Saturday, September 23, 2017

James L. Davisson

James L. Davisson, 45 Walnut Street, Fordsville, applied for a pension during April, 1912, for his service with the Confederate Army.  Mr. Davisson worked for the railroad as a station engineer.  His wife was Mary E. Lamastus.  He was born 26 Oct 1837 and died in 1933 at age 95.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Horse Play


by Dana Brantley,

John and Rhonda Leach have always loved horses.  In fact, it was through horses that they met.  What they never dreamed was that their love of horses would not only touch the lives of their children, but also the lives of countless others through Ohio County Equestrian, Inc.

Ohio County Equestrian, Inc. provides therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults who are physically or mentally challenged.

Before the creation of OCE, the Leaches’ horses were providing therapy for their own children---Dena, Chris and Elizabeth.  Soon after Elizabeth’s birth, the children were all diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia—Spinocerebellar Degeneration, a fatal progressive neuromuscular disease.

Before their diagnosis, the older children had already started riding horses.  As they grew older all three continued to ride and the doctor’s were amazed at how well they were doing.

“They said the kids shouldn’t be that healthy at that stage, “ Rhonda said.  “I said ‘they ride horses’ and the doctor just scratched his head.  He was amazed that they were doing so well, and a big reason for that is because of riding.”

The journey into the creation of OCE began in 1991 when the Leaches held a birthday party at their farm for a student in the classroom of one of Rhonda’s friends.  It was then that Rhonda was told about an equestrian program through another charity organization.  It became an obsession for her and she began looking into it.

“If you have five horses and you turn them out in that field whether you trail ride them or no matter what you do with them, they might eat just a hair more food, but if you have them it’s not going to cost any more to let 100 kids ride them as it does for you to ride them,” she said. “And that is what we did.”

So it was then, after seeing the benefit of horses on their own children, that they began inviting others to ride.

In 1993, one of the riders had the opportunity to compete in a national competition, but Rhonda said she was unsure how they were going to get the $1,200 to send him to Connecticut to compete.

“I sent a letter to Ellis Park and asked them if they could help us raise the money since it was horse related,” she said.  “Well I got called right back and said they would do a fundraiser.  I think we were only out $100.”

As the program grew, the Leaches saw a need for additional funds to help keep the program going and in order to raise money they needed to incorporate as a charitable organization.  One day at the doctor’s office, she was asked how things were going with their riding endeavor.  She explained how she would love to incorporate, but didn’t have the money to file the necessary papers.

“God was prodding me to do this (incorporate), but I couldn’t do it until I had the money,” she said.  “One week I was at the doctor’s office and the next week I got a check from Perry and Colleen Lewis for $500 to incorporate.  I read the letter that said they wanted us to take the money and incorporate the program.  Hence, Ohio County Equestrian was born.”

The Leaches knew nothing about running a charity and they never had any intentions of doing anything like this.

“If God had told me ‘Rhonda, come do this.’  It would be like him telling Noah about building the ark,” she said.  “I would have probably just run off somewhere.”

Although it wasn’t part of their plan, the organization grew.

“We never planned anything like this,” John said.  “It just started growing and growing.”

“It has truly been a God thing.”  Rhonda said.  “The two of us have trouble finding each other.  We are the most unorganized people you can possibly run into, but with God all things truly are possible.”

They have a physical therapist that has been with them for 18 years that assists them, along with about six to eight regular weekly volunteers.  The Knights of Columbus gave OCE some money which volunteers used to build restrooms and a picnic area at the facility.  The United Thoroughbred Trainers of America and William H Fires and Jockey Charles R Woods Jr were instrumental in getting the barns built.

The facility is open to riders Tuesdays and Thursdays (and now some on Fridays to accommodate all the riders) where they not only learn to ride, but also learn fine and gross motor skills such as learning how to pick up things, put things like Easter eggs together and blow bubbles all while sitting on a horse.

Their children, Chris and Elizabeth still continue to benefit from riding.  Dena has since passed away.

The Leaches are still amazed at the benefits horses have on the riders.

“Chris sits in his (wheel) chair and when you pick him up, he is almost rigid, but you can put him on that horse and in five minutes he is as limber as a dish rag.” John said.

Rhonda said the opposite is true as well.  Someone who is limp and can’t sit up straight will learn to do so while riding.

“It is amazing how some children who are too scared to get out in the rain are fearless on a horse,” Rhonda said.  “It is a whole different world for them---to be able to pull something and make that 2,000 pound horse go right or go left or stop or stand still or go faster.”

“They can go from point A to point B without anyone else’s help.”  John said.  Not all horses work this well with the riders.

“We have learned over time that there are some tricks when you first see the horse,” John said using the example of buying Chris a horse.  “Normally with these horses if you pull a wheelchair up to them and they are afraid of the wheelchair, forget it because it won’t work.”

The Leaches see this as their ministry—no one is paid for their work—and the glory goes not to them, but to God.

They are a charitable organization and are a United Way agency—meaning they receive money through United Way.  They also receive funds through the annual Friends in Faith Benefit Horse and Mule Fun Show.  The 13th annual event took place Saturday, Sept 9 at the Ohio County Park.

“None of this could be possible if God hadn’t planned on it being this way,” Rhonda said.  “Everything we have needed has always been provided.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Daniel B. Trout

Daniel B. Trout applied for a pension based on his service with the Confederate Army. Daniel was married to Aeratta Plummer and they lived in Cromwell at the time of his application for pension. Daniel died 1 Sep 1917 in Ohio Co.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Daviess County Map - 1876

I realize this is not really related to my blog, but I love these old maps and I thought some of you might enjoy seeing this map of neighboring Daviess County from 1876.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Col. Ercie Joyce Leach

When I first became interested in my family tree and began my search for records and relatives I met (on the internet) this charming man, Ercie Joyce Leach. He also had the genealogy bug and he had traveled to the Library of Congress as part of his search - and he happily shared his family information with me.  What a nice person and  what a help to me, a distant cousin. Sadly, I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person.

Ercie was the son of Willis Riley Leach (1905-1952) and Lucy Ophelia Smith (1908-1964) and he was born in Beaver Dam.  His date of birth was 26 Sep 1931 and he died 4 May 2013 in Summerville, South Carolina at age 81.  Ercie was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Ercie attended Western KY University and joined the Army 5 Feb 1953 at age 21. He later completed his college degree at Omaha University, Omaha, NE.  He retired from the Army on January 31, 1984 in Fort Rucker, AL with the rank of Colonel.  He served in KY, MD, OK, WA, AL, Korea, CO, KS, TX, HA, GA, Vietnam, CA, VA, DC, AK, and Germany. During his military career he was an Artillerymen and a Pilot. Some highlights of his career include working at the Pentagon and flying President Harry S. Truman. During his service with the Army Colonel Leach was awarded the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (for Heroism), Bronze Star(Three Awards), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Seven Awards), Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal and seven other Service and Campaign Medals. Following retirement from the Army he worked in cellular telephone communications for Whalen & Company, Inc., Lafayette, CA as a Project Director, Market Team Leader, Mar 1990 to Nov 1995. His teams built more than 800 Cellular Sites in Germany, Argentina, Oakland-San Francisco area, Detroit, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Tampa and Boston. He retired in Chicago on April 14, 1996 and moved to South Carolina to live out his Golden Years.  He was a Professional Soldier in the United States Army.  He was a Methodist.  He was named after Ercie Jarnigan, Ercie Irvin Leach and Joyce Raley.

Ercie was married to Emily Dorrine Pochelu on June 9, 1956 in Powell Butte, Crook County, OR.  Dorrine is a graduate of Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. In Ercie's words, "From the time we were married in 1956 until I retired in 1984 I moved Dorrine and our children to 25 different houses, apartments or government quarters and she and the children never complained. Well, maybe once, when I was stationed at Fort Ord, California in 1970-1972.  I got horses for my 12 and 14 year old daughters since we had a riding facility and stables on the Army Post. But in 1972 I got ordered to the Pentagon in Washington, DC and had to sell the horses. Needless to say, they would have rather sold “old dad”, than the horses. But, pretty soon, they came to understand."

Here is a note that Ercie sent me about 15 years ago: 

     "Manda was kind of a nickname, I guess you could call it that, the real name of the old post office (when there was one) was Mount Pleasant. It is still known as the Mt. Pleasant or Manda community. Old folks who lived up there called it Mandy. The story goes that the first Postmistress was Amanda somebody, and it took that nickname. The old church (I think Methodist) is still there. We lived there when I was about one to four years old. My dad would carry me to church, lay me in the back pew, and carry me home again after the Sunday Evening Service. We lived about a mile back South down the road toward Select and Rob Roy. Mount Pleasant is about 3 or 4 miles on up the Sandefur's Crossing Road (now Rob Roy Road) from Mt. Zion Church. If you drew a line on the map from Horton to Select, Mt. Pleasant would be about half way between the two. From Mt. Pleasant there is another road (I think KY 505) that goes past the Leach Community into Rosine.  My Leach relatives (Old William who came with his sons to Ohio County about 1799-1800) settled on the Muddy Creek very close to the present Mount Zion Church on Sandefur's Crossing Road. The old farm was passed down to his son Leonard, then to his son John Nelson, then to John Nelson's son John Crittenden, then his son Nelson Dudley, my Grand father.The farm was about 300 yards from the present Mt. Zion Church. All of the above Leaches are buried in the Mt. Zion Cemetery, except my Grandfather and Father. They are buried in the Sunnyside Cemetery in Beaver Dam. Many of my Leach relatives also lived in Select, Cromwell and Rob Roy. My Smith, Bennett, Benton, Hayes, English and Chapman relatives lived in No Creek, near Hartford, and Horton in Ohio County and Yeaman and Spring Lick in Grayson County. My Great Uncle George Leach, Dudley's brother, and family lived in Select. My two older sisters attended Excelsior School - their first 2 or 3 years in 1930-34."

     "My Dad worked at several places as a Foreman with the WPA. I think he took that job sometime in the mid 30's. I can remember living in the James Sandefur House, the Sept Leach House, then Horton, Fordsville (we all had measles there), Elkton in Todd County (there was a  Haunted House on the street where we lived, Hobart and I got in to the house some way and took a ceremonial sword of some kind, I couldn't understand why it wasn't sharp; anyhow, Mama made us take it back to the house. We hated to go in that time, we were sure the ghosts would know us.), and then Morgantown."

     "We moved to Morgantown in 1940. I thought Morgantown must be a very evil place, a man was killed by Captain John Smith (Everyone called him Uncle John), the Town Marshal, the night of our first day there. The man cut Uncle John pretty bad before he was shot. Daddy took us to town to see what we could see. I think I remember seeing the man who was shot laying pretty close to the street under a cover of some kind. Maybe this is just my imagination from a long time ago. I do remember seeing Uncle John's uniform all cut up, when he brought it to the pressing shop for Bess Wilson to mend and clean. I fired the boiler for Bess for the pressing machines. (My first paying job in 1941 at age nine) We lived in four different houses in Morgantown. The first one burned down on 6 Dec 1941, a terrible tragedy in my memory. Everything we had burned. The thing I remember most though was how badly I felt that I had 35 cents in my dresser drawer and it burned. I don't remember much about the bombing of Pearl Harbor that happened the next day, but the previous day is "burned" into my memory."

Colonel Ercie Joyce Leach - a self-made man of honor. A proud man from Ohio County. A patriotic man that served his country well. A dignified man that should be remembered.  If you are ever in Arlington Cemetery, go visit Ercie. He is in Section 54, Site 2076.  Thank him for his service.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hartford Herald 5 Jul 1899

Ohio County 100 Years Ago
Dated 5 Jul 1899

If you have trouble reading this newspaper you can try to copy it to your clipboard and then view it as a jpg file in Microsoft "pictures" or whatever software you use to view photos.  These programs usually have an enlargement capability.