Monday, April 26, 2010

Letter 5 Kentucky II

Monday, April 19 we moved to Hopkinsville, KY where Olivia’s great-great grandfather John Pierce and his wife Sarah Allen lived, were married, raised eleven children and are buried. They were both born and raised further east. In Hopkinsville we found absolutely no campgrounds or RV parks. The closest was 30 miles away. We only wanted to find their cemetery and maybe a few facts about them, then move on. In hunting for a place, we called the “Trail of Tears” park number. The president said no camping, but he owned a mobile home park and could maybe put us up, so we drove to his place, and it was a terrible site. The worst part was the electricity didn’t fit our plugs. They only had 50 amp receptacles—ours is 30. He was so nice to try to help and he finally said, “go ahead and park over at the Trail of Tears park, close to their office. We could plug in to the log rest room. He would call the police and let them know it was ok for us to stay.”

We pulled into the park, unhooked and Olivia went to the Library, where she quickly found John & Sarah’s graves listed in the Pierce cemetery and where it was located. Oh, so easy. Thanks to the genealogy society’s book and their efforts. Back at the trailer Fred waited for the park helper to help him get plugged in.
We parked very close to the monument and graves of Whitepath and Fly Smith. This was one of the stops along the “Trail of Tears.” Both Chiefs had been very ill when they led their party out of Nashville and were buried here.

When Olivia arrived back at the trailer we drove out Cox Mill Road the appropriate miles and turned on the lane, when we both saw a locked gate and no trespassing signs. Oh, heck, we knew it had been too easy! We stopped at a few houses before finding someone home and she told us the owner was Chris Cayce. We checked with the Cayce Pharmacy and that was the wrong Cayce, but he gave us a number. We called and left a message.

Back at the trailer, we ate supper and went to bed, then Chris called. He was so nice and told us he would unlock the gate by 8 am next morning. He didn’t know of any Pierce’s interested in this cemetery, but he sprayed it with roundup two times a year. We should take rakes to pull away the weeds. Some stones were pushed over. There is a house, but it was built in the 1930’s and he didn’t know of any Pierce’s owning the property. He asked us to lock the gates when we left.

Tuesday, April 20, we drove out to the cemetery and fully believe this must have been their
farm even though we didn’t verify in the court house. The cemetery recordings include six children, three of which were adults and their families.

The tallest tree on the left in this picture is to the left side of the cemetery. The two stones visible on the left of this picture mark
Sarah Pierce and her husband John. They married in Hopkinsville in 1818. They had 11 Children. One son John Henry Pierce went to Texas and Olivia descends through him. This couple are Olivia’s great, great grandparents on her Mother’s side.

How do you get the inscriptions on the old uncared for stones to show up in pictures? We sprayed them with shaving cream and used our windshield squeegee to scrape the surface of the stone. It worked pretty good.

The farm is
beautiful. We drove through cultivated land, forest and this lush pasture which was duplicated behind the row at the top of the rise.

We called Mr Cayce as we left, telling him we had locked the gates and thanked him for allowing us to go to the cemetery. It is actually the law to permit family members to see their family cemeteries, but he was very nice and we thanked him. We asked how long it had been since someone had asked and he said it was in the late 90’s. So sad that no one in the area with of all those children care anything about their ancestors.

Leaving town we passed the
Jefferson Davis. Civil war veterans built this monument to him. It sure does resemble Washington’s monument in Washington, DC.

We drove on to another Corps of Engineer park on Nolin Lake near Mammoth Cave National Park and set up for two nights

Wednesday, April 21, San Jacinto Day. We visited
Mammoth Cave National Park, one of our oldest National Parks, started in 1929, but was completed in 1941. This is the most extensive cave system on Earth.
It has over 365 miles of surveyed passageways and is over twice as long as any known cave. Geologists think there could be 600 miles of yet undiscovered passageways. We decided to take the
Historic tour to see the first part of the cave discovered in 1798. Prehistoric peoples explored, but the American Indians of the time didn’t know of it until Anglos discovered it. Mammoth cave played an important role at the start of American tourism. It became an attraction by 1816. The US lacked ancient places and antiquities that Europe offered. Wonders of nature were our great treasures. Big was beautiful: Mammoth Cave, Grand Canyon, and Giant Sequoia. Now with its 53,000 surface acres and underlying cave ecosystem, Mammoth Cave National Park is an international treasure. We entered the Historic Entrance to the Rotunda 140’ below the surface. It was here that
saltpeter was mined for use in gun powder during the War of 1812. Miners used
small lamps and torches to work by. We walked down Broadway, through the
Methodist Church viewing
ancient pictographs.

Gothic Avenue was a drop of about 15 steps with a very low ceiling where we backed down the steps. It reminded us of our stairs to our second floor, except with an even lower ceiling. That passage led us across the bottomless pit to the
wooden bowl room, each of which had
later graffiti carved and smoked into the walls and ceilings.

Fat Man’s Misery was
really more of a claustrophobic
misery for Fred.

Then through Sparks Avenue to the
Tower. Fortunately the Ranger led us very slowly! Olivia was able to keep up with the slow pace. There were over 500 steps on this two mile walk most of them going up the manmade tower.

All of this walking was only a small, small portion of this cave.

It was nice to see the
green trees and sun light as we climbed out the entrance.

As we left the park we drove to a Green River
paddle wheel ferry. This was a first for us to see a paddle wheel ferry. It was held in place on the river with four strong cables.

We rushed north to the town of Leitchfield, KY where we had an appointment to have the oil changed at the Chevrolet house. Thankfully we were cleared and ready to go.

Thursday, April 22 we moved to the
Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, KY, population about 10,000. We stopped for the night in this park as we drove home last fall from Vermont. We saw then that we would like to come back to this area, so we kept a map of the park with spots we thought we could fit in to. Fortunately one was available so we booked it for six nights, maybe seven. The TALL trees are Tulip Poplars and bloom in June. Several other rigs came in and we enjoyed watching them fit into the tight spots. After supper we walked the loop and met other campers from nearby in Kentucky to Michigan.

Friday, April 23, WOW what a day for a genealogist! We started at the Bardstown Library. We were looking for Fred’s Carr family and his Hastings family. I wish every place had such helpful volunteers. They were fantastic. The president of the genealogy society was their version of Lloyd Bockstrock of the Dallas Library. Now that’s a compliment to her. We would mention something and she would pull out a book or map. We enjoyed at least two hours there. We left with a fist full of copies.

We don’t know when they arrived in Kentucky from Virginia, but John Carr and Elizabeth Andrews were married in Nelson County KY in 1797. We found them listed in the Bloomfield Cemetery, and on a map of the town in 1803. He was listed as owning a lot on the corner of Main and Perry. Across the street just happen to be a Dr Merrifield and next to him was a Husted. Talk about coincidence. They bare the same sir names as many in old Duncanville, Texas, Fred’s hometown.

Well, maybe not such a coincidence. Peter’s colony covered a large portion of north Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth and as far west as Abilene, Texas. Beginning in 1841 Henry Peters of Louisville, KY contracted with the Republic of Texas to bring settlers to north Texas. His settlers had the exclusive right to settle in a vast area of Texas. Peters advertised in his town and received interest from many in states along the Ohio river. A high percentage of the first settlers in the north Texas area were from Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. So to recognize the same sir names in Kentucky as Fred knew as a child in north Texas isn’t that surprising. In fact we read an article about a young Dr. Merrifield leaving Kentucky to aid in the fight for Texas’ independence. He was captured at Goliad, Texas, but managed to escape and returned to Kentucky. I’m sure he had tales to tell upon his return.

We also asked about Peter Hastings who was listed in the 1860 census in Bullitt county, just north of Nelson Co. He was listed as a laborer. We knew he came from Ireland, lived in Philadelphia, Utica NY, Bullitt county and then Dallas Co, TX. In Bullitt County he was listed in Belmont Furnace community or district. We had found a Belmont on our atlas, but not on the KY map. Sure enough the
Belmont Furnace was next to the community of Belmont which is not very big. We were able to find the old furnace, now unkept and in ruins. Originally it was 33’ high and 10’ across inside. Built in 1944 it burned charcoal fuel, smelted iron ore from Cane Run. In six months it produced 1140 tons of pig iron, shipped to Louisville, mainly for making nails.

Visiting the Bullitt Museum, we found workers at the furnace had cleared 600 acres to fuel the furnace to melt the iron ore. Peter could have been a laborer with the furnace, a lumber jack or worked for the railroad that was new to the area.

From there we drove to
Bloomfield. We found the city lot John Carr (farmer) owned,
next to the First United Methodist Church with an
old building behind the current house. A neighbor across the street told us a little about the church and said the town historian attends the church.

Both places we visited to research, told us of the wife of the producer of CSI’s, Brockheimer, hales originally from Bloomfield. She has done a lot for the town and now has their mansion across the road from the cemetery. She regularly spends time as a preservation activist, restoring and preserving historic buildings in small rural U.S. towns. We wished she would find Waxahachie!

We drove out to the cemetery, And found
John & Elizabeth right where the cemetery map told us they would be. They both died about 1846. These two counties genealogy societies have really been working and we are fortunate to have ancestors from here.

Arriving back at our trailer and checking our emails, we learned that "Heaven is rejoicing" as they welcomed our dear friend Jerry Childress. We sent our condolences to Kathryn and wished we could be with her now. Jerry fought his cancer for two years and we were fortunate to have him this long. He was a good man, husband and father. We will miss him.

Saturday, April 25 we met our neighbors, two young families with young children. We enjoyed watching the children playing and enjoying the outdoors and praised their parents for taking them camping. They both said their parents had taken them camping and they wanted their children to have the experience too. One of the families had a brand new 31’ trailer. He had a hard time getting it parked because the spot he had reserved was surrounded by trees. During Friday night the trailer slipped off a rock and broke the front two jacks off. They were really breaking it in.

We had planned to take the trolley ride through town, but missed the morning run. Then, found a front was moving through and we decided to make our grocery run instead of waiting for the afternoon trolley. We went to a new Kroger’s and it was one of the largest grocery stores we have been in. We enjoyed the nice produce section, but even they didn’t have any good onions like we get at home. What happened to the onions this year?

We ended up having two storm lines move through and we felt for the neighbors with the small children. They left just as the late afternoon rain started and entertained the children somewhere indoors. Later, we found they had stayed in Wal-Mart during the storm. Very resourceful!

Sunday, April 25 we awoke to a glorious morning, sunshine, blue skies and beautiful bright green grass & leaves.

We attended worship at the
First United Methodist Church in Bloomfield, KY. This church is next door to where Fred’s great, great grandparents lived. Before and after services the whole congregation tried to help us find out about the Carr’s. There are none with that last name living here now, but some north a few miles in the town of Taylorsville. Also the little brick building we saw the day before was a “meat house” or like we call them smokehouse. It is at least 200 years old. So it is a good probability John & Elizabeth Carr built it.

We drove back to Big Spring Cemetery for one last look and to see the
old Presbyterian Church near the cemetery. A white cornerstone was set high near the corner—see photo. The building was built in 1830, but is no longer used and is for sale. Most likely Fred’s Carr ancestors attended there in their older years, based upon the information we gathered.

Back in Bardstown we rode the
trolley to see the old town and learn some of it’s history then out to the
Heaven Hill Distilleries. They have many huge buildings with a lot of bourbon being aged. In their visitor center we were given a taste of a ten year old bourbon and encouraged to buy one of the $300 bottles of an older bourbon. One taste was enough for us, thanks!

Our guide told us a cute story on the origin of Kentucky bourbon. Years ago the most common form of packaging for shipment was barrels. Flour, sugar, pickles, fish, anything shipped was in barrels. Most were reused for other purposes. One farmer/distiller had trouble cleaning some barrels, so he burned the inside to get the smell out. It turns out they were oak and were first shipped to Bourbon County Kentucky. So they were stamped with “BOURBON KENTUCKY” on the outside of the barrels. One day the farmer/distiller was running short of barrels for his brew and decided to use the burned-out barrels. The liquor made its way to New Orleans. The next year, they sent word to Kentucky that they wanted more of the “bourbon.” Finally, it was figured out what had happened and an industry was born. Now, you know the rest of the story. Maybe its true!

We made a stop at their Wal-Mart for our staples then headed back to the trailer just as it started raining again.

By looking at the houses and commercial buildings, we see evidence of past and present prosperity in Bardstown. Tourism plays a big role in the local economy. In the county to the north, around Shepardsville, nearer to Louisville, we see many huge warehouse buildings and many nice new large home subdivisions. Several billboards advertised job openings. It seems the area is growing and prospering.

This ends this letter 5, Next letter is Kentucky II.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Letter 4 Land Between the Lakes

Sunday, April 11 we found a new home at the Canal Campground Corps of Engineers park at the north end of Land Between the Lakes with a water front spot. As we came in we met a couple from the Houston area who have been living on a houseboat and now have added a motor home to see what they have missed from the water. We had a great visit with them.

Monday, April 12 we washed the awning and part of the trailer, so we could really enjoy this perfect “Jo Atkins spot.” We are on Lake Barkley, one of the two lakes surrounding the “Land Between the Lakes” in Kentucky and Tennessee. These are huge lakes.

Many people told us to be sure and go to
“Patti’s” in Grand Rivers just north of here to eat her specialty, the 2” pork chop. Patti’s isn’t just a place to eat, it is a show place with
nine dining rooms decorated with lots of stain glass, flowers,
dolls, you name it. She is also famous for her
pies. We believe she has Sam’s in Fairfield beat for the meringue.

Fred couldn’t resist the
pork chop and Olivia tried the chicken with shrimp and asparagus, topped with béarnaise sauce! Yum. We both had the spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. It was the BEST dish! We decided to forgo the pie for that day and come back for
a whole pie before we leave the area.

After eating we toured the rest of Patti’s place. We noticed the
“Dogwood Lady” by the entrance. Several years ago, the “Cotton Queens” in Waxahachie made a similar tree for the Education Parade of Trees. This one had more decorations and even a parasol.

Patti’s is set up for all occasions and crowds. You can even play
miniature golf among the landscaping.

Fred admired an
unusual chair (made in Dallas) on one of the patios. By a chapel there were dogwoods blooming under four huge trees with a
giant wind chime. These pictures are only a smidgin’ of what you can see at Patti’s. Don’t miss it if you are ever in this territory.

Since we didn’t eat pie we visited the local ice cream shop and while enjoying it we noticed a
tree across the street. It couldn’t be just one tree, but sure enough it is!

Tuesday, April 13 we headed back to Paducah to see what we missed as we drove through on the freeway. Downtown was a long river wall with murals.
This is a large city with lots of history
and we enjoyed reading historical markers all over the town.
The Methodist church was the
first church of many in the city.

Paducah is home of the National Quilt Museum of the US and did they have beautiful quilts. We thought we saw pretty ones in the Amish country and at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, but they don’t hold a candle to what we saw here. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures of the quilts,
but there are lots of the quilts shown on their web site of PLEASE GO THERE. Millions of stitches, tiny pieces, some were hand painted then stitched by machine. The threads giving the shading. Some used metallic treads. AMAZING

Gypsy Caravan
and Imagine Hope
were copied from the web site.

There were hundreds of quilts in this museum. All prize winners in their big show, which just happens to be next weekend.

After the quilt show we followed Paducah’s Dogwood Trail.
We were fortunate to hit it in full bloom.
Wednesday, April 14 we drove down the LBL’s road, called “The Trace” and prowled to see campgrounds, the planetarium and the education center. All were very interesting. Later we drove over to the Kentucky Dam Marina and met the new friends James and Rennie Taylor, originally from Houston. They have covered the east in a
56 foot houseboat and now have a motor home. We met them as we checked in to the Canal Campground. We enjoyed a glass of wine on their deck,
then drove to Los Amigos for Mexican food. It wasn’t Tex-Mex, but was okay. They are interested in going to Alaska with us next year.

Thursday April 15, Yahoo! Our taxes were done before we left home! As we packed up to move the
resident geese swam by to tell us good bye or are they following us?

We drove south down “The Trace” into Tennessee where we found Fred’s cousin Judy and Lynn Gorman to spend some time with them.

It was a challenge to park in their
easement above their home. They are on Kentucky Lake on a point into the lake in a 5700 square foot octagonal home. There are no rooms that are square or rectangular.

Lynn is an amazing man. He went to HS in Dallas, college at North Texas—NTSU. Lynn’s dad grew up on a farm in Iowa. He could fix almost anything. He let Lynn explore his mechanical abilities. He really took to it. For example, Lynn learned to weld at a very early age so he could make a racing soap box. He used his mechanical abilities and his college degree as a foundation for two very successful careers. By age 51, he retired as a VP of Ryder Corp. In fact, at one time both Lynn and his dad were VPs at Ryder. FedEx lured him from retirement to become VP in charge of their fleet. More than half of FedEx’s business is outside of of the USA, so he traveled the world extensively for FedEx before his final retirement. Upon retirement, he said he was tired of hotel and board rooms. He wanted to be outside, they bought this house on Kentucky Lake. He managed to defer all his health problems until retirement, but seems to be doing fine after a series major surgeries.
It is a beautiful home and Lynn has many projects in the works, including
a waterfall. We had dinner in their screened-in
patio and watched the
sunset through the trees.

Olivia became enamored with their short puffy grass. It is mondo, similar to monkey grass, and never grows over three inches tall and never has to be mowed! We never heard of such a thing! Too good to be true? It likes shade. Maybe it would work under our pecan tree in the front yard???
this picture doesn't do it justice as it is still freezer burned from the cold. It will soon be ALL green.

Friday, April 16 we enjoyed the Gorman’s company as Fred helped Lynn with their sprinkler system and Olivia & Judy enjoyed catching up and working on the computer. We enjoyed hearing all about their family and comparing notes on all the Harrington cousins. Judy and Olivia enjoyed working a little on the genealogy.

Saturday, April 16 Again Olivia attempted to take pictures of their home from the lake view
outside and the big octagon room. The wall hides the kitchen to the left, but the roof line is octagon.

We prowled the area including the town of Paris, TN and tried to climb their
Eifel Tower. It is in Paris! We drove south to see the Tennessee River Pearl Museum and saw many beautiful fresh water pearls. Go to to see more. We ended up eating at a neat place near Camden, south of Big Sandy.

Sunday, April 18 all four of us attended the First United Methodist Church of Big Sandy. We were welcomed
outside by their pastor and members. He was 78 and had a great message we all enjoyed. There were five children from 18 mo to 7 years of age. Three lit the candles and they all collected the offering. They did a good job and we bragged on them.

We prowled some more on this peninsula in Kentucky Lake, then came back to enjoy the
Gorman’s company and their beautiful landscaping some more.

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Next letter: Kentucky!