Bon Jellico, Kentucky Homecomings


Bon Jellico Verses

Bon Jellico Homecoming leaders and attendees wrote several memories and verses; they were read as a part of the Bon Jellico Homecoming programs.

The Mining Man
Miner, miner shining bright
Down in caverns of the night.
How could bright fires dance and burn
Without you, O mining man?

War or peace must have your coal,
A world is waiting for black gold.
So make a cut and shoot it down,
Load it up to go to town.
Blessing on you, mining man!

Toil and danger both you know,
Sometimes joy and sometimes woe.
But light of night comes by your hand
And with your help we run this land.
Hail to you, O mining man!

Eugene Siler
September 17, 1950

An Ode to Herman Click
I wandered over on the schoolhouse hill, Herman
and looked at that big oak tree;
It’s all so rough and grown up now,
where the old school house used to be.
No one was there to meet me, Herman,
and not many seemed to know
Who played with us all over the hill,
more than sixty years ago.

The old house is gone now, Herman,
never to be replaced;
But memories of all the good old times,
can never be erased.
Yes, the old school grounds are still there,
but the old timers have moved away,
There we played ball, three-eyed cat,
played tag and stumped our toe,
We played, we fought, we laughed, we cried,
more than sixty years ago.

Herman carried the sharpest knife,
he loved to shine and show it,
Roxie loved that pretty knife too,
a scuffle they had, but Herman won,
And he has the scar to show you.
So roll up your sleeve, Herman,
for all to see and know,
The scar you’ve carried all these years
that’s been more than sixty years ago.

So the old ball game is about over, Herman,
most all the fans have gone away,
Still left are you and Jim, me and Paul, Everett and Ray.
Yes, we are in the last inning, Herman
with two outs and none on base.
One more strike on the batter,
and we’ll meet the Maker face to face;
So Bon came here in nineteen Hundred Twelve,
and stayed until Nineteen Hundred Thirty-seven,
And many passed through Bon on their way to Heaven.
Now, Herman, all this is right and so
But you know, it’s been more than sixty years ago.

So we are visiting Bon again today, Herman,
We are remembering those dear old friends;
Some are laid in church yards-Briar Creek, Highland, Jellico Creek,
Wherever they wanted to be,
Few are left of our old class, Herman,
excepting you and me.
And when it comes time, Herman,
for you and me to go,
I hope and pray, you and I can say,
“ We’re trusting in Him, we trusted in,”
more than sixty years ago.

Earl J. Lovitt
August 31, 1981

1984 Homecoming Verses
Do you remember?
The little one room school down on the Briar Creek bank?
Just a hop, skip and jump from the Mike Richardson ranch.
We had all the grades and played in the road and the Briar Creek bed.
And, O, do you remember the teacher? She was Miss Flora Whitehead.

Do you remember?
The old school house, on the hill by the big oak tree?
It’s all grown up now, can’t tell where the school used to be.
Many of you remember, for there you used to go,
But I just can’t believe, that it has been more than sixty years ago.

Do you remember?
Our little old Bon Jellico Coal Company Camp?
We never had electric lights, we all used kerosene lamps.
But they were a great and good people, had plenty to eat,
And that my dear friends, is mighty hard to beat.

Do you remember?
The little old commissary called the Company Store?
For only a quarter, you got a coke, cigarettes, carbide and more.
It was a good place to trade, though some said it was too high.
But look for only a nickel; you could eat a moon pie.

Do you remember?
The beautiful railroad track, through the cut, past the store too?
We enjoyed the strolls on Sunday evenings; there was nothing else to do.
The track was our sidewalk, where we stepped with a thud.
The track was the only place we could stay out of the mud.

Do you remember?
Stonecipher the doctor who passed out the pills?
For only two dollars a month, he cured all our ills.
He took care of the mothers, nine months for free;
But when the baby came along, there was a twenty-dollar fee.

Do you remember?
The old freight house that stood high off the ground.
It was a hanging out place for the men of the town.
They’d roll out the dice and sit in the dirt,
If you weren’t very careful, you could lose your shirt.

Do you remember?
Two beautiful white horses and the driver, Uncle Jim?
They were the finest horses in the whole world to him.
Huge, fat, white horses, decorated slick and trim,
George and Tom were their names and they loved Uncle Jim.

Do you remember?
The old coal tipple, side track, powerhouse and all?
At six in the morning the whistle gave the wake-up call.
If the whistle blew in the middle of the day, people everywhere would run,
A mine accident had happened; it could be husband or son.

It was a sad day when the mining stopped and the commissary closed.
There was no more work to do, and no place to go.
Fond memories have brought us back today,
And many of you have come from far away.
Now, if you want to hear more of the Bon people and how they survived;
Let me give you a clue, you’ll have to come back in Nineteen Hundred ’85.

Earl J. Lovitt
September 1984

1985 Homecoming Verses
Do you remember - - - Yes, I remember.
Last year you remember I said, “If you want to hear more
About the Bon people and how we survived, you must come
Back in 1985.” So here we are again this year,
Now what in the world do you want to hear?

Yes, I remember the family of B.F. Bunion Brown,
One of the finest families that ever came to town.
I remember each of them, their names I recall,
There was Mattie, Bernice, Freda, Nancy, and Paul.

Yes, I remember a lady named “Top Jack” Brown,
Remember her as a nice lady to have around.
She came to draw scrip every day, you know.
Then she would come in the store with a sweet hello.

Yes, I remember she bought a pound of “Bill Jones” coffee each day,
It was strong coffee, full of chicory, she would say,
She boiled it all day on a stove fired with wood,
And Leona, Laura and Tom would say, “My that’s good”.

Yes, I remember the Every Hamlin family, Good people you know,
Eleanor, Ruby, Viola, Grant, Ruth, Elaine and Joe.
One time Everett had appendicitis, and had a close call,
When we loaded him in the wagon, we feared that was all.

Yes, I remember away to the hospital they left with a scream,
And we were afraid that would be the last of him,
They lived on top of the hill, in our plain view,
And before we knew it Everett was as good as new.

Yes, I remember, when Francis Stanaford was a little boy of six,
His dad, Bird, has a store along by the creek.
A customer called for a dimes worth of cheese,
O yes, his dad said, I can cut that as smooth as a breeze.

Yes, I remember, the big cheese knife and a slice nice and thin.
And Francis looked up with a sheepish grin,
Francis laughed again as he looked at that dime,
And said, better try again dad, nearly missed that time.

Yes I remember, the Smith family, “Little Frank” was the name,
And with them, another good family to Bon Jellico came.
There was Everett, Raymond, Edgar, Clifford and Earl,
But the cream of the crop, was a beautiful little girl.

Yes, I remember, the schoolhouse where the church used to meet,
We had good old time revivals, that were hard to beat.
When Lawrence Prewitt got religion, what a beautiful sight,
He shouted and jumped all over the place that night.

Yes, I remember, the Commissary where folks made daily trips,
When they ran short on money they could draw out the scrip.
Just put your card in the window, “I need two dollars today,”
But sometimes a voice came back, you are scrip-bound he’d say.

Yes I remember, the Saturday evenings, and the old ballgames,
And I remember all the players and all of their names.
There was Silas, Harry, Virgil, Everett and Dan,
Now pick a better bunch than that if you can.

Yes, I remember, Kay, Herman, Robert, Moss, Earl and Paul,
If you think that’s a lineup, wait till you hear them all.
There was Raymond, Jim, H.T., Brance E and Ray,
When you find times better than that, it will be the day.

Yes, I remember, the Bon ball teams, played a good game,
And all the Bon people were proud of our name.
We played every Saturday and had a lot of fun,
During all of one season’s games, we only lost one.

Yes, I remember, we played a lot of games, some good and some bad,
But the Pruden, Tn. team, was toughest we ever had.
We won all our games in nineteen twenty-eight,
Except Pruden, Tn. when we had too little, too late.

Yes, I remember, lots more of these crazy rhymes,
But before I’m through, here’s a favorite of mine.
This poem was recited by a little boy of five, my dear,
Before I start, his name was Mart, and today he is here.

Martin recited this poem in school at the age of five,
To make sure he doesn’t forget it, I’ll keep it alive.
Here it is:

”When I was but a little lad, and got my feelings hurt,
I used to hide my wounded pride, behind my mother’s skirt.
Little boys and girls today, are up against it right.
The skirts today, are such that they, don’t hide the mothers quite.”

I hope you are having fun and enjoying this day,
And before we part, I have something else to say.
“ May God bless you and keep you in his love.
Until we meet again here or in Heaven above.”

Earl J. Lovitt

Bon Jellico School Class of 1926-1927

The Bon Jellico School of 1926-1927 was one of our best,
We had beautiful young girls, and smart young men, who passed
All the tests.
In September all the parents went with us to the County Fair,
A host of schools were present, but everyone knows that Bon was there.

That was a great, great day for old Bon, Williamsburg really came alive;
There were only nine first prizes given, and old Bon carried away five.
The military marching of our sixteen boys was something to see;
Why not, an old sailor boy, Parker Carroll, trained the boys for me.

We marched around the Court Square, “Hup, two, three, four”;
Everyone loved it and kept cheering and yelling for more.
Bon Jellico was one of the larger schools in the county for size,
And when it was over, Bon Jellico walked away with the prize.

Now let’s recall the names of these sixteen boys some large and some small,
They acted like real soldiers, and really tried to win it all.
As I remember and call all their names out to you this year;
You be thinking and look around and let’s see how many of them are here.

I remember Earl and Raymond Houston, Ancil Carr and Carrol Green;
These were the finest bunch of boys I have ever seen.
Others were Mart Pemberton, Wendell Copeland, Claude Perkins, and Drew Smith;
These were the best-trained boys I have ever worked with.

Other were Clyde Carnes, Luther Parks, Walter Paul and Clyde Prewitt;
When there three prizes to be won, these boys would try to do it.
And there was Harry Stout, Odis Lawson, Arnold Hudson and Starlin West;
Look the county over; these sixteen boys were among the very best.

I’m glad we went to the fair in 1926 for you made me feel so proud,
So I’ve bragged on you today and praised you long and loud.
But I’m happier in spite of all the world’s trouble and strife;
To get to see you again today, and learn that you are enjoying a good life.

It’s a great blessing to sit with you here today, remembering good times of the past,
But each and every year, you and I know this reunion could be our last.
My humble advice to you, here and now, is you make sure before you die;
That you get ready for the greatest of all Homecomings, in the sky.

August 31, 1986
By Earl J. Lovitt

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