LBL-L ArchivesArchiver > LBL > 1997-12 > 0881539191
From: "Betty Sellers" <>
Subject: A letter 1934
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 15:59:51 -0800
*BEFORE you read this letter of reminisce...I want to say I have traveled
part of this road in a flat bed wagon at Christmas time. In the 1940's the
road weren't paved and the bottom's fell out. I can remember my uncle
coming after us with the wagon, a bed of straw and blankets. When he talks
of the Alexanders, Cherry's and Siloam -- and the pond to the right... I can
say 'yes' that was Reddick Pond and I also know where Cherry Hill is..
Cadiz Record Aug 23, 1934
Attracted by an article in a recent issue of the Paducah Sun Democrat, V.
Blaine russell, now a columnist for a Vicksburg, Ms, Paper, and a former
Trigg County boy, decided to write back home of some of his experiences
while on a visit to the county in the 90's. Mr W.C. Broadbent received the
following letter which is a very interesting one:
Dear Mr. Broadbent,
today I fell to pouring over several Paducah papers of recent date.
Anything touching on Trigg county or Cadiz always interest me since I and my
people originated in that beauty spot of Kentucky. Have found especial
interest in articles referring to you and your duties as Road Commissioner,
since these articles so often sounded familiar. Trigg county names and
bring memories now much like dreams because their realizations were so long
I was born in Trigg county near the Christian county line in 1890. Pee dee
and Newstead were nearest, I believe. We lived that year on Arthur Henry's
farm, if I recall aright; at least we lived on that place in 1894 when my
father quit farming and took us to Paducah. My father was ALEXANDER
RUSSELL. He and his only brother, Charles were sons of GEORGE WASHINGTON
RUSSELL and WINIFRED WALLIS. My father was born on what is now Main Street
in Cadiz in 1855. You may recall him in life. He lived in Trigg from birth
until he was 39 years old. He had a red birthmark on a cheek under one eye
and wore a sandy mustache. The fact that I have often heard him speak of
the Broadbents probably had much to do with taking an interest in you. He
died in 1905 in Paducah. His brother, CHARLEY RUSSELL, was killed in the
early 1900's at Golden Pond by a man named PAT GRAY as my uncle attempted to
arrest Gray. My brothers, those still living, and my mother reside in and
near Paducah. I was the only one ever to leave old Kentuc ky, to my regret.
But your subject of roads should possibly interest you more, and I recall a
few moments of those of blessed old Trigg. Speaking of roads in Trigg, I
recall that bleak Christmas season of 1894 we bumped in a Mogul wagon over
frozen ruts from our abandoned home to Hopkinsville, there to take the train
for paducah; how my mother cried as women will. the road was frozen
corduroy. About 1897, having prospered a few hard earned dollars, my father
took the tribe of wife and five children back to trigg to see the folks.
Well do I remember how we took the trainf rom Paducah to Princeton, waited
paitently, changed trains, then went to gracey. There it was necessary to
bargain for a two seated surrey to go the other ten miles to Cadiz. In my
mind's eye today I see the long, rough road through the gently rolling
country between Gracey and Cadiz--how the wheat and tobacco and cornfields
stretched on either side of us as we jolted along; how we squashed through
the muddy places from which fragrant hogs reluctantly rose to let us pass;
how we passed a point called Montgomery which is a name only. "Twas a tired
but happy family that reached REV. JOHN ALEXANDER'S house late that evening,
there to impose ourself in original Kentucky style, and to be tolerated and
showered with equal hospitality by the Alexanders. That was the road from
gracy to Cadiz in 1897.
That same expedition, after leaving Cadiz and the Alexanders' was taken in a
broad-bedded wagon driven by GARLAND CHERRY to the home of my mother's
brother,BEVERLY CHERRY, some miles north of Cadiz. That road conjured up
more loving memories in my too-sentimental mind than any other. How vividly
I recall the climb to the plateau-road leading by FRANK LADD'S; then a pond
somewhere beyond; farther a road fork; and it seems to me we took the one
to the left, or the north-west. That particular road to Bev cherry's was
almost like a mountain trail. Beyond the road fork somewhere I remember it
traversing deep woods and the surfac e in places would cascade down series
of rock ledges which bumped the children into shoults of glee. The mules
would hold back and the steel rims of the locked wheels rasped on the rocks.
Farther on I recollect a valley by LAF LESTER'S. Muddy Fork bridge and then
the great mountain - like hill to the side, which the road climed right
sawure up-- to MRS. TISH ALEXANDERS home atop. I rec all that great ridge
on which sat CHERRY'S home with the blue sillouette of a ridge dimly in the
Leaving Bev Cherry's home after an extended stay, we were carried in another
flat-bedded wagon driven by WALTER RUSSELL, a son of Charles, to the
latter's home betwixt the rivers. That, too, was a rough route. By old
Siloam we went. Beyond there it seems dim in recollection,except that I
remember rough roads to Rock Castle' a rocky bluff there over the Cumberland
with a few houses forming the village; how we didn't tarry there, but drove
down the river's edge, took a hazardous ferry; cross; climbed a nearby
mountain on the far side and drove north along the Cumb erland to a tall two
storied log house oc cupied by CHARLEY RUSSELL and red-headed family.
Seems there was a rolling mill in view high on a coline across the river
from his house.
Staying there in those wild, sweet-gum hills were occassional catamounts
squaling in the night for novelty, we finally took our leave, again in the
same wagon to Eddyville. Through the country we drove, sometimes with
cutbanks with arm's reach, with hazel bushes offering a handful of nuts for
the grabbing. The road eventally brought us opposite Eddyville where we
crossed another oar-propelled ferry.
Such were the roads of Trigg in 1897 and about the same in 1908, the last
time we visited that rough sec tion we retain a native love for.
It was with amusement we read lately of a hide bound crowd of commerce
chambers being astonished with the good food and hospitality of Trigg
County. They haven't lived a complete Kentucky life until they did sample
it. It is also a bit exasperating the sly cuts we see in print now and then
about Golden Pond and the country between the rivers. We know those people.
they are just what they are by inheritance --f ree born-- americans, whose
fathers fought for that freedom and who chose to keep it.
The road from Canton to cadiz to Hopkinsville has felt the thunderous hoofs
of marital forces in the 60's. It was at Canton some of the Forrest's men
in 1861 whipped off the Federal gunboat, Conestoga, one of the unusual
fights between cavalry and gunboat. When the Conestoga cleared out Forrest
set out by way of Cadiz to return to Hopkinsville. It gives me pleasure to
meditate that my parents, brothers and I covered part of the same route in
flat-bedded wagons-- the route that I described.
let me beg your pardon if I have bored you, Mr. Broadbent. Sentiment gets
the best of good manners at times and I have let myself slip in that respect
by writing so lengthily to one I have never met.
I have been in Vicksburg 22 years. I work on the vickburg Evening Post,
write a daily historical column besides my other duties. Have a wife and
three children; have accumulated more sentiment and less material things as
the years went by. but the greatest possession I still suffer is a love for
my land of birth and a semi-annual desire to come back --- summer and
it would do me honor to receive an answer from you if you find time in a
busy career. Let me congratulate you and wish you more success in your
If you chance to remember you might give my regards to MR. LAWRENCE at the
Record, MRS. JOHN ALEXANDER, now MRS. PRATHER, ALBERT WALLACE AND GARLAND
CHERRY or any I have mentioned herein....
V. BLAIN RUSSELL.
|A letter 1934 by "Betty Sellers" <>|