Category Archives: Features

Beware of Micajah and Wiley Harpes

Jadon Gibson

If Micajah and Wiley Harpes were alive today and relived their exploits of the late 1700’s, their names and pictures would be plastered in post offices and bannered on television newscasts across the nation. Some call them America’s first serial killers. If someone is bent on killing, why not do in themselves first?

Micajah was born in North Carolina in 1768 and Wiley was born about two years later. Their father fought for the British in the early years of the war before changing coats when it appeared it would prove beneficial. Those who knew the senior Harpes turned him in and he was forced to flee with his life. Micajah and Wiley stayed Continue reading Beware of Micajah and Wiley Harpes

A matter of honor, between attorneys no less

Jadon Gibson

Robert Triplett’s neighbor in Owensboro, KY, couldn’t understand Triplett’s preoccupation with death at-first. Triplett was wealthy and in robust health, yet the 33-year old Virginia-born lawyer drew up his will and proceeded to make other final arrangements.

His neighbor understood when Triplett confided that he would soon be involved in a duel with fellow Owensboro attorney Phillip Thompson. Continue reading A matter of honor, between attorneys no less

If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher

Jeff Rubin

If you can read this, thank a teacher. I saw that bumper sticker on the back of a car I was following on the highway the other day. The sticker brought a smile to my face.  More than that, it made me think about the important role teachers have played in my own life growing up. A role that could just as easily be applied to anyone of us, including our children and grandchildren. Continue reading If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher

Log-rafting on the Clinch and Powell rivers

Jadon Gibson

For over 200 years the Appalachian Mountain range prevented western expansion beyond the vast forestland that was found by early long-hunters and settlers.

The giant white oak, walnut, yellow poplar, chestnut, ash, maple and other trees were widespread throughout the area. They were a Godsend as early settlers built log cabins and used wood for fuel. Gardens were planted on the cleared land and part was used for pastureland. The trees had never been harvested so they were much larger than those found today. Continue reading Log-rafting on the Clinch and Powell rivers

Westward to Kaintuck in 1777

Jadon Gibson

The Virginia legislature commissioned Col. George Rogers Clark to assemble an army of men and travel to the Falls of the Ohio, present-day Louisville, at the beginning of the winter of 1777. Historians have written Clark had secret orders to prepare and help capture the French-held fort of Kaskaskia in Illinois and to thwart the British in creating outposts in the region.

Most of the men left before Christmas but a group of eight followed in late January to join them. A youthful Daniel Trabue was among Continue reading Westward to Kaintuck in 1777

A report of Lincoln’s assassination

Jadon Gibson

The following letter was written by Richard Baldwin from Clarksville, TN, on April 15, 1865. Baldwin, a native of Hancock County, TN, left Sneedville following the Civil War because of the dangers to former soldiers who fought during the war. It was addressed to his brother Alfred who was still living in Hancock County. Continue reading A report of Lincoln’s assassination

44th Celebration of Traditional Music at Berea College

Alice Gerrard

This year’s Celebration of Traditional Music (CTM) greets Halloween by focusing on British and Appalachian ballads, haunting tales of love and loss. The CTM honors the tradition of passing music, stories, and oral history from person to person in the Appalachian Region. Alice Gerrard is the featured performer.

As her website describes, “Simply put, Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status. In a career spanning some 50 years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.”

Continue reading 44th Celebration of Traditional Music at Berea College

Civil War survivor bushwhacked on way home

Jadon Gibson

A constant tension filled the hills and valleys during the Civil War as neighbor was pitted against neighbor and in many instances members of the same family were on opposing sides. The war separated the country, causing hatred, resentment and bloodshed that persisted for many years after the war.

Thousands of soldiers anxiously returned to their homes after the War Between the States, some traveling by water and others by train, horse or afoot. Many southerners found little or nothing Continue reading Civil War survivor bushwhacked on way home

Abe Lincoln’s aborted duel

Jadon Gibson

Abraham Lincoln was elected to the Illinois State legislature in the late 1830s at the time James Shields, a democrat, was also a legislator. Lincoln was a Whig party member at the time. The two legislators often found themselves on opposite sides yet both helped in bringing their respective parties together on important issues. This changed when Shields became Illinois State Auditor.

The Illinois state bank defaulted in 1842 and Governor Thomas Ford and the state treasurer wanted tax collectors to accept only gold Continue reading Abe Lincoln’s aborted duel

Richmond Area Arts Council Upcoming FREE Events

16 through December 11, Pat Banks Art Exhibit, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, RAAC, FREE Admission
19-Richmond Area Arts Council Grand Re-Opening and Ribbon Cutting, open 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for tours, Ribbon Cutting at noon, RAAC, 399 W. Water Street, light refreshments, FREE Admission
26-Banking on Art Exhibit, 4:30-7:00 p.m., Central Bank, cocktails and appetizers, various local artists, FREE Admission Continue reading Richmond Area Arts Council Upcoming FREE Events

Unusual story from the borderland

Jadon Gibson

Indians are often portrayed as somber and introspective yet they have a wide range of emotions like all humans.

It was a beautiful spring day in April of 1782 and several residents of the Lexington station (present day Lexington, Kentucky) were continuing with the spring planting while others were repairing and making additions to the fort. Continue reading Unusual story from the borderland

Double Murder at the Country Club

A happier day at the country club

‘Marion Miley Killed by Burglars,’ the lead story on the front of the September 28, 1941 Lexington Herald-Leader blared. The 27 year-old golf celebrity’s death even rated a two-column headline on the front page of the New York Times.

Miley was a six-time winner of the Kentucky Amateur Golf title and at one time bested Babe Didrikson, one of the greatest female golfers of all time. Continue reading Double Murder at the Country Club

A focus on Simon Girty, the white savage

Jadon Gibson

Simon Girty was one of the most hated men in early America, disliked more than the warring Indians. In the mid 1700’s he became a white leader of Indians, a traitor to his own white race. He was a liaison between the British and the Native American tribes during the American Revolution.

In author Stephen Vincent Benet’s fictitious work “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and in the movie with the same name, Simon Girty is said to be “the renegade who saw white men burned at the stake and whooped with the Indians.” In the story he was a member of Satan’s jury, comprised supposedly of the worst characters in American history. Continue reading A focus on Simon Girty, the white savage

The Value of Labor is More Than Just Work

Jeff Rubin

Now that the final sale days of summer are behind us, this would be a good time to consider the real meaning of Labor Day. It might also be a time to think about our own sense of labor and the role it plays in bringing meaning to our life and well-being to our community.

A creation of the labor movement, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions workers make to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The first Labor Day was held in New York City on September 5, 1882. However, it wasn’t until 1894, when Congress passed legislation making the first Monday in September an official federal holiday, that it achieved nationwide recognition. By that time, 23 states had already recognized Labor Day as a legal holiday. Continue reading The Value of Labor is More Than Just Work

Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows

Jadon Gibson

Alfred A. “Alf” Taylor and Robert L. Taylor were brothers from Happy Valley in eastern Tennessee. Growing up they loved hunting, fishing and fiddling. As young men their interests turned to debating.

The similarities ended there as Alf became a republican and Robert a democrat. Alf Taylor was chosen in 1886 as the republican candidate for governor of Tennessee. Continue reading Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows