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History Monday: Earls' Ridge

By Mike Watson

"Earls' Ridge -- Talk is lively at noontime at Smith's Store" -- 50 Years Ago

Half a century has passed since this was an above-the-fold headline in the Adair County News. Pete Walker spun a good story on the festive time of day--lunchtime--at Gilbert Smith's general store on Highway 704, south of Fairplay and Walnut Grove, along what has long been dubbed Earls' Ridge.

"Over on Earls' Ridge around noon time the men of the community gather around Smith's Store for a lunch break and lively conversation. A big favorite at the store is Mr. Jim Earls, who is 86 years old past, as he puts it. Mr. Earls wears his years with a grace and style enviable to anyone, regardless of age.



"I fence and grow a good garden, and I could work in tobacco if I wanted to and I could get married, too, if I wanted to, he said.

"Mr. Earls' grandfather, who lived to be '99 years old past' came from 'Virginy' and settled on the Ridge in olden times. That's how it got the name Earls Ridge.

"I can't recollect what year he came here, said Mr. Earls, but as I say he lived to be 99 years old past and then he slipped on the ice one winter and fell and hit his head and killed himself.

"My daddy lived to be 87 years old past and I'm 86 years past and that's a heap of living for us Earls to be here. I like here, though, Mr. Earls continued. I like my neighbors and I stay busy. Why yesterday I cleaned up a garden spot with a briar blade and cut cockle burrs down that stood higher than your head.

"I'm as good with a briar blade and a hoe as you will find anywhere. To a man, those present nodded their heads in agreement."

The page one particle is accompanied by a photo of Mr. James "Jim" Earls; on page five a second photo of 'those present' included, left to right: Jim Earls, Elbert Hadley, Carl Watson, Carnell Hadley, Garvin Spoon, and standing: Creed Lacy and William "Bill" Hadley.

Actually, the date of the article was 6 October 1970.


This story was posted on 2020-10-05 14:47:35
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Smith's Grocery



2020-10-05 - Adair Co., KY - Photo courtesy Mike Watson.
Smith's Grocery as depicted in: The Old Country Store, Adair County, Kentucky (first of two publications), by Ernestine Smith Bennett, 2003.

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Talk is lively at noontime at Smith's Store



2020-10-05 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Mike Watson.
Mr. James "Jim" Earls, Elbert Hadley, Carl Watson, Carnell Hadley, Garvin Spoon, and standing: Creed Lacy and William "Bill" Hadley, outside Smith's Grocery on Earls' Ridge.

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