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Precious memories - a Sulphur Well, KY journal

Precious memories below are from the journal written by Mrs. Ruby Mitchell Williams from her lifetime in Sulphur Well, Kentucky. The Journal was among the keepsakes in the possession of her young friend and admirer Quinn Jessie and is shared by Quinn's mother, retired Postmaster and historian Cora Emma London Jessie.

Things that I remember and things that I believe. It may not be of any interest to you but I am leaving it for all of you to read. - Ruby Williams

Third Sunday in August - August, 1972

Today has been another Homecoming Day for Sulphur Well.

In the late [18]80s the young people of Hart County set the third Sunday in August as the day when they would all be at Sulphur Well on the same day, so for nearly a century this day has brought large crowds to the Well.

The crowd this year was estimated at six or seven hundred, a small crowd compared to the people who came in the earlier years.

For a number of years the transportation was horse and buggy.


So they either came on Saturday and spent the night or came real early Sunday morning.

I can remember when we were children counting as high as 29 horse and buggies coming into Sulphur Well just as we were getting out of bed.

In those days tThe two hotels and a boarding house could not take care of all the people and private homes would rent their rooms.

On Saturday night for a number of years we would have some unwelcome visitors. The barn, back of Babe's restaurant, was a livery stable to take care of the horses and in that lot the drunks would gather.

We were living where Mrs. Hurt's house is and at that time daddy only had a small store building as he did not build the larger one until 1912.

We slept upstairs facing the lot and they would shoot pistols all night long and there would be so many shooting that fire from the guns would light up the rooms.

Edmonton was far away then. Probably no telephones and it took a lot of time to ride there on horseback and couldn't have carried them to jail.

I remember quite well my first trip to Edmonton. I was 13 years old and went up there to the first school fair. I felt that I had really been somewhere. We were big girls before mother and father would let us go in The Grove for most every Sunday there would be a fight or two and maybe guns fired.

Most any Sunday there would be so many around The Well that it was impossible for all to get a drink.

In those days you were not well dressed if you weren't wearing a hat. And they were wide brimmed, high crown and covered with flowers - you kept them on by using hat pins. One Sunday the usual crowd was gathering about The Well. Mrs. Ella Thompson was in the crowd.

Men came across a little footbridge just above The Well one was shooting at the other one and a stray bullet went through her hat crown. I can remember her coming to our home and how scared she was.

Those times soon passed and while the crowds continue to come, law and order prevailed.


This story was posted on 2021-03-17 08:51:50
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Sulphur Well, KY - view from the Grove



2021-03-17 - Metcalfe County, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener, ColumbiaMagazine.com.
This is today's view of downtown Sulphur Well proper from the Grove, across the Little Barren River from the artesian white sulphur water well (The Gum, center of photo at the river edge) that gave it its name. The Journal of Miss Ruby Williams takes us through a girl's memories in the years when every Third Sunday in August brought hundreds to homecoming.

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Sulphur Well journal - The Gum at The Well



2021-03-18 - Metcalfe County, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener, ColumbiaMagazine.com.
The precious memories journal of Ruby Williams talks about "The Well" which is how we refer to it when we're going to the little town of Sulphur Well, and "The Gum," pictured above, which is how we refer to the artesian well, white sulphur water flowing since its discovery. Thousands over the years have leaned over and taken a sip. Some have just leaned in and sniffed and that was enough for them.

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