Friday, October 9, 2020

Anna Elliott Bohon

Photo from the Armstrong Archives

Anna Elliott Bohon was born on January 7, 1893 in Pike County, Kentucky and was educated at Pikeville Collegiate Institute, now Pikeville College. Her nursing education was at Dr. Hall’s Hospital School of Nursing, Cincinnati, Ohio. She did graduate work at Cincinnati General Hospital in children’s diseases. She studied and received a certificate in the technique of radiology from Hunter College of the City of New York. She did work at Post Graduate Hospital and Medical College in Chicago, took post graduate courses at Nazareth College, Louisville and City Hospital in Louisville, as well as other short studies at various institutes on X-ray technique, anesthesia, Red Cross staff aid service and operating problems of small hospitals.

Anna Elliott served in the Barrow Hospital Unit from Lexington, Kentucky in England during World War I and later with the Red Cross camp hospital in France.

Anna Elliott came to Harrodsburg February 1926 and was married to Henry Clay Bohon in February 1927. She became Superintendent of the A.D. Price Memorial Hospital at Harrodsburg in 1926 and gave practically all anesthetics at that hospital and its successor the James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital until her retirement.

She was Chairman of the Harrodsburg hospital board from 1940 to 1964 and was one of the leading forces in raising the money and making the plans for the building of the present James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital, now owned by Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.

Mrs. Bohon helped organize the local Red Cross Blood Bank and was active in volunteer work there. Honors she received are: Harrodsburg Woman of the Year – 1950; Outstanding Club Woman of Kentucky, 1949-1950; Mercer County Citizen chosen by Harrodsburg Rotary Club – 1965; Memorial garden and new wing of James B. Haggin Hospital named in her honor – 1964; Woman of Achievement in the Community chosen by the Harrodsburg Business and Professional Women’s Club 1976; and Community Leader of America in 1969 edition of Community Leaders of America.

Anna Elliott Bohon, truly an outstanding woman of service to her community. The Anna Elliott Bohon Women's Club was organized in 1990 and is a philanthropic organization dedicated to serving the women and girls of Mercer County.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Who Was James Harrod?


James Harrod Takes A Wife


Up until now, James Harrod had no interest in starting a family. Early in his career he had been too busy to find a girl and marry. But now Kentucky was growing, and he thought it would be nice to have a household and a wife to make it cozy. In early 1778, he took a shine to twenty-two year old widowed Ann Coburn McDaniel. Ann made a good match for James because he was one of the finest men in Kentucky. He was strong, energetic, and smart and gentle mannered and he had the best pieces of land in the country.

Ann was small, beautiful, cultured, and educated. She came to Kentucky in 1776 with her first husband, James McDaniel, who was killed by Native Americans the same year. In late 1777, Ann’s father, whom she lived with at Logan’s Station, was also killed and scalped by Native Americans while picking corn between Logan’s and Harrod’s forts. She had a two year old son, James McDonald, Jr., whom James Harrod would come to love as his own.    

            In mid-February 1778, the Harrod wedding took place at Logan’s Station. February was a quiet time at the fort because Indian tribesmen were in their camps, waiting for spring, and this gave settlers time for a big celebration. New supplies of jerked meat were stowed away and the ground was too frozen to prepare for the new crops, so it was time for a party.

Harrod’s wedding was probably typical for frontier affairs, with the groom arriving at noon and the celebration lasting until the next day. By today’s standards it was probably a boring affair with no silver, fine china, or pure Irish linen to cover the table; no beautiful flowers or soft music, just the seesaw of a screaming violin accompanied by tapping feet and clapping hands.

Ann had one ruffled dress and a brooch she brought across the mountains. James wore a new hunting shirt and leggings. Because it was such a long trip to Williamsburg to get a marriage license, James and Ann married without one. This would bother Ann in later years when she was involved in lawsuits over her inheritance. In later years she took great pains to prove the legality of her wedding.

The ceremony preceded a dinner of all the best the pioneers had to offer. The warm weather of this particular February had started a new flow of maple sap, so the couple had hasty pudding, a favorite dessert made with cornmeal mush and baked with molasses. Bear meat and venison with kraut were also favorite dishes. Gourds and wooden plates held food and there were a few pewter cups to hold milk or toddy.

            A dried apple stack cake was a form of pioneer wedding cake that was served. Because wedding cakes were so expensive, neighbors brought cake layers to donate to the bride’s family. The dough would be rolled or pressed out into very thin layers and baked in cast iron skillets. The family of the bride cooked, sweetened, and spiced dried apples to spread between the layers of the cake. The number of layers in the wedding cake was a gauge of the bride’s popularity. The average cake had seven to eight layers, but sometimes there would be twelve or more. The dried apple stack cake recipe was supposedly brought to Kentucky by James Harrod along the Wilderness Trail.

After dinner the fun really began as the dancing started, with the bride and groom jigging off the first reel. Jokes and games were abundant and everyone had fun until the girls pulled the bride to one side and led her up to the cabin loft. When she was tucked securely into bed, the men carried the groom up the ladder and dropped him on the cornhusk mattress beside his bride.

            Dancing continued in the room below with the occasional intermission to take drinks to the newlyweds. Closer to morning the women placed a huge bowl of kraut or hominy before the couple and the newlyweds had to eat it all before the guests below would leave them alone. By midmorning the last guest was gone and the couple went to their own home where another crowd would give them a rousing welcome.

Harrod’s new station at Boiling Springs was incomplete and too isolated for safety, so he took Ann straight on to Fort Harrod, where they lived until the next fall. Boiling Springs became Harrod’s Station and though no exact description exists, it is said to have been several cabins surrounded by a stockade. Also living with them were Samuel and Margaret Coburn (Ann Harrod’s parents) and her brother’s family, the James Coburns.

Ann got busy helping James to greet the many new settlers arriving to Harrod’s Town during the summer of 1778. She had to teach the women to make linsey, show them where to find the best herbs for the “itch,” and what to do for snakebites and fever.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Post Office Murals

Photo by Keith Rightmyer

In 1938, Harrodsburg was given the opportunity by its 6th district congressman to secure murals for the post office lobby which would depict the history of the town.  This project was handled by the state Director of Federal Art under the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  During this period, the WPA did numerous art projects in post offices around the country.  

Photo by Keith Rightmyer

A committee from the Harrodsburg Woman’s Club aided in the selection of the subject matter and in 1941 the murals were installed.  Even though the murals are large, they hang just below the ceiling and are usually unnoticed by the customers.  Pioneer scenes of Harrodsburg are the subject matter of all six of the murals.  

Photo by Keith Rightmyer

This photograph shows a mural depicting pioneers welcoming travelers to the fort and the bottom picture shows settlers at the spring collecting water. Because the murals are painted so high up the 12-feet high walls, it is hard to get adequate photographs, but these give a glimpse into what they look like. Next time you're at the Post Office, look up on the walls

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Birthplace of Kentucky - The Search for Salt

Operations before and after the Civil War involved boiling brine to reveal the salt.
Photo from Harper's Weekly

During 1772, before the start of the American Revolution, many hunters, settlers, and surveyors were in Kentucky. Captain Thomas Bullitt (1730-1778) was trained as a surveyor at the College of William and Mary and worked hard to curry favor for himself with Virginia’s new governor, John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore. Lord Dunmore appointed Bullitt as Virginia’s chief surveyor. In October 1772, Lord Dunmore, allowed Captain Bullitt, age thirty-eight years, to advertise an expedition into Kentucky the next year to make surveys for military land warrants. 
These land warrants were first offered as an incentive to serve in the military and later as a reward for service. Bullitt advertised in The Virginia Gazette and The Pennsylvania Gazette and advised the veterans that “… he was going to Kentucky the following spring to survey lands claimed under the Proclamation of 1763, and that those wishing to have their claims surveyed should meet him on the Ohio River in the spring.”
On October 17, 1774, Lord Dunmore and members of the Shawnee, Mingo, and Delaware Tribes signed the temporary Treaty of Camp Charlotte in Scioto, Ohio. Dunmore called it Camp Charlotte, after the Queen of England and wife of King George III, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. By the terms of the Treaty, they agreed the Ohio River would be the new boundary and the Tribes agreed to give up the land rights and cease hunting south of the Ohio and to allow boats to travel undisturbed on the river.  The Native Americans would also return all captives, slaves, horses, and valuable goods. They also agreed to a general conference to be held at Fort Dunmore the following spring for the purpose of concluding a definitive treaty.
Although the Shawnee and Delaware signed the treaty, the Mingo refused to accept the terms. Enraged, Major William Crawford and 240 men attacked the Mingo village of Seekunk, near present day Steubenville, Ohio, and destroy the village.
Big game was pushing west, and salt was getting extremely hard to acquire; salt was needed to cure meat and season porridge. Salt making was one of the most tedious jobs a man could do. It was also dangerous because the Native Americans, when in a scalp-collecting mood, would watch the salt licks. The company had to post guards day and night.
The saline content of the springs was usually too low to make salt quickly. At large licks there would be three or four furnaces going all the time, but it took 800 to 1000 gallons of the brackish water to produce a bushel of salt. Kettles used for salt making typically had a 20 to 30 gallon capacity. The pioneers had a saying that a lazy man was not worth his salt; in fact it took a cow and a calf to balance the scales for a bushel of the vital commodity.
Harrod talked with the men of the fort and sixteen men decided to go with him to buy or make salt. They headed out in the middle of October 1778 to the falls of Ohio. As a boy he had visited a large spring about three miles west of Kaskaskia across the Mississippi River. In Ohio they bought a keelboat, a light boat, sharp at both ends and 60–80 feet long and 8-10 feet wide. It was fitted with a cabin, removable mast and sails, and running boards along the sides where men could stand as they poled upstream.
Once during this time Harrod tied up at the bank and went ashore to check his directions with a couple of Delawares and their squaws who were camping near the shore. The Native Americans were reluctant to talk until Harrod produced a bottle of rum. Once the Delawares were drunk, they agreed one of them would go with their “white brother” as guide and protector. The guide staggered to the boat and promptly fell asleep. When he woke, they were fifty to sixty miles downstream. They quickly learned the Indian would be no help, so they sent him ashore and told him they had only gone about five miles.
At the salt works, Harrod’s group found men with furnaces blazing and water boiling in lead and iron kettles. Harrod bought all the salt they had, paying for it in Continental money instead of bartering because the men were not inclined to take goods in exchange for so valuable a commodity.
On the return trip they met two Frenchmen paddling from Vincennes. They told Harrod over four hundred Cherokee were waiting at the mouth of the Cumberland River to kill the Kentuckians. A little farther on they met another Frenchman who confirmed the story. The small group left the river and continued to Harrodstown by foot.
The success of the salt trip was not the last of Harrod’s “lucky streak”. At Christmastime he heard good news from Virginia. Judge Henderson had presented a memorial to the Virginia House of Representatives asking for a validation of the title of his claims, but the House refused the request stating, “that all purchases of lands made or to be made, within the chartered bounds of the Commonwealth, as described by the constitution or form of government, by any private persons not authorized by public authority, are void.”
At the October session of 1785 the Virginia Assembly established the town, which was to be "known by the name of Harrodstown, in the county of Lincoln." The act confirmed its right to a 640-acre tract. It named thirteen trustees, who were authorized to dispense maximum half-acre in-lots (for residence) and ten-acre out-lots (for pasturage and farming) to persons of just claim and sell the balance. All persons acquiring in-lots were required to "erect and build thereon a dwelling-house of the dimensions of twenty feet by sixteen, at the least, with a brick or stone chimney," within a period of three years, or else the trustees could repossess the property and dispose of it "for the best price that can be got, and apply the money arising therefrom to the use and advantage of the said town. “The trustees also could "cause an accurate survey to be made of the said township." With the official nod from Williamsburg, the town could now take on definitive form.

Wearen & James Drugs


Photo from the Armstrong Archives

Johnny James (left) and George Wearen (right) are shown standing inside their new Wearen and James Drug Store just after its grand opening in 1950.  The store was a Walgreen Agency and represented the latest in merchandising concepts – air conditioning (the first business in town to have this), store length florescent lighting, and self-service aisles, as well as one of the best equipped fountain luncheonettes in town.  

Harrodsburg Opera House

  This is a photo we had never seen and Belinda S Kurtz shared this from another group. “Wasn’t Bob Martin that used to run the radio statio...