Sunday, January 17, 2021


The Bullitt County News   December 24, 1909

Continued from last week. The Children’s Corner-

The Watermelon Patch 

In the summer another delicacy was in order- Our watermelon patch was kept safe from coyotes and deer by a fence that seemed to a young boy to be as tall as a barn. Let me say without hesitation that there are few things that taste better than a cold sweet watermelon on a hot day, especially after haying or threshing in the field. We would sometimes chill a nice ripe melon in the creek or the spring by placing it in a shallow location early in the morning before starting in on our labors. Once I was sent to fetch the cold melon after a day of haying. The melon of choice was more than my ten year old arms could manage, and as I approached the haystack I dropped it and it burst open. I was embarrassed as Uncle and Papa laughed but they told me not to fret as it saved them cutting it open with their hatchets or pocket knives. That was the most delicious watermelon I ever tasted, and it was the sweeter for eating it with my family. We would sit with legs crossed and spit the seeds as far as we could while holding onto the rind with both hands. If the juice dribbled on our feet, no matter, that was just an excuse to take a plunge in the pond, as we would not be any wetter than we already were from the summer sweat that drenched us. We had a special patch that was grown from seeds that were given Papa by one of the preachers who frequently came to stay at our house. He called them his Vardiman melons. Papa saved those seed from year to year as they were some of the choicest melons we ever grew. I recall the pride with which papa gave those melons to neighbors. We learned to tiptoe about the vines so as not to step on them and how to tell the ripest one by thumping them. We never had to cut a plug to find the choicest melon. We would then take out our pocket knife and cut it oblong in half while our mouths watered for the ripe red center that was warmed by the sun. As we bit into the melon, its sweet juice would trickle down our chins and make trails in the dust on our legs. When we tired of the spitting competition we would deposit the seeds between our crossed legs as I recall we believed papa when he joked that a watermelon would sprout in our bellies, if we swallowed the seeds. We also made watermelon syrup and pickled rinds. We usually made some watermelon juice the night before syrup making day. Mama poured the juice into a trough and brought it to a rolling boil we children scraped the watermelon flesh and ground it in a sausage grinder. The rind we put aside for pickling, and we separated out the seeds for drying for next year’s crop. Then we put the watermelon pulp into a gunny sack and pressed it with a stone until all the juice was extracted,. This juice was added to the juice in the trough. The fire had to be kept well regulated, for if it got too hot, the juice boiled over. The froth had to be constantly skimmed as well. It generally takes about seven quarts of juice to make a quart of good thick syrup. All day long, we scraped and chunked, pulped and juiced and cooked the syrup, adding more juice as the syrup condensed, skimming the foam off the top, and constantly stirring it up. During the last few hours of the long hot process, no more juice was added, so the syrup would be nice and thickened. The syrup can also be reduced to a cake that is as sweet as maple sugar when eaten! When pouring the syrup into bottles, we were sure to leave the sediment that settled out into the bottom of the pot. Oh how I remember the taste of watermelon syrup eaten with biscuit or with applesauce cake! It is a wonder we had any teeth left in our heads it was so sweet! I must close now due to the dictates of space but will write to the children next of my memories of my early schooling and my early days of teaching in the county. CWR December 24, 1909  

NOTE: This seems to have been the last in the series of writings for the children. There are many other entries related to the Old Folks Meetings written by CWR.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

 


The Bullitt County News  December 17, 1909 The Children’s Corner


The Apple Hole and the Watermelon Patch CWR 

An apple is as sweet as candy to a boy in the summer months, and the taste for it does not diminish during the winter months. In fact the memory of the juicy fruit on a hot day of stacking haycocks may make them all the more to be missed for that sensation is forever linked in memory with warm and bright days. An apple is full of sunshine. The sound of the dropping of apples from the apple boughs made for a willing worker when it came to string up a winter stock of the fruit. We had an old root cellar in which we stored apples in the autumn months, and an apple-hole in the back yard later as the first hints of winter approached with jack frost in attendance. The apple harvest time demanded as much time as sugar making. In mid October days we would fill bushel baskets and gunny sacks and stack them on the wagon, our orchard never lacked for produce, and in the late days of the harvest some apples were put in the apple hole for storage. We picked them direct from the boughs and never let them hit the ground, for an unbruised fruit will keep better. I learned early that a boy will bruise as readily as an apple if he falls from the apple tree while picking apples. Our apple hole was used year after year and was cleaned out in the spring like a bob-olink cleans its nest. There is a art to making an apple- hole. First the pit must be dug, a shallow hole about a foot to a cubit in depth and perhaps six feet in diameter. The hole was dug on the north side of the barn as the north side got colder and made for better storage in the winters months. Our apple hole was between the barn and the sapbush, not far from the orchard. Then the pit was lined with the last straw of the season to a depth of about six inches to serve as insulation and bedding for the apples. Then we would dump in as many apples as we could make a mound of and not see them roll off the pile. Winesaps and Pippens and Sheep‘s Nose and Democrats and Russetts and Crow’s egg apples all found a place in the apple-hole at one time or another. Covering them about with more straw and dried grass, we made a nice thick covering which we then covered over with the dirt we had first excavated to form the shallow. At last, an overcoat of dried manure was added to await the final covering of winter snows. This makes an efficient protection from the frosts under which the fruit can sleep and mellow during the silent darkness of the winter months. As the cellars were emptied during the winter months, the apple hole would yield up its bounty! The longer you stored the apples, the more flavorful and juicy they became. I do declare, when the snow is still on the ground in a cold February evening, there is nothing that tastes so good as a cold crisp apple from the apple- hole. It was quite a treat to go out and dig four or five apples which Mama would use to make an apple pie. Continued next week 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Children and Their Ways, continued


I am running out of pictures of GGGrandpa Charlie, but here is a photo of some of his offspring...taken around 1931-32, the year my Dad was born. On the left is my Grandma Alma - Grandpa Charlie's son Grandpa J. O. Ridgway is holding her oldest, my Aunt Bertha. the short lady is GGrandma Mattie.

 August 2, 1908- BN Continued from last week 

One time when James Simmons and Ernest were little boys, Kirby Simmons came home one evening and Ernest was standing around the yard looking sneaking, Kirby said “what is the matter?” and at the same time said “where is James?” Ernest said, “He is upstairs lying down, he don’t feel good.” Kirby said, “What is the matter with him?” Ernest said, “We were playing on the hillside rolling one another in a barrel and the barrel got away from me and rolled down the hill with him in it and he has not been feeling good since.” Kirby laughed a little out of the corner of his mouth and said, “Well you make haste and do up the evening work.” It seems a little funny that that should ever have happened, for they are both men now and James is married and Ernest wants to marry. I will tell that where the girls will hear it. But that was the last time they rolled each other in a barrel; that broke up the barrel business. A mother wanted to appear good and asked the preacher to return thanks at the table, a little boy, standing at the back of her chair, looking on in surprise said,” Mamma, please get him to say that again.” Children will sometimes betray their parents. Manners plays a big part in child life as the following little incident will show. On one occasion during the Bullitt County Fair, two ladies had driven some distance over a dusty road, and on arriving at Shepherdsville walked in one of the modern stores and asked for the mirror and a dust brush, and having bought a box of whitening proceeded to prepare for the Fair, when a lad came to their relief and applied the dust brush and helped them in various ways, and when everything was in order, he said admiringly, “Now you ladies look nice enough to get married today” and walking away, left them, when one of the ladies said, “Isn’t he nice?” the other said, “Yes he is as cute as he can be.” But about this time another boy came along and stared at the ladies who were getting ready to start, when one of the ladies said to the other, “do I need a little more starch on my face?” The impudent boy said: “you have enough on your face now to make a biscuit,” and grinned in their face and ran away. One of the ladies said “Isn’t he hateful?” and the other said, “yes he is a despicable little boy.” Why was one a despicable little boy and the other just as nice and cute as he could be? Boys you might think about that a little; there is a lesson in it. There are but few things that pay a better dividend on the investment than manners. Children should be polite to all, especially to old people. They should Mr. and Mrs. Those older than themselves. It is nice to hear children say, good morning, Mr. Jones, or good morning Mr. Joe, and not how are you , John? Or how are you Joe? and finish up with it. Every child should try and be an honor to his parents,, and every good parent should be an honor to his children. C. W. R.  

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Children's Corner


always click on image for larger view- This is Mary Jane Ridgway ca 1860

July 19, 1908 BN The Bullitt County News   Children’s Corner


Children and Their Ways. 

It would seem impossible to do justice to this subject in a little article like this for there have been children in the world ever since the first children were born unto Adam and Eve, and it would require several large volumes to tell all about children and their ways. In all times children have played a big part in the home life, and in every nation children have their peculiarities that belong to that nation; hence the difference in children in different nations and countries. Children receive their first impressions at home, and are, to some extent, what their parents make them. This little article is not a wise dissertation on child life, but a rehearsal of a few of the circumstances that have come under my observation or that I have heard from others, and is more for the amusement of children than for the instruction of the old. Children are the purest and best part of society, and are generally good until they learn too many ways of older people. The sweetest theme in life is childhood and youth,, and children should be permitted to enjoy their innocent life as long as possible. There is nothing more pleasing than a sweet amicable child where reason first begins to dawn upon it. If all older children understood training children right there are but few children who might not be trained to be useful. Children are fortunate who have parents who will train them in the way they should go. Once in my travels when I was spending the night with an hospitable family I was favorably impressed by the deportment of a little girl about five years old. When it came time for her to retire for the night she went and leaned lovingly on the mother who undressed her and put her night clothes on her after which the little girl stood hesitatingly and looked first at her mother and then at me. In fact, she looked inquiringly at me as if considering something of importance. She then went to her mother and dropped down on her knees by her mother’s side who placed her hand on her little head while she, in sweet childish accents, said her little evening prayer. She arose perfectly composed. When she kissed mamma and told papa good-night and ran away to her little bed- a sweet specimen of parental training. But there are some parents who neglect their children altogether and some ever set them a bad example, and it is distressing to see how early some children take to bad habits. Shortly after the occurance just mentioned above I was approaching an humble dwelling when my attention was attracted by two small boys in a potato patch near the road side. They were apparently about 5 and 7 years old and they were distressed with each other from some cause and they were using curse -continued- July 26, 1908 BN Continued from last week words at rapid and fearful rate. I thought, poor little boys, where did you learn all that. And it occurred to me that the parents were to blame; possibly had set the example. It has been my fortune to spend a great portion of my life among children and I have frequently enjoyed their sweet, trite, funny little ways. On one occasion when I had offered a prize to the scholar who would make two capital letters exactly alike a little girl who thought she had the succeeded in winning the prize came to me with a great deal of confidence and showed her specimen, but when I began to point out the difference in the letters, she said, innocently, “Now Misser Widgway, don’t tell me a tory.” I said, “N, I don’t tell you a tory; look here (pointing to the letters)you see this letter is larger than that and wider across the top.” She nodded assent and went back to her seat to try again, never dreaming that she had said anything out of order. In fact, I did not even let her know that she had, for where there is no harm intended there is not much harm done. One pleasant day in winter I had occasion to go to the barn to catch a horse, about half way from the house I saw one of my little grand children sitting on a stone under a large persimmon tree that was full of persimmons. He was sitting there as contentedly as a bird on a limb with his elbows on his knees and his chin resting in his hands, the very picture of contentment. I said “Ernest, what are you sitting there for?” He said, “I am waiting for a persimmon to fall.” I caught the lesson at once. We are all more or less waiting for persimmons to fall, from the man who courts the presidency of the United States down to the man who lingers around the country bar room and some wait for persimmons that never fall. I was riding with a little girl one morning and they had a sick cow at their house, and I said to her, “How is your sick cow this morning?” She said in a subdued voice: “Uncle Charley, she is bad off, she died last night.” Of course it was a little trite, but it would have been a sin to laugh. Another little girl was looking thoughtfully at her mama one day when she said, “ Mama, you did not have many beaux when you were young, did you?” Mamma said, “Well, no, not so many, why?” “Well I thought you did not or you would never have taken papa.” A little girl six years old who seemed to understand personal rights said to me, “Uncle John gave me a nickel, now that nickel was all mine, wasn’t it?” I said “yes it looked that way.” Well she said, “I sent that nickel by papa and got candy, now that candy was all mine wasn’t it?” I said, “Yes, it looks that way.” Thoughtfully, she said “Well papa took a part of it and gave it to brother, now do you think papa treated me right?” I said, “ Well you wanted brother to have some didn’t you?” She said, “Yes, but I thought I ought to be the one to divide it.” That is the principle that underlies the whole government of the United States. Little did she know the magnitude of her question. To be continued- 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


The Bullitt County News  February 28, 1908 BN Children’s Corner 

My Childhood Home 

I appreciate the frequent calls for C. W. R. and should have written sooner, but the paper has been so full of good interesting matter that I thought our space might be more profitably occupied. But if my little article may be a pleasure to any one I shall be pleased to write. I hope the people will remember that I write for the children. The very nature of home awakens many sweet and tender recollections. The one I shall try to describe to you may not be as dear to you as it is to me, but doubtless there is a spot somewhere that is equally as dear to you. Most people have had a home and the mention of that home awakens many sweet recollections; the mention of it causes the breast to heave and the eye to moisten. All that is dear to memory clings around our early home. When I was a small boy my father sold the place where we lived and bought what was known as the Bridwell place, situated on Floyd’s Fork four miles northwest of Mt. Washington and it was there that I spent the most of my childhood days. It was quite a large farm of 175 acres, but strange to say, that every building on it was made of logs, from the mill house to the parlor. The rooms of the dwelling house were large and comfortable. The parlor, as we called it was a large two story hewed log building with large old fashioned chimney at the north end with two fire places to it, one below, and one up stairs in the boys' room. The kitchen was a large old round building with a pass way between it and the parlor. Of course there were out buildings which, as I have said, were also made of logs; you must not suppose that they were not comfortable, for indeed they were quite so. If you could have seen those spacious, old fire places on a cold winter night well filled with dry beech or hickory wood, and mama with her knitting, papa with his paper and we children popping corn and cracking walnuts you would have thought it was a place superlatively comfortable. In fact, what we lacked in finery we made up for in good things to eat- for my papa was a good provider and my mama was a good cook. The best people in the county visited our house and the preachers made it their stopping place; so you can see it was a delightful old place. The yard was filled with locust trees and evergreen trees and some cherry trees. The sweetest shrubbery about the place was two large clusters of wild rose bushes, one on each side of the front door. There were large stone steps with the rose bushes on each side almost obstructing the doorway. The yard was long and rolling and reached down to neighborhood road that passed in front, so that you may imagine that in the springtime, when the trees and shrubbery were in full leaf and bloom, with the birds singing in their branches and the bees humming in the flowers it was a delightful place notwithstanding its modest pretensions. I must not forget the clear, cool spring that gushed out from under a cliff of rocks and sent its cooling waters through the milk house among clean jars and well filled milk cans and then went on to fill the big watering trough for the stock. But one of the sweetest places to my childhood remembrances was a summer bathing place in Floyd’s Fork near our house. There the creek widened and deepened until it became quite large pool, large enough to swim horses in. In the last summer days we would repair to that pool and enjoy it to our hearts delight. My papa would go with us and teach us to swim. He taught us how to ride the horses and let them swim. I remember the thrill of pleasure mingled with fear when first undertaking that feat. I must tell you how we used the fish in that pool. The little shiny fish would collect there the enjoy the deep water; we would work good all the week for the privilege of going fishing on Saturday evening, we would get a little eight foot pole and a line about the same length and we did not have to wait long for a bite, and when we would see our cork go under we would give a tremendous jerk and sometimes sent the little fish sixteen feet in the air, and when it struck the ground if it did not kill it, it would usually flop off the hook. The next thing was to catch it before it got back into the water and as the bank was steep it was a little uncertain which would get into the water first, us or the fish. But we seldom failed to catch a nice string of little fish. Mother would cook them nice and brown for us and we would enjoy eating them while we talked over that wonderful experience we had while watching them. Another interesting circumstance connected with my child life was our potato patch. My papa gave us boys a peck of Irish potatoes and told us that we might have all we could raise to sell for ourselves. That potato patch was well tended, and it was interesting to hear how many wonderful purchases we laid off to make when we sold our potatoes almost every thing that summer we laid off to buy when we sold our potatoes. The sugar making was also and interesting time when it came time to make sugar and tree molasses we would dig a large furnace, set the big kettles, prepare a sled and barrel; making the spiles was night work. When everything was ready we tapped the trees, usually putting two spiles in each tree, the water was collected and boiled in those large kettles until it was thick syrup, then it was taken to the house and strained through a coarse cloth; it was then put into large ovens and boiled to sugar, or molasses. There are few things better than good, thick, maple molasses, especially when served with good hot shortened biscuit. You are ready to say he is greedy, is that all not enough to make any one greedy? I would love to tell you about the watermelon patch and the apple hole, each in its own season, but I have said enough for this time. C W R (Charles W. Ridgway)   



The Bullitt County News May 10, 1907 Children’s Corner 

Danger Line 

I was a little troubled at first whether to call it dangerous or safety line; for on one side of the line is safety and on the other side is danger. So it is a matter of some importance as to which side of the line we are on. When we used to play marbles we had what we called a “dead” line; if we fell beyond that line we were all right, but if we fell behind the line we were dead for that game. Now society has a moral line that people are expected to live up to if they wish to be respected; and all the good deeds and good qualities of life are on one side of the line and all the bad deeds and bad qualities are on the other side. So that we can easily see which is the respectable side of the line and also which is the safe side. And yet it is not always easy to keep on the safe side as some may think; surrounded as we are with the evils and temptations of life. It requires a great deal of moral courage to keep to the right. And yet the love of God, the hope of happiness, and the desire to be respected all require that we do so. Now there comes a period in almost every life when we are more subject to temptation than we are at other times. There is a transition period when we pass from youth to manhood. When one has the size and assumes the importance of grown up people and yet lack the experience that is necessary to succeed in life. I might illustrate by a little comparison. One bright spring morning two pretty pigeons with their bright plumage of gold and silvery hue alighted in our yard. They were shy at first, but as we did not molest them they soon became tame (they had come to stay), and began to gather sticks and feathers and to carry them t a corner under the eaves of the house where they laid eggs and set and hatched two young pigeons. They were squabby looking things and they remained in the nest in perfect safety under the care and protection of the parent birds. But there came a time when the old birds thought them old enough to be set out. So they undertook to learn them to fly. Then is when the danger came; for with their first effort to fly they found themselves almost helpless upon the ground and it was all we could do to keep the old cat from getting them. I learned a lesson from all this and thought how often children are exposed to danger when first entering into society. The evil one is ever watching for such opportunities and many a one owes his ruin to some fatal time when he had not the wisdom and prudence to resist the first temptation. There are many things that people are expected to practice if they wish to be respected and useful. And people cannot be very useful unless they are respected. One of the first things children should learn is to be obedient to parents. They should also be truthful and honest so people may believe everything they say. But if they practice evil habits a tree is soon known by its fruits. Intemperance is another evil that is blighting so many youths of our land that I would love to give timely warning to avoid that. No youth ever begins to drink expecting to be a drunkard. And yet it is a habit that steals on its victim so stealthily that he sometimes finds that he has formed an evil habit even against his own will. Hence the importance of resisting the first temptation. The youth who never drinks can never be a drunkard. It would be impossible to mention all the good fruits one is expected to practice or all the evil ones we are expected to avoid. We have the Scriptures and also a conscience that will guide us aright if we will heed their timely warning. Let us be careful how we pass the danger line, it is sometimes very hard to get back. And yet I would not say anything to discourage those who have already erred, for many have repented and reformed and lead happy and useful lives. I would hold out the banner of hope to all. It is so sweet and safe to live with God’s blessing resting upon us that children should early learn to love, serve, and honor god who has done so much for us. C. W. R.  

The Bullitt County News May 24, 1907 Children’s Corner 

How to Write a Composition 

There are but few things more trying on a child than writing his first composition. It usually takes him about a week to select his subject or rather to make choices among a dozen subjects already selected. The next thing after selecting his subject is to find something to write. He will dip his pen in the ink and sit and think while big thoughts pass through his mind, none of which seems to suit him, while he again and again dips in the ink. I seldom see a fellow fishing in the ink stand for ideas but I think of the city man who came out to the country to fish; he came as usual, well equipped with fine fishing tackle; he drove up to a nice pond and with a great deal of dignity arranged himself on the bank for fishing, he unrolled his line, sent his hook to the middle of the pond and waited for a bite. When the wind stirred the waves he would lift his line suddenly to see if he actually had a bite. A farmer passed that way and asked what he was doing. Fishing, sir, was the answer. When the farmer laughed outright, and said no use fishing there, there never was a fish in that pond. So there is no use in fishing in the inkstand for ideas, there never was an idea in the ink stand. I know that from experience. I have dipped in there many a time. The better plan is to write the first thoughts that present themselves, then others will come which he may continue to write, and the faster he writes, the faster the thoughts will come until he will not be able to write fast enough. The reason we do not write is not because we can’t think but because we want better ideas than we can think. The better way is to write the thoughts as they come and then go through and pencil such sentences as we do not want, leaving the better ones. When, after a little revision we will be surprised how well we have done. It is well after defining the subject to separate it into its different herds or branches and deal with each sub topic separately. For instance: he takes animals for his subject, he will see that it can readily be divided into two parts, domestic, or tame animals, and wild animals, naming each in turn and dwelling at length upon each species until he could almost spin his composition indefinitely. Almost any subject is capable of being divided into parts which will aid the writer very much in treating it. As for the Children’s Corner, you will pardon me if I name a few subjects that might be written up by way of practice. I would analyze several of them myself, but we are taking up too much of Mr. Barrall’s valuable space. Parents would do well to help the children a little along this line. These are easy subjects for beginners when divided into parts: Education, friendship, visiting, farming, teaching, city and country life, flowers, flowers, school life, pets, trees, etc. The children join me in thanking Mr. Barrall for the courtesy he has shown us. C. W. R.  

The Bullitt County News July 19, 1907 Children’s Corner 

Usefulness 

There are almost as many ways of being useful as there are people to be useful; and almost every one may be useful in some way if he desires to be. People are not always useful according to their ability. Some people who possess every means of being useful are perfect drones, and spend a life of idleness and dissipation that makes them a burden rather than a blessing to society, while others who seem to be cut off from every means of usefulness are a perfect blessing to every one they meet. It has been well said that the rich know nothing of the pleasures of the poor and I am proud to say myself that happiness is more equally divided than prosperity. And there is no pleasure like that of doing one’s duty under trying circumstances. I have known people who have cheerfully gone down into the very dregs of poverty and hardships that they might be useful to the dear ones who were dependent upon them for support and comfort. There is a virtue in necessity, and the person who apparently sacrifices his own happiness and pleasure that he might be useful to his loved ones increases his own pleasure ten fold. Many a mother has washed all day and with the greatest of pleasure has carried home her scant earnings to her expectant little ones with a pleasure that the rich have never known. Many a mother has trimmed the midnight lamp while bending over the sewing machine with her little ones sweetly sleeping around her, possibly dreaming of the good things papa used to bring. Don’t tell me there is no pleasure in performing the most ardent tasks if prompted by the pure spirit of love. Nothing is difficult beneath the skies Act well your part, there all virtue lies. Many a father has gone to the hardships of life with that pure, noble, and manly feeling that makes even drudgery a pleasure, looking beyond the hardships to where his sweet wife and happy children are deeming nothing too hard that be useful to his dear dependent ones; such a man is the noblest work of God. He can tread the earth with a buoyance that the sluggard never knows. Even little children can be useful in increasing the happiness of those around them. Many little children are perfect little sunbeams scattering light and pleasure everywhere they go. “Agnes came into the room smiling, her mother said, where have you been, dear? At the Brown’s; and oh, mother, Walter was cross, but I happied him up so that he got all over it, and the baby cried and I had to happy her up too!” I tell you, I love little children who can happy people up. Johnny said to his mother one day, “ I do not want to wear my good clothes today, Tommy Blake is coming over to play with me and he has no good clothes, and he will be happier if I dress common. Johnny wore his common clothes, and when Tommy came they had such a nice time playing together. That was good, sweet charity on Johnny’s part, and made a happy evening for both; for we generally increase our own happiness when we try to add to the happiness of others. Sometimes an apple that is hardly enough for one, when divided becomes plenty for three. Some children are called upon so early in life to be the staff and support of the family. I know a young man only fourteen years old whose father died and left a widow and three girls almost entirely dependent on him for support. When the neighbors came together to consider what might be done, some thought the mother could take in washing and that the little girls might find homes among the neighbors. The young man, with tears in his eyes while his lips quivered, said: “While this willing arm can find anything to do, that shall never be.” He kept his word, and the people were good enough to employ him, and boy as he was they gave him mans wages, and the family is all together yet. There are times when even slavery itself is a pleasure. I will not trouble you to mention all the useful callings in life, for every person who follows an honest calling is useful in his time and generation. See how the world is pressing to the front, each one desiring to be useful in his own particular calling. We should be thankful that we live in this enterprising age. Not only the public spirited and high pressure people are useful, but many of the humble and retired people are quite as useful. Many of the good old mothers who save garden seed for the whole neighborhood and gathers her simple remedies for the sick, who can cook meals and make nice, sweet butter, and who don’t talk about her neighbors, who dresses modestly when she goes to church, who has good advice for the boys and girls; such women as that are more useful than the high-flying kind who keep the whole neighborhood in a stew by their wonderful news packing propensities. C. W. R.  


Sunday, January 10, 2021


The Bullitt County News April 19, 1907 Children’s Corner 

A Little Trip. 

A few days ago I had occasion to go to Mt. Washington, so early one morning I hitched up old Prince to the buggy and started. I will first tell you where I live so you may have some idea of my route. I live on the South side of Salt river, six miles east of Shepherdsville. The river was deep and the ford difficult, so that I had to go by the bridge at Shepherdsville. If you will go with me I will write in the plural and say we, as I do not like too many I’s, especially big I’s. After passing over a little rough road near our house we came out onto the county road leading from Shepherdsville to Greenwell’s ford. One of the first places we passed was Pate Swearingen’s. He owns and occupies his father’s old place. Following the decline in the road we came to James Ash’s; he is a blacksmith and runs a shop. Going on down the creek we crossed at a place commonly called Hecker’s ford. Up the hill a short distance we came to Ed Weller’s cottage home. Looking across the valley to the east we saw George Kulmer’s pretty home. Farther on we saw W. C. Parris’, an aged and respectable citizen who has raised a large family of boys. Going down the hill from there we came to the south branch of Cedar Creek, which we followed half a mile, where we came to Lick Skillett where Port Thompson keeps a dry goods and grocery store. Mr. Asa Davis also lives at the Skillett and his wife keeps the telephone exchange at that place. We do not think that place should be called “Lick Skillett,” for the people there are a thrifty people and do not lick the skillet, especially when it is hot. We next came to John Bolton’s saw mill where there were great piles of lumber; then we came to J. E. McGruder’s nice home with his clean country store in one corner of the yard. Farther down the pike is W. M. Combs’, he keeps a fruit nursery and raises fine stock. In a beech grove near the road is Glenn Ellis, where they also have church and Sunday School. Then we come to the Lee mansion where Mrs. Hamilton lives. Looking northward from where we saw Mr. Pope’s fertile fields and his splendid home in the distance. The hazy distance rendered it doubly beautiful. Next we came to Wm. Simmons’ fine stock farm where a number of young horses and mules were playing in the pastures. We then came to Buffalo run, a small creek which took its name in the early times from the numbers of buffalo and other wild animals that roamed over its rich valleys. Next was George Maraman’s new and beautiful home; who also occupies his father’s old homestead. We next came to Salt River Station, a thrifty, growing village on the South side of Salt river. From the station we followed a nice piece of rock and gravel road to the new bridge. On going out of the bridge on the north end a splendid view greets us in the shape of Main street, which forms a pretty avenue with its shade trees and fine buildings on each side. We followed Main street to the public square where we turned to the east and going through a rock walled culvert we found ourselves out on the open road to Mt. Washington. A short distance to the right was Paraquet Springs, but we had not time to stop there. Two miles on the road became rough, and going down a rocky place we came to Floyd’s Fork bridge, a nice new iron bridge painted red. The next two miles brought us to Tom Bridwell’s. He owns and occupies my old homestead. The house I planned and had built myself, and Messrs Quincy Bolton and John W. Whitledge done the carpenter work. We next came to Mr. Hardin James fish farm with its clear, deep ponds, where he raises German carp fish. We once went with Mr. James to see him feed his fish; he fed them on crumbled up biscuit bread; the pretty bright fish scrambled over their food like a gang of little pigs. A short distance brought us to Pleasant Grove school house, and near it is Pleasant Grove Baptist church, both new. Next was J. B. Proctor’s store. He is doing a thriving business. We stopped at John Lloyd’s for dinner and also at “aunt” Mag Stallings’ to deliver some carpet to be woven. One mile from there we came to a place known as the brick house, where Washington Simmons lives. Mr. Simmons is quite old, yet he has a vivid remembrance of early days, which he loves to talk over. Another half mile brought us to Bethel church (Methodist) a large handsome church capable of seating several hundred people. We must speak of Dr. Moore, an aged and respectable physician so well known in this and other counties. On arriving at Mt. Washington Mr. Ed Showalter’s children came out to talk with us; we are always glad to see them. We traded some at the store then went to W. A. King’s and stayed all night. Next day Paul Jones came home with us. We returned by the same route and got home about two o’clock in the evening. 
C. W. R.  

Friday, January 8, 2021


The Bullitt County News  April 10, 1907 Children’s Corner 

Good Children 

We love the pretty springtime With all its buds and flowers
It’s sunny slopes and grassy meads And sweet and sunny bowers
Its orchards white with flowers bright With fruitful nest in store
For it matters not how much we have We always want some more.

Most children are good, and many would like to be better than they really are. Children generally possess a desire to be good, useful and pleasant, and we should encourage them in such habits. We should let them know that we appreciate their good qualities and actions. It will encourage them. I am not one to put a bad meaning upon every thing that children do. Inexperience may some time lead them into error, Then should be kindly advised and pass over the error as lightly as possible. In fact a little prompting in advance might save the child from many errors which would be better than fault finding afterwards. Many little children would like to know what is right and would receive any good advice gladly and profit by it. I believe that almost any child, if taken in time, might be trained to be good, useful, and happy, and when children fail to turn out well the fault is more often in the training than in the child. Their moral surroundings has much to do with their spiritual growth and happiness and everyone should see that their moral surroundings are good. It is a real pleasure to observe some children in their walks and actions in life. They are pleasant, sweet, and affable in all their ways and goodness seems to be almost natural with them. They have nice manners and they move in an easy, natural way, and seem to make friends of every one they meet. Such children are a delight to parents and a pleasure to everyone. Happy the parents who have such children, for nothing gives parents more pleasure than to see their children turn out well. Most parents know something of the evils and temptations that beset children in their course through life . and when they see them possessing good moral qualities that will make them strong to resist the evil it is a great source of pleasure to them. May God bless the children and help them to be good. C. W. R.  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

 


The Bullitt County News March 22, 1907 

A Happy Rendezvous 

Allow your boys and girls to subscribe to good magazines and to buy a new book occasionally. Have music of some kind and consider it a duty you owe your children to give them an education. If they have a talent for music give them music lessons if for drawing give them lessons in drawing; or if any of the arts, cultivate that talent to the best of your ability. If you would have the farm become a happy rendezvous have it well lighted; oil is much cheaper than to have your children wonder off, you know not where, for they will go where it is bright and attractive. Allow them to invite their friends to their home and assist in the entertaining. Do not call your children up at 4 o’clock to feed the horses or milk the cows; it does not make the morning very attractive for them, and in time they will dislike the farm. Give them time to live, and take time yourself to see a pretty sunset, a bright flower by the wayside or listen to the happy notes of the birds. Unless the farm home can be made into a happy meeting place do not turn their faces toward the city disgusted with life on the farm. If they hear the only song of work, work, work, from sunrise until sunset it becomes monotonous, and they see that each day brings them no nearer the goal than the day before so they lose interest and grow dissatisfied with their daily duties and cares. A holiday now and then, a pleasant, cheerful greeting each morning, work seasoned with a little sport all along the way is cheaper than having your children go to the city. -C.W.R.   

The Bullitt County News March 29, 1907 Children’s Corner 

Possibility 

Now I suppose we must begin like grown up people, with a little poetry: I love my home, my happy home Where mother rules as queen Where papa’s lord of all around And everything is clean. Possibility looks mighty big in children’s corner and I tried hard to find a smaller word that would answer my purpose, but when we know the meaning of the word we will find that it is not a bad word after all. The Dictionary defines it as “the power of being or doing” and that is what we want to talk about. Many children who may read this are capable of being and doing wonderful things; in fact the human when developed possesses capabilities almost beyond limit. When God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul he entered upon a wonderful life. Possessing that spark of Divinity that made him akin to God, himself being created in God’s own image and after His own likeness thenceforth to be a living soul. How wonderful! Someone may say children cannot understand such talk, but in this day of Sunday Schools and early religious training for children they soon acquire a knowledge of the Scripture, and the subject of the creation is familiar to almost every intelligent child. Someone asked a good man how soon children understand the Scriptures. His answer was “so soon as they knew the meaning of words and could understand anything else.” Hence the importance of early training. 

The children of the present rising generation will soon be called upon to take the places of the older people and to fill the places of honor, trust, and responsibility. No wonder we look with pride and hope to the children of today. The children of today will be the men and women of tomorrow, and so much depends upon the child- life as to what his future may be. The habits and character he forms now will, to a great extent, shape his future destiny for good or bad. 

Now we live in a wonderful age and in a wonderful country where people can be almost anything they desire to be if they use the means necessary to accomplish that desire. This country furnishes so many opportunities for starting in life one can begin almost any vocation, calling or profession in a little way, and if he proves capable and deserving he can continue to rise in his favorite calling, until he reaches the object of his desire. If he seeks politics, if he can be elected even to some small office, he may hope by faithfulness in the discharge of his duty to succeed to still greater honors. And if better still, he seeks to be useful in his Master’s cause, he may begin in the Sunday School or in some humble church work with unlimited hope. The same may be said of all useful callings, yet we would not have any boy or girl think that success in life can be gained without effort. It requires the same diligent effort on the part of the rich and the poor alike. Success in life cannot be bought with money, but it must be acquired with worthy effort. C. W. R.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Mary Ellen Vallonia Robards Ridgway, C. W., Mary Jane and Maggie Nora ca. 1870
 The Bullitt County News   March 8, 1907 BN  The Children’s Corner 


My First School 

I was the oldest in a family of seven children, and after I began to arrive at the age of six years, it was a question of some importance as to how I was to be sent to school; we lived 1 ½ miles from the school house and no children came our way, so some plan had to be devised for me to have company. Now I had a cousin Joe who was a large boy and a fine manly fellow. So my Papa proposed to board him if he would go to school from our house and he let me go with him. He gladly accepted the offer. So the time came to go. I had looked forward to the time with a great deal of pleasure until the time actually came, and I began to feel curious about leaving home. I remember my Mama had fixed us a good dinner in a little new split basket. Fried pies, eggs, lean meat, preserves, etc., which was a great inducement to me (I being a greedy little fellow). Now my papa had supplied me with a new blue back spelling book in my hand and 7 nice marbles in my pocket and dressed in a nice clean suit that was rather small for me, we actually started for school, cousin Joe and I. I started off rather reluctant and when I got half way across a little meadow in front of the house, I began to slow up and like a Texas pony, I came to a standstill and refused to go any farther. Joe tried to persuade me to come on and told me about the good dinner in the basket and the fun we would have at school. But not an inch would I move. Joe finally called to Papa that I would not go. He came out in the yard and told me that I must go on. I still refused, when he picked up a switch and started down there. I then started on in a little trot, crying as I went. I followed on and we finally got to school. I would describe the school house and surroundings, but it would take too long. The room was filled with scholars of all sizes and ages, from 6 to 25 years. I had not been there long until I began to cry and kept it up at intervals until noon. At noon we sat on the door step and ate our dinner. After dinner the scholars all engaged in school games (the first I had ever seen and which I thought was awful funny). I stood up to cousin Joe and he actually laughed out loud. In the afternoon I did not cry so much and was glad to get home that evening. But the next morning at that same place I balked again with the same proceedings. And ever after when I would come to that same place I would feel like I wanted to stop. I expect I have said enough for this time. Next week I will tell you what my first speech was and how I said it. 

The Bullitt County News 3/15/1907 The Children’s Corner

My First Speech

At the close of my first school the scholars were all required to get speeches to recite the last day of school. I had learned very well and had got as far as baker in my spelling book and could recite a little in my First Reader. So it was decided that I should have a speech. They had some trouble to find one the suit me and a good deal more trouble in learning it to me. I must make a bow when I begin and one when I closed and must speak out.

Now a little fellow that will do just as you told him is a funny thing.. So I made up my mind to speak it according to directions. You can see now how I am going to get into it. After a number of scholars had spoken I was called upon to speak.. I took my place upon the floor but felt a little nervous when the people all looked at me.  They all seemed perfectly composed until I made my first bow, when a little blushing smile ran over the audience and the faces before me continued to redden while I spoke which reached its height when I made my first bow.  I knew I was doing something curious, but I did not know what it was. Now I had followed the directions a little to closely for my own good. They all thought I had said my speech real well, except that I had bowed a little too low; I spoke out too loud and stood with my feet most too wide apart, so if you want my picture, you can take a little stuffy, dark complected fellow in tight clothes in that position, and doing things with a vengeance and you have it. Oh yes! I promised to tell you what my speech was. I am a little ashamed of it, but I will tell it;

See the chickens ‘round the gate,
For their morning portion wait
Throw some crumbs and scatter seeds
And the hungry chickens feed;
Call them; Oh! How fast they run,
Gladly, quickly, every one.

You are ready to ask: “Did anyone else speak?” Yes, almost all the scholars. But the one that interested me most next to my own was “uncle” Dave Harris. He was much older than myself and being a good student and a fine speaker, he said his speech well. He had a lengthy speech about a sly fox that wanted to rob a hen roost. Now “uncle” Dave was so graphic and so real in his description that the scene seemed  actually happening right there before us. We could see the fox so plain when he was trying to get through that tight crack in the hen house that I almost got him by the tail. But when he got in and “uncle” Dave began to describe the havoc he was causing inside, I could hardly stand it.

That was my first condition (?) and things seemed so real, but I was delighted when the fox tried to come out and could not come out. He had grown larger since he went in and I remember seeing the old farmer kill him with almost as much reality as if it was actually happening right there before me.

All this was years ago and yet it is as fresh in my memory as it was then. C.W.R.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

 


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The Bullitt County News  February 17, 1907  

The Children’s Corner 

The weather has been so cold and the little ones have been housed up so much that I thought it would be nice to write a little especially for the little ones. I used to teach school myself and I always like children and still feel a great interest in them, and it is natural that my thoughts should turn to them during these shut-in times. Most children go to school when they can, and I think it would be nice to talk about school. In the first place we will give you a few little problems that might be interesting to you, (now all this is for the little children and we hope older ones will not criticize), 

Now for the problem: Suppose you are eight years old and Mama is 32 years old, when you are 32 how old will Mama be? Miss Susie has 26 scholars and she wishes to treat them on oranges at 24 cents per dozen, what will it cost her to give one orange to each scholar? 

Now for the little boys. Suppose you buy 2 dozen lead pencils at 2 cents each and sell them 2 pencils for 5 cents; how much do you make on the 2 dozen pencils? 

Next: Suppose you buy a yellow pony for $20 and a saddle for $4, you pay $16 down and then work 20 days at 35 cents per day, how much will you owe on your pony? 

We might go a little farther and take in scholars a little larger. Suppose you have a cord of wood for sale and you sell 44 inches in length of the pile to one person for 42 cents and the balance of the cord to another customer at the same rate, how much will the second person pay for his part of the wood, and how much will you get for your cord of wood? 

History. When did Kentucky become a State and who was President of the United States at the time? 

Grammar. Would you say Papa come home Saturday, or Papa came home Saturday? 

Geography. Which is farthest North, Washington City, Cincinnati, or St. Louis? Answer first, then look. 

Before I close I wish to say something about Sunday school. When the weather is too bad to go to Sunday school we ought to study our lesson at home. This quarter’s lesson is so interesting. We learn how God’s special providence is over all His people, we learn how God took care of Noah and all his family and all the living creatures that he saved in the Ark. It is certainly a strong lesson in favor of trusting God. God’s care is not only over His people, but over all the living creatures that He has created. We are told that not even a sparrow falleth to the ground without His knowledge. During the coldest weather and while the snow lay deep on the ground, I went to mill, and just in front of me a little gray squirrel crossed the road; he had evidently been to mill too, for he was hurrying homeward with a head of sorghum in his mouth. We can see the providence of God in providing for the little squirrel. I will give you a Scripture verse on the subject: “Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them; are ye not much better than they?” We will not trouble the little ones to send their answers to the paper, but take them to Mama, she will tell you if they are right. If you like all this I may write again. Yours truly, 
C. W. R.   

Monday, January 4, 2021


 The Bullitt County News  September 8, 1905 BN 


A Happy Reunion

One of the most pleasant visits of my life, Saturday, August 26. I met all my brothers and sisters in a happy reunion in Louisville, Ky. We had not met for years, and we came together from distant quarters to meet as one family again. And the happiness of such a meeting one would have to experience to fully realize the pleasure. The children who once played around the same fireside came together from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri to mingle together as in the days long passed. Of course, it took some time to get used to the changes that had come over each of us. We now range in age from 40 to 62 years (myself being the oldest). After enjoying the pleasure of our first meeting, we took our baskets and retired to Cherokee Park where tables and seats were awaiting us, where we returned thanks for our Heavenly Father for his wonderful preservation of life; the privileges of that meeting and the bounties with which he had supplied us. We all enjoyed our wholesome meal together, after which we talked the evening away until 5 o'clock p. m., when we took supper on the grounds, and then retired to Fountain Ferry Park to enjoy all the beauties that art can lavish upon any one spot. The Park is beautiful beyond description. At 9 o'clock, we all went to our places of abode to come together on Sunday morning, meeting with our resident sisters in their homes to enjoy the day together. That day was as equally enjoyable as the previous one had been. Sunday evening we all separated to go to our different homes feeling that we had lived life over again. We may never all meet again until we meet over there.- C. W. Ridgway

Sunday, January 3, 2021


 The Bullitt County News  November 25, 1904 BN 


Old School Days 

Next to our own dear homes, is the sweet remembrance of our old school house, the school grounds and the dear boys and girls with whom we used to meet and mingle with there. And we love to go back in memory to those happy days, and live them over again. If there is anything in the past that is sweet for memory to dwell on, it is certainly school days. We meet our schoolmates there in the springtime of life, when the present was pleasant and the future hopeful. 

We remember our recitations and our classmates, and how it thrilled our hearts with emotion when we were promoted in class or passed to a higher grade. The memory of the boys and girls who contested the honors with us, and sometimes put us to the blush, is fresh and sweet now, their forms and features linger with us yet, and we would not forget our dear teacher who was stern and homely to us then but beautiful now and we love him the more for his pains taking and his prudent reproofs, and we would gladly smooth his silvery locks or guide his tottering steps. He is worthy of double honor, and we withhold it not. In fact, we would gladly make amends for our thoughtlessness in youth, but I know he is too prudent and too good to remember them against us now. (If he has not now gone home to Heaven). 

Leaving the serious, we would refer with pleasure to the playtimes we enjoyed so much. We see the big boys as they are cornered off for a game of ball. We toss the ball until the time comes for the fatal throw, when the exhilarating run and the game begins in earnest. We remember all that, with pleasure. Nor do we forget the girls as they form contesting rows to play steal goods or they play visiting and eat their mimic dinners together, and with modest decorum, as they show family traits by their womanly conversations. And if I should wish to make your old blood run warm again, I would mention sweethearts at school, but you blush at the mention. We do we remember where the biggest sweet apple and the best candy and the many little tributes of affection went. Sometimes a little blotted note, the best we could write them, was entrusted to a confident for safe delivery. Don’t deny it now. You know it is so. 

I hate to tell it now, but there was a little circumstance connected with my early courtship that was very trying of me indeed. After deporting myself as above, I would find myself gazing at a certain little lady, (I must have been about eight years old, and she about seven), watching the teacher to see that he was not observing. I bestowed a gracious smile upon my lady, when, Lo and Behold!, she pinked up her nose at me. I just thought that was too was too much for anyone to stand, and it broke up our courtship entirely, for I possessed too much of my mama’s hot blood to stand anything like that. But when I sheepishly looked around, I was greatly relieved to find that no one had observed it. Now this is the first time I ever told it, but as it happened fifty years ago, I suppose will make no difference now. I hope the reader had better luck. 

But we will leave the sweethearts and go to the spelling match, and to the last day of school, to the speeches and dialogues, and how well the scholars all looked in their Sunday clothes and Sunday manners and how we enjoyed the school dinner and the big treat and how the presence of our parents animated us. And how we remember the parting scene, and the timely advice of our teacher. All this is so sweet to dwell upon and it is all fresh in our memory yet- An old Subscriber (CWR)  



The Bullitt County News was a short lived paper published in the early 20th century. The following entries that were identifiable as being written by my Great Great Grandfather Charles Wesley Ridgway were excerpted from the existing remnants of that paper housed on microfilm at the Ridgway Public Library in Shepherdsville, KY. Transcribed by Anthony Foster from 2008-2009.

 The Bullitt County News  September 23, 1904 BN 

The Old Log School

The old log school occupies many happy memories. Many a child passed through its doors has made a mark on the world. Members of the community furnished it with a heating stove and carved wood desks and a black board behind the teacher’s desk. Each seat would accommodate three of four children, and the younger ones always were to sit in the middle of the three rows of desks. The boys sat on one side of the room and the girls on the other. 

The children would walk to the old log school, and I being the eldest, kept watch on the others. We would take along our lunch with us, which consisted of all good things to eat like rye bread and butter, cookies, and sometimes a slice of pie. We would sometimes find crinkleroot, a mustardy herb, along the way to eat with our bread and butter or johnnycake. There was a neat little spring for drinking water near the log school. It was a prized chore to be able to fill the drinking water bucket.

We began our attempts at writing by drawing slant lines and upside down pothooks on the slates, making our course hand letters on it before we turned to fine hand or using the handmade pens our teacher made of the goose quills we brought to school. He would take his pen knife and cut them for us to use. We used pokeberry juice for ink when ink was in short supply.

We used Clarks Grammar, and Olney’s Geography for lessons. Reading was learned from McGuffey’s Readers, Writing, Ray’s Arithmetic, History and Drawing were taught at the old log school. Oh how I would like to have a set of those old readers now as they had the most beautiful poems that the children memorized and recited. When the sun light hit the notch in the window, we all expectantly waited for the teacher to break for lunch and play. We children would play marbles, pompom pullaway tag, peg in the ring, mumblety-peg, and ball. We would also play riddle me this. 

Troublesome boys were punished by being required to sit with the girls. At times this provided more consternation on the part of the girls than of the one being punished. The most petulant boys were given the cane for misbehaving. The girls responded more to a tongue lashing, and these were in good supply as I recall.-CWR