Friday, September 30, 2011
The state wasn't through with convict labor, however. Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was built to house convicts who would mine coal directly for the state. The mine mouth opened within the prison walls and coal was shipped via a convict-built railroad spur. Initially a wooden stockade, the current castle-like complex was built in the 1920s.
While it operated, Brushy housed one of the more famous felons in U.S. history. James Earl Ray, the convicted killer of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was also one of the few inmates ever to escape. He was at large nearly two days, but never made it out of the mountains surrounding the prison. A few years ago I actually met the Tennessee Highway Patrolman who found him. This trooper was providing security for one of our emergency drills for the nuclear facilities in Oak Ridge. He told me he had been part of a line of officers methodically searching across the mountain when he stepped on something soft and heard an "oooff." Ray had found a depression in the soil and had lain there covered with leaves. The Trooper didn't see him and just stepped on him by accident. I guess history is the product of simple fate.
Kingston, Tennessee, attorney Chris Cawood in 1995 published Tennessee's Coal Creek War: Another Fight For Freedom, a fascinating account of the Coal Creek War.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Michaelmas, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, comes on Thursday of this week. The whole village is getting ready, especially the Michaelmas Daisies. They've been planted all around the village and usually start to bloom in late August. This year they were late, but they're catching up fast.
here. Ya'll come!
here. Ya'll come!
Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Constitution Square, in Danville, KY, is a small state park that offers a lot of Kentucky history. Danville is less than 10 miles from Harrodsburg, Kentucky's oldest town, and thus at or near the center of the state's first settlements. Settlers arrived both via the Ohio River to the north and the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap to the south. The Courthouse, above, was the site of a series of state constitutional conventions that in 1792 finally resulted in Kentucky being admitted to the Union as the fifteenth state. The original building was erected in 1784-85 as home to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Danville is also home to Centre College, founded in 1819 by Presbyterians, and today considered to be a top-50 private liberal arts college.
Monday, September 19, 2011
The Davenport Grocery serves the South Fork community of Casey County, Kentucky. Casey County was formed in 1806 and named for Col. William Casey, a great-grandfather of Samuel L. Clements, a.k.a. Mark Twain, adding another regional tie.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Our front porch doesn't see a lot of activity in July and August. It's simply too hot to spend much time there, unless you're our resident front-porch skink. Better to spend the cool mornings on the shaded, screened, back porch. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I saw something on one of the front porch chairs.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
We installed a window above the landing on the stairs to let in some light. Since it was on a west wall, it worked entirely too well. We got both light and heat in summer. We had a neighbor at the time who was a stained-glass artist and she volunteered to make an insert for the window that would allow light in but reduce the amount of heat we got.
Monday, September 12, 2011
It suddenly has become conspicuous along roadsides and in lawns. It's locally called Virgin's Bower but, strictly speaking, that's a different species, a North-American native. A quick look at the leaves clearly shows smooth margins, instead of the toothed margins found in the native.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
If we cannot assure their complete protection, then I think the most important thing we can do is to assure those whom we love that we do, in fact, love them. Life and health have no guarantees, and either can be lost in an instant. No one wants to live with feelings left unsaid. Always kiss your spouse goodbye, even if you're only going to the market. It may be the last time you see him/her. Always hug your children and tell them you love them, regardless of their ages. Tell your friend how you feel; don't let either of you pass without your friendship being spoken. It only takes a second, it always is appreciated, and in the final analysis, it's the only thing that really ever counts.
Be safe tomorrow.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Goldenrod and ragweed bloom at roughly the same time every year, and much of their ranges overlap. Goldenrod's bright color indicates they are pollinated primarily by insects. Ragweed's green flowers don't attract insects, and they release copious amounts of pollen into the wind. As a general rule-of-thumb, insect-pollinated flowers do not cause nasal allergies, while wind-pollinated species often do. So don't fear the pretty flowers.
There are about 15 species of ragweed in North America and more than 60 species of goldenrod.