Some of the Old People
Do you remember the snow of 1917 and 1918. I do very well. It was my first winter in Sparta. I had come to Sparta on April 1, 1917, working on the railroad, in the signal department with Tommy Merchant. The snow started falling on a Friday night, December 7, 1917. We were to go to Verona on Saturday morning to light lamp’s back to Elliston. (Then the light in the signal was using coal-oil, the same as you used in your home, and they had to be filled very 7 days. Sometimes the wind would blow them out, and maybe we would have to go to Elliston or Verona, just to light a lamp.) Saturday morning it was snowing very hard. Tommy and myself got on Number 10, with our hand spreader, which we would ride back and light the lamps. We got off at Verona. Number 10 pulled out, and we set our spreader on, and started home. We could not go anywhere. The snow was falling so hard and fast that it covered the rails, and we could not move. So Tommy said we would go back up to the depot and wait until tomorrow, the snow would be gone by then. But on Sunday morning instead of the snow stopping, it snowed harder. We had to walk, carry the oil, and light the lamps. At hog-run tunnel we had a broken rail, which we tried all winter, did not fine until the next spring when the snow went off. To be exact it started on December 7, 1917 and it was not until February 20, 1918 that you could drive a car to Owenton, and then the county had to hire June Gayle to open the road in the county; it cost $5,000 as reported by e. B. Traylor at New Liberty. The snow of 1917-1918 it was said, in two and half months (it was recorded at Louisville weather Station 50”) it was over the fence posts, and then on top of that we had a very heavy sleet. Sleigh riding was good – you didn’t have to look out for fence posts, or fences. You went right over.
Some of the Old People
These are some of the people who came to Sparta. These were the first: Carlock’s, Swango’s, Walter’s, and Alcorn’s, the settlers. Then came Brock, 1811, Samuel, 1850. Then we had Ellis, then Lee Hunt and the McCattin on two-mile branch. The Garvey’s, they were all over the counties. Harve Winn, I do not know where he came from. He lived in a log house just this side of the Eckler farm; now the Eaton Oil farm. Foree, two brothers, good people, some of their heirs still live n Gallatin County. There were two sets of Brocks. The one who came in 1811, we still have a great-great-granddaughter living in Sparta, Nadine Coates, but the other set of Brocks have vanished. Rea Gano was the last to go. Wilson, there were lots of them but they have begun to dwindle. O’Brine: there is quite a history behind this name. He came out of Ohio in the late 1800’s. Dr. Bond got him and brought him to Sparta. He married and had a family of 2 boys and raised an orphan girl, Riblin. I never knew much about them. This man married a girl named Craig. Her brother was Jack Craig who lived just this side of Bromley. Now the Samuel’s came to Sparta in 1850, and they are still here, owning the same land that they had just after they arrived. John Samuel, who is 80 years old, now his grandfather was the first to come, as a young boy. These are the same boys that set the shade trees in the schoolyard in old Sparta. Then we have Grimes, Carpenter, Green, O’Donnell, Skirvin, Riley, Estes, Cowen, Morgin, Turley, Brumble, Adkins, Dawkins, Dickerson, Kidwell, Graham, Verburger, Scott, Little, Maire, Kendall, ‘Hamilton, Thompson and Garvey. We have one Garvey left in town, but the rest have fallen asleep.
Hub Ferguson, sheriff of Gallatin County, he disappeared on Saturday night. They found him in Eagle Creek at the water, half way between Sparta and Sanders. Dockings, Masons (they gave the ground for the schoolhouse in 1865), Berry, Grant, Alty, Ballard. These were called the landmarks of the community. The Records left their mark, as a railroad man, and a banker. They were in the bank 58 years, before anyone else had a say, I supposed you would have to say. Harry Carver and Walter Kennedy were two of the outstanding men of the community. Stock buyers. Frank Jacobs, another leader in the community helped start men on the railroad. Others were Joe Wilson, J. c. Grant, Ben Wilson, Lafe Foree, Charley Brock, Henry Plum, Bill Collins, Leslie Minor, J. r. Sanders, W. J. Clark, Bill Davis, Jess Connely, Jeff McCune, Duley Brock, Alford Baker, Jim Bob Morgin, Joe Armstrong, Harry Breisacher, who started a restaurant just when soft drinks was hard to get to he just sold Kool-Aid and made his start. He is retired now; lost his wife about three years ago. Raymond Herndon, he was one of our regulars, and married Martha Young, and they had two children. Hart atc. several years back, he is at rest now. Now there was Gabe Crume, Val Lowe, Frank Wilson, Pat Riley, his brother Joe, all have fallen asleep. Neal OcConner, Brother Bud and Tom, they have gone to be with God. Charley Carver, J. R. Bonds, Reg Lafferty, his brother Frank, and Robert, and their father J. T. Lafferty. Mr. Donley, Mr. Jones, all waiting for the great day when Jesus will come and receive them unto Himself.
There are many more but they slip my mind just now. May the Lord bless you and keep you until we meet again. Don’t forget Harry Davis, the Cammack’s, the Crume’s, Harry Carver and his family. If I think of some more I will add them later.
You remember Uncle Pete Vories. If yoou met him at any time of the day he would always say “Fine Morning, Fine Morning,” regardless of the weather, rain or shine, hot or cold: always a fine morning.
Then there was Allen Brock, who ran the flour mill for some 60 years. He was one of the charter members of the Baptist church. Back in the early 1920’s we were trying to put the church on a budget, and acting as the committee went around to see each member to see how much they would give for the year. When we asked Mr. Allen Brock, he said “Let the people who ride in the auto pay the preacher.” He promised nothing.
The best one of all I think was Mr. Neal OcConnor, who was at t his time Gallatin County Road Engineer, and who always went to bed early and got up real early. But this time he had gone to bed about 8 pm, and about 9 pm the phone rang. Neal, not being asleep to the point he couldn’t hear the phone, but so asleep that he did not realize what time it was, jumped out of bed, picked up the phone, and said, “I will be there as soon as Bonny can get my breakfast,” thinking he had overslept.
Then there was Mr. and Mrs. Will Riblin, who lived in the house where Tommy Henry now lives and the house is owned by Joe Samuel. Mrs. Riblin took boarders, and gave meals. I boarded with her for a while when I first came to Sparta, April 1, 1917. She would wrap the bedpost in paper so that they would not get scared. She was a sister to Jack Craig, and Will was some kin to Rea Gano. I believe Rea called him cousin Will.
Then there was Mr. Jeff McCune. I do not know where he came from, but he married a girl from Sparta, Bell McCarmack, who was a sister to Ed McCarmack’s father. They had 7 children, 6 girls and a boy. Their father made his living by gambling. The children all did very good. Birtha, the oldest. Never married, and was a bookkeeper for Mr. Donalson. Jessie married but later separated. Gertie I think was married three times. Willieana married Dad Mitchel’s boy. He did after several years. Corean married a Shay, who died a few years back. Ruth married [text stops there].
You remember Frank Hodge? Frank was born in 1881. They lived in the basement of the house that now belongs to Gean Davis. Some of the people who lived in this house that I can remember: Records, Stallard, Aunt Sue Garvey, Kenith Furnish, Pt Riley, Jess Shelly, and Gean Davis. There were more, I know, but they slip my mind. Frank worked here in the store for J. C. Grant for years, and then separated. Why, I don’t know. One of the Frank’s sisters married a McDanell and lived at Warsaw. After J. C.’s death in 1928, Frank stayed around for a while but then had to go to the poor farm of Gallatin County where he died on February 22, 1945.
You remember Clarence “Bo” Roberts? He was Betty Foley, Roberts, Carver, Garvey, boy. She had three girls, and one boy by Phil Roberts. Bo married Cathern Breeden they had. [I can’t help that paragraph!]
In 1800 we had John and Dave Alcorn, who came with the first early settlers. We still have Alcorns in and around Gallatin County.
Probably part of the first family were Mr. Henry and Sara Baldin Brock. In 1811 we had a family move in on the north side of Eagle Creek, and build a log house, which burned in 1934. This house was built in what is now the Walter Haymon Nursery. It stood close to the barn that now stands. He also dug a well, which is still in use. Now Hendy and his wife had several boys, and maybe one girl. This is the family of Henry and Sara Brock: boys: Warren, Lee, William, Eliza, and Granville, who seems to have been the baby. Onie Brock was a grandchild, and that is where I got my information. She said Mr. Lee Brock had a house that stood where my store now stands, and he was on one of the first trains that ran through Sparta, and at Indian Camp, the bridge fell in and killed Lee. She said he was the first dead person she ever saw.
Now Granvill would ride horseback from Sparta to Stamping Ground and bring back coarse salt to cure the meat for the year. It was a four or five day trip. Granville married a Miss Woods, and had one boy that I know if. He was Allen Brock, who we’ll talk about later. Granville and his wife lived in a log house back of where Howard Gullion now lives. I have been told that Granvill had all the land from Howard back to the nursery, probably on both sides of the creek. It was on March 4, 1857 when Granvill bought the home place of 247 acres, at $23 per acre. His father and mother are buried just a little ways from where they had lived for 45 years, on a small mound overlooking Ellis Branch, now called Carver Branch. Sara Balding Brock was buried January 28, 1858. Mr. Brock’s stone could not be found – the water had covered it. Granvill Brock married the second time to a Miss Marry Jane Green. To this union were born about 5 girls and one boy. The boy was Charley Brock, who took for his wife and mother of his children, Miss Marim Minor, born 1884. To this union was born 2 children, a boy and a girl. The girl married Dorman Cull and had two children. The boy married a Conelly, and has one girl. Charley drove the mail route out of Sparta until he retired. Charley died February 20, 1956. Marim died September 9, 1960. One of the girls was Bonnie Brock, who married Neal O”Conner. One girl, named Nadine, married bill Coates, who is driving Charley Brock’s mail route. Bonnie was born March 17, 1887, died October 31, 1962. Nadine lives in what is known as the Dr. Stallard house. She has no children. Onie Brock, I think she was the oldest, was born on December 2, 1867. She was a schoolteacher, and taught at Midway and Gallatin County. She married Bob Green on January 31, 1900, died on July 16, 1971, and is buried at Owenton.
Mr. Henry Gullion and his wife Catherien move from Worthville or thereabout in 1854 to what was called the Bates farm at that time. It’s better known today as the Gulllion farm, although Pete Calvert now owns it. Curtis was one year old, having been born in 1853. Henry and wife and children lived in a long four-room log house that stood up on the hill behind where Curtis built the new house. There was a real good spring of water just out from the old log house, and when Curtis built his new house, circa 1915-1917, he ran the water down the hill and into a celler that he had Sam Wilson build, costing $4,000. He then ran the water to the house. He also put electric in the house and had his power plant in the basement. 32 volts. He would just run it at night. Henry and Catherien’s children are: Curtis, born in 1853, married Nancy Rainer, who was born in 1878, and they had one child who died very young. Curtis and Nancy are both buried at Carrollton, I.O.O.F; Buddie Gullion married and lived at Glencoe, had one boy that I know of, who ran here on the railroad [?]. John married and lived in Louisville. He was a conductor here on the passenger trains all of his life. He had no children, but adopted one boy, Lige. Married [text ends].