This excerpt was taken from the Sunday edition of the Glasgow Daily Times, November 14, 1965.
“The hallowed Murray picnic grounds were located about 4 miles out of town, a skip and a hop off the Bowling Green Road, near the trestle bridge of the Glasgow Branch RR, and quite near the historic Creek’s (Staples, Denton, Crenshaw, etc.) mill. The Murray Picnic grounds were a traditional affair that the children never forgot, that brings a smile and a warm glow to the eyes of the elders of today (1965). When ‘Old Reb,’ JA Murray, got through making his last stand for the Lost Cause, he buried his bitterness and came to Glasgow to ‘brighten the corner where he was,’ especially as far as the town’s children were concerned. Having none of his own, he became a spare daddy to them all.
“Each summer, whenever the mood struck him, he gave picnics for everybody’s children, at his own expense. A small fee sufficed for those who wanted to pay. First, ‘through the grapevine,’ the word spread that a Murray picnic would be held at a certain date and time. On the momentous date, he secured a wagonette from the livery stable, circled every street and gathered up the wee ones from their homes, no matter how humble, with music to herald his approach, so they would be ready and waiting. The older ones gathered on a corner of the Square.
“Then, there was the grand march to the depot of the Glasgow Branch RR for those large enough to look out for themselves, while the small fry rode in the wagonette, load after load until they were all there. They were loaded in freight cars, for safekeeping, which ‘Old Reb’ personally locked from the outside. And it should be noted that there was never an accident or a child injured – although at times there were as many as the freight cars, loaded to standing room only.
“With smoke belching, bells clanging and whistles shrilling, the little train was off to the hallowed grounds. Once there, the day was spent in games, contests with prizes, culminating with plenty of food washed down with ‘pink lemonade made in the shade.’
“Succeeding generations with all the advantages progress has brought them, have lost the way to this ‘Never-Never Land,’ perhaps because there was no Pied Piper go lead them. Few would know how to start to find their way to what remains of it.”
On an ending note, for those of you not familiar with the location of this historic place, you take US 68/80 west toward Bowling Green. Go about 4 miles from town, and turn off 68-80 onto Beaver Valley Road. Follow this road to its end. You will find the Glasgow Branch RR there; the trestle bridge is close by, and the Picnic grounds were on the other side of the creek, beside the bridge.
There will be a future article on this area, and a particular school teacher who was very famous. He taught school at the Sinking Springs schoolhouse, which also sat near the railroad bridge.