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.


Martin Minters of Logtown: Pike Pioneer Coal Miner Was Born in Slavery

At our February Genealogy meeting, a few of us found ourselves digging through stacks of old Winslow Dispatch newspapers that had been donated.  It was really random because the third paper I picked up had my grandmother’s marriage announcement on the front page.  Then Sherry picked up one that had my aunt’s birth announcement.  Suddenly Sherry handed me a paper and said “look, good blog material.”

I think it is good blog material. I get a lot of blog hits from the search of Logtown Pike County.

From the front page of the July 19, 1946 issue of the Winslow Dispatch:  Pike Pioneer Coal Miner: Martin Minters:  When the first deep coal mines of the county were opened, Martin Minters was one of the original miners who opened the first mines.   He is 91 years old, hale and hearty, though born in slavery.  He has lived in the Ayrshire community more than sixty years and has always conducted himself like a gentleman.

Martin Minters

The genealogist in me surfaced and I thought, “what a treasure for the family of this man.”  I would give anything to find a picture and story like this about some of my relatives.  I knew he lived in Ayrshire, probably in Logtown for some time.   He is buried in the Logtown Mt. Hebron Cemetery.  So I went to to see if anyone was working on him in their tree.  Nothing.  A google search turned up no family trees with Martin Minters.

Martin and his son, Lavonia Minters graves at Logtown.

By now curiosity was getting the best of me.  He was someone’s Papa in 1949 when he was buried.  I had to put together a life story for this man who had obviously lived quite a full life.

Grave of Martin Minters from Logtown Cemetery. From findagrave.

Martin was born in April of 1861 at Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky as a slave.  Parents unknown although he states on census records both parents were born in Virginia.  He was a mulatto, half white.

A Martin Minters who’s service record in the Civil War U.S. Colored Troops Military Records states he was a Private in Comp. G,  the 47th Infantry.  He was recruited in May of 1865 from the depot in Mobile, Alabama.  In July of 1865 he became sick and died of disease in August of 1865 at Pineville, Louisiana.   Who was he?  Someone related to the Pike County Martin Minters?

There were several Minter families living in Hardin County, Kentucky at this time and they were slave owners.  They came to Kentucky from Virginia.  Was Martin’s family a part of their slaves?  Did Martin take their name?

Slavery is such a big brick wall.

October 1, 1881 Martin Minter married Belle Williams.  The marriage record in Hardin County, Kentucky states: Boy of age, sworn, Henry Williams, father of girl present and consents. Black, Book 140 Hardin County, Kentucky

1900 census finds him at Mag. District 7, Kitchen, Hopkins County, Kentucky. The family is listed as black.   He and Belle have a daughter Ruth, 9 years old, son Lavonia, 3 years old and a boarder, John Fox.  Martin is a coal miner.

1910 census finds the family in Ayrshire, Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana.   They are living on the Ayrshire Road.  Martin is listed as a mulatto.  On this census, it looks like Belle and Martin are living in two different households next to each other.  Ruth is not on the census.  She would be 19 now, so possibly married or did she die? Their son,  Lavonia and a new son, Murl who is five is listed.  Lavonia is listed as black and Murl is listed as a mulatto.

January 1912, they will have another son, Flue A. C. Minters who only lives for a couple of months.  He died in March 1912.  His death record states:  Fluia A.C. Minters,  Date: March 16, 1912, Location: Pike County, Age: 2 months, Gender: Male, Race: Colored (black),  Source: County Health Office, Petersburg, Indiana, WPA Book 8, page H1.

Grave of baby, Flue A. C. Minters in Mt. Hebron Cemetery at Logtown.

1920 census finds the family still in Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana.  Martin, black, aged 69 married to Gertrude Curry, black, aged 34.  Lavonia and Murl, both black, live with them.  They can all read and write.  Martin and Lavonia work in the coal mines.

1930 census find the family still in Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana.  Martin, black, his wife, Gertrude and her mother, Elizabeth Curry.  They live on the Old State Road from Winslow to Oakland City.  Martin is still working as a coal miner at the age of 60 years.   The boys are living with their mother in Indianapolis in 1930, along with a nephew, Lavell Minters.

Now we know Martin has a brother who also lived in Pike County for a short time.  One the baby boy who did not live was named for.

Martin’s brother’s name was Flue Lerone Minters.  He was born in 1879.  He was in Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana on the 1910 and 1920 census.  Then in 1930 he was in Madisonville, Kentucky and widowed.  In 1944 he is found in Danville, Illinois as a helper in a hotel.  His wife’s name was Elizabeth and they had children:  Catherine, Charlie, Palestine, Lawrence, and Lavell.  His WW1 draft registration states he was a machine operator for the Ingle Coal Company while in Pike County.

Lavonia and his mother, Belle must have  moved back to Pike County because on Lavonia’s WWII draft registration in 1942 he and Belle are at RR3, Winslow, Indiana.

Belle Williams Minters died in 1944.

Martin dies in 1949 and is buried in Mt. Hebron Cemetery at Logtown in Ayrshire, Indiana.

His son, Lavonia, a WWI veteran dies in 1950 and is buried beside his father in Mt. Hebron Cemetery at Logtown, Ayrshire, Indiana.  Lavonia was married to Bertha Malone.  They had a daughter, Lavern.

Lavonia Minters grave, Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Logtown. from findagrave.

Martin’s son, Murl died  in 1968 at Indianapolis.

The Hardin County, Kentucky genweb page has a copy of the will of Clarissa Williams, mother to Belle Williams Minters.  It states there are no living heirs of Belle Williams Minters.

There are the facts for Martin Minters.  I am so sure there is much more to the story.

Logtown and the KKK

“Another true story”

“There was and still is a log church at Ayrshire. a mine village.   It is a one room small structure.   I think the Negro minister there was named Wickware.   I think my son could remember his successor Swearton, think he saw him at Otwell and Patoka Grove.   But the Pastor in about 1923 was having a service one weeknight and the church had an electricity switch in  a little hallway to keep the air during the winter from hurting when the front door was opened.   The lights went off and in about 1 minute on, and about 1 dozen came in like at Winslow.  Some screamed and went through the open windows.   At that time, there was no back door.   I think they have one now.  Everyone got out except the Pastor and a large heavy woman, one that would tell a fortune for 25c, some believed her.   She tried to leave by the window, but couldn’t get through, so she wilted down in a seat yelling “The Lord help me, the Lord help me”.   The Pastor was on the floor standing in front of his pulpit.   The 12 Klansmen walked two by two towards him, while he was shaking and his knees knocking.   I guess he was afraid to move .  When they came up two by two they would step to one side or circle the Pastor.   One stepped right in front of him and said, “Brother Wickware, we the Klu Klux Klan have heard of the good work you have been doing in your community and Fellow men, both white and black.  We the Klan want to thank you for your work and good deeds you have done in this little hamlet”.   He was still letting his knees give and shake and also his body, but not as bad as at first.    The old Gal was getting lower when she was praying.   Then the Klansmen said, “Brother Wickware, the Klu Klux Klan of America gave me authority to present this little token to you for your good conduct and work here”, dropping $25.00 in bills in the Pastor’s hand.   The Pastor looked at the money, then back at the Klansmen and said, “Gentlemen, bow your ‘haid’ “.    He prayed the Good Lord to forgive him for saying such unkind things he had said about these good, Godly, fine gentlemen that had come to help him, and the Klansmen to forgive him for the untrue thing he had said many times about them. Sometimes money makes people change their minds. ”

story from the memoirs of a family member, written in 1984



Chimney and gate of old house in Logtown

Chimney and gate of old house in Logtown

    Following the Civil War, somewhere around 1890, a community named Logtown sprung up near Ayrshire.  Logtown was given its name because of the log cabins the black coal miners lived in, they weren’t allowed to live in company houses.  Old timers pass down the story of them being hard workers and good people.  But they were treated differently because of their race, they were only allowed to live in this area and they had to be home by sunset. 

Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Logtown

Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Logtown


    The story is that sometime in the late 1800s, David Ingle was riding his horse one day in Ayrshire and came across the group of black people.  One of their group had died and they had not been allowed to bury them in Winslow because they were black.  They did not know what to do.  Mr. Ingle told them he owned land in the area and told them to pick out land for their cemetery.  He also gave them land for their church.  He employed the men in his mines.   

Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Graves in the woods at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Graves in the woods at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

    They operated the coke ovens and worked in the coal mines at the Ayrshire Ingle mines.  Soft coal was burned at high temperatures to form coke, used to make steel.  Many of the coke ovens are still visible today on Logtown Road near the railroad.  But nature is taking them over.  Some just look like mounds of dirt and others you can see a crack of the brick oven showing through. 

Old coke ovens on Logtown Road

Old Coke ovens on Logtown Road

Old coke oven almost taken by nature on Logtown Road

Old coke oven almost taken by nature on Logtown Road

Old coke oven on Logtown Road

Old coke oven on Logtown Road

The 1880 census of Pike County does not list any black families living here, but by the 1900 census there were several in Patoka township working at the coal mines.  The 1890 census were destroyed by fire.  However, in the Annual Reports of Officers of the State of Indiana 1890 Page 105 Census for Patoka Township is 651 white males 4 colored inhabitants. 

They worshipped at Mt. Hebron Baptist Church.  The Mt. Hebron cemetery has been carefully restored by Bobby Winn.  The Patoka Vally Longrifles  now meet near here. 

Grave at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Grave at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

  Congressional Serial Set Issue 2655 1889 Pg. 399

In our last report we referred at length to the operations of the Laclede Coal and Coke Company at Ayrshire, Pike county. The work has been pushed at the ovens of the company. The coal used is slack, which is crushed in a Scaife crusher made at Pittsburgh, and washed in the Osterspey washer. If the lump or run of the mine is used it is crushed to 1-inch cubes or smaller. The coke is dense and hard, with a good luster. The market is principally west of Saint Louis, though the coke has been used in steel-making, silver-smelting, and iron cupola practice with good success. It had not, at the time this report was made, been used in blast furnaces.

For the following very interesting table of analyses, showing improvements made in the manufacture of this coke, we are indebted to Mr. George A. McCord, secretary of the company. The last analysis, I am informed, was of a 60-pound lot selected by a party not connected with the company, the pieces being taken from cars, oven and the wastepile.

Analyses of Ayrshire (Indiana) coke.

The first sample was made in a crucible; the second in an oven not fully heated; the fourth was a selected sample; the remainder are regarded as lair samples of the product of these works.

Annual Reports of the Officers of the State of Indiana 1891 Pg. 25

Ayrshire Mine Owned and operated by David Ingle & Brother; located at Ayrshire, a station on the L., E. & St. L.R.R., about seven miles south of Petersburg, the capital of the county; 56 foot slope: men employed – inside, 56; outside 8.

This mine produces a most excellent steam and coking coal; it is also very fine for domestic use.  In connection with the mine are 54 coke ovens, producing as good coke as is made in the West.  Some of the ovens, however, are idle, as it is not found profitable to use anything but slack for coking. 

Railroad in Logtown

Railroad in Logtown

The Iron Age: Volume 84 Issues 23 – 27 1909 Pg. 1794

The Ingle Investment Company has been Incorporated at Oakland City, Ind. With $50,000 capital stock by W. D. and David Ingle and others.  The company owns a battery of 50 coke ovens at Ayrshire, Ind., not operated for several years.  It proposes to rebuild 24 of them, as a new coal mine has been opened near them, again furnishing a supply for the ovens, which had exhausted the old mine nearby.  The ovens are of the beehive type. 

Coke ovens on the hill on Logtown Road

Coke ovens on the hill on Logtown Road

Annual Report of Indiana State Board of Health 1910 Pg. 62

Ayrshire, Indiana September 16, 1908   Request for condemnation of Ayrshire Schools.

Buildings:  Three one room, frame; two shingle roof, one iron.  The latter the colored school.  Two of the buildings, the white schools, occupy the same lot, one half acre, high, dry, clay soil.  Building in which upper grades are held, should be condemned outright.  The other white school building could be repainted and enlarged to accommodate the upper grades and the colored school should be repainted.  The whole town is dirty and derelict.  Mining is the industry.

White schools:  grades 1, 2, and 3, Ayrshire:  Seats single and double, all sizes; badly scarred.  Ceiling and walls wood, unpainted.  Pupils face south; blackboard on south.  Nine foot ceiling.  Vestibule 10 x8 feet.  Forty five pupils in room.  Each pupil has 13 feet of floor space.  Light space one ninth of floor space.  Open well.  Typhoid fever in schools one year ago.  Blackboards on north end and south sides.

Grades 4, 5,6,7,8, Ayrshire:  Pupils 30; face north.  Seats double, bad.  Ceiled with wood, not painted. Floor bad.  Flue smoky.  Buildings one to two feet from ground.  No Foundation.  Outhouses bad.  All door 3×7 feet.  Each pupil has 20 square feet of floor space.  Light area one ninth of floor area.  General conditions bad.

Colored schools. Ayrshire:  Pupils, 15, face west.  Board on west.  Tin roof.  No foundation; props; two feet from ground.  No well.  Closets bad.  Ceiling and walls plain boards, unpainted.  Each pupil has 24 square feet floor space.  Light area on fifth floor area.  Seats all sizes, single and double, badly scarred.

These buildings are in keeping with the town. 

Condemnation issued for June 1, 1909.