charles m. meacham


Litigation of Public Fountain Bequest, 1896; First Colored Councilman,
1897; Battleship Maine Blown Up 1898; Soldiers Sent to Philippines,
1899; The First Street Fair; The Athenaeum Society; Free Mail

The suit to recover $2,700.00 left to the city of Hopkinsville, to provide a public fountain by Mrs. Margaret N. Roach in 1891, was decided against the city, after two years’ litigation, upon the ground that the money was not accepted in time. The city had no water works at the time and the executor refused to turn over the bequest before the limit of two years had expired. Under the will, the money went to other beneficiaries.

Dr. B. W. Stone resigned as Superintendent of the Western Asylum; Dr. Ben Letcher, of Henderson, succeeded him, January 30th. A. H. Anderson appointed Steward to succeed J. C. Buckner, February 15, 1896.

Rev. V. M. Metcalfe issued a volume of stories called “Uncle Minor’s Stories” January 10th. Mr. Metcalf e died March 12th, aged sixty-four years.

Judge John R. Grace dropped dead at Frankfort, February 20th, aged sixty-two. He had been a Judge of the Court of Appeals about one year. Was Circuit Judge 1868 to 1895. Judge J. I. Landes appointed by Governor Bradley to succeed Judge Grace.

Mrs. Oscar Lyons, of Graves County, gave birth to five children at one time. The children died soon after birth. Their bodies were embalmed and later exhibited in Hopkinsville and other places by the mother and a charge made to see them.

Ed. Glass, the first colored man elected to the City Council, chosen in the Fifth Ward. He was re-elected every two years for the next succeeding twelve years.

In January, 1898, the following colored Republicans held offices in Christian County: James L. Allensworth, County Coroner; Ed. W. Glass, City Councilman, Hopkinsville; Kinney Tyler, Deputy Jailer; John W. Knight, Constable; J. C. Lyte, Pension Examiner; William Leveritt, County Physician.

Major S. R. Crumbaugh appointed Supervising Inspector of Steam Vessels, with headquarters at Cincinnati, at a salary of $3,500.00.

February 15, 1898, the battleship Maine was blown up in Havana harbor, with a loss of 260 lives. War declared April 25. Company D, eighty-nine officers and men, ordered out May 10.

C. C. Gilbert caught a cat fish weighing fifteen pounds in Little River, at Binns’ mill, April 18th.

The Cumberland Telephone Company moved into new and larger quarters, in the Moayon Building, at Ninth and Virginia Streets, May 10, 1898.

Thomas Rodman, of Louisville, and Harry Cowan, of Joliet, Illinois, former Hopkinsville boys, volunteers in the Spanish-American War.

Hotel Latham sold to John C. Latham for $15,500.00 under foreclosure, in addition to the $50,000.00 he held on the property. The bondholders realized about forty cents on the dollar, on $35,000.00 of bonds. The property was subsequently sold to A. D. Noe & Son, after having been run several years by Captain L. W. Whitlow.

Christian County had three naval officers in the War of 1898. Lieutenant W. H. H. Southerland, son-in-law of Dr. James Rodman, distinguished himself at Cienfuegos, and in capturing the Gallito; Lieutenant W. V. Bronaugh, in command of the Castine, sank the big Alphonso XII, and Ensign Cyrus S. Radford served on the Texas in the destruction of Cervera’s fleet.

Bicycle League organized with thirty members, with C. 0. Prowse, President.

A tobacco leaf exhibited by Ed. C. Peyton measured forty-two inches in length and twenty-five in width. From the crop of C. T. Barker.

The second edition of Meacham’s City Directory of Hopkinsville, first issued in 1897, was issued in January, 1899.

Rice Dulin, born February 24, 1809, died at his home near Crofton, September 12, 1898.
Dr. James H. Usher, born in Virginia, January 28, 1806, died near Newstead, October 27, 1898.
John Feland, Sr., born in 1837, died January 8, 1899.
Frank 0. Prowse, a soldier at Columbus, Georgia, died of typhoid fever January 15, 1899.
William E. Ragsdale died January 18, 1899, aged fifty-two years.
The Third Kentucky Regiment embarked for Cuban occupation, January 17, 1899. They returned to Savannah, Georgia, in May, and the Christian County soldiers were mustered out.

Rev. Sam Jones, accompanied by Rev. George Stuart, his singer, E. 0. Excell, and his daughters, Mrs. Graham and Miss Jones, began a ten days’ revival at the Tabernacle, January 22, 1899. At the closing service, eighty-two persons announced their intention of uniting with some church. Collections for the meeting were $2,001.34.
George B. Leavell, a prominent farmer, died of Bright’s disease, aged sixty-five years.


Free mail delivery in Hopkinsville was established July 1, 1899, with twenty-five mail boxes located over the city and three carriers to start with at $600.00 a year and civil service examinations required.


The weather February 13th was the coldest since January 5, 1884, all over Kentucky ranging from 10 to 20 degrees below zero. There were numerous instances of people being frozen to death. George Cornell, colored, a teamster, at Lexington, put a padlock in his mouth, and lost half of his tongue. In Hopkinsville many private thermometers registered as low as twenty-five to thirty-two degrees below zero.

Judge R. T. Petree died April 7th, aged seventy-five years.

Colonel Albert H. Clark, leading lawyer, died May 10, 1899, aged fifty-nine years. Colonel Clark was noted for his keen sense of humor. On one occasion, Eli Perkins lectured at the Opera House, and a very small crowd was present. Colonel Clark introduced him, and played a practical joke by presenting him to each one present personally. The humorist was knocked off his feet.

Dr. R. Harry Wilson, son of R. H. Wilson, of Pembroke, Kentucky, elected to a chair in the University of Virginia, June, 1899. Dr. J. C. Metcalf, of Garrettsburg, Kentucky, about the same time was elected to a chair. Both of the Christian County men are still there.

Miss Hattie Lee Johnson’s new book, “The City of Sin,” was issued, and was well received in June.
Dr. M. W. Williams sold nine Adelbert yearlings for $23,750.00, June 25th, an average of $1,970.00, at Sheepshead Bay, New York.

John C. Gary, Sr., died July 2, 1899, aged seventy-six years.


Dr. Austin Bell, Hiram P. Thomas, Charles Jackson, Lieutenant Robert C. Payne, E. H. Brown, E. W. Starling, Otho Vaughn, Dave Berry, J. B. Nixon, Elon S. Zimmer, Frank Patten, J. E. Buchanan, Felix Robinson, William Witty, Trabue Anderson, E. P. Morgan, John Stites, W. J. Couch, Jesse Spiceland and James E. Wootton returned from Cuban service May 19, 1899. Lieutenant Colonel Jouett Henry remained in Savannah for a few days. Gano Bullard, who broke a finger playing ball, was also left behind. A reception and dance, at the armory, followed their return. Some of these soldiers, later in the year, re-enlisted and went to the Philippines.

Assessed valuation for Hopkinsville city property, in 1899, was $2,-340.00, and the city tax rate was reduced from $1.50 to $1.25.
Larkin Harned, in the ninetieth year of his age, died July 21st. During the War between the States he was a Confederate spy, and did much effective service. He was a member of the “Hardshell” Baptist Church.
Lieutenant R. C. Payne left, August 10th, with the following recruits
for the United States Army, going to Fort Thomas: M. J. Cooper, Elza
Davis, Tom Wiley, Otho Mullen, George White, John McDaniel, Jake
Meyers, Edward H. Brown, Harry L. Girard, John Dean, Dave Berry and
James H. Wicks. They were intended for service in the Philippines. On
August 18th, Sergeant J. H. Ware enlisted five more, Frank P. Cook, J.
Ed. Buchanan, J. W. Kimbrough and Wilkins and Patterson.
Roger Q. Mills, a native of Christian County, who became United States Senator from Texas, sold a tract of land to the Standard Oil Company, at Corsicana, Texas, August, 1899, for $350,000.00.


The first street fair ever given in Hopkinsville spread its tents in Main Street, the first week in October, 1899, with a full line of tent shows. Miss Ida LeRoy made daily balloon ascensions and parachute descents. It was ushered in by a mammoth street parade, headed by carriages containing city officials and members of the press. There were many handsome floats. Six outriders were superbly mounted and dressed in suits of black, with white knee trousers. They were D. W. Kitchen, G. B. Nelson, I. F. Campbell, John P. Burnett, T. L. Morrow and T. L. Gant. James E. Cooper won first prize for the handsomest trap. The attendance was estimated at twenty thousand.

A new military company taking the place in the Kentucky State Guards of the old Company D that saw service in the War of 1898 was mustered in September, 1899, with the following officers and members:

C. H. Tandy, Captain; Gano Bullard, First Lieutenant; Sergeants George.W. Phelps, Perry Newman, Robert D. Bellamy, S. Upshaw Wooldridge,. Otho Vaughn; Corporals C. R. Brumfield, Trabue Anderson, Will Col-. lins; M. A. Littlefield, Commissary; E. H. Barker, William Grau, Jr., C. A... Eggleston, R. H. Bush, Harvey Irvin, John Ducker, George Shadoin, H..W. Brasher, E. M. Jones, John Stites, Robert Moorefield, Stanley West,.
C. S. Jackson, Felix Robinson, E. W. Starling, Peter Anderson, George Claxton, Will Foster, Will Cisco, J. D. Mitchell, J. R. Reeves, Amos Hayden, R. M. Fairleigh, Thomas S. Torian, Emmet Hooser, Arthur Wiley,
W. H. Southall, J. C. Douglass, George C. Howell, James E. Wootton, Miller Clark, John Gunn, E. H. Hester, E. J. Lawson, W. L. Maddox, S. E, Yancey, E. W. Roy, Nick Edmunds, Ben Winfree, W. S. West, Ernest Snodgrass, Bert Stewart, Roy R.agsdale, Henry Reeves, James R. Quarles, Henry Powell, T. C. Wootton, Charles Lindsay, Carl Wiley.
Ezekiel Adams, an old citizen, who had been married seven times, died at Crofton, aged seventy-one years. His last wife survived him.

Colonel William J. Bryan and William Goebel, Democratic candidates for Governor, spoke from a platform at the intersection of Main and Ninth Streets, October 16, 1899. The crowd was estimated at eight thousand to ten thousand.


The Hopkinsville Literary Club met, November 14th, at E. B. Bassett’s. John Stites discussed his experience as a soldier in Cuba. Dr. F. P. Thomas read a paper on the bubonic plague. E. B. Bassett discussed “Oom Paul and John Bull.” This club, after meeting a year or two with the members, was finally changed into the Athenaeum Society, which still continues.

Dr. E. B. McCormack, of Owensboro, succeeded Dr. T. W. Gardener, of Madisonville, as Superintendent of the Western Asylum, June, 1900.

Some of the largest wheat growers, of Christian County, in 1900:
R. F. Rives & Sons, 26,000 bushels; Leavell Brothers, 14,000; Mrs. M. A. Mason, 12,000; James A. Radford, 12,000; R. T. Stowe, 11,000; Draper Brothers, 10,000; J. D. Clardy & Sons, 10,000; John C. Willis, 9,000;
J. B. Caudle & Son, 9,000; E. D. Jones, 8,000; G. H. Stowe, 7,000; J. J. Garrott, 6,000; E. A. Stowe, 5,000; P. B. Pendleton, 5,000; other large growers, not in this list, were Thos. H. Elliott & Son, Mrs. S. A. Buckner,
C. T. Barker’s estate and J. F. Garnett. J. Matt Adams, agent df L. & N. Railroad, is presented with a silver service, by the citizens, upon his transfer to another city. The presentation speech was made by Thomas W. Long.


The Union Turnpike Company, the Newstead & Canton Company, and the Hopkinsville, Nashville & Bradshaw Company, all agreed to sell their toll roads, fifty-seven miles in the aggregate, for $88,000.00, or $1,-600.00 a mile, in order to make all of the turnpikes free in 1900.

Bethel Baptist Church, at Fairview, on the Jefferson Davis home lot, was struck by lightning and burned in August. It was insured for $5,000.00, and was promptly rebuilt.

The great Galveston flood, of September 9, 1900, had local interest, as a number of Hopkinsville people were in Galveston, and many local people lost relatives. Mrs. V. W. Crabbe and her daughter, Mrs. T. W. Moore, and her child were there, but were saved. The deaths were never fully known, but were estimated at six thousand.
Miss Bessie Russell was chosen Queen of the Elks Fair and Carnival, at Mercer Park, September 15, 1900. Miss Russell is now Mrs. Elizabeth Russell Hayes, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Theodore Roosevelt, afterwards President of the United States, spoke at the Tabernacle in Hopkinsville, October 15. He was introduced by Otho H. Anderson. He was a candidate for Vice-President, on the ticket with William McKinley.

Greatest local flood up to that time was November 24, 1900. From 3 :00 to 5:00 P.M. the crest of the overflow from Little River, in the city, was at its height. The water stood three feet deep in the Union Tabernacle, on the West Side. In Ninth Street, the water reached to Virginia Street and was three feet deep at Main. It extended on Main to Eighth and Tenth Streets. Many stores on Main Street were flooded. The spring of 1900, March, April and May, broke all records for rainfall. The hottest day, for many years, was July 1, 1900, when the mercury stood at 106 degrees.

 Return to Table of Contents

All Rights Reserved