HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY KENTUCKY
charles m. meacham
THE RURAL FREE DELIVERY MAIL ROUTES
The Rural Mail Deliveries; Telephone’s Development; The Jersey Cattle
Industry. Sketch by Thomas A. King.
The first experiment in rural mail carrying routes was in 1896 when an experimental route was established in Carroll County, Maryland, and proved to be a complete success. The first routes in Kentucky, it is said, were two routes out of Allensville, Todd County. But these routes were quickly followed by others all over the State.
The first in Christian County, Route No. 1, was established February 15, 1901, with Elbridge Bradshaw the first carrier and the only one for twenty-five years. He retired December 3, 1926, and was succeeded by Henry Haddock, the present carrier. This route is on the Clarksville Highway. Routes Nos. 2, 3, and 4 were all established February 15, 1902, Route No. 2 is on the Russeliville pike, known as the Jefferson Davis Highway, No. 68. The first carrier was Edward F. Coyner, who carried it for seventeen years and resigned on account of ill health in 1919. He died shortly afterwards. His successor was Mdllenry Tichenor for nine months and eight days and, resigning, was succeeded by Rodman Morris, who carried the route about five years and died on the road. He was taken suddenly ill on a trip and died in a short while. He was succeeded by Jared E. Brown, the present carrier. Route No. 3 is on the Cocke’s Mill and Palmyra roads, south of Hopkinsville. Daniel W. Hanbery carried this route until October, 1925, and was succeeded by Raleigh Underwood, the present carrier. Route No. 4 is on the Newstead and Julien roads. Butler W. Diliman was the carrier until shortly before his death, December 7, 1917. His successor was Henry D. Yonts, who is still on the route. Route No. 5, on the Princeton road, was established September 1, 1902, with John T. Williamson, the carrier up to the present time. Route No. 6 is on the Madisonville and Buttermilk roads and was established September 1, 1902, with the first carrier, Milton A. Littlefield, who retired on account of his health and died.
He was succeeded by Lieut. Cecil Armstrong, who carried the route until summoned to military service in the World War and never returned, as he died in the service. He was succeeded by Forrest L. Lacy, who was also soon called to arms and served overseas. While he was away the route was carried by his wife, Mrs. Irene Lacy, who carried it for a year or MORE through all kinds of weather. Mr. Lacy resumed his route in 1919 and is still carrying it. The route has since been changed to Route No. 9 and includes the Greenville and Kirkmansville roads.
No. 6 is now on the Madisonville and Buttermilk roads and Morton Penick has been the carrier since the route was changed in 1923.
Route No. 7 was a cross country route between Palmyra road and the Clarksville highway. It was carried by Frank 0. Gary and several other carriers before it was discontinued and merged into adjacent routes in
The present No. 7 now covers the lower Greenville and Antioch roads, with headquarters at Carl, Ky. It was established in 1924 and Olen West has been the carrier since it started.
Route No. 8 was established in 1912 and Willie Wilkins carried it the first year as a temporary carrier. The first regular carrier was Ben H. Cook. It covered the Butler and Pilot Rock roads. Cook was succeeded by Rodman Morris, until his transfer to No. 2. It was next carried temporarily by Will Hayes until Nat Penick, the present carrier, was appointed upon his return from service overseas in the World War.
Route No. 9 was established November 1, 1922, with Forrest L. Lacy carrier, on the Kirksmansville and Greenville roads.
In the decade following the Civil War, the first thoroughbred Jersey cattle were brought into the county. John B. Trice and George V. Green were the first to introduce them as herds. From that day to the present, they have increased in popularity, and all over the county are hundreds of purebred Jerseys, and there are scores of registered herds. Among the principal breeders are T. A. King, Rodman Meacham, Rufus Taylor, C. R. Atkins, Bailey Atkins, W. L. Gore, Ed Morris, W. K. Morris, W. A. Wilson, H. H. Golay, John Marquess, Edgar Miller, Lucian Hill, Bud Dulin, Will Walker, Cliff Gary, Evans Moran, Joe Mason, L. A. Moseley, W. J. Glover, J. W. Stump, G. P. Gore, Dr. Jett, Hugh Nelson, J. T. Thomas,, Wisdom Fuicher, George Mimms, Dan White, U. L. Major, F. Askew,. W. D. Dudley, S. F. Williams, Will Vaughan, Mrs. McKee, Milton Clark and Ernest Boyd.
The following resume, of the industry, is taken from an address delivered over the radio, by Thomas A. King, one of the best known breeders in the county:
Christian County, with an area of seven hundred and eighty square miles is the second county, in size, in Kentucky, and one of the best in every rspect. The county has forty thousand population, with about one-third of its people in and near Hopkinsyule. The city is ideally located, midway between Evansville and Nashville, and Paducah and Bowling Green, with intersecting railroads, bus lines and fifteen improved highways leading in all directions.
This section enjoys a delightful year-round climate. Our winters are short and in most instances mild, while on the other hand our summers never assume the torridity experienced by some less fortunate climates. To the stock-raiser or the dairyman this should make a special appeal. In other great feeding and dairying states, animals are kept on dry feed six months in the year, while here three months as an average is all that is necessary to dry-feed either beef or dairy herds and, of course, the same rule applies to hogs and sheep, both of which can and are being raised at a profit in this community. In Christian county, all grasses grow luxuriantly—red clover, white clover, alsike, alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass, herd’s grass and bluegrass, which grows without seeding. When the land is sowed to other grasses and not plowed, for several years, and pastured closely by stock of all kinds, bluegrass comes. Having a clay sub-soil, that is underlaid with limestone, all grasses do well. It is an easy matter to procure ground limestone in this county at convenient points. Quarries can be opened to quarry and grind limestone for application to the soil. It is the ideal home for the Jersey cow. She can be brought to the age of production under as nearly perfect right conditions as anywhere. We have a long grazing period. From early spring until late fall, many Jerseys run out practically all winter. Raised in the open, they are strong and of good size. We have over 5,000 head of registered and high Jerseys in Christian County, and can sell their offspring readily. In the early seventies, the first Jerseys were brought to Christian County. Many of them were called Alderneys at that time, their ancestors having come from the different islands in the channel. The Jersey has always been a favorite dairy cow in Christian County. The late Dr. Jas. Rodman, John B. Trice, Geo. V. Green and M. H. Nelson were among the first to bring registered Jerseys to this county, and in a few years others brought some in. These Jersey cattle were registered, and their descendants were scattered over the county. Among the first cattle brought here were the Tormentor family, which in after years proved one of the best strains, and as other importations were brought pver from the Island of Jersey some of them, or their descendants, would find their way to Christian County, until almost every prominent family on the Island today is represented in Christian County, namely: Oxford Majesty, Oxford You’ll Do, Noble of Oakland, Fauvic’s Prince, Oxford Fairy Boy, Combination Premier, Forward, Volunteer, and their offspring. It has made a great improvement in our cattle. The use of this imported blood, direct from the fountain head, the source of the purity of the breed, the Jersey Island, and the Jerseys produced here and sold to many other states, have always done well, and in many instances have been among the highest testing cows in the state. It is hard to supply the demand for Jerseys that we have from other states, and from other counties in this state. The market comes to us, and having the right conditions under which to produce them, and being able to graze so long, we can produce them cheaper than most anywhere. Our Christian County Jerseys have stood well up in all classes in state fairs, and more important in the cow testing association. The records made in Christian County have compared favorably with the best, the club records showed a few years ago that the largest per cent of registered Jerseys were owned in Christian, of any county in the state of Kentucky. The demand is stronger each year for our Jerseys. We have shipped from here to other points over four hundred head this season. With the ideal climate and ideal dairy cows, and the right soil to produce economically the proper feeds, we are bound to have one of the greatest dairy counties anywhere.
THE TELEPHONE’S DEVELOPMENT
In compiling this history, it has been a settled policy to secure first hand information from makers of history, wherever possible. One of the great factors in the progress of the county, during the last half-century, has been the modern telephone, now regarded as an absolute necessity, not only in business houses but in homes.
Hopkinsville’s first experiment—for it was an experiment—was a crude telephone exchange, with only thirty-one subscribers, put in by S. H. Turner. Turner has long since passed away, but some of the subscribers of his day still retain the original numbers Turner gave them more than forty years ago. His exchange passed into stronger hands, and Hopkinsville has never been without a telephone system from that day to this. I requested Vice-President Leland Hume, of the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, to prepare a statement of his connection with the telephone business in Christian County—for he is the father of the system—and he very graciously complied with the request as follows:
I take pleasure in trying to comply with your request regarding the development of the telephone business in Hopkinsville and Christian County.
It was about 1887 that I made my first trip to Hopkinsville, where I went as Auditor of the East Tennessee Telephone Company to confer with Mr. James M. Howe, who was for years a prominent jeweler of your city and who at that time held the contract for the Bell Telephone Exchange, and later he sold to a group of Hopkinsville citizens, including the Forbes Bros. and others, and after a time Mr. James E. Caldwell, then President of the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company, and the undersigned, made a trip to Hopkinsville with a view of extending our long distance lines from Nashville by way of Clarksville tp Hopkinsville, and probably on to Evansville, Ind., and it was on that trip that we met with the then owners of the local telephone exchange and purchased the property, and then promptly set about building a new plant.
In the process of time the Cumberland Company, a Kentucky corporation, selected Hopkinsville as its legal headquarters and appointed the Hon. Hunter Wood, Sr., as our chief attorney for that section of the state. We found him not only an able lawyer, but fearless and as true as steel, and he continued to represent us to the day of his death, and his fine son and namesake, Hunter Wood, Jr., is today a director and an attorney for the Christian-Todd Telephone Company.
The handsome brick and granite telephone building fronting on Ninth Street was erected following the establishment of the Cumberland legal headquarters in Hopkinsyule, at which time we installed one of the latest and most up-to-date central office local and long distance common battery switchboards that could be furnished by the Western Electric Company. In the meantime, we had built exchanges at Pembroke, Gracey, Crofton, LaFayette, and one or two other centers, and we extended the service generally throughout the county to the farmers and to merchants at the crossroad stores; thus accomplishing a very general saturation of telephone service over Christian County.
However, about the year 1905 some other prominent leading citizens of Hopkinsyule decided to enter the telephone field and this brought about a chaotic condition as to service; increased rates to all those business houses and others who wanted to continue telephone connection with all the other subscribers in the county who found it necessary to pay for two telephones, and, of course, with the result that the competing companies succeeded in dividing the business and losing money, and when the Cumberland Company’s competitors were about insolvent as far as their telephone operations were concerned, new people had purchased a controlling interest in the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company; these various competing companies were consolidated and the Christian-Todd Telephone Company was organized.
Col. R. E. Cooper, of Hopkinsville, and one of the best known public spirited citizens of the city, was induced to accept the presidency and has continued in that position to this time, and for a good many years Mr. C. E. Woodruff has been General Manager of the Christian-Todd Telephone Company and I have been Vice-President and managing director.
The Christian-Todd Company maintains first-class, up-to-date plants not only at Hopkinsville and Clarksville, Tenn., but in all the towns where it operates.
Continuing the policy established long ago we are proposing to keep abreast with the improvements in the art, and at this very time we are engaged in making changes in the plant at Hopkinsville that will cost the Company very large sums of money, but which should result in a still further improvement in the service. Our motto has been and is, “Service First.”
The Christian-Todd Telephone Company has six exchanges in Christian County, covering all parts of the county. These exchanges are at Hopkinsville, Crofton, Edgoten, Gracey, Lafayette and Pembroke. Free service is enjoyed by subscribers over all of these lines throughout the county. The company gives a twenty-four hours’ service, with long distance connections, all over the country.
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