By BRENDA S. EDWARDS
12:27 AM EDT, June 3, 2012
Editor’s note: More articles on the history of Cornishville and the Reed and Durr families will be published later.
Edith Durr Reed of Danville has spent most of her 89 years near Cornishville in rural Mercer County. She knows the history of the area and has written her memories of the her life.
Her parents, Fred and Evie Darland Durr, moved in 1937 to a farm on Mount Pleasant Road and Chaplin River in Mercer County. She said her father described the farm as having “very fine bottoms and very ordinary hills.”
She said the day the family moved the children got on the school bus at one place that morning and got off the bus that afternoon at their new home.
She liked the farm and the first difference she noticed was the noise. “I remember being awakened in the night to a loud, harsh sound. I thought it was a steam engine pulling a thrasher along the road in front of our house.” Later, she realized it was a train leaving the water station on Bohon Road, two miles away.
She remembers the covered bridge near Bohon Road and a new bridge nearby that was open to traffic.
The Vanarsdall Mill was a short distance from her house, but the dam was gone by then. The mill survived the 1937 flood.
Mrs. Reed remembers other mills in Mercer County, but the Cornishville Mill in downtown Cornishville is the only one she recalls operating until 1941. It later was washed away by high flood waters. Brewer’s Mill near Cornishville and a house nearby are still standing and have been preserved by the Floying Thompson Sr. family.
Living along the Salt River, Mrs. Reed saw many floods in her life time. She recalls the 1937 flood when the heavy rain began in January. The water ran into the streams and low places and continued to rise, she said. The river bottom in the bend of the river on the Durr farm flooded and turned into a lake. However, the rising water did not get to the house or buildings.
Schools remained in session for a few days, then closed due to the overflowing Chaplin River and creeks.
Mrs. Reed doesn’t remember when the rain stopped, but it seemed like a long time.
“How happy and thankful we were for things to get back to normal again. Soon we were complaining about those crazy algebra problems and having to parse those sentences in English.” She was convinced that no one would ever need algebra or parsing after school ended.
After graduation, she and her husband, Roy Reed, were married in 1940. They later bought the farm his grandfather, James Reed owned on the corner of Mann and Cornishville roads where Roy farmed. His main cash crop was tobacco. He also had cattle, sheep and hogs.
They had one child, Gayle.
Mrs. Reed lived on the farm until her husband died at the age of 85. She sold the farm and moved to Danville eight years ago to be near her daughter, Gayle Coslow, and family.
Mrs. Reed has written several history articles in the past few years about her family and the Cornishville schools and Christian Church that have been published in the Harrodsburg Herald.
The first article she wrote was about the Cornishville School, said Mrs. Reed. She wasn’t thinking about getting her work published until her long-friend Kandie Prather Adkinson, a local historian, encouraged her to submit the articles to the newspaper.
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