|A Letter to a Sister|
|An Honest Trade|
|Big City Visit|
|Clyde Wilkey's Calf Wiener|
|Floyd Wilkeys Courting Days|
|From the Boyhood of John Riley Franklin|
|Jimmy Wilkey's Cure-All|
|The Carnival Comes to Town|
|The Flirting Painter|
By Raymond Wilkey
Grand Paw Wilkey ( Jonathan Jackson Wilkey ) and another man put a big flat rock across the base of a chimney on the South side of the house.
Years later the chimney fell and the house deteriorated to the point of no return. An attempt was made to remove the big rock. When everything failed the rock was cut into two sections. A man could not be found who could pick up either half of the rock.
Big City Visit
By Raymond Wilkey
It was in St. Louis during the 1800's when Frank Wilkey and a friend was in the downtown area looking up at the tall buildings.
"Dont do that," said Franks friend, "they will think you never saw anything like this."
"I never did," Frank replied and kept looking.
By Donald C. Wilkey
Campbell Hardware in Dawson Springs, Ky. Is a place I have frequented often over the past forty or so years. Years ago before the era of digital and quartz clocks this hardware store kept a large stock of Big Ben alarm clocks. They were wind-up clocks with two highly polished bells on top which would, so to speak, wake the dead.
Harry Campbell, owner and operator, spent a great deal of his time on the phone. Harry and I were talking on this particular day when the phone rang. I could tell Harry would be on the phone for some time so I waved, Harry nodded, and I started for the door.
On the way out I passed by his large assortment of Big Ben clocks when an idea suddenly hit me. I looked back at Harry and saw he was completely occupied with the phone. One by one I picked up a clock and winded it up and set each alarm just a minute or so ahead of the last clock.
Harry was still on the phone when I finished so I slipped silently out the door. In one hour things were going to wake up.
Even until this day Harry remembers the alarming event. "I nearly went nuts," he said, "just as soon as I stopped one clock another one would start up."
By Raymond Wilkey
Jonathan Jackson Wilkey was noted for his strength. He enjoyed going to log rollings and would "lift" with other men.
Frank, his son, went with his father to one of these events. He watched as the man lifting with his father poked the lifting stick under the weight to the other side which was Jonathans side. There is an advantage for the person who runs the stick under the weight, by holding up on his end the opposite side is lower thus giving his opponent a lower position to start from and making it harder to lift.
Frank said he did not think his father was going to come up with his side of the weight but he did.
By Raymond Wilkey
Foreword: I can remember my father, Clyde Wilkey, telling me the same exact story only the men asked for directions. DCW
Frank Wilkey was quite small when he slipped off to see his half-brother, William ( Billy in Dixon, Ky.
Frank said that in front of the log house home was a woods, a lot to a garden place. The road was no more than two ruts. There were no cars at that time and it was early in the 1800's.
Jimmy Wilkey, Frank Wilkey, and Glover Wilkey were standing in front of the house next to the road and looking toward Beulah and saw three men on horse back riding in single file in one rut.
Jimmy noticed what good horses they were riding, Frank noticed the big guns they were wearing and Glover noticed the cowboy style chaps each was wearing.
It was three days after the famous robbery of the Russellville, Ky. Bank by the James Gang. Because there were no phones or radios during those days they did not know they were watching Jessie and Frank James file past.
Floyd Wilkeys Courting Days
By Donald C. Wilkey
When I was very young my father and I stayed all night at Pa Jimmys ( Jimmy Wilkey ) in Beulah. It was a strange place for me at night and I was have a difficult time going to sleep. If I remember correctly we slept on the floor. I could hear night birds and other night sounds which I could not hear at home. The roads were rock roads then and you could hear a car traveling over the rock when it was miles away.
"Listen", my father said. I would be very quite and listen and the noise tires make on gravel became louder. "The car is on the second hill", my father would say. The sound would died down and then the sound would be much louder. Soon the car passed the house.
Recalling old memories my father said, "You know, this reminds me of your Uncle Floyds courting days."
Uncle Floyd was courting a girl in Madisonville, Ky. which was miles away. Uncle Floyd would travel to Madisonville by horse and buggy and it would take a long time to get there.
Courting time over Uncle Floyd would start for home. He would steer the horse out of Madisonville and then stretch out on the buggy seat and pull a blanket over him. Floyd would then sleep all the way back to Beulah and let the horse do the work.
Clyde ( my father ) would awake in the wee hours of the morning and listen for the sound of Floyds buggy on the rock road as they came over the hills.
When Clyde knew the horse and buggy was just a little way off he would get out of bed, put his clothes on, and go open the gate for Floyd. Soon Floyd, still asleep, and the horse and buggy would pull through the gate and stop at the barn door. Clyde would wake Floyd and point him toward the house. Clyde would then feed and put the horse in the barn.
Clyde then went back to bed.
A Letter to a Sister
From Bonnie Wilkey Hopson ( d: Aug. 1998 ) to Mary Ruth Wilkey Utley.
Dear Mary Ruth,
Joe and I were watching a movie on tv about the Confederate Army during the Civil War. I remembered that Pa Franklin was in that war and was captured and taken prisoner and later traded for another prisoner. He received a pension as long as he lived and Ma received it after his death.
I remember Ma carrying the pension check in her apron pocket. I remember Ma wearing a large black bag around her waist. When she was in the bed, before she died, and mother had gone to milk the cows, she got out of bed and went to her trunk and got a dollar bill out of her black bag and gave it to me, then went back to bed.
She died a few days later and the funeral was in the parlor of our house. Ethel Cox brought a chair from Dawson ( Floyd was going with her at that time ). Vivian Dixon, a relative, was in the choir and they sang "Nearer My God to Thee."
There was a deep snow on the ground and the coffin was carried to the cemetery. I remember Daddy scolding me when I cried and said, "Dont make it harder on your Mother." Ma died Feb. 4, 1929 and Pa died Fed. 5, 1924.
I always called her Aunt Ethel. She and Floyd went together for years. They never married but Aunt Ethel was always considered a part of the family. She didnt want Floyd involved with police work and Floyd did not want Ethel teaching school.
Aunt Ethel never married. She was one of my school teachers.
In her late years she was confined to a wheel chair. It was my privilege to take her to Evansville, Ind., where she was refitted with glasses. I had a van and it was easy to wheel her wheel chair into the van.
Aunt Ethel did not live long after the trip.
the Boyhood of John Riley Franklin
By Nola Ree Willeford
( John Riley was the father of the wife of Jimmy Wilkey )
When our great grandfather was growing up in the log house built by his grandfather, James Franklin, who had arrived in Hopkins County, Kentucky about 1805. He had quite a walk each day to school. One Fall, when the leaves haad turned their glorious autumn colors, when the wild grapes were ripe, the trees were laden wiith nuts and persimmions, the temptation to linger in the woods and play all day became too irresistable to deny.
Day after day, John Riley would start out from home in the morning with his books and lunch, headed for school. Day after day, instead, he would answer the call of the woods, where unknow adventures awaited a curious young man.
Vigilant, because he was pushing his luck, one afternoon soon after he arrived from a day in the woods, he spotted a familiar traveler approaching his house. Ever resourseful, John Riley called his dog, hid behind a tree, and sent his dog to chase the schoolmaster away.
The ploy worked, and John Riley escaped the punishment he doubtless deservered, but the next morning, bright and early he showed up for school.
This moment in time has been captured on canvas by Aunt Bonnie ( grand daughter of John Riley ). I now own the oil painting that she did for Mother ( Anna Laura Franklin Wilkey ) of the old Franklin homeplace, wait a barely discernible boy behind a tree and a dog intent on protecting his territory.
Jimmy Wilkey's Cure-All
By Donald C. Wilkey
Many years ago my father told this story to me and I wish to apologize for not remembering the names of all the players.
A fellow, evidently a bachelor, who was a hyprochondriac, had confined himself to his bed. All visitors were told much the same woeful tale. He could not forsee any improvement in his condition. Soon he was telling his visitors he wished they would put him out of his misery.
Jimmy Wilkey learned of the fellows request for a departure from this earth and paid him a visit.
Jimmy listened very quitely as this fellow related all his ills. Thinking he had gained Jimmy's sympathy he carried his sorrowful tale to the limit.
"Jimmy," he said, "I just wish someone would put me out of my misery."
"Sure!", Jimmy replied, "I'll be glad to help you get out of you pain." Jimmy pulled a pistol out of his back pocket and pointed it directly at the fellows head.
Suddenly the fellow leaps out of bed, dives through a window and runs across a field.
My father, Clyde Wilkey, told me the fellow never complained of an illness again, at least, not to Jimmy Wilkey.
The Flirting Painter
By Raymond Wilkey
Frank Wilkey and Lemuel Franklin were painting a house in Richland, Ky., during the latre 1800's. It was customary to stay at the place where you were working.
Lamuel, who talked rather slowly, was painting the outside window frame while the daughter of the house was watching from inside.
Lamuel accidently got a little paint on the inside apron of the window. The daughter said, "I am of a good mind to make you lick it off."
With a long droll Lemuel replied, "I will if you will put it on your lips."
The Carnival Comes to Town
By Donald C. Wilkey
It must have been in the year of 1939 when my father called me to the phone and told me Uncle Floyd wanted to talk to me.
"Don", he said, "there is a carnival wanting to open in Dawson. Do you want it to?" Uncle Floyd was Sheriff at that time. It didnt take me long go give Uncle Floyd a quick "Yes!"
A few days later I and a friend "escaped" and went to watch the carnival people set up. It was located where the IGA is now. Back then it was an open field.
As kids play we had our toy pistols with us. Mine was only a wooden gun and I was very proud of it. One of the carnival boys took a liking to my pistol and came running up from behind me and grabbed my pistol and then disappeared among the carnival equipment and people.
My friend and I searched for the boy but he was nowhere to be found and I was almost in tears. We found what I guess you would call an "Office Wagon" which had a lot of people around it. We waited until they left then I went up to the door in the back and knocked. A man opened the door and stuck his head out and I told him my sad story.
As to be expected his gruff reply was, "I cant do anything about."
I said, "My Uncle Floyd can." Then I turned to leave.
This must have surprised the fellow because he want to know who "Uncle Floyd" was.
I had full faith in Uncle Floyd, I knew he would find my pistol. However I was far too young at the time to realize the size of the "bomb" I was about to drop on the man.
"Hes Sheriff of Hopkins County," I replied.
The mans eyes suddenly grew large, he leaped out of the wagon and said, "You wait right here."
He ran off behind some equipment and I could hear some loud yelling. He returned in a few minutes with my wooden gun.
I didnt know it but all Uncle Floyd would have to do would be to tell them to "pack up and leave and have them listed as undesireable."
An Honest Trade
Donald C. Wilkey
My father, Clyde Wilkey, taught me to be honest and fair in my dealings with others. He often used his father, Jimmy Wilkey, as an example.
He told me of the time a fellow had his heart set on buy one of Jimmys horses. No other horse would do.
Jimmy refused to sell the man the horse, claiming the horse was sick and offered other horses instead. The fellow became very upset which resulted in a heated argument.
The fellow later made several attempts to buy the horse from Jimmy thinking Jimmy might break down and sell the horse.
One day the fellow approached Jimmy to buy the horse and Jimmy told him the horse had died.
Jimmy was always known for his honesty.
Clyde Wilkey's Calf Wiener
Donald C. Wilkey
This may come as a surprise to many of the Wilkey family that Clyde Wilkey was a true master in the art of practical jokes. Clyde's favorite joke was a simple metal about eight inches in diameter with a a short metal rod welded so as to form a short rod with an arrow. An exact symbol for the human male.
Clyde would place the metal ring in his mail car or buggy so that anyone doing business with him would have to see it. At this point I will explain to our younger generation that farmers of olden days had to make much of their equipment and make-do with what they had. Nothing was thrown away. Home made were very common and ideas freely exchanged.
Noticing the "calf weiner" a farmer would ask what it was. Clyde's very short reply was, "A calf weiner." Clyde would say no more about it and would then drive off leaving the farmer to ponder over the object.
Wiening a calf is very important as it would mean more milk for the table and perhaps more milk to sell.
After pondering over this simple object for days many farmers asked the same question.
"Clyde, just how does that calf weiner work, I can't figure it out?"
"Well," my father would reply, "you stick the arrow in the calf's butt and the hoop over a fence post."
Twenty years after Clyde's death many old timers that "bit" for the joke would drop by the Post Office and ask if I still had Clyde's calf weiner. I still have it.