February 1, 1906


Old Times In Crittenden.


EDITOR PRESS:  As I sit thinking over past incidents, and quite a few are yet fresh in my memory, but after looking up the dates and finding some of them a score or more years in the past, I am forced to realize that I am not still in my teens, and to better enable me to keep in touch with the dates I peruse the columns of an issue of the Crittenden Press, published by R. C. Walker, in the spring of 1886.  I was teaching school at this time at old Cookseyville, in this county and in those days we would send in a monthly report of our schools which Mr. Walker, being scarce of news, I suppose, would publish most any article in writing sent him.


Thinking, perhaps, I might copy a little from an issue printed Thursday April 22, 1886, that may be interesting to many of your readers.


First I will give the names and business of some of our people who advertised in those days:


Crayne & Henry, dealers in tombstones, etc.


A. E. Clark, transferring and hauling drummers.


Dr. T. H. Cossitt and J. H. Hillyard were selling drugs.


Pierce & Son, hardware.


Woods & Walker and G. C. Gray, dry goods, also Sam Gugenheim was selling a bankrupt stock of goods, sent here by his brother for Sam to dispose of.


R. B. and R. F. Dorr and Jesse Olive were selling furniture.


J. R. Finley selling groceries.


W. M. Morgan shaving friends.


R. L. Tinsley laying brick and Misses Orr & Stewart were trimming the ladies hats.


We will next notice the names of those boys who were burning the woods with political fire, and the kind of pie they were wanting. The following were candidates:


Circuit Judge--M. C. Givens and Ben P. Cissell.


Commonwealth Attorney--J. H. Powell.


County Judge--L. H. James, J. A. Moore and J. B. Kevil.


County Attorney--J. G. Rochester and W. C. M. Travis.


County Clerk--Will Hill and D. Woods.


Circuit Clerk--H. A. Haynes and Henry A. Hodge.


Sheriff--A. J. Pickens and W. F. Summerville.


Assessor--Thos. J. Yandell.


School Supt.--E. E. Thurman and G. W. Perry.


Jailer--Sid Lucas, M. L. Hayes, and A. Wilborn.


Surveyor--G. H. Crider and W. E. Minner.


Coroner--J. F. Flanary.


Constable. Marion precinct--John Grissom.


Now while on this line of thought and in order to make it more interesting to the elder people I will give something of the men and incidents of the early history of Crittenden county.


The first circuit court of Critten[den] county was held at the house of Samuel Ashley, on the 28th day of May, 1842. Judge Wiley P. Fowler presiding. The Court appointed Harvey P. Bigham clerk of the court. There were five lawyers present at the term. They were Geo. W. Barber, Francis H. Dallam, Patterson C. Lander, Robert H. Marr and Sumner Marble. There was only one civil suit on the docket, and that was a chancery case. Only three indictments were found during the term, and strange as it may seem there was a woman in two of the cases.


The whole proceedings of the term, organizing the term, empanneling [sic] the juries, appointing officers, recording oaths, and bonds, all only occupied a little over three pages of space in the order book.


The office of clerk, which is so desirable now, would not have furnished much roast beef and patent plows at that time.


The first grand jury empanneled [sic] in the county were as follows:


Alexander Dean, Edward Ashley, William Ashley, Matthew Parmley, Martin Hammond, Wm. Hoggard, John M. Wilson, Isaac Loyd, Jacob Gill, Geo. Melton, John E. Wilson, Uriah Witherspoon, Andrew J. Hill, Thomas Akers, and Anjiers McAlister. The last survivor, Andrew J. Hill, died a few months ago.


But the descendants from this list of honored patriots constitutes a large and respectable portion of the present population of the county who can refer back with pride to their origin.


The next circuit term was held at the brick church near Marion, for the reason it being impracticable, on account of the inclemency of the weather, to hold a court at the house of Samuel Ashley, the place designated by law.


This court was begun on the 28th day of November, 1842. The following lawyers were sworn as members of the bar, viz: David W. McGoodwin, Willis G. Hughes, Robert A. Patterson, Livingston Lindsey, W. H. Calvert, Hiram McElroy and John W. Headley. Most of these men became eminent in their profession in Southern Kentucky.


We find that in October, 1843, Judge Ben Shackelford succeeded Judge Fowler on the bench. The cause of this change I am unable to find. It was a time when this officer was appointed by the governor and both of the men were of the same political party with the governor; and it was said that under the old constitution the "Old Hunkers," as they were called, "never resigned and very seldom died."


It is said the Judge Shackelford had the appearance on the bench of being very austere. But it was in those days thought to be more the style to excite the fears than to win the love and admiration of the people.


John H. Bruff was the first jailer and he received for his services in attending on court, making fires, etc., for a whole term of circuit court ten dollars.


The first court house our county had was not occupied until October, 1843.


And now; Mr. Editor, down deep in our heart we still have a love for those old grandfathers. We salute them; never were men hotter or cooler of head, more buoyant of temperament, or shrewder. They loved "the dark and bloody ground;" they left a history that will be praised for generations to come. Our present generation are still proud of our state. Kentuckians are a people by themselves, three-quarters Gascon and three-fourths Roundhead, born poets, politicians, money makers, trouble makers, spouters, come-outers, heroes, world-savers and cranks. Step on a Kentuckian's toe and you perpetrate a horror greater to him than a hundred Calabrian earthquakes.


I imagine our forefathers could view the state from any angle and the result was pleasing. Its romantic history, its limitless resources, its matchless landscape, its exilirating [sic] climate, its magnificent achievements, its splendid civilization, all went to stimulate state pride and found ready response in the glowing hearts of its enthusiastic people. Slander the State and every one of its citizens resents it as a personal offense. They all believe the Omnipotent Artist never painted fairer skies than those that arched their pretty and prolific hills; and the Giver of all good never endowed a land with a richer heritage than that which he has lavished upon the corn cracker state.




Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, February 1, 1906, Image 8 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.


[My comments are in brackets.]