South Fork Neighbors -April 1928

The following is an excerpt of a letter written by Lena Mildred “Peg” Saunders McGlocklin, dated 1992 (about 4 years before her death). This will be followed by research I have done to identify her.

“The Poynter family lived on what is now known as the James Chamberlain farm. They lived in a real brick house. They sold their farm and moved away. Mrs. Poynter came back to the Chamberlain place for a visit. She spent the night with the Chamberlain family. She was planning to spend the night with the Saunders family. The Saunders family went to the Chamberlain’s to get Mrs. Poynter. As she was walking in the yard to go to the Saunders place, she had a stroke and fell dead before she could get to the car. We were saddened about our old neighbor and friend. The old brick house stood for several years. We played there as children. In later years the old brick house was known as the old Haunted House.”

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From the Hatcher & Saddler Funeral Home Records (1899-1961) pg. 107:

Delila F. Poynter died 26 April 1928 at South Fork. She was 75 years old, born 4 August 1850, daughter of Berry Johnson and Katherine Blankenship. She died at Mrs. Chamberlain’s house. Dr. Edwards was the attending physician, who ruled she died from apoplexy (stroke). Services were held at South Fork Church, with burial in the Kinslow Cemetery at the Oil Wells.

In the Barren County KY Cemetery Records, this would be Kinslow #11, or better known locally as the Boyd Creek Cemetery or the Laura Kinslow Cemetery. It is about 5 miles south of Glasgow on Oil Well Road, about halfway between Pritchardsville and Cedar Grove. Delila Johnson Poynter was the widow of Haywood Poynter (1855-1906), who died several years before her at Lakeland Asylum in Jefferson County, KY. Lakeland is better known to us today as the defunct Central State Hospital, which was on the site of EP “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

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The Next Moment in Eternity – 6 April 1930

From the Glasgow Republican, Thursday 10 April 1930

“Horrible Auto Accident Takes Life of Young Lady”

“Miss Bertha Leamon, 19 year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Verdine Leamon of Beaumont, was instantly killed Sunday evening, just after dark, when she was struck by an automobile driven by Mr. Herman Matthews, 25 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Nuck Matthews.
“Miss Leamon was a worker in the Overall Factory here, and had spent Sunday at her home at Beaumont. In the afternoon she returned to town in a car driven by Mr. Earl Ferguson. Miss Leamon boarded with her sister, Mrs. Hershell Taylor, on Main Street, nearly opposite the residence of Mr. JP Jenkins, on the slant of the hill this side of South Fork Creek. Mr. Ferguson stopped his car on the right side of the road coming up the hill. Miss Leamon stepped out of the right side, but had to cross the street as her sister lived on the other side. Just as she went around the back of the car, another car, a heavy Studebaker, with several boys in it, and driven by Mr. Matthews, came down the hill at a terrific speed, said by the Coroner’s jury to be from 35 to 50 miles an hour, taking the middle of the street, and as Miss Leamon stepped out from behind the car she had ridden in, she was struck broadside by the oncoming car and terribly mangled and run over.
“Mr. Matthews threw his brakes on and stopped as quickly as possible, but not until he was ditched, and the horrible work was done.
“Miss Leamon was a member of the Methodist Church and was a most lovable young lady, and a favorite with her acquaintances.
“She is survived by her parents and several brothers and sisters, besides Mrs. Taylor. Her tragic ending has shocked the entire community. It is a horrible thought, one moment she was happy and full of pleasant anticipations, and in a second she was in Eternity.
“The burial was in the cemetery at Beaumont, Monday, after funeral services conducted by Rev ML Baldock.
“Mr. Matthews was brought before Judge Jones, Monday morning, and released on a bond of $2,000, and his examining trial set for Friday.”

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Wyoming Brewer Garnett President

Wyoming Brewer Garnett President was born 16 February 1908 in Metcalfe Co., KY to Ms Cynthia Brewer. Her mother died soon after she was born, so she never knew who her father was. Wyoming was raised by her grandfather, Mr. Elie Brewer, on a farm near Knob Lick, KY. By the age of 4 years, Wyoming already knew she wanted to be a teacher.
At the age of 19 years she began teaching at the one-room school at Ebenezer, where she had attended grade school through 8th grade. She also taught at the Old Blue Spring School, between Hiseville and Knob Lick.
Wyoming was first married to Finis Garnett. They had no children, but she had a step-son, who was as dear to her as her own child would have been. The marriage ended in divorce, but she and her step-son maintained a lifelong relationship of mother and son.
Her second husband was Huston President, Jr., who died in 1967. They had no children either, but her students were her kids, and she loved each and every one of them.
Wyoming died at the age of 90 n 1998. She left several cousins to cherish her memory, as well as many of her former students. She was buried in the Ebenezer Cemetery near Knob Lick, in Metcalfe Co., KY.

I would like to thank Sherry Wesley at the South Central KY Cultural Center for allowing me to share this wonderful woman’s life with you. Wyoming President was one of the featured people of the 2015 Harvest of History, sponsored by the Cultural Center. Harvest of History takes place every year in September. Mark your calendars if you are interested in attending.

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Barren Co. Historical Society 10-26-2017

For those of you who were at the monthly meeting of the Historical Society a few weeks ago, this will not be new material, but most of the following has not been published by me previously. And a couple of these I intend to cover more thoroughly at a later date. But I thought to share our main discussion that night for those of you who were unable to attend.
“Urban legends are stories we’ve grown up with about local places – hauntings, rumors, scandals, murders. These legends usually include tragic incidents you sometimes can’t elaborate on to protect the privacy of certain families.
“Among some of those stories I have not featured yet is one I’ll entitle The Truth Behind the Slash Monster, and it is datelined 1949. Stories grew up around the murder of barber Cloyed Cook in the barbershop at the Spottswood Hotel. Mr. Cook was the father of Esca Cook Wilson, aunt of the late Joel Wilson of the Glasgow Daily Times.
“Convicted of the murder was a man who stood well over 6 ft. tall. Suffering from mental problems most of his life, he didn’t take criticism or teasing very well. Cook made an offhand comment about the haircut one of the other barbers (Mr. Furlong) had given the man. The man went home to retrieve his gun and return to the Spottswood. And the rest is history.
“Later in his life, the troubled man lived in a small house out the Old Munfordville Rd- Lexington Drive, not far from the bridge there over Beaver Creek. People would catch glimpses of the wild man lurking in the trees and bushes and the tall grass, and mistake him for some kind of ‘Bigfoot’. As he went barefoot most of the time, people also found large footprints in the dried mud. And those who knew who it was steered away from him. Some of the generation preceding me worked with him there in the fields as teenagers, and said the man never really spoke to them, and was a hard worker. But the spooky stories of his lurking in the shadows was how the Slash Monster came into existence.

“There is also the story of Charlie Bybee, who was returning home with a trunk full of presents for his children and family a few days before Christmas in the 1920s. Bybee came through Westmoreland, TN and Scottsville, KY, on through to near Lucas, where he got on Hwy 1318 to have a shorter ride home. Not far down the road he saw a black man walking. As it was on toward night, and the weather was wet at best, he stopped and offered the man a ride. Charlie Bybee was never seen alive again.
“The black man was looking for a car to impress his girl, it has been said, and the rest is history. A week long frantic search for Bybee ended in locating his remains in the Skaggs Creek at the well-known Buffalo Ford. Will T. Chambers died on 7 March 1924 in Eddyville’s electric chair for the murder of Charlie Bybee. Bybee’s death adds to the spookiness of the area near Buffalo Ford, which is less than a mile from the infamous ‘Green Mansion’. But the story of Bybee and Chambers has remained untold by me until this day out of respect for Bybee’s daughter, who all of us know fondly as the sweet Eleanor Rice.
“Areas such as Buffalo Ford, which is on the Oil Well Road, are pervasive with spookiness and have always drawn the adrenaline junkies. Places labeled as haunted draw a crowd, and then they stay in the minds for many years. As the next generation comes along, they don’t necessarily know why an area is supposed to be haunted, they only have a vague knowledge of the original tale, so they make something up – sometimes right on the spot.
“Sometimes rumors of hauntings can turn out to be dangerous when curious people go seeking answers. The previously mentioned Green Mansion is a perfect example of this. The farm was abandoned in the late 1920s, after Mrs. Johnson died peacefully in her sleep. But wild tales about the place started in the late 1960s, and still persist to this day, even though the house is long gone.
“The farm sits on a spot of land in a bend of Skaggs Creek, and likened to a peninsula, the farm is kind of isolated, even today. Below the old farm is a bowl of land once known as the ‘Cathedral’. Some sort of meetings were held there at night in the ’60s and ’70s, and by torchlight, this could be seen for miles around. Several people tried to break up these parties, or crash them, and would find themselves forcibly ran off. Rumors were rife, and there is even one tale of 2 teenagers wandering into one such meeting, being told to leave, and they died later that evening in a very tragic car accident.
“There’s a small family graveyard near where the house was that has been vandalized several times. It’s a shame really, as only 3 of the graves are marked – a Confederate soldier, his teenaged brother, and their baby sister.
“And then there are handprints. Only 2 places I’ve seen this phenomena in Barren County – Green Mansion and Martha’s Divine Hole on White’s Chapel Rd. at Falling Timber Creek. It is creepy to discover small handprints on your car, about the size of a 3 or 4 year old child, especially if you don’t have any small children in your life.

“For my last tale, I must tell you I am a need to see to believe, or hear to believe in this case. I have been to the farm that once existed behind the New Salem Methodist Church. In the mid-1990s, while my last husband and I were dating, he mentioned a place in a clearing near his grandfather’s old farm, that you could hear disembodied voices mumbling on occasion, and when you walked into the circle of voices, once there, they abruptly stopped. I scoffed, but once I experienced it, several years later, I cannot to this day explain it. The house is now long gone, burned down by some arsonist on Hallowe’en night in 1994.
“I found by research, a newspaper article, with the late JT Pedigo’s help, about JT Lyons taking his own life, in those very woods. After he disappeared his family was distraught because Mr. Lyons wasn’t in the best of health. He was discovered propped against a tree 3 days later, less than 20 yds. from the front door of the house, in this creepy clearing.
“On a final note – the grandfather, who you all know from a previous article about the Dead Wagon as Crawford Davidson, came in early one afternoon from the fields to retrieve something before driving into Glasgow. When he stepped out of the bedroom into the living room, he came face to face with an unknown man dressed in women’s clothes. Mind you, this was the 1940s or early ’50s.
“The man disappeared out the door, and no one else ever saw him. It was thought he may have been an escaped felon from a neighboring county.”

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That Cave by DW Neal

Pewee Valley 2 Feb 1909
The following was a letter to the Editor of the Glasgow Times, carried on the front page on 9 February 1909.

“That cave out near the ford on Columbia road spoken of in the Times a few days ago and in the Courier Journal of 3 January, is located about a quarter-mile from the ford, on the land of the late Solomon Quisenberry. Its existence was known to neighbors years before the human bones were discovered by Jo Eubank and some other hunters who ran a fox into it, and then closed the entrance to it that night and went back the next morning to set a box trap, expecting to catch the fox. After cleaning away the debris they found an opening large enough to admit a man in a stooping position. They entered and found the bones, but anyone who knows Jo Eubank and that gang of hunters knows that it would take something more than a few bones to “freeze their blood” or cause their hair to do the porcupine act. The chamber in which the bones were was once the bottom of a sinkhole, the opening at the top having been closed with a large, flat rock by Mr. William Arnett, who had a choke trap set at the entrance of the cave, and that rock now constitutes the dome of the bone chamber. The writer, until a few years past, has lived, since 1855, within half a mile or less, of the cave, and has made numerous trips to the cave with parties who came to visit it.
“Nearly everyone had a theory as to how the bones came there. The most generally accepted theory then was that it had at one time been the burying place of Indians. One thing that confirms this was the finding of a gigantic skeleton – nearly complete – the lower jawbone of which would slip easily over the jaw of an ordinary man, and the femur, or large bone of the leg, which when placed on the ground by my foot, would extend by 2 inches above my knee, and I am 6 ft. tall. The skull was encrusted with limestone formation to the thickness of three quarters of an inch. I gave the jawbone to Dr. Forbis – something over a year after the bones had been discovered, (which I think was in the early 1870s).
“A Mr. Edwards, his daughter and son, who lived near Rock Spring church, came to my father’s and stayed about this time. They had a “fortune rock” in which the daughter, a girl of some 11 or 12 years of age, could look and see anything she wished to. With this rock she had been enabled to locate this cave and tell its contents, which she described as being a number of human bones, and five boxes of money and one of yellow.
“It was not long before a considerable crowd collected. All repaired to the cave and quite an exciting investigation was begun with pick and shovel, the daughter standing overhead, gazing into her “fortune rock” and directing those in the cave where to dig. This was kept up until night. The next day Mr. Edwards, together with Mr. Dock Love, leased the cave from Mr. Quisenberry and went to work to make a systematic search for the hidden wealth. The entire bottom of the bone chamber was dug up to the depth of from 4 to 6 ft., and flint arrow-heads, bones, and charred bits of wood were found mixed with the earth and rocks as deep as they dug.
“Out of the report made by Miss Edwards, grew the theory of the California emigrant massacre. I never heard of a Spanish or Mexican coin being found in that neighborhood after the discovery of the bones; but at various times before that there had been money of that description found on the bluff above the cave over a fishing-hole, on a path that once led from the ford to a still house that was operated some three quarters of a mile on the creek, many years ago.
“As to the theory, I will say that, the little bottoms on each side of the creek were a favorite camping-ground for them, but they rarely stayed longer than one night at the creek, and I do not think the man who wore that jawbone above referred to, could have stayed that long without it being found out. And the “Amy and Harry” episode and the cleaning out of the rest of the gang – although living within a few hundred yards of the camp, I never heard of it until it was seen in the Courier Journal a few weeks ago (15 January 1909).
“We never could ascertain whether Dock ever got much out of the cave or not. Mr. Edwards moved west soon after the search, and Dock was always very reticent in regard to it.”

DW Neal Pewee Valley 2 February 1909

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Gibson Tragedy – 23 February 1953

From the Glasgow Times Thursday 26 February 1953

“Joint funeral services were conducted 25 February 1953 for a Metcalfe Co. grandfather and 3 of his grandchildren who were fatally burned Monday when fire swept his farmhouse at Cofer, about 10 miles east of Edmonton. Rites were conducted at Mosby Ridge Cumberland Presbyterian Church for William Gibson, 81, Lonnie Edward Gibson, 4, Sharon Gibson, 3 mos. old, and Betty Sue Gibson, 2. Interment followed in Demumbrum Cemetery on Mosby Ridge.
In the Clinic Hospital here is Mrs. Maudie Gibson, mother of the 3 children, who was seriously burned along with another child, Michael, 18 months. Mrs. Gibson suffered severe burns about the face, chest, and legs. Michael was burned about the head and face.
The father, Harvey Gibson, was away at the time the fire broke out. According to reports, the fire was touched off from the kitchen stove and the home was completely destroyed by the blaze.
The grandfather, Mr. Gibson, was trapped in a closet and his body was found there. Bodies of two of the children were found in the bed where they had been asleep. The infant died at the Clinic Hospital here shortly after noon Tuesday. Mr. Gibson was born 27 June 1872, and was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Julius Gibson. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Nora Gibson; 5 sons, Harvey and Ellis Gibson, both of Cave Ridge, Riley Gibson of Cofer, Ezra and Eulius Gibson, both of Summitville, IN; 4 daughters, Mrs. Rena Clemmons and Mrs. Maggie Firkins, both of Edmonton, Mrs. Ann Harvey of Chicago, and Mrs. Jewell Piercy.
Other than the 4 children who were either fatally burned or hospitalized, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Gibson have another son, Tommy Gibson. Mrs. Gibson and the children were staying at the home in Cofer while Mr. Gibson was away.

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ASSASSINATED – Policeman R T Thurman Slain – Looks Like Murder Most Foul – 18 September 1914

The following information was gathered from several newspaper accounts of the era.

“Robert T. Thurman, policeman of Glasgow, was murdered between 12 and 1 o’clock Friday morning (18 September 1914) on West Main street, about a half block from the Courthouse Square. The killing occurred near the House store. Thurman received a telephone message to go to North Glasgow and make an arrest, as parties were drunk and disorderly. He was then returning with two prisoners when he was shot. He fell unconscious and the prisoners made their escape. It is said that the groans of the dying man could be heard on the square, and that two men were seen to kick him and curse him after he had been shot and was lying on the ground. He was shot just below the heart. The shots aroused citizens, who found the officer and carried him to the Murrell Hotel, where he breathed his last a few minutes later.
“Attempts were made to assassinate the officer several months ago, since which time all kinds of rumors have been afloat and many of his friends have predicted he would meet a violent end. Nothing in the history of Glasgow has so aroused the people as the murder of this young officer.
“Robert Thurman was 35 years old, and was formerly marshall of Burkesville and Edmonton, Ky. He was a member of the Methodist church. He had killed two or three men, but was always acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. Two or three years ago, he shot and killed Bud McCandless in Edmonton, while marshall of that place. McCandless had previously killed Judge George H. Pierce, one of the prominent men of Metcalfe county, in a desperate shooting affray.
“More than one year ago, ‘bootlegging’ became so open in Glasgow that something drastic had to be done. Accordingly, the City Council of Glasgow, headed by Mayor J.S. Leech, met and employed Mr. Thurman, with the understanding that he would try to arrest every violator of the law. He was a stranger here, and therefore could have no “favorites”, and within a few weeks he had arrested and convicted 25 persons. This of course, made him many enemies, and the threats were frequently heard that they would kill him. Interested persons offered him large sums of money to leave, but these he refused and stayed at the post of duty.
“A court of inquiry was held Saturday to investigate the murder of Policeman Thurman, and sufficient evidence was brought out to cause the arrest of Milton Mansfield and Louie Pace, two well-known young men of Glasgow. Pace is a printer in the Times office, and Mansfield is a young man well-known around town. Their examining trial was called Saturday afternoon, but continued until Monday, and was again postponed until Thursday.
“Mr. Thurman was to have been married Sunday to an estimable young woman of this city. He is survived by a brother, of New York, who wired to hold the body until he arrived. He was a widower and was the father of two children – one a daughter of sixteen and the other a son of eleven years.
“Thurman was a man absolutely without fear, and had made a splendid officer here. It has been believed for some time that he was marked for assassination by the lawless element, who feared and hated him greatly. The prediction was frequently made that he would be killed, and he was warned of his danger often, but paid no attention to these warnings. A few months ago, an attempt was made to assassinate him, but failed on account of his not walking into the trap set. The dead man was friendly, polite, genial and rather a handsome man, showing little of the fighting man that he really was.
“Two thousand people viewed the remains in Jewell’s undertaking establishment Saturday, and the crowd finally became so great that it was necessary to close the doors. Yesterday, there was equally as large a crowd in town. The most tragic affair ever occurring in Glasgow, the community is profoundly moved, and it is everywhere predicted that the end is not yet.
“The remains were taken to Clinton county, Sunday afternoon, and will be interred in the family burial ground in that place.”

According to funeral home records from Jewell Undertaking and Furniture Dealers, now maintained by Hatcher and Saddler Funeral Home, Robert T Thurman was buried the 22nd of September 1914 near Albany, in the Thurman family cemetery on Malone Ridge, in Clinton County. He was shown in the records as 37 years old, a policeman, widower, born Kentucky, resided Glasgow, and was a son of Turner Thurman and Betsy Riddle (they both born Kentucky). Dr J W Acton was the presiding physician and noted that he died of gunshot wounds. He was assisted by Dr J S Leech. The city paid all the costs of the burial.

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