May 6, 1897




I became acquainted with the town of Marion on the first day of April, 1860.

The town was not as large then as now, and the average citizen of Marion would probably be surprised on learning how few of the houses now standing in the town were there then.  Even some people who have lived here through all these years would hardly believe that the number of residences then was less than thirty, and that of those less than a dozen now remain.

Of all the houses then used exclusively as business houses, the well known two story brick belonging to J. N. Woods, lately deceased, and the frame building now used by Johnson & Koltinsky as a grocery store, are the only surviving relics.

The only men now living in the town that were here then with families are J. W. Adams, J. W. Blue, sr., D. Woods and A. C. Gilbert.

Commencing with the corner now occupied by the Marion bank and running down Main street, to the main crossing, and thence down Salem street to the residence of W. D. Wallingford, the only house that you pass on your right that was here then is the one now occupied by Johnson & Koltinsky.  All the buildings now standing in that space have since been destroyed by fire.  In some instances the fire fiend has swept the same ground twice.

The first house ever built in the town was then standing opposite the court house.  It was a double log house weatherboarded, and was built by Dr. John S. Gilliam, about the year 1840.  At the time of which I am writing it was occupied by Dr. Anthony Hodge.  It was destroyed by fire about eight or nine years ago.

The merchants of the town at that time were:  Wilson & Armstrong, in a part of what is now the Crider House; C. C. Bigham, in a house about on the present site of the Clark building on Main street; Meyer & Ullman, in the old long brick building that stood on the present site of the Marion Bank; Frank Clark in the old Carnahan frame building about where Orme's drug store now stands; Worthington Carnahan, in a small frame building a few steps further north, about Pierce Yandell Gugenheim Co's; J. G. Hoover, in a small house where A. C. Gilbert now has a saddlery and harness establishment; D. N. Stinson, in the old Masonic building; A. and S. Hodge, in the house now occupied by Johnson & Koltinsky; D. and R. H. Woods, in the building belonging to J. N. Woods; Rev. Mr. Perkins, father in law of D. Woods, occupied the old Wilson building west of the court house as a residence and book store, and was postmaster.  These merchants carried general stocks, except Perkins, who confined himself exclusively to books; Clark, who ran a drug store, and Hoover, who handled groceries and liquors.  In the following fall J. W. Rutherford put in a stock of groceries in the building known as the Woods old stand, just south of the Marion hotel.

That building is said to have been one of the first houses ever put up in the town of Salem, was removed and put up here in the early days of the town, and was torn down a few months ago to make room for the new brick building recently put up by Messrs. Morse, Perry and  Loyd.

The Marion Hotel, then called the "Brick Tavern," was run by Warren Wager, and the "White Tavern" on the corner now occupied by Hubbard & McConnell, was operated by J. C. Henson.  The last named tavern was destroyed by fire in March, 1876; the lot stood vacant for about ten years, and was called the burned district.

J. W. Adams conducted the only blacksmith shop in the town; the shop stood a few feet west of Mrs. Lovings millinery store on Salem street.  A mound is plainly visible where the old forge stood.  The old log jail stood a little west of the shop, about where the Methodist church now stands.  Mr. Adams then lived in a house just north of Olive's furniture store, and a few years afterward built the house now occupied by J. H. Ainsworth.  R. G. Stewart lived in the Stewart building west of the courthouse, and the house standing between that building and Salem street now used by Henry Bros. as a marble shop, was occupied by J. M. Steele, a carpenter and brother in law to our fellow townsman, G. G. Hammond.  Mr. Steele, either in that or the following year, built a two story frame residence on Ford's Ferry street, and in 1862 sold it to J. H. Walker, who has owned ever since and occupied it nearly all the time.

The residences on Salem street after passing Mr. Steele's were "Aunt Matilda Threlkeld's" about in front of C. S. Nunn's residence; C. C. Bigham, where W. D. Wallingford now lives; D. N. Stinson, on the present site of M. H. Weldon's residence; David Bourland's house, now occupied by Mr. Toylar.  I think Dr. T. L. Dean lived there then, but of that I am not certain.  J. W. Blue lived where he lives now, but has rebuilt twice since then--once in 1867, and again in 1877.

R. F. Haynes lived in a large from [frame] house nearly opposite Mr. Blue's; he sold out to S. Hodge a year or two after the war; Mr. Hodge lived there until the house was destroyed by fire in 1881.

So much for the residences on Salem street.  The house occupied by "Aunt Matilda" was torn down about twenty years ago, and the Stinson house was destroyed by fire five or six years ago, after which Mr. Weldon built the house now occupied by him.

The residences on Fords Ferry street were the house now occupied by Charles Evans, where Worthington Carnahan then lived; a log cabin, standing on the right of the road about opposite G. G. Hammond, and an old frame house then in a state of dilapidation, standing on the elevation now occupied by the residence of J. R. Finley and L. H. James; they sometimes called it the Calvert house[.]  James Oakley was living farther out where Tilford Dixon afterward lived; and later R. F. Haynes lived there up to time of his removal to Florida.  The house was destroyed by fire in 1880.

On Bellville street S. Hodge lived where the late W. C. Carnahan's widow now lives, and Dr. H. L. Leigh lived in the house now occupied by Dr. Jordan.  Those were only houses on Bellville street.  There was no vestige of a building beyond Dr. Jordan's on the left nor beyond the Masonic building on the right.  The next house built on that street was D. Woods', built in 1863.  It was afterwards destroyed by fire, when he built the one in which he is now living.  The masonic building of that day was a two story frame; it was destroyed by fire in 1869, and a two story brick was erected in its place, and it was burned in the fall of 1895, after which the present elegant three story brick was built.

On Princeton street the widow of Dr. John S. Gilliam lived, where R. W. Wilson now lives.  J. N. Woods lived in a two story frame just south of his store building.  The house was burned in the fall of 1862, and the one story building now occupied by Mrs. Clement as a boarding house was built on the same ground in 1867.  James Doss lived in a house in front of the residence of Mrs. Cameron.  A. C. Gilbert lived in a double house on the site of the new C. P. church.  It was torn down and removed about twenty years ago, or more.  R. L. Bigham lived nearly opposite R. W. Wilson's.  The house was moved away about three years ago, separated and put up in two buildings on West Depot street.  Judge N. R. Black lived in a small house a little north of the building now well known as the Black house, and put up that building the same year.  J. T. Hoover and his mother lived in the house opposite the cemetery, and near Bigham's mill.  Berry S. Young lived in a long, two story house that stood broadside along the sidewalk just west of the J. N. Woods store building.  A. D. Armstrong lived where Dr. J. W. Crawford now lives.  A German shoemaker named Heiman lived in a tall building well known as "Old Tom," (how it ever got such a name I do not know) that stood directly on the street about where R. E. Bigham's store now is.  J. W. Rutherford lived in a frame house about where Eddings' blacksmith shop now stands.  William Kinsey ran a carding machine about where the residence of the late H. P. Long stands, but I can not say where he lived.

The town school building was a small frame concern, standing on the side of the present residence of J. J. Bennett.  It continued to be the only school building that the town had up to the year 1869.  The old brick church, standing in the edge of the old cemetery was the only church building here at that time.  The Methodist church on Salem street was built in 1874.

D. W. Carter was county judge; B. S. Young county clerk; S. Hodge circuit clerk; J. A. Yandell sheriff; A. C. Gilbert jailer; J. W. Blue county superin[ten]dent; R. A. Walker represented the county in the Legislature.

The physicians of the town were H. L. Leigh, Anthony Hodge and T. L. Dean.

The nearest steam mill to town at that time was a small concern run by James Hoover, and stood on Crooked creek just above the crossing of the Dycusburg road.  Hartwell Hoover ran a water mill on Crooked creek about a half mile below the Fords Ferry road.

R. E. Bigham, C. E. Doss, and Harry Carnahan were among the small kids of the town at that time.  Two of them now are grand daddies, and the other one has grown children.  So passeth time away.

At that time the shrill whistle of the locomotive had never been heard nearer than Paducah.  Such towns as Hopkinsville, Madisonville and Henderson were without railroad connections.  The festive newsboy was an unknown entity on the streets of Marion.  Boys did not wear legless breeches then as now; and the good people would not have believed their senses could they have seen a boy going over the town hunting up dirty shirts to be washed and "done up" in Evansville.  The world DO move.



Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, May 6, 1897, Image 1 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.


[My comments are in brackets.]