Dispatches from the Richmond Climax

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Dispatches from the Richmond Climax


The Richmond Climax, a weekly newspaper, was a forerunner of The Richmond Daily Register, which began publishing in 1917. Here are three news items from the Climax. Thanks to Jasper Castle for this information about millstones from Madison County that made their way to Missouri before being abandoned.

Wednesday, February 15, 1899

“Some of the oldest relics we know of in this section and to which no one seems to appreciate or pay any attention is a pair of old stone burrs, now lying idle at Union Mills east of here, having been discarded years ago for new ones. This set of burrs was used in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1800 to grind grain for a distillery. They were brought to Missouri just before the Mexican War by A. Woods and J. Estill, Jr., son of old Gen. Estill of Madison County, Kentucky. The exact date of these relics is vouched for by Uncle Dave Stager, north of town, who knew the Estills well, having been raised on adjoining farms to them in Kentucky, and has seen the old burrs in operation hundreds of times before they were brought to Missouri.”

Our recent cold winter seems benign compared to the following observations from February of 1899, a period coal stoves were among the best ways to heat.

The story reads: “thirty five degrees below zero at Silver Creek. At Red House the thermometer dropped to 22 to 30 below, and no coal on hand, so reported our correspondent. Wm. Dozier will have a load [of coal] this week. For the first time in the history of the county, the thermometer remained below zero for eight days in succession in the month of February, or any other month.”

From July 12, 1899, we find Climax correspondent Ed Brown writing about the Pond Meeting House and Barnes Mill. “Pond Meeting House is situated on Barnes Mill Pike, three miles from the court house. It is locate in one of the most beautiful parts of the county and is one of the oldest Christian congregations around here and the building is one of our best country brick churches. Rev. Bailey, pastor of the congregation, resides near the church. There is also a blacksmith shop run by Les Moore. Some of the principal persons near here are Irvine White, Dock Herndon, Jack Ross, Hugh Miller, William Adams, George Adams, Sam Dejarnett, Joel Embry, Matt Arbuckle, Bud Barnes, Wm. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Forbes, Wm. Crutcher and Brutus White.

Barnes Mill is located at the terminus of the Barnes Mill Pike on Silver Creek, six miles from this city. It is one of the oldest water grist mills in the county and was built by Mr. Porter 75 years since. Doc Bronston is the miller, successor to James Barnes, deceased. One mile above this is the old hemp factory, now dilapidated, which was built by Mr. Smith from Lexington, in the early days. Half a mile below this mill is one of the best iron bridges in the county, spanning Silver Creek. This creek is one of largest and longest in the county. It raises near Boones Gap, between Madison and Rockcastle counties and is about forty miles long.

Near this bridge is the old homestead of Gen. Estill, who was a noted man in that locality in his time. It is one of the best brick residences in this section. He was grandfather to the Hon. Sam and Judge Thomas Scott of this city and uncle to Mrs. Wade Walker. An uncle of the writer, Thomas Brown, married one of his daughters and afterwards immigrated to Missouri and died there.”

Here we have some interesting regional county history, from a part of the county recently characterized by rapid growth, housing subdivisions, shopping centers and office complexes. The farmhouses and old local industries of the water wheel, the smithy’s anvil and the hemp factory are largely gone now — only the church on the corner of Barnes Mill and Goggins Lane remains as a visible connection to Madison’s heritage.

CORRECTION: It was Wiggins, and not Williams, who scored four points for Madison against Tilghman in the 1939 state tournament.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Dispatches from the Richmond Climax,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed March 3, 2024, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/1832.