Monday, December 15, 2008

Otto Vernon Elder (1899 - 1980)

The above 1932 letter fueled my interest in genealogy. My Uncle Otto received this letter from a Mr .Wheeler, grandson of Mary Elder Wheeler. Read how his aging grandmother recalled her 1790’s boat trip to Western Kentucky.

Uncle Otto had gone to work in St Louis following his 1923 graduation from the University of Kentucky. I took this photo in 1951 when he was visiting me while I was attending UK. The signs point to two venues of Sports Champions. Stoll Field was home to UK Football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Across the street, UK Basketball Coach Adolph Rupp was settling into his “new” Memorial Coliseum.

Today, my brother and I, both UK graduates and Kentucky Colonels, keep up with UK sports at

Friday, March 21, 2008

Site of Elder Drug Company

An earlier post (January 25) shows J. D. Elder in front of his 1914 drug store.
He later moved to this corner and took in his new son-in-law as partner.
Earlier posts show the historic homes of J. D. Elder (February 8) and
son-in-law J. H. Slaton (February 11).
The side view shows steps to the drug store's rear entrance,
and a door to a stairway to the offices of Dr. R. E. Cardwell.
For the current status of this corner of East Main and South Broadway, see:
Read what Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton recently said about preservation:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Heating With Coal

The article in my earlier post, Providence (KY) in 1912,
reported that Providence had seventeen active mines.
For a list of mines, go to:

As you would guess, homes were heated by coal.
An early photo of the Historic J. D. Elder House, (Feb 8th post),
shows its TWO chimneys.
A later photo shows the LEFT chimney replaced.
The fireplaces were sealed and natural gas heaters installed in the 1950's.
There was no longer a need for the detached coal shed.
The Historic J. H. Slaton House, (Feb 11th post),
had a furnace in the basement - with coal delivered through
a coal chute near the front porch steps.
On our farm in Union County coal was delivered through the window shown behind our horse.

Providence Company Stores - Then and Now

There were two coal company stores on South Broadway,
on opposite sides of Bank Street.

Ruckman Store Company and Providence Mining Company are described in the
1912 Enterprise articles above.

The color photo, taken by me in 2004, shows the Ruckman site and
the remaining half of the Providence Mining Company Store.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

W. B. Snow

This continues my series of profiles of Crittenden County Natives.
This 1912 Enterprise story shows W. B. Snow as an assistant bank cashier.

In 1940 the Enterprise had this ad for his Providence Ice & Fuel Company.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Juriah's Children

In an earlier post I mentioned that Juriah and J. D. Elder moved to Providence with their

five children. There is apparently no photo of all five siblings together.

The top photo, taken shortly after they moved in September 1910, shows (L to R):
Mary, Anna, Carl and Otto. Sadly, Carl died a few months later.

The next photo, taken about 1919, shows, (L to R):
Mary, Anna, Otto and Stella>

The bottom photo, taken in 1961, shows (L to R):

Stella, Otto, Anna and Mary.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Juriah's Trunk of Quilts

Due to reader interest in my post "Juriah's Elder's Quilt Collection",

I've pulled two more unquilted tops from my

late grandmother's hump-back trunk.

Quilt lovers refer to such patterns as:


Siblings Gathered at J. H. Slaton House

This photo was taken about 1928 at a Slaton Reunion.


Lula Slaton Duncan

Mattie B. Slaton Pride

Joseph Henry Slaton

Lillie P. Slaton Williams

Charles Nathan Slaton

Mary Emma Slaton Williams
Joseph’s siblings traveled to the reunion from Crittenden and Union Counties,
Nathan’s family and neighbors were enumerated in Union County 1930 Census:
Dwelling , Name, Relationship, Color, Age
454 SLATON, Nathan Head W 36
Net Wife W 33
Virginia Dau W 10

455 BELL M G Head W 43
Octavia Wife W 42
Vernon Son W 16

456 RICHARDS George Head neg 55
Bella Wife neg 39
Agnes dau neg 9
Georgia dau neg 8
Edith dau neg 7
Betty dau neg 5
Maude dau neg 1 3/12

Virginia Slaton attended the nearby Pride Elementary School (segregated).

The Richards daughters walked to their segregated school in Sturgis. Their father was a day laborer on the Slaton brothers’ farms. During periods of racial unrest, George was allowed to leave work early, so he could walk home to be with his family before dark.
The turbulent integration of the previously all white Sturgis school in 1956 was reported nationally.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Four Generations Gathered at J. H. Slaton House


James Briston Slaton (1845-1935), Father of

John Thomas Slaton (1869-1941), Father of

Joseph Henry Slaton (1898-1967), Father of

James Davis Slaton, My Brother.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A. E. Orr

Continuing my series of profiles of Crittenden County Natives.

Source: Providence (KY) Enterprise, August 13, 1912.

Lumber Companies

Two of the Crittenden County Natives opened lumber businesses.

Top Article, Frederic Lemon.

Source: Centennial Supplement of the Providence Enterprise, July 18, 1940.

Bottom Article, F. A. Casner.

Source: Providence (KY) Enterprise, August 13, 1912.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jim Slaton in the 5th Grade

An earlier post (Feb 16) , Juriah Elder Celebrates Grandson's First Birthday,

shows Jim Slaton at the Historic J. D. Elder House on Cedar Street.

Later his parents and Jim moved to the Historic J. H. Slaton House on South Broadway.

He attended the nearby Broadway School, where he is pictured in the 5th grade.
Front row, 3rd from right.
He would walk past the school enroute to the store.
See comments on this post.

The D. L. Ford mentioned in this story was one of the
Crittenden County Natives identified in my January 25th post.

Sources: Family Files and Providence (KY) Enterprises, 1940 and 1912.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Early Providence Drug Stores

In my January 30th post, Providence Department Store, you learned prescriptions could be filled in their GROCERY department. You could have gone down Railroad Street to Baynhams, an "exclusive drug store".

If you went up the hill, to the corner of Main and Broadway, you would find Niswongers, opened in 1883.

Source: Providence (KY) Enterprise, August 13, 1912.

Patriot William Elder Fought at Kings Mountain

William Elder (1750-1808) fought at Kings Mountain (NC) on October 7, 1780.

Also serving in the War for Independence were his six brothers, two not surviving.

Four of the surviving brothers took a boat to Kentucky, as discussed in my earlier post.

Source of above map: Page 308, The Complete Idiot's Guide to The American Revolution.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Will of Alexander M. Henry

Alexander M. Henry was born March 16, 1793 in Virginia.

He represented Hopkins County(KY) in the Legislature in 1826-27.

He moved to UNION County in 1830, and settled near Caseyville,

where he died in 1849.

In Item 10 he bequested to grandson ALEX "one horse saddle and bridle...".

ALEX, brother of JOSEPH DIXON HENRY, was one of the brothers named in my post:
Five Union County Brothers...

For more posts on SLAVES in WesternKentucky,
visit my favorite blog at

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Juriah Elder Celebrates Grandson's First Birthday

Eighty four years ago today Juriah Simpson Elder posed with

James Davis Slaton on his first birthday. They are shown in

front of the well secured detached garage of the

historic J. D. Elder House in Providence (KY).

James was born there !

Happy Birthday James !

Friday, February 15, 2008

Henry Reunion - 1956

Descendants of Joseph Dixon Henry used to meet for a reunion every year.
The last one I attended was in August 1956.
Henry descendants adding their comments to this post can be part of

Henry Reunion - 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Providence (KY) in 1912

I copied this article from the old Providence Enterprise

I cited in my Providence Department Store post on January 30th.

A few words are missing at the fold !

Would you like to more items from that issue ?

Monday, February 11, 2008

J. H. Slaton House - Then and Now

History of J. H. Slaton House:

This frame house was bought around 1926 by Joseph Henry Slaton, a partner with his father-in-law, J. D. Elder, in the Elder Drug Company. The J. D. Elder House and their drug store site are both registered as Kentucky Historic Structures. The Slaton House is adjacent to the historic Hicks House site of today’s Parker Warner Museum.
Around 1944 Mr. Slaton sold the house to then Providence Policeman John Sigler. John Sigler, and subsequently his widow, lived in the house for many years - thus its frequent reference today as the Sigler House. The house was later owned by the Providence Board of Education.

John Thomas Slaton and wife Effie Henry, one of the eleven children of
Civil War Veteran Joseph Dixon Henry, are shown in front of the home
of their son Joseph Henry Slaton.

When I was born there it was designated 428 1/2 South Broadway.

Simpson Bible

Juriah Simpson's Mother, Hester Ann Sigler Simpson (1846-1916)
is shown holding the Simpson Bible.
I do not know where the Bible is today.
Fortunately, I have a copy of the Bible's Record page - shown above picture.
It shows Simpson birth dates from 1800 to 1907.

Five Union County Brothers Served in Cavalry

My paternal great-grandfather, Joseph Dixon Henry, served in the
10th (Johnson's) Kentucky Cavalry, C. S. A.
He served with his brothers: Alex, George, Thomas and William.
Descendants of Alex Henry have an excellent site at
In the will of Alexander M. Henry (My Feb 17 Post)
Alex's Grandfather left him
"one horse saddle and bridle (worth seventy dollars)"
in 1848 dollars !

Sunday, February 10, 2008

J. D. Elder House in Shady Grove (KY)

Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Elder and their five children lived in this house until September 1910.

I have not visited the house since I took this Polaroid photo in 1979

Have you seen this house ?

I would appreciate you appending your comments to this post.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Elders Boat Trip to Kentucky in 1790's

J. D. Elder's great-grandfather, Patriot William Elder, was probably guided
by a map like this. (Click above image for clearer view)
William Elder, and his brothers, trip from Spartansburg, South Carolina,
as recalled by a descendant:
"coming over the mountains to the Holston River and down that and the
Tennessee in a flat boat to the Ohio. Up that river and the Cumberland by poling
the boat until opposite this place" (Today's Dycusburg).

Friday, February 8, 2008

J. D. Elder House - Cedar Street, Providence, Ky

History of J. D. Elder House:
This four-room frame house was bought in 1910 by J. D. and Juriah Elder. They moved with their five children from nearby Shady Grove where J. D. owned a drug store. J. D.‘s great-grandfather, Revolutionary War veteran William Elder, had settled in the area in 1797. The house on Cedar Street was within walking distance to
J. D. ’s new drugstore at the southeast corner of Main and Broadway - a building registered as a Kentucky Historic Structure. The area’s bustling coal industry was evidenced until the 1940’s by two “company stores” across the street from the drugstore.
Called “Papa” by his family and known to associates as J. D. or Jeff, he was born Jefferson Davis Elder on February 2, 1863 while Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate States of America.
In 1923 J. D. enlarged the four-room house by expanding to the rear. Indoor plumbing and electricity were added. The remaining three elevations and landscaping remain as they were a century ago. The lot is the largest in the neighborhood, and J. D. and Juriah fed their growing family from a large garden and assortment of fruit trees.
Following J. D. ‘s death in 1940 Juriah stayed in the house and operated the drugstore another two decades. After Juriah’s death in 1961 her daughter Mary lived in the house until her death in 1987. Her two sons, who once lived in the house, own the house now and are maintaining the house and grounds in memory of the pioneer druggist Jefferson Davis Elder and Patriot William Elder.

Mrs. Juriah Simpson Elder is shown on the steps of the house in an early photograph.

The color photos shows the house today.