The Town of Littles

It is  going to be another frigid January night of subzero temperatures.  Our house is insulated.  We have good replacement windows and a good furnace.  I sleep under an electric blanket.  Tonight I am thinking about another house in the 1920s coal mining town of Littles, up in the far northwest corner of Patoka Township here in Pike County.

Joyce DeJarnett Truitt is a regular commentor on my blog.  She has shared fascinating memories of the area, such as her Grandmother seeing ghosts in the old Ingle house.  We have become friends through email.  Joyce has a book in the Pike County Library genealogy department, “The Ford DeJarnett Family”.  I just saw an out of print copy of it for sale on the internet at Abe Books for $135.00!!  One story is that her great grandfather Ford DeJarnett built two buildings facing each other, in case one caught fire the family could just move into the other one.   Joyce was born in 1927 to Lowell and Golda Christmas DeJarnett at Littles in one of the coal mine company houses.  This past week she sent me this photo of when she was a little girl growing up in there.

l to r:  Joyce Dejarnett; John Beard, her cousin; and her sister Ruth.

l to r: Joyce DeJarnett; John Beard, her cousin; and her sister Ruth.  John was the son of Leonard Beard and lived in another company house.

They lived in the 4 Row Houses, the house on the end.  It was a company house owned by the Littles man. I look at the pictures of these old clapboard houses and wonder how they stayed warm in the winters.   I guess you slept by the stove, shared a bed and piled on the quilts.  My Grandma grew up in such houses in Muren.  She  said they “built walls” out of cardboard and newspaper and whatever they could find to help insulate.

There is not much there when you drive through Littles now.  If you don’t know where Littles is, you would never know you were driving through it.  Don’t confuse it with Glezen, formerly known as Hosmer.

Geological Survey map 1902.

Geological Survey map 1902.

Littles was named after the man who formed the Littles Coal Company, S. W.  Littles of Evansville.  The Littles Coal Company worked here from 1887 to 1928.  It was a deep mine, complete with a tipple and mule barns.  The Company houses were built in rows.  Four Row was east by the two room school building.  Yellow Row was on both sides of the road through town.  Nine Row was south along the ridge above the mine.  Littles had a general store, a post office, a barber shop, a doctor’s office, and a hotel and depot.  A board walk ran between these buildings at the foot of the hill because of flooding in the low lying area the town was built on.  The church to the east still stands, rebuilt after a fire.  A few of the old houses still stand.

Stay warm tonight my friends.

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A Trip to Patoka National Wildlife Refuge

My Momma and I decided to walk the trail at Maxey Marsh yesterday.  It was drizzling some rain then the sun popped out.  The fall colors were glowing.  It was gorgeous.  We drove the roads at the newly opened area of the Sycamore Land Trust.  My Momma had not been out there for years,  since it had been the old curvy Massey Road.  We talked about the man who had all of the old cars in sheds and truck beds that Dad used to trade with.  I wanted to share the photos of our outing.

Driving through the Ayrshire Road Barrens.

Driving through the Ayrshire Road Barrens.

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The field on my brother’s farm.

I'm sure this Marsh has a name.  It was across the road from Snakey Point.

I’m sure this Marsh has a name. It was across the road from Snakey Point.

I like the tree and the colors.

Colors.

Snakey Point Marsh

Snakey Point Marsh

Snakey Point when the sun came out.

Snakey Point when the sun came out.

Roads in the Sycamore Land Trust area

Roads in the Sycamore Land Trust area

Old Perlina Whitman's Barn

Perlina Whitman’s Old Barn

On the way home.

On the way home.

From the Sycamore Land Trust Page:   The Columbia Mine Preserve is now open for public use and enjoyment! Visitors are welcome to engage in passive recreational uses, including hiking, bird-watching, and photography. A Grand Opening Ceremony will be held on November 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

http://sycamorelandtrust.org/news/columbia-mine-opening

My friend Amber hosts a blog with nature photos taken around here.  Check it out at :   http://www.pikecountywilds.com/index.html

2013 Tractor Drive

It’s almost time for the Tractor Drive and this year I will be able to ride along for the first time.  I am looking forward to learning a little history, enjoying some good company and viewing the fall scenery in Pike County.

If you can’t make it on the entire drive, maybe you could stop by to eat breakfast or lunch to visit with everyone and check out the tractors.

Breakfast will be at the Glezen Revival Center where the drive starts at 9:30 am.  Lunch will be at Hornady Park .

2013 Tractor Drive

2013 Tractor Drive

Mac’s Cafe on Main Street in Winslow

My grandma, Barbara Bolin Evans,  had fond memories of working at Mac’s Café.  She used to walk from Muren to Winslow into work. My Grandpa Evans always told the story about how when he first met her she was walking to work in the winter without a coat.  He said the first thing he did when they started dating was buy her a winter coat.

She was close to the Dedman and McCord families back then, who ran the cafe.  She remembered John David and Mary Jane Dedman Smith as children growing up there.  I asked John David to share a little history of the store with me.  John David Dedman runs the Winslow Eskimo website at www.jddedman.com.  He worked for years as a postal clerk in Winslow and has some good stories to share.

Mac's Cafe, Main Street Winslow, about 1956

Mac’s Cafe, Main Street Winslow, about 1956.  Where the bank parking lot is now.

“At one time back in the 50’s, there was a Marathon gas station on the corner just south of the restaurant and there was a big sign out front that said “Mac’s Café”.  Actually it was a tavern but they did have a fairly good food business, especially sandwiches.

The tavern burned in either 57 or 58 and was a total loss.   The building was owned by Harcourt Scales and was not re-built after the fire.   Someone had broken in to the tavern to steal things and torched it to cover up the break in.

Attached is a picture I had of the inside of the restaurant and I think it is dated 1952.   The lady to the far left is Sarah McCord, my grandmother and I am sure the waitress is Barbara, your grandmother.   I think the man drinking the beer could have been Pap Dorsey and the man sitting behind him reminds me of John Hunley.   I cannot think of the names of the lady and man sitting at the bar but they were frequent guests in there.

I have this picture up on my web site at http://www.jddedman.com.   The juke box is one of those old rare Seeberg record players, and then they had a bumper pool table.  Later they put in a shuffle board and a TV.   The kitchen was on the back left side and the door on the right was to men’s restroom, the ladies room was closer to the kitchen.   One time in the mid 40’s they had slot machines that sat around the restroom door and along the wall.   I remember on VE-D in 1945 after the end of the Japan war, I hit the jackpot on the 10 cent slot machine.  It was not long after that the slots were taken out, and buried as it was becoming illegal to have them.”

Mac's Cafe, 1952.

Mac’s Cafe, 1952.

I had shared this picture with my grandma and she agreed she was the waitress.  She remembered that old plaid dress.

“ After the tavern burnt, the John Russ Insurance Agency re-built it and had their insurance office there for several years.   John Russ, Herbert Russ and Basil Thompson worked there.   At one time, John let us use the back part of his office for amateur radio meetings which we held every month on a Monday night for a long time.   I was a licensed ham, as well as Basil, and Herb wanted to get a license but never did.   Ernie Hume and his wife and son did get a ham license. “

My grandma told me that she had a picture of Pearl and the store somewhere too.  We found it one day in a box in the old cupboard in her bedroom.  I shared it with John who told me about the picture.

The McCord at Mac's Cafe.

The McCord’s at Mac’s Cafe.

“The photo you sent me was of Pearl B. McCord and his wife, Sarah E. McCord.  They were the owners of Mac’s Café which was located at the location where the Citizens State Bank (German American) now sits.   Pearl was my mother’s father and at one time in the early 30’s was Postmaster at Winslow Post Office.   My actual grandmother – Audie, died when my mother was only 12 years old and Pearl married Sarah a few years later and they lived in the house down from you on Center Street where Jerry and Mary Jane lived for years..

I had lived in the same house from about 1958 until 1963 when I moved to Evansville, then Mary & Jerry moved in there.

My grandfather had a large roll top desk sitting where you see them in the picture and he did his book work there and it was where he could see the bar and kitchen.  After the fire, the only thing that was saved was the desk and I ended up with it myself.  I had to take off the roll-top as it was damaged too much, but the rest was okay and I used it for years while I was living in Winslow. “

My Grandparents Schooling

My grandparents were schooled along side all of the other coal miners children in two of the early schools that are no longer standing.

My grandma went to a few different schools.  She always said she went to the one that was north of Winslow back behind Sunset Cemetery before the coal mines took all  of that land and it’s communities.  She went to the Birch school for awhile.  But mostly she went to Muren School.

The old Muren School building.

The old Muren School building.

The old Muren school sat on the corner of the Ayrshire Road and the Line Road.  For years the old water pump was still standing in the field but it is now gone.  My dad and Gene McCandless helped tear the school down.  Gene’s dad, Kenny McCandless was using the lumber for something or other.  Dad drove a huge splinter of wood through his shoe into his foot longways.  Gene took him to Grandpa Bolin because they were the doctoring kind and could fix what ailed you.  Grandpa took dads foot, cut the length of the splinter open and pulled it out.  Dad said he put coal tar on it, bandaged it up, put the boot back on and sent him back to work.  Dad said it never did get infected and healed up just fine.  Hurt like heck though.

Grandma, Evelyn and Denver at Muren School.

Grandma, Evelyn and Denver at Muren School.

My cousin Missy had this old class photo of Muren School.  My grandma, Barbara Bolin Evans is the first little girl on the first row.  Her sister, Evelyn Bolin Vogel (Missy’s mom) is the last girl on the last row.  Their brother, Denver Bolin is the tall boy on the back row.  This was taken sometime in the late 1920s,  early 1930s.

I may have told the story before about the pair of socks but I will tell it again because that is what storytellers do.  Grandma and Ev had only one pair of socks they shared.  The school was going on a field trip to the Evansville Zoo.  Grandma wanted to wear the socks to the zoo.  She was so mad because Ev had worn them, washed them, put them too close to the fire and they burned up.

Maybe some of you know the other students in the picture?

My Pappaw John Evans, who is really my stepgrandpa but never would have had it any other way than he was my grandpa, went to Arthur School when he was a little boy.  He had these two photos in his old pictures.  The old Arthur school has finally fallen in.  You can still see where it’s fallen and the chimney stands.  Look straight ahead at the old 64 shortcut road.

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Old Arthur School in the late teens, early 1920s.

Pappaw John is on the back row about the 3rd boy in.  He has shorter hair.  The boy on the front row in the dark pants and dark jacket might possibly be his brother, Bertis just by the family resemblance.  He kind of looks like my uncle Buck.  I like how the boys had to take off their hats for the picture and they are all up in the window sills of the school behind them.

1925 Arthur School

1925 Arthur School

This one is a little easier to date because the boy is holding the basketball with the date 1925 on it.  Pappaw John is standing to the right of the boy holding the ball.  The windows have been broken and one is patched with a Beech Nut advertisement.

Maybe someone can identify some of the other kids in these too?