Category Archives: Features

Elephants were Popular at turn of Century

Jadon Gibson

There is something about elephants, Elephantidae Proboscidea, that has fascinated humans since they were first brought to this country.

Many boys have earned free passes to the circus by fetching water for the elephants. The elephant’s large thirst made it a hard job but the boys didn’t mind.

An expression, “to see the elephant”, evolved around the turn of the century. It meant to see and know the world or to know all there was to know of life.

Continue reading Elephants were Popular at turn of Century

Abraham Lincoln’s lesson learned

Jadon Gibson

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

Continue reading Abraham Lincoln’s lesson learned

Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, conclusion

Jadon Gibson

Dr. Thomas Walker kept a journal in 1750 when he documented the discovery of Cumberland Gap before venturing deeper into the territory that would become Kentucky and erected the first log cabin in that territory.

     May 12 Under the rock is a soft kind of stone almost like alum in taste.  Below it is a 12-inch layer of coal and white clay under that.  I called the Creek Allum Creek. I’ve noticed the past few mornings that just before dawn the trees begin dripping water and it continues for an hour or two.

Continue reading Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, conclusion

Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, part 5 by Jadon Gibson

We left Dr. Thomas Walker and his party  last week (April 20, 1750) as they were fashioning a canoe from the bark of a large hickory or elm tree.  His group consisted of Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and John Hughes.

      The bark was cut near the ground and at a height of 15 to 20 feet.  A vertical slit was then made from top to bottom and the bark was gradually detached in whole from the tree.  A piece was cut from each end and then sewn together.  The seams were made watertight by smearing with the fat of a deer.  The edges of the bark were held apart by sticks that were secured in place.  A canoe could be made in a fairly short time by these men as they were experienced in canoe construction.

Continue reading Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, part 5 by Jadon Gibson

Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, part 4

Jadon Gibson

 Dr. Thomas Walker documented the discovery of Cumberland Gap on April 13, 1750 before he and his small band of men – Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and John Hughes – ventured deeper into Kentucky.

April 13  We traveled four miles to a large creek which we called Cedar Creek, a branch of Beargrass River, and then six miles on level land to Cave Gap (Cumberland Gap). 

Continue reading Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, part 4

Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, part 3

Jadon Gibson

The Appalachian mountain range stretches from Maine into the deep south. It prevented western migration for nearly three centuries. Dr. Thomas Walker documented his discovery of Cumberland Gap in 1750 leading to a mass migration of settlers into what would become Kentucky and beyond.

Dr. Walker wasn’t the first man to travel through Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky.  He wasn’t even the first white man to do so but he was the first to document his discovery. 

Continue reading Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, part 3

Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, Part 2

Jadon Gibson

Dr. Thomas Walker wasn’t the first man or even the first white man to pass through the world-famous Cumberland Gap but he kept a journal documenting his discovery in 1750. They ventured into the wilderness that would become Kentucky.  We’re rejoining Dr. Walker on March 27, 1750.

     March 27  It snowed this morning and continued until noon.  The land is very hilly to the west and north which is the direction of our travel.  We can see snow on the mountaintops.

Continue reading Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal, Part 2

Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal

Jadon Gibson

Dr. Thomas Walker’s journal entries in 1750 are absolutely fascinating.

They document the discovery of Cumberland Gap before Dr. Walker’s party ventured deeper into the wilds that would become Kentucky.

During the next few weeks we’ll open Dr. Walker’s journal and travel with him into Kentucky where he and his men erected the first log cabin that was built in that territory.

Continue reading Dr. Thomas Walker’s Journal

Big Bill Hardin comes to Kentucky, conclusion

Jadon Gibson

William “Big Bill” Hardin was a man of great courage, well skilled in pioneer life. Some historians have mentioned Hardin in the same breath with Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, Benjamin Logan and several others but he rests in an unmarked grave, even without a crude boulder for a headstone. Col. Hardin had a major impact on Hardin and Breckenridge counties in Kentucky. Hardin County was named after him.
  

Continue reading Big Bill Hardin comes to Kentucky, conclusion

Big Bill Hardin comes to Kentucky

Jadon Gibson

William “Big Bill” Hardin was a noted pioneer and Indian fighter. The Indians nicknamed him “Big Bill.” He wasn’t that big in today’s sense, six feet tall, but he had a large physique and was a tenacious fighter, just what was needed on the borderland. The Indians fought to dispel the settlers and the settlers fought to remain.

   Hardin descended from a family of French Protestants who fled France for Canada to escape religious persecution. The cold Canadian climate wasn’t agreeable to them so the three brothers migrated to Virginia, South Carolina and Kentucky.

Continue reading Big Bill Hardin comes to Kentucky

Murder at the Halfway House, conclusion

Jadon Gibson

Deputy Charlie Cecil of the Bell County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Department, led a posse comprised of Lee Turner, Lew Mayes and Dave Bull in a search for Will and Alex Combs in October of 1898. The brothers were wanted for the murder of “Wild Bill” Turner, owner of the Halfway House, a loosely-run roadhouse. It was frequented by coal miners going to and from the Mingo Hollow Mine, near the Kentucky-Tennessee state line.

The search slowed before the posse found the area where the brothers `doubled back’ in an effort to lose their trackers. After several hours the trail led them to a section near the Bell County and Knox County line.

Continue reading Murder at the Halfway House, conclusion