Friday, February 27, 2015


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.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Coal: Ohio County

Coal: Ohio County

            Kentucky's first mine, that commercially produced coal, was opened near Paradise, Muhlenberg county, in 1820. Soon afterwards, others began operation, and by the late 1830's nearly 100,000 tons of coal were produced each year form the Kentucky mines.

            Coal mining in Kentucky mines in the early days was a dangerous way to make a living, and the pay was not always so good. Most coal miners and their families lived paycheck to paycheck, and many times owed more to the "company store" than they made each payday.

            It was a constant struggle, and death came all too often. Over 7,000 miners have lost their lives in the coal mines of Kentucky since 1890. Until the 1960's, when mining deaths began declining, after the average death rate of the 1950's was 69 per year, coal mining was the most dangerous job in Kentucky. In 1969, with the enactment of a comprehensive federal mine safety and health act, deaths of miners began showing a real decline.

            Surface mines produced the majority of Kentucky coal until the 1980's, when companies, to avoid reclamation expenses, began abandoning surface mines and turned to underground mining more and more.

            The above courtesy of Roger Philpot.

            Also see my post dated Thursday, July 19, 2012 on coal mining in Ohio County.


            I found an interesting documentary titled “Coal in Kentucky.” 

            The Rockport web site has some great information about coal mining in the area around Rockport and Echols.  Go to that web site and be sure and click on the links to the other pages:



            Armstrong Energy is a private company formed in 2006 by management and Yorktown Partners LLC to acquire and develop coal reserves in the Illinois Basin. Through a series of coal reserve purchases and leases, Armstrong controls over 570 million tons of proven and probable coal reserves in Western Kentucky.

            Armstrong currently operates seven coal mines, three preparation plants, a rail load-out facility and a dock facility on Kentucky's Green River (six mines in Ohio County). In 2013, Armstrong produced 9.3 million tons of coal from its active mines.

            The mines in Ohio County (2015) are:

1. Midway mine is a surface mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #13A, 13 and 11 coal seams. Armstrong has been producing coal at Midway since 2009 utilizing one dragline and the truck-and-shovel mining methods. Midway coal is processed on site at the Midway preparation plant, which has a throughput capacity of 1,200 tons of raw coal per hour and has the ability to blend up to five types of coal using a nuclear analyzer. The Midway mine also has an automated rail loadout facility that can load 2,500 tons of coal per hour via a 150-car rail loop that connects to the P&L and CSX railroads. Midway produced 1.3 million tons of coal in 2013. 

2. East Fork mine is a surface mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #14 coal seam. Armstrong has been producing coal at East Fork since 2009 utilizing the truck-and-shovel mining method. Armstrong trucks East Fork coal to the Armstrong dock preparation plant for processing. East Fork is currently temporarily idled.

3. Equality Boot mine is a surface mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #14, 13, 12 and 11 coal seams. Armstrong has been producing coal at Equality Boot since the fall of 2010 utilizing two draglines and the truck-and-shovel mining methods. The mine utilizes a 4,400 foot conveyor system to bring coal from the pit to the 2,500 ton-per-hour barge loadout facility on the Green River. Coal is then loaded onto barges and shipped to the Armstrong dock preparation plant for processing. Equality Boot produced 2.7 million tons of coal in 2013.

4.  Lewis Creek is a surface mine located in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #13A and 13 coal seams. Lewis Creek utilizes one dragline and the truck-and-shovel mining methods. Lewis Creek produced 0.9 million tons of coal in 2013.

5.  Kronos mine is an underground mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #9 coal seam. Kronos utilizes continuous mining units employing room-and-pillar mining techniques. Kronos produced 2.6 million tons of coal in 2013.

6.  Lewis Creek mine is an underground mine located in Ohio County, Kentucky, near Rockport, that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #9 coal seam.  Lewis Creek produced 0.5 million tons of coal in 2013.

            The Armstrong dock and preparation plant facilities are located on Kentucky's Green River near Armstrong's Ohio County mines and consist of a barge loading and unloading facility and a preparation plant. The loading facility is capable of loading 2,500 tons per hour onto barges on the Green River. The Armstrong preparation plant is a 1,200 raw ton per hour facility capable of blending up to five different types of coal via a nuclear analyzer.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An Accident on the Farm

An Accident on the Farm

An Oral History Story

In interviewing my grandmother (Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox (1889-1988) for her memories, we asked her what it was like when accidents happened and many folks in Ohio County had no telephones and no doctors nearby. She told us about the time when they lived on their little farm not far from Rosine, and their horse kicked my dad in the head when he was about three in 1912.  They had no telephone to call a doctor.

Grandmother:  “Yes, we had a horse; her name was Old Maud.   Eula Mae was a baby, and I told Gilbert to stay in the yard when he went out to play.  In place of staying in the yard, when I got through bathing Eula Mae and putting her in her cradle, I went to look for him and he was up there in the horse lot.  See, he wasn’t but about three years old.  And I could see him getting up and falling.  And Old Maud, I could see her, standing there eating.  And I run, my land!  Oh, and I got there and there was blood all over the front of his clothes.  I had to go about…every bit as far as from here to Mr. Thames (her neighbor) or farther, (which would have been about three city blocks). 

“And the wind was blowing and I was carrying him and I was hollering for Daddy.  And some of them were working in the field cutting and shocking corn.  You know how dry it is in the fall.  And they heard me and they come.  And we left Eula Mae there in the house by herself all that time.”

G. O.: (my dad) “That’s the time that Aunt Della was talking about when we went back to Kentucky to visit.  And she said she took care of me when the horse kicked me in the head.”

Grandmother:  “Yes, she came.  Just as quick as she heard the news.  It got out that you weren’t expected to live. The news got out.  And every one of them come.  And Della did, too.  Daddy had to go over home (meaning to her parent’s home).  We had no phone.  And he had to walk and call Dr. Oscar Allen.  And when Dr. Allen came out there, he didn’t know what the trouble was, and he had to go back and get a needle to sew this place up.  It was in the afternoon…nearly night.  And horseback, at that. 

“And I had to put him on our old black trunk.  We laid a quilt down and we had to put him to sleep.  And I had to hold him and help with it.  Mother had to give him the chloroform while the doctor sewed it up.  But somebody had to help.  Dr. Allen was just by himself and didn’t have a nurse or anybody like that.  It fractured Gilbert’s skull, and the doctor said if Daddy hadn’t of had those shoes off the horse, it would have killed him.  He had just had those shoes taken off.”

G.O.:  “I know what happened…they don’t know what happened.  Daddy had given Old Maud a load of that corn to eat, and I went up there and got a cornstalk and hit her with it.”

Grandmother:  “He still has the scar on his forehead.  And then, after he got well and all, Daddy got on the horse and rode to Cromwell and carried that baby and had his picture made.  He is setting on that stool, with little white rompers on.  He carried him to Wise Jackson, a photographer, because we didn’t have no picture of him.  (All of a sudden, it became very important to get a picture of him.)  And of course, I couldn’t go, because I had Eula Mae, and besides, we just had that one horse.”

“Della came and stayed with me nearly two or three weeks to help with Gilbert because I had to tend Eula Mae, who was only about six or seven months old.”

After this interview was over, someone sitting around the table asked:  “Did you have ice to put on the wound to keep down swelling?”

Grandmother: “No, but we could go and get ice.  We kept ice when Mother was sick with typhoid fever.  We didn’t have any electricity…we didn’t have anything like that.  We couldn’t keep ice. 

“The only way you could keep ice was to dig a hole and put it in sawdust and wrap it and bury it.  It seems to me they went to Beaver Dam after it.  Beaver Dam or Cromwell, I don’t know what.  It might have kept a week, I guess, or maybe longer.”

Eula Mae: (my aunt.)  “You talk about pioneer spirit.  And they just had something we don’t have – fortitude.”

Grandmother:  “Well, you can do many things when you have to.”


Gilbert Owen Cox, age 3
An important 1st picture!


The above mentioned, Della Catherine Smith, (my grandmother’s oldest sister), was born 5 November 1880, and was the daughter of James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith.  She married Fleming Letcher Taylor March 22, 1913 at Select, Ohio Co. KY.   This couple had four children:  two sons, Jewel D.; Eldred S. Taylor; and two daughters, Evelyn Taylor and Valois Taylor.

Obituary from The Ohio County News, Thursday, October 23, 1975:

"Mrs. Della Taylor"

"Beaver Dam--Mrs. Della Taylor, 94, died Friday, October 17, Ohio County Rest Home, Beaver Dam.

    Mrs. Taylor was born in Ohio County, November 5, 1880, and was a member of Bald Knob United Methodist Church.  Her husband, Letcher Taylor, preceded her in death in 1960.

    Survivors include two daughters, Valois Shuffert and Evelyn Elmore, both of Louisville, eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren, two brothers, Harb and Ellis Smith, both of Cromwell, and two sisters, Mrs. Ella Stewart and Mrs. Eva Cox, Troup, Texas.

    Funeral services were at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 19, at the William L. Danks Funeral Home, with the Rev. Malcolm Couch, pastor of Liberty United Methodist Church, officiating.  Burial was in Liberty Church Cemetery."

Also, mentioned from the above story:

   Dr. Oscar Allen was born at Round Hill, Butler County, Kentucky, on April 5, 1882. His parents were C. Y. Allen, who was a native of Ohio County and a farmer, and Mary Elizabeth Colburn, who was a native of Butler County.

   Dr. Allen was known as a man of genial disposition, whose practice was spent within a fifteen-mile radius, mainly in Ohio County. He was a man looked upon with great esteem, who held high the standards of his profession.  He was well known, was a good citizen, and contributed materially to his community.

   He was the family doctor for James Thomas Smith while he was ill and before his death.  He was highly regarded among all the Smith family members.

From my Family Tree Maker, Notes section:

Fleming Letcher Taylor was the son of Lorenzo Dow & Gabriella Taylor, and was born April 8, 1876, in Ohio County, KY.

He married Della Catherine Smith March 22, 1913, and they had four children - two sons and two daughters.  He and Della were 38 and 32 when they married.

Obituary is from the Ohio County Messenger, Beaver Dam, KY, dated Friday, March 11, 1960, page 3:

"Letcher Taylor Dies at Age 83"

   " Letcher Taylor, 83, died at 3 a.m., Sunday at his home in the Mt. Pleasant community.  He was the son of Dow and Gabriella Ford Taylor.  He was a member of the Woodmen of the World.

    He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Della Smith Taylor; two daughters, Mrs. Evelyn Elmore and Mrs. Valois Shuffette, both of Louisville; two sons, Jewell Taylor, Beaver Dam; Eldred Taylor, Terre Haute, Ind., and nine grandchildren.

    Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Monday at the Liberty Methodist Church, conducted by the pastor, Rev. William Perkins.  Burial was in the church cemetery. 

    Pallbearers were Kenneth Baize, Samuel Crowder, John Iler, Arthur Crabb, Charles Smith and Roy Stewart."


Another obituary in The Ohio County News, Hartford, KY dated March 11, 1960, was almost identical to the one above,   However, it did mention that he was a native of Ohio County and that Casebier Funeral Home, Beaver Dam, was in charge of the arrangements.

My dad remembered when he was about 10 of riding his horse to his Uncle Letcher's grist mill to have corn ground for his grandfather, James Thomas Smith and Sarah (Sanders).  Letcher married their daughter, Della Catherine.


~Submitted by Janice Cox Brown  

Saturday, February 14, 2015


JACOB T. BENNETT was born in Ohio County, Ky., November 17, 1837, and is a son of James and Julia A. (Igleheart) Bennett,, natives of Virginia and Maryland, respectively. James Bennett received his early education in his native State. When a young man he came to Ohio County, Ky., where he was afterward married. Here he bought wild land near Centretown and commenced to improve a farm, which he soon after sold and again bought wild land in the same county, near Point Pleasant. There he improved a farm upon which he resided until his death, which occurred in 1839. In addition to farming he was also quite extensively engaged in flat-boating, having made several trips down the Green, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. He always accomplished the return journey on foot, passing through several Indian nations on the way. In early life he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed to some extent for several years. He was a veteran in the war of 1812. He and wife were from early life members of the United Baptist Church. Jacob T. Bennett received such an education as the schools of the time afforded. After his father's death he remained on the home farm with his mother until he attained his majority. In December, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry (Union service), and served in that company and regiment until April, 1862, when the Twenty-fifth was consolidated with the Seventeenth Kentucky, after which he served in Company I of the same regiment, in all its marches and engagements, until February, 1865, when the regiment was mustered at Loaisville, Ky. He participated in the battles of Shiloh, Ft. Donelson, Perryville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, the Atlanta campaign, Franklin, and Sherman's memorable march to the sea. After his return from the army he bought a farm on the Green River, where he remained for four years, when he sold out and bought the farm near Centertown, upon which he now resides. He was married September 23, 1859, to Fannie Jago, a native of Muhlenburgh County, Ky. Ten children have been born to them, eight of whom — three sons and five daughters — are living. Mr. Bennett and wife are members of the United Baptist Church. He is also a member of Hartford Post, G. A. R. In politics, he is independent, not being identified with either of the great political parties.

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The following is an excerpt from The Green River Country, From Bowling Green to Evansville, published 1898, pages 85 thru 97. Edited and compiled by W. P. Greene. 117 years ago.

            This county is the fifth of the series lying on the navigable waters of Green River.  It is on the east side of the river, next below Butler, although nearly in line with Muhlenburgh in its relation to the river. But the river in its tortuous course after flow­ing through Butler, enters Ohio county twenty-five miles above the line of Muhlenburgh, flows some ten miles on its territory, and returns to Butler county. After flowing in the latter county for a distance of twelve to fifteen miles it again returns and for a short dis­tance forms the boundary between Ohio and Butler counties, when it finally becomes the dividing 1ine between Ohio on the right and Muhlenburgh and McLean on the left bank of the river for a distance of more than forty miles. Ohio county has about fifty miles of navigable water frontage. Ceralvo, Rockport and Cromwell are important shipping points on this frontage, while there are a number of trading points and landings of lesser note. The county of Ohio is one of the original territorial divisions of the state of Kentucky at its first organization. It was named after the Ohio River, although no part of it touches that river. The county is in the coal field of western Kentucky, and has an area of three hundred and eighty thousand acres, or nearly six hundred square miles. In common with the entire Green River section, this county was originally covered with a dense growth of forest timber. A great deal of thick timber has been cut down and rafted to the saw mills of Evansville or converted into lumber for local use, but there yet remains large tracts of fine timbered land almost untouched.

            The coal mined in the county is mainly from No.9 vein, celebrated throughout the country for its adaptation to steam and domestic use. No. 11 vein is also workable in this county. Along the line of the Illinois Central railroad, which runs through the southern part of the county and crosses the river at Rockport, are a number of mines in operation, all working No.9 vein. The McHenry Coal and Mining Company and the Central Coal and Iron Company both operate extensive mines on this line, the former the McHenry and the Echols and the latter the Render mine. The Williams and the Taylor mines in the same neighbor-hood are actively worked. This entire group of mines is within a short distance of Rockport, on Green River. The Central Coal and Iron Company also operate a mine at Central City, in Muhlenburgh county, in the same vein. There are also productive mines at Fordsville and Deanefield, in the eastern part of the county. The Jamestown Coal Com­pany operates a mine three miles above Liver­more. The product of this mine is consumed in the local market. Six­teen men are employed. The vein worked is No. 9, of a good quality. The mine is worked by drift. W. S. Trunnell, secre­tary and treasurer and also manager, and F. O. Coffman, president.

            Ohio county ranks third in the state in the volume of her coal product. Hopkins and Whitley, in the order named, being the only counties producing a larger quantity. The county contains immense beds of iron ore, the conversion of which, in the early future, is destined to become a vast industry. Professor Shaler, director of the Kentucky geological survey, says:      “There is iron ore enough in this region to run fifty furnaces for centuries. It caps the hills and can be worked at very little expense." The surface of the county is less broken than that of some of the counties lying above it. Along the water courses there are considerable tracts of hilly lands, but a large portion of the county presents a measurably level surface well adapted to farming and grazing purposes. The soil is alluvial or sandy loam, according to the accident of its formation and produces all the cereals, grass and tobacco. The culture of fruit is a grow­ing industry-the census reports giving the county third place in the production of apples and peaches among the counties of the Green River Val1ey. The county is well supplied with water by numerous streams, creeks and springs. Rough River, the principal stream in the county, crosses it from east to west and is navigable to Hartford, the county seat, by means of slack water obtained by lock and dam miles from its mouth and about twenty miles below Hartford.  Panther Creek in the northern, Caney Creek in the eastern, and Mud Creek and Beaver Dam Creek in the southern portions of the county are all valuable irrigating streams.  The output of coal of the county, as given by the United States census reports for the year 1889, was two hundred forty-six thousand two hundred and fifty-three tons.

            The report of Mine Inspector Norwood gives the output for the year 1896 at three hundred sixty-eight thousand and ninety-four tons, an increase in production of thirty-three per cent. Table of products for Ohio County census report of 1890:       

    OHIO COUNTY PRODUCTS                     

Farms,      Number. ………..2,998
Acreage,       “       …………...110
LiveStock,     Value ……$817,475
Farm Products,  “    ….. . $784,090
Corn,         Bushels …….. 948,889
Oats,              “       ……….90,000
Wheat,           “       ……….51,090
Apples,          “      ………163,118
Peaches,        “       ………..18,288
Irish Potatoes, "     ………..36,566
Sweet Potatoes, "   …………8,502
Value Garden Products  … $ 1,392
Tobacco, Pounds …….. 1,760,368
Broom Corn, Pounds    …….8,596


Honey,       “       …………26,185
Beeswax,    “       ……………504
Wool,         “       …………43,785
Hay,      Tons      …………. 9,364
Coal,         “         ………..246,253
Coal,       Value     ......... $ 200,491
Horses,   Number   ………...5,897
Mules,           “        ………..1,719
Sheep,            “       ………12,497
Hogs,            “         ………29,546
Chickens,      “        ………193,133

Eggs,     Dozen         ……. 357,296


            The county seat of Ohio county, is situated near the center of the county at the head of navigation on Rough River, one hundred and twenty miles from the city of Evansville. The population of the town is about one thousand, and being the seat of justice and principal town in the county, numbers among its citizens many men of prominence throughout the state, in the several professions of law, .medicine and politics. The city is built on the left bank of Rough River, and has an elevated situation on ground sloping to the river. It is surrounded by a rich and well-improved farming country, and is within easy reach of the hard-wood timber of the river forests, offering superior inducements for the establishment of woodworking industries. The town has no rai1road connections, Beaver Dam being the nearest railroad point, which is on the Illinois Central, five miles away. Two stage lines, making two trips each daily, connect with trains on the above-mentioned road. The court house is built of brick, surrounded by a rather ornate iron fence, and the grounds about the county buildings are shaded by fine old trees. In appearance the town is thrifty and impresses one with a sense of stability. Many of the business houses' are built of brick and are roomy and conveniently arranged. Three sides of the public square are solidly built up with business houses, as is also the main street leading to the river landing. The new brick block built and owned by Mr. S. K. Cox, of the Ohio county bank, on the northeast corner of Main street and the public square, is a very handsome building of modern construction, and adds greatly to the appearance of the town. The trade of Hartford is 1argely local, but, being surrounded by a populous and productive region of country, the volume of business done by her merchants is very large. There are a number of general-stores, carrying large stocks of merchandise, besides many smaller establishments dealing in special lines. Almost every line of trade and business is represented. 

There are two banks, the Ohio County, Bank and the Bank of Hartford; two hotels, a number of boarding houses and two livery stables. The bar of Hartford is of more than provincial celebrity in the ability of its mem­bers. Some of the oldest and ablest lawyers in the state are located here, and the younger members of the profession are justly celebrated for their talents and high legal attain­ments. Henry D. McHenry, a former member of congress from this district, now deceased, was a native of Ohio county and a member of its bar. His widow still lives in Hartford, of which she has been a resident for forty-one years. The history of the town dates back to a period co-incident with the first settlement of Kentucky. The first recorded plat of the town is dated May 6th, 1816, but at least as early as 1790, and probably as early as 1786, there was a settlement and fort near the site of the present town. In Collins' historical sketches it is stated: "The immediate vicinity of Hartford was settled at a very early period and was often the scene of bloody strife and acts of noble daring. Hartford and Barnett's stations were about two miles apart, and, although never regularly besieged, were frequently harassed by straggling parties of Indians, and a number of persons who ventured out of sight of the stations were killed or captured. In April, 1790, the Indians waylaid Bar­nett's station and killed two of the children of John Anderson. One of the party assaulted Mrs. Anderson with a sword, inflicted several wounds upon her person, and while in the act of taking off her scalp John Miller ran up within about  twenty steps and snapped his rifle at him. The Indian fled, leaving his sword, but succeeded in carrying off the scalp of Mrs. Anderson. She, however, recovered and lived some ten or twelve years afterwards. The same party captured and carried off' Hannah Barnett, a daughter of Col. Joseph Barnett, then a girl of about ten years of age. They retained her as a captive until October of the same year, when through the instrumentality of her brother-in-law, Robert Baird, she was restored to her friends." The date of these incidents places the first settlement of the town some time anterior to the year 1790. The following is a brief catalogue of the business men of Hartford: Carson & Co., dealers in dry goods, clothing and furniture; J. A. Thomas, general merchant; Pate Bros., groceries; Fair & Co., general merchants; J. E. Fogle & Co., dry goods and clothing; George Klein, hardware and notions; A. D. White, hardware and groceries; Thomas Bros., groceries; Z. W. Griffin, drugs; James Williams, drugs; Mrs. Anna Lewis, millinery J. H. Patten & H. Field, livery. There are three hotels, the Commercial Hotel, the Hartford, and the Yeiser House. The leading industries of Hartford are a large flouring mill and wool-carding establishment operated by J. W. Ford & Co. This firm also operates a saw mill. A saw mill is operated by Patten &; Condit, who arc also dealers in lumber. There are three blacksmithing and wood-working shops - R. H. Gillespie, A. Tweeddle and J. W. Ford & Co. There are two banks, the Ohio County Bank, a cut of whose building is given herein, and the Hartford Bank. There are three handsome churches, occupied by the Methodist, the Baptists and the Cumberland Presbyterians. The Christian denomination has a congregation, but no church building. There are two colored Churches, Baptist and Methodist. The town has a good system of free schools, supported by local taxation. The Hartford College, under the man­agement of Profs. Morton and Crowe, is an institution of much prominence in the section. Its curriculum embraces a full collegiate course. The educa­tional interests of the county are in the hands of Mr. Z.  H. Schultz, superintendent of schools, who is a young man of excellent attainments, and zealous in the advancement of the cause of education. The schools of the county under his man­agement and oversight are in a most ef­ficient and satisfactory condition. Two good newspapers are published here - ­the Hartford Courier and the Hartford Republican. The practicing physicians are Drs. E. W. Ford, J. S. Morton, E. B. Pendleton and J. T. Miller.

            The Ohio County Bank.  This institution was established in February, 1896, by Capt. Samuel K. Cox under the general banking laws of the state of Ken­tucky. It is a private institution, being entirely owned and controlled by its founder. The last report of the affairs of the bank made to the secretary of state under the provisions of the law shows thirty-two thousand eight hundred and forty dollars and twenty-nine cents assets, and the bank to be in a very satisfactory condition. Captain Cox has a very commodious new brick building, one half of which is occupied by his bank and the other by Fair & Co. as a general store, Mr. Cox is a native of Hancock county, Kentucky, but has been an honored citizen of Ohio county for thirty-seven years. He served three terms as county court clerk of the county and was cashier of the bank of Hartford for thirteen years. Captain Cox is greatly interested in the affairs of his town and county and in the development of the Green River section. He enjoys the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens and in all the relations of life is a most estimable gentleman.

            The social structure in its last analysis rests upon a few individuals, and frequently one strong individuality gives tone and coloring to the social status of an entire community. In the commercial world, in the professions, in literature and art and indeed in all the pursuits of life there are found persons, who, by reason of superior ability, skill or energy, become recognized as leaders in their several callings. Brains and energy are two of the constituent elements in the make-up of the man who steps to the front. These factors, when properly directed and controlled by a sense of moral obligation, are sure to result in worldly preferment to their possessor and substantial good to the community in which they are exercised, There are many bright examples of this type of men in Ohio county, who stand forth prominently as leaders in every walk of life. In the profession of law we find space to present short sketches of the following gentlemen:

            Benjamin D. Ringo was born at Prestonville, Carroll county, Ky., May 25th, 1864. His father was William L Ringo, for many years a merchant at Prestonville. His ancestors came from North Carolina among the early settlers of this state. In 1852 William L.  Ringo was married to Martha Duncan, of Trimble county, Ky., and of the four children of this union, Ben. D. is the only one living. William L. Ringo was broken up by the war and died in 1864. In 1869 Benjamin was taken by his mother to Daviess county, Ky., where he lived upon a farm. Meantime he had attended for a few months the county schools of his neighborhood, receiving, however, most of his early education at the hand of his mother. 

           He after­ward attended Hartford College, going thence to Eastman College at Poughkeespie, N. Y., where he graduated in 1882. He taught for a time at Liver­more, Ky., and after spending two years in travel in the west, he returned to Kentucky and taught one year at Masonville, after which he was elected to a position in Hartford College where he taught for four years. Here he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1890 and at once began an active practice, soon after forming a partnership with Mr. E. D. Guffy, which continued until Mr. Guffy withdrew from the firm to become assistant secretary of state in 1896, since which time Mr. Ringo has continued to enjoy a large practice, as the firm had during its previous existence. In December, 1892, Mr. Ringo was married to Miss Emma M. Ryan, of Logan county, and she, together with his mother and a baby boy, now one year old, make up his family. Mr. Ringo has not been a politician in the sense of seeking office. In 1893 he was appointed master commissioner of the Ohio circuit court, which position he now holds. He was for two years member for his district of the State Board of Equalization, and during 1896 was chairman of that body. He has always been a democrat, and is a strong supporter of democratic doctrines. He has for a number of years been a member of the Methodist church, South, and is an active worker in the Sunday school and other institutions of that church. His personal character and professional standing you may know about from anybody in this locality. He has a pleasant home in Hartford, where his friends are always welcome.

            James S. Glenn was born on a farm in Ohio county, Ky., on the 29th day of November, 1857. He obtained his education in the common schools of his native county and at the West Kentucky college at South Carrollton, Ky., from which he graduated with honor in 1879. 

           In 1880 he married Miss Belle Barnes, of Hartford. His first work after leaving college was teaching in the Hartford college, in which he occupied the chair of ancient languages and natural science.  Having determined to make the profession of law his future occupation, he gave up teaching and entered the law office of Hon. J. E. Fogle, of Hartford,   where he applied himself to the study of the law for several years. He was admitted to the bar in 1894, and entered at once upon the practice of his profession. He now enjoys a lucrative business, attending the courts of Ohio, Muhlenburgh, McLean and Daviess counties. As a lawyer Mr. Glenn stands in the front rank of the profession in his section. He is a member of the order of the Knights of Pythias and is universally esteemed for his high social qualities and genial disposition.

            Hon. John S. R. Wedding, lawyer, orator and politician, was born in Ohio county, Ky., thirty-two years ago. He is the youngest child of Robert G. and Mary (Hale) Wed­ding. Being thrown upon his own resources at a very early age, he managed by earnest industry to obtain a good English education. For a while he taught school and at the age of twenty-two began the study of law. 

           He was admitted to the bar at the November term of the Ohio circuit court the same year. Since his admission to the bar he has been actively engaged in the practice of law, and has attained distinction in his profession, both as a cogent reasoner and an orator of great brilliancy. He is an compromising republican and has taken quite a prominent part in politics. He stumped the fourth Kentucky district in 1892 in the interest of his party, and it was during the time he was chairman of the republican county committee of Ohio county that the first republicans ever elected to office in the county were elected. At the republican state convention in 1896 he was (a) member from the state-at-large of the committee on resolutions, and drafted the resolution in favor of the single gold standard, which was afterward adopted by the convention. He was elector from the fourth Kentucky district on the McKinley ticket, and canvassed the district in the interest of the republican party. He has the distinguished honor of being a member of the first repub­lican electoral college ever elected in Kentucky. Mr. Wedding is a citizen of' Hartford, the county seat of his native county, where he has resided since the time he began the practice of law. He was married December 20th, 1893, to Miss Lucy B. Townsend, the youngest child of the late Judge John C. Townsend, a distinguished member of the Hartford bar. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wedding are members of the Hartford Baptist church.

            Eugene Preston Neal, a mem­ber of the Hartford bar and county attorney for the county of Ohio, is a conspicuous example of the success that attends self-reliance and determination of purpose. His environment in youth taught him the virtues of self-dependence and perseverance. His father, although a considerable farmer, was unable to give him the advantages of a collegiate ed­ucation, and his only recourse for mental training was in the common schools of the county, but being endowed by nature with a vigorous intellect, he acquired from this source and by systematic reading and self-culture a solid education in the Eng1ish branches of knowledge. 

              Mr. Neal was born in Ohio county, near Prentiss, September 27th, 1863. He remained and worked with his father on the farm, assisting dutifully in the care and comfort of an in­valid mother until manhood. On attaining his majority, his earnest and sincere disposition and independence of thought led him away from the political tenets of his father, and he espoused the political doctrines of the republican party. His energy and the brightness of his intellect soon marked him as a leader, and he was prevailed upon to establish a paper in the interests of the party, at the county seat. The force and vigor manifested by the young editor attracted the attention of prominent men of the party, and gave him a state reputation, and on the meeting of the state convention, in the city of Louisville, in 1888, he was selected as its chairman over the Hon. George Denny, who was a candidate for that honor. Having thus become engaged in politics, he determined to adopt the law as a profession, not only because that profession accorded with the natural bent of his mind, but for the reason that it furnished the best basis of opportunity for pre­ferment and usefulness. He studied law with the Hon. George W. Jolly, of Owensboro, and received his license to practice from the Daviess county circuit court, and entered at once upon the practice. In 1894 he was the nominee of the republican party for county attorney of Ohio county, and was elected to the office by the largest majority of any candidate on the ticket. He now holds the office of county attorney, and is a leading member of the Ohio county bar. As an officer he has won the approval of all parties by his fearless, able and impartial administration. Mr. Neal mar­ried, in 1890, Miss Fannie Miller, the estimable daughter of Mr. W. T. Miller, a prominent citizen of Ohio county. Per­sonally and socially Mr. Neal enjoys the universal respect and confidence of the entire people of his county, and no doubt will be called upon to serve them in the ­public affairs in the future.

            Gabriel B. Likens is a native of Ohio county. He was born February 17th, 1867, near Horton, in said county, on a farm, and spent his early life in the duties and labor that fall to the lot of a farmer boy. His primary school training was gained in the common schools of the county, where he evinced a love of study and activity· of mind that presaged a career of usefulness. After passing through the common schools, he attended the West Kentucky College at South Carrollton, where he graduated with the degree of B. S. He spent some years in teaching in the county schools, at the South Carrollton College, and at the Alexandria, Tenn., high school. 

             In 1892 he received the nomination of the democratic party for the office of circuit court clerk and was elected to the office. Mr. Likens has taken an active part in the counsels of his party from the outset of his official career and has done it in a way that has gained him friends without increasing his opponents. In the discharge of the duties of the office to which the people called him, he has been impartial, courteous and attentive to all, winning the admiration and esteem of the people in general without regard to party. Mr. Likens takes great interest in the cause of education and in the morals of the community, doing all in his power to promote and secure these essentials of good society. He is a member of the Baptist church and assistant superintendent of the Sunday school. .He is also a member of the Masonic fraternity and junior warden of the local lodge. Socially his standing leaves nothing to be desired.

            Calvin P. Keown, sheriff of Ohio county. Mr. Keown was born in Ohio county February 24th, 1855, on a farm near Fordsville. He obtained a practical English education in the common schools of his native county and after reaching manhood taught in the schools. In 1881 he married Miss Amanda H. Robey and devoted himself to the business of farm­ing, which he continued to prosecute with the zeal and success that character­ized all his undertakings. 

            In 1894 he was chosen by the republican party as their candidate for sheriff of the county and such was the high estimation in which he was held that he was elected to the office, although opposed by a very popular gentleman on the opposite side of politics. As sheriff Mr. Keown has verified the expectation of his friends and proven himself a faithful and efficient officer and well worthy of the con­fidence of his fellow citizens. Mr. Keown is a member of the Baptist church, of the Masonic fraternity and of the Knights of Pythias, and socially possesses the respect and esteem of the entire people of the county.

            Is in Ohio county, about nine miles from Rockport. It is a flourishing and growing town surrounded by a fine farming country. The population at present is about six hundred. When the Elizabethtown and Paducah railroad was built in 1869-70 it established a station at this point called Beaver Dam Station. A town sprang up around the station and soon a considerable business became centered at this point until its arrival at its present importance as a trade center for quite a large section of country. The town took its name from a beaver dam, which, in the first settlement of the country, existed on what was called Beaver Dam Creek from that fact. In March, 1798, the Baptists built a church and organized a congregation at the place which still exists as a church organization. The business estab­lishments of the town consist of: The Beaver Dam Deposit Bank, organized under special charter, its capital being twenty-five thousand dollars and surplus fund nine thousand dollars; Hocker & Co., Hunt, Stewart & Leach and Bir & Chinn, general merchants; there are two drug stores, three groceries, two confectioners, one steam laundry, two hotels, three physicians, one dentist and two lawyers. The churches are one Methodist, one Baptist and one Christian. The town has an excellent educational establishment. The Beaver Dam Seminary and Commercial Institute is an institution that has been brought to a high state of efficiency under the management of Prof. E. B. Ray, assisted by a corps of competent teachers in the various departments. The school is free, but embraces a department for advanced pupils in all the branches of higher education, including a business education. Special mention is made here of the business establishment of Hocker & Co., dealers in general merchandise, fine clothing, fine shoes, fashionable millinery and fine dress goods. This is the leading business firm in Beaver Dam. The business was first established in 1882 by R. P. Hocker, J. W. Hocker and I. H. Baker. This firm was succeeded by Hocker & Co., consisting of R. P. Hocker and John H. Barnes. In 1890 the present firm consisting of R. P. Hocker and E. P. Barnes, succeeded to the business, retaining the old firm name of Hocker & Co. This house transacts the largest business in Ohio county. Mr. R. P. Hocker, the senior member of' the firm, is a native of the county, and has the confidence of the general public.

            Is one hundred and eleven miles above Evansville. In 1817 Mr. Hugh Carter established a ferry across Green River at this point; the gradual addition of population increased so that in 1870 the citizens applied for and were granted a charter by the legislature. Rockport now is a thriving village of six hundred inhabitants, and is situated on a high hill in Ohio county, on the right bank of Green river, overlooking both river and the eastern main stem of the Illinois Central railway. The town has fourteen business houses, doing a good business, handling a well selected variety of all classes of goods - one tobacco factory, one saw mill, one grist mill, two blacksmith shops, two livery stables, one barber shop, one shoe shop, one butcher shop, two good hotels, two churches – Presbyterian and Baptist – (the Methodists also have an organization, but have lost their house by fire), two physicians, a new school building and a first-class school. Rockport is a temperance town, having had no open saloons for over ten years. There has been a steady, substantial growth of popula­tion, and there is not now a vacant dwelling or business house in the town. Her inhabitants are principally engaged in mercantile business, farming, timber, railroad and coal mining. No. 11 coal is opened in the town and No. 9 coal underlies the town. Shipping facilities are excellent, and freight rates reasonable. The town government is composed of L. G. Haden, O. T. Hines and L. Reid, trustees; G. M. Maddox, police judge , and G. N. Tilford, town marshal. The morale of the town is away above the average river and railroad town.
            THE McHENRY COAL COMPANY, operating the McHenry and Echols mines, the former about six and the latter about two miles from Rockport, on Green River and on the line of the Illinois Central railroad, is the largest producer of coal in Ohio county. Of the three hundred and sixty-eight thousand tons produced in the county, this company produces nearly one hundred and four­teen thousand tons, or about one-third of the entire product of the county. Both mines, as stated above, are in No. 9 vein. The McHenry mine, six miles inland, is entered by a slope of two hundred feet to vein, which is uniform throughout the entire field, sixty to one hun­dred feet below the sur­face. The length of the main entry is some four
thousand feet, with six working side entries ranging from one hundred to six hundred feet, and seventy­-five working places. Four Jeffrey electric mining machines are operated in this mine. The town of McHenry, a considerable settlement and trading point, is located principally on the lands of the company, although many persons own their own residence property. The population is about four hundred. The Presbyterians have a good church building and a flourishing congregation in the town, and the society of Odd Fellows have a lodge with a membership of fifty. The town has a good school building and free school. Echols mine, the property of the same company, is on the Illinois Central railroad about two miles from the river, in the same vein. This mine, when first opened, was called the Rockport mine. It was opened in 1872 by the Rockport Coal Company, composed of Smith, Keith and Daugherty. This company operated the mine several years, then sold out to the McHenry Coal Company. The vein ranges in thickness from four feet six inches to four feet ten, and is reached by a shaft ninety feet deep. Four link-belt (chain) and one Jeffrey machine are used in this mine. The field consists of one thousand acres to the rise from shaft. The main entry is about eight hundred yards and the largest cross entries one thous­and to twelve hundred feet, still driving; one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty working places. The improvements projected in the early future are a new main road of thirty pound iron and improvements around the bottom of the shaft to increase the capacity. Mr. Williams, mine foreman at the Echols, is a careful and experienced miner, a native of Scotland, and has been engaged in mining since the age of thirteen years in the coal fields of the Western district of Kentucky.

            CHARLES W. TAYLOR, the efficient superintendent of both the McHenry and Echols mines, lives in the town of McHenry, where he owns a pleasant home and other property. He, together with his excellent wife and family, take great interest in promoting the social, educational and religious welfare of the little town which contains his home. He is a native of Ohio county and has been with the company in one capacity or other for a period of fourteen years.

            A town, and considerable trading and shipping point, is situated on the left bank of Green River in Ohio county, one hundred and fifty-one miles above Evansville. The population is about two hundred and fifty. The business at this point is transacted by W. N. Martin & Son, W. T. Tilford, operating general stores; A. K. Leach, dealer in groceries, and V. Whalen and J. X. Taylor, dealers in drugs. The town has one church building (Union). It has a free school open five months in the year. Its principal market is Evans­ville. The chief articles dealt in are: groceries, furniture, flour, hardware and stoves, all of which are bought of Evansville dealers and manufacturers. It is surrounded by a good farming country, and ships by way of the river largely of country produce and live stock.

            In Ohio county, five miles from the river, is a very flourishing trade center for a fine section of farming country adjacent. Its shipping point is Ceralvo, one hundred and nine miles from Evansville. In common with other points in this section, its principal market is Evansville. The leading merchants are:. Rowe & Martin and Morehead, Jones & Co., dealers in general merchandise; L. C. Brown & Co., dealers in drugs, and W. A. Rowe, saddlery. It has a good free school and commodious church.

One hundred and .nine miles from Evansville, is in Ohio county. The merchants are:  V. D. Fulkerson, dealer in general merchandise, and Dr. J. M. Everly, dealer in drugs, both of whom buy their goods mostly in Evansville markets. This point ships by the river a great deal of produce and live stock, and is the shipping station for the flourishing village of Centertown, .five miles inland. 

Friday, February 6, 2015


BASIL M. BENNETT was born November 21, 1832, in Ohio, and is the son of Nathan and Martha (Ward) Bennett. The parents were both reared in this county; their parents came from Maryland. Basil M. Bennett was reared on a farm, and at the age of eighteen learned his trade at Hartford for three years. He then came to Beda, hired out, and three months after bought out his employer and later bought the lot where he now lives, and on which he has since resided. He is one of the oldest residents of the place; was appointed postmaster in 1856, and served until 1861, when he resigned. He was then a Democrat. In 1874, he was appointed as a Republican and holds the office to-day; September 16, 1861, he enlisted in Company D.Twenty-sixth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, Federal service, and served until July 20, 1865, having veteranized in January, 1863; was in the battle of Shiloh, but was afterward detailed in the blacksmith department, and when he came out was quartermaster sergeant. January 29, 1856, he married Eleanor Tweddle, of Ohio County. They have had eight children, six now living: Marcus D. L., Stephen R., Herman E., Rupert, Bernice and Ethel. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bennett is a Republican, and a temperance man, and owes his position to his own industry.

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

Mr. Bennett died 19 Apr 1922 and is buried in the Beulah Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery.