Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program

Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program (KDNP) brings together historic and contemporary digitized newspa

KDNP has been digitizing historic Kentucky newspapers since 2005 as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. in 2012, we began harvesting digital contemporary newspapers as well. In 2015, KDNP made it possible to combine all of UK Libraries digital newspaper holdings. They're freely available online and fully keyword searchable.

CINCINNATI HUMAN RADIATION EXPERIMENTS, 1960-1971: Let us never forget that ninety (90) cancer patients were subjected t...

CINCINNATI HUMAN RADIATION EXPERIMENTS, 1960-1971: Let us never forget that ninety (90) cancer patients were subjected to full-body radiation at General Hospital, later named University of Cincinnati Hospital, between 1960 and 1971. Unknown to the patients and their families, the treatment was actually a Department of Defense funded research project meant to examine how high doses of total body radiation could be used to treat soldiers on a nuclear battlefield. The patients ranged in age from 9 to 84. Most of the patients (62%) were African Americans. At least 20% of the patients were Kentucky natives who had moved to Cincinnati later in life, most of whom were white. All ninety patients experienced side effects from the high doses of radiation, such as nausea, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, fatigue, and disabilities. Urine and blood samples were sent to an Army researcher at Fort Knox, KY. Antinausea medications were not administered to the patients for three days after the total-body radiation unless they complained. Each patient's mental state was evaluated immediately after receiving the radiation. This as part of the psychological study portion of the experiments. Thirteen patients received bone marrow transplants; bone marrow was withdrawn from their bodies before the radiation, then returned to their bodies after the radiation. Some of the patients died within weeks and months after the treatment. The patients had been purposely selected based on factors such as their cancer diagnose, their education levels, and their low-income levels. The experiments stopped and the funding was withdrawn in 1972 after University of Cincinnati faculty member Martha Stephens investigated and wrote a report about the radiation project, along with pressure from Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy. For more than 20 years after that, the whole matter was meant to be buried and forgotten. Then, in 1993, investigative journalist Eileen Welsome, with the Albuquerque Tribune, wrote an article about Cold War radiation tests and the Cincinnati Radiation Experiments resurfaced. All but one of the patients were dead when U.S. President Bill Clinton called for a federal investigation. On February 17, 1994, the class action lawsuit was filed against the researchers, the University of Cincinnati, and the City of Cincinnati. The lawsuit was settled for 3.6 million dollars in 1999. During the 1990s, the newspapers in Ohio wrote at least five times as many articles about the whole affair as newspapers in any other state. In Kentucky, it was the Louisville Courier-Journal where the most articles were written. The verified names of the deceased patients from Kentucky are below. (African American – AA)

Franklin D. Bunch - d.11/17/1964
Nina Cline - d.12/28/1968
Ellen E. Conyers (AA) - d.12/21/1962
John Levi Davis (AA) - d.09/16/1961
James Hamlin - d.01/29/1962
America Belle Jackson (AA) - d.03/25/1967
Maude Eldridge Jacobs - d.12/02/1964
Albert Johnson (AA) - d.10/01/1963
Marie Johnson - d.03/18/1969
Mary Laws (AA) - d.09/05/1964
Beatrice Plair (AA) - d.05/23/1965
Geneva P. Snow - d.01/21/1965
Brutus Stamper - d.09/07/1960
Rose E. Strohm - d.03/14/1971
Reed Taylor, Jr. - d.11/17/1965
John Edgar Webster - d.06/03/1962
Flonnie Belle Wells - d.08/12/1963
John Henry Wells (AA) - d.10/28/1962
Zannie Westerfield - d.12/29/1961

1. “The Patients of the UC radiation experiments,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, February 18, 1997, p.4. (attached)
2. (Book) The Treatment: the story of those who died in the Cincinnati radiation tests by Martha Stephens. Durham : Duke University Press (2002). Available at most academic libraries in Kentucky.
3. (Book) The Plutonium Files: America's secret medical experiments in the Cold War by Eileen Welsome. New York, N.Y. : Dial Press (1999). Available at most academic libraries in Kentucky.
4. (Archival Materials) Whole body radiation study records collection, 1960-1994. Available at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
5. (Archival Materials) Eugene L. Saenger archival collection. Available at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
6. "1960-1972: Whole-body radiation experiments," an Alliance for Human Research Protection webpage @
7. Radiation experiments conducted by the University of Cincinnati Medical School with Department of Defense funding: hearing before the Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, April 11, 1994, serial no. 67. Full text online at Hathi Trust Digital Library @
8. In Re Cincinnati Radiation Litigation, 874 F. Supp. 796 (S.D. Ohio 1995), a Justia US Law webpage @
9. "Cincinnati doctor who led controversial human radiation experiments dies at 90," The Columbus Dispatch, 10/4/2007. Online @
10. Cincinnati Human Radiation Experiments, 1960-1972: The Deceased from Kentucky. Online at the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, University of Kentucky Libraries @
11. There are many, many more sources available. Ask at your local library.

CHILDREN’S BOOK PUBLISHERS: Kentucky gained a place in the children’s book publishing industry shortly after statehood i...

CHILDREN’S BOOK PUBLISHERS: Kentucky gained a place in the children’s book publishing industry shortly after statehood in 1792. All of this was a couple of centuries after the first books had been written and published in Europe specifically for children (mid-1500s). Soon after, the concept of childhood began developing in the 1600s. Over time, children would be regarded as innocent and in need of protection, training, education, and more time for fun. This was different from the days when children were treated as little adults who should earn their keep. By the mid-1600s, children’s literature was a growing division of the publishing industry. In the United States, the first children’s book was published in 1656 in Cambridge, MA. The title, Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes, was written by John Cotton. The modern children’s books began developing in the mid-1700s. The new approach focused on reading materials for children’s entertainment and enjoyment, as opposed to the titles that dominated the market such as spelling books, school books, and lessons on good morals and a Christian instruction. In Kentucky, John Bradford opened the first bookstore in Lexington in 1802. A few children’s book titles were also sold at goods stores, as was advertised in 1806 in John Bradford’s newspaper, Kentucky Gazette. During this time period, there were new children’s book publishers in Kentucky. In 1804, John Brown and John Fisher authored the title Two Short Catechisms Mutually Connected. The book was published/printed by Joseph Charless in Lexington, KY. In 1814, the title Watt’s Divine Songs for the Use of Children by Isaac Watts was published in Paris, KY, by John Lyle. There have continued to be children’s book publishers in Kentucky. More current publishers include Flyaway Books in Louisville, Purple House Press in Cynthiana, American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, and Rod and Staff Publishers in Crockett. Contact your local library for the names of other children’s book publishers in Kentucky.

1. “Childhood,” New World Encyclopedia (online) @ #:~:text=Childhood%20(being%20a%20child)%20is,bodies%20and%20their%20mental%20abilities.
2. “History of Childhood,” a Wikipedia page @ #:~:text=During%20the%201600s%2C%20a%20shift,by%20the%20adults%20around%20them.
3. Hewins, C. M. “The History of children’s books,” The Atlantic, January 1888 issue. Online @
4. Grenby, N. O. “The Origins of children’s literature,” May 15, 2014. Online at the British Library webpage @
5. BOOK: The B A C bothe in latyn and in Englysshe by Thomas Petyt. Imprinted at Londó, in Paules ́Chyrchyarde, at the Sygne of the Mayden (1538). Online 1889 publication of the title @
[This is the oldest known alphabet book.]
6. BOOK: Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes: in either England: drawn out of the breasts of both testaments for their soul’s nourishment but may be of like use to any children by John Cotton, a New England Puritan leader. Published in Cambridge, MA and Printed by Samuel Green for Hezekiah Usher at Boston in New England (1656).
[This was the first children’s book published in the United States. Request a copy at your local library.]
7. BOOK: A Little pretty pocket-book by John Newberry (1744). Printed at Worcester, Massachusetts by Isaiah Thomas. Available online at the Library of Congress @
[Considered by some to be the first modern children’s book published for children’s enjoyment.]
8. BOOK: Two short catechisms mutually connected.: the questions of the former being generally supposed, and omitted in the latter.: The former contains the most of which is absolutely necessary to be known in order to salvation; and may be taught children before they can read.: The latter contains the most of what is necessary to be known in order to admission to the Lord’s Table; and being a brief explication of the Assembly’s Shorter catechism, frequently in almost the expressed words thereof, may be learned along with, or immediately after it. By John Brown and James Fisher. Printed in Lexington, KY, by Joseph Charless (1804).
[Request via Interlibrary Loan at your local library.]
9. BOOK: Watt’s Divine Songs for the Use of Children by Isaac Watts. Published in Paris, KY, by John Lyle (1814).
[Request via Interlibrary Loan at your local library.]
10. Children’s books included in sales advertisement. “New Store,” Kentucky Gazette, January 16, 1806, p.4.
11. Children's book images from Pixabay.

THE KENTUCKY MUMMY: The history behind the 1815 Kentucky Mummy is a tale of fascination, greed, and profit using an old ...

THE KENTUCKY MUMMY: The history behind the 1815 Kentucky Mummy is a tale of fascination, greed, and profit using an old and well-preserved human body. University of Kentucky Professor W. D. Funkhouser wrote an article about the body (and others) in a 1931 issue of the Lexington Leader. The article told of the ancient remains of a woman found in Short Cave, about eight miles from Mammoth Cave. The exact age of the woman was never determined, but it was guesstimated that her remains must have been a few thousand years old. There was not a plan to further preserve the remains. After the initial find, the body was put on display in Mammoth Cave for safe keeping, then it was moved to Lexington. While in Lexington, the remains deteriorated some from being in an environment with fluctuating temperatures and humidity. Paying customers who came to view the body felt entitled to a souvenir and plucked out the hair on the mummy’s head. The remains were eventually procured by the Massachusetts American Antiquarian Society. The details of how that came to be are lost to time. The society had acquired the mummy for business purposes; paying customers would help to increase their finances. There was no intent to study the remains for scholarly purposes. The society would not be doing anything different than had already been done. Along the route to its final destination, those overseeing the body had taken it upon themselves to negotiate exhibits for paying customers. The body, with a bald head, finally arrived at the American Antiquarian Society in 1816. Newspaper accounts and exaggerations, such as the mummy being an Indian princess, had made the “Kentucky Mummy” a national and international sensation story. The 1815 dispatch from New York was reprinted in newspapers around the country and in Europe. “The Kentucky Mummy was the first Native antiquity to gain widespread prestige and even notoriety in America north of Mexico.” This quote is from the chapter “The Kentucky Mummy” written by James E. Snead in 2018. For clarification purposes, the 1815 Kentucky Mummy was not the first or the last well-preserved old body to be found in Kentucky caves. In 1875, there was another sensation about the find of a Kentucky Mummy in the Grand Avenue Cave near Glasgow Junction, KY. There are also newspaper articles about preserved remains found in the 1880s. Then there are the newspaper articles about persons such as Colonel Joe Mulhatton, “the biggest liar in the United States,” who made it a business of promoting false claims about mummies found in Kentucky caves. Today, the Kentucky Cave Protection Act makes it illegal to disturb or damage materials found inside caves, including archeological remains [KRS 433.870-433.885].

1. Funkhouser, W. D. “Skeletons of cave women found in state,” The Lexington Leader, June 5, 1931, p.21.
2. “Kentucky Mummy,” Alexandria Gazette, Commercial and Political, September 18, 1815, p.3. (attached)
3. “The Kentucky Mummy,” an American Antiquarian Society webpage with an image and brief history. Online @ (screen shot attached)
4. Snead, James E. “The Kentucky Mummy” in Relic Hunters: archaeology and the public in nineteenth-century America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, pp.1-17. Request full text via Interlibrary Loan at your local library. Read the online preview at Google Books @
5. “Joe Mulhatton talks,” Wood County Reporter, July 31, 1890, p.5. (attached)
6. Kentucky Cave Protection Laws KRS 433.870-433.885. Online @

KENTUCKY DENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM and FLUORIDATION: The Dental Health Movement in Kentucky began in 1927 when Kentucky beca...

KENTUCKY DENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM and FLUORIDATION: The Dental Health Movement in Kentucky began in 1927 when Kentucky became the third state in the nation to develop a state dental health program. The division was named the Bureau of Dental Health. It was organized and financially supported by the Kentucky Board of Health and the Kentucky Dental Association. Dr. R. P. Keene was named chairman of the bureau. In 1928, the Kentucky General Assembly took over financing the program with annual appropriations. The dental health program was educational and clinical. There were 12 permanent clinics, four of which were in urban counties, and two trailer clinics traveled throughout the state. Services were coordinated with local health departments. Local newspapers added a column to educate the community on good dental health and hygiene habits. In 1934, the Kentucky Bureau of Dental Health was moved into the Maternal and Child Health Division. Kentucky was at the forefront of what would become a national movement. The organizing of state dental health services had been initiated in North Carolina in 1918, and two years earlier, the state of Virginia was first to appoint a dentist to its state Board of Health. The dental health program in Kentucky would be renamed the Kentucky Oral Health Program (KOHP). In 1951, KOHP began community water fluoridation in Maysville, KY. Other Kentucky cities soon requested to also receive water fluoridation. Local newspapers were used to inform the public that water fluoridation was preventive care and not a panacea: it would not prevent all future dental decay or cure current dental disease. Additional dental care was needed for good dental health. Some citizens questioned the health safety and necessity of fluoride in the water supply. Others spoke out against water fluoridation being forced on entire populations without allowing individuals to opt out of the service. Today, fluoridation is mandatory for Kentucky community water supplies that serve populations of 3,000 or more [KRS 211.190; KAR 902 115.010]. Fluoridation is voluntary for communities with water supplies that serve populations with less than 1,500 people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors the prevalence of oral diseases, and also tracks the fluoridation status of community water systems in the United States and provides biennial reports. In spite of Kentucky being among the leading states in developing a dental health program in 1927, by 2015, Kentucky was 8th highest in the nation for the percentage of adults who had had permanent teeth extracted due to tooth decay or gum disease. Many factors play into the access, availability, and affordability of dental care.

1. “Scope of Health Board enlarged,” The Courier-Journal, April 13, 1927, p.2.
2. “Dr. Keene made chief of Dental Health Bureau,” Owensboro Inquirer, April 13, 1927, front page. (headline and picture attached)
3. “Dental health organizations in state departments of health of the United States by F. C. Cady, Dental Surgeon,” prepared by Director of Surgeon General, U.S. GPO, Washington, 1939. Public Health Bulletin No.251. Federal Security Agency, U. S. Public Health Service. Full text online @
4. “Dental health,” The Lexington Herald, April 1, 1928, Feature Section, p.1.
5. “Oral Health Program,” a Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services webpage @
6. “Water fluoridation not cure-all – Owen,” The Lexington Herald, August 29, 1951, p.3.
7. “Fluoride-in-the-water foes get some plain-spoken replies,” The Courier-Journal, September 9, 1951, Section 5, p.7.
8. “Kentucky interest in water fluoridation is on the rise,” The Paducah Sun-Democrat, October 5, 1951, p.7.
9. Ward, Wallace. “Central City starts water fluoridation,” The Owensboro Inquirer, March 13, 1952, p.10.
10. “Oral health data tools,” a CDC Oral Health webpage @
11. “Water fluoridation data and statistics,” a CDC Community Water Fluoridation webpage @
12. “2016 Oral Health in Kentucky,” a Center for Health Workforce Studies publication online (.pdf) @
13. “Fluoride: fact sheet for health professionals,” a National Institutes of Health webpage @
14. Image of water and glasses by tookapic @ Pixabay.
15. Illustration of tooth with toothbrush by Victoria_Regen @ Pixabay.

LIFE JACKET ADVERTISMENTS: A few years before the modern life jacket is said to have been invented in 1854, there were a...

LIFE JACKET ADVERTISMENTS: A few years before the modern life jacket is said to have been invented in 1854, there were advertisements for the sale of life jackets in Louisville newspapers. Life jackets were not new to the world in the 1850s. Inflated animal skins had been used by swimmers in ancient times. A life jacket made with cork was first patented in 1765 by John Wilkinson. Captain John Ross Ward, an artic explorer with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in England, is credited with creating the first modern and successful cork life jacket in 1854. Before Captain Ward completed his creation, life jackets were already being sold in Louisville. The earliest advertisement was printed in the Louisville Journal newspaper in October of 1850. Over the next two years, more than 100 ads for the sale of life jackets were printed in Louisville newspapers. Then, in the spring of 1852, the ads were suddenly stopped. There was no explanation. The life jackets had been shipped to Kentucky from the east and were sold at goods stores in Louisville. The “LIFE PRESERVERS” advertisements made the claim that the life jackets were buoyant enough to support four people. That was a bit of exaggeration. Gentlemen were advised to get life jackets for the entire family before traveling South. Persons going south by ship from Louisville would have been traveling on the Ohio River. There was not a record-breaking number of shipwrecks or drownings that occurred on the Ohio River before 1850 or after 1852. The early newspaper advertisements were probably an attempt to create a new market for life jackets in Kentucky. After 1852, it was about a century before the regular sale of lifejackets would again be advertised in Kentucky newspapers. That is to say that life jackets were still sold in Kentucky, but they were not consistently advertised for sale in the newspapers again until about 1950. The Kentucky laws concerning life jackets (PFD-personal flotation devices) can be found on the Boating webpage by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

1. Royal National Lifeboat Institute webpage @
2. “Life Preservers. (ad),” Louisville Journal, October 10, 1850, p.2. (attached)
3. “List of Shipwrecks of the United States,” a Wikipedia webpage @ .
4. “Rate of deaths due to drowning in the United States from 1905 to 2021 (per 100,000 population),” a statista webpage @
5. Drowning Data, a webpage by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention @
6. “Jean-Purdy Sport Shop (ad),” The Owensboro Enquirer, March 16, 1950, p.21B. (attached)
7. “Life Vest,” a How Products are Made website @
8. “Boating,” a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources webpage @
9. “Life Jacket Loaner Station,” a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources webpage @
10. Image of man in 1887 cork jacket and with a life buoy from Popular Science Monthly, v.31. (public domain)
11. Image of men wearing early life jackets from the webpage “The Evolution of the Life Jacket, by Ben Sac,” June 22, 2020, an Eco Canyon River Expeditions webpage @
12. Image of modern life jackets by matthiasbockel @ Pixabay.

RED PAINTED FINGERNAILS: The birth of the never-ending commentary about red painted fingernails started in 1930. In Kent...

RED PAINTED FINGERNAILS: The birth of the never-ending commentary about red painted fingernails started in 1930. In Kentucky, the Lexington Leader newspaper kicked off their conversation in the “Beauty Chats” column. “The brilliant red fingernails or opalescent ones now in vogue are only allowable on women who go in for very smart and very sophisticated clothes.” Interesting. Red fingernail polish was not recommended for just anybody. There were also those who did not like the sight of the polish. “Blood red fingernail polish makes me creepy.” So said O. O. McIntyre in the reprinted quote in the Henry County Local newspaper in 1931. Before long, everybody who was anybody wanted to share their thoughts on the matter. In 1936, the food service industry was brought into the conversation when John O’Meara warned, “The correct waitress just doesn’t transport delectable foods to customers and wear red fingernail polish at the same time.” O’Meara was a Chicago instructor on table service etiquette. In 1939, the principals of the Kentucky Home School for Girls and the Louisville Collegiate School made it known that the use of lipstick and red fingernail polish were prohibited. Soon newspapers were seeking the opinions of the everyday man. In July of 1940, The Owensboro Messenger headline read, “Do Women Dress to Please Men?” by Eleanor Gunn (NY). The article told of the long-suffering male who had protested against hats, corsets, toeless and heelless shoes, and red fingernails and (can you believe it) red toenails, yet women continued to wear them all. And the newspapers kept writing about it. There are tens of thousands of newspaper articles that mention red painted fingernails. One would think that all would have been said and settled at some point. But. No. It continued. In a 1989 newspaper article about Disney suspending a seaman with a mustache, there is mention of the company’s grooming policy that banned bright eyeshadow, two-toned hair, and red fingernails on women. Almost a decade later, in 1997, it was announced in the Louisville Courier-Journal that red fingernails were making a comeback! Chanel’s Anniversary Red, designed for Neiman Marcus’s 75th Anniversary, was a huge hit! And it has continued. In February of 2023, once again it was mentioned in the sports section that Boston Red Sox first baseman, Triston Casas, had worn red fingernail polish during games. News of the red painted fingernails has been with us for 93 years. Will it ever end?

1. “Beauty chats,” Lexington Leader, August 2, 1930, p.6.
2. “Fools’ comments by Sparta,” Henry County Local, March 20, 1931, p.6
3. “Red fingernails for waitress are called very bad by critic,” The Paducah Sun-Democrat, November 6, 1936, p.7. (first 3 paragraphs attached)
4. “School now, debut later, The Courier-Journal, section 3-Society and Women’s News, September 24, 1939, p.17.
5. Eleanor Gunn. “Do women dress to please men?,” The Owensboro Messenger, Magazine Features, July 28, 1940, p.3 (first paragraph attached)
6. “Disney suspends seaman over mustache,” The Lexington Herald-Leader, December 28, 1989, p.23. (attached)
7. “Digital drama” in “Fall beauty products celebrate color, opulence,” The Courier-Journal, October 14, 1997, p.F6.
8. “Lesson learned,” Morning Sentinel (Waterville, Maine), February 24, 2023, p.C2.
9. Image of red fingernails by stux @ Pixabay.
10. Image of red fingernail polishes by zsuzsanne @ Pixabay.

METEORITES FOUND IN KENTUCKY: The state of Kentucky has 25 documented and verified meteorite finds as of 2021. One of th...

METEORITES FOUND IN KENTUCKY: The state of Kentucky has 25 documented and verified meteorite finds as of 2021. One of the better-known of these finds is “The Edmonton, Kentucky, Meteorite” that was plowed up on Samp Johnson’s farm in 1942. The meteorite came to be in the hands of H. R. Harper of Beaumont, KY, and was passed on to S. H. Perry who presented it to The United States National Museum in 1945. It was reported in Columbian Magazine, in 2010, that a slice of the meteorite was at the Field Museum in Chicago. The Edmonton, Kentucky, Meteorite was the 20th meteorite found in Kentucky. It was written about in 1947 by S. H. Perry and E. P. Henderson in the title “The Edmonton, Kentucky, Meteorite,” published by the Smithsonian Institute. The publication includes a list of the 20 different locations where meteorites have been found in Kentucky. The largest meteorite was found in Kenton County in 1889, followed by the find in Mt. Vernon, KY, in 1868. Within the entire United States, there have been 1,878 meteorite finds and falls documented in the Meteoritical Society Database, with most occurring in Texas. The findings cover the period 1807-2021. Other reports can be found in newspapers. One of the earliest articles in a Kentucky newspaper was published in January of 1801 when a meteor of uncommon size and brightness was reported in the Kentucky Gazette. Not every newspaper report has been verifiable. As was the case in 1903 when it was reported in the Evening Bulletin that the heart of a meteorite weighing 500 pounds was found near Harrington Rocks in Mason County. Nothing is mentioned of this find in the Meteoritical Society Database, but there is mention of a meteorite found in Providence, KY in 1903. In another find in September of 1950, there is a newspaper picture of William Barnett in Murray, KY, said to be holding a 12-pound meteorite that just missed hitting the family home in the spring of 1950. The Meteoritical Society Database has a record of a meteorite found in Murray, KY, as a fall in 1950.

1. “Meteorite numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico,” a Washington University in St. Louis webpage @
2. “United States National Museum,” Smithsonian Institute Archives webpages @
3. E. P. Henderson and S. H. Perry. The Edmonton, Kentucky, Meteorite, published by the Smithsonian Institute, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, v.107, issue 13, Washington D. C., October 31, 1947. Full text online @
4. “Edmonton KY meteorite found in 1942,” a Columbian Magazine webpage @
5. Meteoritical Society webpage @
6. Meteoritical Society Database @
7. “Lexington, January 12,” Kentucky Gazette, January 12, 1801, p.7. (attached)
8. “Part of a meteor found,” The Evening Bulletin, May 22, 1903, front page.
9. “Sound is likened to a 100 jet planes,” The Commercial Appeal, September 22, 1950, p.28. (article and picture attached)
10. “Meteors & Meteorites,” a NASA webpage @
11. Image of a meteorite by JochenSchaft @ Pixabay.


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I am a little late in wishing all of you a Happy New Year! It felt so good to say goodbye to 2020. When I look back on that year, the best part of it was the time I had with my family or my memories of Between the Rivers and the people and places that once existed there. I know that regardless of how long I live or where I live, Between the Rivers will always be the only place I can ever truly call home. I also know that I'm not the only one who feels that way. As David Nickell said long ago, “That land never belonged to us, but we belong to it.”

Speaking of the New Year, did you make any resolutions? I never make any wild ones, but I try to start the new year out right. I try to start every day with a Bible study and prayer and I always pray for the same thing. I asked God to guide me because I know on my own, I can get into more trouble in a few hours than most people could in a month of Sunday’s. I also asked Him to put feet on my prayers and show me where I can make a difference.

Long ago I realized I couldn't change the world, but that I was responsible for myself and then I could make a difference in the world immediately around me. I always told my students to think globally, but to act locally. In other words, make a difference where you're at this moment in time. It's that drive to make a difference and the love of Between the Rivers that makes me fight so hard to see to it that the promises made to the people who live there are kept.

David Nickell sometimes puts into a single phrase what it takes me paragraphs to say. In our last meeting with the US Forest Service, he said it was one thing for our families to sacrifice their homes, their communities, and their way of life in order for LBL to be created, but it's quite another to be sacrificed. That resonated with me and there has not been a day since the meeting with the Forest Service that I haven't thought of that phrase.

If the US Forest Service can change the Homeplace 1850s, the working farm and living history museum, to a museum without an adequate plan or adequate time to make such a plan, they are setting it up for failure. There's a part of me that feels some of them in the Golden Pond office want it to fail. I also feel there are those there who believe in the promises that were made to the people who once lived in Between the Rivers. I believe they who would love to speak out, but they can’t at this point in time without risking their jobs.

But we can speak out! It is within our grasp to draw a line in the sand and declare, “No more!”
No more broken promises! No more changes that take away from the education program that was supposed to undergo every program in BTR/LBL! No more talking out of both sides of your mouth!

No more standing back and allowing a government agency to scare us! The US Forest Service is no bigger or any tougher than TVA was. And just like TVA, the US Forest Service has an Achilles heel. That Achilles heel can be through the representatives who are responsible for the allocation of their yearly allotment. That Achilles heel can be negative publicity through newspaper editorials and articles which no organization likes. That Achilles heel can be e-mails, phone calls, and discussions with other groups and people about this Forest Service’s poor plan for the Homeplace 1850s. We just need to put our heads and hearts together and exploit those weaknesses.

And the Forest Service has a major weakness in the fact that former residents and their descendants have never truly given up on the promises we were given and that have been codified in the LBL Protection Act. There may be periods when we don't speak out. There may be periods where the US Forest Service think we're simply dying off, but they're counting their dead chickens before we’re buried. There are still many of us alive and well today who are willing to fight to make sure that our families and our friends were not sacrificed for nothing.

Yes, as a foot soldier in this battle, I'm just one of many who intend to hold that line. I'm one of many who intends to stand up to their attempt once again to move beyond the promises made to former residents. I'm one of many who's not going to sit back and let them get away with once again trying to eradicate the education programs in BTR/LBL. And so are you.

There is an element in the US Forest Service that thought 2020 and the disruptions caused by the Covid virus was the perfect cover for them to sneak this plan by us unnoticed. They were wrong, but I can’t prove to them how wrong they are alone. We have to do this together. I have always loved Kentucky’s motto: United we stand, divided we fall. United this is a winning battle!

But I am going to be honest. As much as I love Between the Rivers, I am in this for my mother who can no longer speak for herself. My mother Evelyne Lawrence Martin was a strong woman who reared me after my father’s death and helped my sister Louviena rear my four nephews and niece. Both my mother and sister were strong women.

When the end of the month arrived with more month that there was money, neither one wined nor threw their hands up. Momma would head to the woods and pick poke salad, dandelions, or other greens which she seasoned with bacon grease and combined with a pone of hot corn bread and butter. That was a meal fit for a king. Or for breakfast nothing was better than gravy over homemade biscuits. If Mom lacked enough flour, she would send one of us with a nickel to my Aunt Lucille’s to buy a loaf of bread. My Uncle Marvin bought loaves of day-old bread at the Bunny Bread Store in Paducah and kept it in the freezer, our own version of a country store when needed.

And no one could make me smile like my mother. She loved to dance and shared stories of the play parties my PaPaw Edd Lawrence hosted when she and her siblings were young. On Saturday my uncles Frank, Herbert, and Edd Noble moved the furniture out of the front room while Momma and Aunt Lucille scrubbed the house from top to bottom. Aunt Lucille usually spent the day before baking for the big event and Uncle Frank drew up plenty of cold, clean water from the cistern late in the afternoon before the play party.

Come Saturday night family and friends began gathering in the front yard before dark. Men and boys brought whatever instruments they had and soon music flowed fasted than the Cumberland River after spring rains, drifting off the front porch over the front yard and out over the hills and hollows beyond.

Aunt Lucille recalled, “Evelyne never missed a dance and if she couldn’t find a fella, she danced by herself or with one of our girlfriends. One time a local boy was swinging her round and round and let her go. Out the front door she went, onto the front porch, and into the yard without losing her balance or missing a dance step. Another local boy danced her right back into the front room, and they kept right on dancing.”

I loved watching my Momma dance at Willow Lodge, at square dances in Cadiz, or laughing as she and my first cousin James Barnett danced at Homer Ray’s garage during the time we were fighting TVA’s attempt to take our land. More than once she danced out of her shoes and tore her stockings up in the process, but it never slowed her down.

At home Momma and my sister would challenge each other to dance contest, especially the Charleston. As they kicked their heels back and forth faster than a speeding bullet or moved their hands back and forth across their knees, making them look as if they were switching their kneecaps, my nephews, niece, and I would clap in time and cheer them on.

My Momma liked to sing as well. She was not talented, but she gave it her all just the same. We would no more than be in the car before she turned the radio on and began to sing at the top of her voice. When the radio played out in Old Pinkie, she sang “Roll out the barrel and we’ll have a barrel of fun” or other ditties of which she was fond.

My sister lived in PaPaw Edd’s home for a while and every afternoon we would walk up the drive to the house and Momma and my sister would sit on the front porch just visiting while my nephews, niece, and I chased fireflies, played tag, or rolled in the yard with one of the dogs we always had. Even after my sister moved to Twin Lakes with her children, Momma often walked up to PaPaw’s home and relaxed on the front porch or swept the empty rooms out to make sure it remained clean until someone else in the family or the neighborhood needed a place to live.

And in the winter while we played marbles, jacks, or cards in the floor, Momma and my sister sat catty-corner from each other and turned scraps and old clothes into quilts like Flower Gardens, Wedding Rings, or crazy quilts.

Our winter mornings often began with hot chocolate and our nights usually ended with a big pan of popcorn shared by all of us. In the summer I fell asleep on my Momma’s nights off work to the sound of Aunt Georgie and Momma talking in the living room and the sweet song of the whip-or-wills in the woods that surrounded us. My mother was happy living on her little one-acre she inherited from PaPaw Edd in the new home she had built. Our life was simple, sweet, and safe and as Momma said often, “I’m home.”

But the individual happiness of a widow woman and her baby girl was of no concern to the government. After rejecting TVA’s offer three times, Momma finally accepted the pittance she received since TVA paid off her mortgage on our home before she saw a penny. She was forced to sell the rental house we owned in Paducah that was to provide her retirement income once its mortgage was paid, and she still had to borrow a thousand dollars to purchase a one-acre lot in Marshall County without a well like our home Between the Rivers had.

The day M.C. Ruggles pulled out of our drive with our home, Momma and Aunt Georgie stood in the driveway hugging each other and crying. They knew there would be no returning home again, at least not as they had known it.

Because people from the outside prowled and took things from homes, barns, and other buildings they found with no one around, Momma spent the night in our home which the housemoving company parked at Crossroads Baptist Church. When my cousin James Barnett arrived with the supper Aunt Lucille sent her that night after dark, Momma greeted him with the barrel of her rifle pointed out our back door until he identified himself. He said, “Aunt Evelyne, don’t shoot your favorite dance partner!”

My Momma worked until she was 80 to keep a roof over her heads, food on the table, and pay for essentials, but she never felt at home or made friends in Marshall County outside of family or old friends from Between the Rivers. She was a survivor, but when she died on July 3, 2000, 41 year to the day after my PaPaw Edd Lawrence died, I cried for my Momma who use to sing and dance and laugh so freely when I was young. Unfortunately, that Momma died in 1967 because I never saw her dance or heard her sing again after we left Between the Rivers.

So today when I fight to make sure the promises made to the former residents, I am not just fighting for myself. I am fighting for that laughing woman in red lipstick, her hair curled and wearing a freshly pressed homemade dress as she hurried me toward the car so we could pick up Aunt Georgia or one of my cousins and head to a Saturday night dance. I am fighting for that woman with a twinkle in her eye and smelling of Avon perfume who sung at the top of her voice as we went visiting. I am fighting for the woman in a plain work dress and a faded apron who walked to her father’s empty home just to visit with her past or sweep the cobwebs and dust out as a way to show respect for her “Dad” who reared her and her six surviving siblings alone after losing his first wife Lona Lady Lawrence and later losing my grandmother Fannie Ann Lawrence. I am fighting for my mother who was forced to sacrifice the only home she ever knew in order for LBL to exist.

And my bet is everyone reading this has someone like my mother in their life whose sacrifice means we can’t give up on the promises made to former residents. Think of those people or that person and do your part, not because you believe this battle can be won, but because you believe their sacrifice is still worth fighting for to make sure those original promises should be honored.