Whitesburg KY
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Blair Branch history being sought

Blair Branch

Hello all! I know am a bit late, but I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Memorial weekend. Michael, the boys, and I did.

The weather was perfect — warm sun and a cool breeze. We visited the Harrison Blair Cemetery on the top of the mountain above our house on Saturday. It was nice to see it had been mown and flowers placed on the graves. Harrison Blair was a private in the U.S. Army in World War I.

Mom (Sylvania Whitaker), Opal Jent, Lena Whitaker and I worked on flower arrangements for the graves of all of our immediate family. Aunt Mattie Adams helped us with the cost of the flowers for her side of the family, and requested that at least one white flower be placed in each arrangement on her behalf. When we finished assembling the arrangements, we loaded ourselves and the ones that went to the Clarence Blair Cemetery into the back of Dad’s truck and headed up the hill. My brother, Wade, brought a leaf blower and cleaned the grass off the stones where the cemetery had been mown. All the arrangements looked beautiful.

Junior Helton, Sidney Hensley III and Stuart Hensley came in from Indianapolis to decorate Edna Blair Helton’s grave. Sid also had a sign made to place in the cemetery. It read “Clarence Blair Cemetery, Go Rest High on that Mountain.” It is very nice.

The boys and I discussed the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and I explained to them that to the best of my understanding, Memorial Day is a day for honoring the military personnel who died while serving our country, especially those who died in battle. Veterans Day is when we honor all veterans who have served during war and during peace. We had hoped to go to the Memorial Day tribute that was held at the Letcher County Veterans Museum. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it. However, we were able to watch the shooting of the cannon on an online video later that night.

I knew that my fifth great-grandfather, Archelous Craft, served during the Revolutionary War as I have been working on my Daughters of the American Revolution application. I believe that my fifth greatgrandfather, James Caudill, Jr., also served during the Revolution. I am quite fond of genealogy so I enjoyed sitting down, digging through the family tree, and attempting to make a complete list of all of my relatives that have served in the military at one time or another. It was quite a list, but I could have missed a few. If any of y’all know a veteran that I may be related to, don’t hesitate to fill me in on the details. I find it all utterly fascinating.

Speaking of research, I’m trying to compile a general history of Blair Branch. Who were the first people to settle here, what were their lives like? Who had electricity, running water, radio, telephone, television, and cars first? Where were the schools and who were the teachers? When was an actual road built so that you didn‘t have to go through the creek? Really, I’m open to hearing any and all information regarding the history of Blair Branch.

There will be a memorial June meeting at the Whitaker Cemetery in the head of Johnson’s Fork at Premium on the fourth weekend in June. Services will start at 9:30 a.m. on both Saturday, June 28, and on Sunday, June 29. A potluck dinner will be held on the grounds on Sunday after church services. Everyone is invited to attend.

I recently saw a photo online of a bear standing not far from the Blair Branch Church. Scary! I knew there have been bears in the area in the past as we found several piles of scat up the hill from our house last summer, but I was hoping it’d make its rounds somewhere else this year. Fortunately, we haven’t had any run-ins with it.

Gardner Allen, Jessica, Hayden, Alissa and Zachary Jent surprised Opal and David Jent last weekend when they came in for a visit from Madisonville. They came to visit with Mom and Dad, Allen and Sylvania Whitaker, also. Mom said the babies have really grown. I was sad that I missed them, but hopefully I will get to see them all soon. Thank goodness for Facebook.

Deidra, Sammy, Kylee and Brantlee Gibson were also in from Madisonville last weekend to go to church at Dixon memorial and to celebrate Kylee’s third birthday with all of their family. She had a cowgirl theme and a super cute horse cake. The party was held at the Kingscreek Park on May 25 after church. The park was a very nice place; I’d never been there before. Happy birthday, Bambina. Auntie Jo loves you to the moon and back!

My nephew, Austin “Bud” Whitaker, celebrated his 16th birthday on May 27. He passed his driver’s permit test that very same day. Way to go, Bud. Happy birthday. I love you!

Also, I’d like to give Austin “Bud” and the rest of LCCHS archery team a big pat on the back for a job well done at Nationals in Louisville. I would also like to wish them all the best of luck at Worlds in Madison, Wisc., this July.

I’d like to send out a big congratulations to all the seniors that are graduating this year, especially Gregory Alan Holford, son of Lana and Greg Holford, of West Chester, Oh.; Marissa Collie, daughter of Maurice and Becky Collie, of Indianapolis, Ind.; Brandon Couch, son of Scott and Melanie Couch, of Hazard; and Stephen West, son of Sonja and Ben West, of Premium.

I’ve been missing in action from the Blair Branch column at least, for quite a while now. There is no way I could ever catch up on all the birthdays that I have missed. I truly am sorry about that, but when you home school your children, their education comes before anything else. I hope each of you had a lovely day.

Happy birthday to Krystal White and Pamela Adams on May 28; Pam Blair, May 30; Dennis Ison, June 1; Susie Price and Maurice Collie, June 2; Pinkie Adams, June 3; Ben Smith and Melody Morton, June 4; Kelly Caudill and Teresa Hopkins, June 5; Hazel Bowling, June 6; Stephen West and Taschelle Sexton, June 8; and Wade Whitehead, June 10. I hope your day is filled with all the love and laugher in the world.

Ila Adams had a very special birthday on May 23. She is now 90 years young. Don’t whip me for putting this in here, Aunt Id. You are still a spring chicken. Happy birthday! I love you.

Happy wedding anniversary to Chalena and Robbie Williams on June 5. I hope you had a lovely day and are happily together for many more!

Chalena’s son, Kory has been having some issues with his stomach. I hope that he is feeling better real soon.

Lovell Blair has been in the hospital. He was having some issues with infection in his toe. I’ve been praying for you, Uncle Dud.

Mom, Sylvania Whitaker, had an appointment with at the transplant center recently. Her kidney got a great report. It is still working perfectly. Thank God. Her calcium was too high, though, and it is a possibility that she could have a place on her thyroid again. We are praying it is something that can be handled without surgery.

Dad (Allen Whitaker), Wade, Lena, Austin “Bud” and Alex Whitaker, along with Johnny and Tammy Whitaker, spent a relaxing weekend fishing in Somerset. Rulah V. and Peggy joined the fun as well. I believe they all enjoyed themselves and they were quite successful. Everyone is anxiously awaiting a fish fry.

I ran into Stella Boggs at Food City in Whitesburg a few weeks ago and she asked when I’d be able to write for the paper again so, Stella, this is for you. I hope I did not disappoint.

If I have left anyone or anything out, just let me know and I will be glad you get you next time. I hope everyone has a healthy and happy week. If you would like to contact me, feel free to give me a call or you may email me at alanacouch@hotmail.com.



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