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Friday, May 16, 2008

An Old Chunk of Coal...Part One

This is the first post in my series on Coal Country. I hope you find it informative and at least somewhat entertaining.

Lately, I've been reading lots of books that seem to reference coal country or mining towns and well, they've got me thinking. My grandmother, Srilda, lived in or around Beattyville, KY for most of her life. I can remember her telling me stories about the coal mines when I was younger. Even today, all I have to do is think of Beattyville and I can smell the coal burning. Because I have family from this area in Kentucky, I've always been interested in finding out more about the coal industry and Appalachian culture. So, I'm taking this opportunity to find what I can find and share it with you. Here's some of what I've found so far:

Beattyville, Kentucky was originally known as Taylor's Landing. Eventually, it became known as Beatty after early settler and landowner, Samuel Beatty. For reasons unknown, it eventually came to be known as Beattyville. This town, is about eighty miles from Lexington, KY and lies somewhere between Cincinnati and Louisville. Please forgive the vague information, but to me, it has always seemed like one of those little towns that appears to be tucked in the middle of nowhere.

The following bits of information comes from a rather interesting article by William J. Lampton, written in 1895:

"Beattyville is at the head of navigation on the Kentucky River, and something like $250,000 has been spent by the government on a dam and lock here, which are now more in the way than anything else. Just why the engineers should begin at the head of a river to lock and dam it instead of at the other end does not appear, though some distinguished politician who worked the appropriation might explain.

Socially, Beattyville is the Paris (France) of the mountains, and the youth and beauty love to dance and hold church suppers and boat rides and have a good time generally. The girls are pretty and dress in the latest styles, and are quite fin de siecle in all the little details that go to make up society with a big S. The men wear dress suits on swell occasions, and the stranger in those parts would scarcely realize that he was in a mountain town." For more of this article, go here.

What does any of this have to do with coal? Well, Beattyville is located where the North, Middle and South forks of the Kentucky River meet the Ohio River at Carrollton (The Three Forks Region). This is where the Kentucky River begins. It is also situated near a town called Proctor. In the 1840's, some of Proctor's main business enterprises included boat building, salt gathering, coal mining, timber operations, and flour milling. From what I can gather, in the 1870's, the Three Forks Region began to evolve as a key economic center in Eastern Kentucky. This was a center of operations for moving the natural resources such as timber, coal, and oil down the Kentucky River and along the new railroads being built at the time.

By the time Lampton wrote his Beattyville article some twenty years later, he relates that there were "thirteen stores in town, three sawmills, a stream grist mill, and the Avent, the Beattyville, and the Crystal Creek coal companies and several individuals who dig and ship coal. The principal business is coal and timber, and about three hundred carloads of coal are shipped each month. The coal is of good quality and is shipped all over the state. Between two and three hundred men are employed about the mines, and labor troubles are not unknown. Coal sells in town at six cents a bushel, delivered."

I find it fascinating that Lampton can portray this area in such a romantic light. When I was younger and we would travel to Beattyville to visit relatives, I never saw it this way. To me, it was eerie and there was an unsettling sense that something was askew. Maybe that's just childish superstition, but that's how it hit me. The last time I had occasion to be in Beattyville was for my grandmother's funeral back in 1989. I'll never forget the Woolly Worm Festival that was going on outside the funeral home there. The town, albeit strange, has it's charms. I'll share more fascinating information for you next time in Part Two of An Old Chunk of Coal.

Photo of Beattyville, KY and information from the article by William J. Lampton was taken from the City of Beattyville, KY website at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More information about Dyan Garris...

I'm posting this information as part of Dyan Garris's book tour for Voice of the Angels: A Healing Journey.

From May 12-16th, Dyan Garris is travelling the blog-o-sphere to promote the toolbox she created for all people who want to participate in a healing journey. Please take some time to visit Dyan's website. There are many helpful items there and I'm sure you'll find it very interesting!

I enjoy anything that relates to healing the self and to doing so in a natural way without the use of medications. Society is so quick to put you in a perpetual state of Prozac awareness that they seem to have forgotten how important it is to take the time and effort to connect with oneself spiritually and to read the signs that are put there for us by whomever our Higher Power may be. I can say from experience that not taking the time to meditate or connect with your spiritual side does manifest itself in negative and sometimes very harmful ways. There is a noticeable difference in my mood and energy when I take the time to do the things that bring me into balance.

On Dyan's website, you can get a free Angel Card reading, Tarot Card reading, and even a Rune & Tarot reading. These are things that I really enjoy and find helpful. I am such a serious and analytical person sometimes that I need an abstract indicator of what is really going on and these types of things are extremely useful to me in seeing another side.

Each person who posts a comment on any or all of the blog tour spots will be entered in a random drawing for a copy of Dyan Garris’ CD – Release. In addition – the blog owner that hosted the winning commenter will also win a free copy of Release. Share your thoughts and comments with Dyan. She will check in throughout the day to answer questions. You’ll learn more and you have a chance to win a CD. Dyan is offering a FREE teleclass for anyone who has read Money and Manifesting - if you haven't already read the book, visit Dyan's website to order a copy.

For full details about the class, visit this page.

For more information about Dyan Garris and her virtual tour, check the schedule here and at this website.

Her website is full of great details about all of the items within her “toolbox” and there are many special features. She provides the tools you need to have a full and happy life and it’s not as hard to achieve as you think. Visit Dyan’s Amazon profile for links to many of her products.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

My daughter came down with a nasty case of something and we were in crisis mode most of the last day and a half. Thankfully, her fever has finally gone down and she's in the whiny, I don't want to stay in bed phase. Needless to say, Happy Mother's Day!

She did manage to give me a very nice little card this morning, although she couldn't understand why she didn't get one too and continues to cry because no one gave her a card. Very cute. I'm just glad we're past the fever and the throwing up. :)

Well, I'm not going to linger here today. I have to find my mother and give her our gift. I always enjoy picking out a gift for my mother. Usually, it's something similar to what she got the year before but I try to do variations on a theme. I can remember nearly thirty years ago when I would go with my dad to this little flower shop in New Carlisle, Ohio and pick out her roses. Every year, we would pick out a dozen roses and take them home to her. It's funny how I can even smell the roses when I think back to that time. When I finally became a mother, it was the first thing I thought of on my first mother's day. I hope my daughter will look back on the gifts she has given me and know how much each little card and flower has meant.

Until next time...

A Little Bit of Mystery: Short Mysteries to Confuse and Amuse

Where I've Been...

Listen to my interview on the Jeffery S. Miller show.

Listen to my interview on Calling All Authors.

Listen to my interview on the Let's Just Talk w/Kathryn Raaker.

Listen to my interview on Radio Free Baxter.

Where I'll Be...

After a short break in the summer, I'll be at the following locations:

8/11/09 Allen Park Public Library, Allen Park, MI 6:30 p.m.

Looking for something entertaining for your library or bookstore patrons? Looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours? Do you love mysteries? Then you need to schedule a Tea & Mystery event for your library or bookstore! The fee is minimal and the presentation is fun and informative! Attendees will be given the chance to win great prizes and share their thoughts about the mystery genre and their favorite mystery writers!

E-mail me today at for details on how to set up your Tea & Mystery event!

Books by Rebecca Benston

Reviews for Rebecca Benston

“You'll find yourself looking forward to more stories from the files of Rona Shively.”

Michelle Shealy, Reviewer for


“Rebecca Benston has written a detective with plenty of suspense…I hope there will be a sequel…”

Annick, Reviewer for Euro-Reviews


“The story is good, the plotting great. Rebecca Benston draws you into the story from the first page. Read the book.”

Lucille P. Robinson, An Alternative Read


“Rebecca Benston’s twists, turns, and descriptions are utterly engaging.”

Tracy, Fallen Angel Reviews


“In The Wash is like a 1930’s film noir detective story that had a modern, edgy twist and a female lead.”

Janet Davies, Once Upon a Romance Reviews


“Under Lock and Key is an enjoyable, fun book! Rona Shively is a delightful character. I loved her off-beat, quirky personality and her outstanding sense of humor.”

Connie Harris,


“Talented author Rebecca Benston shows the reader just how complicated life can get suddenly and how people you thought you knew, aren't who you thought they were.”

Anne K. Edwards,