On Sunday, March 1, 2020 there was a great crowd at the courthouse steps in Beattyville, KY for the Kickoff Ceremony of Lee County Celebrating 150 years.
Lee County was honored at the 150 Year Celebration Ceremony on the state and national level by political leaders. Representative for US Senator Rand Paul, Regina Jones, read a congratulatory message from the senator. Andria Begley, representative for US Congressman Hal Rogers, red a congratulatory message from the Congressman. KY Representative Cluster Howard presented Lee County with a Legislative Citation that was passed in the KY House of Representatives marking the occasion. Also on a national level, Donna McClure, Representative for US Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky's Senior Senator Mitch McConnell, read a US Congressional Record that was presented to the President of the United States, on the US Congressional floor by Senator McConnell to mark to occasion.
The honored speaker was KY Senate President Robert Stivers who have a wonderful speech on Lee County, mentioned the highlights of his experiences with our community over the years, such as the Woolly Worm Festival, The Purple Cow Restaurant, and the Jones Ford Auto Sales Lot.
The final section of the ceremony was awarding community recognitions on people, groups, and places that have been a part of our community and endured over the last 150 years. The Sesquicentennial research committee did a lot of hard work in a short amount of time on identifying the recipients.
The oldest operating business in Lee County was recognized as the Peoples Exchange Bank, which was established in 1912 and still operating today.
The oldest living man was recognized as Paul Wheeler Treadway who is 99 years old and will turn 100 on August 24th. He was born in Cressmont, KY lived in Heidelberg through this school years. Moved to Richmond and worked at the Kentucky Ordinance then moved to Ohio to work at General Motors where he retired and moved back to Lee County in 1984. Mr Treadway is the father of two sons and he has five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He is also blessed with two great great grandchildren.
The oldest living woman was recognized as Elizabeth Fox McIntosh was 99 years old and her birthday was October 9, 1920. She lived on Fox Hollow and went to school in Owsley County. She married Clint McIntosh in 1935 and they built a house on Fairground Ridge to raise their family. She attended Pine Cress Church and enjoys watching Mrs. Margaret on WLJC. She raised 6 children, 12 grand children, 30 great grand children and 24 great great great grandchildren.
The oldest living veteran in Lee County was recognized as Mr. William Abner Jr. At 97 he was born on July 15, 1922. At the age of 20 he was called to serve after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in the 3rd infantry division under General Gorge Patton in WW2 from 1942-1945. The 3rd Division was part of the Western Task Force that landed in North Africa on November 8, 1942. By September, he was in Italy 12 miles south of Rome. Mr. Abner was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. After being wounded, he was reassigned to the Army Air Corp to a fighter squadron, where his job was to oversee installing engines in planes. Mr. Abner was the recipient of 5 Bronze Stars, awarded for heroic achievement in 5 major battles in enemy territory, a Purple Heart for being wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and 4 Citations, one for taking out a machine gun. We are very proud of Mr. Abner’s service to our county. He is our very on living Lee County Hero.
The longest married couple was recognized at Ottis and Hilda Judd who have been together for 73 years. Ottis Judd was born on 9-23-1924 at Lone, KY, in Lee County. His wife, Hilda Spencer Judd was born 6-8-1926 in Perry County, but moved to Lee County around the age of 12 and lived in the Canyon Falls area. Ottis serving in WWII and was stationed in Europe. He returned home December of 1945. By this time, Hilda was living in Beattyville and was a waitress at the Purple Cow Restaurant. In late March of 1946, Ottis asked Hilda to go for a ride with him to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that was visible at that moment. They went for the ride and stopped at Canyon Falls that evening for a church service. They got married on May 6, 1946—73 years ago. They lived in Beattyville while Ottis worked at the Ford garage. Using wood from the Judd farm at Lone, Ottis built a house for them on McGuire Avenue where they have lived out their lives. Ottis and his brother, Sanford, were the founders of the original Judd’s Garage which was located beside Riverview Cemetery. He ran a bulldozer for the rest of his career, building ponds, roads, house seats, oil locations, and cleaning up many farms all over several counties. Ottis and Hilda were very instrumental in the forming of the Beattyville Church of the Nazarene. Hilda was a stay at home Mom for several years while also helping with the bookkeeping for the garage. She eventually worked as a Library Aid in the Lee County School System, from which she retired. They were blessed with two sons, Danny and Jerry, who both graduated from Lee County High School. Danny served in the Air Force and eventually retired from Toyota in Georgetown, KY. Jerry graduated from the University of Kentucky and retired from St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, WV after many years as a pharmacist. Ottis and Hilda enjoy four grandsons, three great grandsons and three great granddaughters.
The oldest Congregation in Lee County was recognized as the Beattyville Christian Church.
The early History of the Beattyville Christian Church recounts that in the fall of 1840, Samuel Rogers, an evangelist held successful meetings in a warehouse type building in Proctor. The warehouse was furnished for church meetings. For many years, the congregation meet there or in member’s homes. Then a deed was obtained for property where the current church now sets. A frame church was erected there in 1894. The present brick church was dedicated in September 1959. In the year 1990, the Beattyville Christian Church half its Sesquicentennial Celebration..150 years of history of its congregation. Today, the Beattyville Christian Church celebrates 180 years being the oldest contenting congregation in Lee County.
The oldest standing church in Lee County was recognized as the St. Thomas Episcopal Church.The Episcopal Church was established in the 1870’s. In 1887 Bishop Thomas Dudley lead the congregation in the purchasing of an acre of land for the building of a new stone church. Bishop Dudley laid the cornerstone in 1896. The building was completed in 1903 and the church was consecrated as St. Thomas. In 1974 Governor Ford designated the St Thomas Episcopal Church as a Kentucky Historical Landmark. Its membership contains several descendants of the early St. Thomas Church. Family descendants include the Lyons, McGuires, Smiths, Beach, Pack, Hobbs, Blackey, Firesteens, Jamisons, Sales, Porters, Adkins, and Jennings Families.
The Oldest Standing Residence was recognized as the Durbin cabin built in 1825, which still stands on the bank of the KY River a half mile from Old Landing. The Durbin family has a long history in Lee County. John and Joe Durbin moved from Madison County into Lee County around the year 1815. Both were married and had large Catholic families. Joe Durbin built his first cabin on the Kentucky River about a half a mile from Old Landing in 1825, which is still standing today. John and Joe Durbin each had at least 10 children. They bought a tract of land of land in Contrary Creek. Descendent of the John and Joe Durbin families today carry on the Catholic roots in Lee County.
The oldest organization in Lee County was recognized as the Proctor Lodge #213 of the Free and Accepted Masons. The Masonic Lodge of Proctor #213 was chartered in Proctor, Kentucky on August 27th, 1851. The first master mason was John G McGuire and the first secretary was Elisha Bowman Treadway, who is the great grandfather of our oldest citizen Paul Treadway. Later the lodge, was moved to Beattyville in 1902, where it met in different locations. One building burnt and later the Lodge would later build a two story frame building where they would meet for several years. On December 27th, 1940 the 19 members from the Heidelberg Lodge #877 merged with Proctor lodge. In 1952 the members voted to build a new building, which is their present location, on Main Street. In December 2014, St. Helens Lodge #684 merged their 54 members with the Proctor Lodge. The lodge currently as over 150 members.
There was also an award given, the Sesquicentennial Spirit Award. This award was given to Mrs. Linda Smith. She began talking about the upcoming Sesquicentennial a little over 3 years ago. She has encouraged others to get onboard with their ideas on how to celebrate 150 years of Lee County history. She has worked tirelessly and is the driving force behind 2020’s, 150 year celebration.
A lady was recognized in the crowd for attending the celebration. Mrs. Edna Fraley Thomas, who will turn 99 years old on May 7th. She is so close to being a Centurion that the committee wanted to also recognize her. Mrs. Thomas grew up on the hill behind the People Exchange Branch Bank at South Fork road and remembers walking across the bridge to school with her good friend Catherine Congelton. The other girls called them “Country Girls” because they came from across the bridge. She married Stanley Thomas and they moved to Pine Grove in a house that they built. She worked 13 years for the Dr. Combs Dental office and raised 7 children, 12 grandchildren and numerous great grand children.
A prayer of blessing on Lee County was given by Pastor William Owens and the audience walked down to the Beattyville Christian Church Activity Center for cake, punch, and bluegrass music.
It was a great start to Celebrating 150 years. Here are some photos from the event. Follow upcoming event on the 150 Year Celebration Facebook Page.
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