Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

History Monday: Earls' Ridge

By Mike Watson

"Earls' Ridge -- Talk is lively at noontime at Smith's Store" -- 50 Years Ago

Half a century has passed since this was an above-the-fold headline in the Adair County News. Pete Walker spun a good story on the festive time of day--lunchtime--at Gilbert Smith's general store on Highway 704, south of Fairplay and Walnut Grove, along what has long been dubbed Earls' Ridge.

"Over on Earls' Ridge around noon time the men of the community gather around Smith's Store for a lunch break and lively conversation. A big favorite at the store is Mr. Jim Earls, who is 86 years old past, as he puts it. Mr. Earls wears his years with a grace and style enviable to anyone, regardless of age.

"I fence and grow a good garden, and I could work in tobacco if I wanted to and I could get married, too, if I wanted to, he said.

"Mr. Earls' grandfather, who lived to be '99 years old past' came from 'Virginy' and settled on the Ridge in olden times. That's how it got the name Earls Ridge.

"I can't recollect what year he came here, said Mr. Earls, but as I say he lived to be 99 years old past and then he slipped on the ice one winter and fell and hit his head and killed himself.

"My daddy lived to be 87 years old past and I'm 86 years past and that's a heap of living for us Earls to be here. I like here, though, Mr. Earls continued. I like my neighbors and I stay busy. Why yesterday I cleaned up a garden spot with a briar blade and cut cockle burrs down that stood higher than your head.

"I'm as good with a briar blade and a hoe as you will find anywhere. To a man, those present nodded their heads in agreement."

The page one particle is accompanied by a photo of Mr. James "Jim" Earls; on page five a second photo of 'those present' included, left to right: Jim Earls, Elbert Hadley, Carl Watson, Carnell Hadley, Garvin Spoon, and standing: Creed Lacy and William "Bill" Hadley.

Actually, the date of the article was 6 October 1970.

This story was posted on 2020-10-05 14:47:35
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

Smith's Grocery

2020-10-05 - Adair Co., KY - Photo courtesy Mike Watson.
Smith's Grocery as depicted in: The Old Country Store, Adair County, Kentucky (first of two publications), by Ernestine Smith Bennett, 2003.

Read More... | Comments? | Click here to share, print, or bookmark this photo.

Talk is lively at noontime at Smith's Store

2020-10-05 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Mike Watson.
Mr. James "Jim" Earls, Elbert Hadley, Carl Watson, Carnell Hadley, Garvin Spoon, and standing: Creed Lacy and William "Bill" Hadley, outside Smith's Grocery on Earls' Ridge.

Read More... | Comments? | Click here to share, print, or bookmark this photo.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.