This is the first column by The Trigg County Historical and Preservation Society, Inc. It will be used to present interesting information, stories and folklore of our wonderful community. We have several people willing to participate with varied columns of the history of Cadiz and Trigg County and history in general. At this time, David Shore, Charles Morris, Ricky Calhoun, Geoff Baggett, Kenneth Oakley, Judge Bill Cunningham, Dan Thomas, George Thomas, William Turner, Janie Sumner and many more will help write columns.
We love to talk with people about folklore that has been handed down to them through family members or people from the communities of our county. We would like to copy old pictures and one day want to provide a way to allow people to search through our database.
Are you willing to write an article? Would you like to be a member of the Historical Society? Have you ever checked out our Facebook page? We meet at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month in the meeting room in the Emergency Services building directly behind the Courthouse. If you wish to contact us, you can at PO Box 1008, Cadiz KY 42211, or contact David Shore at 270-871-7191 or Bob Brame at 270-350-1890 or stop by Cadiz Hardware.
I grew up around “old people”; I grew up in my grandfather’s county store. It was on Hwy 272 in what is called the Caledonia community. I didn’t realize until recently that in Latin, the word Caledonia was the name of modern day Scotland. My grandmother started the store in the “wash house” behind their home with $25 of supplies. When my grandfather saw how much she was selling, he built the store building. It was a huge 20-by-30 feet, and before the winter, he added a 20-foot extension to the store.
The store got the nickname “Smackout.” My wife worked at the Lodge when we first married, and another employee was Governor Breathitt’s daughter. She asked Patti where she lived, and when Patti told her, she said, “you mean Smackout?” My wife had never heard the name, so Miss Breathitt told her the story that her father had told about “Cousin Will’s” store.
It didn’t matter what you asked my grandfather for, he might have never heard of it, but he would say “I’m SMACKOUT, but I can get it for you!”
As I said, I grew up and we still live on the farm purchased in the 1880s by my great-grandparents. My great-grandfather, John Goode, wasn’t the most energetic person, so my great-grandmother, Virginia Humphries Goode, had to be find ways to make money on the homestead. Everyone in the community called her “Aunt Jenny.” She purchased 42 gallon wooden barrels of coal oil to sell in the community. This was similar to what we now call kerosene and was used to light homes and in some instances cook. It would take half a day for a horse-drawn wagon to bring the barrels from the train station at Gracey to the homestead on Hwy 272. Now we drive that distance in less than 30 minutes. She also raised turkeys, feeding them with feeders made with tobacco sticks. One year, she raised 100 turkeys and with the money purchased the first radio in the community. She would invite the neighbors in to listen to the Opry. I have been told that there would be standing room only in the large log room called the parlor.
If you have ever seen one of the early radios, they stood close to four feet tall and two feet wide. The first night that Abner Averitt, a neighbor, came to listen to the radio, she turned the radio on and Mr. Averitt jumped up and ran to the radio and looked behind it and said, “where is that **** midget?” Needless to say, when the neighbors left, they left with their jugs or tins full of coal oil! Today, that would be called marketing.
There were many families that I remember in the community as I grew up. Mr. & Mrs. Casey Freeman, “T” and Mary Francis Baker, Wallace Freeman family, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Taylor, The Murphy family, Ira and Gertrude Humphries and Harold, The Hardy’s, The Tuggles, The McGees, The Whartons, Elmo Dillard, The Terrells, Claude Cotton, Mr. Allen and Mrs. Alma Lawrence, Mr. Reginald and Mrs. Alice Wadlington, the Wade Wadlington family and many more that I have forgotten to list. These were people that we would now call “the salt of the earth.”
I can see the Wadlingtons coming up the road on their old Case tractors; Mr. Reginald would be in front, Mr. Wade next and Doug on the third tractor. They would stop to get a cola. I can see Mr. Reginald with his shirt somewhat tucked into his overalls part of it hanging below his waist, most of the time one pant leg rolled up a little, his shoes without any strings. When you saw Mr. Reginald, you knew that there was a pistol in the front right pant pocket of his overalls. People would stay around the store to 8-9 p.m. many nights. One night, a farmhand ran in the front door and told my daddy that a certain person was going to kill him. Daddy told him to go into the side room and stay there. Daddy always kept a pistol under the counter; he put the pistol on top the counter. Mr. Reginald was sitting behind the pot-belied stove without a clear view of the front door. He scooted his chair over to the side where he had a direct sight to the front door and slid his hand into his right pant pocket. In a few minutes, a farm owner came in the front door. He had been drinking and was belligerent. He had a pistol stuck in his belt. He demanded that the farmhand come out. Daddy told him that he needed to go home. He again cursed and demanded that the farmhand come out. Daddy stood and put his hand on the pistol and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to leave. He looked and daddy, then looked a Mr. Reginald ... turned around a left. Less than a week later, I remember seeing the man in the store buying everyone drinks from the old drink box.
Mr. Wade Waldlington was a very intelligent man, sadly his youngest daughter Agnes Ann Davis died recently. When I was a young man, Glenwood Mill Road was called Honeysuckle Lane. The state was rebuilding the bridge over Little River on Glenwood Mill. Mr. Wade met the engineers and they showed him the elevation of the bridge. Mr. Wade told them that the bridge would flood. The engineers said it would never flood. Mr. Wade just pulled out his pencil and little notepad like the farm stores would give out during those days. He asked the engineer to write his name down and how to contact him so that he could let him know the first time it flooded. Needless to say, Mr. Wade knew far more than those engineers!
Sometimes, Mr. Casey would ride one of his horses out to the store. Mr. Casey was an imposing figure on a horse. Early one morning, Mr. Ira Humphries came to the store and said his rheumatism was really bothering him. He said when he got up this morning he had trouble putting his belt on. Then when he went to eat breakfast, he could barely get the fork to his mouth. Standing in the middle of the store he raised his arm over his head and said “and I can’t do this at all!” Needless to say, everyone there was rolling in the floor laughing. Another one that I remember was Elmo Dillard, Sr., who one of the nicest people I have known throughout the years.
Many unusual things happened around the old store. I was “keeping” the store while momma cooked dinner (remember this is the noon meal to me). A couple of teenage boys that I had never seen came in the store and was at the least boisterous. They got a cold drink from the drink box and were fooling around; my daddy walked in the front door and had been suckering tobacco. He was soaking wet with sweat and probably wasn’t in the best of moods. The boys had moved over to the bread rack and were looking at the honey buns and other cakes. One of the boys probably said “I think I’ll get one of these dime cakes,” but daddy thought he said another word that also started with d ... Daddy kicked the boy in the rear end and said, “if there is going to be any cussing around here I’ll do it!” Needless to say, the boys paid for their drinks and the deposit on the bottles and left. I imagine for quite some time that young man wondered what happened! These are just a few of the stories that come from being around a country store.
Wendell Sholar is one of the best storytellers that I know, and he has plenty from the old Caledonia Store. Wendell was one of my best friends when we were kids. Of course, he is quite a bit older than I since he is retired. We would play in the yard of the house and next to the store. His brother, Dalton Sholar, would play tricks on us all the time! Dalton was a few years older than us and thusly bigger. One day, we decided to play tug of war with Wendell and me on one side and Dalton on the other. He worked us around until we were in the gravel then turned loose. Needless to say, we went sprawling in the gravel, scraped elbows and hurt feelings. At that age, I thought I hated Dalton, but throughout life he became a great friend and I miss him and the tricks he played on everyone each and every day.
Did you know there were over 40 country stores in the county during the 1940s-1950s? Did you know there was thriving communities in the “Camp Area”? How many grocery stores can you name that have been in Cadiz? How many brands of tractors were sold in Cadiz? Were there any Civil War battles in Trigg County? These are just a few of the topics that you may see in this column in the future. Please let us know if there is a topic that you might like to know about.