Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lack of Trauma Care Killing Kentuckians

(Editor's Note: In June 2006, Dycusburg suffered a tragic loss when Andrea LeFan was killed in a car wreck on Hwy. 295. Now, her family feels her life would have been spared had she been able to quickly get to a local trauma center. This article appears in the Dec. 30, 2007 issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and includes a photo gallery and related video. An excerpt appears below, with the link following.)

DYCUSBURG, Ky. -- As a stretcher carrying Andrea LeFan was moved toward a waiting helicopter, her mother recalled saying, "You're gonna be OK. You're gonna make it."

But those turned out to be the last moments Jamie King would see her 16-year-old daughter conscious.

A Trans Am speeding down a winding road in Western Kentucky had struck Andrea's Chevy head-on. With no nearby hospital able to handle her injuries, she was airlifted to Deaconess Health System in Evansville, Ind., arriving 80 minutes after the June 5, 2006, wreck.

A team of doctors struggled to save her. But it was too late.

"If she were hurt in Louisville, it is very possible she would have lived," said Dr. William Barnes, a Western Kentucky physician who examined her medical records. "But she definitely had no chance where she was."

Full story here ...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Primary Party Swap Deadline Looms

Kentucky voters have only a few days left to decide which side of the political coin they want to influence for next year's Presidential election.

Though the primary election is still five months away, any registered voter wanting to change party affiliation for the May 20 vote must do so by the end of the year. That primary will help choose party nominee for the next Commander-in-Chief to replace President Bush. Kentucky primaries are closed, meaning voters can only cast a ballot for candidates within their party of registration. And, only voters registered as Democrat or Republican will be able to vote.

The deadline for changing party alignment is Dec. 31. Crittenden County Clerk Carolyn Byford's office will be open to take voter registration changes. Though Byford's office will close for 2007 on Dec. 28, requests for a party change can be mailed but must be postmarked by Dec. 31 to be accepted. Registration cards can be picked up in Byford's courthouse office or downloaded at

New voters, including 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election on Nov. 4, can register to vote in Kentucky's May's primary until April 22. Besides next year's Presidential Election, Crittenden County voters will help choose a U.S. Senator, congressman and state representative. Potential primaries loom for all partisan races.

Reprinted with permission from The Crittenden Press, Dec. 20, 2007 issue.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dycusburg From the Air

Several planes fly near Dycusburg during the day, but as no large commercial airport is near Dycusburg (Paducah is near, but not large), the planes are often at their cruising altitudes of 34,000 or 35,000 feet, more or less.

I was flying to Dallas earlier in the year on a US Airways flight, seated next to a pilot who was traveling as a passenger back to his home in Oklahoma. During the flight, he leaned over and said, "We are over Land Between the Lakes." I looked out, and lo and behold, I was able to figure out Dycusburg's location, following the river.

Attached is a photo similar to my view out the window. The flight I was on was more north, closer to Dycusburg. I recall another time I saw Eddyville when I was flying from Detroit to Memphis.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

McMackin Earns Bronze Star

(Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Nov. 22, 2007 issue of The Crittenden Press and appears here with permission.)

Separated by a couple of years and only a few miles growing up in Crittenden County, Jonathan McMackin and Chase Matthews were never closer than on March 19, 2007.

On that day, McMackin dragged a critically wounded Matthews from a burning humvee north of Baghdad, Iraq, despite his own broken leg and fragmentation wounds from an improvised explosive device. In addition to Matthews, who was driving the scout vehicle for fuel tankers headed south on the main supply route from Baghdad to Basra, the transport’s gunner, too, had been seriously injured in the blast.

“You never know how you might react until you get in that situation,” Lt. Col. D. Mike Farley, commander of 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor of the Kentucky Army National Guard, said Sunday as he pinned a Bronze Star for heroism and bravery upon McMackin's chest. “He really stepped up.”

McMackin, according to his commendation, also fought off small arms fire during the ambush to assist his fellow soldiers, one pinned in the blazing vehicle and another knocked unconscious in the explosion.

Sgt. McMackin and Spec. Matthews, both graduates of Crittenden County High School now in their mid-20s, were soldiers with Bravo Company of 2nd Battalion at the time of the attack upon their convoy. Matthews, of Dycusburg, lost portions of both legs and much of the mobility in his left arm. The vehicle's gunner, also saved from the blazing humvee commanded by McMackin, was a Guard soldier from Minnesota.

His actions "undoubtedly saved Spec. Matthews' life," read 1st Lt. P. Barkley Hughes as Farley pinned the Bronze Star upon the uniformed chest of McMackin. The sergeant saluted his commanding officer as the 44 other soldiers who deployed with Bravo Company in 2006, as well as their their families, rose to applaud the actions of the Marion native. This all took place Sunday during the National Guard's Freedom Salute to all the citizens soldier who deployed to Iraq with the Marion unit."He was in the right place at the right time," Farley said of McMackin, following the hour-long ceremony held at the Carson Davidson National Guard Armory in Marion.

Matthews, who had just returned in time for the Thanksgiving holiday to his Crittenden County home from almost two months of continued rehab and therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., did not attend Sunday's recognition ceremony.

Instead, he sat outside the armory, far from the spotlight, in his shiny, new black SUV, patiently waited for his fellow soldiers to stop by for a handshake visit. His shy demeanor did not mask the pleasure he seemed enjoyed as the soldiers and their families greeted the quiet red-head."I don't think this could have happened to another guy in this unit that could have dealt with with this the way he has," the lieutenant colonel said of Matthews' uplifting nature. "I believe you could knock him in the head with sledgehammer, and he'd tell you he deserved it."

McMackin, the man who pulled his hometown buddy from the wreckage on that day in March, patiently waited for the crowd that had gathered around Matthews' SUV to filter away. When he leaned his head through Matthews’ open window, the two shared a few memories and some congratulations. Neither seems comfortable with the attention each has received.With a familiar smile on his face, Matthews said he returns to Washington Dec. 9 for ongoing therapy. His father Rudy, who has been by his son's side the entire time of his recovery, will undoubtedly also return to Walter Reed at that time. Spec. Matthews is still a member of Bravo Company, despite his injuries.

He will remain a soldier until the Army clears him medically. McMackin has recovered, and remains with the Marion unit, though a restructuring of the Kentucky Army National Guard has reorganized the former tanker unit of Bravo Company into an a detachment of A Company, 206th Engineer Battalion in Lietchfield, Ky. McMackin, who lives in Marion with is wife Megan, will likely retrain for duty with an engineering unit and remain in Marion.

Sgt. Mike Little, a former full-time recruiter with Bravo Company who enlisted both Matthews and McMackin, said the Army couldn't ask for two better soldiers. Little, also of Crittenden County, joined the local unit last weekend for its first time back in uniformed training since returning from Iraq this summer.Another soldier assigned to Bravo Company while in Iraq, Sgt. Thomas W. Clemons, 37, of Leitchfield, died of a heart attack last December while in Iraq. His family was also on hand Sunday to be recognized for their sacrifice.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wounded Dycusburg Soldier Goes on Duck Hunt in Maryland

(Editor's Note: This article was originally published Nov. 11, 2007 in the Port Huron, MI newspaper, The Times Herald. Interviewed in the story are Rudy and Chase Matthews from Dycusburg. The link for the full story is at the bottom of this post.)

Veteran aid group grows: Family offers help to injured soldiers during recovery
By Nicole Gerring, Times Herald

It started by giving away a toothbrush, a phone card, a jug of laundry soap.

Now Micheal Sparling, 56, of Greenwood Township coordinates the donation of larger and more expensive items such as a wheelchairs, Segway motorized transports and financial grants to soldiers and veterans in need.

Sparling has spent two years watching families cope as their loved ones undergo surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

He's watched soldiers recover from battle wounds only to find a rough path ahead. Amputees must learn to live without an arm or a leg, learn how to walk with prostheses or see the world from a wheelchair.

They discover their bodies are not the same as before they went to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Although the cost of surgery and rehabilitation for soldiers is covered by the military, other expenses and needs arise, Mike Sparling said. He's spent two years watching his son Sgt. Josh Sparling, 26, undergo 45 surgeries at Walter Reed and knows the struggle.

Military families sometimes have to drop everything to support their loved ones, Sparling said.

"Either mom or dad's had to quit their job ... It's not like they're not in debt already. They still have all the bills they've had before, and they don't have the income. Somebody's got to fill that gap. We're proud that we do."

After starting small in May, America's Wounded Heroes today is known as an organization that military members and their families can turn to in times of need. It's also designed to support other "heroes," who protect Americans and are hurt in the line of duty: police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

Full story here ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Kentucky Elects Steve Beshear (D)

When first elected 4 years ago, Ernie Fletcher (R) was Kentucky's first Republican governor in more than 30 years. But his administration, the AP reports, was dogged by an investigation into political interference in state hiring that led to Fletcher's indictment on three misdemeanor charges.

Tonight, Kentucky has elected Democrat Steve Beshear to the governor's post, halting Fletcher from serving a second term.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Threat to Burn Down Dycusburg (Jan. 21, 1897)

Threat to Burn a Town: Kentucky Negroes Plot Revenge for an Attack on Their Pastor

Paducah, Ky., Jan. 20 - Intense excitement exists at Dycusburg, thirty miles below here, on the Cumberland River, over a threat to burn the town to-night. There is no telegraph station at Dycusburg, and no boat until to-morrow.

The Rev. Mr. Fox, pastor of the colored Baptist Church, is at the bottom of the excitement. Saturday night a mob of fifty masked men went to his house for the purpose of handling him roughly, but he escaped, though pursued and fired upon. Preacher Fox was accussed of paying too much attention to the women of his congregration, and is said to have been the cause of breaking up several families. Fox is married.

A large number of the church people have taken the side of Fox, and, is is said, have threatened to burn the town in retaliation for the attack by the mob. That this threat is not regarded as idle is shown by the action of the Trustees to-day in organizing a guard to patrol and protect the town.

The citizens who warned Fox to leave town say they only did so after making sure that he was an undesirable citizen, to say nothing of his desirability as a spiritual adviser.

From The New York Times, Jan. 21, 1897

Dycusburg News: Oct. 25, 2007

The Baptist church hosted their annual Fall Festival on Friday night. It was a huge success complete with a clown who had a pocket full of ice cream cone toys for the kids and buggy rides from Justin and Brody Sutton. The cakewalk was a favorite activity as well as bingo. The kids loved the duck pond -- they got to play in the water! Each child left with their pockets full of toys. A potluck chili and sandwich supper was served. Everyone had a nice time. The church hosts the fall festival each year in October.

Sincere condolences to the family of Vanessa Lindsey Waggoner Porterfield. Our community was saddened by her passing last week. Vanessa was a friend of mine since first grade. Despite hard times and sickness, she always had a smile on her face and a laugh in her voice. She will be missed but Heaven is a better place because she is there.

The Dycusburg Community Fund Committee is accepting recipes for a community cookbook. Deadline is Nov. 15. Printing is scheduled for early 2008. Recipes may be mailed to PO Box 59, Dycusburg, KY 42037 or emailed to We are seeking recipes from families from Dycusburg residents, current and former and stories to go along with the recipes if you have any.

It seems that as Christmas approaches, Matthew T. Patton tends to get more e-mail about Dycusburg books. At this point, he has none in his inventory. He would be willing to order some more if enough folks are interested. Please e-mail him at if you would like to add your name to the running list for the next printing.

Saturday, October 27 is national "Make a Difference in your Community Day." Activities are being scheduled; anyone who wants to help be in town Saturday morning.

The Dycusburg community committee is seeking donations for a veteran’s memorial monument and flagpoles. We are offering chances on a country ham and a $50 gift certificate to the Food Giant for a donation of $1-$5. Drawings will be held Nov. 13.

Bro. Chris Clark will speak at the Baptist church on Sunday and a potluck dinner will follow. Everyone is invited to attend and hear about Bro. Clark’s rodeo ministry.
--Tina Cochrum

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Severe Weather Today in Dycusburg

According to WPSD TV meteorologists, there was an unconfirmed tornado sighting in Dycusburg today right before 7 p.m. Funnel clouds were spotted just across the river in Livingston County.

Residents of Dycusburg said the winds were howling and quite strong and loud. News reporters even urged parents to put helmets on the heads of their children if they had them.

Fortunately, the storm passed quickly, and the area got some much needed rain. This serves as a poignant reminder that Kentucky is very much a tornado-prone area.

The photo above is from Marion, KY, taken by Scott Sullens. See for more photos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dycusburg Petition Opposing Arden Spirits (1854)

To the Worshipful Judge of the County Court of Crittenden County

Your Petitioners residents of the Town of Dycusburg and being citizens thereof Knowing the deleterious effects and the evils resulting from the use and sale of Arden Spirits as a beverage within our corporation, Would most Respectfully ask and pray your Honor not to grant license for the Sale of the same within the corporate limits of our town to any Merchant, druggist or tavern keeper from and after your December term 1854 for the term of twelve months.

--Presly G. Johnson, S. McWaters, David A. Brooks, Wm. Brashear, James Moore, Aaron Lindley, William A. Brooks, T.T. Thompson, A. Foster, W.A. Duvall, D.D. Moore, Preston Giles, Dan R. Cassidy, S.H. Cassidy, L.T. Gwinn, A. Lynes, Alex Levy, J. Smith, G.D. Clark, H.P. Lander, Wm. Miles, John M. Shannon, W.B. Joiner, Isac Loyd, M.W. Donakey, E. Gore, J.M. Stephens, E.A. Morris, H.H. Raiser, Robert McCollum, F.C. Dobyns, W.K. Blue

From the Law Books: Coffee-House Licensing in Dycusburg (1863)

General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Held in Frankfort, KY, Monday, Dec. 7, 1863

1864. CHAPTER 269.
AN ACT for the benefit of the Trustees of the Town of Dycusbnrg.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

§ 1. That hereafter the trustees of the town of Dycusburg, a majority of the board concurring, shall have the power to grant a coffee-house license to any applicant therefore, who may reside within the corporate limits of said town, under the same rules and regulations, and subject to the same pains and penalties, which are now by law prescribed in such cases.

§ 2. It shall never hereafter be necessary to submit such application to a vote of the qualified voters of said town, before the granting of such license.

§ 3. The board of trustees shall have the right to charge, for such license, a tax of not less than twenty nor more than fifty dollars, in addition to that charged by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

§ 4. All acts or parts of acts coming in conflict with this act are hereby repealed; and this act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved February 9, 1864.

From the Law Books: Increase in the Jurisidiction of Dycusburg Judge and Town Marshal (1868)

General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Held in Frankfort, KY, Monday, Dec. 2, 1867

AN ACT to Increase the Jurisdiction of the Police Judge and Town Marshal of Dycusburg, in Crittenden County.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

§ 1. That the police judge of the town of Dycusburg, in Crittenden county, shall have original concurrent jurisdiction in civil cases within the corporate limits of said town, of all sums evidenced by written contract or on account, where the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, does not exceed one hundred dollars, subject to appeals to the circuit and quarterly courts of said county, as in other cases now provided by law.

§ 2. The plaintiff in each action, where the sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars, shall pay the same tax on, each original summons as now required by law on petitions in the circuit and quarterly courts; and the police judge of said town shall collect the same, and pay it over in the same manner, and under the same rules and restrictions, as now required by law of circuit court clerks.

§ 3. The town marshal shall execute all processes issued by the police judge of said town, and be entitled to the same fees as constables for similar services, where the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, is fifty dollars or less; and he shall be entitled to the same fees as sheriffs where the amount is over fifty dollars; and shall be liable upon his bond for any failure upon his part to faithfully discharge his duties, in the same manner that constables are.

§ 4. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved March 6, 1868.

Dycusburg Doctor Contributes to Board of Health Report (1902-1903)

Biennial Report of the State Board of Health (1902-1903)

Crittenden County Board of Health: T. A. Frazer, M. D., Marion, Jno. W. Blue, Esq., Marion, T. L. Phillips, M. D. Dycusburg, W. T. Daugh, M. D., Marion, E E. Newcomb M. D., Repton.

MARION, KY., August 8, 1903.

To the State Board of Health:
Gentlemen—Supplementing our report of July 16, 1901, for the preceding four years during the two years last past, we have had two outbreaks of smallpox in the following districts or precincts: November, 1901, Marion and vicinity; March, 1903, Repton, Mattoon and Rodney, with the total of 102 cases and no deaths.

We have no eruptive hospital. Our method of management was as follows: In all cases we quarantined the parties infected, and the parties exposed, in their own homes.

The disease was brought to this county in several outbreaks from Evansville, Ind. In 1903 it was brought from southeast Missouri. It was recognized after twenty-five persons had been exposed altogether.

In July, 1901, 2,000 persons or 12.5 percent, of our population were protected by vaccination; since that time I estimate that 4,000 persons have been vaccinated, making a total of 6,000 persons now protected by vaccination, out of a total population of 16,000, leaving 10,000, or 37.5 per cent, now unvaccinated.

The total cost of managing the smallpox in the county, including hospital, physicians, vaccination, guards, nurses, food, etc., for all the cases which have occurred since my report in 1901, has been $850. The estimated cost to the county in loss of trade and interference with business has been $5,000.

The chief difficulties in stamping out the disease have been to convince the people that it was smallpox, and to enforce vaccination. The health officer in this county does not receive an annual salary. The subject has been brought before the fiscal court and they now have the matter under consideration.

The following number of cases of epidemic diseases have occurred in the county in the past two years other than smallpox: Twenty-five cases of diphtheria, with about six deaths; nine cases of scarlet fever in July, 1903, no deaths.

I estimate that 140 cases of typhoid fever have occurred in the county within the last two years with thirty-one deaths. The chief cause has been polluted drinking water and improper sanitation. The average cost of typhoid fever per case in this county is about $150.

I supplement the following additional facts which will be of general interest in this report. The chief difficulty of health officers is the lack of funds and the ignorance of the people regarding sanitation; and the thing most needed is to get the fiscal court to realize that money expended to improve sanitary conditions is a good investment.

Very respectfully,
T. ATCHISON FRAZER, M. D., Secretary

Share Your Memories of Dycusburg

Do you have fond memories of the town or someone in the town? Please be sure to share your stories by e-mailing me at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

When Critics Attack: More Thoughts on Why I Keep This Web Site

I have to admit I was really offended by the anonymous post asking why I was so interested in Dycusburg since leaving there. That was a pretty direct and mean (and unnecessary) attack, considering all of the interest I have helped raise in the town. With the Internet, phone and e-mail, you can obviously do things even when you live across the country to help benefit a town.

Although this may come across narcissistic to some, hear me out. In no time in Dycusburg's history were people so excited about its story until the book was published on the town in 1999. I have helped with grant money, have donated money to causes in the town like cemetery upkeep, and even had a monument placed at Marion in honor of Dycusburg's son, Forrest Carlisle Pogue, Jr.

I have spent untold hours scanning old photos for people to enjoy. I have written countless articles printed in various media about Dycusburg in hopes of helping rid its ill-repute, including a recent story in Kentucky Monthly magazine.

I have maintained this Web site for more than 5 years and have never asked anyone for a single cent for its upkeep (and no, these things aren't free nor cheap!). Obviously, even my No. 1 critic (who posted anonymously) took the time to come here and see what was happening in Dycusburg.

All of that said, I have done more work in my 20s than most people will ever do in their entire lifetimes to raise up the town of Dycusburg. When someone else does the same, then we can talk ...

So, yes, now I'm 1,000 miles away from home, and I travel all over the country for work: Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, New Hampshire, Maine, San Antonio, Washington, DC ... I think you get the picture. Through work and other personal travel, I've seen nearly every state, and having seen the country from shore to shore, I have learned to appreciate where my ancestors settled, and see its appeal. This is the land where my great-great-great grandfather raised his family, and several generations followed. If you've ever gone to college and realized that career opportunities aren't too glamorous in a place like Dycusburg, then surely you'd understand. If you haven't, then don't be so quick to judge or assume.

In the post, the person said I hated the town. I'm sorry, but I definitely don't recall "hating" Dycusburg. Perhaps its better to surmise that I hated the opportunities that weren't (and still wouldn't be) afforded to many folks there. If I had job opportunities there, I would gladly move back.

In thinking about the hateful post (which, by the way, I subsequently deleted), I am reminded of lyrics from a song by Jon Bon Jovi, "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" Selected lines appear below:
Who says you can't go home
There's only one place they call me one of their own
Just a hometown boy, born a rolling stone, who says you can't go home
Who says you can't go back, been all around the world and as a matter of fact
There's only one place left I want to go, who says you can't go home ...

I went as far as I could, I tried to find a new face
There isn't one of these lines that I would erase
I lived a million miles of memories on that road
With every step I take I know that I'm not alone
You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home
These are my streets, the only life I've ever known,
who says you can't go home ...

It's been a long long road
Feels like I never left, that's how the story goes

It doesn't matter where you are, it doesn't matter where you go
If it's a million miles away or just a mile up the road
Take it in, take it with you when you go,
who says you can't go home ...

Monday, October 15, 2007

From the Archives: More About Riverside Café

(Editor's Note: This is from a June 2006 issue of Dycusburg News in The Crittenden Press, written by Tina Cochrum.)

Years ago, Lit and Pauline Ferguson had a restaurant in Dycusburg -- “Lit's Place” is all I ever knew it by.

Their daughter, Pat and her husband, Parker Holsapple never ran the business for a living, but would come home on vacation and give Lit and Pauline a break. Years went by, people passed away, things moved on, and changes come as they do. The restaurant was closed, and then sold. The building was made into a grocery store. More years went by and the store went up for sale again and again.

The new owners, Rick and Debbie Holsapple, grandson of Lit Ferguson, had a dream. They wanted to add a restaurant ... and they have! The Riverside Café is the most hopping little place in town. A couple weeks ago, Rick and Debbie’s daughter, Star along with her husband, Josh and son Jacob, moved into the restaurant business. Star is excited about being in the same place her great grandparents worked, she has big plans for the little café. Even little Jacob has his future planned for him; mom, Star says some day he will be the fifth generation to own and run the restaurant. The Riverside Café holds a fish fry on Fridays.

The fish starts cooking at 11 a.m., and the live music begins around 7 p.m. For just a small price, you receive deep fried filets, coleslaw and hush puppies. The menu also includes burgers and BBQ.

Riverside Café Extends Its Hours

Riverside Café's hours have been extended from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday.

The owner of Riverside Café, Star Mahns, reports that the change will accommodate the breakfast crowd. If you want to get a good, hearty breakfast and coffee, be sure to stop by the café!

Also, she wants to remind everyone every Friday is open mic night down at the store. Anyone who is musically inclined is welcomed and encouraged to join the fun. Without a doubt, there's some real talent showcased on Fridays, from gospel to country to rock 'n roll. You might even see a youngster or two belting out some tunes down at the store on the Cumberland's banks.

Finally, look for more information on this site about Bingo night at Riverside Café. Proceeds from the game will benefit Dycusburg community initiatives, such as Fouth of July fireworks, and other upcoming community projects.

It's nice to see everyone taking an interest in the town of Dycusburg!

Why I Keep This Web Site

Some folks recently asked me why I keep up this Web site (one through a nasty, poorly written anonymous post on this site) despite the fact that I don't live in Dycusburg.

It’s a simple answer, really. The simple answer is job opportunities. As we all know, there's hardly any job opportunities in Dycusburg. After graduating from college, I made a decision to leave. It's not that I couldn't wait to get out of Dycusburg, it's just that I really didn't have a lot of choices, particularly career choices.

It's true that I took a lot of interest in the community after I left. As you get older and learn more about life, you realize Dycusburg is rich in history and rich with many kindhearted, good folks.

Dycusburg is a community worth celebrating, and that’s why I keep up this Web site. Thanks to everyone who reads about the community.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Concert to Aid Injured Guardsmen

(Editor's Note: The following story appeared in the Oct. 10, 2007 issue of The Crittenden Press. It is reprinted here with permission.)

By Daryl K. Tabor

Sitting in a room with his father at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Chase Matthews knows he’ll be missing out on some fun Saturday night. But, he takes it all in stride, choosing to focus on his duck-hunting trip next month.

While Matthews continues to recover from another surgery to further repair his left arm and left leg crippled in Iraq, another of his fellow soldiers will be home to enjoy a benefit concert planned for this Saturday.

“I wish I could be there, but I’ve got to stay,” Matthews said from Washington, D.C., as his father, Rudy, stood by.

Benefit Bravo, set for 7:30 p.m., at Fohs Hall, will bring together four classic rock and country music acts to raise money for Spec. Matthews and Sgt. Jonathan McMackin. The two local men were injured by a roadside bomb this spring while on patrol in Iraq with their Kentucky Army National Guard unit, Bravo Company based in Marion. Matthews eventually lost both legs and damaged his left arm. McMackin suffered a broken leg, and still walks with a bit of a limp.

“We don’t know either one of them,” said concert organizer Tracy Jent, who since planning the event has spoken with the soldiers. “I’ve talked to both, and Jonathan plans to be there.”

Jent, of Eddyville, is manager of Bobby Clark and Witch Doctor’s Hooch, one of the bands performing Saturday. He said the idea for the benefit came when he saw a plastic jug in an area store seeking donations for one of the soldier’s recovery.

“I don’t care if you support the president. I don’t care if you support the war. But, we’ve got to take care of these guys,” Jent said Tuesday on the phone. “There’s no way in hell I’d do what they’ve done.”

All of the proceeds from the $5 admission to the music show and anything left over from corporate sponsorships will go to Matthews and McMackin.

“Whatever it is, it goes to the boys and the cause,” Jent said.

Appearing on stage will be Jent’s band, made mostly of members from the region; recording artist Marshall Sanford; Richie Lindsey and Friends, a Crittenden County band; and Warren Batts, former guitarist for Bill Haley and The Comets. Batts, in fact, will be emcee for the night.

Jent said his band’s connection to John Mellencamp allowed him to land two autographed posters of the rock legend from Indiana.

“One of our band members is first cousins with John,” Jent said.

The posters, as well as some gift baskets for the ladies, will be raffled off Saturday. Aside from the money raised through such efforts, a gift pack to each of the soldiers will include autographed CDs from Mellencamp and Charlie Daniels. A camera crew will also be on hand Saturday to record the event on DVD for Matthews and McMackin.

Meantime, Matthews will continue his physical and occupational therapy at Walter Reed, adjusting to losing both legs and working toward full-range of movement in his left arm. His most recent surgery scraped away some more bone from the left leg in order to allow his prosthesis to fit more snugly. When the stitches come out next week, his dad said, he’ll begin getting used to the new fit.

“It won’t be long before he’s up and going again,” Rudy said Tuesday.

Rudy will stay in Washington with his son until his next leave from the Army hospital, hopefully for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Chase said.

“I’m coming along pretty well,” he added.

He doesn’t plan on missing his hunting trip Nov. 9-11. He and three other soldiers, as well as Rudy, will be treated to a weekend at Pintail Point, a river plantation on Maryland’s eastern shore. Bass Pro Shops is paying for the trip and new shotguns as gifts the soldiers will use to hunt the ducks.

“I won't get to hunt,” said Rudy, “but it’ll be fun.”

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rev. E.S. Denton, Pastor of Dycusburg Methodist Church (1933-1934)

Connie Brasher-Gould supplied this anecdote about Rev. E.S. Denton, pastor of Dycusburg Methodist Church (1933-1934).
Rev. Earnest S. Denton, a newly ordained minister in the Methodist Church was on his way to preach his first sermon in his first appointed pastorate, Dycusburg Methodist Church. At that time, Hwy. 70 was not paved and there had been quite a bit of rain. Bro. Denton's car got stuck in the muddy road near the James Riley Brasher farm (three miles out Hwy. 70 from Dycusburg). The young Reverend did not want to miss his first chance to meet and preach to his first congregation, so he left his car in the mud and walked to the Brasher home. He relayed his plight to the Brashers and my father Gray Brasher, loaned the preacher his mare, Pearl, to ride on into town.

After Rev. Denton headed toward town, Daddy took the mules, pulled the car out of the mud and drove it on down to the church. As he got into the car, he noticed the preacher’s briefcase on the seat. So, when he arrived at the church, even though it was in the middle of the new preacher's service, he walked into the church in his muddy boots carrying the briefcase. When he got to the front, he said, "Preacher, I brought your satchel in. I thought you might have your sermon in it." Years later, when Bro. Denton was pastor at Ogden Memorial Methodist Church in Princeton, he told this story to the congregation when I joined the church there. He also added, "I would never have admitted it then (his sermon being in his briefcase), but it was."

After him being ordained, I was the first baby Bro. Denton christened, but there were hundreds that came after me in his many years of Christian Service.

Memories of Dycusburg Methodist

Connie Brasher-Gould shares these memories of the Dycusburg Methodist Church. This information appears in The Churches of Crittenden County (pp. 62-64) by Matthew T. Patton and Bonnie R. Gass (2003).
My earliest recollections of the Dycusburg Methodist Church are of when, as a small child, I went to Sunday School there. My grandmother, Eula Vosier, taught the children’s class in the back left corner of the sanctuary. In those days, though, it was not called the “sanctuary,” as it was just the “church,” in one big room.

On Sunday mornings, the clear tone of the big bell being rung in the church loft could be heard all over the town, reminding the people it was time to assemble at the top of the “big hill.”

Back then, Dycusburg Methodist Church was on a four-church circuit, so the preacher was there to hold a full worship service on one Sunday a month. That weekend, he would arrive on Saturday, have “preaching” that evening, stay overnight (usually at Eula and Lucian Vosier’s home), and then have “church” on Sunday morning. (Some of the reasons the preacher stayed with the Vosiers may have included: the home being fairly close to the church with a spare bedroom, and, the fact that Mrs. Vosier was a very good cook couldn’t have hurt.) Services were well attended, music was good, and the “amen” corner and a couple of men who always slept through much of the service made it interesting even for the children.

On the Sundays the preacher was “filling the pulpit” at one of his other churches, the bell still rang and the members came together for Sunday School. They would sing two or three hymns, with Mrs. Mollie Lee Graves at the piano and Lucian Vosier leading the singing. Anyone who wanted to went up and sang in the choir (a custom continued to this day), have announcements and prayer, and then divide into smaller groups in the four corners of the church for the prescribed Bible lessons. After the lesson and taking up the offering, they would again assemble, sing more hymns, hear reports on attendance and offerings for the day, and be dismissed with another prayer.

Once a year, if I remember correctly, the District Superintendent came with the current preacher, and held what was called, “Quarterly Conference.” This was an annual meeting when all business was conducted in the church during the past year was reviewed and plans for the next year were made.

Quarterly Conference was an all-day affair, sometimes referred to as “preaching all day and dinner on the grounds,” or vice-versa. Families brought baskets with wonderful home-cooked food—fried chicken, country ham, all kinds of home-grown vegetables and cakes with truly ‘heavenly’ tastes—that was spread on makeshift tables set up at the edge of the parking lot.

After the meal, the adults would go back into the building for the business meeting and the children would keep themselves occupied outside with various games and inspecting the “initial trees” in the woods beside the parking lot.

Another familiar memory of customs in the old church was the Christmas tree. Every year at Christmas, a huge cedar tree was placed in the front right corner of the church and decorated for the season. On Christmas Eve, there was always a special program. Some people brought surprise gifts for their family and friends. The church provided individual bags with fruit and candy in them for all who attended the program. Some of the adults received a shiny new silver dollar. My Uncle Bud (Frank Anthony Vosier), although very Christian in his practice of everyday life, was not a regular church attendee. However, he was always there for the Christmas service, as were several others infrequently seen at regular services.

The Ladies Aid Society (now United Methodist Women) was a strong support group within the church. Almost all of the ladies in the church belonged to this group that met in homes and spent many hours studying the Bible and piecing and sewing quilts.

In 1945, the church members decided they needed more space and a furnace to replace the old stove to heat the building. It was decided that a basement would be dug under the existing building. This would give them space for Sunday School rooms, a furnace room and a coal bin. Later, a kitchen was added in one of the rooms.

The digging started, but soon it was evident this wasn’t as practical and easy as it seemed in discussion. Supports under the building had to be moved and then the old building began to feel unstable. It was apparent the old building had to come down before it fell into the hole that had been dug under it. When the basement was finished, a new building would be constructed over it.

F.A. “Bud” Vosier was contracted to build the new church. Mr. Bud was considered an expert carpenter and builder in Dycusburg, having built many homes and business structures. Also, he was the principal carpenter in the building of the “Wolverine,” the first diesel-powered packet boat, built in 1932, making regular trips from Dycusburg to Paducah.

As Mr. Bud and his helpers labored on the church project, his niece, Elaine Brasher, took him to see the Methodist church in Princeton, KY. He borrowed some ideas from this and other churches in his design of the interior of the building such as an entry area partitioned off from the main room. This not only allowed late-comers a place to wait until an appropriate time to enter the service, but it also afforded a buffer between the cold outside air and the heated sanctuary. He also elevated the choir loft behind the pulpit, and put a small room on either side of it for classrooms.

Perhaps his proudest accomplishment, but most labor-intensive detail within the building, was the curved altar rail. The top of the rail was a 1 x 4 or 5 inch plank to start. The curving was accomplished through a series of soaking the wood with water, then forcing it into a hand-built frame with movable pegs. After the soaking, Mr. Bud would place it in the frame to dry. Then, take it out, soak it again, replacing it in the frame, again and again. Each time he went through this process, he moved all but the center pegs a little to make the wood conform to the curve he envisioned for the finished altar.

When the new church building was completed, pews from the old church were reinstalled. It is generally reputed that Mr. Bud Vosier built these pews many years before, and they are still in use today.

A dedication service was held in the new building on June 27, 1948.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Coming Soon to Dycusburg: New Flagpole!

The Dycusburg Community Fund Foundation has achieved its first milestone. A new flag has been donated, and the group is working on securing a flagpole. It's a tribute to all of those who fight for the country and in memory of those from our area who served our country in the past. Look for more details on this site soon.

Tri-State Genealogical Society to Meet

The Tri-State Genealogical Society will hold its annual fall seminar on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, Hwy 41 North at Lynch Road, Evansville, IN.

For more information, visit Brenda Joyce Jerome's Western Kentucky Genealogy blog here.

New Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog Launched

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG, author of several Kentucky genealogy books, has launched a blog on Western Kentucky Genealogy. Check it out at With all of the information Brenda has at her fingertips, I am certain the blog will be quite interesting and informative.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More Interest in Dycusburg Books

It seems that as Christmas approaches, I tend to get more e-mails about Dycuburg books. At this point, I have none in my inventory. I would be willing to order some more if enough folks are interested.

Please e-mail me at if you would like to add your name to the running list for the next printing.

Rachel Catherine Tolley: 1800s Dycusburg Resident

We received this e-mail from David Sullivan of Denver, CO, detailing his great-great grandmother, Rachel Catherine Tolley. She is pictured at right. If you have any information on these families, David would appreciate hearing from you. He can be e-mailed at
Born 15 Jul 1839, my GG-Grandmother, Rachel Catherine Tolley, had a son by Robert Tinsley in 1855 named John Alexander Tinsley. We don't know if they were married or not.

On 6 Nov 1859, she married Dycusburg's Nehemiah Grassham (shortly after burying the mother of his children, Mary Polly Clark, who died 20 Aug 1858). At that time, Rachel's last name was "Wells", so she must have been married to somebody by that last name. We've not found who he was or any marriage or divorce paperwork regarding them other than the marriage paperwork to Nehemiah.

On 26 Jun 1870, she married my GG-Grandfather, Isaac Sullivan. Sometime between that date and the 1880 census, Isaac and Rachel moved to Rosiclare in Hardin County Illinois. But until that time, Rachel seemed to be a Dycusburg resident.

We're not sure where she was born although we know it was SOMEWHERE near Dycusburg. She had an older brother, John L. Tolley, who was born in 1817 in Eddyville. She had a younger sister, Nancy Ann Tolley, who was born in Crittenden County on "Old Dycusburg Road." We presume that their parents, at that time, lived between Fredonia and Dycusburg.

She had an older sister, Tabitha Ann Tolley, who married William M. Hill on 23 Dec 1844 in Crittenden County in their parents' house "on old Dycusburg Road." William M. Hill, in addition to being noted as a fair groceryman, also became a Judge in that area.

William and Tabitha Hill had a son named Charles H. Hill who became very instrumental in the Baptist Church in Dycusburg.

So that's pretty much some connecting background to my GG-Grandmother, Rachel Catherine Tolley. If anybody can help us learn about her immediate family (presuming that many of the details I've provided here are hopefully correct), we'd TRULY appreciate it!

Based on her appearance in this photo, she should have been approximately 20 years old. That would be about the time that she married Nehemiah Grassham. So the date on the photo should be circa 1859ish.

We presume that it was a painting. The most likely candidate in that area at that time for her "Mr. Wells" appears to be James W. Wells, step-son of George Washington Markham (of Dycusburg). It appears as though Mr. Wells may have gone to Louisville to study art. Maybe it's possible that HE is the one who painted the picture. We don't know, but it's a possibility. James W. Wells and his Markham step-siblings moved on to San Joaquin County, California shortly after that and got written into their history books. Turns out that Wells became a Minister and Professor.

Well, Dycusburg has been crucial to the research of our family. We sprang up from there. Having no known family there any longer, and now living in Denver, Colorado, I want to tell you that I am utterly thrilled that you have taken the time to make your site available to us.

Thank you SO much. And I hope you can take advantage of this photo and that maybe it will help us to learn about our Tolley/Crider family in Crittenden County.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dycusburg News: Sept. 20, 2007

Thank you to whoever hauled off the old recliner that was sitting out. That was very nice of you. I am so happy to see everyone taking pride in our town.

Homecoming was held at the Baptist church on Sunday. A big crowd attended services. Bro. Jerry Thurman, a former pastor at the church, preached and following services was a huge potluck dinner. The Hampton Brothers sang in the afternoon. Everyone enjoyed the day.

Fall Revival at the Baptist church will be held Oct. 14-17. Sunday services will be at 9 a.m. (Sunday School), 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., for worship services. Monday-Wednesday services will be held at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Matthew T. Patton informs us that he updates every day or two with interesting local anecdotes and news. The site has also recently been redesigned. Be sure to check it out!

Do you have some great recipes to share? The Dycusburg Community Fund (DCF) Committee will be printing a cookbook to benefit the DCF. The proceeds from the book will benefit future Dycusburg Day events, special holiday celebrations or other special community projects.

The group is accepting recipes via e-mail at Deadline for recipes is Nov. 15, 2007, and printing will occur in early 2008. If you'd prefer to mail your recipes, please send them to PO Box 59, Dycusburg, KY 42037.

Although we welcome all recipes, we are looking for recipes from with a solid family or heartwarming story behind them, such as a recipe handed down through generations or a classic dish made with a twist. Include the story or history behind the recipe if you can!

The Dycusburg Community Fund Committee will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Dycusburg Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Anyone interested in our goals, fund-raisers, projects, etc., please attend.

The Dycusburg Post Office has all the latest mailing supplies and stamps. They offer money orders and fax services. Boxes are available for rent and the lighted lobby is open 24 hours a day for your convenience.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dycusburg Post Office in Splendid Hands (1894)

(Editor's Note: Many thanks to Crittenden County historian Brenda Underdown who shares this passage about Dycusburg's postmaster, Ida Harris. Even in 1894, Dycusburg seemed to be a progressive town that embraced rights of women. This is from The Crittenden Press, Aug. 16, 1894).

The post office at Dycusburg is in the hands of a lady, and a neater, cheerier place than the post office is not in the town.

While Miss Ida Harris is nominally the deputy, she is really the postmaster, and the town and community may well congratulate themselves upon having their office in such splendid hands.

Miss Harris' father was appointed postmaster by the present administration, and the control of the office was turned over to the daughter, who not only knows how to keep post office, but keeps it as a post office should be kept, and everybody is pleased.

Miss Harris has a neat millinery establishment in connection with the office; she keeps posted on all of the fashions and is deft with her fingers in trimming hats and doing other work connected with the millinery business. Her goods are of the latest styles and her prices meet all competition.

Miss Harris is one of the young ladies of the county who believes in woman's right, that is, that a woman has the right to hold an office, if it is compatible with her surroundings, that she has a right to earn a living, that she had a right to be independent. She is popular and is adding to the pleasant surroundings of the community.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Henry B. Bennett Photograph?

For years, I have been searching for a photograph of Henry B. Bennett. If you have one or know where I could find one, please e-mail me at

Friday, September 21, 2007

Forgotten Passages

Recently published is Forgotten Passages by Brenda Travis Underdown. The 289-page hardbound book contains articles about Crittenden County history and genealogy. Price is $30 (includes S&H) and can be ordered by sending a check to:

Brenda Underdown
139 Oak Hill Dr.
Marion, KY 42064

For more information about the contents, click here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to The Crittenden Press where Brenda writes a column every week. For subscription information, visit

Flood of 1937 Recalled

By Roger Linzy

(Editor's Note: Roger Linzy shared this recollection of the Cumberland River flood at Dycusburg in 1937. He died in Nov. 2005 at the age of 84.)

With the advent of the weekend Dycusburg and Crittenden County found themselves digging out of the snow and ice that marked the worst blizzard for the winter. A deluge of Thursday and until early Friday morning-hours brought in its wake cold and biting weather. Sleet fell practically all day Saturday bringing automobile traffic to a minimum and horses and mules could hardly maintain their footing.

Highway and mail traffic was at a standstill, no mail arriving. Flood warnings were being sounded throughout the entire Ohio valley. Flood waters reached devastating proportions. Especially is this true in and around Tolu, Dycusburg and the small inland town of Tiline. Suffering materialized from Dycusburg and Tiline. In Dycusburg refugees took cover wherever the same was offered as likewise did they in Tiline, most of the residents were given shelter in the homes of relatives and friends.

In all parts of the flood-stricken community, no communications existed between Marion and Paducah, all busses and trucks being stopped at Burna because of flooded conditions existing between there and the Cumberland river bridge. All railway traffic was paralyzed, being placed on sidings. All means of truck freight facilities were waterlocked at Paducah and Sturgis.

Cattle and stock were drowned by the score, having no chance whatsover to reach points of safety. Mr. Gus Graves owned the ferry at Dycusburg and allowed my father and three other men he thought to be experienced river men take the ferry barge and equipment across to the Tiline area and help farmers ferry cattle and other livestock to high ground. They worked several days and nights rescuing their animals. You could take a motor boat and travel from Dycusburg to Tiline by the road.

Marion was kept in touch with the outside world through the individual efforts of Lyle Winn, operator and owner of the radio station 9JEG and to this gentleman we cannot give too much credit — he remained at his post of duty for many trying hours relaying telephone messages to him by broadcasting that reached their destination that would not have otherwise done so.

The Cumberland river had surpassed by about four feet the 1913 crest — the highest ever known for this river. On the Ohio, from Elizabethtown, Ky., downward there were reports of suffering and many driven from their home. Louisville and Paducah apparently the most severely damaged due to the fact that the flood came in mid-winter. In one particular case individual truck operators and owners made a trip to Dycusburg over the most hazardous roads to meet a boat load of refugees that failed to appear. Towns up and down stream from Dycusburg were inundated by swollen creeks and the Cumberland River.

I was fifteen years old at this time and stayed at the river helping the merchants move their merchandise to safety and helped residents move out of floodwaters too. My cousin, Don Manus, traveled from Mexico, Ky. to Dycusburg down the road on ice skates and also helped in the evacuation from the floodwaters.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

From a Farm at Dycusburg to the Edge of Modernity

David Hawpe is a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal. He recently wrote a column about the passing of his mother-in-law, Naomi Bragdon, daughter of Isaac Blanchard Bragdon and Ida Mae (Henson) Bragdon. They ran a portable sawmill at Dycusburg, and their house on the Cumberland River washed away in one of the big floods. I asked Hawpe, an award-winning columnist and writer, if we could reproduce the column here. He kindly granted permission.
I was in Europe on vacation when my mother-in-law died.

I'm surprised that I didn't feel a disturbance in the Force.

Even at 97, she was an energy source to be reckoned with. Until a few weeks ago, she was living in her own apartment.

On the day she died, Nena demanded to be taken on a shopping trip. She wanted to buy a calendar because, she claimed, it was becoming a bit more difficult to keep up with the days of the week.

Later my niece prepared lunch, and Nena declared it the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup she'd ever tasted.

My mother-in-law was given to superlatives, but maybe it was true. Maybe every experience was particularly rich and especially valued as she approached the end of life.

Not long after lunch, she slumped over and, in minutes, was gone, taking many mysteries with her. In those last moments, she was surrounded by family -- a daughter, two granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.

It will seem strange not to hear her voice at the next family gathering. To say that she was a talker is to indulge in profound understatement. Having got hold of a listener, she could reduce that person to compliant lassitude. Others, sitting or standing nearby, exchanged knowing glances of gratitude, having escaped capture.

Not that Nena was uninteresting. Quite the contrary, she remained to the last a wicked wit, with a vast store of enthusiastically volunteered opinion about people and things.

She had an elevated view of my role at the newspaper. Having called The Courier-Journal to complain, when her daily copy didn't arrive, she invariably called me, too -- to say she had told circulation her son-in-law ran the place and would want to know if a replacement copy didn't arrive soon.

I tried many times to explain that I don't run the newspaper. Her usual response was, "Well why not?"

She also complained, recently, that she couldn't work her crossword puzzles as quickly as she had in the past. When I argued that, at her age, she was lucky to be doing them at all, she seemed mystified.

Despite some obvious insecurities -- for example, about lack of formal education and lack of money -- Nena had a robust sense of self.

She also had an extraordinary appetite for life. Offered the chance, not many years ago, to visit Hawaii and Alaska, she jetted off without hesitation, declaring each trip the best she'd ever taken. She sometimes fried up a package of bacon and ate it at one sitting.

She both loved and hated, passionately.

Given the fact that, during my courtship of her daughter, she threatened to have me run over by a truck, our relationship eventually became surprisingly congenial.

She was fiercely devoted to small children, until they were old enough to talk back. She began every holiday meal with a warning that we should first "feed the little ones." I once told her I thought we ought to make sure we feed the big folks. She seemed mystified.

I was fascinated by her description of growing up in Crittenden County. I listened to it many times, complete with tales of "Tobacco Night Riders."

Her life reached from the self-sufficient family farm to the era of abject technological dependence. On her home place at Dycusburg, there was no electricity, no phone, no car, no truck, no tractor, obviously no refrigeration.

They had a root cellar. She and her brothers cut great chunks of ice from the Cumberland River to keep things cool.

They used everything they grew, she told me. Nothing was wasted. What they couldn't produce themselves, they got through barter with neighbors.

Nena grew up hating women's work. She preferred to be outside, chopping wood alongside her brothers. But in later years, she was an enthusiastic canner, leaving behind a legacy of still-unopened applesauce, beans and tomatoes. She also made a fine vegetable soup, and the best raspberry freezer jam I've ever tasted.

I'm comforted by the prospect of opening up the last of the applesauce, and by the knowledge that she was in charge to the end.
David Hawpe's columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays. His e-mail address is dhawpe Reprinted with permission from the Aug. 22, 2007 issue of The Courier-Journal.

Dycusburg Once Had Its Own Newspaper

At one point in the past, The Crittenden Press wasn’t the only news source on the scene in the county! Apparently, Dycusburg had its own newspaper some 118 years ago, called the Cumberland Advance. During some archival research, we found this interesting (perhaps sexist) item printed in an 1889 issue of The Washington Post. I wonder, if somewhere stashed away in an attic or a museum, if a copy of this newspaper exists?
We, Too, Have Wept
The Courier-Journal quotes a paragraph and suggests a little scene that is somehow strangely familiar:

A young lady, whose name appears nowhere on her paper, and hence cannot be reproduced here, has become the editor of a small paper at Dycusburg, in Crittenden County, called the Cumberland Advance. She asks the indulgence of her readers till she can learn more, and says:

“Experience! Reader, you do not comprehend the meaning of that one word here. If you had ‘cried’ over a page of typographical errors blotched with printer’s ink; if in your imagination you had seen people sitting back laughing a your mistakes—and heard them say you would never do any better, you might speak out in meeting.”

How characteristic! There is one word in this paragraph which reveals the writer’s sex unerringly and it is not necessary to indicate it. Who but a sweet, helpless young girl would “cry” over difficulties or hardships. Here’s hoping she will have less and less cause to cry and that finally her blessed countenance may be in a perpetual smile.
From The Washington Post, July 7, 1889.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Don't Forget About the Cookbook!

Recipes for the Dycusburg Community Cookbook have started rolling in! Don't miss your chance to be included!

Do you have some great recipes to share? The Dycusburg Community Fund (DCF) Committee will be printing a cookbook to benefit the DCF. The proceeds from the book will benefit future Dycusburg Day events, special holiday celebrations or other special community projects.

The group is accepting recipes via e-mail at Deadline for recipes is Nov. 15, 2007, and printing will occur in early 2008. If you'd prefer to mail your recipes, please e-mail Tina for an address.

Although we welcome all recipes, we are looking for recipes from with a solid family or heartwarming story behind them, such as a recipe handed down through generations or a classic dish made with a twist. Include the story or history behind the recipe if you can!

The fine print: Due to copyright law, we cannot publish recipes that were previously printed in copyrighted material such as cookbooks, magazines or newspapers (without express written permission, if applicable).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Big Fish Story From Dycusburg (1925)

Farmer and Son Find a Monster Fish in River Below Dycusburg
A monster fish, possible of an ocean species, was found dead in the Cumberland River near the farm of Gordon Sunderland, three miles below Dycusburg, in Livingston County last week.

Mr. Sunderland and his sons went out in a skiff and towed the huge fish to the riverbank. Then by means of a rope fastened through a hole cut in the throat of the fish it was dragged by a mule up the bank and out into a field where some hogs were pastured. It is said the fish was intended as food for the hogs, but it seemed not to meet their fancy and they refused to touch it.

Dr. T. A. Frazer, who is always interested in such things, visited the spot and reported the following measurements:
  • The fish was seven and one half feet in length, and about sixty inches in circumference at the largest place, which was about a foot back of the gills.

  • The eyes were about ten inches apart and about four inches back of the angle of the jaw.

  • The nose measured three and a half inches across and there were four nostrils.

  • The fish had large jaws filled with about forty large sharp teeth.

  • The head was about eighteen inches long, with the ears about three inches in front of the gills.

  • The fins were about eight inches from the tail, one under and one over the fish.

  • The tail fan was about ten inches across. The fish was judged to be an old one for the development of the teeth.

  • The body was rather round and was not covered with scales but with a kind of armor.

  • The estimated weight is about 350 to 600 pounds.
This is the largest fist story every told of this section of the county and created a great deal of excitement. Many people visited the place and viewed the monster fish.

From the archives of The Crittenden Press, July 24, 1925. To subscribe, visit Special thanks to Brenda Underdown for supplying this article.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dycusburg Book Reprints

Nearly 500 copies of Dycusburg, Kentucky: A Glance at Her Past have been sold since the initial printing in 1999. I'm still amazed at the interest shown in our tiny little town!

I'm considering another reprinting in 2008. If you are interested in obtaining a copy (book price will remain at $60), please e-mail me at so I can add your name to the running list.

Recent Visit From Press a Pleasure

To the editor:
On Sept. 1, I had the pleasure of meeting your managing editor, Daryl K. Tabor at the Dycusburg Festival. What an intelligent, kind and loving person he is.

I watched as he tickled the cheek of a two-month-old baby, then walked over and talked to a 92-year-old woman and on his way extended his hand and rubbed the head of an old stray dog that was looking for scraps.

The Press, Marion and Crittenden County is very fortunate to have such a wonderful person. If he ever decides to leave Marion, Dycusburg welcomes him with open arms.

--Phillip Buchanan, Dycusburg, KY
Reprinted with permission from The Crittenden Press (Sept. 13, 2007, p. 2). To subscribe, visit

How Dycusburg Got Its Name

Curious Names: Ever hear of Disputana?
For many years one of the smallest incorporated places in Kentucky has been the sixth class Crittenden County city of Dycusburg. The 2000 Census counted only thirty-nine residents. Obviously it was named for a local family, but why and how?

Officially this place, at the junction of KY 70, 295, and 902, 11 and a half air miles south-southwest of Marion (the county seat), was laid out by William F. Dycus on land then owned by G.B. Dycus, its first settler. It was incorporated on February 3, 1847, got its post office as Dycusburg on November 7, 1848, and soon became an important lower Cumberland River shipping port.

According to county historian Braxton McDonald, however, two families actually vied for the honor of naming the new town. These were the Cookseys and the Dycuses. Now there was, at the town site, a large spring, and another spring a short walking distance above. A member of the committee meeting to decide on the name suggested that all who wanted this place to be called Dycusburg proceed to the spring by the river, and all who wanted it called Cookseyville go up to the other spring. It’s said that the leader of the Dycusburg faction weighed over 400 pounds, and on that cold day was wearing a large overcoat with bulging pockets.

When the factions were ready to leave for their respective springs,the big man turned his back to the crowd. Four bottles of whiskey were noticeable in his pockets as he walked over to his spring, and nearly everyone followed him. Now, the people who tell this story can’t, or won’t, quite vouch for its truth. They certainly won’t say that Mr. Dycus had any intention of sharing his whiskey with anyone, or even realized that he had those bottles in his pockets.

One of the most popular folk etymologies in the country, one that’s been heard to account for places in California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and possibly elsewhere, refers to the collective response to the suggestions of a local place-naming committee. When the folks of a certain Russell County locality got together one night to select their new post office name, a number of offerings were shouted out by individuals. To each the assemblage responded with an “Oh, no!” Finally, when too many of the suggestions had been voted down this way and it was getting late, someone suggested they name the place Ono, for that seemed to be all they could agree on. Makes a good story, doesn’t it? Actually, we don’t know why the place got the name, as other such named places did, from at least two biblical passages (1st Chronicles 8:12 and Nehemiah 6:2) referring to the plains of Ono.

Similarly, folks in a small Todd County hamlet spent all day trying to come up with a suitable name. Anxious to end it all and go home, someone suggested that “we all agree on something.” And they did. They called it Allagree. That name was offered to the Post Office Department, which dropped the final “e,” and the local office lished. When neither of the local factions would give in to the other, cooler heads brought their dispute to a disinterested third party, probably one D.N. Williams. He suggested they name the place Disputanta, and they did. Some Kentucky places are named for the full name of a local resident or for two (or more) persons the namers wish to honor.

This has often confused and sometimes even embarrassed visitors to our state. Back in the days before there were bus stations with ticket windows, passengers would purchase their tickets as they boarded the vehicle. This they’d do by telling the driver where they wanted to go. Young George Allen was taking his first bus ride. Unsure of what to do, he observed what the passengers ahead of him did as they boarded the bus. The first person said “Betsy Layne”; the next mentioned “Julia Bow”; the third said “Mary Alice”; the fourth said “Arthurmable”; the fifth “Bob White”; the sixth “Marydell”; then “Mary Helen”, “Johnetta”, “Jim Wood”, and
“Jonancy.” Our boy, not knowing any better, said “George Allen.” He was let off at
the next stop.

Robert M. Rennick is coordinator of the Kentucky Place Names Survey.

Reprinted with permission from
Kentucky Humanities magazine (April 2005). Kentucky Humanities is published by the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to Telling Kentucky's Story. For more information, visit

Saturday, September 15, 2007

42037: A History of Postmasters

The post office was established as Dycusburgh on Nov. 7, 1848, with the name changed to Dycusburg on Jan. 23, 1894. The following is a list of postmasters and their appointment dates. Pictured is James Riley Glass.

George S. Atkins, Nov. 7, 1848; S.A.G. Noel, Jan. 27, 1849; Giles S. Cobb, May 11, 1850; Hiram H. Smith, July 22, 1851; James H. Bishop, April 12, 1852; William S. Graves, May 11, 1853; Parham Randle, June 26, 1854; John Gallatty, Dec. 13, 1854; J.N. Flanagan, June 13, 1856;

Howard Cassidy, July 10, 1856; Napolean B. Haywood, Feb. 24, 1864; John N. Flanagan, Sept. 21, 1864; Napolean B. Haywood, Dec. 20, 1864; James Moore, Jan. 25, 1865; James P. Webb, Sept. 11, 1868; Coleman H. Bennett, Sept. 20, 1869; James H. Clifton, Aug. 12, 1880; Ayres S. Hard, Nov. 14, 1889; Clarence F. Moore, April 10, 1893; John H. Harris, Jan. 23, 1894;

James H. Clifton, Dec. 24, 1896; Edward M. Dalton, Feb. 6, 1897; George Y. Steele, Nov. 23, 1903; Thomas J. Yeates, March 19, 1907; James R. Glass, Nov. 16, 1908 (pictured); Edward M. Dalton, May 10, 1910; Carl T. Glenn, July 26, 1911; Reuben S. Decker, April 6, 1920; Russell A. Decker, April 30, 1946 (assumed charge); Mrs. Mayme Lott, Aug. 8, 1947 (confirmed), Sept. 9, 1947 (assumed charge); Mrs. Rhea B. Stinnett, May 15, 1971 (assumed charge); Faye Stinnett, March 30, 1984 (officer in charge); Janice Devine, Aug. 10, 1984 (officer in charge); and Gail Dycus Bannister, Aug. 18, 1984.

Source: Lyon County Herald Ledger, Eddyville, KY, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 1986, p. 3

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Paddy's Bluff Retreat: Still a Huge Area Attraction

Paddy's Bluff Retreat, the ATV park outside of Dycusburg, located on the Cumberland River, is still a huge attraction, according to owner John Travis.

Locals know that Paddy's Bluff was the site for several scenes of the 1962 MGM epic movie, How the West Was Won. The film follows four generations of a family (starting as the Prescotts) as they move ever westward, from western New York state to the Pacific Ocean. The all-star cast included Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, John Wayne and Richard Widmark.

The site, now a 650 acre ATV park, has miles of trails for rigs of all shapes and sizes. It features high endurance and moderate family trails with scenic views along the river and woods. Primitive camping and showers dot the Cumberland River bank.

For more information about the site, visit

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dycusburg Cookbook in the Works for 2008

Do you have some great recipes to share? The Dycusburg Community Fund (DCF) Committee will be printing a cookbook to benefit the DCF. The proceeds from the book will benefit future Dycusburg Day events, special holiday celebrations or other special community projects.

The group is accepting recipes via e-mail at Deadline for recipes is Nov. 15, 2007, and printing will occur in early 2008. If you'd prefer to mail your recipes, please e-mail Tina for an address.

Although we welcome all recipes, we are looking for recipes from with a solid family or heartwarming story behind them, such as a recipe handed down through generations or a classic dish made with a twist. Include the story or history behind the recipe if you can!

The fine print: Due to copyright law, we cannot publish recipes that were previously printed in copyrighted material such as cookbooks, magazines or newspapers (without express written permission, if applicable).

Add Your Name to the E-Newsletter List

I'm in the processing of gathering names for the e-newsletter (some of you received this in the past).

With the new site design, updating is much easier and faster, and I can get information about the town uploaded quickly. Send your e-mail address if you wish to receive site update notifications. E-mail me at and you'll be added to the list.

Dycusburg News: Sept. 13, 2007

I forgot someone in the parade last week. Tim Bennett (pictured) rode with the “Oldies Float.” I saw him, waved at him, but forgot to put his name in. To Tim and anyone else I left out, sorry. Thanks again to everyone who made the day possible.

Daniel and Christopher Joiner attended the 95.7 Radio Station Annual Picnic at Calvert City on Saturday with their parents. Ashlyn and Kelsie Webster also attended the picnic with their mom. They all reported a good time. 95.7 is the favorite radio station of a lot of listeners in the area.

Curly and Lena Conger of Arlington and Charlie and Thelma Conger from Indiana visited with Virginia Peek on Thursday. Joining them for dinner were Patsy O’Bryan and Lisa and Ian Aldridge. Debbie, Daniel and Christopher Joiner stopped by after school. Curly and Charlie are Virginia’s brothers.

Ian Aldridge, son of Lisa (Bailey) and Kurt Aldridge celebrated his fourth birthday on Sunday with a party at McDonalds. Ian had a great time and helping him celebrate were Ashlyn and Kelsie Webster, Madison, Daniel and Christopher Joiner and brother Payton Bailey. Also attending were his mom and dad, his Maw Bailey, Debbie Joiner and Angie Webster, Marcie and Glenda. Ian will be four on September 11. Happy Birthday!

The Baptist church children’s bible study and activity groups began their meetings last Thursday night with the praise band from Grand Rivers Baptist church performing for them. The praise band is a contemporary Christian group who shares their testimonies through song. The performance lasted a short 30 minutes or so, but was awesome.

The Baptist church will hold Homecoming Sunday, September 16. Rev. Jerry Thurman will be the speaker and there will be a potluck dinner at 11AM. The Hampton Brothers will be singing after dinner. Sunday school begins at 9 a.m. and Preaching at 10 a.m. Everyone is invited to all services.

Fall Revival Services at the Baptist church will be October 14-17. Services are Sunday 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Monday-Wednesday 7 p.m. Bro. Tim Burchett, Pastor of Mexico Baptist Church will preach Fall Revival.

A crowd enjoyed the mud at Paddy’s Bluff this weekend. The rain was a welcome site for everyone.

The Post Office lobby is open 24 hours a day for your convenience. They have money orders, mailing supplies, stamps, and fax services, also post office boxes are available for rent. See Gail or Donna for all your mailing needs.
Tina Cochrum

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dycusburg Cemetery Donations Needed

Although the fall is approaching and mowing season will be behind us, the upkeep and maintenance of a graveyard the size of Dycusburg Cemetery is a monumental and expensive task. Please send donations to the Dycusburg Cemetery fund to:

Dycusburg Cemetery Fund
c/o Faye Stinnett
202 Stinnett Rd.
Fredonia, KY 42411

Crittenden County Genealogical Society

The Crittenden County Genealogical Society meets every second Saturday of the month at the Crittenden County Library at 204 W. Carlisle St. in Marion, Ky. Dues, which are $10/year, include a quarterly newsletter, Crittenden County Ancestors.

For more information about the society, email Brenda Underdown at or write to:

Crittenden County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 61
Marion, KY 42064

Dycusburg Baseball Diamond Memories

How many of you have memories about playing baseball at Dycusburg? Do you have any photos of the games? Please help this site became a community collaboration, and send your digital photos to If you have regular photos, you can mail them and I will scan them for the site. Send an e-mail for more details. (Or post your comments below).

Please share your memories of this fun time at Dycusburg!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Seeking Photos

We are seeking photos of Dycusburg folks, past and present, for the Web site. Please send your digital photos to: for inclusion on the Dycusburg site.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dycusburg Featured in Magazine

The small community of Dycusburg was featured in the August 2007 issue of Kentucky Monthly. The magazine bills itself as a magazine all about Kentucky and Kentuckians. Its slogan is "Uniting Kentuckians Everywhere," and you're as likely to read about a Kentuckian now living in Sacramento, CA, as you would Sacramento, KY. "Kentucky Monthly is about Kentucky today, while not forgetting the people and events that shaped our Commonwealth," its Web site states.

To subscribe or for more information, visit

To read the article (PDF), click here.

Dycusburg News: Sept. 6, 2007

Dycusburg Day Festival was a huge success on Saturday. Last Monday, plans for a welcome home potluck dinner for Chase Matthews were announced.

Dycusburg Day was to consist of one fire truck and a float for the parade, one flea market table and a jumping play area for the kids, one food wagon and a band for Saturday night. That was good, but the ladies of the community decided to make it better – they pulled together Dycusburg Day, which mistakenly reported has been around for several years. Paul and Faye Stinnett and Randy and Glenda Peek – former owners of the Dycusburg Grocery have hosted Dycusburg Day several times in the past. It was a quiet affair back then, as most of the townsfolk didn’t like the hoopla that goes on with such to-dos. This year, the ladies of the community led by Faye Stinnett and Barbara Ethridge pulled together and started making things happen.

Dycusburg Day became a Welcome Home Celebration for Chase Matthews. The parade was held in Chase’s honor and began at 11 a.m., when Randy Rushing led the parade with the rescue truck, no sirens, but plenty of lights. Next came Mike Cherry, State Representative in his classic red Mustang, Van Knight in his antique “Ug-a” (the sound of his horn) car. A float by Gary and Sue Bailey representing the Dycusburg Baptist Church showing small scale tractors ridden by their grandsons, Ian Aldridge and Brian McCoy II. Also on their float were Shawna and Christian McCoy, Payton Bailey and Angie, Ashlyn and Kelsie Webster. Then along came the “Oldies” float complete with Ms. Geneva’s Dycus’ hat (she would be so proud of Dycusburg). The oldies float was pulled by Rudy Matthews, and riding on the float were Wanda Kinnis, Sheila Wadsworth (wearing Ms. Geneva’s hat) and Wes Oakley. Jamie followed in his pretty yellow Camaro, and bringing up the rear was the kids’ float – a tradition for the past three years.

Debbie Holsapple and Star Mahns spent endless hours making paper tissue flowers to decorate the trailer and bales of straw to ensure the kids in town have a float to ride on in the parade. Josh Mahns pulled the float and riding was Star and Jacob Mahns, Billy and Alina and Judge Bill Cunningham. A good crowd gathered to watch the parade, collect candy along the parade route and wave at the participants. Certificates were presented to everyone participating in the parade. At noon, the Baptist church fellowship hall filled up as Chase rolled into town on his new bright yellow four wheeler. Chase was welcomed by many friends, comrades and family. Chase was presented a Kentucky Colonel award and had the picnic pavilion, walking trail and boat ramp named the "Chase Matthews Recreational Area" in his honor. September 1 has been declared Chase Matthews Day in Crittenden County. Greg West, Magistrate for Crittenden County made the presentations.

Chase isn’t big on all the attention, but he truly deserves it. Saturday was Chase’s 23rd birthday. Following the dinner, Willie Peek entertained the crowd with gospel singing. The rest of the day was filled with game for the kids, washer tournaments, a jumping play area for the kids, flea market tables, raffles to raise money for next year's festival and a lot of visiting with old friends and family.

As darkness fell, Soul Shine, a tradition at Dycusburg Day, entertained the crowd. The music was great as always – I still haven’t figured out why these guys aren’t playing professionally.

There was a big crowd complete with dancing in the streets. The band played until late in the night and the jumping play area stayed open for the kids.

Everyone had a good time. We are excited about next year’s festival and have already started working on it.

Thank you to everyone who helped in making the day a success. A special thank you to Eddyville Food Giant, Conrad’s, Hancock’s in Princeton and Fredonia Store for donating drinks for the dinner. Thank you to the ladies of the community who cooked BBQ, casseroles, vegetables, breads, cakes, pies and banana pudding for the celebration. If anyone in town left hungry on Saturday, it was their own fault. We, and I speak for the community, are so proud of Chase. He has demonstrated remarkable courage and pure determination. We are so proud of him and all our other veterans who have served in the Armed Forces. I hope each of you know we love you and appreciate all you did. We honor you all. We are “Dycusburg proud” and that’s enough said.
Tina Cochrum