Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“Dream Walking”



“Dream Walking”
Through the Select Community,
Ohio County, Kentucky”

An Oral History Story

 In a visit with my grandmother, Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox (1889-1988) and my aunt on June 10, 1988, Grandmother told me some stories I had never heard before.  This was six months before her death on December 21, 1988.  She was 99.6 years old at the time and had an almost perfect recall.  She was a wonderful storyteller and still had just a soft hint of Kentucky brogue! 

  Her favorite song was “My Old Kentucky Home” and when she heard it played each year when we watched the Kentucky Derby on TV, she always stood and put her hand over her heart, just like it was the national anthem. Her favorite church hymns were “Little Brown Church in the Wildwood” and “In The Sweet By and By.”

~.~

While we were visiting one Sunday afternoon, my grandmother and I were sitting side by side on the couch in the den so she could hear me better, and she put her hand over on my knee to get my attention and she said:

“Do you know how I have been getting to sleep lately?”  And I said, “No, tell me about it grandmother.”

So she explained that she had been having trouble getting to sleep at night, and Eula Mae (her oldest daughter) told her to think of some of the old songs they used to sing at Bald Knob Church where she attended all her early life. But when she tried that remedy, it made it worse because she couldn’t remember the words to the songs. That was too active and made her even more wide awake.  Her youngest daughter, Darrell, suggested that she think of something pleasant in her life and try thinking about it until she went to sleep.

“So,” she smiled ever so sweetly, “I’ve been taking a trip through Select every night.  (Select is the community where she grew up in Ohio County, Kentucky, and was pronounced ‘See-lect’).  “First, I stop at the drug store that Mr. Keown runs.  He was Nancy Keown’s son.  He always had a big jar of candy at the front of the store, and I reach my hand in there and get one piece of candy – a pink, soft, lump-kind of candy.  I can’t remember the name of it.  The next place I stop is the grocery and hardware store.  It is combined and John Henry Stewart owned it.  The next place I pass is the Christian church where Daddy’s daddy (James William Cox) used to go to church. 

“And I walk on down the street and come to the post office next.  This is where all of us kids would take turns sometimes riding the horse to get the mail.  The post office is over on the left side, like if you are going to Cromwell.  And next I come to Bobe James’ residence.  It used to belong to Sam James and me and Daddy (this is her husband Jasper Newton Cox) lived there.  Real pretty house.  Daddy worked for Sam James and we lived in that house about a year (1910) after Gilbert was born.  Daddy hauled railroad ties to Cromwell on a wagon for Mr. James.  When we left there, we bought our little farm – the place where Eula Mae was born.

“Next comes Dr. Lankford’s house.  He delivered all of Ma’s babies.  And Mrs. Raley came to wash and dress every one of those babies.  She was Ma’s near neighbor, lived about two miles from us, and she always took care of mother and fixed her bed when her babies were born.  And she wouldn’t take a nickel.  As soon as she arrived, she always fixed a hen to cooking to make chicken soup.  She was always faithful about that, and she fed chicken soup to Mother after the baby had come to help her get strong again, because that is what mother always wanted to eat. 

“And that’s what I do every night before I go to sleep is take this little journey and it helps me go to sleep every time.”




Her obituary which appeared in the Tyler Morning Telegraph on Monday, December 5, 1988 is quoted here:

"MRS. E. C. COX SERVICES TUESDAY"

Services of Mrs. Eva Caroline Cox, 99, Tyler, are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Lloyd James Funeral Home chapel with Dr. Paul W. Powell officiating. 

Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler.

Mrs. Cox died Sunday in a Tyler hospital after a lengthy illness.

She was born March 31, 1889 in Cromwell, Kentucky.  She was a housewife. She had been a resident of Texas since 1919, living in New Summerfield for 40 years and Tyler for four years.  She was preceded in death by her husband, J. N. Cox in 1974 and a son, Gilbert O. Cox in 1984.

Survivors include three daughters, Mrs. Darrell Appl, Tyler, Mrs. Eula Mae Smith, Leoti, Kansas, and Mrs. Retha Green, Corpus Christi; six grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and nine great-great grandchildren.

Interment will be in Rose Hill Cemetery."

~.~

My grandfather, Jasper Newton Cox, was the 12th child of the fourteen children born to his parents, James William Cox and Mary Elizabeth Mitchell of Ohio County, Kentucky.  Most of his ancestors on both sides had been in the county since shortly after Ohio County was formed in 1798 – documented records begin  about 1801.

He was a wonderful story-teller with an almost graphic memory.  I particularly remember an evening in his living room with all of his children there, including my parents, and several grandchildren sitting around on the floor.  He told us story after story from the "old days" in Kentucky when he was a boy.   I distinctly remember that everyone was so still and caught up in his tales that you could have heard a pin drop.  All the cousins remember this particular day and those old stories he told.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a tape recorder at that time to record his spell-binding stories.

My grandfather loved his Lord, and spent hours quietly reading from his worn Bible.  He could answer almost any question we could ask, and more often than not, he could quote the exact verse or turn right to the page he needed.  He also tried to live by its highest principles.  He had a keen sense of humor, and he was always an optimist.  When we visited and asked after his welfare, he always replied with enthusiasm, “I’m sitting on top of the world!”
~.~

Jasper Newton Cox, called “Newt” or Newton, was 90 years, 4 months and 11 days old when he died at his home, passing away peacefully in his sleep.  He and my grandmother had been married sixty-six years at the date of his death.

His obituary in the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 1974 is quoted below:

"J. N. COX"

New Summerfield -- J. N. Cox, 90, of New Summerfield died Saturday morning at his residence following a brief illness.

Funeral services are set for Monday at 2 p.m. in the Lloyd James Funeral Home chapel with the Rev. Milton Gardner officiating.  Masonic graveside services will follow at the Rose Hill Cemetery.

Mr. Cox was a native of Ohio County, Kentucky and was in the drilling department of several major oil companies.  He was a veteran of the Spanish American War* in which he served with the U. S. Army.  He had lived in New Summerfield for the past 25 years.   Mr. Cox was a member of the Baptist Church, the Troup Masonic Lodge No. 272, and had been a Mason for 49 years.

His survivors include his wife, Mrs. Eva C. Cox of New Summerfield, a son, Gilbert Cox of New Summerfield; three daughters, Mrs. Robert A. Smith of Leoti, Kansas, Mrs. Duane Marvin Green of Corpus Christi, and Mrs. Darrell Appl of Tyler; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Masons."

~.~

*When my aunt wrote the information for her father's obituary, she did not realize that it was not the Spanish American War (1898-1901) that her father served in, but the period following the war called the "Insurrection Period."

My grandparents moved to Edgerly, Louisiana in about 1915 and lived there, while my grandfather had a job with Gulf Oil.  A few years later, they moved to Texas, where they remained the rest of their lives.

~.~






Southern Boundary Area of Ohio County, Kentucky – Cromwell and Select Community areas - where our Cox and Smith ancestors lived.

~submitted by Janice Cox Brown

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Prize Fight



The Prize Fight

An Oral History Story


My dad, Gilbert O. Cox, told this story about a prize-fight that he went to see between his daddy and a Navy man at Cromwell, Ohio County, Kentucky, when my dad was about six years old.  My grandfather had also told me this same story before, so I’ll write both versions:

G.O. “I remember one time.  Ya’ll don’t know this, but my father was kindly a prize fighter in his younger days.  He was much of a man.  I will say that for him.  He was much of a man!   I mean physically.  But he took boxing in the army and he was pretty rough, I guess.  He was working in Broadway Mines, at the time.

“At any rate, a guy came through the country.  They had them in those days.  $10 to anybody that would stay with him five rounds.  Fifteen  minutes…three minute rounds.  Well, everybody there talked about it, see, and they had big posters up down at the store.  And so my daddy talked to mama about it and he told her he was going to get that $10.  He said, “When that old boy gets here, I’m going to get that $10.”  Said, “Nobody else wants him.  So I’m going to take him on.”

“Mama just…they talked about it…talked about that every night at supper for two or three nights!  And finally, they just rowed about it a little.  And he told her, “No, I need that $10 and I’m going to get it.

“And of course, all the miners, you know, were all ganged up around there.  And half of them was drunk.  And boy, he liked to have not got that $10.  (Laughing.)  I was a little bitty boy, and I thought he was going to kill my daddy.”
(At this point, I asked daddy, “Did you watch the fight?”  “Yeah,” he said, “I went to see the fight.”  When I asked him if grandmother watched it too, he said, “No-o!  There wasn’t anybody but men there.”  At this point the tape ended.)

~.~
This is the same story, told to me when I taped Granddaddy’s life story, and at one point, he said he had thought of another story he wanted to tell me about learning to box:

“I learned to box while I was in the army.  A man named Hackett from Boston, Massachusetts, who was our cook, taught me a lot about boxing.  And I got to be pretty good, too.  One time after I was out of the army, the brother of one of the boys in McHenry came to visit him.  He had just gotten out of the Navy. 

“Well, he started boasting around town that he sure wished he could find somebody to box a round with him.  But nobody would.  Finally, I told a friend of mine that if he kept on boasting what a good boxer he was that I was just going to take him on.  Of course that word got back to the Navy man, and so they rigged up a match for us to box each other in the Odd Fellows Hall for a percentage of the sales.  Neither one of us got knocked out, but people who were watching said I got in the most licks.  We got very little money for boxing.  We wore regular boxing gloves, but not like the ones we have now.  These were a lot thinner.”

Grandmother had sat quietly while he was telling this story to me.  I asked her if she went to watch it, and she replied, emphatically:

“No mam, I did not!  I was so outdone with him for making that match that I didn’t go watch, and I told him I didn’t care if he got whipped real good.”  She chuckled to herself.  “But I helped nurse his bruises when he got home that night.”

~.~




~ Submitted by Janice Cox Brown

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

W. L. S. BRACKIN

W. L. S. BRACKIN, deputy clerk, Ohio County, is the only child of James B. and Eliza B. Brackin, and a grandson of William Brackin, who emigrated from North Carolina to Sumner County, Tenn., many years ago. His parents were persons of intelligence and good sense. The mother was born April 14, 1808, and died March 16, 1862, and the father was born in Tennessee in 1801, and died August 16, 1874. W. L. S. Brackin was born in Henry County of the same State, in 1825; was brought up in Sumner County. His advantages for an early education were somewhat limited, but he improved the opportunities he had by reading and study, and became in latter life a man of wide information. He also obtained a fair knowledge of business, and many years ago was elected deputy clerk of Ohio County, which office he has held continuously since. He is widely known for his strict honesty and fair dealing. He owns a good farm on the Rosine and Pinchico road, about two miles and a half from Cromwell, Ohio County. He is a member of the Cromwell Masonic Lodge and is a life-long Democrat. On his mother's side he is descended from the Searcys, a very prominent and influential family, many, of whom reside in Arkansas.


Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  First name was William.  Might have died in 1905.  Probably never married.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

THOMAS BOWLES

THOMAS BOWLES, deceased, was born January 17, 1823, in Warren County, Ky. His father, Knight Bowles, was of English lineage, and about the year 1821, married Harriet Hines, of Bowling Green, Ky.; by this union five children were born, of which number Thomas was the eldest. Knight Bowles during his life was engaged in the vocation of farming; he died in 1840. Thomas Bowles, after the death of his father, remained with his mother, supporting her by his labor until the year 1853. On the 6th of October of that year, he was married to Prudence B., daughter of John and Rebecca (Anderson) Rone, of Warren County. After this marriage, Mr. Bowles continued farming until September 12, 1861, at which time he joined the Federal army; enlisted in Company B, Twenty-sixth Kentucky Volunteers, in command of Capt. A. B. Stanly, in which command he served for a term of three and one-half years. After receiving an honorable discharge, at the close of the war in 1865, he returned to his farm, on Green River, Ohio County, where he resided until, his death, which occurred April 6, 1873. In connection with his farming interests, Mr. Bowles performed the duties of lock-keeper on Green River for about seven years. At his death he owned about 175 acres of land, which is very productive, and well improved with dwelling, barns, orchards, etc. The farm is now operated by the sons of Mr. Bowles, under the supervision of their mother. Mr. Bowles' death was caused by a lingering consumption; the declining years of his life were peaceful and happy, supported by the love and attention of his family. He was a kind and considerate husband, and an indulgent father; an active, consistent member of the Methodist church; was also a member of the order of A. F. & A. M., in which he had passed through all the honors to the Master's chair. His habits were temperate, and at the time of his death, he was a member of the I. O. G. T. Politically Mr. Bowles was a Democrat and took an active part in elections. He left seven children, five of whom are living: Thomas K., John W., Mary F., George L., and James C.


Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  Thomas G. Bowles is buried in the Rochester Cemetery in Butler County, KY.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Train Ride to Beaver Dam




 Train Ride to Beaver Dam, Ohio County

An Oral History Story


    My dad, Gilbert Cox (1909-1984) told the following story
    to my daughter about his first train ride when he was a
    small boy…from Broadway Mines to Beaver Dam.  He
    especially remembered how cold it was in the depot that
    morning just before dawn as they waited for the train.”


G.O.: “Well, honey, we got up way before daylight…had to go down there to the depot to catch the train.”

Jennifer:  “How old were you?”

G.O.:  “I don’t recall.  But I wasn’t very old.  Because I had never started to school.  I would say I was about five years old, probably.  Maybe not that old.  But we had to bundle up.  And we got down to the depot, and there wasn’t any fire or anything.  And we’d go outside and look…and see if we could see the headlight coming on the train…there was a big cut through the side of that hill…and they would stand and listen to see if they could hear the whistle.” (Laughing). 

“And you had to start a fire in the (wood) stove.  But it was cold, and only a few little sticks of kindling there, and it was real slow to burn, and take off.  And we would warm our hands, and then put our gloves back on.  I had on a pair of mittens.  Didn’t have any fingers.  Just a thumb, and a string around my neck to keep from losing them.” 

“Finally the train come.  And the headlights was shining.  Boy, and it pulled in with all that noise, and steam and everything.  Boy, I thought that was something.  Got on that train, and we didn’t get started good until we was stopping and getting off in Beaver Dam.  (Laughing). About six or seven miles.”

Jennifer:  “Well, why did you take the train ride?  Just for sport?”

G.O.: “(tape is illegible for a few seconds)…and then when we got to Beaver Dam, we rented a horse and buggy and went out to Pa’s farm.  My Grandpa Smith.”



~.~


 (Janice Brown: – I believe at the time of this train ride they were living in one of the company houses at the Broadway Mines where my grandfather, Jasper Newton Cox, worked. They were going to visit my grandmother’s parents, James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith where they lived on their farm near Select.

 Shortly after this period of time, they moved to Edgerly, Louisiana and Granddaddy went to work for Gulf Oil.  For a while they lived with her sister, Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie”(Smith) and her husband, Everett E. Sandefur, who worked in a store in town.

My daddy started kindergarten or first grade there at Edgerly, I’ve forgotten which, but somewhere grandmother tells about this on tape, and about dressing my daddy up for the Mardi Gras party at school.  He didn’t have a costume, so she put some soot from the stove pipe on his face, and some old clothes, and he went back dressed as a tramp, and was perfectly happy).

~.~

~ Submitted by Janice Cox Brown

Source:  Tape Recording June 1982:


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

JOHN B. BLANKENSHIP

JOHN B. BLANKENSHIP, farmer, Ohio County, is the son of Thomas H. and Sarah (Burgess) Blankenship, the former a native of Hardin County, Tenn., and the latter was born in Warren, Ky., and still lives in Ohio County at the advanced age of seventy-two years. The maternal grandfather, who died ten or twelve years ago was a Virginian. John B. Blankenship is the youngest of a family of five children: William, Thomas H., Sarah, wife of Asa Hodges, Francis Marion (deceased), and John B., who was born January 1, 1848, in Hardin County, Tenn. His early advantages were somewhat meager, and he started for himself in 1868, in Ohio County, to which place he removed in 1857. In 1868 he married Harriet Ann Parrott, daughter of Francis Marion Parrott, by whom he had four children: John, William Charles, Elvis and Bertie. Mrs. Blankenship died in 1874, and he was next married October 20, 1881, to Joanna Rogers, daughter of W. L. and Magdalen Rogers. She was born in Ohio County, September 27, 1857, and is the fourth of twelve children, ten of whom are living. Her ancestors were from Virginia. Mr. Blankenship owns a fine farm of 130 acres on the high road between Cromwell and Hartford, two miles from Beaver Dam. He has good buildings, and his farm is well timbered and well watered. With no other capital than his own industry and conscientious business habits, he has acquired a comfortable home and pleasant surroundings, and has been successful in all his undertakings.


Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  Mr. John Barham Blankenship died in Ohio County 15 March 1940.  He and Ms. Rogers had six children: Annie, Jesse James, Roy, Ercil, Oakley, and Jess.  Mr. Blankenship is buried in Sunnyside Cemetery, Beaver Dam, Ohio County, KY.

John Barham Blankenship

Friday, February 27, 2015

WILLIAM H. BLANKENSHIP

WILLIAM H. BLANKENSHIP, dealer in leaf tobacco in Ohio County, the son of Thomas and Sarah (Burgess) Blankenship, was born in Warren County, Ky., December 16, 1838. His grandfather, Drury Blankenship, immigrated to Kentucky from Virginia at an early day. His father was intelligent and industrious, and had by great energy and perseverance acquired considerable property, but just prior to his death, which occurred in Hardin County, Tenn., January 1, 1855, he lost the greater portion of it by putting his name to a security bond. Mr. Blankenship has been twice married. The first wife was Miss H. E. Parrott, of Ohio County, who died January 29, 1883, leaving four children; he was next married on the 30th of August, 1884, to Luretta Austin, daughter of A. J. Austin, of Ohio County. In 1866, Mr. Blankenship began farming, and continued in that occupation twelve years. He then engaged in his present business, and now has one of the largest warehouses in the county, and controls an extensive trade. His facilities for acquiring an education were somewhat limited, but he has gained a good knowledge of business, and has met with a large degree of success in all his undertakings. He and family are consistent members of the Baptist Church. Mr. Blankenship's political affiliations are with the Republican party.


Source: J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G. C. KNIFFIN 1895

Note:  Mr. Blankenship died in Beaver Dam, Ohio County, in 1896.