This Crittenden County material is provided by Brenda Joyce Jerome , publisher of The Western Kentucky Journal.
Historical Articles on Crittenden County, KY [With permission of the Crittenden Press] CRITTENDEN COUNTY Ninety years ago Crittenden County was little better than a thinly settled wilderness with a population of less than 5,000, including slaves. Only 3 or 4 buildings were located where Marion now stands. This was merely a place where roads crossed leading to the more populous communities such as Salem, Dycusburg, Princeton, Weston, Fords Ferry and Morganfield. In 1846 there were only 6 stores in Crittenden County. These were located at Dycusburg, Tolu, Weston, and Fords Ferry. There were only 49 town lots and they were located in the towns mentioned above. One tavern license was issued that year. In that year there were 696 slaves in the county with a total valuation of over $2000,000. The valuation of the land in Crittenden County was a little over $300,000. Items of taxation were few in 1846. Taxes on all carriages in the county were only $2.00; on all gold watches, $7.00; on gold spectacles, $2.00. There was no tax collected on buggies or pianos. The total amount of county expenses was $596.71 in 1846. In 1846 the Crittenden County jailor received 82 cents for committing and releasing criminals, and the cost of feeding criminals for the year was only $1.87. [Crittenden Press 9 Oct 1936 by Braxton McDonald] OLD TIME RESIDENT REMEMBERS MARION Marion has a resident who has lived here for 75 years. Her father first bought a dwelling from James DOSS, a log house which stood near where Mrs. T.J. Carmeron's residence now stands. Mrs. Frisbie said ... "My father William CARNAHAN moved from Madisonville to Marion when I was 15 months old, 75 years ago. He often said he brought all he had with him in a two-horse wagon. My father was a saddler. He served an apprenticeship with a man in Madisonville for 3 years. This man gave him a horse and saddle. My father then bought coon hides and took a wagonload to Evansville and sold them, and then bought a stock of leather and set up shop. I remember David BOURLAND, Joe Bourland's grandfather. He learned the saddler's trade under my father and stayed at our house for many years. Then there was William HOGARD, who owned a large plantation two miles east of Marion. He and my father were good friends. I remember "Uncle" William would most always bring his saddle bags full of big apples and give them to me. He appointed my father constable, the first public office he ever held and he was afterwards sheriff for eight years. The first school I remember was in a little log house down the Fords Ferry road, now Main street, and Nathan R. BLACK was the teacher. Mr. Black was the first lawyer I remember seeing. Doctor GILLIAM was the first physician I remember knowing. And Rev. HADDON, a Presbyterian, the first minister. When I was quite small church services were held in the court house and later the old brick church was built down on the Princeton road, now South Main. My father, mother and one sister were buried down there in the old cemetery. I also remember Mr. J.N. WOOD, who for many years was one of the leading merchants and a prominent citizen. He came here from Illinois if I remember right. I also remember John W. BLUE, David STINSON and many other of the former prominent men. [Crittenden Press 5 Dec 1919] WESTON AND FORDS FERRY Weston has 200 inhabitants. In 1846 John WALLINGFORD and family were the only inhabitants - then known as Flynn's Ferry. In 1854 Richard Ford moved there and began business. He changed the name to Weston in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was WEST. From 1854 until recently, Weston grew very slowly but during the past few years several dwellings and businesses have arisen. Businesses: H.A. HAYNES, drugs; LAMBRETH Brothers, dry goods with Calm HEIL, Clerk; John NUNN and Co., hardware with Bob NUNN, business manager; C.G. WILSON, dry goods; LAMB and RANKIN, dry goods; American House Hotel, C.T. DAVIS, clerk; Weston House Hotel, J.L. HUGHES, proprietor and Jno. HEAT, clerk; Otho NUNN and Son, dry goods; J.W. ADAMS, forge; J.W. COOK, coal yard. Fords Ferry: Population 100. Businesses: R.A. MOORE, dry goods; Post Office; E.E. JENNINGS; FLANARY and WILBORN. [Crittenden Press 19 Jan 1881] Ex-Sheriffs of Crittenden County Seven ex-sheriffs are now citizens of the county, one owns broad acres in Kansas, another is an active business man in Texas, and still another is doing well in Indian Territory. Their names and years of service are as follows: J.H. WALKER 1855-1858 Jno. A. YANDALL 1859-1862 R.N. WALKER 1869-1872 J.W. CAMERON 1873-1874 R.A. DOWELL 1875-1878 J.P. PIERCE 1879-1882 A.J. PICKENS 1887-1890 A.L. CRUCE 1891-1897 Jno. T. FRANKS 1893-1897 Jno. T. PICKENS 1898-1901 [Crittenden Press 13 Feb 1902] Gone to the Poorhouse But few people who have visited Crittenden Springs for the past 25 years will fail to remember the two "old twins," Louisa and Louesa STINSON. They have lived there many years in a little box house on the hillside, near the spring. They have cultivated a little spot of ground, and upon the scant crop and charities of the people in the neighborhood and free will offerings from guests of the hotel have thus subsisted. For many years it has been an uphill fight with them to keep out of the county poor house; they have cultivated a settled aversion for that institution, but notwithstanding their brave and prolonged fight, they had to surrender this week, and "over the hill to the poor house" they went. The infirmities of old age have been telling on them for some years, and during the past winter they were sick and almost helpless. [Crittenden Press 30 Apr 1896] Obituary of Louesa Stinson Friday Louesa STINSON died at the county poor house. For years the two old maids occupied a little house on the roadside just beyond Crittenden Springs and everybody in that section, as well as all the visitors at Crittenden Springs, knew the "old twins." This little house was bare of many of the every day comforts, but for years they struggled along, making a brave fight to keep out of the poor house. Finally, the day came when they had to go to the poor house and there last Fri. the companionship of the two sisters was broken for the first time in the 80 yrs. of their lives. Louesa died and Louisa remained. They were the daughters of Hamilton STINSON, one of the pioneers of the county. He came to this state from one of the Carolinas about the beginning of the century and settled near where Mrs. ALLEN now lives, on the Marion and Sheridan road, a short distance from where the Sheridan and Springs road separates. Mr Hamilton STINSON owned several hundred acres of land in that section and was fairly well to do in his day and generation. One morning, during the absence of his family, his lifeless body was found suspended from a pole in his house, a log chain serving as a rope. Why he hung himself is not known by any one now living. He raised a large family, all of whom except the twins, left after the father's death. The youngest, David STINSON, was a physician and went to California, and it is said he married wealthy and was prosperous until his death many years ago. It was also said he left a family. Hamilton STINSON's second marriage was to the widow SHOUSE and she was the mother of Louesa and Louisa. She had a son by her first husband named Henry SHOUSE and in the '50's he killed a man named SIMPSON in Pope Co, IL. He was afterwards arrested and upon trial was convicted and hanged in Golconda. [Crittenden Press 2 Sep 1897] Obituary of Dr. W.S. Cain Dr. W.S. Cain died at his home Sun. morning, Jan. 10, after several months illness. For more than 40 years he has been a practicing physician in this county. Dr. CAIN was born Jan 16, 1827 in this county and is a son of Charles and Ellen (STEWART) CAIN. Charles CAIN moved to KY from SC in 1806 and settled near Piney Creek. Afterwards he moved to IL, where he died 1856. Dr. CAIN's mother was born in SC and died in Crittenden Co in 1872. Dr. CAIN was the second in a family of 7 children. At the age of 22 he engaged in teaching and taught school here two years. In 1851 he commenced the study of medicine under Dr. GILLIAM. In 1858 he graduated from St. Louis Medical School and from that time until 1877 he practiced in Marion, at which time he moved to Cave-In-Rock, IL, where he remained for some years, and then returned to this county. In 1859 he married Mary A. BRUCE, daughter of Marcus TWITCHELL of OH. She died in 1870 and he then married Mrs. Susan A. PECK, daughter of Jake M. CARTER of Henderson Co. His wife and 3 children survive him. [Crittenden Press 14 Jan 1897] Piney Camp Meeting Piney camp meeting closed Thursday after a very successful revival of the church. Piney camp ground is one of the oldest in the country, the first meeting was held there in 1812, and with the exception of 2 years, meetings have been held there regular every year since, making 85 annual camp meetings held on that spot. [Crittenden Press 24 Aug 1899] Pleasant Hill Meeting The annual 8 day meeting began at Pleasant Hill Church Sunday. Eld. T.P. MOORE of Sartis, TN is assisting the pastor, Eld. J.R. CLARK. There will be 2 services each day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and the congregation will take dinner each day on the grounds. Pleasant Hill is a Primitive Baptist Church and has no connection with any other ecclestiastical body even of that denomination. It was organized in 1853 and called Eld. P.L.H. WALKER to be the pastor. He served the church from that time until his death April 15, 1886. The church now has a membership of 136 and 3 ordained ministers. [Crittenden Press 10 Aug 1899] Five Brothers There are few families in which there are 5 brothers who have passed the three score and ten years allotted to man by the Scripture, but we have a case of that kind in the salubrious clime of old Crittenden. In 1814, Moulton GILBERT moved from Georgia to what is now this county and reared a family of 9 children - 4 girls and 5 boys; the girls are dead, but the boys are still living and the youngest passes the 70th milestone this month. Their names and ages are as follows: M.G. GILBERT, 84; H.C. GILBERT, 79; A.C. GILBERT, 77; John GILBERT, 73; James GILBERT, 70. All were born and reared within 6 miles of Marion. Phillip, another brother, was killed by an accident a few yars ago. The last sister, Mrs. BRISTOE, passed away about a year ago at the age of 87. One of their grandfathers reached the age of 99 years and 9 months and the other 91 years. [Crittenden Press 12 Oct 1899] Remembering Old Marion I have known Marion all of my life. My father J.P. HOGARD came here on horse back to the old horse mill when Marion was not a town, not even a village, only the old mill and one residence. The first time I can remember coming to Marion was on an ox cart with 4 bags of corn across the front bolster. Some of the men I learned to know were David STINSON, Judge WAGER, Cub BIGHAM, William CARNAHAN and Mr. DOUGLAS, who kept the tavern on the corner where Douglas CARNAHAN now sells goods, Robert Fulton HAYNES, J.W. BLUE Sr, Nathan R. BLACK, J.N. WOODS, who sold goods on the corner where the Farmers Fank is located. Charlies HIGGINBOTHAM, who ran a saloon where the Marion Bank is, W.N. ROCHESTER, Hick and R.N. WALKER and others whose names I can not recall. I never did like the business of the HIGGINBOTHAMS and never had much admiration for Judge WAGER. For the first time that I came to church was in the old brick out by the old grave yard. The house was well filled and I sat by Judge WAGER. While H.M. FORD was preaching, Judge WAGER turned and spat at me, a thing I have not forgotten to this day. Then I was sure that town people looked down on country people. Marion is the county seat of Crittenden county - the only town of any size in the county. It is here that all litigations, etc have to be settled, the great common center. [Crittenden Press 27 May 1921] Post Offices Named by Clerks Time has so accustomed the people of Crittenden County to calling certain communities by their respective names that .. much of the local history behind those names has been forgotten. While practically everybody knows that Marion was named in honor of Gen. Francis Marion of Revolutionary fame, few know the reason for the naming of some of the smaller places, Levias and Frances, for instance. Levias, located just off U.S. 60, about half way between Marion and Salem, was once known as Union, according to Mrs. Grady SISCO, who was born and reared in that community. In the year 1820, a Missionary Baptist Church was organized at that place and this church was named Union. At that time there were several dwellings nearby with some 35 or 40 residents. At the cross roads there was a blacksmith shop, some general stores and a doctor's home. It was also a voting place. Mrs. SISCO says that until some 50-odd years ago, Levias was known as the Union communty and people went to Marion about once a month for their mail. This continued for some time until the government established a post office for the residents of this village. The post office was located in the general store of L.L. PRICE, a veteran of the Civil War, a Union man. It was suggested that the new post office be named for Mr. PRICE, whose first name was Levi, but it was found there was another Levi, KY, so the one at Union was called Levias. M.F. POGUE of Frances furnished the information that the little village of Frances was named, probably by a romantic post office clerk, for Miss Frances FOLSOM, who became the wife of President Grover CLEVELAND. At different periods before the coming of the post office, this community was variously kown as Cross Roads, Liberty, and Needmore, but as each of these names was already in use by other post offices in the state, a new one was necessary. [Crittenden Press 11 Sep 1931] ================================================================== Historic Cemetery Undergoes Transformation The old cemetery on the outskirts of town is undergoing a transformation these days through the joint efforts of the city officials and the Woman's Club of Marion. The neglect of this historic graveyard, located on Highway 60 on the southern edge of Marion, has been a cause of concern. The Woman's Club is tracing the records of early settlers buried there and is making an effort to contact their descendants. In tracing the history of this cemetery, it is found that its history is also a history of the First Presbyterian Church of Marion, located at Belleville and College Streets. The early records have been lost. During 1845 [sic] the county of Crittenden was created and the new town of Marion laid off as county seat. A section of land was patented to the Presbyterian church called Bethany and the church moved from Crooked Creek to Marion. It appears that during 1846 the church erected a brick building upon the ground patented to it, which was used as a place of worship for many years. The location was the plot where now exists the "Old Grave Yard" as it was known. There is some dispute as to the exact location of the church, and it is believed that its location was across the highway where now stands the Hillyard Service Station. At that time there was no road where Highway 60 is located. According to Mrs. E.C. VAN PELT, a life-long member of the Presbyterian church, her mother, Mrs. J.I. CLEMENT, related many stories of the little old church and cemetery. "Mother often described the funerals that were held there. She never forgot the mournful tolling of the church bell as the casket was carried from the home of the deceased. The tolling continued during the time the procession passed through town enroute to the church, where the funeral services were held." A church roll of 1853 lists 84 names, and many of the family names are found on the tombstones in the cemetery. There are five family lots enclosed in old-fashioned iron fences. Included are two STINSON families, the W.C. CARNAHAN family, Dr. H.L. LEIGH family and the HILLYARD family. The tombstones today reveal a history of the county. Included are the name of many pioneers of Crittenden County. Many of the stones are in good condition while others are lying on the ground. According to dicipherable tombstones, the oldest grave is that of Margaret WILSON, who was born September 29, 1777 and died November 9, 1833. It appears that this grave may have been moved there after the church was granted the land in 1845, or perhaps there were a few graves there already. The restoration of this historic cemetery proves that the pioneers who founded Crittenden County may be gone, but they will not be forgotten. [Crittenden Press 23 Jul 1954; article abstracted] ================================================================ OLD TIMERS We found two of the old citizens exchanging reminiscences of the past. They were Thos. GREER and J.H. WALKER. Mr. GREER is in his 82nd year. In 1836 he worked as a tailor near where Fredonia now stands and where a country store was run by Harvey BIGHAM. The man on whose land the store was located, Mr. RICE, would not agree to sell any of his possessions for town lots and BIGHAM purchased land from Jesse PEMBERTON and began the town of Fredonia. The price paid was $10 per acre and was considered an enormous price. To meet his payments, BIGHAM sold a portion of the land to Jacob B. CRIDER, who moved from near Piney camp ground and located on his purchase. Jacob B. CRIDER was the father of Hon. J.E. CRIDER. Mr. GREER asked Mr. WALKER if he remembered his brother. The reply was: "Certainly. In 1840 he was a saddler at Salem and my father agreed that I should buy a saddle - my first one - from him and I took 900 pounds of pork to Salem and gave it for the saddle, the price of which was $18." [Crittenden Press 31 Mar 1892] Col. E.W. HILL Of the men who first looked upon what is now Crittenden Co., before but little of its virgin forest had faded before the woodsman's ax, but few are still living today. Among the thinned ranks of these pioneers is Col. E.W. HILL, born Aug. 7, 1805, at the old Hill farm about one mile south of Marion, and for 88 years he has been a citizen of this section. He was in Marion yesterday and spent the day with his granddaughter Mrs. J.T. ELDER. His father, Col. David HILL, came from North Carolina 100 years ago this fall; he was a young man and accompanied James RICHEY, a well-to-do man, who settled here and opened a farm, building a cabin on what is known as the Wm. CLEMENT farm. The next year, or about 1784, Mr. HILL returned to NC for a visit and returned to KY accompanied by a number of settlers. Col. HILL remembers when his father left home and joined the ranks of the soldiers who fought in the War 1812-15. In the early days when people gathered regularly to muster, E.W. HILL, being versed in military tactics, was chosen to command and rose to the rank of Colonel. Col. HILL was happily married to Mary B. PORTER, daughter of E.P. PORTER. Three children were born to them, two of them yet living, E.P. HILL and Mary DOWELL, wife of Judge DOWELL of Kansas. [Crittenden Press 13 Apr 1893; article abstracted and picture of E.W. Hill with article] OLD TIMERS We found two of the old citizens exchanging reminiscences of the past. They were Thos. GREER and J.H. WALKER. Mr. GREER is in his 82nd year. In 1836 he worked as a tailor near where Fredonia now stands and where a country store was run by Harvey BIGHAM. The man on whose land the store was located, Mr. RICE, would not agree to sell any of his possessions for town lots and BIGHAM purchased land from Jesse PEMBERTON and began the town of Fredonia. The price paid was $10 per acre and was considered an enormous price. To meet his payments, BIGHAM sold a portion of the land to Jacob B. CRIDER, who moved from near Piney camp ground and located on his purchase. Jacob B. CRIDER was the father of Hon. J.E. CRIDER. Mr. GREER asked Mr. WALKER if he remembered his brother. The reply was: "Certainly. In 1840 he was a saddler at Salem and my father agreed that I should buy a saddle - my first one - from him and I took 900 pounds of pork to Salem and gave it for the saddle, the price of which was $18." [Crittenden Press 31 Mar 1892] Col. E.W. HILL Of the men who first looked upon what is now Crittenden Co., before but little of its virgin forest had faded before the woodsman's ax, but few are still living today. Among the thinned ranks of these pioneers is Col. E.W. HILL, born Aug. 7, 1805, at the old Hill farm about one mile south of Marion, and for 88 years he has been a citizen of this section. He was in Marion yesterday and spent the day with his granddaughter Mrs. J.T. ELDER. His father, Col. David HILL, came from North Carolina 100 years ago this fall; he was a young man and accompanied James RICHEY, a well-to-do man, who settled here and opened a farm, building a cabin on what is known as the Wm. CLEMENT farm. The next year, or about 1784, Mr. HILL returned to NC for a visit and returned to KY accompanied by a number of settlers. Col. HILL remembers when his father left home and joined the ranks of the soldiers who fought in the War 1812-15. In the early days when people gathered regularly to muster, E.W. HILL, being versed in military tactics, was chosen to command and rose to the rank of Colonel. Col. HILL was happily married to Mary B. PORTER, daughter of E.P. PORTER. Three children were born to them, two of them yet living, E.P. HILL and Mary DOWELL, wife of Judge DOWELL of Kansas. [Crittenden Press 13 Apr 1893; article abstracted and picture of E.W. Hill with article] History of the River Villages Dycusburg - Tolu Present inhabitants of Dycusburg, that quaint little town on the Cumberland River, say that it was first settled about 1840 by Berry Dycus, in whose honor it was named. In 1842 Dycus had the town incorporated and in 1848 established a ferry there. At one time Dycusburg was quite an important place; that was back in the days before the coming of the railroad, when much of the traveling was done by river. Although the establishment of the railroad deprived Dycusburg of a great deal of its importance to the remainder of the county, it still remains the trading center for people of its adjacent territory. It now has several well patronized stores and a post office with one rural route. It is the only grade school district in the county outside of Marion and Tolu. The man for whom Dycusburg was named is the grandfather of F.B. Dycus, well known Dycusburg business man of this time. Tolu, the largest river town in Crittenden County, is situated overlooking the Ohio River and takes its name of Tolu for a very quaint reason. A once popular brand of medicine, known as a splendid tonice and much used for its exhilirating effects, was known as Tolu Tonic or Tolu Bitters. Reports say that a traveling salesman suggested this name to Uncle Sam, when the Tolu post office was established, as a good one for the place as it was not only a popular name, but one easy to remember by everyone, especially those who chewed Tolu gum and drank Tolu Tonic. Hurricane Landing was the old name for Tolu. Hurricane Landing derived its name from Hurricane Creek nearby. In turn, Hurricane Creek was so called by early settlers who found that section devasated, having been in the path of a terrific hurricane, which a few years previously had piled the gigantic forests, which abounded in the Ohio Valley, in tangled heaps. It is said that this same hurricane in some places changed the course of Hurricane and Deer Creeks. [18 Sep 1931] Mattoon - Sheridan - White Hall - View Famous characters from history provided names for certain of Crittenden County localities, fanciful names from the brains of prominent citizens for other communities and post offices. Most of the post offices have long since been discontinued with the extension of a thorough system of rural routes, but the territory in which they are located still goes by the old name. Mattoon was originally selected as a name for Bart Moore's store, but now the whole community is so called because the fame of the store spread for miles around. Mr. Moore was known as one of the most successful country merchants in Western Kentucky. When the Sheridan post office was established, it was named in hnor of Gen. Phillip Sheridan at the suggestion of A.J. Bebout, who was post master there for several years. Out west of Crayne is a one room school called White Hall, which was originally used also for church gatherings. Col. A.H. Cardin gave a good donation towards its erection, as did Senator Clement, A.B. Hodge and others. Mrs. Cardin took an especial interest in the new building. It was she that suggested it be painted white and called "White Hall." A much smaller building occupies the spot at this time. The post office, just below at the cross roads, was named "View," suggested also by Mrs. Cardin. This post office has been discontinued. Now the name White Hall and View are applied to practically the same community. [16 Oct 1931] Shady Grove - Larrapin Springs - Deanwood Piney Bluff - Piney Creek - Piney Fork Church When the early settlers first came to the community now known as Shady Grove, they found a delightful camping place shaded by beautiful forest trees like an attractive park, hence its name. One of these early settlers, it is said, once claims to have stood in Hopkins County and shot across the corner of Caldwell, killing a deer in Crittenden County on the present site of Shady Grove. Shady Grove is on the water shed between the waters of Piney and Donalson Creeks. Larrapin Springs was named after its early owner, David Larrapin, miller and distiller who resided on the spot where Ike Stone now lives. Deanwood, formerly Iron Hill, took its name from the Deans, prominent family of that community. Piney Bluff nearby is so called because of the profusion of beautiful pine trees over the picturesque cliffs and bluffs. Piney Creek gets its name for a similar reason. Piney Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church is on a fork of Piney Creek. [20 Oct 1931] Mt. Zion Church Mt. Zion Methodist Church was organized in 1838 by Presiding Elder Cain. The log house was built near that date. The charter members were Rilan Heath and wife, Wm. Hill and wife and son, Dr. Bristow and wife, William Hughes, Ezekiel Porter, James Broadfoot and wife, Ingram Lucas, Patsy Hughes, J.B. Hill, James T. Taylor and wife came later. Some have thought that Ira Nunn and wife were also charter members as services were held at his house and also at Dr. Bristow's before the church was built. Mt. Zion can well be called the Mother of Methodism in this county. On January 25, 1859 a deed was made to the Church and Masonic Fraternity by William Williams and wife for the sum of $5.00 and recorded in 1864 by Berry S. Young, County Clerk. Bro. Big Truitt went out from this church to preach the gospel. On March 27, 1890 the house was blown down by a cyclone, this being the second house and more land was secured by deed made by Robert Heath in 1901 to L.R. Hughes, J.W. Coon and G.P. Wilson as Trustees. Then a new house was built and was dedicated by Rev. J.W. Bigham. Bro. Thrasher was pastor at that time. It has been under the care of Bro. Gibbons, Archey, Boggiss, Crowe, Smithson, Roland and Love. [19 July 1906] Brenda Joyce Jerome, CGRS