Charles Meacham’s History of Christian County illustrates the historical value of minutiae

One historical tidbit woven into Charles Mayfield Meacham's History of Christian County was an ordinance passed in 1906 prohibiting cows from running at large.

(Editor’s note: The following “Did You Know” originally published in the Sept. 5, 2019, issue of Hoptown Chronicle’s weekly newsletter, The Scoop.)

The value of the minutiae in a community’s history perhaps has no better example than “A History of Christian County, Kentucky: From Oxcart to Airplane” by Charles Mayfield Meacham. 

Here are a few examples of the details Meacham, a Hopkinsville journalist and mayor, wove into the history he published in 1930:

Charles Mayfield Meacham

Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Library, begun in December 1913, was completed in July 1914. It was designed by John T. Waller, architect, and cost $16,500. 

An Early Photographer

E.L. Foulks, the oldest man in Hopkinsville, died February 26, 1917. He was born on Jan. 12, 1823, at Belleville, Ill., and came to Hopkinsville as a photographer in 1858.

No More City Cows

By a vote of four to three, the City Council of Hopkinsville passed an ordinance prohibiting livestock from running at large in 1906. The ordinance was resisted in the courts by owners of cows, but eventually, the law was upheld and May 31, there was a rush to take down yard fences, greatly changing the appearance of the city. 

Big Snow

Dec. 11, 1917, the coldest day in sixteen years in Hopkinsville. The thermometer registered thirteen degrees below zero, and snow was fourteen inches deep.

Married in a Stable

Accepting a proposition made in the papers of Hopkinsville to the first Leap Year bride who would be married as the result of her own proposal, a young couple from Crofton appeared, Feb. 14, 1916, and, making the required affidavit, were married in the offices of Richard Leaveil’s sales stables. Their names were Sallie Eldora Brown and James Herbert Tweddell. They received the following bridal presents: L. J. Harris, license; Judge J. W. Knight, ceremony; W. T. Cooper, $100 worth of premium store tickets; Wall & McGowan, $200 worth of premium store tickets; George’s Bakery, a cake; T. L. Metcalf e, a bouquet; J. L. Freedman, a beef roast; McClaid & Armstrong, a tombstone; Mrs. P. L. Mitchell to make the bride a dress; Keach & Fears, a $5 rocker; George McCord, groceries; H. L. Lebkuecker, box cigars; G. W. Southall, side of meat; Blakey, Bass & Barnett, wedding ring; Hopkinsville Bottling Works, 24 bottles Coca-Cola; Hopkinsville Auto Company, gallon gasoline; Dixie Cafe, supper; Ben Winfree, fire insurance on all awards; J. R. Renshaw, setting Rhode Island Red eggs; W. R. Bowles, life size picture; Mrs. D. E. Foster, setting Plymouth Rock eggs; Ellis Ice Company, 1,000 pounds of ice; Anderson & Fowler, 12 bottles of Castoria; J. H. Reese, setting White Leghorn eggs; and last but most valuable of all, a $150 mule by Richard Leavell. The bride was a pretty brunette, a daughter of James H. Brown. A large crowd attended the wedding at Mr. Leavell’s stable, and a picture was taken. The young couple returned home, taking most of the presents with them. The rest were sent later.

Meacham’s book can be searched online, so go find more details here.

Charles Meacham’s History of Christian County illustrates the historical value of minutiae

Jennifer P. Brown

Jennifer P. Brown is the founder and editor of Hoptown Chronicle. You can reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org.