Col. Leonidas Metcalfe became embroiled in a duel during the Civil War for events beyond his control. In late 1861 he arrested Lt. William Casto and six other southern sympathizers on orders from his superior officer. Casto felt offended by Col. Metcafe after being imprisoned in Fort Lafayette, a federal prison in New York Harbor.
After pledging “to give no aid or comfort to enemies of the United States,” he was released.’ After he returned to Maysville, Kentucky, he promptly challenged Metcalfe to a duel. Col. Metcalfe relayed to Casto, through his friend Isaac Nelson, that he wasn’t under the slightest obligation under code duello the code of duelists, to grant his request. Continue reading Duel on the Fishing Shore, conclusion→
Union Gen. William “Bull” Nelson had Col. Leonidas Metcalfe’s regiment arrest Richard H. Stanton and six other Southern sympathizers in Mason County, Kentucky in 1861. They were charged with aiding and abetting the confederacy and sent to Cincinnati and then transferred to Camp Chase, a federal penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. A few days later they were sent to Fort Lafayette, a federal prison in the New York harbor. William T. Casto, a former mayor of Maysville, KY, was among those arrested. Continue reading Duel on the Fishing Shore→
Early colonists celebrated their good fortune of bountiful harvest at the end of the growing and reaping season. It became a festive and religious occasion. Legislators of many states established a day for giving of thanks in following years but the dates were not uniform and it wasn’t celebrated to the same degree.
In 1863 President Abe Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day as a new national holiday. At first southerners looked upon it as a Yankee holiday as it was established at the height of the Civil War. By design the southerners demonstrated their dissension by celebrating Continue reading What’s Thanksgiving all about anyway?→
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day. A day first set aside to honor those veterans who fought in the “Great War.” That designation has evolved over the years. Today, we celebrate all those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces rather than only those who fought in war.
On this special anniversary, I’d further propose that such recognition be extended to honor the families of veterans who served, as well. My rationale is simple. Ask any parent whose child was called upon or chosen to serve, in times of peace or times of war. What was that experience like for them? Or, consider those spouses and children who lend backbone and support to those who serve. What is it like for them? How well do they carry the burdens, responsibilities, and experience of military life? Continue reading Hundredth Anniversary Time to Honor Military Families as Well→
For several years now, I’ve been writing about and speaking to the demographic shift taking place in Kentucky, and the dangers inherent in the consequences of public inaction. The rapid growth in our aging population (20% of Kentucky’s population is now 60 or older) and those living longer (85-plus is the fastest growing age group) should give those in elective office reason for pause. Yet an outcry to take action, and leadership to sound the alarm is sorely lacking. In fact, the silence is deafening. There are many reasons for the apathy. Continue reading Consequences of Inaction, an Age-Old Problem→
Medical school enrollment was swelling to capacity in the United States and other countries in the early 1800’s. Anatomy classes required fresh cadavers for lectures and demonstrations. The only legally available bodies however were those of executed criminals. The number of executions wasn’t adequate to meet the needs of the medical schools so the practice of grave robbing began running rampant.
“These underworld characters can open a grave, remove a body and restore the gravesite between patrols of the night watchman,” Hugh Douglas wrote in that era. “Relatives of the subject may mourn by the grave the following day, unknowing that their love one was no longer therein but on a anatomy slab in a medical school.” Continue reading Age of the Body Snatchers, Conclusion→
The 1800’s brought an increased interest in the medical profession with medical schools increasing in size and number.
English writer Mary Shelley is best known for her horror novel Frankenstein, or the secondary title Modern Prometheus (1818). With a growing interest in the human body in the 1800’s there was a marked increase in grave robbing in North America, Europe and other parts of the world.
Daniel Rudolph who committed suicide in Topeka, Kansas, in late 1879. His body was shipped to Sugar Grove, Ohio, for burial. Grave robbing was at epidemic proportions in Ohio at the time because of the numerous medical schools located there. Several individuals at Rudolph’s funeral noticed three or four strangers prowling around the graveyard after the interment. The sexton was aware of the increased incidence of grave robbing and made it a point to visit the grave during the next two nights. Continue reading Age of the body snatchers→
Some of the finest people in the world have hailed from tiny communities such as Sigma, Mohawk, Calvin, Delvale, Stoney Lonesome, Rawhide, Laurel and Bundy. During the coal boom the railroads raced to have steel rails laid to access the coal at these coal towns. The coal companies sometimes used their own rugged crews in laying the steel rails.
Some of the bosses were unscrupulous and tricked workers into toiling for little or no pay. Two of the bosses in charge of railroad construction near Delvale, St. Charles and nearby towns in Lee County, Virginia, nearly set labor standards back to slave labor. Continue reading Bad railroad bosses no match for local law→
Col. John Floyd, a frontier surveyor, was one of the leading pioneers of Kentucky. He was one of five brothers, three of whom were killed by Indians. Two of his brothers-in-law shared a similar fate. They weren’t victims of bad luck but of the times in which they lived.
Col. Floyd was riding with his brother Charles on April 10, 1783, on his 2,000 acres called Floyd’s Station, just outside of present-day Louisville, KY. The Indians were intent on repelling the settlers from the land on which they lived and where they hunted for many years but they had not been pesky during the winter months. The Floyd brothers weren’t on a heightened alert and didn’t suspect danger. They were fired on by Indians making their early spring raids and Col. Floyd was mortally wounded. Continue reading Col. John Floyd was killed too soon→
The Southern Railway earned a lucrative contract to haul mail for the United States Post Office well over a century ago. In order to continue the agreement they were required to transport large quantities of mail from location to location, intact and within certain time restraints, that is it would have to be delivered in good shape and on time.
One of Southern Railway’s engines, locomotive number 1102, was a 10 wheeler built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. It was known officially as Fast Mail but was better known as Old 97. It began its runs from Washington DC to Atlanta, Georgia in December of 1902 and earned the reputation of getting the mail to its destination pronto. Continue reading The Wreck of the Old 97→
It wasn’t unusual for Rev. Reuben Ross to attend a funeral in Stewart County, Tennessee, in the fall of 1811. He was a Baptist preacher, elder, and was acquainted with the deceased. It is likely that he preached the funeral.
The service was lengthy and nightfall was eminent when Rev. Ross completed his sermon, cautioning that death is no respecter of age, person or social status.
Elisha Wallen was an early long hunter in southwest Virginia and the tri-state area of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. He was one of the first white men to explore the western wilderness as the area, and points farther west, were called in the mid to late 1700’s. This story is based on Wallen’s conversations with others in that era.
He told about a November hunt in which he fought a large buck for his life, when it rushed him, before he had time to raise his rifle. “I knew the bucks were wild at that time of year because of mating season,” Wallen later opined. “But I’d never seen one, or heard of one, acting that crazy.” Continue reading Hunting with Elisha Wallen→
Clifton Branham found trouble at nearly every turn after being paroled from the Kentucky State Prison in 1902.
He celebrated Christmas with friends in Clintwood but they were drinking heavily. He decided to return to Pound, VA. as he felt there may be trouble if he remained there. Dave Fleming had been causing him trouble since he returned to the area and soon caught up with Clifton and his daughter on the mountain roadway. Continue reading Life and Times of Clifton Branham, conclusion→