The year 1954 saw McLean County farmers and other neighbors showing a great amount of brotherly love. They joined together at least five times that year to help a “brother” farmer and his family in a time of need.
In April 1954 there was a fatal accident on Hwy 431, where a car struck the rear of a tractor driven by Clarence Atherton, which knocked the tractor into the rear of another tractor driven by Ernest Ashby, sending all three vehicles over a 10-foot embankment. Atherton was killed immediately, and Ashby later died at the hospital.
Prior to the accident, Atherton, of Livia, was driving his tractor en route to his farm to order the ground for planting. When his neighbors heard of this they decided to see that the job was completed. On April 26, five days after the accident, 14 farmers of the Livermore section assembled on the Atherton farm early in the morning, and with 10 tractors ordered the ground and planted between 25 and 30 acres of corn within a matter of hours. The farmers who took part in the work, in memory of Clarence Atherton were: Goalson Hicks, O.C. Bartimus, George Bowman, Vondell Wright, Douglas Wright, W.A. Long, Frank Dillender, Vaden Ridenour, Stanley Kirkland, L.A. Tanner, J.D. Coin, Edward Lee Coin, Granville Clark and Leo Woosley.
Five days later, on May 1st, neighbors of the late Ernest Ashby, who had resided in Nuckols, gathered and planted his corn crop and worked other land where he had planned crops. Among those who helped on the job were: Gene Lee, Stewart Lee, Tommie Lee, Ike Downs, Jerry Daugherty, Wallace Wigginton, Booster Shultz, Arnold Hoover, Otto Howard, Bob Paxton, Hubert Humphrey, Ronnie Ashby, J.G. Shocklee, Gibbie W. Howard, Eura Wigginton, Gene Cook, Tom Nuckols, Walter Daniel, Homer Austin, O.L. Crow, Harold Thurman, O.C. Bartimus, Jess Newcomb, Mickey Newcomb, Robert Wade, Thomas Daniel, Cap Downs and Oscar Ashby. Condit and Atherton sent a tractor, and Harold Hughart gave the gas and oil used. Members of the Ashby family served lunch to the workers. The day’s work resulted in 25 acres of corn land prepared and planted, 25 acres prepared for soybeans and two acres for tobacco.
Late May saw another example of McLean Countians coming to the aid of neighbors in distress. Two jobs were accomplished on the same day, within sight of each other, in the Riverdale community. The good deeds were done for the Frank Jones and Clifton Brown families, and the movement was led by John Algood, with several others helping to contact the neighbors. First they went to Clifton Brown’s home on the Lois Lindsey farm. Three of Brown’s children were suffering from rheumatic fever—including one in the hospital and one in bed for three months. This had, of course, interfered with his farming, so the neighbors pitched in and worked his ground and set 1.2 acres of Burley and 2.7 acres of Pryor for him. Between times there, they went to Frank Jones’ farm and set nearly two acres of Pryor for him. Mr. and Mrs. Jones had been at the hospital with their son, Joe, since his very serious injury in a tractor accident two weeks prior. Altogether it was estimated that about 50 men participated in the job, with some furnishing tractors and implements. In fact, there were so many, that there wasn’t too much work for any to do. Everyone enjoyed the day, knowing that they were helping a neighbor in a time of need.
On August 23rd, 34 neighbors and friends of T.H. Leet gathered at his farm to top, cut and house his tobacco. At noon a picnic lunch was served by Mrs. Leet, Mrs. George Baird, and Mrs. Roscoe Fitts. Mr. Leet, known to his friends as “Dutch,” had an operation two weeks prior, and was unable to finish his crop.
The last such act of neighborliness for the year was in mid-October, in the Buel neighborhood. There James E. Stogner had been in the hospital and was unable to gather his 18 acres of corn. So a group of the neighbors came in bringing tractors, pickers, wagons and elevators, and gathered it for him. There to help were: Ray Troutman, J.C. Stogner, Percy Kinney, Evan Willis, G.W. Troutman, Bennie Story, Mr. Stogner’s brother Leo, Clarence Davis, Owen Daugherty, Archer Johnson, William Johnson, Dennis Johnson and Cecil Howard. Mrs. Dennis Johnson helped Mrs. Stogner prepare lunch. All seemed to enjoy doing a good deed, and the Stogners certainly appreciated it.
Following the article last week about rural family cemeteries, I spoke with Mr. William Pickup of Owensboro. He has been taking care of the Denhardt-Hardin Cemetery, near Beech Grove, for the past 30 years, on his own. Now in his 80’s, Mr. Pickup is asking for donations, so that he can continue to care for the cemetery. If you have family members buried there, or you would just like to help out, please send any donations to: William Pickup, 2605 St. Ann St., Owensboro KY 42303.
The Museum and Treasure House are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the Museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Treasure House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To reach us at the Museum you can call 270-499-5033, or email us at email@example.com. Our Facebook page is: McLean County KY History Museum & Regional Family Research Center. I wish everyone a great week!