Each month, The Kentucky
Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from
our faithful readers. Among those letters we often find queries,
ranging from requests for words to songs and poems to trying
to locate former classmates and military buddies of long ago.
Here are a few queries from April
I am a county extension agent in Rockcastle County, Kentucky.
I have been granted a six-month sabbatical by the University
of Kentucky to work on an oral history project to document the
work and stories of Eastern Kentucky quilters. I was reared in
Breathitt County in a family with a wonderful quilting history,
so I am excited to spend some time on this project.
I would like to hear from anyone who knows a quilter who does
excellent work. Of course, it is also good to know that the quilter
would consent to an interview. I am especially looking for older
quilters or those who have a story to tell.
I am also looking for information on two quilters from the 1930s.
Each of these quilters were winners in the 1933 World's Fair
quilt contest sponsored by Sears. Martha Steele's address was
listed as: c/o R. L. Turner, Beattyville, Kentucky. (I have found
some information on R. L. Turner in genealogy searches, regarding
weddings.) The other quilter, Nora Griffith, has an address of
South Fork, Kentucky (Breathitt County). It is my understanding
that information on these two quilters has been lost as have
the pictures of their quilt entries.
I would greatly appreciate any information that readers can share
with me. Information from this project will also be available
to anyone interested.
Hazel Bowling Jackson
P. O. Box 1484
Mount Vernon, KY 40456
Recently a good bit of my free time has been taken up by scanning
copies of back issues of The Kentucky Explorer that I obtained
through the magazine's "Letters" column from a lady
here in Missouri. They included most issues back through April
1996, and now I'm hoping to obtain copies from there back to
the first issue.
A number of items in these issues caught my eye, but one seemed
worthy of writing this letter. Just as there continues the debate
over whose bones now rest in Kentucky graves of the great Daniel
Boone and his wife, Rebecca (theirs or those of slaves that some
of my crafty fellow Missourians allowed Kentuckians to spirit
away), I noticed in the July/August 1996 issue that the Kennedy
plantation in Garrard County, Kentucky, was Mrs. Stowe's inspiration
for Uncle Tom's Cabin. I mention this because, as I was reading
these stories, an Associated Press release on January 16, 2006,
announced that the state of Maryland had purchased a site in
Bethesda, Maryland, that they claim was the basis for the book.
I feel such debates are the lifeblood of history, as long as
they remain cordial.
I'm still hoping to connect with others researching the pre-1850
Kentucky families that I descend from: Barclay, Briscoe, Cox,
Doyle/Doyel, Dudley, Faulconer, Gearheart, Graves, Green, Haydon,
Henton, Lillard, Morton, Rawlings, Rees/Reese, Spencer, and Van
My other favorite publication is The Tombstone Epitaph of Arizona's
"town too tough to die" that I've visited a few times.
In its most recent issue was a reprint of an 1899 "Food
For Thought" item reading, "A Kentucky editor dashed
this off: 'When you talk about there being a better state than
Kentucky, every potato shows its eyes, every beet gets red in
the face, every onion grows stronger, every wheat field is shocked
and corn picks up its ears, and the rye strokes its beard and
every foot of ground kicks.'"
L. Carey Bankhead
5101 Business 50 W, 14A
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Editor's Note: The first five volumes of The Kentucky Explorer,
with index, are available on compact discs to be used with a
computer. See page 2.