Saturday, February 25, 2017


LEONARD H. LEACH, son of Leonard and Mary (Cole) Leach, the former a native of Ohio County, born in 1802, and died of small-pox in 1842; the latter born in Ireland in 1805, and died in Kentucky in 1873. Of his father's family there are now living: John A. Leach, deputy sheriff, justice of the peace and assessor, a very prominent and influential man (the husband of Vitula Williams, by whom he has nine children); Rebecca J., wife of F. D. Sandefur (have three children); Mary A., wife of David Miller (have three children); and Margaret, wife of C. G. Crowder (have one child). Leonard H. Leach was born in Ohio County, on the 22nd of December, 1863 (sic); he married Martha Ann, youngest child of S. G. and Frances Sandefur, both of whom died of smallpox. She has five children: Lewis Herbert (a teacher, now a student at Hartford College), Susan J., James Henry, Charles Arthur, and Leonard Luther. Mr. Leach has been engaged in farming since childhood, and now owns a farm of sixty acres of good land; about three and one-half miles from Cromwell. He is a diligent reader, and has thus acquired a large amount of valuable knowledge, although his early advantages were limited. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He cared for his invalid mother fifteen years. He is a strong temperance man, and a member of the Republican party.

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

Note:  Leonard H. Leach was born 18 Nov 1837 and died 21 Aug 1924 in Ohio County and is buried in the Arnold Cemetery.

Feb. 27, 1920 Hartford Republican:  Mr. Leonard H. Leach, of Rob Roy, holds the remarkable record of having resided within the same building nearly 83 years, having been born within the four walls where his life has been spent.  In the 83 years Mr. Leach has never been absent from the home for more than ten days at a single time; this is also remarkable.  Many years ago, a Leonard Leach emigrated from Maryland to Kentucky, settling on territory where Louisville now stands; in whose home three sons were born, one of which was named Leonard.  Two of the Leach boys crossed the Ohio River into Indiana to make homes for themselves, while Leonard came to what is now Ohio County, settling near Mt. Zion Church, where he carved from the wilderness his future home.  Into the home of this member of the Leach family four sons were born, one of whom was likewise christened Leonard, who married and cleared from the forest and established his home, building his house from hewn yellow poplar of considerable dimensions, in which four sons were also born, and the youngest of these is the subject of this little article, who was given the first name of Leonard, born Nov. 18, 1837.  Into this home the ratio of sons was still maintained, four having entered therein, and the youngest of these is likewise known by the name Leonard, who himself has a son answering to the call of Leonard.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Henry Clay Leach

HENRY CLAY LEACH was born in Ohio County, Ky., December 1, 1845. His father, John Nelson Leach, was a native of Ohio County; followed the vocation of farming; died in 1863, aged fifty-six years, leaving twelve children; he was twice married; his first wife was Martha Taylor, who died in 1840. His second marriage was with Joanna Arnold, of Spencer County, Ky. The result of this marriage was nine children; Leonard Leach, father of John N., was a native of Maryland; he came to Kentucky in 1799, and settled in Ohio County, where he died in 1840. Henry Clay Leach, after the death of his father, remained with his mother, supporting the family by his labor until October 10, 1864, when he joined the Federal army; enlisted in Company D, Twenty-first Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, as a private, in which capacity he served until the close of the war; was engaged in the memorable battle of Nashville, Tenn., besides numerous other engagements and skirmishes. At the close of the war he returned to his home and resumed farming. Four years later he bought the homestead farm, to which he has since added 100 acres; he now owns 268 acres of land, 200 of which are well fenced and under cultivation, well stocked and well improved, with barns, dwelling, orchard, etc. Mr. Leach inherits no part of his possessions, but has made all by his own labor with the help and encouragement of his wife. In connection with his farm interests he gives some attention to the purchase and sale of cattle. In 1871 Mr. Leach united himself in marriage with Laura E., daughter of J. B. Taylor, of Ohio County. Their union has been blessed with one child. Mr. Leach was a member of the P. of H. In politics he is a Republican, and takes an active interest in the issues of the day.

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

Hartford Republic, June 17, 1904.  Henry Clay Leach died very suddenly of heart disease at 9 o’clock Wednesday morning at his home in Beaver Dam. He was buried on the 15th at Mt. Zion Cemetery. He was a Federal soldier during the Civil War, and Postmaster at Beaver Dam during the McKinley first administration. He leaves his wife and several children to mourn him.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Frank Tichenor

When Frank Tichenor died in 1985 he left a legacy of violins and a remarkable story
          Around 1900, a young black man from Kentucky with a fifth-grade education and an ear for music arrived on a bicycle in Terre Haute after a 170-mile trip along dirt roads. By the time he died more than 80 years later, that young man had left a lasting mark on his adopted home.

          Frank Tichenor, who died in 1985 at age 103, was known around Terre Haute as an outstanding violinist, a skilled craftsman, a loving family man and a respected member of the Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith. On his 100th birthday, Tichenor received the key to the city from then-Mayor P. Pete Chalos.

          Born in 1881 in Ohio County, Ky., Tichenor learned to play the violin by ear, which was not unusual for people living in rural western Kentucky at that time, according to Anna Laura Duncan of the Ohio County Historical Society.

          “He wouldn’t have known a [musical] note if it was six feet tall,” said Howard Tichenor, who was raised by Frank and called him “Dad,” although Frank was actually his great uncle. “He could hear a song just one or two times and he could play it.”

          Frank Tichenor was about 20 years old when he rode his bicycle on dirt roads from his home in Beaver Dam, Ky., to Terre Haute — a trip of more than 170 miles — where he hoped to find work. During that trip, Frank spent the night at the homes of family members in Evansville and Vincennes, but he slept in a barn during his stop in Sullivan, Howard Tichenor said.

          Frank later left Indiana, but eventually returned to Terre Haute and started working at Armstrong Walker Lumber Co. as a wood craftsman. In his spare time, Frank crafted by hand wooden furniture, gunstocks and, most notably, violins.

          Aimee Wright, Frank’s granddaughter, will inherit one of the remaining violins made by her grandfather. It belongs to her father, Howard, and has the words “Frank Tichenor Special” written on the inside. Howard still has his old violin, but has promised it to his daughter, he said.

          When Howard attended Sarah Scott Junior High School in Terre Haute, his music teacher told him the “Frank Tichenor Special,” made in 1952 from wood imported from Germany, was an outstanding violin, Howard recalls. Later, a professional violinist visiting Indiana State University confirmed that opinion, he said.

          “It’s just synonymous with him,” Wright, a Vincennes native, said of the violin made by her grandfather. “It symbolizes his work ethic and making something from nothing.”

          Another of Frank’s violins, this one dated 1969, belongs to his stepdaughter, Flossie Davis of Terre Haute. Davis was around 21 years old when “Pop” Tichenor married her mother, Helen Owens, in the early 1950s.

          “He really made some nice violins,” Davis said. “He really knew what he was doing.”

          Frank Tichenor “was a very gentle person” and very easy to talk to, noted Howard Lewis Sr., a member of the Bethlehem Temple Church who remembers Tichenor well. Frank often brought two violins to church, hooked them up to a small amplifier, and played music at several services each week for about 25 years, Lewis said. “You could feel his own personal joy coming through” in the music he played, he said.

          Davis agrees.

          “You should have seen him [play the violin] in church,” she said. “I mean, he could go. I mean, he made good music.”

          Frank really “respected his violins,” Lewis notes. “Pop” Tichenor would gladly answer questions about his homemade instruments, but “you didn’t touch his violins,” Lewis said.

          One day when he was in the fifth grade, Howard Tichenor ran to catch the school bus without making sure his violin case was properly latched. It wasn’t, and the violin tumbled to the floor, breaking the bridge. “That’s the only time I ever heard [Dad] swear,” Howard said with a laugh. “He really threw a fit.”

          While residing in Terre Haute, Frank Tichenor lived on South Second Street near the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He later lived in the Highland neighborhood on North 14 1/2 Street before moving to a residence farther south on 14th Street. While living in Highland, Frank bought an old school bus without wheels and turned it into a wood shop.

          Coincidentally, Frank grew up in the late 1800s in Ohio County, Ky., at the same time as another highly talented black string musician, Arnold Schultz. Schultz, part of a family of traveling musicians, would later be recognized as among the most important influences on the “father of bluegrass music,” Bill Monroe, also from Ohio County. At one time, according to the Bowling Green Daily News, Schultz worked as a hotel porter in Tichenor’s small hometown of Beaver Dam.

          Howard Tichenor learned to read music at school in Vigo County, but at home, his father taught him to play hymns and gospel songs on the violin. Once in a while, however, when he was in an especially good mood, Frank would break into a “big grin” and start playing “country and western” music of the sort you would hear at a square dance, Howard recalled. Sometimes, hearing this music, Frank’s wife would poke her head into the room and say, “Mr. Tichenor, that’s enough of that,” Howard said with a laugh. Frank and Helen called each other “Mr. and Mrs. Tichenor,” he noted.

          Frank played his violins, as well as the harmonica, at the Bethlehem Temple Church well past his 90th birthday, Lewis said. When he passed away in April 1985, he was laid to rest in Grandview Cemetery on Margaret Avenue in Terre Haute. His wife of 33 years, Helen, had passed away a few months earlier.

          By all accounts, Frank Tichenor remained active and energetic nearly all his life. Howard recalls his father, despite owning a car, would walk once a week from his Highland neighborhood to downtown Terre Haute — about 70 blocks in all — to pay bills . “He used to get on me because I took the bus,” Howard said with a laugh.

          “He was a spunky gentleman,” Davis recalls. “I don’t think I ever saw him with a cane.”

          Frank also really threw himself into his music, Lewis remembers. The music he played in church was often slow and gentle, but not sad or weepy, he added. “It was something of his he just loved to share.

          “He did things the old-fashioned way,” Lewis said of Tichenor, who also was known as an avid fisherman, a loving father, grandfather and husband, and excellent trainer of dogs. When he would drive his Plymouth station wagon, Frank would only allow his wife, Helen, to ride in the front seat, Lewis said. “That was her seat for sure.”

          In 1984, a year before Frank Tichenor died, Howard and his then-wife had a son, who they named Frank. “I really thought Dad had a special life,” Howard said, explaining why he named his first son after the man who raised him. “The older I got, the more amazed I became at what a remarkable person he was.”

By: Arthur Foulkes
Terre Haute News, Terre Haute, IN - Feb 28, 2009

(Frank was the son of Henry Harrison Tichenor and married 2-2-1880 to Amanda Whittinghill. His second wife was Helen S. Withers, whom he married in 1955. Frank died 19 April 1985 and is buried in Grandview Cemetery, Terre Haute, IN.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


ALFRED K. LEACH, postmaster, Ohio County, is the son of John and Nancy Leach, natives of Kentucky, both now deceased. The father was born in 1802 and died in 1859, in Ohio County, Ky.; his parents came from Maryland, and the mother, whose ancestors were Germans, from Pennsylvania, died in 1881. Mr. Leach was born July 19, 1839, in Cromwell Precinct, and was educated at the common Schools. He was the second of three children; his sister, Sarah Ellen, wife of James Gentry, a farmer in Cromwell, and a younger brother, George W. Leach. Their parents were farmers and members of the Baptist Church. Mr. Leach was married in 1875, to Alice Paxton, who died June 1, 1883, and he made her sister, Iduma, his second wife, September 25, 1884. He had by his first marriage two children: Mittie Birchie and Cora Ella. Mr. Leach enlisted in Company D, Seventeenth Kentucky, subsequently consolidated into Company H. On January 4, 1862, he entered the United States service, and served three years; was at Fort Donelson, Pittsburgh Landing and many other engagements. He came to Cromwell in December, 1865, and engaged in the grocery and hardware business, and was appointed postmaster. He now conducts one of the largest stores in town; he is a member of the Baptist Church, and in politics a life- long Democrat.

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

Note: Mr. Kelly's second wife died 13 Aug 1888 and he married a third time to Ophelia Plummer. Alfred Kelly Leach died 22 Jan 1909 in Ohio County; he is buried in the Paxton Family Cemetery near Beaver Dam.  From  his grave marker: “Life’s latest struggle cheerfully he passed, unwearied still, unflinching to the last.”

"A Hundred Miles; A Hundred Heartbreaks" by John Blackburn: "Alfred K. Leach was in Company D at the time of the Battle of Donelson, but later was in Company H.  Alfred said that he was thinking, as he listened to the blasts of the guns from the river, that "it would be bad if these shells were being thrown from Green River into Cromwell."  Leach lived near Cromwell before the war and afterwards became the postmaster there."

Saturday, February 11, 2017


CHARLES W. LAYTON, M. D., was born in McLean County, Ky., June 13, 1839, and is a son of William A. and Anna B. (Porter) Layton, both of whom were natives of Daviess County, Ky., and of English descent. William A. Layton was educated and married in that part of Daviess County, which afterward became McLean County, where he is still engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has held the office of magistrate in Daviess and McLean Counties for more than twenty years; he and wife are members of the United Baptist Church. Dr. Charles W. Layton received a good common school and academic education in youth, and was employed on his father's farm and at teaching until he was twenty-two years of age; in the meantime he had commenced the study of medicine and continued the same alone for several years. During the winter of 1861-62, he attended lectures at the medical department of the University of Louisville. He then returned to the home farm, where he remained, still pursuing his medical studies, until the close of the war. During the summer of 1866, he continued his studies under the preceptorship of Dr. G. W. Townes, of Greenville, Ky., and in the following winter took another course of lectures at the medical department of the Louisville University. In 1868, he commenced the practice of his profession at Paradise, Muhlenburgh Co., Ky., where he remained about one year; he then located at Rockport, Ohio County, where he has since practiced his profession with excellent success, having secured a large and lucrative practice. The Doctor is universally regarded by his professional brethren and others, as one of the leading physicians of the county; he graduated from the Cincinnati Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio, with the class of 1872-73. The Doctor was married, August 25, 1870, to Josephine Robertson, of Paradise, Muhlenburgh Co., Ky.  One son, Charles R., has blessed their union. The Doctor and wife are members of the United Baptist Church. He is a member of the K. of H. In politics a Democrat.

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

Note:  Dr. Layton died 31 March 1900 in Ohio County and he is buried at Rockport Cemetery.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Richard Parks Bland

BLAND, Richard Parks, a Representative from Missouri; born near Hartford, Ohio County, Ky., August 19, 1835. The Blands were among the early families to emigrate from Virginia with Daniel Boone into the Kentucky wilderness. Despite the family pedigree and wealth in Virginia, Richard and his three siblings were raised in relative poverty on his parents small farm. In 1842, when Richard Bland was seven years old, the situation was exacerbated by the unexpected death of his father. His mother's death followed in 1849, leaving the young teenager an orphan and forcing Bland to hire himself out as a farm laborer to survive.     Despite growing up poor, he was able to attend Hartford College and graduate with a teacher's certificate. Bland then taught school in his hometown for two years before moving to Wayne County, Missouri at age 20, in 1855, thence to California, and later to that portion of Utah which is now the State of Nevada; taught school for several years; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Virginia City; also interested in mining; treasurer of Carson County from 1860 until the organization of the State government of Nevada; returned to Missouri in 1865 and continued the practice of law in Rolla; moved to Lebanon, Laclede County, in August 1869; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-third and to the ten succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1873-March 3, 1895); chairman, Committee on Mines and Mining (Forty-fourth Congress), Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures (Forty-eighth through Fiftieth Congresses and Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses); sponsor of the Bland-Allison silver purchase act of 1878; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1894 to the Fifty-fourth Congress; elected to the Fifty-fifth and Fifty-sixth Congresses and served from March 4, 1897, until his death.

Richard Parks Bland was one of four children: Mary Sarah Bland 1815-1853; Richard Parks; Charles C. Bland 1837-? (a judge in Missouri); and Elizabeth Jane Bland  1837-1917. Looks like all four moved from Ohio County to Missouri and/or Illinois.

Richard Bland was a strong, if reluctant, candidate for United States President in 1896. He is quoted as saying "I have no desire in this direction. I have no ambition for this nomination and I am afraid my friends, thrusting my personality into this contest may confuse the greater question.". That question of course, like most tied to Bland, was currency and bimetalism. Rather than travel to the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois Bland chose to remain on his 160-acre farm near Lebanon, Missouri as the political drama played out. At first the convention balloting seemed to be going Bland's way. He beat William Jennings Bryan 236 to 137 on the first ballot, 281 to 197 on the second, and 291 to 219 on the third. However, none were of the two-thirds margin to secure the nomination outright. By this time, the full impact of Bryan's Cross of Gold Speech began to be felt and understood by the delegates. Bryan took the lead on the fourth ballot 280-241. Bland, not wishing to risk a split party, sent a telegram to his supporters in Chicago throwing his support behind Bryan saying "Put the cause above the man." With that, the fifth ballot was a mere formality, with Bryan claiming a 652 to 11 victory. There still existed the possibility of Bland on the ticket as candidate for Vice-President. He trailed considerably behind on the first ballot, but gained steam to win the second and third balloting, although again by not enough margin to earn the nomination. Bland at this time, never enthralled with the idea in the first place, declined his name being considered in any further balloting, paving the way for Arthur Sewall to become Bryan's ticketmate.

Richard P. Bland died at his home in Lebanon, Missouri on June 15, 1899. He had been in failing health for some years, and in the spring of 1899 returned to Lebanon from Washington, D.C. to recover from a severe throat infection, but his condition only worsened. He is buried in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Lebanon, Missouri. A crowd of several thousand flocked to the small Missouri Ozarks town to attend Bland's funeral.

Richard Parks Bland

Sunday, February 5, 2017


COL. JOHN JAY LAYTON, Ohio County. In the year 1720, the great-grandfather of this gentleman came to America from England and settled at Baltimore with a large family, of which Col. Layton's grandfather was the youngest. He was an officer in the French and Indian war, and was an officer at Braddock's defeat. He died at Spartanburg, and his widow removed with her family of five boys and six girls to what is now Garrard County, Ky., in the year 1800. William, the father of Col. Layton, was the youngest son, and was born in South Carolina in 1790. He became colonel in the militia, and in the war of 1812, went on foot on the ice on Lake Erie, to Maiden, but the expedition was abandoned. He was a flat-boatman from Kentucky to New Orleans, and made ten trips, from eight of which he walked the entire distance home. He was married, in 1815, to Mary Ann Yater, by whom he had thirteen children. Of these Col. Layton is the eldest son, and only nine are now living, scattered all over different parts of the United States. Col. William died in 1866, and his wife in 1834. Both were well known in Kentucky, and were influential citizens. Col. John Layton was born January, 1821, in Garrard County. His early education was obtained in the rude log-houses, well known in Kentucky history. But he was ambitious, and by reading and hard study he obtained sufficient knowledge to teach school, and engaged in that profession from 1844 to 1852, and in time acquired an extended knowledge of many of the higher branches, including practical surveying. In 1846, he enlisted in Company B, First Kentucky Regiment, and was in Gen. Taylor's command in the Mexican war, and served with honor one year. Arriving home he continued teaching and also engaged in milling. March 17, 1851, he married Miriam Shrewsbury, daughter of Allen Shrewsbury, of Garrard County, born in 1834. They have two daughters — Mrs. William J. French, of Cromwell, the elder, and Miss Martha Boone Layton, the younger. In consequence of a fall on the ice caused slight dislocation of his hip joint, at the age of fourteen years Col. Layton became permanently lame, one limb being shorter than the other. On his enlistment many, including Col. Rogers, commanding his regiment, tried to persuade him to remain at home, but his intrepid bravery and remarkable energy enabled him to serve out his term of enlistment, while many who were physically strong failed in so doing.

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

Note:  Col. John Jay Layton is shown living in Cromwell, with his family, in the 1870 and 1880 census; he died August 1907 in Odell, Gage County, Nebraska.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


           Originally known as The Tilford Hotel and the The Beaver Dam Hotel & Restaurant. Located at 550 South Main Street. The hotel was upstairs. Most of the rooms still have the small cast iron sinks on the wall as they did not each have a private bath.

            The following information is from Terry Knight, a descendant of the original owner: “My grandfather E. J. Tilford was probably the driving force behind the original venture. I believe he bought or had built the Cafe and operated it as a combination cafe and small hotel prior to 1919. He purchased the corner hotel building from a man named "Vinson" and renamed it "The Tilford Hotel" back before 1921 (the year he died).

            My maternal grandmother, Ethel (Charlotte Raines) [Tilford] Bivens, was the personality that made the businesses successful afterwards. She and her five daughters, including the three shown in the photo above, Ethel Joseph "E. J." [Tilford] Knight, Ida Maude "Tootsie" [Tilford] Givens, and Mary Elizabeth "Betty" [Tilford] Dale, worked very hard to establish reliable food and lodging service for Beaver Dam and the surrounding community. At the time of grandma's death she owned all the buildings on the one side from the hotel to where Dale Accounting is presently. She also was a major property owner throughout Beaver Dam.

            After my mother and her two older sisters passed away, I bought the Cafe from their estates and leased it to various others until I eventually sold it to Margaret Bellford ca. 1995.

            Other interesting note: My grandmother was the daughter of Orville Payton Raines and Ida Anne [Monroe] Raines. Ida Anne Monroe, great-grandmother to my siblings and our local cousins was a sibling to James Buchanan "Buck" Monroe, who was married to Malissa Vandiver (sister of Pendleton 'Uncle Pen’ Vandiver), and mother of William S. "Bill" Monroe of Rosine.”

    L to R: Ethel (Tilford) Bivens, E. J. Knight, Tootsie Givens (in the back), Betty Dale, Lee Bivens (Ethel’s     second husband after Mr. Tilford’s death) & unknown man. The little girl in front is Louise Evans.

Source:  Terry Knight (grandson of E. J. Tilford and Ethel Tilford Bivens)