Saturday, February 2, 2013

Helen Purcell Leach

Helen Purcell Leach

     My mother, Helen Purcell Leach, died last Thursday morning in Nashville, TN. She was 94 and missed making it to 95 by only three weeks.  Mother was born in neighboring Grayson County on 21 Feb 1918.

     Mother married Samuel Leslie Leach in 1935. My dad was born in Ohio County in 1914 and he died in 2003. He was the third and youngest child of Harney Leslie Leach and Lucy Ellen Gardner (we think my paternal grandmother was born in Meade County 22 Sept 1883 but I have not been able to confirm the location of her birth).  My father had two older siblings, a brother and sister that were twins, Otis Allen Leach and Ersa Mae Leach. All three children were born in Beaver Dam. Their father, Harney Leslie, and their grandfather, Samuel William, both died of the flu in 1918. So my paternal grandmother was faced with raising three small children by herself. She ultimately remarried and the family moved to Owensboro.

     My paternal great-grandfather, Samuel William Leach, lived in the Cromwell area on Bald Knob Road. His farm was 112 acres and there is a small family cemetery on that farm. He was born in 1851 and died in 1918. He was married to Finis Leona Swain, whose family was from Prentiss, south of Beaver Dam. Samuel William served as Tax Assessor, Justice of the Peace, and also taught penmanship in the community, although he made his living as a farmer. At one time he raised bees and sold honey. He and Finis were members of the Baptist Church.

     Mother's father was Charles (Charlie) Gardner Purcell, a native of Grayson County, and he owned a mill in Clarkson, which is a few miles east of Leitchfield. He made & sold flour, corn meal, and feed for farm animals. I grew up playing and working in that mill for the first eight years of my life and most summers until I graduated from high school.  I remember that the cloth feed sacks were made of cotton and were printed with flowers and various designs - those sacks were used by customers to make dresses. My grandfather was born in 1881 in the Duff community of Grayson County, not too far from the Ohio County line.  My grandfather Purcell married Robb Patterson from Grayson County, who was born in 1889.


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