1928, and some of the work has been carried to completion since he has lived in Harlan, Kentucky, 1929 to the present.
In 1931 H. H. Fuson began depositing his Kentucky books and manuscripts in the Library of the University of Kentucky, Lexington. He has placed over two hundred Kentucky books there under his name, books of a variety of authors on Kentucky literature. He has placed the originals of all his manuscripts there. He has had bound and placed in this library five volumes of Fuson family statistics, ten volumes of letters of the Fuson family, and numerous other bound material. His twenty-eight scrap books placed in the library, extending from 1905 until the present, contain much history of Bell County as well as much history of southeastern Kentucky. His main interest has been in the literature of the state of his birth.
He was born on Little Clear Creek, Bell County, August 21, 1876; attended the Evans School, near W. L. Fuson's in 1883; the Clear Creek Springs School, 1884-1894; Pineville High School, winter term, 1895-1896; Cumberland College, 1894-1905, part time work, where he graduated in 1905 with an A.B. degree; University of Cincinnati, 1912- 1925, part time where he graduated in 1920 with a B.S. degree; completed his A.M. credits there but did not take degree; attended University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1912, summer term. Photo Clear Creek School
He taught school, acted as Principal and Superintendent, as follows: Lower Cannon Creek (Happy Valley) 1895; Clear creek Springs 1896-1898; Laurel Fork in South America 1899-1901; County Superintendent of Bell County Schools, two terms, 1902-1910; Superintendent of the Pineville, Kentucky, Schools 1910-1912; Principal of the Seventh District School, Covington, Kentucky, 1912-1914; Principal of the First District School, Covington, 1914-1922; Principal of the John W. Hall Junior High School 1922-1925. He gave up teaching in 1925, studied law and was admitted to practice in 1929, when he came to Harlan and opened a law office with J. B. Snyder. He was County Attorney of Harlan County, September, 1935, to November, 1936, by appointment.
In 1906 he was married to Sara Ellen Watson, born April 7, 1876 Somerset, Kentucky. She graduated at Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky, 1904, B.S. degree, and taught school in Kentucky and Montana for several years. There was born to them one daughter, Ruth Maurine Fuson, born July 7, 1910, who married Philip W. Scott, October 16, 1937 and went to Bradford, Pennsylvania, to live.
William Ayres, of Pineville,
an attorney of long standing there, published, in 1925, his HISTORICAL
SKETCHES. These sketches were published by the Sun Publishing Company,
of Pineville, and the material, as written, appeared as a serial in the
Pineville Sun and the Lexington Herald. These sketches cover the early
period of southeastern Kentucky, and, incidentally Bell County in the main.
Bell County was at the gateway of the pioneer movement into Kentucky and
the west and for that reason, came in for the greater share of the material
in these sketches. The sketches deal mostly with source material, many records being quoted, and citations given to show where the material can be found. The sketches do not deal with the individual counties so much, as counties, but deal, in a general way, with the pioneer movement through all the counties in southeastern Kentucky. Mr. Ayres, as a historian, has shown himself a worthy successor to some of our worthy historians of the past. His record is an accurate, truthful record, and deals with what is history and not with idle vagaries. His conclusions are sound and irrefutable. Bell County is much indebted to him for this labor of love and hard work, in the preparation and publication of this early history of Southeastern Kentucky. He has made a worthy contribution to the historical record of the state of Kentucky, and, as such, will be remembered, with appreciation, through the years. It is a fitting close to a splendid career.
J. C. Tipton, working in the interests of some newspaper in the county, got out a book in 1904 or 1905 on THE CUMBERLAND COAL FIELD. This was a history of the coal industry from its beginnings in 1888 to the year 1905. He gave pictures of a number of coal plants in the county and gave the history of each coal plant, with the names of the owners and those operating the mines. From an industrial standpoint, this is one of the most valuable publications on the early coal industry of Bell County. Mr. Tipton, who was hard of hearing, while walking on the Straight Creek Railroad track, in the direction of the Straight Creek Mines or coming away from these mines, in 1905, was run over by a passing train and killed.
III. OTHER WRITERS OF POETRY AND PROSE
A number of people of Bell County have written some very good poetry. In 1930 I finished a manuscript on Kentucky Poetry 1900-1926 the same being an anthology of the poetry of the state for that period. Certain Bell County names were included. Their names follow with the title of the poem or poems included. M. H. Cox, "Rest"; William F. Hunter, "A Builder"; Cotton Noe, "John and June" and "Down Lover's Lane"; Dr. 0. P. Nuckols, "Just You and I"; John Ed Pearce, "The Humming Bird and the Rose" and "In Virginia"' and Clo Era Sewell, "Dreams"; and Edmond Arthur Smith, though not included in the anthology, "Grace the Hand."
Cotton Noe, whose full
name is James Thomas Cotton Noe, lived for a number of years in Pineville
and wrote much of his early poetry there. The scenes of many of his poems
are laid in Bell County. He told me on one occasion that if he could put
in words the poetry in a scene, in the fall of the year, on Straight Creek,
that the state and nation would be enriched by one poet the more. The varied
color scheme among the trees, on this occasion, had roused his feelings
into raptures. Such was the poet in Cotton Noe. He published a number of
volumes of poetry after this time and was later selected by the state Legislature
as Poet Laureate of the state. He properly belongs in the history of Poetry
of Bell County.
William F. Hunter lives in Pineville and at one time served a term in the Kentucky State Legislature. He has written a large amount of good poetry, and wrote a "Life of William Henderson," which appeared as a serial in the PINEVILLE SUN.
M. H. Cox, who was a bookkeeper for the Asher Coal Mining Company at Pineville for a number of years, wrote same very good poetry while in school at Williamsburg, Kentucky, where he graduated in Cumberland College. All the poetry he wrote was of a high quality. He now lives on the old John Goodin farm near the mouth of Greasy Creek.
Dr. 0. P. Nuckols lived in Pineville for a number of years before his death, and, during the years of his practice there, wrote a large number of poems. He was always the poet wherever he went or whatever he did. His poetry is of a high quality, in keeping with his splendid manhood.
John Ed Pearce was the son of Prof. Pearce, who taught school in Pineville for a number of years. John Ed was reared to manhood in Pineville and ran a newspaper there for a number of years. He wrote a small body of poetry, lyric poetry, some of which was set to music by him. His poetry has a very beautiful quality about it and a lilting rhythm.
Clo Era Sewell, who lives in Pineville, has written a small amount of very interesting poetry. She has much of the poetic spirit and loves the beauties of the mountains.
Edmond Arthur Smith, who was reared on Little Clear Creek, now lives at Estill, Floyd County, Kentucky. He is a Civil and Mining Engineer in Floyd County and has charge of the engineering for a large number of large corporations there. He has written some interesting poetry, which shows his love for his native hills and the people who live in them. He has achieved a high place in engineering, and has been listed as one of the fifty "Prominent Fusons and Fuson Relatives in America," being related to the Fusons on his mother's side.
Mrs. D. C. Burchfield, wife of Dr. D. C. Burchfield and daughter of Capt. W. M. Bingham, wrote some stories of mountain life. She wrote one long novel, based upon characters in and around Pineville, but the manuscript has never been published.
Frank Baker was born and
reared in Knox County, but came to Pineville and practiced law for many
years. After practicing law here, he went back to Barbourville and was
elected County Judge of the county and served one term. He is a man with
considerable literary ability, but modest with it. He is a much better
writer than he thinks he is. He wrote a full-length novel with the characters
grouped around the life and deeds of Caleb Powers. The novel deals with
the life of the mountains in this section. The story was never published
and is still in manuscript form. In this story be describes a moonshine
still and its setting. It is one of the finest descriptions I ever read
from the pen of any one in our literature. It is realistic and artistic.
He wrote a
good many other stories and some poetry. His "Red Cross Nurse," written during the World War, is a very fine poem with the heart of humanity breathing through it. If Frank Baker had devoted himself entirely to a literary career, he could have made his mark. He could delineate character and describe what he saw.
IV. ORATORS OF BELL COUNTY
Bell County had a number of public speakers, some of whom approached the class of orators. They made their mark in their day and wielded much influence in the court room, the pulpit, and upon the public forum. The most influential of these speakers was D. G. Colson, who served two terms in Congress from the old Eleventh District of Kentucky. He was a blunt but forceful speaker and many of his speeches are preserved in the Congressional record.
I know of no speeches preserved of the others. I have heard nearly all of them speak, from time to time, and know the force of their eloquence. They had power to sway the multitude and lead them in any public movement in their day. The more prominent ones are Rev. A.J. Bailey, who lived on Straight Creek, and preached and taught school, together with farm work, all of his long life; John G. Fitckpatrick, of Middlesborough, Kentucky, who was an attorney and forceful speaker; 0. V. Riley, attorney and popular speaker of Pineville, Kentucky; N. J. Weller, who was attorney and a profound speaker after the classical models, of Pineville; Rev. John C. Colson, father of Congressman D. G. Colson, who was an attorney and preacher, with a popular appeal, of Middlesborough; W. T. Davis, of Pineville, who was an attorney, a forceful and practical speaker; James Kirby, of upper Cumberland River, who taught school for a number of years, then became a Civil Engineer, was a humorous, silver-tongued speaker; Joe Bosworth, of Middlesborough, who was sent to the Kentucky House and Senate a number of times from Bell County, was a forceful, effective speaker; E. S. Helburn, of Middlesborough, who was an attorney and a smooth, pleasant speaker, of much force and effect; Rev. R. G. Evans, of Evans Mountain and Middlesborough, was a powerful preacher for a half century; Rev. Silas Miracle, of Little Clear Creek, was one of the most powerful preachers of his time in Bell County; Rev. John Buell, of Hances Creek, was a strong preacher, with power to lead a host of followers; Rev. A. B. Miracle, of Hances Creek, was also influential as a preacher and public speaker in his day; John Goodin, who was an attorney, sheriff, County Superintendent of Schools, County Judge, and one of the forceful speakers of Bell County in the early days of the county; Rev. Ebenezer Ingram, who was from Greasy Creek and who was Chaplain in the 49th Kentucky Regiment in the Civil War, was said to have been one of the most powerful preachers of the Civil War times.
William Low, of Pineville,
was an attorney for a half century and an able, forceful man. He was a
logical speaker, with no efforts at oratory. He was son-in-law of J. J.
Gibson, who originally owned the present site of Pineville. William Ayres,
was an attorney and an able speaker. D. B. Logan, of Pineville, was an attorney and more of a business man than speaker. He was a kind of blunt spoken man, but was forceful and effective as a speaker. Rev. W. P. Slusher, of Straight Creek, and afterwards of Pineville, was a persuasive speaker, with a pleasant, effective delivery. Many of his sermons have been published in the papers of the county in recent years. The THREE STATES, of Middlesborough, Kentucky, runs a weekly column in its paper under the picture and pen of Mr. Slusher. A good many sermons have appeared in this column. Rev. William Partin, of Greasy Creek, was an orator of no mean ability. He had strong oratorical powers, and, on occasion, could soar to great flights of oratory. His language was very picturesque and delightful. He was a bodyguard for Lincoln, at the White House, during the Civil War, or at one time during the Civil War.
Ben Golden, in his palmiset days, was an able speaker. He was Commonwealth's Attorney of this district, and through his forceful speaking, made many a guilty defendant quake in his boots. He was born and reared in Knox County, but later came to Pineville where he now lives.
Milt Unthank, who originated in Harlan County, was the humorist of Pineville at the time I knew him. He was an effective speaker and never talked without raising a roar of laughter from the funny jokes that seemed to come to him without effort. Many years after his death, they are still telling his stories around Pineville. He was sent to the Legislature from Bell County on one occasion. He ran against two Republicans, in a Republican county, and was elected. When he went to Frankfort, some of his Democratic friends wanted to know how he came to be elected from a strong Republican district. His reply was: "I beat two of the dom rascals, and could've beat three just as easy." They tell it on him, that he was killing birds with a shotgun in his front yard at Pineville. The officer came along and told him it was against the city ordinance to shoot a gun within the city limits. His reply was: "The dom birds are bothering my martins."
It is not claimed here
that Bell County ever produced an orator of the first rank, but probably
Russ Hill, formerly of Middlesborough, came nearer this rank than any other
man who ever lived or was reared in the county. Hill taught a Sunday School
in Middlesborough for years to overflowing crowds. He is now in demand,
on a national scale, as an orator. James E. Kirby, for years a Civil Engineer
for the Asher Coal Mining Company was in all probability, the next most
effective speaker of Bell County. He had the language, the imagination,
and the art of telling a story, that made him one of the most effective
speakers the county ever had. Had he been in the legal profession, or in
politics, or in the church, where his gifts could have been developed,
no doubt he would have developed into an orator of the first rank.
V. NEWSPAPERS AND EDITORS OF BELL COUNTY
I. Middlesborough Area
The newspaper came to
the Middlesborough area during the "boom days" of 1889 or shortly thereafter.
Before this time the Yellow Creek Valley was a valley of farms and farmers.
But, along with the "boom," came the newspaper and the newspaper man. A
list of the newspapers for this area, together with their founders and
the date of their origin, follows:
CUMBERLAND GAP, May 2, 1889, E. C. Colgan, Editor and Publisher.
THE DAILY NEWS, May 22, 1890, T. H. Arnold and G. H. Dains, Editors.
THE DAILY DEMOCRAT, January 1, 1891, W. H. Polk, Editor.
DAILY MINING JOURNAL, February 2, 1891, Powell Printing Company, Publisher.
THE DAILY HERALD, April 26, 1891, H. B. Hayward, President; Ewing Wattreson, Business Manager; 0. 0. Hall, Editor; later P. H. Cram, Acting Editor.
CUMBERLAND REPUBLICAN (Weekly), May 28, 1891, George H. Dains, Editor.
THE SUNDAY CRITIC, June 21, 1891, T. H. Arnold, Editor.
THE WEEKLY HERALD, December 3, 1895, D. E. McDowell, Editor; later sold to J. W. Campbell, who then sold the paper to Griffith and Ratcliff.
THE FREE PRESS (Weekly), August 1, 1895, J. R. Owens and J. H. Hurst, Editors.
THE WEEKLY NEWS, June 10, 1897, C. P. and C. J. Cunningham, Editors.
POTLUCK (Monthly), January, 1898, G. W. Albright, Editor.
CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION (Weekly), June 7, 1898, George Hancock, Editor.
THE BAPTIST EVANGELIST (Monthly), January, 1899, G.W. Perryman, Editor.
THE UNKNOWN MAN (Weekly), January 14, 1899, Rev. James Newton, Editor.
THE MOUNTAIN MAGAZINE (Monthly), March, 1899, Dortch Campbell, Editor.
BELL COUNTY REPUBLICAN, July 4, 1902, Attorney John H. Hurst, Editor.
THE MIDDLESBOROUGH RECORD, August 29, 1902, Charles P. Cunningham and E. A. Rhorer, Editors.
THE MIDDLESBOROUGH NEWS and THE MIDDLESBOROUGH RECORD were consolidated into THE NEWS-RECORD, November 10, 1909, C. P. Cunningham as Publisher and J. Warren Cunningham as Editor.
THE NEWS-RECORD plant was bought by H. C. Chappell, January 14, 1914, and the name of the paper was changed to THREE STATES, which name it still retains.
2. Pineville Area
Herndon Evans, Editor
of THE PINEVILLE SUN, gives the following
information in regard to the newspapers and editors in the Pineville area.
Early in 1890, or shortly after Pineville began developing as a town in southeastern Kentucky, the first newspaper made its appearance here. It was known as The Pineville Messenger and the editor of the hand-set organ was Ed Davidson, about whom but little is recalled by old residents here.
The Messenger continued until about 1896, after which it folded up and Pineville was without a newspaper. J. L. McCoy, known as "Cedar Top McCoy,," bought out Davidson and installed Hick Childers as manager of The Messenger. McCoy was Superintendent of Schools in Bell County. The Messenger was located on Kentucky Avenue in the Old Pineville Hotel Building.
Records of these early publications are meager. In 1903 The Pineville Herald made its appearance and continued for a brief three months before passing out of existence. For some time during this period, and prior to 1908, Will Dyche, brother of Russell Dyches of The Sentinel Echo, of London, Kentucky, edited and published The Pineville Echo. Many years prior to that, and perhaps antedating The Messenger, there appeared a paper known as The Cumberland Courier, the last copy of which was owned by Mrs. C. C. Durham, of Pineville.
On May 5, 1908, Charles W. Metcalf, Pineville attorney and father of U.S. District Attorney, John T. Metcalf, purchased the printing plant owned by Dyche and started The Pineville Sun, which is the oldest newspaper of continuous circulation still running in Bell County. Hugh Young, of Mount Olivet, Kentucky, joined Mr. Metcalf in August, 1908, and continued with The Sun in various capacities until the latter's death. John Pearl purchased an interest in The Sun and he and Young operated the newspaper until 1920, when they sold out to Dr. Tilmon Ramsey and Presley T. Atkins. Atkins edited and managed the newspaper until November 23, 1923, when he went to Norton, Virginia, after purchasing the Coalfield Progress of that city.
Shortly after The Sun was started, probably sometime during 1909, The Pineville Citizen was started here. It continued publication until about 1913 with Lucius Robertson as editor. In 1915 Russell Dyche and Tom Harp purchased The Citizen and continued its publication under that name until 1919, when it was bought by H. R. Chandler, now editor of The Barbourville Advocate, Barbourville, Kentucky. Chandler edited The Citizen until 1921 when it folded up.
Sometime in 1924 Tom Harp,
who was operating an independent printing shop, joined with Arthur Miracle
in the publication of The Pineville Star. Shortly thereafter The Star was
sold to John Ed Pearce, who had come from Norton, Virginia, and the name
of the paper was changed to The Cumberland Courier. Pearce continued to
publish the paper and a few years later sold it to Donald Thomas. Subsequently
it became the property of Guy Easterly, the Middlesborough Daily News,
Fred Creech and others. In 1934 it was purchased by The Sun PublishingCompany,
Creech was continued as editor of the publication.
Early in 1924 Herndon
J. Evans purchased Presley T. Atkins' stock in The Sun Publishing Company,
and in 1937 purchased the interest of Dr. Tilmon Ramsey, who had died the
year before. Evans edited The Sun from November 23, 1923, when he came
to Pineville, until he purchased an interest in it and still is editor
of The Sun.
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION
The first persons to practice medicine in Bell County were not graduates of recognized schools. They either studied under some other doctor or went to some school for awhile and then went to practicing. Dr. Roberts, who practiced in 1870's, is said to have been one of the first doctors who practiced in Bell County. Dr. Morrison, who lived in the town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, practiced in Bell County in the early days. Dr. Harberson, who lived at Harrogate, Tennessee, also practiced in Bell County.
Doctor Thomas Sylvester Foley, who lived in Pineville, practiced in Bell County, and is said to have been the first graduate of a recognized medical school to practice in the County. He graduated at the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, in 1884 and came to Bell County shortly after graduation. Dr. J. S. Bingham, son of Captain W. M. Bingham, of Pineville, is said to have been the first native born physician, who, as a graduate of a recognized medical college, practiced in Bell County.
Some physicians were born and reared in the county, and, after graduation, practice elsewhere. Some other physicians after graduating from medical college, came from other parts of the state or country and settled in Bell County for practice. Still others were born and reared in the county and after graduation, came back to Bell County to practice. It is the purpose of this chapter on the medical profession of the county to include all three of these classes of physicians: (1) The native born physician who practices in the county, (2) The native born physician who practices outside of his native county, and (3) The outside physician who came into Bell County to practice.
Doctor Thomas Sewell Fuson
was born and reared on Little Clear Creek in the "Fuson Settlement." He
was born January 18, 1878. He attended the Clear Creek Springs School as
a boy, later Cumberland College, Williamsburg, Kentucky, and graudated
at the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, in 1904. He
went to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, immediately after graduation and has
practiced there since. He is a son of John Thomas and Sarah Jane (Lee)
Fuson, and a grandson of James Robinson and Lucinda (Evans) Fuson. During,
or just after, the World War he was drafted into the army service and was
sent to U.S. Marine Base Hospital, Wilmington, N.C., during the flu epidemic
in the army. He was there during most of the year 1919, and was an assistant
surgeon to Dr. Styles, of Washington, D.C. He was mustered out November
16, 1919. He is a member of Bell County, State of Kentucky, and the U.S.
Medical Societies. He is a Baptist, Republican in politics,
member of I.O.O.F. Masons, Elks, W.W., M.W.A. and Redmen. His home address is Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.
Dr. Arthur Luther Fuson was born on Little Clear Creek, in the Fuson Settlement, September 13, 1885. He attended school at the Clear Creek Springs School until after he had passed through the eighth grade. He went to Lincoln Memorial University, Harragate, Tennessee, for his high school and college work. For his medical school work, he went to Lincoln Memorial Medical School, Knoxville, Tennessee, where he graduated in 1912, and soon thereafter he began the practice of his profession with his brother, Dr. T. S. Fuson, at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, where he practiced until his death in 1927. He married, while in medical school, Mabel Smith, of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1912. They had no children. Dr. A. L. Fuson is buried at Harrogate Cemetery, Harrogate, Tennessee. He was the son of John Thomas and Sarah Jane (Lee) Fuson, and the grandson of James Robinson and Lucinda (Evans) Fuson.
Leonard D. Hoskins was
born on his father's farm ten miles east of Pineville, Kentucky, on November
19, 1872. The doctor is not only a representative physician and surgeon
of his native county, but is also a scion of one of the old honored families
of the county. His paternal grandparents, George W. and Mary (Miracle)
Hoskins, were natives of the historical old state of Virginia, where both
were born in 1818, representative of fine colonial American ancestry. The
original American progenitors of the Hoskins family came from Ireland to
this country and settled in North Carolina long before the War of the Revolution,
and representatives of the name later became pioneers both in Virginia
and Tennessee, as well as Kentucky. George W. Hoskins was one of the early
settlers of Bell County, Kentucky, where he obtained land ten miles east
of Pineville and initiated the development of the fine old family farm
estate which is now the home of his son James K. He was one of the venerable
and revered pioneer citizens of the county at the time of his death, which
occurred in 1894, on the old homestead, and his devoted wife did not long
survive him, as she there passed to the life eternal in the year 1896.
Photo Dr. L.D. Hoskins
"James Knox Hoskins, father
of the subject of this review, was born on the old homestead which is now
(1922) his place of residence, as noted in the preceding paragraph, and
the year of his nativity was 1844. After his marriage he continued his
association with the activities of this homestead until 1876, when he purchased
and removed to a farm ten miles south of Pineville. As a young man he married
Mrs. Rossana (Wilson) Wilder, who was born in 1840, and whose death occurred
in 1910. He is survived by two sons, Levi, of Middlesborough, Bell County,
and William Nelson, a resident in the vicinity of Dallas, Texas. James
K. and Rosana Hoskins became the parents of nine children: Elias is a farmer
ten miles east of Pineville; George is similarly engaged ten miles southeast
of Pineville; Dr. Leonard D., of this sketch, was the next in order of
birth; Daniel is the efficient chief of the police department of Pineville;
Mary Elizabeth is the wife of C. I. Thompson, a farmer ten miles east of
Pineville; Caroline, who died at the age of twenty-one years, was the
wife of L. J. Pursifull, who is now city tax collector of Pineville; Amanda, who died in 1914, near Lafollette, Tennessee, was the wife of Gabriel Green, who still remains on his farm in that locality; Telitha is the wife of Elijah Green, who likewise is a prosperous farmer near Lafollette, Tennessee; and Miss Sarah remains with her father, she having had charge of the domestic affairs of the home since the death of her loved mother.
"Dr. Leonard D. Hoskins was about sixteen years old at the time of his parents' removal to Campbell County, Tennessee, and in the public schools of that county he acquired his early education. He formulated plans to prepare himself for the medical profession, and in due course he became a student in Hospital College of Medicine in the City of Louisville, in which institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1903. After thus receiving the degree of Doctor of Medicine he forthwith opened an office at Pineville, where he has since been actively engaged in general practice, though he gives special attention to the diseases and defects of the eye, and in this connection maintains modern facilities for the proper correction of errors of refraction and other eye irregularities.
"The year 1893 recorded the marriage of Doctor Hoskins to Miss Rachel Hoskins, the two families, though of the same name, having no kinship. Mrs. Hoskins is a daughter of James M. and Mary (Wilder) Hoskins, who reside on their farm near Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky. Doctor and Mrs. Hoskins have four children: Charles, who is identified with the furniture business in Harlan, Kentucky; Sarah E. is the wife of Chester Rainwater, who is County Court Clerk of Jefferson County, Tennessee, their home being near Dandridge, that county; Viola is the wife of Frederick W. Smith, a coal operator residing in Harlan, judicial center of the Kentucky county of that name; and Leon, M.D., the youngest member of the parental home circle, was born June 30, 1910. He resides in, and practices medicine in, Harlan, Kentucky." (The above information on the life of Dr. L. D. Hoskins was taken from HISTORY OF KENTUCKY by Kerr and others, Volume III, page 41).
O. P. Nuckols, M.D., achieved success and prestige in the profession of medicine and surgery. He was for two years adjunct professor of surgery in the Kentucky School of Medicine, now the Medical Department of the University of Louisville. Since 1910 he has been established in successful general practice in the City of Pineville, Bell Countv, Kentucky.
"Doctor Nuckols was born
near Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, September 27, 1861, and is a scion
of one of the old and honored pioneer families of that county, where his
parental great-qrandfather, Andrew Nuckols, settled in an early day, upon
coming from his native state of Virginia, in which the family was founded
in the Colonial Period of American history. Ponce Nuckols, grandfather
of the Doctor, was born in Virginia in 1803, and was a boy at the time
of the family migration to Kentucky. He died in Barren County in 1877.
His wife, whose name was Saunders, likewise died in Barren County. Their
son John Andrew was born in Barren County in 1834, and his death occurred
in 1916. Mrs. Nuckols, whose maiden name was Louvina Bird, died on the
old home farm, April 20, 1910. She was born in 1834. Her father,
Obediah Bird, was born in Virginia in 1805. He died in 1890. John A. and Louvina (Bird) Nuckols became the parents of five children: (1) Cora is the wife of 0. P. Owens, a prosperous farmer near Glasgow; (2) Mollie is the wife of G. W. Ellis, who is engaged in the tobacco business in Glasgow; (3) Doctor Nuckols is the next of birth; (4) James R. is associated with his younger sister, (5) Miss Lilia E., in the ownership of the old home farm.
"Doctor Nuckols attended the rural schools of Barren County, the Glasgow Normal College, in which he was graduated as a member of the class in 1885, and the Medical Department of the University of Tennessee, Nashville, where he graduated in 1891. He practiced for seven years in Canmer, Hart County, Kentucky; practiced eleven years in the City of Louisville, two years of which he was professor of surgery in the Kentucky Medical College; and in 1910 he came to Pineville, Kentucky, where he practiced for several years until his death a few years ago.
"At Canmer, Hart County, in 1887, was soleminized the marriage of Doctor Nuckols to Miss Kathleen Matthis, daughter of Professor C. W. and Jemima (Stuart) Matthis, who now reside at Pineville (1922). Doctor and Mrs. Nuckols have four children: (1) J. Leon Nuckols who is engaged in the drug business in Pineville; (2) Lalla Rookh is the wife of C. Hays Foster, cashier of Lincoln National Bank, at Stanford, Lincoln County; (3) Paul Eve is bookkeeper and traffic manager for an important coal mining company at Pineville; (4) James Norwood, the youngest son, is assistant manager of the plant and business of the Chicago Packing House of Armour and Company at Middlesborough, Bell County, Kentucky." (The information in regard to the life of Doctor 0. P. Nuckols was taken from Kerr's HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, Volume V. page 183).
"Tilmon Ramsey, M.D., was born and reared in Bell County, Kentucky. He passed the period of his childhood and early youth on the home farm and in the meanwhile availed himself of the advantages of the rural schools of Bell County. In preparation for his chosen profession, he was a student in the Medical Department of the University of Louisville in 1896-7, and he then transferred himself to the Medical Department of the University of Tennessee, at Nashville, in which institution he was graduated in 1899 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He served as intern in the Nashville City Hospital 1899-1900. He made a special study of surgery under Dr. W. D. Hazzard 1900-1901. In 1902 he began practice in Pineville, Kentucky, in Bell County, in which county he was reared, though his birth occurred in Claiborne County, Tennessee, on the 28th day of March, 1874.
"At Pineville, in the
year 1903, was soleminized the marriage of Doctor Ramsey to Miss Nan Gouger,
who was born at Statesville, North Carolina, and the two children of this
union are: (1) Jane, born May 2, 1908; (2) William, born December 29, 1909."
(The material for this sketch of Doctor Tilmon Ramsey was taken from Kerr's
HISTORY OF KENTUCKY, Volume V, at page 291).
"Jacob Schultz, M.D., is engaged in the general practice of medicine in Middlesborough. He was born at Tazewell, Tennessee, July 23, 1879, a son of Benjamin F. Schultz, and grandson of Jacob Schultz, a native of Virginia, who died in Texas during the war between the North and the South. He was the pioneer of his family in Clairborne County, Tennessee, where he became the owner of 10,000 acres of land located between Springdale and Clinch River, along the road from Morristown to Cumberland Gap, which road he contracted for and built. He married Susanna Cloud, who was born in Clairborne County, Tennessee, and died at Springfield, Missouri, after the birth of Doctor Schultz. The Schultz family was established in Virginia by ancestors who came from Germany during the Colonial epoch of the country.
"Benjamin Schultz was born at Springdale, Tennessee, in 1844, and died in Tazewell, Tennessee, in 1915. He was reared, educated and married in Clairborne County, Tennessee, but in 1858 moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he was engaged in merchandising and farming. In 1868 he returned to Clairborne County, and in 1870 was married. He was by profession a Civil Engineer. During the Civil War he was a confederate soldier under General Price.
"Mr. Schultz married Eliza J. Johnson, who was born in Tazewell, Tennessee, in 1850, and died at Tazewell in 1901. Their children were: (1) Lula, who died of scarlet fever at the age of six years; (2) Wade Graham, who was a traveling salesman and who died at Middlesborough when he was thirty-eight years old; (3) Doctor Schultz, who was the third by birth; (4) Thomas J., who was a physician and surgeon, died at Middlesborough at the age of thirty-one years; (5) Elizabeth, who married S. R. Robinson, a merchant of Tazewell, Tennessee; (6) William B., who is a pharmacist, owns and operates the leading drug store of Middlesborough; and (7) Josie, who lives in Middlesborough, is married and her husband is a pharmacist.
"Doctor Schultz attended the grade schools of Tazewell, Tazewell Academy, and began to teach school in Claiborne County at the age of twenty, and was so engaged for two years. He then entered the Tennessee Medical School at Knoxville, Tennessee, and spent two years in that institution, leaving it to become a student in the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, and after two years there was graduated June 30, 1906, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He took post-graduate courses at the New York Polyclinic in 1913 and 1916, and also at New York Post-Graduate School in 1918, specializing in surgery. In 1906 he began the practice of Medicine at Logmont, and remained there until 1920, when he came to Middlesborough, and has remained there since, but still retains his practice at Logmont.
"Doctor Schultz is a Republican and is Justice of the Peace for the Fourth Magisterial District of Bell County, which office he has held for the past 25 years. He belongs to the Presbyterian Church. He is a member of Pinnacle Lodge #661, F. and A.M.
"In 1905 Doctor Schultz
was married at Rogersville, Tennessee, to Miss Sue McKinney Nice, a daughter
of W. G. and Sue (McKinney) Nice, residents of
Rogersville. Mr. & Mrs. Schultz have no children."
Edward Wilson, M.D., in addition to his successful practice of medicine in Bell County, was mayor of Pineville 1921-1925. Doctor Wilson was born at Lock, this county, July 14, 1879, and is a son of W. F. M. and Jane (Eager) Wilson, the former of whom was born in the state of Tennessee in 1836, and the latter of whom was born in Virginia, and was reared at Harlan Court House (now Harlan), the year of her nativity being 1839. Mrs. Wilson died at the family home at Lock, Bell County, in 1886, and there the death of her husband occurred the following year. W. F. M. Wilson was a young man when he established his residence at Lock, and there he followed the blacksmith trade for a long period, besides being one of the extensive and substantial farmers of that part of Bell County. He also was one of the pioneer teachers of Harlan and Bell counties as a young man. Their children were: (1)Annie, who resides at the home of Dr. Edward Wilson; (2) Columbus became a prosperous farmer of Bell County; (3) Dr. Edward Wilson.
"Doctor Wilson studied in the public schools of Bell County as a lad; then went to Cumberland College, Williamsburg, Kentucky; and graduated at the Hospital College of Medicine in 1903. He took a post- graduate course in Chicago and three courses in the New York Post-Graduate School of Medicine.
"At Whitesburg, Letcher County, in 1907, was solemnized the marriage of Doctor Wilson to Miss Ella Tyree, daughter of Rev. S. C. and Martha J. (Adams) Tyree, now residents of London, Laurel County, where the father is engaged in the practice of law, after service as a clergyman of the Baptist Church, in the work of which he is still active. Dr. and Mrs. Wilson have six children: (1) Gypsy Vera, born 1908; (2) Edward Senn, born 1910; (3) Tyree Frances, born 1913; (4) Marion, born 1915; (5) Florence Roe, born 1918; and (6) Ella Ray, born 1920."
Garfield Howard, M.D., was born at Lock, Kentucky, on the Right Fork of Straight Creek in 1884. Dr. Howard is the son of Jasper Howard, a well-to-do farmer on the Right Fork of Straight Creek. He attended the local schools on the Right Fork of Straight Creek until he had completed the eighth grade; took his high school and college work at Cumberland College, Williamsburg, Kentucky; and took his medical course at the Hospital College of Medicine (now the University of Louisville, Kentucky), Louisville, Kentucky, where he obtained his degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1907.
He married Fannie M. Gatliff in 1907, and to this union two children were born: (1) Maurice G. Howard, undertaker and embalmer, Williamsburg, Kentucky; (2) Thelma (Howard) Hendren, who married Dr. 0. S. Hendren, and was killed in an automobile accident in 1929.
Dr. Howard moved to Williamsburg,
Kentucky, in 1907, where he practiced for eight months. In 1908 he moved
to Gatliff, Kentucky, where he has since been physician and surgeon for
the Gatliff Coal Company, the Dixie Coal Company, the
Mammoth Coal Company, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, a period of over thirty years.
Dr. Howard is a member of the county and state Medical Societies. He has taken post-graduate work in Chicago and New York. He says of his work: "As a physician I have served the whole area of eastern Whitley County and parts of Bell and Knox counties. I have attended over 3600 obstetrical cases (deliveries) and have for the past ten years been in attendance on these same cases of the second generation. I have been engaged in Industrial Surgery, the general practice of medicine, and obstetrical cases."
John Randolph Howard, M.D., was born in 1889, on the Right Fork of Straight Creek, near Pineville. He is the third son of Jasper Howard, a prosperous farmer and pioneer of Bell County, and Mary V. Howard. His father and mother alike are descendants of Sir Thomas Howard's daughter, the wife of Cecil Calvert (Lord Baltimore), decendants of English nobility.
Dr. Howard is a brother of Dr. Garfield Howard, the first son of Jasper and Mary V. Howard.
Dr. John R. Howard attended the public schools of Bell County and secured a teacher's certificate of the first class. He attended Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, Cumberland College, Williamsburg, Kentucky, and Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee. He entered medical college in September 1911, and successfully passed the Tennessee Board in 1913. He was granted a permanent license to practice medicine and surgery in the state of Tennessee, which license is registered in Knox County, Knoxville, Tennessee. He continued the study of medicine and graduated from the Medical Departmnt of the University of Tennessee in June, 1915. He was granted a license to practice in Kentucky in July, 1915. These licenses in Kentucky and Tennessee conferred on him the right to practice in 36 states of the union by reciprocity. He served his internship in the St. Joseph Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. He was associated with his brother, Dr. Garfield Howard, from 1915 to 1923. They were physicians for the Gatliff Coal Company, Dixie Coal Company, Mammoth Coal Company and the L & N Railroad Company.
He moved to Packard in 1918 and was physician and surgeon for Mahan-Jellico Coal Company, Drake Coal Company and Palles Coal Company.
He moved to Harlan in 1923 and practiced there one year. Then, in 1924, he went to Loyall, Kentucky, three miles north of Harlan, where he grew with the town from a population of 500 to 2500. He is now serving his third term as Mayor of Loyall. He is active in the business, civic and educational affairs of his community and county.
He is serving his second
term as president of the Southeastern Kentucky Municipal league, composed
of officials of Middlesborough, Pineville, Barbourville, Corbin, London,
Williamsburg, Loyall, Harlan, Cumberland and Whitesburg.
He is a member of the Odd Fellows, Masons and Eastern Star lodges; member of the Harlan County, Kentucky, State and American Medical Associations; member of the Tennessee Obstetrical Society, member of the staff of Harlan Hospital Association and surgeon for the L & N Railroad Company.
He married Fleda. Rose Bird, daughter of John G. Bird whose wife was Nan Rose, the daughter of George P. Rose, a hero of the Civil War. He was a merchant and business man of Whitley County, later becoming a millionaire land owner of Oklahoma.
His wife is a graduate of Western State Teachers College, Bowling Green, Kentucky. She holds a County Superintendent's certificate. She was Principal of a sixteen teacher high school in Oklahama when married to Dr. Howard.
To this union were born: Charlotte Howard, July 1920, now attending Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. Charlotte graduated with honors from the Harlan High School. She is a graduate of Ward Belmont, Nashville, Tennessee, and Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, A.B., before her nineteenth birthday. Naomi Howard, born February, 1926, now a sophomore in Hughes High School, Cincinnati, Ohio. She is also studying violin and piano at the Conservatory of Music.
Above all else he wishes to be remembered as the father of two accomplished daughters. He boasts of nothing except his record of two thousand deliveries, without the loss of a single mother.
Dr. Philip Lee Fuson was born June 12, 1883. He attended the public schools of Bell County on Little Clear Creek and High School at Williamsburg, Kentucky. Then, after attending Normal School at Richmond, Kentucky, he began teaching in the schools of Bell County in 1904. He taught eight years. he attended Medical School at Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1910, and studied medicine and taught school, alternately, for three years, and graduated from Medical School in 1912. He and Dr. Luther Fuson graduated in the same class together.
He began his medical career on Little Clear Creek, and, after two years, he became company doctor for the mines at Arjay on Straight Creek. Here he remained practicing medicine until his death, July 6, 1929.
He married Sudie Mae Gabbard, May 20, 1921. His wife was born, January 12, 1896. She was a trained nurse but had practiced a very short time before her marriage. They had four children: (1) Mildred Leah Fuson, born May 18, 1922; (2) Philip Lee Fuson, Jr., born December 9, 1924; (3) Benjamin Gabbard Fuson, born September 11, 1926; (4) Vernon Ray Fuson, born October 15, 1928. Dr. Fuson's wife survived him nine years and died November 2, 1938.
Dr. William Kenneth Evans,
of Middlesborough, Kentucky, was born on Little Clear Creek, Bell County,
October 21, 1879. He is a son of Shelton and Mary Fuson
Evans. He married an Edwards and to them were born four children: (1) William Kenneth Evans, Jr.; (2) Mary Evans, (3) Louise Evans, (4) Kenton Evans.
Dr. W. K. Evans graduated at the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, July 1, 1902. He practiced medicine in Pineville for three years after his graduation, and was with the L & N Railroad Company for three years where the company was doing construction work. He came to Middlesborough in 1908 and has practiced medicine there since.
Dr. W. K. Evans established a private hospital in Middlesborough in 1912, and in 1930 his brother, Dr. J. T. Evans, joined him and thereafter the hospital was known as The Evans Hospital. The hospital was located for a number of years at 1018 Cumberland Ave., and on March 1, 1939, the hospital was moved into the old Coal and Iron Bank Building, after extensive repairs had been made to make it over into a hospital. The hospital has a hundred-bed capacity, and is said to be the best hospital between Lexington and Knoxville.
Dr. W. K. Evans is said to be one of the best surgeons in southeastern Kentucky. He has been surgeon for the Louisville and Nashville and the Southern Railroads for a number of years.
Dr. John Thomas Evans was born on Little Clear Creek, Bell County, Kentucky, July 18, 1877. He is a brother of Dr. W. K. Evans and a son of Shelton and Mary Fuson Evans. On December 22, 1897, he married Mollie Moss, daughter of Frank Moss. They have no children.
Dr. Evans attended the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated from that institution July 1, 1903. He has practiced in Middlesborough from the time of his graduation.
In 1930 he joined his brother Dr. W. K. Evans in the hospital his brother had founded in 1912, and thereafter the hospital was known as The Evans Hospital. The hospital is jointly owned and operated by Dr. Will K. Evans and Dr. J. T. Evans.
Dr. Thomas Silvester Foley was born September 3,1861, and died March 18, 1909; he was the son of William Preston and Judia Ann (Smith) Foley. Doctor Foley was born and reared on a farm on Patterson's Creek in Whitley County, Kentucky, about two miles from Cumberland River.
He attended the common
schools at the mouth of Patterson Creek and afterwards went to the University
of Kentucky (then Kentucky State University). He taught three common schools
in Whitley County, after which he took the study of medicine under Dr.
Ansil Gatliff, of Williamsburg. Dr. Gatliff was the first graduate physician
to locate in Whitley County. He studied medicine under Dr. Gatliff for
two years. In 1881 he went to the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville,
Kentucky where, in 1884, he graduated.
After returning from college
he located in Pineville, where he practiced medicine until his death. He
did a private practice all his life, with the exception of four years'
practice with Dr. J. S. Ward at the old Straight Creek Mining Company mines
near the forks of the two Straight creeks.
After locating in Pineville he married Vestina Johnson, daughter of Wilburn Johnson, and sister of Charles and Rice Johnson. They had five children, four boys and one girl.
At the time Doctor Foley located in Pineville he was the first and only doctor with a college diploma. There were no railroads, no bridges and the roads were mere trails. He got over the county on horse back, and well does the author remember Doctor Foley on his horse, with saddle bags, rain coat and umbrella attached to his saddle. I remember asking him one time why he carried all this protection. His reply was, "You never know when it is going to rain."
Early in his practice he had a surgical case. A man fell from a horse on Black Mountain above the present Black Star Coal Company's mines. There was no hospital to take him to. The injured man was carried to a mountain cabin, where Dr. Foley reduced the fractured thigh bone and remained two weeks with this man without coming home. The family, who lived in the log cabin, were poor people and had poor accommodations; but they had the true Kentucky mountain spirit and did all they could for their neighbor and the neighbor's physician.
Dr. John Grant Foley, brother of Thomas Silvester Foley, was born on Patterson's Creek in Whitley County, Kentucky, January 22, 1864, son of William Preston Foley and Judia Ann (Smith) Foley. He was born and reared on a farm on Patterson's Creek and grew up with a family of eight children. Photo Dr. J.G. Foley
He attended the common schools on Patterson's Creek until he was twenty-one years of age. He attended the National Normal School at Lebanon, Ohio, with Judge H. H. Tye, of Williamsburg. While attending this school I had classes under Prof. R. N. Roark, who afterwards was the first President of the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School at Richmond, Kentucky. After returning from this school, he taught school two years under his brother in Pineville and then went to the Hospital College of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky, where he graduate in 1890, and also completed a course in dentistry in Louisville. Then he began the practice of medicine and dentistry with his brother in Pineville. There were no drug stores at the time and as a doctor he had to carry his pill bag with him, containing the medicines he needed in his practice.
Surgery in those days,
under the circumstances, was of the crudest kind, since there were no hospitals.
He relates an incident where he and Dr. Sam Blair amputated a man's leg.
They got together their outfit and went upon the Log Mountain, about six
miles from Pineville, to where the man lived in a one-story log house,
with one door and no windows. The house was too dark for the operation.
So they took the man out
in the yard and on a crude table performed the operation. The man recovered from the operation and lived many years afterwards.
He was appointed health officer of Bell County in 1914. Bell County was the second county in the state to have an all-time health officer.
At the age of thirty-six he married Annie Wainwright, of Belle, Tennessee, who came to Pineville as a school teacher.
There are other physicians of Bell County: Dr. G. M. Asher, Pineville; Dr. Paul J. Armstrong, Middlesborough; Dr. J. C. Ausmus, Middlesborough; Dr. U. G. Brummett, Middlesborough; Dr. C. K. Broshear, Middlesborough; Dr. A. G. Barton, Middlesborough; Dr. George S. Calloway (deceased), Wallins; Dr. Houston Colson (deceased), Middlesborough; Dr. Mason Combs (deceased), Pineville; Dr. J. C. Carr, Middlesborough; Dr. C. C. Durham, Pineville (deceased); Dr. Goldie Horr Eagle, Middlesborough; Dr. Roscoe R. Evans, Arjay; Dr. James P. Edmonds, Middlesborough; Dr. J. G. Foley, Pineville; Dr. Palestine Howard, Lafollette, Tennessee; Dr. M. D. Hoskins, Coalgood; Dr. Albert B. Hoskins, Beattyville; Dr. E. W. Miracle, (deceased), Loyall; Dr. J. H. Herndren, Pineville; Dr. M. R. Ingram (deceased), Fourmile; Dr. I. H. Miller, Middlesborough; Dr. R. E. Nelson, Beverly; Dr. J. S. Parrott, Pineville; Dr. R. F. Porter, Middlesborough; Dr. Frank Queener, Middlesborough; Dr. Charles B. Stacey, Pineville; Dr. Adam Stacey, Pineville; Dr. J. R. Tinsely, Middlesborough; Dr. T. D. Vankirk, Middlesborough; Dr. Edward Wilson, Jr., Pineville; Dr. John Scott Ward (deceased), Straight Creek; Dr. E. D. Woodson, Middlesborough.
The following dentists
practice their profession in Bell County: Dr. J. M. Brooks, Pineville;
Dr. J. H. Brooks, Middlesborough; Dr. J. S. Corn, Pineville; Dr. M. H.
Lewis, Pineville; Dr. M. E. Motch, Middlesborough; Dr. J. R. Pennington,
Middlesborough; Dr. A. L. Robertson, Middlesborough.
HISTORY OF MIDDLESBOROUGH
When I was just a boy, my father and I used to go into Powell's Valley to trade in cattle or hogs. We crossed the Log Mountain from Little Clear Creek through the Evans Gap and came down Four Mile Creek into Bingham Town, a suburb of Middlesborough. We crossed this valley, going by the homes of John C. Colson, Jack Mealer, and John Colson, son of J. C. Colson. The whole of the valley, at that time, 1880-1888, was given over to farming. There was no town of any kind in the valley, just a few cross-road stores, and the old Yellow Creek post office.
With the coming of the Louisville and Nashville the "boom" was started in 1888 in Middlesborough. A town grew, almost over night, and spread over a good part of the Yellow Creek Valley. In January, 1933, there appeared in The Filson Club Historical Quarterly, Vol 7, No. 1, an article on "The Building of Middlesborough -- A notable Epoch in Eastern Kentucky History" by Charles Blanton Roberts, who was Secretary to A. A. Arthur, the founder of Middlesborough. The article is presented here in full: Photo of 3 states corner
I. THE BUILDING OF MIDDLESBOROUGH
A NOTABLE EPOCH IN EASTERN KENTUCKY HISTORY
By Charles Blanton Roberts
New York City, 40 Wall Street
When the events were happening
which figured in the conversion of the Southeastern Kentucky--Cumberland
Gap Region--changing it within two or three years from a quasi-wilderness
into a prosperous section with railroads and an industrial and mining town--knowledge
of those events was largely confined to residents of Kentucky and Tennessee
and nearby states. Even today most people are unaware of the history and
wonder of that transformation and its significance in the evolution of
what theretofore had been an inaccessible, undeveloped corner of America,
though, paradoxically, in the geographic center of the area east of the
Mississippi embracing the great manufacturing belt. Its achievement was
the outcome of an adventure, visioned on a grand scale, which had many
of the aspects of life in the Great West during its Homeric age and which
the epic poets themselves might not have scorned to notice. Incidentally
the completed undertaking constituted an instance, among many in American
history, of how lastingly important in the material march forward of this
country have been the realized conceptions of the individual man of brilliant
foresight and surpassing creative endowment.
The article is published by permission of The Filson Club, Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1888 the hamlet of Cumberland Gap, seated at the foot of the famous pass where the boundary lines of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia meet, was an isolated and lonely spot in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains. it was thirteen miles from a railroad, and could be got to only over unimaginably broken wagonroads. It consisted of perhaps half a dozen homes, with a general store supported mainly by the custom of mountaineers who were sparsely scattered for many miles about. Incredible as it may seem, such represented its growth during the hundred and thirty-five years since Dr. Thomas Walker, of Virginia, discovered the Gap in 1750 (naming it for the Duke of Cumberland), followed by Daniel Boone's trip of exploration in 1770. In the history of Cumberland Gap pioneers Dr. Walker and Daniel Boone, with Alexander A. Arthur of a later period, are the three outstanding figures.
Mr. Arthur, who was a distant relation of President Chester A. Arthur and much resembled him in appearance, appeared on the scene in 1885. He was a Scotch-Canadian. What he accomplished for that portion of the United States was analogous to what James J. Hill had done for the Northwest. He was a timber expert and he also knew something of minerals. prospecting nearby in the mountains, he found evidences of great coal measures and extensive iron ore deposits in their pristine state. He formed a syndicate to buy up some of the lands, purposing to exploit their stores of untouched natural wealth. His plans contemplated the construction of railroads, the building of a tunnel almost a mile long under Cumberland Gap, and the establishment of a mining and manufacturing city in the vicinity.
One summer day in 1886 he stood, shirt-sleeved, on the slope of a scrub-covered hill in Bell County, Kentucky, about a mile and a half from the Gap, with two other members of the syndicate who were on a trip of inspection with him. their horses were hitched close by. Below, encircled by virgin mountains, lay Yellow Creek Valley, silent and motionless--a broad, far-flung, basin-like expanse largely woodland, with a lone house or cabin here and there, separated by miles from its nearest fellow. It was frequently the theater of feudist battles, mortal enmities existing between certain families and their respective sequelae similar to those which divided the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the Yorks and Lancasters, and Shakespeare's Montagues and Capulets.
Mr. Arthur pointed to the valley. "There's where I'll build my city," he remrked to his companions. "Middlesborough, I think, would be a good name for it." As the prototype of his imagined city he had in mind the commercial and manufacturing borough of that name in Yorkshire, England.
The syndicate decided
that his projects were too stupendous for it to undertake,
so he went in search of capital to London, where he had some acquaintance in financial circles. His statements and proposals were listened to and considered. Distinguished English experts were sent to the Cumberland Gap field to investigate and render opinions on the natural resources and other factors. The reports were favorable. A company, The American Association, Limited, was formed and the necessary funds supplied, through flotation of stock, to carry out Mr. Arthur's plans. Thus it happened that, almost a hundred and ten years after England lost her American colonies, "conquistadors" from Albion came out to his little-settled quarter of the United States for the purpose of further "colonization."
Mr. Arthur was made president and general manager of the company. For a time one of his chief assistants was young Otway Cuffe, who years afterwards (when Sir Otway Fortesque Luke Wheeler-Cuffe, third baronet of Lyrath, Kilkenny) was successively Lieutenant Colonel of the Upper Burmah Volunteer Rifles and Hon. A. D. C. to Lords Minto and Hardinge respectively, Viceroys of India. Among other secondaries in the management were General W. W. Hayward and Colonel Arthur C. Chester Master, both formerly of the British Army.
The Colson family had been from time out of mind the most prominent in Southeastern Kentucky--John Colson, then deceased, having been the uncrowned but generally acknowledged "King of Yellow Creek." To that titular dignity one of his sons, David G., tacitly succeeded. The old homestead, with its two-story brick house situated at the northeastern entrance to the Valley, still looks on the road which is said to follow the course of Boone's Trail. From "Dave" Colson and his brothers John and "Gil," Mr. Arthur bought, on behalf of the Association, almost the entire Valley, and from them and others, including the well-known Morison family at Cumberland Gap, nearly a hundred thousand acres of mountain lands. Rich before in real property, but nevertheless "land poor," the Colsons thus became suddenly rich in money. David had been to college and was a lawyer. He was subsequently several times elected to Congress, resigning in his fourth term to take the colonelcy of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, which he was a courteous, soft-spoken gentleman of cultivated tastes, with a natural, spontaneous charm that made him very attractive. To these amenities of personality were joined attributes of a stronger description, on of which was cool, unshrinking physical courage, which more than once displayed itself before personal danger. In the negotiations with the company, Dave as a rule, acted as spokesman for his family. Mr. Arthur is dealing with the natives was usually represented by resident attorneys. Sometimes, however, he traded with them directly and the Kentucky penchant for military titles prevailing, even in the mountains, in such interviews and by written communication he was addressed variously as "Captain," "Colonel," or "General," the last being the most favored.
Mr. Arthur now let contracts
for the construction of the Cumberland Gap tunnel directly beneath the
famous "Wilderness Road," which had been "Boones's Path." He also let contracts
for a railroad sixty~five miles in length from Knoxville, and for another
of twenty- five miles--a belt line, about the perimeter of the Valley and
into the mountain vales where the coal and iron were. Coincident with the commencement of these works began the building of Middlesborough, the name which he had proposed for the town having been adopted. Men of all trades and callings were now entering Yellow Creek Valley, most of them having come by train as far as Pineville, ten miles away, whence they advanced by wagon, hack, horse, or mule. Apparently every city and town in Kentucky, and almost every state, was represented in these various migrants. Although the constituent parts of a few portable houses has been brought in and set up--Mr. Arthur himself using one at this time--tents were employed almost altogether for both living and business purposes, and by mid-autumn of 1889 the Valley looked, at a distance, as if it were occupied by an army.
Countless trees were felled to make space, and later many of them, trimmed and barked, stood again as telephone, telegraph, and electric-light poles. The huge labor of straightening the meanders of Yellow Creek, which bisected the Valley, was initiated under the supervision of the late Colonel George E. Waring, of New York, engineering expert. Ploughs and dirt-scoops without number were employed in preparing foundations for business buildings, breaking ground for mill and factory, opening streets, and leveling knolls. The rasping of saws and the continuous tattoo of innumerable hammers resounded far and wide. The spectacle was inspiring. Common laborers by the hundreds were changing the face of a passive but nevertheless stubborn earth, and skilled workmen refining and artificializing it with structures, to the end that man might possess himself of another of the world's waste places.
The conditions were of a pattern in many respects with those of an incipient frontier town or gold-rush settlement in the Far West. The fashion in dress was slouch hats, boots, and negligee shirts. Pistols were carried openly by large numbers, while the native, according to immemorial habit, seldom went abroad unaccompanied by his rifle. Killings were common, and not infrequently several men would fall in a single fight. Not always were the victims feudists; sometimes they were other mountaineers or "Yellow Creekers"; sometimes from the ranks of the newcomers, among whom was the usual ratio of brawlers, criminals, and shady characters. The drinking-places were numerous, and more often than not the trouble occurred in or near one of them. Many were the hard drinkers among all classes, and almost everybody drank to some extent.
My tent-mate, a middle-aged
real estate dealer from the central part of the State, regularly imbibed
something like a pint of whiskey before breakfast. On frozen nights--with
snow aground and the wind churlishly beating the flaps of the tent, humming
through its cordage and sieving up between its cracks of the plank floor-we
slept under four or five covers that were as thick as horse-blankets. In
such weather his "night-cap" became a busby--a tall one and straight. He
would wake about daybreak, lean out from his cot, light the oil heater,
and then reach under the cot for the "inner heater"--the quart bottle of
Bourbon which he invariably placed there on going to bed.
There was a tart pop as he pulled the cork and a familiar gurgle as the fiery liquid surged to the neck of the vessel. The process was repeated at intervals until at length he got up and drew on his boots. He was now primed for breakfast.
The establishment where we ate and lodged was called the "Hotel encampment." The messhouse, of pine timbers with the bark on, which stood between double rows of tents, was manned by darky cooks and waiters from Knoxville, the chief of the latter of whom was "Laughing John, a jolly negro, fat as Joseph Sedley, who proudly wore in his shirt bosom a faceted glass "diamond" as big as a black walnut. The meals in this rude victualing-place would not, ordinarily, have gladdened a gastronome, but now and then we sat down to some especially toothsame viand. Once this was provided through the occurrence of an unusual incident: A deer wounded by hunters in the mountains had fled, baffled and desperate, into the Valley and was swimming Yellow Creek, then in flood, when a man plunged in to his armpits and dispatched it with a knife. We had venison for several days.
There were instances of queer human digressions, of inversions of men's characters, in the midst of the fevered bustle and striving of whipping into shape a new community. Certain individuals, who, in the places from which they had come, had never betrayed any tendency to irregular or questionable conduct, seemed to became infected with a feeling of license or unrestraint which put them off equilibrium. Perhaps the force of peccant example became resistless; perhaps some, unaccustomed to wild, natural environment and rugged life, felt a mystical urge toward wild and rugged morals.
A conspicuous case of
this remarkable reversal of behavior was that of a gentleman nearing sixty
who, for sake of anonymity, may be called Mr. Torrey. In the city where
he had previously lived and I had known him he had been a prominent and
respected citizen, irreproachable of habit and a glass of propriety an
officer, indeed, of the church. Whether in the unwonted medium in which
he now moved he became bewildered and lost poise, or what--explain it as
you will--at any rate, some weeks after arrival in Middlesborough, he strangely
developed, I was told, a sort of Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde personality, surreptitiously
carrying a pistol and drinking inordinately, sometimes getting drunk, although
endeavoring to keep his newly-acquired and unfamiliar vices concealed.
I could not conciliate all this with the way of his past, and was loath
to believe it. One night, rainy and windswept, in the late fall, and unforgettable
experience befell me. I had worked at the office till about ten o'clock
and on leaving, being without an umbrella, started into a run. Reaching
the other side of the street-or rather road, as it could yet hardly be
called a street I saw, a few yards away, the dark, motionless contour of
a man with raised umbrella, and wondered what he was waiting for on so
foul a night, with no one else in sight. An arc light flickered and sputtered
nearby, and on approaching closer I made out Mr. Torrey in his invariable
cutaway coat and derby. I cordially wished him good evening, and in another
instant would have dashed past, but he thrust out his free hand--to my
consternation, as he had always seemed to like me--seized me roughly by
shoulder. I was a mere youth at the time.
"What's your hurry?" he growled thickly-calling me by my first name--and slightly lurched. I glanced into his face and noting additional signs of inebriation, concluded that he was not responsible. Remembering how courteous and mild-mannered a person he had formerly been, his speech and actions shocked me, notwithstanding that I had been prepared, in a way, for the transformation in him. I felt a little uneasy, too, with that grip on my shoulder and that harsh tone echoing in my ears. I explained why I was making haste, and he released his hold, but straightway commanded in a grim and threatening voice: "Don't you move."
Simultaneously his hand went swiftly to his hip-pocket, and the next moment the nickeling of a revolver glistened in the rays of the electric light. An awful dread came over me, immediately followed by a sensation of pure terror, as he pointed the barrel, only a foot away, directly at my breast. He slowly manipulated the pistol up and down for a few seconds and then remarked, musingly: "I've got a good notion to kill you." With still no other human visible, I stood stiff and immovable, trembling all over, yet managed to gasp: "Why, what have I done, Mr. Torrey?"
"Never mind," he returned. I felt a cold damp beneath my hat-band, and my heart apparently ceased to beat. He appeared to deliberate for a few minutes. "No, I don't believe I will," he finally muttered gruffly, after what had been to me an eternity, and put the weapon back in his pocket. Without another word between us I ran on, though weak with fright, as fast as my legs would carry me. The next day he greeted me pleasantly and apparently retained no recollection of the incident. I did not mention it to him. Quite as strange as his volte-face in conduct was the fact that in about a year he oriented himself and resumed his previous unquestionable manner of life.
Because of the rigors and the inconveniences and general rough existence, no women or children had yet appeared. Finally, one day, a woman was observed walking along Cumberland Avenue. Her apparition was an event of the first order and made a flurry; men paused and gazed as at some curiosity. She had the distinction of being Middlesborough's first female inhabitant.
A host of Englishmen, and some Scotch, had followed in Mr. Arthur's wake--hostlers, artisans, clerks, merchants, and members of various professions. There were also "remittance men"--idle and more or less irresponsible scions of prominent families in England who were probably content, and perhaps relieved, to have them at a distance. These, having no occupation, neither toiled nor spun, but passed the time in riding and in hunting wild deer, turkey, and fox, and in pretty heavy drinking.
In a different category
were young chaps of wealthy upper middle-class derivation who were there
solely for adventure and a fling of "roughing it." Among the latter were
two brothers named Crichton, nephews of N. Storey Maskelyne, M. P., an
investor in the Company. Twice yearly Mr. Arthur went to London to render in person his semi-annual formal report to the board of directors, and it was on one of these trips with him, as his secretary, that I first met the young men when they called at the Hotel Metropole. There they were in silk hats, spats, and morning-coats, not to mention monocles and walking-sticks. They made known their intention of going out to his development in "the States" to engage in dairying for an uncertain period. One brother arrived in Middlesborough some weeks ahead of the other and bought a farm about a mile from town, and for a time he and I shared quarters in a small, portable house. When the other brother came, the repaired to the farm. They did their own milking, or assisted employees in doing so, and one drove the milk-wagon, making deliveries to customers. The spectacle of these young fellows, fashionables at home in London, here milking cows, and one of them ringing his bell before houses, drawing the creamy liquid and pouring it into housewives' pitchers, was amusing.
Gradually coal and iron mines were opened, coke-ovens built, steel mills and blast furnaces put up, and other industries established. A large and luxurious hotel, "The Middlesborough," having risen and several smaller ones become available from time to time, with boarding~houses and residences, by little and little the tent city had melted.
Within six months after completion of the railroad and Cumberland Gap tunnel and of an extension of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Pineville, the principal business street, Cumberland Avenue, had become lined on both sides for a distance of eight or ten blocks with stores and office structures, mostly two-story, though some were three, all, with the exception of a few brick ones, of wood construction, and from this central thoroughfare the town had so spread that it occupied rather compactly more than half the Valley.
Among the residents at this time were Winthrop E. Scarritt, president of the Coal and Iron Bank, who had come from South Dakota, and who afterwards, when a citizen of New York, was an early president of the Automobile Club of America. Another was 0. W. Davis, coal operator, one of whose sons, Owen--a sturdy youngster then--is the celebrated playwright.
There had been much activity in private real estate transfers, but the announcement by the Company of a forthcoming sale of town lots at public auction was received with acclaim as foreshadowing an occasion promising roseate opportunities for gain. It was widely advertised, and the result was a large influx of people from all over Kentucky and from other states. Excitement was high during the week of the sales, which were held in the open. Everybody seemed to have succumbed to the fever of speculation, and wild scenes frequently marked the buying and many harvested fat profits.
Mr. Arthur, then about
forty-five and at the top of his powers, was a volcano of energy. he spent
much time in the saddle, going from point to point to keep abreast
of things, always carrying a small scratch-pad on which to make notes that were the foundation of letters to his subordinates and to the secretary of the board in London. Correspondence with the London office was huge, and sometimes he would start dictating in his quarters at "The Middlesborough" at six in the morning and dispatch a mass of business before breakfast. For lack of prior opportunity he usually was obliged to make up his voluminous half-yearly report on shipboard en route to London.
His stays there lasted,
as a rule, a month or six weeks, but once extended beyond three months
when subsidiary companies were being organized, prospectuses framed, and
stock floated. The shares of the American Association, Ltd., and Middlesborough
Town Lands Company, its principal auxiliary, were listed on the London
Stock Exchange and were very active. There were so many titled names in
the personnel of the boards of directors that a glance at them produced
the illusion of looking down a page of BURKE'S PEERAGE. C. Barclay Holland,
son of a director of the Bank of England, was the secretary of both major
companies. The chairman of the Association board was Edmund A. Pontifex,
a spectacular financial figure at the time in London. he was chairman also
of the boards of innumerable other corporations unrelated to the Cumberland
Gap enterprises, and was facetiously called "Guinea" Pontifex, in allusion
to the honorarium he so frequently received for presiding at a meeting.
Photo Alexander A. Arthur
Mr. Arthur often visited Louisville also--chiefly to confer with counsel, the late Rozel Weissinger--sometimes remaining for several days. His headquarters were at the noble old Galt House, where, by the way, I recall seeing many times in the capacious dining-room, with its large staff of urbane darky waiters, one of Kentucky's best-loved sons, the ruddy-faced, white-locked Colonel Henry Watterson.
During the absences of Mr. Arthur from Middlesborough, the companies' affairs were carried on by under-officials, who kept him informed by letters, cablegrams, and telegrams. On his first return from London after the town had got under way he was met at the railroad station by a committee of leading citizens and a crowd of lesser ones of both sexes and all ages; they were on-horseback, muleback, in buggies, hacks, afoot. On a big gray horse sat the Baron Anton von Stauffenhausen, a little stout man, with hair a la Pompadour and mustaches bristling like badger-hair shaving-brushes, who ran a small stationery store and who let it be known, confidentially, to a few that he had fallen on financial misfortune in his native Austria. He wore tight-fitting doe-skin trousers disappearing into knee-high glistening patent-leather boots which looked as if they had been bought for the occasion.
As the train was rolling
in, the town band struck up "Hail to the Chief." Mr. Arthur was much taken
by surprise and was modestly embarrassed. He turned to me and remarked,
"What in the world does all this mean?" Nevertheless, in a short address
from the steps of the car, he expressed appreciation and told of his plans
for the continued progress of Middlesborough and for broadening the scope
of the various
companies operating under the aegis of the Association. The committee then escorted him to "The Middlesborough." If some features of the welcome were in questionable taste, without doubt it was all hearty and sincere tribute, though privately disapproved by Mr. Arthur himself.
About three months afterward two men from Cincinnati came along and took the purple "Baron" away. They were detectives and had spotted him in his stationery store--a blind, they said. He was an international swindler, with a magazine of aliases.
"The Middlesborough," by the way, was the center of social life. Here took place the dances and balls, with their favors and punch-bowls, and their string-bands from Louisville or Cincinnati. Among the dancers on a certain occasion was a young lady bearing a proud Kentucky name. An illness had temporarily taken her hair, and she wore a wig, which, in the midst of the dance, loosened and fell to the floor, to her unspeakable horror and mortification. Once, on the "grand stairway," a husband was restrained only by the strongest efforts of an intermediary from shooting a man for alleged attentions to his beautiful wife. Here, too, a callow, scatter-brained young Englishman of notable family made his initial marriage proposal to a buxom mulatto lady's-maid and by reason of the pertinacity of his suit was recalled home by his father.
One spring morning in 1890 about ten o'clock I was at work in the Association office building, which commanded a view for a considerable distance along Cumberland Avenue, when my attention was attracted by shouts and other sounds of a commotion. Looking up I saw large flames, accompanied by dense masses of black smoke, bursting from the top floor of a store a couple of blocks away, and men rushing excitedly about the sidewalks and in the roadway. I called to Mr. Arthur, sitting nearby, and he clapped on his hat and rushed forth. A strong breeze was driving the flames almost across the thoroughfare; burning fragments of some size fell upon roofs opposite, and these buildings, too, soon caught. Live sparks were being carried to structures far beyond the main business section and ignited them. Under the circumstances the fire-fighting apparatus, which was only nominal, proved practically useless.
Frantic merchants along the entire avenue began furiously to empty their stores with the aid of employees, carrying goods to what were considered places of safety. The contents of saloons also, of which there were numbers, were piled in heaps in the center of the street--bottles, case-goods, and what not--while whiskey barrels were rolled out alongside. Fearing a drunken riot and acts of lawlessness by the hoodlum and abandoned elements, citizens of standing, Mr. Arthur among them, procured hammers and axes and lay about shattering bottles and bursting barrels. The gutters ran with drink, and I saw men here and there on their knees, swilling it up.
Within two hours Cumberland
Avenue was ablaze from end to end, with many buildings already burnt down.
Flame met flame in a fiery arch until the whole was a vast imperious furnace,
crackling and roaring, fed by the tinder of wooden materials
and whipped into fury by the wind. The conflagration had now spread for several blocks beyond the avenue, reducing residences and other fabrics. By mid-afternoon it had burned itself out, and the better part of the town had been annihilated. In the charred and blackened desolation it was difficult to fix where such and such had stood. "The Middlesborough," being out of range, escaped, and still stands today on its "hill retir'd." so ended the first phase of the "boom town--a phase, it may be said, which nettled the founder, who, on sundry occasions, vehemently protested that he had never intended Middlesborough to be such.
Mr. Arthur cable to London of the disaster and asked for loans to the fire sufferers to enable the business area to be rebuilt. Assurances were promptly given that these would be made. The citizens took heart. In about a year's time, out of the ashes of the dead city of ligneous construction, a new one was lifted up of safer and more enduring stuff, and another epoch was auspiciously entered upon. The future was fronted with cheerful hope, and even with enthusiasm.
Meanwhile a short distance from Cumberland Gap, in Tennessee, the new town of Harrogate (named for Harrogate in England), another Arthurian enterprise, was building up. Mr. Arthur planned that Harrogate should be to Middlesborough as Tuxedo Park to New York--an exclusive and abstracted place of residence combining more or less pastoral surroundings with the conveniences and elegancies of sumptuous life in town, and there on a luxurious estate staffed by English help he himself, with his family, went to live. Photo Middlesborough
Upon a slight elevation at the base of a ridge, and not far from the Arthur place, had just been built the great "Four Seasons Hotel," representing an outlay of a million dollars. it looked upon one of the fairest of prospects, including a long sweep, extending many miles, of the blue Cumberlands. The hotel opened with a gorgeous ball, and the presence at that function and during the succeeding festivities, which lasted several days, of a crowd of persons of eminent social position started the hotel on its career with distinguished sanction and high prestige. Among those who went down from New York in a long train of Pullman coaches was Mrs. Paran Stevens, co-leader with Ward McAllister of the "Four Hundred."
London stock-brokers especially interested in the companies' shares, as well as members of English shareholds, came to Middlesborough from time to time to look the ground over, and the British Iron and Steel Institute in a body stayed there some days during a tour of the industrial section of the United States.
Now and then personages
appeared, among them, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough (formerly Mrs.
Lily Hamersley, of New York). The bearer of the title of the hero of Blenheim
came in one morning with Mr. Arthur to the latter's office. He was a man
of short stature, with Roman nose and rather rotund figure, and had on
riding clothes. He shook hands with me, and I felt signally honored, being
quite young at the time. "Your Grace, " Mr. Arthur styled him. But a prominent
dealer of large from and stentorian voice, who happened in, took ff his hat and said with great vigor and good fellowship: "Duke, howdy, sir! I'm glad to meet you." Before leaving the city the Duke had his little joke and dubbed Mr. Arthur "Duke of Middlesborough."
Subsequently the Earl of Dysart and party made a sojourn of about a week. The late Viscount Bryce--then James B. Bryce, M.P.--one--time British ambassador to the United States, author of many economic, sociological, and political works, and pre-eminently of THE AMERICAN COMMONWEALTH, was also a visitor. Apparently he deemed the opening up of natural resources and the dawn of industrial activity in a region hitherto unexploited worthy of critical study, not only in themselves but as constituting an adventure of magnitude, by one of British extraction who had become a discoverer of opportunity which Americans had either overlooked or considered negligible. On the departure of the illustrious publicist Arthur accompanied him as far as Knoxville, providing his private car for the journey.
Such visits contributed to the sanguine outlook, which was not, however, to last long. At its height the citizens were thrown into consternation by a calamity which, though originating in London, sent devastating vibrations four thousand miles away to Middlesborough, ruined large numbers of people there, and doomed the town to years of stagnation. Like a thunderbolt out of clear sky came, one day in 1890, the news of the failure of the Barring Brothers Bank of London, in which many English who were investors in one or more of the companies lost heavily.
It was soon apparent that large industrial plants, in being or prospective, upon which Middlesborough had much depended, would have to be dropped, and that promises of additional funds from London, which had been the heart pumping the lifeblood into the city's arteries, could not be fulfilled.
The inhabitants were seized
with panic. Swollen property values suffered a tremendous contraction,
and one of the largest real estate operators became insane from his losses.
People thronged away as at first they had thronged in. In a short time
the town was bereft of more than half its population. Only those stayed
on who either had not been completely disabled by the catastrophe or whose
affairs required the waiting attitude of Mr. Micawber. The Crichton brothers,
dillettante dairy-farmers, turned homeward; so did the "remittance men,"
teeming with Odysseys with which, over brandies and sodas in the clubs
of Pall Mall and Piccadilly, to fill the ears of the stay-at-homes. The
bones of a few of the English remained in the Valley--among them, those
of Colonel Arthur C. Chester Master and of young Valentine Joseph Blake,
son of Sir Valentine Blake, of Menlough Castle, Ireland. But the living
repatriated themselves almost to a man, many broken in fortune and in spirit.
One Britisher of high standing was in such a condition of physical decline
that a local physician was engaged to accompany him to London, and a coffin
was taken aboard ship for use in case he should die on the way.
Despite its brilliant opening, the accessory grandeur and state-talked of for years afterward and still a legend-the vast and rambling "Four Seasons Hotel" at Harrogate had been practically from the beginning a lonely, soundless wilderness of empty rooms. The wealthy from the cities could not be attracted; those in Middlesborough preferred to continue living there. As for the native, of course he had not been even thought of as a possible well of revenue. Indeed he dared advance only within good, comtenplative distance and halt in his tracks, daunted by the enormous proporations and reported inner magnificence of the fabulous pile, but more than these by the storied segars costing not less than twenty cents and the unimaginable whiskey at a quarter a drink. Although he may have itched to feast his eyes on the wonders its walls enclosed, to him they remained as Carcassonne to the French peasant of Nadaud's famous ballad. Within two years from the time of its completion the structure was torn down, and the remains sold to a Chicago contractor for twenty-five thousand dollars.
A certain tacit irony lies in the peculiar circumstance that, on the site of the ill-fated hostelry which blossomed for a day and died without a stone being left to mark where it had made its fleeting stand against a dogging and invincible adversity, there rest today some of the buildings of Lincoln Memorial University, the mountaineers' seminary. The others are scattered about the original grounds, and the former Arthur mansion serves now as the Conservatory of Music. The raw, unpolished highlander in his timidity could not bring himself so far as to cross the threshold of the lordly caraveansary; but here is an institution that invites him and is dedicated to his education and social and economic improvement.
Middlesborough drooped, languished, became thoroughly enervated and in the course of time reached nadir--that is, lapsed into an inveterately torpid mountain town apparently resigned to its fate. Its star, it seemed, had set. A burst of partial vitality infused it on Saturday afternoons and nights when the miners in boots and torch-crested caps slouched down from the big hills to "liquor-up" and incidentally to trade. An occasional pistol battle in the street would galvanize the immediate vicinage, and there was an ebullition of pure, child-like jubilee humor when some third-rate circus appeared with its crew of tough men and hardened women and its shabby and mildewed accessories. But the settled condition-sequel of the collapse of material values and crash of industry--was one of lethargy and almost paralysis. Weeds grew here and there in the little-used roadways; a stranger was a curiosity. Some few manufacturing plants had survived; others, partly finished when the disaster fell, had been dismantled, and the salvaged materials sold for a song.
That was the second phase.
It lasted many years. The third began with Middlesborough's recovery after
far drawn-out convalescence. Having been successively an inflated and deflated
boom town, it is now and long has been a normal, prosperous community.
Mountains ring it about, and on every side the eye is greeted with natural
beauty. It has the Dixie Highway, which passes also through Cumberland
Gap, and other raids camparable with any for excellence are plentiful.
Much of the
population is now indigenous, and to that extent there is a topical or regional stamp upon it, as in many other sections of the United States with its heterogeneous types. This very circumstance contributes to render its ethos as American as America; the only vestige of the "foreign occupation" consists in the nomenclature of the streets, nearly all of whose names were taken from England. But the customs and social code of the native have been for decades in process of gradual relinquishment in favor of those of the other inhabitants, which supposedly reflect the standard. At Lincoln Memorial University the young mountaineer is moulded more or less to this form, but the result is largely achieved by what he sees independently. A sharp observer, he notes for himself the conduct, manners, and technique of the "city man" and, as a rule deeming them superior, becomes, in general, a conformist, or, as the unyielding Bourbons among the stock regard him, a deserted, an apostate to his kind. He is gradually losing his tribal tang and highland picturesqueness.
Alexander A. Arthur found Yellow Creek Valley a desert, a wild. He covered it with homes and places of business and manufacture. He built railroads into Southeastern Kentucky and constructed the great Cumberland Gap tunnel. All these works existed first only in his imagination--in the form of thought. He realized them. he was one of Kentucky's great benefactors. He too left after the financial breakdown, and for many years lived in New York. He finally returned to Middlesborough--to die. He died March 4, 1912. He was born in Montreal, August 30, 1846. His tomb, a few paces from Colonel David G. Colson's, is in a lonely burying-ground on the crown of a hill below which Daniel Boone is reputed to have passed. The hill partly overlooks the town, and the timeless mountains that knew the ages preceding man over-peer all.
Howard J. Douglas, Secretary Chamber of Commerce, Middlesborough, Kentucky, furnished the writer the following list of business men and the business they operate today in Middlesborough. They are as follows: Photo H.J. Douglas
Alexander and Pace Garage,
Manager D. R. Alexander; Allen Lumber Company, Hugh Allen, Manager; American
Association, C. W. Rhodes, Manager; Mrs. Maude Allison Grocery, Mrs. Maude
Allison, Proprietor; Anderson Hardware Company, W. Sam Anderson, Manager;
J. W. Archer Grocery, J. W. Archer, Proprietor; J. 0. Armstrong Insurance,
J. 0. Armstrong, Manager; Dr. Paul Armstrong, Dentist; Atlas Coal Company;
Dr. A. G. Barton, Optometrist; Bell Printing Company, J. Warren Cunningham,
Manager; Blue Bell Globe Manufacturing Company, W. A. Snyder, Manager;
Dr. J. H. Brooks, Dentist; Burnett Brothers, Plumbing, John Burnett, Manager;
E. M. Butcher, Grocery, E. M. Butcher, Proprietor; Cairnes Coal Mining
Company, Mrs. Joe Sweeney, Manager; W. J. Callison Company, George M. Callison,
Manager, Furniture and Funeral Directors; A. D. Campbell GO-Ready to Wear,
Lee F. Campbell, Manager; T. H. Campbell Brothers, Men's Furn., T. H. Campbell,
Properietor; Cardwell and Shoffner, Furniture, A. C. Cardwell, Proprietor;
Cawood Funeral Home, Hobart Cawood, Proprietor; Chattanooga Armature Works,
Guy McKenzie, Manager; City Cash Market, Fruits and Vegetables, Clarence
Greer, Manager; City Coal and Transfer Company, L. W. Wilson, Manager;
Coca Cola Bottling Works, Neil Barry, Manager;
Coffee Pot, Restaurant, Louis Kalfas, Manager; Comer Radio Service,
E. M. Comer, Proprietor; Cumberland Beauty Shoppe, Mrs. Clarence Jennings,
Proprietress; Cumberland Hotel, E. M. Foor, Manager; Cumberland Valley
Credit Bureau, Harold Locke, Manager; Dixie Hardware Company, Garfield
Drinnon, manager; Dr. Goldie Horr Eagle, Chiropodist; Dr. J. P. Edmonds,
eye, ear, nose and throat; Emmett's Cash Grocery, Guy Emmett, Proprietor;
Evans Hospital, Drs. W. K. and T. J. Evans, in charge; Fair Store, Robert
Euster, Proprietor; Farmers Supply Company; Fork Ridge Coal and Coke Company,
C. W. Rhodes, General Manager; Gagle Radio Service, M. S. Gagle, manager;
Gibson Music Company, W. H. Gibson, proprietor; Gibson Oil and Gas Corporation,
Karl N. Harris, Manager; Dr. Schultz Gibson, Dentist; Ginsburg Department
Store, Harry Ginsburg, Proprietor; Gulf Refining Company (Bulk), Lee Rennebaum,
Manager; Hackney-Jellico Company, E. T. Moore, Manager; Dr. D. A. Hartwell,
Chiropractor; J. R. Hoe and Sons, Homer L. Hoe, Manager; Holland Furnace
Company, J. W. Graft, Manager; Hopson Dental Laboratory; Hubbard Insurance
Agency, Mrs. M. G. Hubbard, Manager; Ideal Cleaners and Dyers, Monty Goforth,
Manager; Indian Refining Company; Inman Studio, Jack Inman, proprietor;
Iovine Dry Cleaners, C. J. Iovine, Proprietor; Jenkins Cash Grocery, Ralph
Jenkins, Proprietor; Joe Johnston Grocery, Joe Johnston, Proprietor; Justice
Grocery, Joe Johnston, Proprietor; Justice Grocery, Regan Justice, Proprietor;
Kentucky Armature and Motor Works, J. W. Wilson, Manager; Kentucky-Virginia
Stone Company, W. B. Paynter, Manager; Harry Latiff Grocery, Harry Latiff,
Proprietor; Sam Latiff Grocery, Sam Latiff, Proprietor; Frank L. Lee and
Company, Drugs, Frank L. Lee, Proprietor; Lee Tailoring Company, J. R.
Haslit, Proprietor; Lyon and Fox Motor Company, John W. Lyon, Manager;
R. L. Maddox, Attorney; Majestic Hotel, Joe Tamer, Manager; J. L. Manring
Company, Insurance, John Chesney, Manager; Martin Brothers, Elastic Mfgrs.,
Horace C. Martin, Manager; McLean Studio, Edith Mclean, Manager; Middlesborough
Bakery, W. W. Haynes, Manager; Middlesborough Daily News, C. H. Arundel,
Editor; Middlesborough Feed and Seed Company; Middlesborough Hardware Company,
W. B. Fugate, Manager; Middlesborough Hotel, Lee Rennebaum, Proprietor;
Middlesborough Liquor and Wine Company, George Blincoe, Manager; Middlesborough
Hospital, Dr. C. K. Broshear and Dr. U. G. Brumment, and Dr. Jacob Schultz,
in charge; Middlesborough Milling Company, W. C. Broadwater, Manager; Middlesborough
Steam Laundry, A. P. Liebig, Manager; Middlesborough Wholesale Grocery
Company, H. K. Milburn, Plumbing; Modern Equipment Company, Elect. Supls.,
C. Y. Blakeman, Manager; Moore Chevrolets, J. L. Moore, Manager; Dr. H.
E. Motch, Dentist; Motch Motor Company, W. D. Motch, Manager; Nehi Bottling
Company, William Ralston, Manager; New York Restaurant, George Zaharias,
Proprietor; E. P. Nicholson, Jr., Attorney; S. Owsley and Sons, Cecil and
John Owsley, Proprietors; Pinnacle Motors, Inc., C. Y. Blakeman, Manager;
Dr. R. F. Porter, Physician; Premier Coal Company, Capt. W. E. Cabell,
Manager; Pure Oil Company, Ike Sharp, Manager; Dr. Frank Queener, Physician;
Warren P. Rash, Wholesale Candy and Drugs; Reams Hardware Campany, S. M.
Reams, Manager; Reams Lumber Company, W. Hobart Reams, Manager; Milton
Reese Coal Yard, Milton Reese, Manager; Rennebaum Coal Company, Lee Rennebaum,
Manager; Arthur Rhorer, Attorney; S & S Coal Company, E. G. Sheafer,
Manager; J. F.
Schneider and Son Grocery, George Schneider, Manager; Sharp's Food
Market, Vernon Sharp, Proprietor; Shoffner and Company Grocery, G. W. Shoffner,
Proprietor; Sinclair Refining Company; A. B. Snyder and Son, A. B. Snyder,
Manager; Standard Oil Company, R. H. Barker, Manager; Sterchi Brothers,
A. M. Terrell, Manager; Susong's, Florist, Guy Suson, Proprietor; G. H.
Talbott Company, George Talbott, Manager; H. H. Tamer, Dry Goods, H. H.
Tamer, Proprietor; Kemp Thompson Company, Wholesale Candies, Kemp Thompson,
Manager; Three States Printing Office, H. C. Chappell, Manager; Union Tanning
Company, Fred Seale, Manager; Union Transfer and Storage Company, Clifford
Wilson, Manager; Verrans, Ladies Ready to Wear, H. E. Verran, Proprietor;
White Furniture Company, Mrs. Roberta White, proprietor; Wilson and Cluxton,
Electrical Service, Elton Cluxton, Manager; Dr. C. L. Woodridge, Eye, Ear,
Nose and Throat; Yoakum Drug Company, Lon Yoakum, Proprietor; Yoakum and
Gibson Plumbing Company, Silous Yoakum and C. A. Gibson, Managers; Zim's
Drug Store, Theodore Zimmerman, Proprietor.
ROADS OF BELL COUNTY
I. THE WILDERNESS ROAD AND WARRIOR'S PATH
The Wilderness Road, built by Daniel Boone and others, in 1775, entered Bell County at Cumberland Gap. It passed up the mountain on the Tennessee side to the left of the railroad tunnel under Cumberland Gap and passed almost straight up the mountain into the Gap. Then it turned left around the mountain and came into Yellow Creek Valley at Middlesborough and passed by where John Colson lived, or followed pretty closely the route of the present railroad line. it crossed Yellow Creek and followed the course of the present highway between Middlesborough and Pineville to the Gap in Little Log Mountain; descended from this Gap, crossed Cannon Creek, passed Ferndale, turned to the left up Moore's Branch, crossed through the Gap in Big Log Mountain and descended Lick Branch to its mouth, where it entered Clear Creek, crossed Clear Creek, descended to its mouth, where it entered Cumberland River, and followed Cumberland River down to Cumberland Ford. It crossed through Cumberland Ford in the center of the present town of Pineville, turned down Cumberland River and followed the course of the river to Flat Lick. Here it left the old Warrior's path and turned to the left, leaving Cumberland River, and went to Rockcastle River. From the Rockcastle River it went to Blue Lick, and, from Blue Lick, to Boonesborough on the Kentucky River. Later it continued on to Lexington from Boonesborough. Later the pioneer road split at Rockcastle River and went to Logan's Fort, from Logan's Fort to Danville, and from Danville to Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio River. Another split in the road was made at Logan's Fort, which turned southwest to settlements on the Cumberland River. Photo Cumberland Ford
The Warrior's Path or Indian Trail preceded the Wilderness Road over the same route from Cumberland Gap to Flat Lick. Here the Warrior's Path turned to the right from the route of the Wilderness Road and went a straight line northwest to the head waters of Kentucky River. Here this Warrior's Path split: one path turning to the right, north, to the old Shawane Town just north of the Ohio River; the other, the left branch of the road, crossed the head waters of the Kentucky and Licking Rivers, passed through a fine game land on the Licking River, and went up to Washington in northern Kentucky, crossed the Ohio River just north of Washington and proceeded to the Mingo Nation.
There are four very important
points on this Wilderness Road and the four can be very definitely located.
They are (1) Cumberland Gap, (2) Cumberland Ford, (3) "The Narrows," and
(4) Boonesborough, where the Fort was built by Boone. Three of these, Cumberland
Cap, Cumberland Ford and "The Narrows" at Pineville, lie in Bell
County. in pioneer days, passage through Bell County was not very easy except through these gaps and Ford. They were natural passways that could not well be missed by pathfinders in the early days. For a long distance, approaching Cumberland Gap from Virginia, an almost impassable rock-ledge barrier lined Cumberland Mountain; but, when the Gap was reached, an easy passage was found over the mountain, one that had been used by the Indians for a long time before the advent of the Whites. This Gap lowers the height of the mountain more than half and was easily approached from the Virginia-Tennessee side. It was somewhat longer and rougher down the Kentucky side.
At "The Narrows" on the southern edge of Pineville, Pine Mountain is cut in two at its base, and was and is an easy and natural passway. Today there is just room in "The Narrows" for the railroad, the river and the highway, with the river between the two.
Cumberland Ford was also an important point on the Wilderness Road. It was a wide shallow ford in the center of the what is now Pineville. The indentures of the old road are still to be seen on the banks of the river to show where the old Ford crossed the river. I am very familiar with this ford, because, as a boy, before the days of bridges, I made my way a number of times through this Ford to Pogue's Mill near Flat Lick to get corn ground into meal. In the Fall of the year, the streams around my home on Little Clear Creek got so low that corn could not be ground at the mills. Then we had to reach Pogue's mill on the river, which was about ten miles from my home.
The map of the Wilderness Road and Warrior's Path in the front part of this book are authentic. It is made from one involved in a suit of A. J. Asher, which suit involved the location of these trails, and the judgement in the suit fixes the location of these trails as shown on the map. Of course, the location of the trails, involved in the suit, was confined to lands in Bell County.
The Wilderness Road was built by Daniel Boone and his followers, among whom was Felix Walker, brother of Doctor Thomas Walker.
It is interesting to note, in this connection, that the first toll-gate in the state was located in the "Narrows" just south of what is now called old Pineville. This toll-gate was established by an act of the Legislature of Kentucky to help pay for the improvements on the Wilderness Road. This act was passed in 1795, and the toll-gate keeper selected at the time failed to act, and Dillion Asher, was selected and acted as such keeper. This toll-gate was also the first in the state to disappear, which was in the year 1830.
Mr. Elmer Decker, of Barbourville,
Kentucky, has given me an interesting side-line on this old toll-gate.
Reference to it is contained in a survey of the line between Knox and Harlan
counties in 1824. The report of the survey follows: (See Decker Manuscript
under Knox County on southeasternky.html)
"In pursuance of an act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, approved December 16, 1823, to run the dividing line between the counties of Knox and Harlan, the undersigned met at Cumberland Gap, on the 19th day of July, 1824, and, after ascertaining the course of said line agreeably to said Act, we proceeded from the mouth of Straight Creek, thence S. 15 W. 320 poles on the clift opposite the Tunpike gate, 474 poles crossing Clear Creek, 812 poles crossing road leading up Clear Creek, 2720 poles crossing the Lick Fork of Yellow Creek, 3520 poles crossing Bean Fork of Yellow Creek, thence over the Fork Ridge, a spur of Black Mingo Mountain, passing a point five miles west of Cumberland Gap, 4200 poles to Bennett's Fork of Yellow Creek, in all 4300 poles to five hickories, two lynns, three buckeyes, a poplar, and black and white walnut tree standing on the north side of Black Mingo Mountain on the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee.
This July 29th, 1824.
George W. Craig,
There was a toll-gate on Moore's Branch, about one mile north of Ferndale, at Polly Moore's house. It was operated by A. Austin.
Willian Ayres, in his HISTORICAL SKETCHES, says of the Wilderness Road:
"In connection with the great tide of migration flowing into Kentucky, during the period above referred to, it should not be forgotten that the 'Trace' or road, which had been marked for their guidance by the axes of Boone's trail makers in 1775, for many years remined only a bridle path for horses and in places could be traversed only by going 'single file' along its winding way through precipitous valleys and giant forest trees and dense stretches of cane or other similar growth. Although the thoughts and efforts of the pioneers were early directed toward the need of a wagon road through the wilderness, yet, in spite of efforts and legislative acts, many years elapsed before the first wheeled vehicle passed through Cumberland gap or crossed the Cumberland River. In 1775, shortly after Boone and his party had started upon their work of marking the trail, Richard Henderson endeavored, by the aid of a numerous party of workmen, to open a road for wagons to Kentucky from the settlements on the Holston River; but after great labor and difficulty the road was rudely cleared only as far as Martin's Station, and there the wagons, which he had hoped to use for transportation of supplies through the wilderness, were left behind and his dependence placed solely upon his caravan of horses for the remainder of the journey to Boonesborough."
Many writers have dwelt
upon the features of that journey, which have been referred to above, and
a mental picture of the conditions as they then existed is essential to
a proper appreciation of the difficulties encountered by the thousands
who sought to make their homes in Kentucky and who dared the dangers of
this wilderness journey and helped to lay the foundations of the new state.
Of all those who have
written of this journey through the wilderness probably no other man has given to posterity so faithful and vivid a picture as that presented to our mental vision by Judge George Robertson, the noted jurist, who so long was a member of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky during one of its most critical political periods. Judge Robertson's parents had moved to Kentucky in 1779 over the Wilderness Road; and, from them and others who had traversed it, he received those impressions which were embodied by him in an address delivered in 1843. He refers first to the new land law of 1799, enacted by Virginia in aid of the settlement of Kentucky and providing for the acquisition of title to land within its bounds, after the conflicting claims of the Transylvania Company had been extinguished by legislation of a preceding session; and he then pictures in a general way the scenes occurring along the Wilderness Road during that period of migration. He refers to the winter of 1779-1780, known in Kentucky history as the "hard winter"; and it was in December of that hard winter that his own parents made their march through the wilderness. That passage in Judge Robertson's address should ever remain in the memory of Kentuckians. These are his words:
"This beneficent enactment brought to the country during the fall and winter of that year an unexampled tide of emigrants, who, exchanging all the comforts of their native society and homes for settlements for themselves and their children here, came like pilgrims to a wilderness to be made secure by their arms and habitable by the toil of their lives. Through privations incredible and perils thick, thousands of men, women, and children came in successive caravans, forming continuous streams of human beings, horses, cattle, and other domestic animals, all moving onward along a lonely and houseless path to a wild and cheerless land. Cast your eyes back on that long procession of missionaries in the cause of civilization; behold the men on foot with their trusty guns on their shoulders, driving stock and leading pack horses; and the women, some walking with pails on their heads, others riding, with children in their laps, and other children swung in baskets on horses, fastened to the tails of others going before; see them encamped at night expecting to be murdered by Indians; behold them in the month of December, in that ever memorable season of unprecedented cold called the "hard winter," traveling two or three miles a day, frequently in danger of being frozen, or killed by the falling of horses on the icy and almost impassable trace, and subsisting on stinted allowances of stale bread and meat; but now, lastly, look at them at the destined fort, perhaps on the eve of Merry Christmas, when met by the hearty welcome of friends who had come before, and cheered by fresh buffalo meat and parched corn, they rejoice at their deliverance, and resolve to be contented with their lot."
This account of travel over the Wilderness Road is given here for two reasons: one, that Judge Robertson has many relatives who live, and have lived, in Bell County; second, because it gives a true picture of the hardships of that pioneer movement over the Wilderness Road.
Still quoting from Imlay's
AMERICA, published in London, England, in 1797,
he has Boone to say: "Soon after I returned home, I was offered to take the command of three garrisons during the campaign, which Governor Dunmore carried on against the Shawanese Indians; after the conclusion of which, the militia was discharged from each garrison, and I being relieved from my post, was solicited by a number of Northern Carolina gentlemen, that were about purchasing the lands lying on the south side of Kentucky River, from the Cherokee Indians, to attend their treaty at Wataga, in March 1775, to negotiate with them, and mention the boundaries of the purchase. This I accepted; and, at the request of the same gentlemen, undertook to mark out a road in the best passage from the settlement through the wilderness of Kentucky, with such assistance as I though necessary to employ for such an important undertaking.
"I soon began this work, having collected a number of enterprising men, well armed. We proceeded with all possible expedition until we came within 15 miles of where Boonesborough now stands, and where we were fired upon by a party of Indians that killed 2, and wounded 2 of our number; yet, although surprised and taken at a disadvantage, we stood our ground: this was on the 20th of March, 1774. Three days after we were fired upon again, and had 2 men killed, and 3 wounded. Afterwards we proceeded on to Kentucky River without opposition; and on the 1st day of April began to erect the fort at Boonesborough at a salt lick, about 60 yards from the river, on the south side.
"On the fourth day the Indians killed one of our men...We were busily employed in building this fort, until the 14th day of June following, without any further opposition from the Indians; and having finished the works, I returned to my family on Clinch.
"In a short time I proceeded to remove my family from Clinch to this garrison, where we arrived safe without any other difficulties than such as are common to this passage; my wife and daughter being the first white women that ever stood on the banks of Kentucky River.
"Road from Philadelphia to the falls of the Ohio by land.
From Philadelphia to Lancaster
To Wright's on Susquehanna 10 76
York-town 12 88
Abbot's-town 15 103
To Hunter's-town 10 113
The mountain at Black's Gap 3 116
The other side of the mountain 7 123
The Stone-house tavern 25 148
Wadkin's ferry on Potomac 14 162
Martinburg 13 175
Winchester 20 195
Newtown 8 203
Stover's-town 10 213
Shanandoah River 15 240
The north branch of Shanandoah 29 269
Stanton 15 284
The north fork of James River 37 321
James River 18 339
Botetourt court-house 12 351
Wood's on Catauba. River 21 372
Paterson's on Roanoak 9 381
The Alleghany mountains 8 389
New River 12 401
The forks of the road 16 417
Fort Chissel 12 429
A stone mill 11 440
Boyd's 8 448
Head of Holston 5 453
Washington court-house 45 498
The block-house 35 533
Powell's mountain 33 566
Walden's Ridge 3 569
The valley station 4 573
Martin Cabbin's 25 598
CUMBERLAND MOUNTAIN 20 618
THE FORD OF CUMBERLAND R. 13 631
The Flat lick 9 640
Stinking Creek 2 642
Richland Creek 7 649
Down Richland creek 8 657
Raccoon Spring 6 663
Laurel River 2 665
Hazel Patch 15 680
The ford of Rock Castle R. 10 690
English's Station 25 715
Col. Edward's at Crab Orchard 3 718
Whitley's Station 5 723
Th Logan's Station 5 728
Clark's Station 7 735
Crow's Station 4 739
Harrod's Station 3 742
Harland's 4 746
Harbison's 10 756
Bard's-town 25 781
The salt-works 25 806
The falls of the Ohio 20 826
II. MODERN ROADS OF BELL COUNTY
In 1867, when the county
was established, a series of dirt roads covered the county. These were
nothing more than rough wagon roads, and riding paths across the hills.
It was the burden of each community to build its roads and keep them up.
The law, at the time, required each male, over twenty-one years of age,
to work three days
each year on repairing and keeping up the roads, and, if the road worker was not in the community or could not work for some reason or other, then he was to hire a man in his place. A foreman would be selected by the County Judge of the county and he would summon the men in for road work on the days designated by the County Judge. An army of men would gather on the road and proceed to throw out the loose rocks, batter down the stationary rocks, drain mud holes, fill in depressions in the road and make it passable for men, stock, and vehicles, consisting of wagons, sleds and buggies.
This system went on, with but few changes, until around 1910. In 1910 or 1911, the United States Government built a model macadam road across Cumberland Gap, from foot to foot of the mountain on each side. This was the first hard surfaced road in Bell County. This road had some dangerous curves in it, and recently, the road department of the state of Kentucky has entered upon the straightening and widening of this road. The work has been almost completed to the Gap in the mountain, and will make an almost straight road from the foot of the mountain on the Kentucky side, with but few curves of wide dimensions. The extra width of the road will make easy going for traffic. The state of Virginia has already widened and straightened out the road on the Virginia side. These two improvements by these two states have made the Cumberland Gap road an easygoing highway.
T. J. Asher, of Wasioto, Kentucky, assumed the office of County Judge of Bell County in 1914 and served until 1918. While he was in office he had the county build the road from the Knox-Bell County line just below the Kentucky Utilities plant, through Pineville, to Middlesborough to join the Cumberland Gap road. This opened up the main highway through the county to the south. This road has been improved, from time to time since, and is now in good condition. I understand the state of Kentucky, through its road department, is now planning to straighten out and widen this road. Mr. Asher, also, while he was County Judge, built a road from Pineville to Page in the direction of Harlan County. This road is now linked up with a concrete road that leads into the city of Harlan.
A few years ago, a road was built from Middlesborough, across Log Mountain, to Fonde and Pruden, which connects with a road leading to Jellico, Tennessee. A road was built from near the foot of Little Log Mountain, down Yellow Creek, to the coal mines there. A road also was built up Bennetts Fork to the mines above Middlesborough. A road was built from just above the mouth of Clear Creek to Clear Creek Springs. One was built up Straight for several miles, and now the road department of the state of Kentucky has let a contract for the extension of this road, which eventually will cross into the Red Bird territory and connect with a road from Harlan to Hyden.
Recently the road department
of the state of Kentucky has built a broad-gauge macadam road from the
mouth of Greasy Creek, out at the head of Greasy Creek and over onto and
down Poplar Creek. This road connects with a road through Whitley County
to Williamsburg. CCC workers and WPA workers, through the national
government, have, through a number of years, built narrow-guage roads in different parts of the county. Their work has been especially effective in the Pine Mountain State Park and up Big Clear Creek in the direction of Chenoa. They have also constructed a road from the top of Log Mountain, where the Middlesborough-Fonde road crosses the mountain, along the top of the Log Mountain and down to the Settlement School in South America.
A road has been constructed by a private corporation from the Saddle of Cumberland Gap to the Pinnacle on top of the mountain. This is a good macadam road. Some other roads have been constructed in the county and some improvements have been made in some of the country roads, but many of them still remain as they were, being rough wagon roads or trails for foot-passengers or horse back riders.
Prior to the days of the automobile and good roads, people walked or rode horse back through the county. For hauling wagons were used on the roads, buggies for carrying passengers, and sleds for the hillsides on the farm. When I was serving as County Superintendent of the Bell County Schools, 1902-1910, I had to ride horse back over the rough roads and trails. This was about the only way to get to the schools and make any time in reaching them. I rode a black horse, with a running walk, and one of the most pleasant memories I have is of this horse and the ease with which he carried me over these rough roads. I often divided up apples with him and fed him a few lumps of sugar, on occasion, to make up for the difference (he was doing the hard work and I was riding).
On one occasion, while visiting schools, I had hired a horse from the livery stable, and was going up the left Fork of straight Creek. The road was very bad in this section and I was guiding the horse along a trestle, or kind of bridge over the stream, and, when in the middle of the trestle the cork on the shoe of the horse caught in an opening in the floor and we changed ends. Fortunately I landed considerably beyond the horse and found myself in a nice sand pile, washed up by the creek. I was uninjured, but my horse was lying on his back, wedged in between a large rock and the bridge. Struggle as he might, he did not seem to be able to free himself. I got down under his head and shoulders, and, by helping him, he got out, no worse for the fall. I got on him and we went on our way, congratulating ourselves on being so fortunate as to get out unscathed. Another time I was coming across Log Mountain from Fonde to Middlesborough. The road came up the hollow instead of around the mountain, as it does now. One place in the path had been dug out of the side of a steep hill, the wash from the hill had filled up most of the path, and, when the horse reached this part of the road, his feet went from under him and he slipped down the hill. I jerked up my foot and saved my leg being caught under the horse. I have traveled trails so steep and rough that I have been compelled to get off and lead my horse.
Joe F. Bosworth, of Middlesborough,
is the father of good roads in Bell County. During his term in the Legislature,
both in the Senate and the House, he preached good roads from the beginning
of each session to the end. he spoke for good roads,
when back from the sessions, and did everything he could to promote the road movement. He got results. E. S. Helburn, of Middlesborough, was, for a time, on the Road Commission of the state. He succeeded in promoting and building many of the roads in Bell County. These two men were aided by John G. Fitzpatrick, also of Middlesborough. The people of Middlesborough, as a whole, were back of these men, and aided in the promotion of the good roads movement. Photo Joe F. Bosworth
T. J. Asher, of Wasioto,
did some of the first constructive work on good roads in the county. He
was a large land-owner and taxpayer in the county, and, as County Judge,
saw the need of the county getting behind the road movement. He floated
a bond issue and built roads. White L. Moss and Ray Moss, his brother,
who were both in the Legislature of the state, helped the cause of good
roads. Others have aided this movement, some of whom are Judge B. A. Fuson,
County Judge, 1910-1914, Bob Van Bever, E. N. Ingram, Eb Ingram, W.T. Robbins,
Henry Broughton, Bob Rice, Hugh Asher, Bob Asher, Mat Asher, William Low,
0.V. Riley, J. J. Gibson, Frank Gibson, John L. Saylor, Lawrence Rice,
H. Clay Rice, Boyd Rice, Rice Johnson, Charles Johnson, D. B. Logan, M.
J. Moss, N. J. Weller, Capt. W. M. Bingham, T. J. Hoskins, Enoch Hoskins,
Ben Logan, Judge James S. Bingham, and others too numerous to mention.
RECREATION IN BELL COUNTY
The schools of the county have their base ball parks, football fields, and gymnasiums for basket ball and other sports for exercise and pleasure. The mountains have an attraction for the local people who ride or work over them, and for the tourist who comes into the country occasionally. The great wide open forest spaces do much for the health and happiness of the people generally and afford a vision of beauty and ruggedness for the tourist. In a general way, the people of Bell County get plenty of exercise in working on their farms and in tramping over the hills. They amuse themselves in hunting and fishing, the playing of base ball, in shooting matches, and in an occasional trip to town to see a circus or hear a political speaking in the county seat. They find much pleasure in playing jokes on each other. For instance, I was seining for fish in Little Clear Creek with a bunch of my cousins on one occasion, and, just before we got to a certain bend in the creek, they had me change sides of the creek in order to tail the seine. I though nothing of making the change, wanting to be agreeable. Pretty soon my head was near a hornet's nest and I was ducking under the water after having been stung in the forehead two or three times. The boys were laughing fit to kill themselves. They knew the hornet's nest was there and had skillfully steered me into it. They got the kick of their lives out of this incident. Again, the boys had caught me, when I had just landed in the neighborhood from the city with my best clothes on, or had maneuvered to catch me and I caught onto it, and intended to carry me down to the creek and put me in clothes and all. I had to get even with them for this maneuver in some way. So we went fishing on Big Clear Creek at the Shelton Hole. The bank on one side of this hole is about 8 or 10 feet high and straight up from the water. James Blaine Fuson was standing on the edge of this bank and I was a few feet behind him. I lunged at him, hit him about the shoulders and he landed fifteen feet out in this hole of water. He swam to the bank, but, in the mean time, I had put some distance between us. Photo H.H. Fuson House
One more instance of the
recreation of the Bell County boys through this sense of humor and spirit
of fun, I will relate here to illustrate this trait among our people. This
story is copied from a paper I wrote for the HISTORY OF THE FUSON FAMILY,
and as told to Jack Fuson, who lives at Smithville, Tennessee. "There is
Jack Fuson and his wife and family. I can never forget the first meeting
with them and the tales we told that night. We broke up the feast of conversation
after twelve o'clock and I can yet hear Jack as he went up the stairs laughing
and repeating, "Fire pop in my shoe, fire pop in shoe.' I had told him
the story of a hunting experience we had
when boys. My brothers and some of our cousins went possum hunting about the time of frost. We caught no possums, but found some fine 'roasen' ears in the top of one of Uncle Shelt Evans's cornfields. Mose Jones was working at our house and was about the same age as the rest of us. We pulled up a lot of corn, took same rails off the fence and built up a fire. We roasted the corn, ate all we wanted and then laid down before the fire to sleep. About an hour or two before daylight, Jim Fuson roused up and noticed that Mose Jones had on brogan shoes and that they were unusually flared at the top. Jim got a red hot coal between two sticks and dropped it into Mose Jones's shoe. Mose laid there for a few seconds, still asleep. Suddenly he jumped up and ran through the fire scattering coals everywhere, and hollering, 'Fire pop in my shoe, fire pop in my shoe.' This was the story that was ringing in Jack's ears as he climbed the steps that night."
Recreation through fun might be a new idea to the sophisticated, but to the boys of Bell County it was, and is, as common as chestnuts falling on a frosty morning.
There were other means of recreation: chestnut hunting, peeling birch bark and eating the sap, gathering hickory nuts, gathering services (sarvices), hunting bees in the forest, chasing wild hogs, collecting in walnuts, the party plays, corn-huskings, house-raisings, corn-workings, and many other forms of play work, fun and frolic. It is not all work and no play on the farm. Of course, the work is hard on the farm, but these other things form an outlet for recreation and fun.
The chestnut trees are nearly all dead now, but I can remember the time, when a boy, that we used to take our horses into the woods and bring out loads of chestnuts in sacks. We used to cut down a birch sapling, peel the bark off of it, see that it was sloping down hill, and take a section of the bark for a saddle and slide down the pole. There were some risks to this play, but a lot of fun where there was a big crowd.
I. NEW FORMS OF AMUSEMENT
The old rough and tumble
plays of the mountains are giving away to new forms of amusement. Road
house dancing, drinking parties and sports take up most of the spare time
of a lot of our people now. The shooting match was popular of old and is
still popular. Our people have multiplied to such an extent that it is
necessary to find new means of amusement for them. Clear Creek Springs,
the Pine Mountain State Park, the Lake at Middlesborough, the Skyland Highway
and the Pinnacle, the golf course at Middlesborough, the Park to Park Highway,
and the proposed Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, have come in
for their share in the entertainment of our people.
II. CLEAR CREEK SPRINGS
Clear Creek Springs is situated at the junction of Big and Little Clear Creeks, and is about three miles from Pineville. It is reached by a good road, which leaves the Pineville-Middlesborough road just south of the mouth of Clear Creek. It is in a small valley surrounded on all sides by hills which tower above it. Pine Mountain extends along one side of the valley and foothills of the Log Mountain on the other side. In the center of this valley is the spring, encased in concrete, which gives this place its name. This spring has medicinal properties, with healing qualities, which are said to aid in digestion.
The Springs are now owned by the Baptists of the state of Kentucky, but many organizations have the use of the Springs each year. Training schools, outings and lecture courses, are had each year at the Springs, and then others come to remain there for the water and the outing. there is a large auditorium on the ground, a hotel is now in the process of construction, and many other smaller buildings dot the ground. There is also a large dining hall.
This is one of the oldest places of recreation in the county. When I was a boy it was going as a health resort, owned and operated by J. M. C. Davis, father of Judge W. T. Davis. He and his good wife Sally (Peavler) Davis ran the place then, and continued to do so until the death of Mr. Davis. At that time they had a main residence and dining room together and several small buildings scattered over the grounds. J. M. C. Davis must have started this health resort during or just after the Civil War times and operated it until some time after 1900.
A story has gone the rounds of how this spring was found. It is said that a hunter, who was hunting in the Pine Mountain nearby, got his leg cut pretty badly and came down the mountain to a marshy place, where later this spring was found, put his leg down in the water to cool it and stop the burning, and, to his surprise, it healed in a short time afterwards. From that it was known, and talked among the neighbors, that it had medicinal properties.
The following notice appeared in the PINEVILLE SUN in regard to the election of officers and the work under construction at the Springs (February 4, 1939):
"The Rev. L. C. Kelly, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pineville, was re-elected Chairman of the Clear Creek Board of Control at the board's regular semiannual meeting Friday at the Continental Hotel (January 27, 1939).
"The other officers elected at the meeting were: the Rev. H. C. Chiles, Vice Chairman, and R. R. Atkins, Straight Creek, Secretary-Treasurer.
"After discussing the
progress made on one wing of the new dormitory, the board voted unanimously
to have the entire building completed as quickly as possible in order to
use in 1939.
"This building will be three stories high when finished, have 84 rooms, a dining room, lobby, kitchen and be fire proof and steam heated. It is being built from native rock and cinder blocks.
"About $75,000.00 has been invested in the project to date, according to Rev. Kelly, of which about $45,000.00 was for the building alone. the completed building will serve as a mountain preacher school during the winter months.
"Board members present at the session were: Dr. R. P. Mahon, London; the Rev. Byron C. S. Dejarnette, Louisville; the Rev. Clyde Wydick, Greensville; The Rev. W. F. Kendall, Jellico, Tenn.; Dr. Thomas Eugene West, Williamsburg; Miss Helen Royalty, Hopkinsville; the Rev. C. L. Hammond, Corbin; T. B. Grissom and H. C. Rakestraw, Burnside; the C. F. Barry, Louisville; the Rev. Marvin Adams, Middlesborough, Kentucky; the Rev. H. G. Ghiles, Barbourville; and Dr. J. M. Brooks, Pineville."
III. PINE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Some enterprising citizens, of Pineville, among them Judge M. J. Moss and J. J. Gibson, gave to the state some Pine Mountain land at the upper, or south, end of the Narrows at the mouth of Clear Creek. then, too, the county had a Poor Farm in the bottoms at the mouth of Clear Creek and these lands were deeded to the state. Some 1500 or 2000 acres were brought together to form the Pine Mountain State Park. The state then took over the area and have been developing it since.
A dam was built near the mouth of Clear Creek and a lake formed for boating fishing, and bathing. Laurel Cove, the meeting place each year for the Mountain Laurel Festival, is one of the attractions of this park area. A large cliff, fifty or sixty feet high, forms the background for the Cove, with a large open grass plot in front, with a stream running in front of it through a stone culvert. Out in front is the rising ground where the seats are arranged around the hill in rows beneath the trees. Over a hundred thousand dollars have been spent in developing this Cove already. There is a shelter house on the grounds, built of stone, and running water can be had at different places on the grounds.
A road has been built up through these grounds, passing by the entrance to the Cove, and going up the mountain to the parking lot. This lot takes care of 500 cars. A larger parking lot at the foot of the mountain takes care of about 1,000 cars. Each year 5,000 to 10,000 people came to this festival where the governor of the state crowns the Queen.
Walking and riding paths have been built all over this park area, and the park is fast becoming a playground for this section of Bell County and the tourists coming into the county.
The principal part of
the work on this park area has been done by the
government as a W. P. A. project. The director of the work lives in a fine stone building on the grounds, which he and his men built with their own hands.
IV. THE LAKE AT MIDDLESBOROUGH
Fern Lake at Middlesboro nestles among the hills about three miles south of Middlesborough. The lake is formed by a dam built across Little Yellow creek, and was built to furnish a water supply for the City of Middlesborough. It has ever since been so used. It is owned today by the Kentucky Utilities Company, which company furnishes water for the city. The lake is used for boating and fishing. In the past, more than at present, it was used as a picnic ground. From the Pinnacle this lake looks like a mirror in the hollow of the hills. Photo Fern Lake
V. THE SKYLAND HIGHWAY
The Skyland Highway Company bought 250 acres on the north side of the Pinnacle, including the Pinnacle, a few years ago, and started into development of the Pinnacle area immediately. A winding road was built up the mountain to the Pinnacle, a house was built near the top of the mountain, a parking lot was constructed near the top, the Gap itself was widened and leveled, and a cabin for headquarters was built in the Cap.
For a century, this Pinnacle has furnished one of the best scenic views in all this area. Five states can be seen, through a glass, on a clear day, from this peak. More people visit the Pinnacle each year than any other point in the county. It is famous as a sight-seeing place and picnic ground.
VI. THE GOLF COURSE AT MIDDLESBOROUGH
This golf course is said to be the second oldest course in America, and some of the most prominent men of the state and nation have played upon its green.
VII. PARK TO PARK HIGHWAY
The first link in the
park to park highway is now under construction between Pineville and Middlesborough.
This is to be a three-lane highway of the most modern construction. It
follows, in a general way, the route of the old road, but at the foot of
Little Log Mountain near the Tunnel it crosses Yellow Creek, and runs along
the foot of the hill on the opposite side of the creek from the present
road, and comes into Middlesborough at the end of Cumberland Avenue. This
is a part of the road that will eventually connect up Mammoth Cave, Cumberland
Falls, Cumberland Gap, and the various parks of the state, with the Smoky
Mountains and other park areas in the
country. Bell County has the distinction of getting the first link in this road, the park to park highway of the East.
VIII PROPOSED CUMBERLAND GAP
NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
A recent account of this proposed park appeared in the COURIER-JOURNAL, of Louisville, written by Lorenzo Martin, which account is given herein:
"Replete with pioneer associations, equivalent to those of Harrodsburg and Boonesborough; ranking high in historic importance as the mountain gateway through which settlement of the nation's vast western empire first became possible, and also, later, as a strategic military point in the War Between the States; endowed with richest scenic beauty of the Kentucky highlands, and having a group of large caverns described by Federal experts as being comparable in interest and more varied in character than the Luray and Endless Caverns of Virginia, an area about Cumberland Gap is finally being given its chance to enter the Federal park system.
"Through this famous mountain
pass, adjacent to the spot where the westernmost corner of Virginia meets
the Kentucky and Tennessee lines, Daniel Boone made numerous trips, including
that one which resulted in the founding of Boonesborough. Judge Richard
Henderson, founder of the Transylvania Company, whose treaty with the Cherokee
Indians is depicted in one of the two murals adorning opposite ends of
the State Capitol at Frankfort, followed Boone's party through Cumberland
Photo Daniel Boone Monument
"About a year later George Rogers Clark, accompanied by Capt. Gabriel Jones, made a memorable journey through Cumberland Gap to Richmond, the result of which was the creation by Virginia of the County of Kentucky, with present-day Kentucky boundaries. Through Cumberland Gap three years later went James Robertson to found the City of Nashville, Tenn.
"Dr. Thomas Walker of Albemarle County, Virginia, however, was the first white man known to have entered Cumberland Gap. With a party of five others, he arrived at 'Cave Gap' in 1750 and named it Cumberland Gap in honor of the Duke of Cumberland. But Dr. Walker's journal records the observation of cross-marks, blazing and figures carved on some of the trees, indicating that he was not the first white man to reach this spot, where, a score of years later, westward the course of empire would wind its ways.
"Charles W. Porter, assistant
historian of the National Park Service, who has prepared a most interesting
report on the history of the Cumberland Gap area, says: 'At the time of
the founding of Boonesborough there were from 100 to 300 white people in
Kentucky. By 1783 the population is said to have been about 12,000, in
1784, eight towns had been laid off and were building. With the conclusion
of Peace, the tide of immigration across Cumberland Gap increased rapidly.For
United States census, 1790, credits Kentucky with a population of 75,000. By 1800 Kentucky had 220,000 people, nearly as many as Connecticut, two-thirds as many as Maryland, and more than half as many as Massachusetts.'
"While many of the pioneers came into Kentucky by the Ohio River route, it is generally agreed by historians that the greater portion came in over the Cumberland Gap which remained the favorite gateway to the West until 1795. Indeed, until Wayne's victory over the Indians and until the Treaty of Greenville, 1795, the Ohio route was so difficult and hazardous that large numbers of immigrants from Pennsylvania and the North preferred to come into Kentucky by way of the Great Valley of Virginia and Cumberland Gap, strange as that may seem to us today.
"Moreover, as late as 1792 the Cumberland Gap route was the only practicable way to return from Kentucky. A military order issued in May, 1792, to Capt. Van Cleve at Fort Washington (Cincinnati) directs him to proceed from that point with all dispatch to Philadelphia by the most direct route, which is specified to be by way of Lexington, Crab Orchard and Cumberland Gap.
"In the very southeastern corner of Kentucky lies this area of mountainous wooded land, sometimes called the 'Valley of Parks,' where, because of its outstanding historic, scenic and geological attractions, there is now being advocated the establishment of a national historical park. The area under consideration, which includes the tri-state corner marker, lies mostly in Kentucky but overlaps the state boundaries of Virginia and Tennessee. Nearby are the towns of Middlesborough, Ky., and Cumberland Gap, Tenn.
"Included tentatively in the proposed park area would be: Cumberland Gap, together with twenty miles of the Wilderness Road from Cumberland Gap, Tenn., to Pineville, Ky., because of superlative historical value.
The Pinnacle, adjacent to Cumberland Gap, both because it is outstanding in scenic attraction and because of the historical importance of the remains there of fortifications built during the War Between the States.
"Saltpeter Cave, as an
educational example of early saltpeter workings. King Solomon's Cave and
Soldiers Cave, which underlie the Pinnacle, because of the wealth of 'formation'
contained therein as a scenic and educational attraction and because of
some historical importance attached to Soldiers Cave. The Devils Garden,
with its unusual rock formations, as a scenic attraction. Sand Cave, with
its scores of Varicolored sands, as an exceptional geologic phenomenon.
The ridge of Cumberland Mountain toward the northeast, which included the
Devils Garden and Sand Cave areas. Powell Mountain, the Doublings and Fern
Lake, together with its watershed. Mingo Mountain, toward the southwest,
because of need of perpetual care and protection of scenic values as viewed
from the Pinnacle, and for conservation of wild life.
"Advocates of the proposed park estimate that all of these features could be included within an area of approximately 50,000 acres, which is the minimum requirement for national park status. Some of them believe, however, that from the viewpoint of long-range planning, particularly regarding future recreational development, the proposed park might be extended to cover an area approximately of 200,000 acres, which would include the Pine Mountain State Park, the Kentucky Ridge Development Project of the Farm Security Administration, and the wilderness area lying between Pine Mountain and the Cumberland Range. Some large land donations for the project are reported in prospect.
"The general elevation of the Cumberland Plateau in this region ranges from 1000 feet in the river valleys to an average of from 2,000 to 2,500 feet on the ridges. The highest point in the proposed area is along the Cumberland Mountain at an unnamed point which reaches 3841 feet. The Cumberland Gap is at an elevation of 1650 feet. The Pinnacle is about 2,500 feet, and White Rocks are about 3,450 feet in elevation.
"Forest coverage is typical of the section, being a mixture of hard and soft woods, with a predominance of deciduous material. Former lumbering activities have moved most of the virgin timber and only occasional large trees are found in the most inaccessible places; large hemlocks are found in the sheltered coves.
"Foremost features of the proposed National Park, second only to Cumberland Gap itself, is the Pinnacle, from the peak of which may be viewed to the north, east and west dense forests, steep, jagged cliffs, deep ravines, and clear Fern Lake. This overlook is an abrupt promontory rising almost vertically on the north side of the Gap. It can be reached by a spur automobile road leading from the Gap, ascending the west slope of Cumberland Mountain, and terminating in a parking area adjacent to the overlook. Here also are the well-preserved remains of Fort Lyon, the battery on the Pinnacle, during the War Between the States.
"King Solomon's Cave and
Soldiers Cave, which have their openings on the Virginia side of Cumberland
Gap, are now the property of Lincoln Memorial University. Both of these
are described as 'A-grade caverns,' with an impressive display of limestone
Photo Cudjo's Cave
"The Devils Garden lies along Cumberland Mountain about four and a half miles northeast of Cumberland Gap, and is perhaps the least accessible of the proposed features of the suggested National Park area. It can be reached, however, by an existing trail along the ridge of Cumberland Mountain which has been dubbed the 'Garden of Gazes' because of the numerous inspiring vistas along its route.
Devils Garden is a chasm or yawning hollow, ranging in elevation from 1,500
to 2,900 feet, and a little more than a half-mile long. The jagged rock
masses in this area take odd shapes and have given rise to such names as
Umbrella Rock, Kettle Rock, Sleeping Bear Rock, Plow Point, Rhinoceros
Anvil Rock, Pagoda Rock and the Devils Monument. The last lies directly in the Garden on the Kentucky side and is an upright slab of immense size. There are three waterfalls on the Kentucky side in the Devils Garden proper, but for lack of good trails they are hard to reach. There are also three waterfalls on the Virginia side.
"Still farther north of the Kentucky side, approximately fifteen miles from the Gap, and located across the mountain from Ewing, Va., is Sand Cave, a large water-eroded 'rockhouse' cut in the sand- stone of the west mountain slope and running back almost 300 feet from the base of the cliff. The countless tons of colored sands that it contains have been described as an awe-inspiring and spectacular sight calculated, however, simple the explanation may be to the geologist, to stir the marvel of the average visitor and tourist. Fifty colors and shades of sand have been collected at Sand Cave.
"Although proposals for the establishment of a National Park in the Cumberland Gap area have been discussed from time to time, and although a legislative bill with that objective, sponsored by Representative John M. Robsion, Ninth Kentucky District, passed the House but did not reach a vote in the Senate, as far back as 1923, definite steps recently were taken for accomplishment of this purpose. At a meeting in Harrogate, Tenn., last August, at which delegates from the three states discussed the proposal with the officials of the National Park Service, plans were made for formation of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Association and the group designated Tom Wallace, editor of the Louisville Times, as chairman of the organization committee. An organization meeting met at Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, October 26, and similar meetings were later held at Bristol and Knoxville.
"At the Lexington Meeting officers were chosen and an executive Committee was elected. Robert L. Kincaid, Executive Vice President of Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tenn., was elected President; W. I. Davis, Tazewell, Tenn., T. B. Fugate, Ewing, Va., and Tom Wallace, Louisville, Ky., were elected Vice Presidents; and Howard J. Douglas was elected Secretary and Treasurer. Directors were elected as follows: J. H. Bailey, Pineville, Ky., Henry R. Bell, Louden, Tenn., C. F. Connelly, St. Charles, Va., W. B. Fugate, Middlesborough, Ky., H.H. Fuson, Harlan, Ky., Walter Johnson, Marion, Va., H. E. Jones, Bristol, Va., George Fort Milton, Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn., Lloyd M. Robinette, Jonesville, Va., Guy L. Smith, Knoxville, Tenn., Thomas R. Underwood, Lexington, Ky., and Herbert Walters, Morristown, Tenn.
"Substantial donations of land already have been tentatively promised and as soon as the new Congress convenes in January, the necessary authorizing legislation will be sponsored jointly by Representative Robsion and Representative Carroll Reece.
"Perhaps of greatest importance
from a utilitarian standpoint would be the conservation value of the area.
It would afford a protective watershed for streams in Kentucky, Tennessee
and Virginia that conservationists consider of outstanding
value. But, above, all a park at Cumberland Gap would provide a recreation
center for many thousands who probably would like to visit the mountain
pass through which their fore parents reached the west."
THE FUTURE OF BELL COUNTY
Bell County's land is still most of it in forests, but virgin timber areas have been cut out. Most of the land has been cut over several times in the last several years. The coming of the mines depleted the timber areas still more, and, in many parts of the county, all the timber was taken off even down to four inches. There are some sections of the county where lumbering can be carried on yet, but these areas are few and far between. It would take another generation to produce another good crop of merchantable timber. At first the walnut went, then the poplar and finally the oak, chestnut, hickory and other timbers. And now mine timbers are getting the rest of the timber. If the timber is let alone, the forest areas here are favorable to growing of another fine crop of merchantable timber. The soil and moisture are suitable for this growth.
Mining began in the county after the coming of Louisville and Nashville Railroad, or about 1889. The mining of coal has been carried on since that time. The peak of the coal production has long ago passed, and most of the coalfields have been mined out or are in the process of being mined out. The coal industry began around Wallsend and lower part of Straight Creek. These fields have been altogether or practically mined out. There is some mining in the lower Straight Creek area. The Wallsend mines have been worked out and abandoned. The Greasy Creek field has been largely worked out. The Log Mountain area, on Bennett's Fork, Stony Fork, and Big Clear Creek, have largely been mined out, although there is some mining going on in this area yet. The Four Mile area has been largely worked out. The lower Yellow Creek area has been mostly worked out. All of the county, where there is any large body of coal, has been mostly worked out, with the exception of the upper straight Creek and Red Bird areas. These areas are at the beginning of their development. Some mines, on a new branch of railroad which has been built into this area recently, are going now at full capacity. This area has enough coal to keep up a large development, with a number of mines, for a hundred years. But this is the last stand of coal in Bell County, the last of any large boundary of coal for development. This field can never bring Bell County back to the coal production it once had. The peak of this development has passed for all time.
With the passing of the
lumber business for the present, with the passing of the major part of
the coal business, what has Bell County to look forward to? She can look
forward to more lumber business in the distant future, she must look to
that will take care of the people of her population. The positions in lumber camps are gone, the number of workmen at the mines has been cut to one-fourth. The farms, during the industrial period, the period of lumber and coal, have largely been abandoned. A few farms along the streams have been kept up and kept producing. The others have been abandoned.
The automobile business has come in to take the place of the loss in the lumber and coal businesses. Filling stations, repair shops, and sales agencies, will give employment to a large number of people. A large number of people, as some are already doing, must go back to the farms. On these farms they must raise a varied crop for family use and something to market to get money to run the farms. They can raise corn, hay crops, garden stuff and tobacco. In Bell County tobacco has never been raised to any extent; but it can be raised in large quantities and profitably, too. More farmers should turn their attention to the tobacco crop for ready money to keep up their farms, along with these other products. The tobacco crop could be developed to such an extent that it would be worth more than their mines in their present condition.
Then, the farmers must grass their hills and raise more cattle, sheep and hogs. There will always be money in these, because the nation at large will, more and more, be demanding pork, mutton, and beef. The tobacco crop and the animal crop can bring the inhabitants of Bell County out of the wilderness of doubt and despair and place them on an independent footing. Add to these orchards of all kinds suitable to this section of the country and Bell County will come back to its own. Apples do well in this county. But, during this industrial period, orchards have been abandoned and no, or few, new ones have been planted to take the place of the old ones of the pioneer period. Apple orchards should be revived all over the county. The peach, the pear, the grape, and all small berry crops should be brought back or produced anew where they have not been produced before. Scientific methods for the care of these fruits should be developed and followed.
There is the tourist trade. No section of the country has finer scenery than Bell County. The Cumberland Mountains, the Log Mountain system, and the Pine Mountain, have some of the finest scenery in the world. The building of roads through these mountains will bring tourists to this section in large numbers. There is money in the tourist trade, money for the inhabitants of Bell County.
The Pine Mountain State Park is a start in this direction. This park lies around the Narrows and roads have been built through it and along the top of Pine Mountain to the Lee Gap. Laurel Cove is located in this park, and is the meeting place for the Laurel Festival each year. This Festival Brings in from 500 to 8000 people each year. The tourist movement has started here and will grow in volume as the years go by.
The Skyland Highway at
the Pinnacle, Cumberland Gap, is another movement for tourist trade. Thousands
of people, from all over the country and from foreign
countries, visit the Pinnacle each year. A movement is now on foot to make of the Cumberland Gap area a national park and link it up with the park highway for the state, and join these parks of the state with the parks of the eastern part of the United States. So the movement is in progress. We need to fan the embers into a flame for tourist trade for Bell County and southeastern Kentucky.
Clear Creek Mountain Springs is the oldest tourist center in the county. These springs have brought people here, in small numbers, from the pioneer days. J. M. C. Davis was the first one to develop the springs and bring in tourists, and, for a lifetime, he brought them each year, and thereby brought to the attention of outsiders the beauties of this mountain region and the healing properties of the springs. Now, the Baptists have turned this place into a place of instruction, a place for religious devotion, and a place for the enjoyment of the beauties of nature and a place for quenching the thirst of weary travelers.
This new development is
in the hands of the young people of the county. The sturdy pioneer stock
must come to the fore in these young people. Through education, and they
have a good system of education in the county, through foresight, through
determination, through honor and integrity, they must rise to the situation
and place Bell County on a high position among the counties of the state.
They must ever keep it off the pauper list of counties of the state and
keep it on the productive side. In this lies independence. In this lies
honor. In this lies the goal of their hopes. I was nurtured upon the soil
of Bell County. I love it. Out of the soil must come the progress of the
future. Look to it, strong and valiant youth of Bell County.
If you know of any mistakes in this information that exist. Let me
know and I will put the information in an addendum.
If you have comments or suggestions, email me C. Richard Matthews