Kentuck Days

Hello Forest County Residents!

Today the community of Crandon is celebrating “Kentuck Days” and  I encourage everyone to visit to the courthouse square in downtown Crandon to join in the celebration. “Kentuck Days” recognizes the mass migration of rural Kentucky residents to Forest County around 1900. The people of Kentucky came to Northern Wisconsin looking for jobs in the lumber industry, to take advantage of the abundant natural resources, to escape the violence of local feuds, and to join family members that had already moved(Flannery 2013).

They were described as ” a people that settled throughout the woods and were a great help in the logging process. The Kentucks were good Christian people and never did any harm to anyone unless they interfered with their moonshine still. To them that gave cause to shoot someone on site” (Holt 1948:20).

Zorie Cracraft, a 101 year old resident, recalls her move from Kentucky as such ” I moved to the Crandon area in 1934 from Kentucky. Some of the people that were already here were the  McMillions, Griffiths, Deatons, Spencers, and the Kings. I recall hunting as a major factor in part of the move to Wisconsin. The family moved here because of the beauty of the area, hunting, job possibilities”.

The majority of today’s Crandon residents can trace their ancestry back to Kentucky as you can see from the sample of 1920 Federal Census records below.

1920 census-2

1920 census-11920 census

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  1. I love the information that post about Crandon and its history. I am sending you an article that was published int eh The Forest Republican when my 2nd Great grandfather died in house fire. Id like to know more about this incident if possible.

    The Fire at Jack Radliff’s log home

    Brackston Howard Adkins and his wife Nancy (Gilliam) Adkins were killed in a house fire along with two grandaughters, Audra and Ruth Radliff.
    Brack and Nancy died in the fire. The two grandaughters died later from their burns. Brackston’s daughter was also burned badly in the fire but survived. The following is from the local newspaper from February 2, 1923.
    Mr. and Mrs. B. H. Adkins, aged about seventy years, were burned to death in the Jack Radliffe log house, w here they were temporarily resid­ing, at Siding One, near this city, on Tuesday morning at about six o’clock. T he two little daughters of Mr. and Mr s. J. Radliffe have died since the fire from the effects of burns they received. The fire originated from an over heated stove.
    Mrs. Radliffe, who is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adkins, and her three children, a son aged seventeen and two daughters, ages eight and ten, were also asleep in the house at the time of the fire, but escaped through a window. Mrs, Radliffe and the two little girls were terribly burned, both children dying since. Over half of the skin was burned from their bodies. Mrs. Radliffe is improving at present and her recov­ery is expected.

    At about 5:30 Mrs. Radliffe arose a nd built a fire and then went back bed and fell asleep. In an hour Murray, living about a hundred feet away, saw the flames, rushed to the house, broke down the door and helped Mrs. Radliffe and the children escape through a window, as the fire had swiftly spread to the door. He reached Mr. Adkins and tried to get him through the window, when Mrs. Adkins called to her husband for help and, pulling away from Mr. Murray he returned to his wife where they both perished, it appearing that Mrs. Adkins never left her bed.
    The little girl Ruth, who died the d ay following, could have saved her life, but after escaping from the burning buildingg, she returned to help her little sister and received the burns that caused her death,
    Mr. Adkins was supervisor of the T own of Crandon. He and his wife w ere a very likable couple and their terrible death is indeed a sad one. They were residents of Forest coun­ty for eighteen years.
    The aged couple are survived by six children, Mrs. M. V. Murray, Mrs. J. Radliffe, Mrs. M. Waggoner and Mrs. Ed. Murray, of Crandon;
    Charles Adkins, of Eland and Mrs. P. Waggoner, of Kentucky.
    Funeral services were held this (Friday) morning at Siding One for, Mr. and Mrs. Adkins and also the little girls, Ruth and Audra Radliffe.
    Rev. Ash officiating.

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