He probably gave it to someone who liked moonshine

Posted by | April 20, 2010

“My great uncle Ellis, being the youngest of the family, lived at home with his mother Martha until her death. I remember my grandmother (Ellis’ sister Fannie Mainous Botner) and my mother going up there from Travelers Rest to help care for her. They did the laundry for her and Ellis.

“Ellis inherited the 30 acres that was left of the homestead. The house was a 2 story log house. Ellis’ father Hampton had owned many acres, but according to my mother, had sold much of it. Ellis was a playboy of sorts, and drank too much. Mother always said that her grandpa had sold land to keep Ellis out of trouble. By this I am assuming that he got put in jail for public drunkenness, and his daddy bailed him out.

“My mother and daddy bought the last 30 acres from Ellis about 1940. The log house stood for a long time and Daddy rented it. We were living at Travelers Rest at this time. But finally the log house was torn down, Daddy built a one story house, and my parents lived there until Daddy died and Mother went to the nursing home.

“I can remember my maternal grandmother very well, although I was only 7 years old when she died. There was few days in my young life that I did not spend time with her. The day she died she was on her way to Levi with the mail carrier to buy her some boots.

Fannie Mainous Botner

Fannie Mainous Botner.

“She had come over to the post office to see if he had room for her to go along to the store at Levi. She ran back to the house to get her money. They were a mile from Travelers Rest post office, when the mailman (Bobby Farmer) heard a noise in the back seat. He immediately knew there was a serious problem and brought her back to our house, where she was pronounced dead. They assumed it was a heart attack.

“The funeral home at Beattyville came to our house and embalmed her. She is the first person in Travelers Rest to be embalmed. Visitation took place at our house. Her funeral was at the Travelers Rest Presbyterian Church and she was buried in the Mainous Cemetery near the home place of Daniel Mainous at Vincent.

“She was a kind, gentle person and in my entire life I have never heard an ill word said about her. Uncle Conley used to talk to me about what a good woman she was. He always told me I looked like her.

“Conley Mainous was a beloved uncle, whom I grew up seeing almost every day of my young life. He and Aunt Myrtle were a constant presence in my life. It was a highlight in my week when I got to spend the night at their house. Their younger children, Jack and Peggy, were still at home, and we enjoyed each other so much. Aunt Myrtle would make fresh blackberry jam for us for breakfast, and I gave it the name of hotty jam–a dish that to this day is a family tradition.

“Jack and I spent lots of time in the summers fishing and wading in the creek. I think he is about two years older than I. I was always the younger tag-along around Travelers Rest. I remember baking potatoes outside on a fire that we built, and cooking fish that we had caught in Sturgeon Creek.

“Conley delivered the mail on horseback from Travelers Rest to Wild Dog and places in-between and beyond. He started delivering mail after his return from WWI. Sometimes he delivered groceries from our store or Aunt Sarah’s, when one of his patrons was out of meal or sugar or some other staple item. Many times he was paid for the extra service with a pint of moonshine. But no one ever saw him drink this or any other form of alcohol. He probably gave it to someone who liked moonshine. I bet, if the truth was known, he gave some of that stuff to Sigsbee Scott, our Travelers Rest postmaster (because Sigsbee liked a little nip now and then).

General Store at Travelers Rest KY

Aunt Sarah's General Store at Travelers Rest, KY.

“Conley spent his last 2 or 3 years in the Veterans Nursing Home in Ft. Thomas, KY, just across the river from Cincinnati. At his death, he was the oldest veteran of WWI from KY, but he was listed as being from Ohio, because that was the state he was living at the time he joined the army.

“My daddy, William “Bill” Vickers, did many things in order to make a living for his family. He had driven coal trucks, farmed, owned a general store with our mother. She did more of the clerking in the store than he did.

“Daddy liked to be on the outside, so he took his truck into adjoining counties and bought produce from the farmers–chickens, eggs and most anything that he could put in the lot. We never knew what he might bring home.

“I remember having a peacock at one time. When the birds accumulated, he would take them to Lexington. This was once a week or every two weeks at the most. While in Lexington, he bought groceries for the store. During WWII, when some things were hard to get from the grocery companies who came by to take orders, Daddy would get hard-to-get things in Lexington.

“He always managed to get Milky Way bars when the other stores couldn’t. After the grocery business, he went in the excavation work. He built many of the farm ponds you see today in Owsley County.

“My mother Gladys was a rather quiet individual. She never worked outside our home except during those years that we had the General Store at Travelers Rest. She worked so hard during that period; not a bean, apple, or any other kind of vegetable or fruit that we had went to waste. Between trips down to the store to get groceries for customers, she was working in that garden and preserving everything she could for the winter. She really enjoyed cooking and canning. We may have not have had a lot money, but no one in Gladys Botner Vickers’s home ever went to bed hungry. When she cooked for work hands, she cooked as though it was Sunday and the preacher was coming for dinner.”

—Glenna Vickers Burton
online at http://billjames.org/Family Tree – Web Pages/Descendants of Jacob Mainous.htm

One Response

  • Lori Erdman says:

    I was so excited when I stumbled upon this article. Conley and Myrtle Mainous are my grandparents. My mother is Pauline. And we visited often. I’m Pauline’s youngest daughter. And I remember Aunt Sarah’s general store. I also remember Conley’s (Papaw) brother, Ellis. All of those names like Gladys,are familiar to me. My Aunt Peggy and Uncle Jack were all very close to the rest of their siblings: Sigsby, Helen, Steve, and John who I know is the only one who remains in Owsley Co. Helen, Steve and John are still living. My older brother and sisters remember so much more than I do. But I do know that papaw did deliver the mail on horseback. We loved to sit on their front porch swing and talk for hours. Watch the cars go by (one every 30 minutes or longer) and wave. My sister spent summers with Myrtle and Conley. They bathed in a galvinized tub outside behind the smoke house. So funny. Papaw smoked a corn cob pipe, and greeted us every morning with “how’s your ears this morning”. I asked him once when he was over 100 years old his favorite invention, thinking he’s say a jet, or heart transplant. He replied, “screens”. He said the flies were terrible. That really made me think.

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