"Good Morning Earlington:
An Earlington Who’s Who 0f 1917"
As I was looking through my collection of "stuff," I found an old February 6, 1917, Earlington Bee listing a city directory. I’m sure I must have read this a number of times, but I didn’t remember it. I thought perhaps you might also like to reminisce about the names, positions, and organizations.
The city officials were W.E. Rash, mayor; C.C. Cowell, police judge; J.H. Hamby, police chief; A.J. Bennett, night chief; R.G. McEuen, clerk; Frank B. Arnold, treasurer; W.K. Nisbet, city physician; R.E. Whipfier, city engineer; and Charles E. Barnett, postmaster. Councilmen were Madison Oldham, M. Bohan, F.D. Rash, Dan M. Evans, Thomas Blair, and C.M. Henry. The fire department was composed of chief, H.W. Rogers; ass’t. chief, F.B. Arnold; capt., Charles Barnett; and firemen, Claude Long, W.D. Cavaness, Baker Fugate, George T. Miller, Will Rayburn, Bryant Deal, and G.Y. Tilford. The school trustees were Pres. Paul M. Moore, Sec. Ernest Newton, Treas. J.H. Fish, and members G.W. Mothershead and A.O. Sisk. The only Board of Health employee was Dr. W.K. Nisbet. The official position I found most interesting was that of Weather Bureau Observer-- Brick Southworth.
The Bee also listed pastors for these churches: Catholic Church, Rev. L.E. Clements; Methodist E. Church, Rev. J.L. Burton (Otho Long was leader of the first Sunday class meetings); Methodist E. Church, South, Rev. W.F. Cashman; Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Z.T. Connaway; and General Baptist Church, Rev. L.L. Todd.
During this era there were usually enough lodges to cover almost every interest. There was one made especially familiar to us through radio programming (‘28-’53). Yes, almost every listener of "Amos and Andy" knew of the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge and the position of the "Kingfish" held by George Stevens. Even in Earlington in 1917, the Bee listed 10 lodges in February--along with a few officers. These were Masonic Lodge/EW Turner N#548; Earlington Royal Arch Chapt. #141; St. Bernard Commanders (Ellsworth Evans, sec.); Victoria Lodge #84 (Ernest Newton, K of R & S); Golden Cross Lodge Earlington #525 (Mrs. Bertha Umstead, sec.); Woodmen of the World, Catalpa Camp 3301/Wed in Victory Building (Charles Gill, consul com., & Warren Ray, clerk); Elks, BPO#738/at Madisonville (Morris Kohlman, exalted ruler, & J.M. McPherson, sec.)/Earlington Chapter, UDC/ (Mrs. PB Davis, pres.); Knights and Ladies of Security (Claud Long, clerk); Staudwaitee Tribe #57 (Sachem, Bud Catef, sachem, & Harry Long, C of R).
If you can remember a bit of trivia on about the Bee’s editor, you might have remembered that was Paul Moore and the telephone number was simply "47." If you wanted to submit "obituary poetry," you could publish it at five cents per line. However, you could get a reduction if you would let it run for several months to the readers "in the Heart of the West Kentucky Coal Field." You might even learn that Mrs. Ed Rule on E. Main had entertained the ladies’ Bridge Club in her home (and now mine) at what was known as Ridge Top. So, the upper end of E. Main was on the "ridge" and N. McEuen running by the pumping station (hence called Pump Row) to the land below the dam was known as the "bottoms."
Not only was Mrs. Rule’s Bridge Club "news" but the other "Elite Do’s" usually made the paper. It always amazes me how many holidays we now think of as for children were important then as social occasions for adults. For example, during that week the G.E. Barnett’s hosted a "Valentine Do" with "quite unique" decorations and "a red and white color scheme which was carried out throughout the evening." When the various women’s clubs met the most important consideration were the "delightful" foods (such as special salads or ice courses) or the "extras" (such as decorations which in the summer included floral arrangements). I remember when I was in the "grades" that I admired Mrs. Ed Rule’s beautiful rose gardens which comprised nearly all of her back yard. She had intricate stone paths so she could trim and cut roses in the late afternoon without getting her feet wet. She often had a bouquet of roses delivered to a neighbor whenever she knew of an illness. She also served tea in her parlor to visitors who sat on a dainty settee (on which I too once sat ) in front of two large windows which overlooked a quiet street. Imagine! No TV, no computer, no CD player—just evenings with friends, refreshments, parlor games and conversation. Truly a different, slower time! The Good Ole Times? Maybe. It all depends on your perspective.
1917! The year prior to the end of the first world war……… and the year Mr. Ed Rule had the concrete poured in his new basement. Ah! The news we learn reading an old paper—items both of world importance and of local trivia.
Ann Gipson 12-13-2001