Kinship with the Sharp Family

When you go back a couple of generations our coal mining families from the Muren, Turkey Hill, and Massey area all ended up married into each other.  I can add the Sharp family to my Bolin family tree along with most families from those parts.    Our families have remained friends to this day.

After writing my blogs about My Grandparents Schooling and 1920:  Cold Blooded Murder or Sad Accident?  I started getting emails that Jean Meyer wanted to talk to me about my blogs and the history of the area.  At the time, I did not know who she was.  Her son had commented on the Schooling blog that his mom lived in the house that the was built from the lumber of the old Muren School that my dad helped tear down and haul over to the Arthur shortcut.   He stopped in to talk to me one night about it, telling me that his mom was a Sharp and that the 1920 Murder blog was about her uncle Cecil.  With two blogs tied to the same family, I had to meet her and hear her stories.

Between work and family obligations I found a Monday afternoon to spend with Jean.  At 80 years old,  she is a good storyteller.  If you are interested in the area, you should catch her out and about sometime and listen to her.  She remembers people,  places and things.  So many of that generation are gone and the stories are gone with them.  It was a very pleasant afternoon for me.  One I will repeat often.

Jean showed me her house, the old part that was built with the lumber from the Muren School.  I thought of the photos I had seen of the Muren School and of the stories passed down. That these boards had seen my Grandma as a little girl going to school and my dad as a young boy tearing it down and moving it to this spot.  It was kind of surreal standing in it.

She has this old table in her dining room.  Her grandmother, Issa Sharp bought it in the Ingle Store (formerly Snyders, now the Main Street market).  It was purchased used around 1900.

Purchased used at the Ingle Store in Winslow about 1900.

Purchased used at the Ingle Store in Winslow around 1900.

We talked about the murder.  Her uncle Cecil was the murder victim.  Everyone believed it was murder.  No one believed it was accidental.  It was said Cecil had some money on him that day.  Her grandpa hired a detective to investigate it.  Her family buried Victor Black alongside their son.   She showed me some photos of Cecil and the Black boy is with him in several.  They were good friends.

Jean was born Lois Jean Sharp and married Ab Meyer.  Her folks were Louis Sharp and Ollie Bruce.  Her grandparents were Lance Sharp and Issa Tooley.  Her great grandparents were Tom Sharp and Mary Lamb.  Tom Sharp came to America from Scotland.  He was a coal miner who ended up here in Pike County.

Jean shared a box of old photos with me.  I scanned them and visited with her another afternoon so that we could add descriptions to them.  She wanted me to have the Bolin photos.  She also wants to share them with other family members here on the blog.  I have shared them on this link at the Pike IN Genweb page.


Tom Sharp and family at house on Kitchen Corners.

Tom Sharp and family at house on Kitchen Corners.


Annual Antique Tractor Drive

This year on Saturday, September 22, the 5th Annual Antique Tractor Drive meandered through a lot of Patoka Township and my old stomping grounds.  For those of you not familiar with the group, each year they take their old tractors and do a drive through some historic parts of Pike County.  This year about thirty six drivers participated and three wagon loads of  onlookers rode along after meeting up at The Trading Post about 10 am.  I had to work and was unable to ride so Sherry Lamey shared the information and Terenda Wyant shared her photos with me for this post.

For this blog, I’m not going to use the road numbers now assigned but the names we always called them (and still do most times!).

Meeting up at the Trading Post.

The group started out down Hathaway Station Road to wind up at Ashby Cemetery as their first stop.  Ashby Cemetery sitting out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by land that is now coal mined was once a thriving little community.

Ashby was named after the family members of Benjamin and Margaret (Burdett) Ashby from Hampshire County, Virginia who settled there soon after they were married in 1813 after temporarily residing at White Oak Springs.  Their graves are located in Ashby Cemetery.  Benjamin died in 1881, Margaret in 1860.   Thomas English, a native of Vermont, taught in the pay schools  of Pike County.  His first school of this kind was in the Ashby neighborhood in the year of 1844.  Benjamin’s sons and grandsons became large landowners in the area and successful businessmen.  If I remember correctly the little Ashby Church was burned during an act of vandalism several years ago.  

Tractor drive

They then drove over to Scottsburg Road to wind up at New Liberty Church and Cemetery near Coe.

 Coe used to be called Arcadia and was laid off in 1869 by Simeon LeMasters.  I don’t know much about the history of this church and cemetery.  If anyone does, tell me about it in the comment section below.

Old Barns on the drive

Next they went across the road through the old South Fork areas and wound up on the Line Road.

 It is the Meridian used for old grid mapping systems that divided the county into the North and South sections, now it’s called Meridian instead of the Line Road.  Division Road divided the East and West.  Many of Pike County’s early settlers settled along the Line Road.  It runs through what is now the Patoka National Wildlife Refuge.


Patoka Grove Church was their next stop.    Other friends and neighbors joined them there for a dutch treat lunch by the Pike County Young Farmers in the churchyard.  Some guitar music, singing and fiddling was provided by Norb Wehr and Freddie Hopf from Dubois County and enjoyed by all.   You can read more about the history of Patoka Grove Church on this past blog post.

Patoka Grove Church and Williams Cemetery

Stopping at Patoka Grove Church and Williams Cemetery on the route.

Pike County Young Farmers lunch in the churchyard.

Picking and fiddling at Patoka Grove Church.

The group left Patoka Grove Church and wound their way down to Snakey Point.  You can read more about the history of Snakey Point on this past blog post.

Snakey Point and the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge

The group then wound around on the old Winslow Oakland City Road, the one used before the Highway 64 was built and where the old community of Ingleton was located.  Like other old areas named for the families that lived there, some may have heard it called Whitman and Wiggs.  We’ll just say they wound around and came back up H Pit Road and stopped at the church again for a pit stop before heading back down # 7 Road to Muren Road and the old coal mining community of Muren.

In Muren they went past the old coal mine houses, one of which is featured at the top of my blog.  For more about Muren read these past blog posts.

A Winslow Auction and A Muren Reunion

My Grandma and the Early Years at Muren and Turkey Hill

Muren 2010 and 1965

Then they turned onto Ayrshire Road and went through the bottoms and around Kitchen Corners to the old Ingle Barn where only the silo stands today.  The Meyers family owns it now and has done a wonderful job of keeping it cleaned up and retaining some of it’s history.  They had their dad, Ab Meyers old tractor sitting there for the drive.  The house across the road is the one that David Ingle gave to his black butler and family and they became caretakers of the barns and property.

The silo of the old Ingle Barn remains.

They then turned into Logtown and rode past the remains of the old coke ovens down by the railroad tracks across from where the old Ayrshire store was.  The old beehive ovens are built in a row, double with ovens on the front and back.  For more history of Logtown see this blog post.


After leaving Logtown they drove back down Ayrshire Road and over to where they started at the Trading Post.

Jim Capozella followed along in his truck to serve as aid if needed by anyone.

Ms. Burns of the Pike Central Digital Design and Visual Communications department came out and did the interviews with the drivers.  Their group helps put together the dvds.

DVDs are for sale of the historic tractor drives.  Not only is it the scenery, but inserted are interviews with folks telling of the history of these places.   If interested, let me know and I will try to put you in touch with the right person to order a copy.

My Grandma and the Early Years at Muren and Turkey Hill

My grandma passed away last July.  She was very special to us.   I have wanted to post some photos and stories of her early years growing up in Muren and Turkey Hill.   Her grandfather, father and brothers were coal miners.   My Grandma was Barbara Katherine Bolin, the youngest child of Aaron and Margaret Sophire Dixon Bolin.  She was born May 20, 1922.  She had two brothers and three sisters.  This is the only photo I have seen of all six of them together.  This was taken in the 70s at Grandma’s house in Muren.  

Aline, Evelyn, Barbara, Lorene, Denver and Wesley Bolin

Aline, Evelyn, Barbara, Lorene, Denver and Wesley Bolin

The following photos were taken in Muren and Turkey Hill.  Grandma lived both places growing up.  She used to tell us a story of a large black panther that would wander the fence rows in the evening looking for scraps to eat when she lived on Turkey Hill.

Opal Simmons (?), Evelyn Bolin, Denver Bolin, unknown baby and Grandma

Grandma, Lorene Bolin, Evelyn Bolin, Denver Bolin and Virgil (Tyring?)

Evelyn Bolin, Grandma holding the doll, Denver Bolin

Maggie Dixon Bolin, Grandma, Barbara Dixon Frasier holding Cintithy Frasier, Evelyn Bolin

I think this photo is so sweet, especially the dirty bare feet.    Times were hard during the depression in the coal mining communities.  Grandma said relatives would drop in unexpected and Ma would just add more water to the soup.  

Grandma as a young girl

Grandma attended several area schools, but mostly Muren School.   Another story she told was she and her sister Evelyn had one pair of socks between them that they took turns wearing.  The school was taking the children to the zoo at Evansville and they both wanted to wear the socks.  Somehow Evelyn won.  She washed the socks and laid them out by the stove to dry.  She had them too close and the socks burnt up. 

Grandma Wedding Day

Grandma, my Grandpa Bill Lynn and their baby Billy Joe Lynn

Grandma in her new coat

When my dad was a little boy, they lived on the road off of Kitchen Corners that does not exist anymore.  It ran to Number Seven Road before the coal mines took it.  The houses there were built on stilts because they were in the old barrens.

Muren 2010 and 1965

       In September 2010, I once again attended the Muren Reunion.  I so enjoy that bunch of people.  I feel at home with them all.  They make me feel like a little girl again.  


Muren Gals 2010

Muren Gals 2010


Muren Guys 2010

Muren Guys 2010


    It was 1965.  We were country people.   We lived at Muren in one of the old coal company Portland cement houses.  The bread truck delivered the bread.  The milk truck delivered the milk.  We didn’t have running water.  We had an outhouse and a well.  Daddy worked second shift at Whirlpool and Momma stayed home with us.    I would have been about five years old and my little brothers around 3 and 1. 


1965 My Family

1965 My Family


    The bread truck and the milk man coming were exciting to watch for and probably how I learned my days of the week.  But nothing compared to the anticipation of the mailman coming.  My Momma was one who would save Kool-Aid packets, ordering Kool-Aid mugs and other random premium things like that.   I would get mail order clothes from Sears.   We never knew what would come in the mail, so it was a treat to go to the mailbox.   My grandparents on Momma’s side lived in South Carolina so at Christmas a big happy box of wrapped presents would come in the mail, along with a tin of fruitcake that wasn’t so thrilling to me.   Momma had a big rose of Sharon bush on the road bank.   Daddy dug into the bank and made steps out of blocks with a steel pipe handrail.   It seemed so steep and far down to the mailbox.   I walked so carefully.  When I see it I wonder at that five year old fear. 


We lived in third house down

We lived in third house down


    Momma was a lot of fun.  She would get the most out of Quaker oats.  We ate the oats, she got the dishes, and then she would make us toys out of the empty box.  A few cuts and there was a doll cradle for me.  Somehow she made a covered wagon for the boys.  She would make us hats out of the envelopes from the mail.  She even knew how to make hats out of newspaper.  She cut out Betsy McCall paper dolls for me.     She let me lick the stamps to put in the stamp books from the grocery store where you could earn prizes.   Daddy knew how to have fun too.  He was used to making something out of nothing.  He made us a merry go round.  My seat was an old tricycle and baby Jimmy’s seat was an old wooden seat from a high chair or other baby contraption.  Daddy would push us round and round until we would holler for him to stop because we were dizzy. 


S1965 cared of Santa? Tired of Santa Claus Land? Been bad and worried?

1965 Scared of Santa? Tired of Santa Claus Land? Been bad and worried?


   We had an outhouse.  Daddy had made a little seat in it for us kids.  We would go down the dirt path with Momma to the outhouse.   She would grab for the door and there would be a snake hanging there.   Sometimes I never saw it, but I ran back up the path with her screaming right beside her.    Daddy was a trader and seemed to always have a sword around.  I remember him grabbing the sword and chopping up the toilet snake. 

   The well was another story.  My Momma’s great grandfather, some great uncles and some cousins in South Carolina were well diggers.   Several of them had been buried or drowned in the wells they were digging.  If not every time, at least every other time we went outside to play, she always said “stay away from the well.”  Our well dried up and Daddy went in to clean it before the water truck came.  I remember him going down the old wooden rung ladder and asking if I wanted to come down.  It was cool down there.  Was he crazy?  I wasn’t getting in the well.  I knew it scared Momma and something terrible could happen. 

     My daddy was a true shade tree mechanic.  Motors literally hung from the branches of the old tree by the driveway.   There was always an old car he and his brother Billy Joe were fixing up, usually a small convertible of some kind.    His place to go for parts was Quick Brothers, between Ayrshire and Winslow. 

    Daddy would ask me to go along with him. Now that was special.   I was so small and the cars were so big, I would stand up in the passenger seat with my window rolled down so I could see everything. There weren’t any car seats and seat belts.   I hoped everyone would be outside so they could see me in the car.  Ma Bolin always seemed to be outside and would wave.  Daddy would sing to Johnny Cash songs on the radio.  Driving through the barrens was shady and Daddy would jerk you around at Kitchen Corners and you had to hold on.   We would laugh.  Then we would go by the big old Ingle Barn.  Then into Ayrshire where I hoped some more people were out in their yards that I could wave to.    Then we would get to Doyal Shoultz’s mom and dad’s house.   They put out a big garden by the road and always had a scarecrow.  I was scared of scarecrows and would jump down into the floorboard and hide there till we started down the hill to Quick’s Garage. 

    I will never forget the smell at Quick’s of old car parts, oil, tires and burnt coffee.  All the old men hung out there, sitting in chairs in the cluttered front.  Fat Conley always teased me.   Jackie or Johnny or Gettis would take me to the back where there was a big old glass candy jar full of suckers.  I could pick out what I wanted, usually grape.   Sometimes Gettis or Johnny would get me a cold grape or orange pop out of the bottle machine if they weren’t busy.  I would sit on a high stool at the back counter while Daddy dug around for his parts.  Daddy always got for himself a red and white pack of Pall Mall cigarettes from the old cigarette machine.  He would roll them up in the sleeve of his t shirt and we would head back home to Muren.



Momma, me and Denny Muren Reunionn 2010

Momma, me and Denny Muren Reunion 2010



What’s A Kid to Do

What did we all do as kids growing up here in Winslow?    Hasn’t that been asked throughout the years?  Most likely since 1835 when the town was first formed.   

I don’t know what my great grandparents did.  I would imagine picnics and church socials were the activities of the day.  I know watermelon season was a big event in our area, as was wheat threshing.  It seems every old postcard you read from the area someone is asking if you are coming for watermelon or to the wheat threshing, as the machine traveled from farm to farm.   

Very early on, the town would hold dances.  The businesses would have “Token Night” on Fridays.  My grandparents grew up in the Muren area.   On Friday evenings they would walk to town on the railroad tracks or road, and ride the train if they could afford it.   It was the 20s and 30s, the time of the Depression.   People would come to town to mingle and visit.  To see and be seen.  You didn’t even have to have any money. The Ingle Barn in Ayrshire  hosted dances, cattle auctions and the boys could play basketball in the loft.  A movie theater came to town.  You could see a movie for a nickel.  My grandma saw her first movie here, a silent film.  She knew who all of the old silent film stars were. 

What remains of the old Ingle Barn on Ayrshire Road  2007

What remains of the old Ingle Barn on Ayrshire Road 2007

My dad grew up here too.   He and his brother walked to town along with all of the neighbor boys on the weekends.  Boys worked back then.  They helped with the family, but had a nickel or two for themselves every now and then.  My dad worked on the Hume Farm in Massey.  In the summers, they would work in the water melon patches at Decker, turning and picking melons.   My dad was two years younger than his brother.  He remembers how scary it was walking through the Kitchen Corners and bottom land between Ayrshire and Muren.  The older boys would tell spooky stories, then run off and leave the younger kids behind.  Dad said he ran as fast as he could from Ayrshire to Muren many a night. 

As for me, I have my memories of growing up in the 60s and 70s. 

A good memory is my dad loading us all up in the car to go for a drive, because there was no air conditioning.    The Line Road was his road of choice.  It had a canopy of trees across it, all shade.  I can still see myself leaning against that back seat with my window down, feel the cool air rolling right over my face, watching the leaves on the trees and the sky above me.  It looked like a kaleidoscope. 

My brothers and I lived on our bicycles.  You did not dare ride on the sidewalks.   Someone who owned a store would come out and chew your butt out.  Sidewalks were for walking.  I rode my bike for miles and miles.  My friend and I would ride to Muren.  We rode to Hosmer.  We even rode to Petersburg two times.  We would ride to Seven Lakes in Campbelltown and swim.  

 I had a paper route the summer when I was 12.  I delivered the Evansville Press and the Sunday morning paper on my pink stingray with the white basket, a birthday gift from the Oakland City Western Auto.  The pink and white streamers on the handlebars that I had bought at the dime store with my paper route money sparkling as I rode.

The old Dime Store in Winslow.  Link:

The old Dime Store in Winslow. Link:

 I remember one week, a girl around my age was kidnapped in Lawrenceville, Illinois.  My mom drove me that Sunday morning on my paper route.    In the summers, a bus took Winslow kids over to the Petersburg Pool  2 days a week.  For a quarter you could ride the bus, for a quarter you could swim.  If you were lucky, you could get a quarter for refreshments.  It didn’t really matter  if mom and dad could afford that, just getting to go swim was enough.   Twice a week there would be a big pile of bicycles under the tree by the road up at the old high school.  We didn’t have to lock them up with chains, they were just always there when we got back.  I can still see my brothers with their ball uniforms on and their mitts hanging over the handlebars on their bicycles, riding to the ballfield.  We hung out at the river alot, fishing with cane poles we bought at Speed Erwin’s bait shop and playing around at the dam. 

Falls at Patoka River in Winslow

The falls over the dam at the Patoka River in Winslow

We had root beer floats and cherry cokes at Parkers Drug store.  The Dog n Suds was there, but the hippies hung out there and our parents made us stay away.   We would try to read comic books or the latest Teen Beat at Parkers or the Dime Store, but those mean old ladies were right on top of you.  You couldn’t read it unless you were going to buy it first.  I really wanted to see if Archie picked Betty or Veronica or what David Cassidy was up too, but had to put it back on the shelf.     We would walk around town, looking for pop bottles to return for a nickel. 

I saw some comments that a few of you left on my posts mentioning sledding at Oak Hill Cemetery: 

Oak Hill cemetery brings back many memories for me. Not only are many of my ancestors buried there, but the cemetery and the road down “Goose Hill” were the main spots to sled when we had enough snow. I fondly remember one decent snow fall in the mid to late 1960’s (probably 5 or 6 inches) when several young people spent the day “preparing the hill”. We poured water down the hill in the back of the cemetery to create a very slick sled run and built ramps to jump sleds off. That evening, I’d bet there were 50 or more kids and adults there that night gathering around a bonfire and riding sleds. Someone brought a galvanized metal Coca Cola sign (round sign that rode like/better than one of today’s plastic discs). Kids rode the sign down the hill as well as sleds. It’s a great memory for me of growing up in Winslow, Indiana!   -Joe Dedman

       Yeah… I remember that coca cola “sled”. I took my sled to the cemetary one morning after the bonfire. As I came to the bottom of the hill, I couldn’t turn my sled fast enough and cut off my finger on the coke sign. It scared my cousin so bad he ran back to my grandmother’s house that was at the bottom of the cemetary hill and left me behind. My parents took me to Oakland City to the “hospital” where I spent the next few days. Looking back, I was upset about my finger. I was upset about a pair of new gold colored knit gloves that had to be cut off my hand. I really loved those gloves.    -Brenda Pirkle Tullos

  Those comments made me go get my old photo box and start looking for my photos of sledding at Oak Hill.  We actually went sledding  in the cemetery.   There was an old car hood in the valley, left there for that purpose.  The valley was cleared out back then.    It took 2 or 3 kids to pull that heavy thing up the hill.  But you could pile several kids on it for the ride down.

On the car hood at Oak Hill Cemetery 1977

On the car hood at Oak Hill Cemetery 1977

Sledding on the car hood at Oak Hill Cemetery 1977

Sledding on the car hood at Oak Hill Cemetery 1977

 My kids had the Bridgeout Festival to attend in the 80s and 90s.  It was actually a very nice Midway with carnival rides.  I liked it better than the Pike County Fair.   They rode 4 wheelers and bicycles with their friends.  They had the Pantry with its Candy Lane.   They had the Igloo for ice cream.    Winslow is still hilly, that never changes.  They had sledding.  My son spent literally hours at the little creek on the bottom of the cemetery hill on East Street exploring.  One summer every empty jar he could find had crawdads in it. 

Last Saturday, the town held the Community Festival, reminiscent of the BridgeOut Festival held in the  80s and 90s when the old steel bridge was torn down and replaced on Highway 61.  For $3.00, you could play on the Midway for the entire day.   A kid could ride the wagon pulled by a tractor down to the park for free.  The Methodist Church had free popcorn.  There was a karaoke contest.  Bands played.  There were fun kid contests.  A car show, a tractor show.    A chainsaw carver carved a Winslow Eskimo, which is still their school mascot, from a tree stump in the park.  For very little money, a kid could run around town all day and have fun. 

During the Summer, the local churches sponsored a Skate Night on Friday nights.  Volunteers helped work, and kids could skate for $1.00 at the old gym.  Kids were walking around our neighborhood, after having started a dog walking business.  They would walk your dog for $1.00.  Humm, wonder what they needed the dollar for? 

Bicycles are still the preferred mode of transportation for the kids in town.  One gorgeous day which I was enjoying on my screened in porch, a group of about 12 kids rode up to my neighbor’s house.  They had a “Bicycle Club”.  They were riding around town gathering all of their friends.  They were discussing the name for their club.  I thought to myself, how simple and timeless. 

Chainsaw Carver carving a Winslow Eskimo at Riverside Park.  September 2009

Chainsaw Carver carving a Winslow Eskimo at Riverside Park. September 2009