from the Herald News, Hardensburg, Kentucky, Wednesday, July 20, 1988

Events That Made The Headlines

by Betty Jefferies Morris

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The following story appeared in the June 25, 1879 issue of the Breckinridge News of Cloverport.

"On last Wednesday evening our village (Big Spring) was highly entertained by the exhibition given by the ample teachers, Messrs. Willet and Florer.

"At an early hour five hundred people were compactly seated, and bright eyes grew brighter as the curtain arose and displayed to the eager gaze, fairy-like forms of pretty attired girls and handsome boys.

" Starring in the play were Maggie Hardaway, Lillie Norris, Bettie Morris, Master Willie Howard, Eula Herr, Ruble Malin, Susie Herr, Jesse Hardaway, and Mamie Moorman. 'Farewell Song,' composed by Mr. Richard Willet, brother to Prof. Dan Willet, was sung by full school, bidding schoolmates and teachers a fond and sad adieu.

"Quietly and orderly, the crowd winded their way homeward, leaving the world to darkness. "

In the August 4, 1880 issue of the Breckinridge News the headline read "Pole and Flag Raising, And Organization of a Hancock and English Club."

"At a meeting of the Democracy of Big Spring, A.R. Morris being called to the chair, responded in a brief and enthusiastic speech, in which he explained the object of the meeting.

"On motion of Mr. H.J. Roberts, a Hancock and English Club was organized with the following officers: A.R. Roberts, Breck. Co., president; Col. John Lancaster, Meade Co., vice president; H.J. Roberts, Hardin Co., treasurer; Dr. J.D. Strother, Hardin Co., secretary.

"The following gentlemen were then appointed to act as an executive committee. Capt. J.W. Klinglesmith, James Paul, Thomas McCans, John Hardin, William Roberts and Alexander Scott.

"The club being duly organized, on motion of Mr. H. J. Roberts, it was resolved that we would raise a pole bearing the names of the gallant Democratic standard- bearers for Presidential heroes, and in a few hours, with the assistance of our fellow citizens, McHenry Meador, G.B. Dowell, J. Osborne, J.D. Shacklett, T.B. Howard, Dr. D.M. Board, W.A. Burkhart, A.A. Grief, G. Carlton, B.S. Clarkson, A.C. Thornsberry, and other Democrats, we had a regular old hickory pole, about 85 feet in height, bearing the stars and stripes quietly floating over our quiet village, on which are inscribed the names of those gallant Democrats who are to lead us to a glorious victory, next November, and long may she wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The club extended thanks to the following ladies who kindly assisted in preparing the flag for the occasion: Misses Lucie Robinson, Emma R. Morris Georgia Malin, Eddie Robinson, Bettie Morris, Mary Malin, Sallie Meador, Lillie May Morris, Mrs. T.B. Howard, James Paul, A.R. Morris, Alf Eskridge, S.C. Malin, of Brandenburg and others."

A report on the town's progress was given in the August 25, 1880 issue of Cloverport's newspaper.

"Our town is gaining in trade everyday and she has a good reason for it, for we have the best assortment and the cheapest goods in this end of the country.

"We also have the best blacksmiths, wood workman, and painters that can be produced and make more wagons and buggies than any other shop in the county.

W.A. Burkhart is the proprietor of our manufactory.

"J.O. Caps and C. Smith are now in the lightning rod business. They have a fine stock of the best and latest improved rod, and are prepared to do good and durable work on short notice."

It was reported on September 29, 1880 that "our school opened with Mr. Henry Kasey principal and Miss Annie Board assistant."

In the same issue of the Breckinridge News the following announcement was made:

"There will be a match race for $50 on the Big Spring race course, between Mr. A. Stiles of Vine Grove and Dock Cannon of Constantine. "

Another account of the races was given in the newspaper on October 20, 1880:

"Three days races will be held at Big Spring on the Ten Broeck Race Course, commencing November 10, liberal purses offered.

"The big races here, commencing November 10, will continue for four days. Big hop each night, and band of music for-the racefield. Come all you who love fine music and dancing."

The Ten Broeck Race Course at Big Spring was named in honor of the best Kentucky race horse of his generation. The horse, named Ten Broeck, was the holder of numerous track records in the late 1870s, and he was especially noted for races against the clock.

A hundred years after his race against Miss Mollie, his times for one through four miles were still records at Churchill Downs. The race with Miss Mollie occurred on the Fourth of July in 1878. (A story about this horse is in the July 1988 edition of Rural Kentuckian.

The following social event was reported in the December 22, 1880 issue of the paper:

"The Mite Society met at McHenry Meador's last night. Plenty of cider, good apples, and pretty girls, and Charles says he was 'thar' by large majority; and also Dr. Hayes of Hardinsburg was 'thar.' "

In the same issue as above it was also reported that "work on the Ten Broeck Fair Grounds and Race Course will be commenced early in the spring, and completed in time to receive stock, etc., next fall."

On December 29, 1880, it was reported that "Our town is 16 miles from the 'beautiful river,' and 10 miles from the 'Iron Horse.' I have come to the conclusion that possibly your end of the county was not aware of the fact that it is incorporated, consequently, we exult in the possession of a police court, which August body has more to do than generally falls to the lot of a community our size."

In the January 12, 1881 issue of the paper the following social events were announced:

"The biggest thing of the season! Fun for everybody! A two-day hop at Meador's Hotel, commencing Monday evening, February 14, 1881! Old Bill Cole's band (of Louisville) has been engaged! No cards! All ladies that enjoy dancing are expected to attend! Whoopee! "

"Big dance at the Johnson House on Tuesday night of Christmas week. Among the beautiful waltzers we noticed Misses Susie Herr, Blanche Johnson, Ida and Nettie Meador, Bettie Robinson, and Lillie Dowell, whose graceful form and nimble steps made our old hearts beat against our side like a tin can tied to a dog's tail."

"We are invited to attend a party at Mr. B.S. Clarkson's on Tuesday evening; and enjoyed ourselves immensely until 12 o'clock, when the best part of the entertainment came off. A beautiful table was spread with all the delicacies of the season, wine flowed free and the jest went around. And then we had some beautiful music by Miss Mamie Moorman; and later on, if you had seen us you would've mistook us for a lager beer Dutchman!"

February 2, 1881. "Mr. Zack Herndon of Brandenburg comes out tomorrow to commence surveying the race track and fairgrounds."

"Mr. Millet, of the firm of Monarch & Millet, whiskey dealers of Owensboro, is in town supplying our bars with the juice."

March 30, 1881. "The building of the fair ground is progressing rapidly."

April 20, 1881. "The election went off very quiet Saturday, April 2. J.D. Shacklett was reelected police judge; A.R. Morris, marshal; J.D. Strother, James Paul, and John Meador were elected trustees by large majority.

April 27, 1881. "Our blacksmith, Mr. William Burkhart, has added an engine to his establishment to turn his grindstone, rather than hire a boy. He is the most entire man we ever 'beheld grinding hoes.' "

May 4, 1881. "Our Sabbath School was reorganized last Sunday with 50 pupils and seven teachers. Mr. A.B. Morris was elected superintendent. "

May 25, 1881. "The prospect for a fair here this fall is blasted. McHenry Meador has given up on it."

August 16, 1882. "At the 17th annual session of the district conference for the Elizabethtown district (Louisville conference), M.E. Church, south, at Bewleyville on Thursday, July 27, 1882, the following Church report was given:

"Rev. B.A. Cundiff (Big Spring circuit) reported the spiritual state of the church, medium: congregations on Sabbath good, on' Saturdays not so good; class meetings held, but not well attended; small school at Big Spring. Amount allowed the preacher in charge $660, amount collected $350."

November 29, 1882. "The races closed Saturday evening, the 18th, after a season of five days duration. "

"A statement from McHenry Meador of the races on the Big Spring Course last week follows.

"The weather was not very favorable, but a great many were in attendance.

First Day, Tuesday, NOvember 4:

"Match race, 1/2 mile heat, $50 purse, two entries - Ida M. by McHenry Meador, Old Bill, by Carter. Ida M. won both heats. Time, .55.

"Second race, $50 bet, two entries - Jack Watson, by McHenry Meador; Little Jim. Watson won. Time,.53.

"Third race, free entry for Congressman's colts, six entries, 1/2 mile dash, purse $25 - Little Fashion by G.H. Meador; Falnitza, by George Clarkson; Anna G. by Stiles; Flora, by T.W. McCans; Ocola by J. Walker; Riley by F. Morton, Anna G. and Falnitza made a dead heat, Little Fashion third. On the second heat Anna G. won. That caused the race to be run Friday.

Wednesday, Second Day:

"The crowd was not as large as on the preceding day. First race, 1/4 mile dash, purse $50, four entries. First out J. C. Cecil's mare; second out, Barr's gray mare; third out, Nichols; fourth out, Mill's black horse."

Thursday, Third Day:

"Half mile dash, three entries, purse $50 - Jack Watson and Nichols. Nichols fails to start. Second time Nichols broke. Third time was charm - good start and nice race. Watson won.

"Second race, Anna G. and Falnitza. Anna G. won easily.

"Half mile dash, bet $50 Third race and 'queen race.' Half mile dash, $10 saddle. Rawlings' horse, Mills' horse and Williams' horse. Mills won.

"Fourth race, half-mile dash, bet $50 - Old Bill and Big Spring entries. Bill won.

"This, including a few scrub races, ended the Big Spring races for this fall. The track was heavy, but with all the rain and mud we had some very fine racing, and a nice sober, quiet crowd."

December 13, 1882. "Go to T.B. Howards when you want whiskey and brandy. He keeps the only eating saloon in town. Oysters served in any style. Confectionaries and fancy groceries at R.B. Howard's - 11 Ibs. of fine N.O. sugar for $1.00."

December 20, 1882. "We are to have a new flouring mill soon. Burkhart and Carlton took charge of the hotel they bought from McHenry Meador on the 19th."

January 3, 1883. "The village of Big Spring is located at the point where the counties of Breck., Hardin, and Meade corner. While quite a lively little place, and a point of considerable business. It is no longer incorporated, the majority of its citizens being opposed to a charter on account of the necessary taxation in keeping up a town government would entail. Hense, the village has neither marshal nor other peace officer to quell outbreaks or enforce order."

February 27, 1884. "The school, under the supervision of Prof. Dick Willet, closed last Friday week. "

April 9, 1884. "After a meeting for two weeks, the Baptist denomination organized a Baptist

Church and will be under construction at once with Rev. Albright as pastor. Mr. McHenry Meador donated enough land
for a church and burial ground.

"Mr. R.B. Howard, our popular hotel keeper, has purchased a hotel at Brandenburg, and will move there Monday to take charge of it. Mr. G.A. Meador will take charge of the one he vacates on the following day."

February 7, 1883. "Mr. T.B. Howard has sold his barroom to Meador and Burkhart. They have employed Mr. C.C. Smith as barkeeper.

"Mr. Ben Clarkson has moved to the handsome residence he lately purchased from Mr. McHenry Meador. Mr. Meador has moved to the hotel block he recently bought back from Carlton and Burkhart Carlton, in changing his place of residence, moved to the properly formerly occupied by C.L. Johnson. C.L. Johnson has slid out for Mr. James Moorman's."

January 9, 1884. "The health of our community is much better. Those who have been confined to their rooms with typho malarial fever are convalescent.

"The new steam flouring mill is doing a fine business. Those in need of meal and flour should give it a try.

"Mr. G.A. Meador has bought out Mr. T.B. Howard for $2,300. He will take possession April 1."

Next week: Hardaway Home


DRESSED IN WORLD WAR I UNIFORMS, these gentlemen take time to pose for the photographer while driving through Big Spring. The soldiers are, from left, Schuyler Martin, Juliu Hodges and Shelby Best. Photo courtesy of Herb Hodges