The Way We Were - 1/12

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Tragic start to a new year in ‘61, ‘71 AND ‘96

By The Staff


Jan. 5, 1961

Tragedy topped the news for the first week of January 1961. A man was found frozen in a field in the Ninevah area and two children drowned.

James Estill Jordan, 71, retired farmer and veteran of World War I was found dead about one mile from his home in the Ninevah community about 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Coroner Maurice Sparrow said Jordan may have suffered a heart attack.

Jordan’s frozen body was found by Carl Short of Mercer County who was placing telephone poles through the field.

Jordan lived alone on the old Jordan farm owned by Miss Mae Sullivan. He had not been seen since Friday.

Richard Merriel Johnson, 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Johnson of Tyrone, drowned and his younger brother, James Lee Johnson, 9, was rescued from the icy backwaters of the Kentucky River last Friday afternoon when ice broke while they were skating near the Tyrone Bridge.

Elbert Beasley, 10, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Beasley, also of Tyrone tried to rescue the victim and in doing so, he also fell into the water.

Beasley managed to rescue James but told officers that Richard came to the surface only once and he was unable to reach him.

The boys shouted for help and a number of men from Tyrone rushed to the river bank.

Duke Poulter and Ben Hatterick were among the first to arrive and got out on roots over the water and probed for the body. They were unable to locate the body in the 7-foot water; the men obtained a boat and equipment to search for the body. P.A. Nowlin recovered him some 40 minutes later about 8 feet from the bank.

Sharon Smith, 4, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold K. Smith, drowned in the bath tub at her home about 3:30 p.m. Jan. 5.

According to reports, the child was a diabetic and was believed to have blacked out. Her mother had drawn the water and went into the kitchen a moment and when she returned the child had drowned.

Fire broke out at the American Legion Fairgrounds at 12:45 p.m. Jan. 5, destroying the large amphitheatre, two hamburger stands and damaging one of the seven horse barns located on the grounds near the structure. The fire raged for about an hour while firemen fought to save the horse barns nearby.

Commander Curtis Baxter and Adjutant Herman Morris estimated the loss at $100,000 or more. About $7,000 in improvements had been done a couple of years before.

W.M. “Kaiser Bill” Moffett was working at the horse barn next to the amphitheatre where Miller McAfee had six show horses housed when he saw smoke from the amphitheatre area.

Bruce Wells, Bill Brown and Truman Wells were working at house nearby and reported seeing a blaze near the center section of the building.

The structure was engulfed in flames by the time firemen arrived. The horses were moved to another building. 

The large wooden structure was estimated to have been about 30 to 40 feet high and from 700 to 1,000 feet in length extending more than half-way around the one-quarter mile track.

The first amphitheatre was built on the fairgrounds in 1874. Lee Spencer built the burned structure in 1911. Phillip Spencer, son of Lee Spencer, recalled that as a child he had carried water while it was being built.

Fairs were held annually at the grounds until 1929 when fair officials felt it best not to open the fair because of a drought and because the water supply was too low to be piped to the grounds.

The property was purchased in September 1933, by the American Legion members and fairs were started again in August 1934.

A Taylorsville physician treated Al Burton McKinney, 16, for gunshot wounds in three fingers of the right hand and the left cheek.

McKinney, son of Mrs. Oscar McKinney and the late Mr. McKinney, told the doctor that he was assisting in hog killing at the home of his mother near Van Buren. 

He stated that he had the rifle in his hand and he slipped and dropped the rifle. It hit a log and fired the shot, hitting the middle, ring finger and little finger of his right hand and the left cheek. The bullet lodged over his left eye.

Garnett Earl Crask, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arvin Crask of Alton Station, placed third in the area of production judging at the Intercollegiate Poultry Judging Contest held in Chicago.

A 1958 graduate of Anderson High School, Crask was a junior at the University of Kentucky, majoring in agriculture.


Willie Purdom Jenkins, 56; Owen M. Boggess, who was known for his 42 years of work in administration of Indian Affairs; Mrs. Lucy Garrison Griffin, 73; George Oliver Beasley, 83, retired former employee of the Kentucky Stone Company; Dr. W. Horace Witherspoon, 81, died in Los Angeles; Worley Alkire, 73, retired farmer; Virgil Bright Bixler, 61.


Jan. 7, 1971

An Anderson County farmer was killed, his wife seriously injured and four Western High students injured in a truck collision on Fairview Road.

Claude Drury, 70, a passenger in a pickup truck driven by his wife, Viola Case Drury, 64, was killed when the truck collided head-on in a sharp curve and on the crest of a hill with a pickup truck driven by Danny Welch, 17. The truck was owned by Fred Tankersley, agriculture teacher at Western High School.

Eddie Stevens, 16, Connie Drury, 17, and Billy Peach, 17, accompanied Welch.

Mrs. Drury suffered a fractured left leg, deep lacerations of the head and face and a severe chest injury.

Welch sustained a deep wound of his left leg, requiring 16 stitches, and severe bruises. Drury received a severe right leg bruise, a left shoulder injury and some broken teeth. Stevens received a nose injury and chest bruises. Peach received a broken nose and was admitted to undergo surgery on his nose.

Beaver Creek Lodge No. 335 installed officers. Jerry Gritton was to serve as master; Thurston Sparrow, senior warden; Ralph Dennis, junior warden; Morris Carney, senior deacon; James Bryant, junior deacon; Elva Sparrow, Chaplain; Gary Stinnett, secretary; Rual Hays, treasurer; R.C. Crouch, tiler; Elbert Stinnett, senior steward; and Gilbert Sea, junior steward.

New officers in the Anderson Lodge No. 90 were: George Inman Jr., district deputy grand master; John Alsman, master; Robert L. Hyatt Jr., senior warden; Lowell Boggs, junior warden; Tommy Cotton, treasurer; Cecil Cinnamon, senior deacon; Hollie Warford, tiler; David Warford, senior steward; Marshall Warford, chaplain; Ed Lacefield, secretary; Orville Robinson, junior deacon; and Paul Smith, junior steward.


Mrs. Nancy Ann “Nannie” Royalty Gillis, 86; John C. King, 47; Mrs. Robert Joe Allen, 32; Mrs. Glen Swift, 60; Walter McDonald, 77.


Jan. 1, 1981

Louis DeLuca featured Gladys Cotton in a front-page story. Seems Mrs. Cotton was known for her coconut pie and pull candy. Many in Anderson County had tasted her cooking.

After coming to Anderson County to a farm near Alton with her husband George from Madison County in 1943, she took a job as cook at Alton School. For 16 years she and Kathryn Brown made soup, chili, pot pies, corn bread, soup beans and pie for more than a hundred children every day.

She cooked for her children Margaret Cook, Tom and Noal, both at home and at school. 

After serving as cook at Alton School, she was hired as cook at Jake’s Parkette and made a menu full of meals and pies for many lucky customers. And for a time, she worked at her son, Noal’s restaurant on Main Street across from the courthouse. Noal’s wife, Mildred, did most of cooking, but Gladys joined in with more pies. During the 1970s, she cooked for an even larger group when she made pies and cakes in the state government kitchens in Frankfort.

She was proud of her cooking career, and cast iron cookware collection, as well as a salt and pepper collection, but she was most proud of her family — children, grandchildren and the rest. She made sure her family was treated just like the way she makes her pies and other dishes — with lots of love.

If coconut pie is your favorite, try her famous recipe.

Pie shell — 1 1/2 cups flour; 1/2 tsp. salt; 1/2 cup Crisco; 1/4 cup ice water — more or less as needed. Bake about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Filling — 1 cup sugar; 1/4 cup corn starch; 3 egg yolks; 2 cups milk; 2 Tablespoons butter; 1 tsp. vanilla; pinch of salt; 1/2 cup coconut.

Mix sugar and cornstarch, add milk, egg yolks, butter. Cook until thick. Add salt, vanilla and coconut and put in pie shell.

Meringue — 3 egg whites. Add 1 tbls. water and beat until fluffy. Add 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar and 6 tbls. of sugar, a tbs. at a time, while beating. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes.

Rebecca Springate wrote in the Fairview News of some newlyweds in the area. She said, “We want to congratulate Mr. Connie Drury and Miss Nancy Brefol, who were married at the Fairview Christian Church Saturday at 7 o’clock. A large crowd attended.”

Visitors of Mrs. Addie Hoskins for Christmas dinner were Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Hoskins, Mr. and Mrs. Garland Hoskins and daughter; Mr. and Mrs. J. Darnell, Clellan Hoskins, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Stratton and Donna Hoskins.


Edward M. Taylor, Anderson County business and civic leader for nearly 57 years died Monday at age 82 following an apparent stroke suffered on Christmas Eve.

Mrs. Minnie C. Hawkins, 86; Dusty Lynn Campbell, infant daughter of Terry Wayne and Tammie Ruth Carter Campbell; Ancil M. Worford, 72; Amos McKee Jr., 69; Coleman P. (Colie) Springate, 81.


Jan. 3, 1996

An elderly Anderson County farmer and his son died in a house fire Saturday morning, just two days after burying Agnes Hudson, their wife and mother.

The Hudsons, who moved to Anderson County in 1976, were no strangers to hard times.

They married when she was 18 and he was 23.

He had two cows and was being paid a dollar and a half a day as a farm laborer.

Twenty-three years were spent as tenants of one farmer and eight years at a farm where they had half interest in the dairy.

Increasing demands from farm owners that tenants “furnish” everything convinced Roy the time was right to make a move.

Along with their 11-year-old son, Kenneth, the Hudsons left their native Montgomery County and brought more than 100 head of cattle, two truckloads of pigs and assorted other livestock to their new Anderson County home on a cold and snowy day in December 1976.

As the only black family owning and operating a farm on a full-time basis in Anderson County, they were regarded as somewhat of an oddity.

“People would say, ‘Oh, you’re the family that bought that farm ... And you’re black’ ... we stood out like a store thumb,” said Agnes, laughing.

The Hudsons’ continued to work side by side, earning the respect and friendship of their new neighbors.

Most of those friends and neighbors were at the funeral home to comfort Roy, Kenneth and other family members as services were held for their wife and mother who died after a long illness.

Roy and Kenneth returned to the big house on the hill. Determined to continue operation of the farm, according to a son, Roy Hudson Jr.

Roy, 70, was found in the kitchen and Kenneth, 30, in the hallway. Both men died of smoke inhalation and acute carbon monoxide poisoning.

Darrell W. Shely, of Lawrenceburg, was one of 29 nursing graduates of Midway College’s Danville Extension who were recognized during a pinning ceremony. 

Whitney Brown Jupin was among the students receiving dean’s list recognition at Bellarmine College. She was a senior accounting major.


William Cecil “Monkey” Beasley, 37; and Reva Jane Jenkins Swift, 65.