Remembering Spencer in the '40s
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By Tom Watson
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
This scribbler was just a kid in the 1940s, but there were many interesting people and things to observe and memories have a way of staying with us even when recorded in the brain cells at such an early age. Some of the following is not from memory, but from reviewing some notes I made years later from the files of The Spencer Magnet. I hope you enjoy this stroll.
On April 29, 1948, the Magnet reported that John B. Carr (one of Taylorsville's finer citizens of the era), was chosen secretary-treasurer of the Suburban Amateur Baseball League, of which Taylorsville was a member. Other teams in the league were: Jeffersontown, Buechel, Okolona, LaGrange and J&S Café. Taylorsville opened the first season May 2, 1948 at Jeffersontown under manager Robert Cotton.
The Taylorsville players included: Cecil Ray Bolin, Paul Stitzel, Lester Tindle, Maurice Porter, Bedford Snyder., Glen Edelen, James Brewer, Earl Slucher, Roy S. Day, James F. Tinsley, David L. Tindle, Bernice Tindle, Charlie Snyder and Gilbert Nation. Edelen, Tinsley, David Tindle and Charlie Snyder represented Taylorsville on an all-star team that played league-leading Jeffersontown July 5, 1948.
J'town won 17-16.
A couple of years later, I became batboy for the Taylorsville Merchants, who were also coached by Robert Cotton. I don't know if the team that was in the Suburban League was also called the "Merchants," but the team I chased bats for was in a league with some strong teams like Stanford and Harrodsburg.
I remember that U-K basketball All American Frank Ramsey played for Harrodsburg and batting left handed, hit one into Red Row (about a 400-foot-plus homer).
Somebody mistakenly had the street sign read "Red Roll," which is absolutely ridiculous. "Red Row" came from the color of the roofs of the houses on "Red Row" street.
But on that same team, Cotton had a couple of Fort Knox soldiers he paid to play for Taylorsville and they were sensational. One tall, left-handed first baseman was put on the mound in relief and nobody could touch him. He had a fast ball that had to look like an aspirin tablet to the batters. The other was a catcher. Both were fantastic hitters.
Also on that team for Taylorsville were Beanie Stewart and some other local guys, including, a Murray boy who pitched and nearly tore my arm off when I was warming him up one day. He was fooling around at third base, and threw a fast ball to me at first. I think I held onto it. Being only about 11 or 12-years-old, I wasn't ready for that much speed coming my way.
I really enjoyed watching the local black team, the Taylorsville Bugs. Those guys really made a day of it and had so much fun playing teams from the areas.
On July 1, 1948, Joe Bray's Bugs played at home, but details of the foe and outcome of the game aren't at hand. Players included Delmar Newland, Babs Brown (before he lost an eye), Dusty Downs, Bob King, James Mason, Joe Murphy and James "Hambone" Cochran.
It is very difficult to recall all the nicknames of the players for the Bugs, because being a kid, I didn't get to associate closely with the growups.
There were some terrific ball players in those days, like former Taylorsville mayor Bobby Irvine. He should have played professional baseball, but for some reason or another, didn't go to a tryout.
The Valley Theater opened Thursday, June 10, 1948 and showing through Saturday was "On the Old Spanish Trail" with Roy Rogers and his famous wonder horse "Trigger." On Sunday and Monday in "Technicolor" was "Relentless" with Robert Young and Marguerite Chapman.
I'll never forget "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" which was a sellout at the Valley Theater and was actually scary to us kids. Many of us had to sit in the isle because all the seats were filled. Everytime old "Frank" appeared on the screen, the kids would scream in unison.
Miss Spencer County in 1948 was Edna Mae Bentley and the floodwall was completed in the fall.
On Oct. 28, 1948, Anna Heady died in Louisville at the age of 102. She had been born in slavery in Spencer County. She was buried in the Elk Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.
Remember Catherine Briscoe, one of the finest teachers Spencer County has ever known? In the Nov. 25, 1948 Magnet is the announcement that Catherine Hume, daughter of Amada C. Hume, married John McMillen Briscoe Sept. 27, 1948. Briscoe was the son of W.H. Briscoe of Bardstown.
Don't ask me why only one parent was listed on some of those announcements in the 1940s, because I have no answer.
And here's one that I found very interesting. In 1914, Katie Beauchamp, at the age of 38, and Rufus Snider, started The Spencer Magnet. (It had been called the Spencer Journal, then the Spencer Courier).
Later, Annie Morris bought Rufus Snider's interest in the Magnet and Katie Beauchamp continued to serve as editor for 35 years."
Finally, in June, 1948, George Henry (a female George) from Taylorsville performed at the Philharmonic in New York, with selections on the piano. The graduate from Yale played Cesar Franck's Variations for piano and Orchestra. She taught piano at Williams Woods College in Fulton, Mo.
This scribe found a cardboard box of reel-to-reel tape recordings at a yard sale and bought them for a dollar. They were labeled, "George Ann Henry's tapes."
I have listened to them. They are solo piano performances, but I can't tell if they are George Ann Henry playing the piano, or if these are tapes of recordings that she used for practice. If a member of the family wants these tapes, give me a call and they're yours. (502) 252-9991.
Remember, if you have priceless family photos, recordings, or anything historical you'd like to share with the public, call Tom Watson at 502 252-9991. My address is 5225 Little Union Road, Taylorsville, Ky., 40071. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2005 The Spencer Magnet
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