The Road to Ritter’s Mill

ritters mill

An excerpt from CC Simmons’ “Historical Trip Through Eastern Barren Co., KY.”

“The road leading down from Hwy 63 to Ritter’s Mill is very rough, and steep. The original mill stood some 300 or 400 feet down the stream from the present location. The mill pond was at the foot of the hill where the road came down. On a very hot day in the 1870s, Wood Boyd and a very small son – about 10 or 12 years of age – were on their way to the mill driving a team of oxen. When near the bottom of the hill, the oxen saw the water and rushed into the mill pond to quench their thirst and to cool in the refreshing water. The little boy was drowned, and Mr. Boyd came near losing his life in attempting to rescue his son. The boy was buried in the small graveyard at the top of the bluff overlooking the place where he met his tragic and untimely death.”

AN: The mentioned cemetery is located 3 miles from Temple Hill, just off of Ritter’s Mill Road. It is behind a barn on a bluff overlooking Skaggs Creek, enclosed in an iron fence. Outside the fence are quite a few graves with field stones. Nicholas Wren Jones and his wife were the earliest burials there, but they were moved to Glasgow Municipal Cemetery. This cemetery is known as the Jones #2 Cemetery, and also as the Ritter-Rowe Cemetery.
It has been many years since I have been to this cemetery, and it is possible that it is no longer easy to locate.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Clyde Clayton Simmons (21 September 1890- 5 May 1949)


Obituary from the Glasgow Times – dated 12 May 1949:

Clayton Simmons, 58, assistant postmaster of the Glasgow Post Office for more than 30 years and one of the city’s most highly respected citizens, died early Thursday morning (5 May 1949) at his home on West Cherry Street. He had been ill for about 3 weeks following a heart attack last month.
Funeral services were conducted on Friday afternoon at 4 o’clock at Glasgow Baptist Church, with pastor, Dr. Bradford Curry, in charge. Interment was in the Glasgow Cemetery.
A native of Barren County, Mr. Simmons was born in the 88 section on 21 September 1890. He was the son of the late Capt. JM and Sarah Hamilton Simmons.
Mr. Simmons moved to Glasgow in 1910 and started to work as a clerk in the Post Office under the late WH Jones, postmaster at that time. Within a few years, he was promoted to the position of assistant postmaster under the late Jas. M. Richardson, and served capably in that post for over 30 years. He served in the Glasgow office 39 years.
In addition to his work at the post office Mr. Simmons devoted much of his life to music, both instrumental and choir singing. He was a member of old 88 band and for a time led the 123rd Cavalry Band, Glasgow.
Mr. Simmons was also a historian and had been active in work of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Barren Co. Historical Society. He was a faithful member of the Glasgow Baptist Church.
Known for his integrity of character, Mr. Simmons was held in highest esteem by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. His varied activities, to which he gave unstintingly of himself, earned for him an enviable reputation as a valued friend and fellow worker, in whom dependence and trust could unerringly be placed.
In the business life of Glasgow, as well as in its cultural and civic affairs, his passing leaves a gap not easily bridged. His was a busy life and one marked always by a spirit of interest and cooperation. However, his influence will continue to be felt, influence for good established by his daily dealing with his fellow man and demonstrated in his own life by honesty, helpfulness and by worthy service.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Mattaleen Lane Simmons, a son, John Simmons, a sister, Mrs. JH Branstetter, two brothers, Morris Simmons, all of Glasgow, and Joe Simmons, Washington State.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Mt. Vernon Meeting House

The following is the recording of the deed to the old Mt. Vernon Meeting House that was off of the Burkesville Highway (90 East), near the Bowles Cemetery.

Deed Book M, pg 161 Barren Co. Court

This indenture made and entered into this 22nd day of January 1831, between John Nichols, Sen. Of Barren Co. of the first part and Wm Pursley, John Pursley, John Nichols Jr., Elias Nichols, Phillip Nichols, the heirs of Richd Nichols, decd.; Thos Nichols, Robt B. Burch, John Burch, Nicodemus Burch, Wm. T. Bailey, Wm Johns, John Scott, Francis Scott, and James Woods of the second part… the said John Nichols, Sen., For and in consideration of building a certain meeting house known by the name of Mt. Vernon, on the Nichols land, which is acknowledged to be done, hath this day granted to aforesaid men, the same right and title with himself to one acre of land whereon said meeting stands, to be laid off in four square so that the meeting house will be center. And further it is to be considered that said meeting house is to be free for all Gospels, preaching of every denomination and that no Society is to interfere with the appointed days of any other, the right of said land to extend to aforesaid men and to their heirs and to my heirs… to have and to hold the same from all other claim or claims, forever.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this day and affixed my seal, the day and date above written
/s/ John Nichols

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen Loveall and John Denton – Revisiting Murder at Glasgow Junction

The following article is from THE ADAIR COUNTY NEWS, Wednesday 17 Apr 1901

“Killing of John DENTON— Occurred at Glasgow Junction Barren County, Twenty Years Ago—.
“Some time ago, we published an account of the suicide in this city (Bowling Green) of Stephen LOVEALL, who was said to be inconsolable, worrying over the act of his having killed a man years ago at Glasgow Junction. –Hon. Lewis McQUOWN, of this city, is conversant with the facts of the killing, having been one of the attorneys who defended LOVEALL. The circumstances of the killing were about as follows:
“An election for constable was on at Glasgow Junction about twenty years ago and there was a large crowd of people in town, among them LOVEALL and a man named DENTON. Living in the town at the time was an old shoemaker, who conducted a blind tiger in his shop and dealt out whisky on the sly to all thirsty ones. On the day of the election LOVEALL had made several visits to the shop, as had DENTON, and it happened that the former was standing in front of the shop when DENTON, who was a perfect stranger to him, the men never having seen each other before that day, LOVEALL having only a short time before moved to the vicinity of Wayne county, came along, and stopping at the shop, tried to open the door, but found it locked. LOVEALL, in a spirit of fun, said to him, ‘Scratch under’. It angered DENTON in an instant to be thus addressed by a stranger, and he turned quickly around and asked LOVEALL if he wanted to fight. The latter replied to the effect that he would just as soon have a round with him as not, and the two men doffed their coats and were getting ready to go at it hammer and tongs, when bystanders interfered and stopped the fight. They stopped it but a few minutes, however, for DENTON went into the street, which had only a short while before been macadamized and was covered with loose stones, and picking up his hands full commenced to fire them at LOVEALL, who stood dodging like a ‘di-dapper’. But when DENTON picked up a new supply of the stones and commenced to hurl them again, LOVEALL thought it about time for him to ‘return the fire’ and he did so, his first stone striking DENTON on the side of the head, knocking him down. The onlookers by this time interfered and DENTON was able to get up and go home, and LOVEALL was arrested, charged with malicious striking and wounding, and taken before Judge W. GOSSOM, who was the police judge at the Junction. The trial resulted in LOVEALL being dismissed, but about ten days later, DENTON died and LOVEALL was afterwards indicted for murder. There was a large connection of DENTON’s in Barren county, and they bitterly prosecuted LOVEALL. The late Colonel Jas. J. BATES, at that time one of the leading lawyers of Southern Kentucky, was retained to assist in the prosecution. Col. BATES was a close personal friend of the DENTON’s and is said to have prosecuted the case with all the vigor he could command.
“The case was in court at Glasgow before Judge GARNETT for a long time, and was tried seven different times. LOVEALL was represented by Mr. McQUOWN, Major BOTTS and Judge BOLES, and Mr. McQUOWN made six different speeches in the case. Owing to a certain instruction given by Judge GARNETT, and which has since been reversed by the Court of Appeals, it was difficult to acquit LOVEALL, though on every trial a very considerable majority of the jury were for acquittal and it was not until the seventh trial that he was finally acquitted. Col. BATES made his last speech in the case sitting in a chair and it is said to have been one of the best and most powerful he ever delivered. —Bowling Green Times.”

On a parting note, I believe the Adair County newspaper errroneously called the Bowling Green paper, which is the Daily News, the “Bowling Green Times.” I have nowhere found reference to a paper called The Times ever being at Bowling Green.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Rockland Mills

the cutthe cut 2

This article came from “History Speaks” – Quarterlies of the Metcalfe Co. Historical Society – Fall 1980 –

“A cut in the rock bluff on the waters of the south fork of Little Barren River, about 4 miles east of Knob Lick and 2 miles north of Beechville, was part of a water power project. It was made sometime before the Civil War (in the 1850s), and the Cut was made by slave labor. It was made to divert the excess water from the river in time of heavy rain. There was already at that time a waterpower mill on the south side of the river opposite the cut.
“This was part of the trading center known as Rockland Mills and was owned by William (Bill) Newman. Newman owned a considerable amount of land. The farm known as the Kelly farm now owned by Mr. Wade Cassady, the Cassady farm now owned by Mrs. Eugene Cassady and Wade Cassady, the Luther Gaddie farm, and the Henry Hubbard farm. The trading center was located on the Cassady farm with the exception of a distillery, which was on the Gaddie farm. The trading center consisted of a general store, blacksmith shop, whiskey and drug store combined, and was a mail station as this was on the Edmonton and Horse Cave mail route.
“Prior to the Civil War there was a covered wagon bridge across the river here and was said to have been burned by some of Morgan’s Raiders. The trading center also included a slave market where slaves were put on the auction block and sold or bartered. It also had a large vineyard with a winery and a very large apple orchard. The fruit was used mainly for making brandy.
“Newman was said to have owned many slaves, and on the top of a hill at the northeast corner of the Cassady farm is a cemetery where slaves are buried.”
The things that are related in this history of places and occurrences are from the memory of the original author of this article (who is not named), told to them by their grandfather, James Marion Oakes, who was born in 1851.
On another note, it states what was known as the Cassady farm was purchased by Harry Jewell and Randell Lambirth in 1974. Eugene Cassady was Lambirth’s grandfather.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Tragedy at the Sawmill – 30 September 1902

The following is a newspaper article in its entirety. You are hereby forewarned that this is a graphic account of a saw mill explosion and the aftermath.

Glasgow Weekly Times 3 October 1902
Five killed in boiler explosion.
The boiler engine and mill building a total wreck.
Bodies of deceased terribly mutilated.
Out of a crew of six, only one alive.

“A terrible mill explosion occurred at the saw mill owned by Jess Kinslow & Son, Tuesday (30 September) at 1:30 pm. The mill is situated near Sinking Creek Bridge, one and one-half miles south of Hays and six miles southwest of this place. (This is on the present-day Patterson Road, which turns off of Merry Oaks-Railton Road.) As a result of the explosion five men are dead and one seriously injured.
“Jesse Kinslow, 51-year old owner of the mill, was killed instantly.
“Carlton Kinslow, saw man, son of the above, was killed instantly.
“Allen Shackleford, the engineer, was killed instantly, and he was terribly mutilated.
“Jessie Crumpton, age 17, was injured, and died in a few hours.
“Jimmie Crumpton, age 13, was injured, and also died in a few hours.
“Kemp Hendrick, also age 13, was seriously injured from the scalding.
“The citizens for miles around the Kinslow saw mill were startled by a terrific explosion Tuesday afternoon at 1:30. There were six men at work at the mill, which was the property of Jess Kinslow and Son. At one o’clock the crew went on duty and took their respective places. Shortly the engineer, Allen Shackleford, announced that the pump would not work. This brought the whole crew about the engine and boiler, which was pumping away under pressure of 200 pounds of steam with but little water in the boiler. All hands went to work to adjust the wrong. Suddenly, there was a terrible explosion – (missing), boiler, timber, machinery, and men were lifted up and hurled through the air and scattered over the earth for hundreds of yards around. Water, mud, and steam clothed the scene in a mist for several moments, and not a soul was left on the mill yard able to look after the dead and wounded. The only survivor of the fearful disaster is Kemp Hendrick, and he is in a precarious condition.
“Kemp Hendrick, while seriously injured, was able to give an account as to the cause of the explosion. He says the engineer had on full steam when the pump gave out and failed to work. The steam soon ran up to 200 lbs. and the safety valve failed to ‘pop off’ or let out the accumulating steam. The engine rocked to and fro, the steam rising higher and higher. Seeing there was danger, Hendricks stepped away a few yards. Then came a terrific explosion followed by a rush of steam and scalding water, which fell over him. He ran, blinded, from the mill up the road, and then to Mr. Kinslow’s residence. There was too much steam on.
“Mrs. Kinslow heard the explosion, which shook the earth. In a short time, Kemp came to the house, staggering, in a confused state. He said that the mill had blown up. Immediately, Mrs. Kinslow went to the mill. A most horrifying sight was in store for her. Nearby was her son’s body on a pile of lumber; his head and arms on the ground some distance away. Her husband was blown up the hill about 80 yards away. Allen Shackleford lay dead and mutilated near him. Her brothers, James and Jessie Crumpton, were lying on the yard in a dying condition. The neighbors came in and they gathered up her loved ones and carried them home.
“The bodies of the men were terribly mangled, that of Allen Shackleford being beyond recognition. The arm of the elder Kinslow was not found. The two Crumpton boys died Tuesday night, and five torn and dead bodies were in the house at one time. The scene of the disaster is a terrible one. Huge pieces of the boiler weighing thousands of pounds, were hurled through the tree tops and crashed through timbers hundreds of feet away. Men’s bodies and parts of bodies were scattered about in a chaotic state, and those first on the ground say that the moans of the wounded were pitiful indeed. Mill men say this is the worst wreck that has ever occurred in this part of the country.
“Mr. Kinslow and his family were highly respected and God-fearing people. The remains of Allen Shackleford were interred in the Hays Cemetery Wednesday. The others were buried that evening in a nearby graveyard (the Huffman Cemetery located off of Patterson Road). This awful accident has thrown a pall over the community about the mill, and hundreds viewed the wreck and victims Wednesday and Thursday.
“Allen Shackleford was a married man and leaves a wife and children. Jess Kinslow was 51 years old and leaves a wife and five children. He has been in the mill business many years, having operated mills in almost every part of Barren County.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Battle Front Messages – Bowling Green KY’s Mordecai Ham


Recently, during Sunday service, our pastor stated that it was doubtful anyone knows the name of Billy Graham’s Sunday school teacher. Well, now, that’s probably true….
Billy Graham has stated in his memoirs that he was raised in the Associate Reform Presbyterian Church near Charlotte, NC. After Graham was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was “too worldly,” Albert McMakin, who worked on the Graham farm, persuaded him to go and see the evangelist Mordecai Ham. According to Graham, he was converted in 1934, at age 16, during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte, led by Ham.
Mordecai Fowler Ham, Jr. (2 April 1877- 1 November 1961) was the son of Tobias Ham and the former Ollie McElroy. Ham was born on a farm in Allen County, KY, near Scottsville. Descended from 8 generations of Baptist preachers, his namesake was his grandfather, Mordecai F. Ham, Sr. He once stated that “from the time I was 8 years old, I never thought of myself as anything but a Christian. At 9, I had definite convictions that the Lord wanted me to preach.”
In 1886, his family moved to Bowling Green, staying until 1888, when they returned to a second farm near Greenwood in Warren County. At 16, he was Sunday School Superintendent of the family church at Greenwood.
From country school, young Ham went to Ogden College (later Western KY State Teachers’ College) in Bowling Green, also studying law with a private tutor. After finishing his studies, he relocated to Chicago, IL, where he engaged in business from 1896-1900. There, he married the former Bessie Simmons in 1900.
His grandfather’s death on 28 February 1899 was a renewed call of God to start serving the Lord. In December 1900, he closed his business in Chicago to devote full time to the ministry. The next month, Ham began the study of 27 books to prepare for the ministry.
In September 1901, he accompanied his father to a meeting of the District Association at Bethlehem, near Scottsville, where his grandfather had preached for over 40 years. There he was put on the spot and asked to preach. When he finished, the congregation was praising God, and he was invited to speak at the First Baptist Church of Scottsville that very night. From there he was asked to preach at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, off of present-day Hwy 100, between US 31E and Holland, in northern Allen County.
At this, his first revival, he established a pattern that was to follow him the rest of his days. He went after the biggest sinners in town and often saw them saved. He believed enough personal evangelism would produce mass results.
At Mt. Gilead, a strange power came over him from the Holy Spirit, and Ham used that power from then on. The following day, Ham visited a dying girl named Lulu. As Lulu, who was apparently unsaved, closed her eyes in death, he called to her, “Lulu, how is it?” A voice came back, not the voice of one living, but that of one in another world. He was never able to forget it… “Lost.. lost… Oh! so dark… so dark!…”
His sermon, “And Sudden Death,” was heard by thousands in the days ahead. When he closed out the crusade, he had 66 baptized. This was the beginning of his career in evangelism. It was after the Mt. Gilead revival he went back to Bowling Green, and in December 1901, he was ordained at Burton Memorial Baptist Church, which was at that time known as Drakes Creek Baptist Church, on Cemetery Road.
In the fall of 1902, while Ham was holding a meeting at Mt. Zion, near Smith Grove (actually nearer to Railton), he ran into the type of opposition that was to follow him for most of his career.. On the second night of the meeting, the moonshine crowd surrounded the church and threw rocks at the preachers. Lawlessness prevailed, and the leader threatened Ham with a long knife. Ham said, “Put up that knife, you coward… Now I am going to ask the Lord either to convert you, and your crowd, or kill you.” The bully died the next morning, before Ham could get to his bedside.
On that same day a neighborhood sawmill blew up and killed three others of the crowd. That night he announced he wanted everything that was stolen the night before to be returned before God killed the rest of the tormentors. Everything was returned. 80 were saved in this revival.
In January 1903, he took his first meeting outside of Kentucky, traveling to the First Baptist Church in New Orleans. Other great 1903 revivals were in Garland, TX and Russellville, KY. A large meeting was held in Paducah, KY, in June 1904. The whole area was shaken, and Ham’s fame was rising.
Ham had a reputation for racism, and was publicly and virulently anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. He believed Jews represented a subversive social force and were “beyond redemption.” The targets for his preaching were often “nebulous rings of Jewish, Catholic, or Black conspirators plotting to destroy white protestant America.”
Ham accused the president of Sears, Roebuck, & Co. in Chicago, Julius Rosenwald, of operating inter-racial prostitution rings in Chicago that exploited white women. A North Carolina newspaper editor, WO Saunders, wrote an account of the accusations Ham made, and how Saunders had proven the accusations false called “The Book of Ham.”
Another target of Ham’s sermons was alcohol abuse, particularly before adoption of the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution, which declared production, transport, and sale of alcohol (though not consumption or private possession) illegal. It was ratified on 16 January 1919, and took effect the following year. The Prohibition was not repealed until ratification of the 21st Amendment on 5 December 1933.
On 4 December 1905, his wife Bessie died at the age of 30, stricken with cerebral meningitis. Ham was shaken to the depths of his soul, so grief-stricken that he lost some 50 pounds, and became ill himself. In January 1906 he sailed abroad to tour the Holy Lands, hoping to offset his great upset over the course of events in his life.
In August 1907, he held a meeting at Pleasureville, KY, in rural Henry County. His fame extended to all the communities around, including Eminence, 7 miles distant. From here, a Dr. and Mrs. Smith and their 14-year-old daughter, Annie Laurie, attended the meetings. Before the meeting closed, Ham mentioned to Mrs. Smith he wanted to take her daughter with him to Europe, as his wife! On 3 June 1908, the 31-year-old evangelist married a beautiful girl of 15. Their marriage lasted more than 50 years, and they had three daughters – Martha Elizabeth, Dorothy, and Annie Laurie.
In 1909, they made their home in Anchorage, KY, and remained settled there while they traveled from state to state for revivals and meetings, until 1927. Ham turned to pastoring after a very successful crusade and a trip to London, England, in the fall of 1926. In the spring of 1927, upon returning to give a report in Oklahoma City, he was met at the train by 40 laymen of the First Baptist Church there. Their pastor had resigned and they entreated Ham to accept the pastorate. At first reluctant, a unanimous vote by the congregation clinched it. He had always made enemies and never dreamed of total support anywhere – he was shocked to receive the news of a unanimous ballot. He became their pastor on 9 June 1927.
His big battle at the time was against the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism. On 3 August, he was crossing the street, and was struck down by an automobile and dragged for half a block. He was out of commission for 6 weeks with a skull fracture.
In his first and only foray into politics, he campaigned hard and fast for Herbert Hoover in the 1928 election. On 16 June 1929 he resigned from the pastorate in Oklahoma City, as the fires of evangelism burned in his soul. The Hams moved back to Louisville, KY, and joined the Walnut Street Baptist Church late in 1929. In 1936, he began a radio broadcasting reaching 7 southern states. He started a network ministry in 1940 on Mutual Broadcasting Network’s southern hookup of some 50 stations. In 1947 he started the publication of a paper bearing the title The Old Kentucky Home Revivalist.
From 1901- 1941 Ham led 289 meetings in 22 states. He subsequently conducted a weekly radio sermon over a network of stations originating in Louisville, KY. He also held rallies and short meetings in his radio coverage area.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments