Long Live The King's Chapel Community, Land We Love:
Leather Breeches, Gritten Bread, Quilting Bees, Bean Stringings and Corn
Sandy Valley Enquirer
Thursday, December 10, 1942
By Mrs. Frank Prather
Kings Chapel is a community located on the Dry Fork of Sinking and Dixie
Creek in the central part of Carter county, two and one-half miles from
U.S. 60 and three miles from the C. And O. Railway station at Aden,
The community has been known by the name of Kings Chapel, and was named
Kings Chapel after the King families. There was established early in
the 18 hundreds a church in this community and it was called Kings
chapel. And so long as the oldest inhabitant can remember this has been
Among the early settlers of the community were the two King families,
who came from Iowa, and old Virginia to make their home and neighbor
with such others as the Cartee, Anderson, Gee, Ruggles, Hicks, Counts,
Huntsman, Williams, Wilburns, Bayes and Bishop families.
Here on the hills and in the valleys the land was covered with timbers
of white oak, black oak, chestnut, beech, walnut, and poplar, which was
the haunt of much wild game. The wild hog, the deer, the wild turkeys,
pheasants and coon afforded not only a bit of diversion for the hunter,
but it was food to grace the table of these hardy people.
Because of the abundance of timber its value was oftentimes but little
considered. After that which was much-needed for the building of homes
and barns, huge logs of valuable walnut and poplar would be rolled onto
a blazing fire to be consumed.
Later, works at the sawmills converted much of the forest into valuable
The early people engaged in the digging of iron ore in the community and
hauled it a distance of eight miles to Grayson, the county seat, where
it was sent by the Eastern Kentucky railway to the old Hunnewell Furnace
to be smelted. Pay for this work was meager as we think of it today,
but was very satisfying at that time, when coffee could be purchased for
the small sum of five cents per pound, and plenty of bacon could be had
for five and six cents per pound.
Each family tilled the soil, growing their beans, potatoes, pumpkins,
squashes, corn and cabbage, which not only provided the food while in
season, but as today the cabbage was made into sauerkraut, the beans
were pickled or strung up to dry as "leather breeches" to make a feast
on a short winter day. In those days foods were not canned as today but
the method of preserving was to dry and to pickle. The corn was gritted
and the bread made from it was called grittin' bread.
The people were plain, peaceful, mostly industrious and honest.
Some persons locked their "meat-houses" but their cribs, barns and
stables, and even their dwellings were unlocked, yet robbery was a rare
The amusements were such as corresponded with the times and the people.
Their fun was of a nature of work in that something was accomplished.
There were the "quilting bees", "bean stringings", "corn shuckings,"
and "log-rollings." Both sexes participated in such games as blindman's
bluff, thimble, whiffing pin and skip to my low, while many of the old
women as well as the men smoked their pipe.
The first schoolhouse was built of logs, daubed with mud, and covered
with boards. A seven-foot fireplace for the burning of wood was at one
end of the room. The room was furnished with hewed logs on pegs for
seats. Imagine the comfort of a dozen or more children sitting in close
contact on these benches without backs.
School books were scarce. The children would bring any kind of book
they might have in the family. Spelling, reading, arithmetic and
writing were the main subjects. Schools were not divided into classes,
but every pupil "said" or read his own lesson.
The slate and slate-pencil were commonly used, although the more
advanced pupils had paper and ink.
After 1870 another log schoolhouse was built to replace the old one.
For heating it was supplied with a stove for burning wood, and with
strong, sturdy homemade benches with backs.
Some of the old residents recall the early teachers. One mentioned who
is living in Grayson at this time is Mrs. Alice Harris, but when she was
the schoolmarm for the five-month term at Kings Chapel in 1878, she was
Miss Alice Strother.
About 1905 again the old log school was replaced with a frame building,
which is still being used. Religious services were held monthly or
sometimes less frequently in the schoolhouse. Some of the early
preachers, circuit riders, were George Staggs, Benny Bowling and Lafe
Maddix. People looked forward to this time of worship which was
conducted by one or another of the prevalent denominations.
As the years passed many took their final resting place on a sunny slope
and others coming into the community were the Lowe, Sammons, Haley,
Jessee, James, Prather, Wilson, Blevins and Davis families.
In the World War I Milt Lowe was in the oversea duty.
In World War II, those who are in service are Ralph Holbrook, Wylie and
Clifton Lowe, Joe Knipp, Earsel and Glen King, Albert Davis, Junior
James, Virgil Bishop, Walter Wilson, Ralph Lowe, Billy Maddix, Earl and
Chester Bowers. Others are ready to respond when the call comes.
Today the people of Kings Chapel are still a home-loving people who own
their homes and small farms, where they grow their vegetables, corn,
tobacco, cane and hay.
The hills are rich in clay and coal deposits, which affords work for
those wishing to engage in the mining business.
The clay mines of the North American Refractories under the supervision
of Arthur Lowe, which was opened about 1937 and employs many men, is an
asset to the community.
An annual social event of interest is the Kings Chapel Homecoming, which
was instituted in 1937 at the suggestion of Bazil Wilburn, a former
In 1941 the W.P.A. built a very good road from Gregoryville through the
community towards Aden, which relieved the people from paying a "mud
tax" when making connections with other communities.
Because of this road, the Carter county Board of Education now sends a
school bus into the community and takes the boys and girls to the fine
county high school at Hitchins.
Long live the Kings Chapel community, land that we love!
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