November 21, 2013

Traces of Laurel: More from the Mountain-Echo

By Jan Sparkman

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The early issues of the Mountain Echo gave readers a little bit of everything.  Since the editors had no style book to consult they made up their own rules of capitalization and punctuation, which made for difficult reading at times.

November 7, 1873:  “On last Sunday morning an immense flock of Crows passed over town going South, Ann Culton and Henry Hunter were near the Evan Jones place, gathering Gum Wax, and counted over 15,000 Crows.”

November 14, 1873:  “Mrs. And Miss Cook, from Pleasant Valley, in Rockcastle county, in town visiting their relations.  Mrs. Cook was formerly from this place, and stepdaughter of General Jarvis Jackson.”

December 5 1873:  “The following is a true copy of a letter received by Judge Randall a few days ago from the County Judge of _______ county:  Mr. Hon. P H Randle sir I am in sick Bed I wish my Case Continude I am the mane Evidence to Explane the hole Truth I hope all will Berite this the 23d 1873.”

December 30, 1873:  “Mrs. Parman a lady who resides a few miles from London, And who has been confined to a bed of sickness for sometime. Is fast recovering, Under the skillful Medical Aids of Dr. James W. Jackson, of Laurel Bridge.  This is a case worthy of note.  Mrs. P., after lingering under the treatment of outher Physicians, for some time, and the case abandoned, and all her friends despaired of her recovery, Dr. Jackson was called in and succeeded in wresting her disease, and she is now in a fair way of recovery. Dr. Jackson is a young man of considerable promise, and bids fair to become a worthy son of Esculapius.”

January 16, 1874:  “On Thursday last 8th inst., on route No. 20227, from London to Barbourville, the mail was robbed of two registered letters, one from Mr. Pleasant containing $75.00 and one from this place mailed by P.M. himself to Messrs. Neatherland & Hart, Louisville containing $356, $13 of which was cash, balance in checks.  The one from Mt. Pleasant was either lost from or taken from the mail between here and Brafford’s store, 8 miles distant. The one mailed by Post Master here was also in some manner lost between the office at Judge Jackson’s and London distance 5 miles. Gibson, the postmaster, went to London, on Friday, but could learn nothing concerning it, only that it was in the mail when it left Judge Jackson’s.”

Is it even possible to count 15,000 crows?  And, by the way, who was Esculapius? Just asking. 


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Interviews with Laurel Countians over the age of 80 have begun. Subjects are only asked to answer a few questions about their childhood and youth and their connection to Laurel County.  If you or someone you know would like to participate, contact the society at 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times. Email the historical society at or Jan Sparkman at


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The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 W. 3rd St., London, (formerly the Laurel County Health Department).  The library is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.  For further information, contact 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times.  Email the society at or Jan Sparkman at