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Mike Watson: Motor cycle riding was a big hit for one Adair Countian in 1911 ...

Lamentation of ex pat Adair Countian, from Ohio a place with little to compare to home: 'That is right boys, love the home of your childhood, for it is the sweetest place in memory. I would like to be home and attend one of those all day singings, and dinner on the ground. There is never anything doing like that up here.' - JACK BAILEY, in one of many vignettes on the coming of the automobile, the motorcycle, speed limits, and a motorcycle tragedy in Lebanon, KY compiled by Mike Watson
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By Mike Watson, Adair County historian

The following is from a letter written to and published by The Adair County News, July 5, 1911, by Jack Bailey, then living and working at South Lebanon, Ohio, but native of Adair County.

"I am still liking this part of the country fine. Crops of all kinds are looking well, as we have had plenty of raid. Wheat and hay harvest is on hand now, and there are not enough work hands to supply the demand. If any of the Adair County boys are out of employment, they should find plenty of work here on the farm or in the factory, and get good wages.


Several Kentucky boys came here, but they got home sick and returned home. That is right boys, love the home of your childhood, for it is the sweetest place in memory. I would like to be home and attend one of those all day singings, and dinner on the ground. There is never anything doing like that up here.

"The boys from Dayton and Cincinnati have a big time on Sundays motorcycling. There are good roads here, and it is a pleasure to take a ride on one. They run them at the rate of 75 miles per hour. The automobiles are taking the place of the horse and buggy altogether here. You will see a dozen autos where you don't see one buggy... (signed) Jack Bailey."

W.E. Feese purchased a fine Motor Cycle in 1912

The Cane Valley newsletter to the News, May 8, 1912, stated that, "W.E. Feese purchased himself a fine Motor Cycle last week." The Knifley correspondent, in the June 19 issue, stated, "Mr. Wyatt Feese passed through our town one day last week on his motor cycle."

Eight mile and hour speed limit in Columbia in 1913

Speed limits set by the Town Board of Columbia for automobiles and motorcycles in July 1913 was eight miles per hour. There was a to be a five dollar fine for first violations and ten dollars for the second.

Motorcycle registration was $5 in 1914

A New Automobile Law for Kentucky went into effect on June 12, 1914. One of the provisions included the licensing of motor vehicles of any type: For vehicles of twenty-five horse power of less, $6; between twenty-five and fifty, $11; and above fifty horse power, $20. A motorcycle registration is $5.

Dulworth newsletter reported purchase of motorcycle in 1916

"Claud Dulworth has purchased a new motorcycle and is learning to ride these cold days." according to the Dulworth newsletter to the News, 26 January 1916.

In 1916, a speeding ticket was actually written in Columbia?

In April 1916 W.R. Goff was fined $5 for breaking the speed limit on a motor cycle in Columbia.

Motorcyclist, new graduate of Centre, killed by train at crossing in Lebanon in 1916

The first motorcycle fatality of record for our immediate area occurred in June 1916. Marshall Cloyd, son of Judge J.W. Cloyd, of Campbellsville, who was just graduated from Centre College in Danville, "was en route to his home in Campbellsville, riding a motorcycle, when he reached the crossing at Lebanon he was struck by a fast train and killed. News, 14 June 1916.

Quick trip from Lexington brings the Erds to Columbia in 4 hours, 45 minutes!

Quick Trip--Messrs F.X. and John Erd, who live at Lexington, made a quick trip to Columbia last Friday. They left Lexington at 6:30 a.m., riding two of the same motorcycle, and arrived here at 11:15 a.m. They came via Harrodsburg, Perryville, Lebanon and Campbellsville, a distance of fully one hundred miles. John Erd came over to inspect the Moving Picture Machine he recently installed for Mr. Nell as well as to make arrangements for a hunting trip here this fall. News, 12 July 1916.

Mack Willis involved in serious accident on way to Columbia on motorcycle

Late Wednesday afternoon, Mack Willis, who lives a few miles out of town, met with a rather serious accident. He was coming to Columbia on his motorcycle and in coming down the Russell Hill, his machine flew the track and he was dashed violently to the ground. His head and face were badly cut and several stitches had to be taken on his head. News, 15 September 1920

Good rebuilt Indian motorcycle offered by T.G. Rasner & Son in 1922

In October 1922, T.G. Rasner & Son, dealers in cycles, offered for sale a "good rebuilt Indian Motorcycle." No price given.

- Mike Watson


This story was posted on 2013-08-04 08:33:22
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