xt7bnz80md8z https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7bnz80md8z/data/mets.xml Cannel City, Kentucky Breckinridge, Helen Congleton 1993 books  English H.C. Breckinridge Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Memories of Cannel City, Kentucky: biographical sketches of Effie Kilgore and William Thomas Congleton, 1880-1976 text Memories of Cannel City, Kentucky: biographical sketches of Effie Kilgore and William Thomas Congleton, 1880-1976 1993 2014 true xt7bnz80md8z section xt7bnz80md8z  
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gc   CANNEL CITY, KENTUCKY
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        Biographical Sketches of
  ‘ec  ?   EFFIE KILGORE AND WILLIAM THOMAS
1   CONGLETON
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    1880-1976
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  I-   by Helen Congleton Breckinridge
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  MEMORIES OF
  CANNEL CITY, KENTUCKY
 
  Biographical Sketches of
  EFFIE KILGORE AND WILLIAM THOMAS
  coNGLEToN
A 1880--1976
"I never expect to live to see the time when I form as close friendships
as those we were privileged to enjoy while we were together in the little
mining town of Cannel City. The friendships made in our younger days are
such that nothing ever takes their place as we grow older."
-- W. T. Congleton
EFFIE KILGORE Page
in West Liberty, 1880--1903 ....................... 1
in Carmel City, 1904--1910 ....................... 12
· WILLIAM THOMAS CONGLETON
  in Slade, 1880--1901 ............................ 23 .
  in Cannel City, 1902--1907 ....................... 31
JE
i TOM AND EFFIE CONGLETON
  in Lexington, 1911--1949 .......................... 35
Q EFFIE CONGLETON
1 in Lexington, 1950--1976 .......................... 73
  THE LEXINGTON CEMETERY .......................... 87
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4 © 1993 Helen oongmon Breckinridge Unpublished work _
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  EFFIE KILGORE AND WILLIAM THOMAS
_ CONGLETON
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  (1880--1976) (1880--1949)
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" Effie Kilgore was born 1n 1880 at the old Reed home 1n Neal Valley near
  1West Liberty, Kentucky. She lived in Morgan County until 1910 when she
  married William Thomas Congleton, a native of Powell County, whom she met
  while both were employed by the Ohio & Kentucky Railway and the Kentucky
  Block Cannel Coal Com an in Cannel Cit . Three ears before their weddin
i Y Y Y
  Tom had moved to Lexington, where they would make their home. He died there
  in 1949 and she in 1976.
*0} Much of the last half of Effie Congleton’s long life was spent in genealogical
J!.
L research, which included many family lmes emanatmg from the Morgan County
g area. Members of her family have pieced together this biographical sketch from
Q her worksheets and memorabilia so that it may be included with her genealogical
l 1 Unless otherwise noted, the towns and counties mentioned in the text are located in Kentuck .
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4

 library and research microfilms now at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Z
West Liberty. Original papers are located in the Special Collections Department
of the University of Kentucky Library in Lexington.
This encomium to our parents is dedicated to my brother and sister-in-law,
Lucien and Jane Reagin Congleton, on the occasion of their fiftieth wedding,
anniversary. Their lives together encompass fifty enriching years of applied
responsibility to their family and fellowman.
Others who contributed time and ef`f`ort in helping to gather and properly
assemble the material are Dr. Thomas H. Appleton Jr., of the Kentucky Historical
Society; Hallie Day Bach Blackburn and Dr. Thomas Edwards Templin of
Lexington; Helen Price Stacy, W. Lynn Nickell, and Henrietta McKinney of West
Liberty; and Tom and Effie Congleton’s grandchildren--Bill, Robert, and Lucia.
Their fourth grandchild, David, died in 1987.
In addition, a special note of gratitude is due our young friend Hongqing
Xu, without whose computer expertise, patience, and persistence these words
would never have made it onto these pages.
Helen Congleton Breckinridge
September 4, 1993
ii

 E
  EFFIE KILGORE
  in West Liberty, 1880--1903
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West Liberty, circa 1910 Courtesy of Helen Price Stacy
Effie Kilgore Congleton was ninety-five years old when she died. During
the last years her eyesight was virtually gone, her memory waning, and she was
frequently troubled with severe back pain. But at those times when her condition
permitted, she would take up a bold marking pen and carefully record fragments
of her lingering memories of West Liberty’s Neal Valley where she was born:
How dear to my heart...the Old Reed home built by my great-
grandfather [Thomas Reed]...hidden in the beautiful valley over the
hill...on a slight incline near a bubbling spring, facing the
spring...where my grandfather [Ananias Reed] and my mother [Lucy
. Reed] were born .... There I was born as well as my brother Emmett
and sister Mollie.
And the graveyard and orchard just back of the house where my
father Elijah Kilgore is buried by the side of two of his infants...and
perhaps my mother’s first-born baby George [Barber] whose father
I was killed by lightning .... I recall peeping over a picket enclosure at
the decorated graves.
And the old schoolhouse over the hill where I went for the first
j school years, built on the plot of ground given by my
grandfather...where we children brought pieces of broken dishes and
gathered moss for our playhouse...under the trees by the school.
I 1

 Through the years, this land had wonderful neighbors--Neal, Prater,
Adams, Kendall, Hazelrigg, Turner, Mays, Wells, Henry, Williams,
Barbour, French, Lewis .... I spent lots of nights at Nettie Neal’s.
My mother took care of grandfather [Ananias Reed] .... I recall only
one time I saw him, sitting by the fire.
The old Reed home...the spring and the graveyard...only memories,
inseparable ....
Among Ef`fie Kilgore’s papers are articles published in the Licking Valley
Courier "by our gifted writers Whitt, Stacy and O’Rear," she notes. Bernard
Whitt, with a historical perspective, on March 6, 1958, relates that P. K. Neal
bought a three-thousand-acre tract there in 1840 and that his name was soon
adopted for the entire area. Whitt wrote in 1958 that the spring had been flowing
through the valley for a hundred years and was still providing plenty of water for
all its residents. He cites "Nias" Reed as among the first settlers. Ananias was
born there in a house his father, Thomas Reed, built in 1825.
Judge Edward C. O’Rear, in an April 10, 1958, letter-to-the-editor response
to Whitt’s article, wrote that he remembered "Nias," and that "Ananias B. Reed
was a type--stalwart, quiet, ingenuous--[that was] most highly respected."
Helen Price Stacy, in May 10, 1962, and April 1, 1974, articles, with the
pen of an artist described Neal Valley as a scene of "pastoral beauty," and added
cameo insets that liven all our senses:
Apple, pear and peach trees...dogwood and redbud...gentle slopes
covered with a brilliant springtime green...squares of green, broken
here and there with white canvas oblongs, signifying that tobacco
beds are seeded and before long the plants will become neat rows in
fields .... The creek threads like a curling vine through the
valley...cattle graze in the lush green grass...peaceful .... The sounds
are those made by birds--and at dusk the croak of frogs.
2

  
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Courier-Journal by Harold Davis
Unidentified house among Effie Kilgore Congleton’s papers with her note: "This old house reminds me
of the old Reed home in Neal Valley."
Lucy Reed, mother of Effie Kilgore, was born in 1854 to Ananias Reed and
his wife Sarah Cartmell at the old Reed place in Neal Valley, and lived there until
after her father died in 1882. She was one of eleven children, four of whom died
young.
y When Sarah Cartmell Reed died around 1864 seven of her children were
)
living at the Reed home: Mary, 20; George, 17; Cynthia, 16; Thomas Jefferson
(Jeff), 14; Lucy, 10; John Milton (Milt), 7; and Ananias, Jr., 4. The daughters
` began taking turns running their father’s household according to their ages or
stations in life: first, Mary, until she married Thomas Elam and moved away in
v 1866; then Cynthia, who married Chambers Adams in 1873 and, in time, also
A moved; then Lucy, who remained until their father’s death.
3

 There being no younger daughter to take over the household responsibilities
at the Reed home when Lucy married George Barber in 1875, the bridegroom
moved in with the Reed family. Tragically, within a year he was killed by
lightning, soon followed by the death of the child Lucy was carrying. Four years
later Lucy married Elijah Kilgore. Three of their children were born at the old
Reed place: Effie in 1880, Emmett in 1883, and Mary Ann (Mollie) in 1884.
Ananias Reed died in 188;, and ownership of the Reed homestead passed
to Lucy’s only living brother, Milt. The basis for this provision in Ananias’ will
had come about years earlier when his sons Jeff, Milt, and Ananias, Jr., agreed
to help him pay off a mortgage on the home, and in return Ananias promised to
bequeath the property to them. By the time Ananias died, Milt was the only one
of the three sons surviving.
When Effie Kilgore left the old Reed place in Neal Valley at the age of four,
she would never live there again, but would always be a welcome guest at Uncle
Milt and Aunt Fanny Reed’s, and at the homes of her Neal Valley friends. The
ties that continued throughout the years indicate that she spent a great deal of
her time there as a girl.
4

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Lucy Reed Kilgore, daughters and niece 1 EKC papers
Children, clockwise from left: Maude Kilgore, Mollie Kilgore, Nettie Reed,
· and Emma Kilgore. All are Lucy’s daughters except Nettie Reed, who is the
daughter ofLucy’s brother Milt.
Two years after Ananias Reed died, Lucy and Elijah Kilgore and their three
children had moved from the old Reed place to a cabin near the Licking River at
*—Efiie Kilgore Congleton papers.
5

 Mill Branch where Elijah owned and operated a ferryboat. Another daughter,
Emma, was born there in 1886. The next summer they moved to a more .
convenient location in a three-room cabin by the ferry.
Within two months after the move, Elijah Kilgore suffered an intestinal
illness and lived only a few days. He was thirty-two years old. For the second
time in her life, Lucy was expecting a baby when her husband died suddenly.
Four days before Christmas little Maude was born. I
Gentle, amiable, undemanding Lucy Reed Kilgore was now facing what
would be the most difficult period of her lif`e. In order to provide for her children,
she mustered her courage and employed a Mr. Waterman to run the ferry, and
supervised the operation herself. She managed it well, and by 1890 was able to
purchase--for the sum of one hundred dollars--the cabin where they lived.
Many years later Lucy’s daughter Effie wrote to a cousin describing their
life there:
When the river was high Grandfather [Elijah’s father, John Kilgore]
would come from Caney and stay with us and take charge of the
boat for Mother. One incident I shall never forget. The river was
high and muddy, and someone’s urgent need to cross induced
Grandfather to brave the current. When in midstream the boat was
struck by sawlogs, and we thought it would capsize. But the cables
held and he made the shore. It was a terrible moment for us
watching from the bank, and, I am sure, for him, too.
I agree with you when you say he was a good man. He was a very
quiet person and one who saw no evil and spoke no evil. I doubt if
he ever had an enemy--he couldn’t have had ....
The last time I saw him, we were walking across the street to the
hotel in Cannel City, and he told me that he was born in Scott
County, Virginia. "Not Scott then," he said, "but Russell."
6

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Efifie Kilgore, circa 1892 EKC papers
When the two oldest of Lucy Kilgore’s children were of school age, there
undoubtedly were problems which made it difficult for them to attend. Whatever
the reason, Ef`f`ie and Emmett at some undetermined date were placed in a
Presbyterian home for children at Anchorage, Kentucky, during this period. No
particulars about the arrangement are found in Effie’s or the school’s present
records, or remembered by her family. While she never hesitated to speak of
having been in the home--and once drove her children around the area trying to
locate it when they were on their way to Louisville--her account must have
sounded uneventful to them, and they were too young to be attentive. The tintype
reproduced above is believed to have been made at this time.
* * * * *
In 1894 a bridge was built across the Licking River at West Liberty, and
the ferry’s usefulness to travelers came to an end.
Lucy Kilgore immediately sold her property on the Licking River for three
hundred dollars and married Alfred Davis of Cannel City, who fifteen years earlier
had officiated at her marriage to Elijah Kilgore. Alfred was twenty years older
7

 than she, and his daughter Fanny was the wife of Lucy’s brother Milt who had  
inherited the old Reed place. .
Lucy had her brood together again, and she and her four children--ranging ,
in ages from seven to fourteen--moved into Alfred Davis’ home. ’IWvo years later I
William Thomas (Tom) Davis was born. The future seemed promising for
everyone concerned.
»•= * * * *
With the exception of her grandfather John Kilgore, who helped her mother
with the ferryboat, Effie had little opportunity to know her father’ s kin during her -
childhood. She writes, "South Fork--where they lived--was a long way from Neal
Valley. I don’t remember that I ever knew much about my father’s side of the
family until about the time I was grown, when Aunt Sarilda, Aunt Elizabeth, and
Uncle Paschal moved down near West Liberty."
After they became more accessible, Effie grew very fond of Uncle Paschal--
her father’s only brother--and his wife. Many years later Effie would often
mention him to her own children, how he had helped her during that crucial
period. "I always felt at home at Uncle Paschal’s--they were my second parents
and made it possible for me to continue my schooling." And about her other
Kilgore kin:
While I was in school and teaching they were all so good to me.
Aunt Cynthia took good care of me when I taught there. She was a
dear—·her smiling eyes. I was at Aunt Margaret’s when little Nora
died and when Price married. I thought Uncle George was the
nicest uncle because he helped Aunt Margaret get breakfast.
I spent a week at Aunt Susan McGuire’s when she lived beyond
White Oak, and had a wonderful time. A beautiful McGuire girl was
visiting them. She played the organ and sang. Aunt Susan’s
children would come to see us. [When I was researching our family ‘
lines] she was an inspiration, and I took notes &·om her wonderful
memory. She told me several things I wanted to know. If I could
have been with her more ....
8

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  Jones Creek School EKC papers
I Standing at left, Effie Kilgore, teacher, with students and visitors on
  exhibition day, 1901.
Early in 1901 Effie Kilgore and her brother Emmett had completed a term
at the Hazel Green Academy in Wolfe County. A fragile, yellowed receipt book
found among her memorabilia had been used for her schoolmates’ farewell good
wishes. Names and initials still decipherable are:
} K. P. N., Kels, S. G. Sample, Mattie Cope, Falay Long, James Rose,
` Myrtle Ringo, Callie, K. P. Nickell, J. O. P., Lille S., Dora, Lillie
Rose, Lula Mae Evans, J. B. R., A. Wheeler, Smith Adams, Mae
= Nickell, Wm. H. Haney, Ollie Belle Swango, S. H. Kash, Julia
Nickell, Madge, Graham Amner, Adie, D. H. Arnett, and Ezekiel.
_; A sampling of the poetic effort of the day produces those familiar bits of
cheery affection or pithy wisdom which were once widely accepted for such leave-
takings:
Remember well and bear in mind, a handsome man is hard to find,
· ‘ And when you find one kind and true, marry him if he asks you to.
May your voyage through life be as happy and free
As the dancing waves on the deep blue sea.
_i While all alone at Graham Annex, room number four,
w Consider me as your true friend forever more.
Y And from her brother Emmett:
V May all that is sweetest and brightest in life be thine.
Q Be happy, God’s blessings attend thee, is ever my wish and prayer.

 * * * * *
Upon leaving the Hazel Green Academy, Effie lost no time in applying for
a teacher’s certificate, passing the tests, and beginning her appointment to the
Jones Creek school near West Liberty.
Historian Bernard E. Whitt, then superintendent of the Morgan County
schools, in a January 23, 1958, Licking Valley Courier article described how the
system worked:
The county superintendent had a board of two examiners who, with
himself, held teachers’ examinations and granted certificates to
teach. There were three types of certificates...in accordance with the
number of children. Salaries of` teachers ranged all the way from
about $15 per month to $50. ·
Until after 1918 there were only a few college graduates in Morgan
County teaching .... There were no teachers colleges at that time.
Textbooks used in schools for many years were McGuffey’s Reader,
Ray’s Arithmetic, and the Eclectic and Blue Back Speller. Later the
Eclectic Geography, Barnes History, and Harvey’s Grammar were
taught. Books were bought by parents. But many children were
unable to get books and studied with other children. The beginners
were taught ABC’s which were printed on a wooden paddle or on the
board.
Usually the superintendent made at least one visit per year to the
schools. There was no attendance supervisor, no clerks, no
supervisor of any nature. The superintendent would ride horseback
over the county and his visit to the district was an important event.
His speeches were rather set and long remembered by the
children ....
The teachers in the early days of this century did much to instill in
their pupils the ideals of Americanism. Those were the days when
the flag was about the most important thing in the world except the
Bible. .
In a November 20, 1967, Lexington Leader article, Helen Price Stacy quotes
Mr. VVhitt who recalled an exhibition day at the Jones Creek school where
students and some parents were in attendance. The teacher, "Miss Efiie" Kilgore,
had the program well organized, opening with a recitation of Mary’s little lamb
following her off to school, and closing with a statesman-like rendition of Give-me-
liberty·or-give-me-death. But the reading most impressive to Superintendent
10

 Whitt concerned the boy who stood on the burning deck when all but him had fled.
According to Mr. Whitt, reports Helen Price Stacy, "He was the bravest boy that
ever lived."
Although Effie Kilgore would always have fond memories of her teaching
days, after two years of trying to manage with the low salary, frequent residence
changes, and the uncertainty of a beginning teacher’s appointments, she began to
consider the possibility of equipping herself for a more promising career.
Late in 1903 she wrote to a West Liberty attorney, Finley Fogg, concerning
the possibilities of securing a secretarial position in the event she took a six-week
course in typing and shorthand which was being offered by a Lexington business
school. In his reply, Mr. Fogg could promise only a temporary position, but his
letter was encouraging:
Dear Miss Effie:
If you are successful in school, which you doubtless will be, you need
have no fears about a position, even a better position than I would
be in a position to off`er ....
But I feel sure that I will be able to off`er you such employment as
will enable you to live all right until something better and more in
keeping with your merits can be secured .... _
I can guarantee you one thing, however, and that is that you shall I
not starve out, and I will do the best I can for you.
Effie’s decision was made. By the end of 1903 she had taken the
stenographic course at what is today the Fugazzi College in Lexington, and had
been hired as secretary to Martin L. Conley, general manager of the new coal and
railway companies in Cannel City.
I Hallie Day Blackburn describes Conley as a person of great ability whom
everyone admired, but stood a little in awe of:
He wanted everything done just right, and he saw to it all. He was
always at the station to get the reports when the train came in.
Good luck, Miss E#ie!
11

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EFFIE KILGORE . ;
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Dr. J. B. Whnteaker and Hugh Mznor. The general store as on the rlght and the Hotel J
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Cannel City, circa 1910 EKC papers
At the turn of the twentieth century the rugged coal—mining area around
Cannel City seemed to spring overnight into a busy town, equipped with a school,
church, bank, general store, thirty-room hotel, doct0r’s office, barber shop, railroad
station, housing, and a handsome residence for the companies’ general manager.
_ Newcomers appeared from as far as the eastern seaboard to as near as the
next county, filling the jobs and houses and settling in with their families.
Two related companies were involved in the metamorphosis: the Kentucky
4 Block Cannel Coal Company and the Ohio & Kentucky Railway, both of which had
their principal offices in New York City. Eastern interests had leased five
thousand acres for mining and had constructed a railroad to connect the area to
if the existing Lexington & Eastern Railway, which ran from Lexington to Jackson.
  The railroad would provide an outlet for the coal as well as transportation for the
citizenry. The O & K began its operations on June 10, 1901, amid general
sl hurrahs.
In its Remember-Back-When column of August 2, 1971, the Lexington
  Leader describes some of Cannel City’ s amusement offerings:
  13
*5
. sa

 Soon after the rails reached Cannel City the boom was on in this
new community and for years it was a lively town where easterners '  
and natives of the Kentucky