27 Delightful Obsolete Words It’s High Time We Revived Them – A Remix


On March 25, 2013, Luke Lewis, of BuzzFeed.com, first posted 27 images of owls (with etymologies, meanings, and uses of  27 words whose origins range in dates from the 1500’s to the 1900’s. I found these words interesting because of my blog’s focus on our heritage and reflections from the past. You may find some of these words self-explanatory, others weird, and some worth reviving because they are so funny. So I thought I would put my spin on Luke’s initial post by morphing the images one to the next and adding a little background music, too.

Thanks again Luke Lewis, and all the photographers who captured the different birds of the owl family with their interesting looking attitudes and poses.  Sources for the photographs and photographers are captioned at the top of each image.  Thanks also to Richard Stoltzman and the Slovak Radio Symphany Orchestra for “Maid with Flaxen Hair,” music.

Please let me know if you enjoy this kind of post.

Are You in Need of a Little Mollycoddling?

I’m taking a break…

Image:  Turtle Relaxing Back on His ShellIn my daily posts, I rarely show my sense of humor or the lighter side of life, so I thought I’d take a break from Joanne, the serious and curious, to share something a little different that I received from a former colleague.  You know, those chain letter email messages that are intended to be passed around that make you ask yourself; “Why are they sending this hogwash to me?”  Well, sometimes we just need to stop what we’re doing and mollycoddle ourselves.  We need to look for amusing diversions and indulgences  from our often overly serious responsibilities and trying moments.  So here we go:

February 4, 2013, apparently was one of several National Mental Health Days.  And,  the Marriott Rewards site to commemorate and complement this occasion published the following list of places that many of us have been–whether we enjoyed them or not!

Enjoy the trip…

  • I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
  • I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.
  • I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, friends, family and work.
  • I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.
  • I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
  • I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.
  • Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.
  • One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
  • I may have been in Continent, and I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.

Best Friends Forever–What Can Be More Important?

Sunday was another glorious day for us. My lifelong friend since we were toddlers was in town from Rhode Island. And, we spent most of the day together. Bob and I drove to her sister’s home in historic Mount Airy, Maryland, about 75 miles from where we live.

Collage Image - Joanne and George

Best Friends Forever

First thing we did was hug! And it happened. It was like time had stood still and we were right back to our school girl days. And sis was a great hostess. We all exchanged updates, looked at some pictures, and had a very thoughtfully planned lunch that even included Lemon Meringue pie as a must dessert. And, of course, to be social, I forced down a piece. (ha-ha)

But, yesterday was much different than last year when we got together. My friend was in town then to visit with family on the one year anniversary of her husband Jim’s death from cancer after a 4 year-long battle. (Bob and I and my friend and Jim started dating in high school about the same time, and we were together often in those years). And even sadder, Jim passed away on my friend’s milestone birthday, just as the family was sitting down for the dinner celebration that never happened. I’m not sure how one mustered up the strength to survive those circumstances, especially after being together for so long.

From Mt. Airy, Bob chauffeured us to Bryans Road, Maryland—another 70 or so miles—so we could spend awhile with her other sister and brother-in-law (my God parents). So the girls were in the backseat still catching up and just yakking away, and Bob says; “I feel like I’m driving two Miss Daisies.” We both gave him burning stares and then burst out laughing.

It had been about 20 years since I last saw my God parents. I was so embarrassed because I didn’t even recognize my God father, who has had some health issues. Unfortunately, the aging process gets even less kind the more you advance in years. And, I guess, my godparents had similar thoughts about me after all this time.

By the time we knew it, it was 7 o’clock and Bob and I still had another 60 miles or so to drive to get home. So we left my friend to visit with her family for another week before she returns back to Rhode Island. But, when leaving, I thought; “Oh, how we get caught up in our day-to-day lives.  Oh, how much I miss having my friend close by so we can just spend time together loving each other’s’ company, and maybe just not doing anything but spending time together.” And then thinking that; “None of us is getting any younger, and we have to make time for those we love and give back their love unconditionally.” What can be more important?

Ah Spring, You Have Come!


Today is Monday, March 25, 2013 and we’re in Southern Maryland — a few days into Spring — and we awakened to new fallen snow that promises to continue into tomorrow.  And when letting the dogs outside, it just seemed appropriate to enjoy yet another gift from above.  It was so crisp and clean it just shouted to us to have some fun with it.  While Bob recited the poem, the birds just chimed in as if they knew their cues–amazing.

Poem by:  Don N. Kafley, 24 August  1986
Recited by:  Robert Joseph Dickinson, Sr.

Ah Spring,  You Have ComeI

In the rhythm of colors and shades
And in the beating hearts of the living beasts
Frontier the world, have livelier you made.
Bird’s chirps in thy green green branches
Portrays thy glory of natural poise
Opened in the vision of world in your blossom.
Ah! Spring you have come
Decked thou art in your green garment
And painted in the flowers of radical glow
Red and crimson and blue and yellow
In all the bushes, trees and boughs.
Thy brilliance has mine, raised the feet
In gladness, doth thy traveler greet?
Their delightful mellifluous songs of merriment
Of the doves, the cardinals and the skylark
Have adorned the world in premium excitement.

Ah! Spring you have come.  –NOT!!!

Pipers Piping, Ladies Dancing, and Lords a Leaping

And we’re off to Scotland in our ‘Reflections of the past and mirrors to the future…’

It’s a wee country, full of contradictions and BIG surprises!  In Scotland, you can…

  • See tiny, stone cottages nestled at the foot of huge, rugged mountains
  • Watch ominous steel-grey clouds part suddenly to reveal vivid blue skies and bright sunshine
  • Look in awe at ancient castles that stand proudly in the middle of busy city centers, or rest on the edge of rocky shorelines
  • Compare the darky, bottomless waters of inland lochs, with the jeweled aquamarine coastlines of the tiny islands”

The Legend and History of the Scottish Thistle

Image:  Scottish Thistle

Scottish Thistle

The Thistle has been recognized as a Scottish symbol for centuries, and the legend surrounding it goes back about 800 years.

In the 13th Century, Norse invaders (under orders from King Haakon IV of Norway) attempted to spring a ‘surprise night-raid’ on a portion of King Alexander III’s army in Northern Scotland.
So that they wouldn’t wake the sleeping Scots, the Vikings crept stealthily (and barefoot) across the Scottish landscape.
Unfortunately for them, they weren’t aware of the abundant growth of Scottish Thistles, and when an unlucky Norseman happened to step on the vicious thorns of this native plantl, his cries gave away the raiding partys’ whereabouts!

The Scottish army sprang into action, and were victorious in battle. Naturally superstitious and big on symbolism, the Scots declared the Thistle to have been their savior, and this humble plant became a celebrity.

Five Stereotypes of Scotsmen

Most people, when you ask them what they know about Scotsmen, answer that they imagine a tall, strong man with fiery red hair, dressed in kilt, standing on a cliff on a misty morn, playing bagpipes, possibly with some sheep in the background. Here are some myths and stereotypes about Scottish people that are not entirely true Scotsmen (condensed and paraphrased from the Scotland blog):

Scotsmen are miserly and reserved because of the hardship their nation went through

What many consider greed is actually being practical. It is often said that expenses are being cut in various fields, but Scotland is developing at least as well as the rest of Great Britain, in some areas even better.   Immigrants praise the way they were welcomed by native Scotsmen.

Scottish dishes are inedible

This is probably a myth that origins from the famous haggis dish (a mixture of minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings), which, for many can be a bit overwhelming.  But many well-known, delicious dishes come from Scotland: Tattie scones, Dundee cake – which is known for its rich flavor – they all come from Scottish cuisine.

Scottish economy stands on sheep

Yes, Scotland is known for its sheep. But in recent years sheep breeding business is shrinking rapidly – it is seven hundred thousand pieces smaller than it was seven years ago. Scotland also has a good coal mining base, oil extraction on the North Sea shelf, well developed metallurgical, mechanical, chemical and electrical industries.

Men that wear kilts are always cold

It is actually really difficult to feel cold in a kilt. For one, it is almost 23 feet of thick wool covering the area from waist to knees – that in itself is plenty to keep one warm. Aside from that, there are the woolen socks covering the lower legs – if anything, it can only be too warm. And that actually ties with another stereotype – that

Scottish men don’t wear anything under their kilts.

It depends on the person, but sometimes adding another layer to the 23 feet of wool could really be a bit much.

“Yer a long time deid”…

is an old but familiar Scottish saying, ‘You’re a long time dead’.  Seems like an obvious enough statement.  But, wait, try this meaning:  ‘Enjoy life, because once you’re dead you’re going to be that way for a long time!’ Not a very uplifting thought, but true all the same.  And part of my enjoyment in life comes from learning my ancestral family’s origins and any possible connections to my past that may have influenced who I am today.  And equally important, sharing these facts and stories as a legacy to future generations.

So why Scotland?

Up to this point, posts have primarily focused on family roots in England, New England, and Virginia.  Yet, my genetic ethnicity reveals 85 percent of my family’s origins began hundreds and thousands of years ago in the British Isles.  As you can see in the map above,  the British Isles includes the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, and Scotland in the uppermost northern section of the UK—and we haven’t yet begun to address my Scottish heritage that includes the Scottish wealth and royalty, stories of treason, exile, and executions.  So let’s begin.

My 10th Great Grandfather, William Ruthven, 4th Lord of Ruthven and 1st Earl of Gowrie (c. 1541 – 1584)

William Ruthven 1st Earl of Gowrie (1541 – 1584)
is my 10th great grandfather
William Gulielm Ruthven Ruffin (1617 – 1674)
son of William Ruthven 1st Earl of Gowrie
Robert Ruffin (1646 – 1694)
son of William Gulielm Ruthven Ruffin
Elizabeth RUFFIN (1685 – 1761)
daughter of Robert Ruffin
Patience KINCHEN (1715 – 1766)
daughter of Elizabeth RUFFIN
Mary Ann Molly TAYLOR (1760 – 1825)
daughter of Patience KINCHEN
Lavina ASBURY (1784 – 1858)
daughter of Mary Ann Molly TAYLOR
Thornton A BOWLING (1802 – 1863)
son of Lavina ASBURY
Lawrence T “Larl” BOLING (1838 – 1910)
son of Thornton A BOWLING
Edward Bud Vincent BOWLING Sr (1872 – 1946)
son of Lawrence T “Larl” BOLING
Jesse Burton BOLING (1902 – 1978)
son of Edward Bud Vincent BOWLING Sr
Frank Burton BOLING (1928 – )
son of Jesse Burton BOLING
Joanne Carol BOLING
You are the daughter of Frank Burton BOLING

William Ruthven was known as The Lord Ruthven between 1566 and 1581, was the second son of Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven.  On 4 April 1562 the queen conceded to him and his wife, Lady Dorothea Stewart, lands in the barony of Ruthven (which his father resigned to him (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1546–80, No. 1413)). Like his father Patrick, William was prominent in the political intrigues of the period and joined his father in the conspiracy against David Rizzio (private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots), on 9 March 1566.  And, on the queen’s escape to Dunbar William and his father fled to England. On the death of his father, Patrick, at Newcastle on 13 June 1566, he succeeded him as fourth lord.  William was, however, through an agreement with  the queen and the protestant lords, pardoned and permitted to return to Scotland, which he did about the end of December 1566 (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566–8, No. 872).

Image: Huntingtower Castle

Huntingtower Castle

One of the Scottish Castles built by the Clan Ruthven family was Huntingtower Castle.  It was built in stages from the 14th century and was known for several hundred years as the ‘House (or ‘Place’) of Ruthven’. In 1582 William devised the plot to seize James VI of Scotland, (son of Mary,Queen of Scots),  when the king visited William’s home  at  Huntingtower Castle.  William and his associates seized the young king and held him prisoner for 10 months. This kidnapping is known as the ‘Raid of Ruthven‘ and the Protestant conspirators behind it hoped to gain power through controlling the king.

James eventually escaped and actually forgave William, but after a second abortive attempt by William and others to overthrow James, William was finally executed and his property (including Huntingtower) was forfeited to the crown.

The Castle and lands were restored to the Ruthven family in 1586. However in 1600, the brothers John and Alexander Ruthven were implicated in another plot to kill King James VI and were executed. This time, the king was less merciful: as well as seizing the estates, he abolished the name of Ruthven and decreed that any successors would be ineligible to hold titles or lands. Thus the House of Ruthven ceased to exist and by royal proclamation the castle was renamed Huntingtower. The Castle remained in the possession of the crown until 1643 when it was given to the family of Murray of Tullibardine (from whom the Dukes of Atholl and Mansfield are descended).

John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl lived in the Castle with his wife Lady Mary Ross. After Lady Mary died in 1767, the castle was abandoned, except for farm laborers. Today, the Castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and is open to the public and sometimes used as a venue for marriage ceremonies.

Legend of Lady Greensleeves

Huntingtower is said to be haunted by “Lady Greensleeves”, a young woman named Dorothea who was the daughter of the 1st Earl of Gowrie. The legend states that she was in love with a servant at the castle and that the two used to have clandestine meetings at night in the eastern tower, where the servants slept. One night the girl’s mother, the Countess, is supposed to have discovered what was going on and made her way across the bridge from the family’s quarters in the western tower to the eastern tower to catch the pair. Dorothea heard her mother’s footsteps on the bridge and, unable to return to the other tower by that route, made her way to the roof. Here she leapt from the tower to land safely on the battlements of the western tower and so return to bed where she was discovered by her mother. The distance between the towers was several meters and thus she accomplished quite a feat in leaping the distance. The following day the girl and her lover eloped and no records exist to tell us what happened to them.

A number of sightings of the figure of a tall young woman in a green silk dress have been seen in and around Huntingtower over the years, usually at dusk but sometimes in full daylight. Her appearance is said to be an ill omen and a forewarning of some disaster to come. A traveller staying at Huntingtower in the 1930s is reported to have seen Lady Greensleeves in a corridor of the castle. The following day he resumed his journey to Fife and was drowned when he fell from the ferry taking him across the River Tay.

The Ruthven/Ruffin Family in Virginia

According to passenger and immigration lists, the Ruthven/Ruffin family first appeared in Virginia with William Ruffin I, arriving in the Isle of Wight County in 1635.  The Ruffin family lived primarily in Surry County until the early 1700’s.  Wiliam’s great grandson, Colonial John Ruffin moved to Mecklenburg County where he died in 1774. The Ruffin children went on to marry notable Virginia families such as: Cocke of Surry; Nicholas of Dinwiddie who had a plantation in Southhampton called Unota on the north side of Meherrin River; and the Clack; Roane; Dandridge; Hoskins; Claiborne; Goode; Gildart; Bland; Harrison; and others; and, the Ruffin families migrated to other counties throughout Virginia and some, to North Carolina.



The Scottish Thistle – A National Symbol of Scotland http://www.scottish-at-heart.com/scottish-thistle.html#ixzz2ORRpU5kA

“Ruffin Family,” William and Mary Quarterly, 1st Series. Vol. 18, 1910

Exposing Inner Spirits from Our Pasts

“…to just write a simple post…”

I just finished responding to a fellow blogger ‘s comments to my Dad-Daughter Relationships post.  She was thanking me for my “moving words” and giving me encouragement, too, during this season in my life with my octogenarian dad.  And, not so coincidentally, I was readying to write today’s post, and, at this moment the two communications intersected. So, I’ll repeat some of my response to her comment:  ” It’s amazing just how much surfaces from deep within when we sit down and quiet ourselves…to just write a simple post…”  And, it’s true!

I always have felt I was born out of sync with the generation in which I was born.  I always have had this strong pioneering, unafraid of adventure spirit to which I attributed to my maternal grandmother, Alice Lauretta Lathrop Ford who was born in 1895.  For the longest time, I thought God had made her my spiritual guide for life.  But, now digging more in-depth than ever into my heritage from all sides and going back sometimes nine centuries, I am discovering the legacies that many of my ancestors (many of them prominent Virginians or New Englanders) left behind for me to savor and share.

Image:  Bolling Mansion at Chellowe-Buckingham County, Va

Bolling Mansion at Chellowe-Buckingham County, Va

In today’s post I find myself reflecting on my recent read of A memoir of a portion of the Bolling family in England and Virginia, originally hand written in French (though, history and legacy writings show that he wrote equally well in Latin, French and Italian) by Colonel Robert Bolling of Chellowe, Buckingham County, Virginia,  in 1764.  His manuscript was handed down and through family members for over a hundred years. We truly are lucky that it ever saw the light of day.

The original became the property of a member of the family, William Robertson, Esquire, and in 1803 he gave it to his son, then a youth, as an exercise in translation–you may know this son’s well-known name.  The translator was Judge John Robertson of Richmond, Virginia (born 1787, lawyer, poet.  It was Robertson’s home which became the Robertson’s Hospital, where “Captain Sally” Louise Tompkins treated 1,333 wounded men (the first from the first battle of Bull Run).  Of all the wounded men treated, only 73 failed to survive. )

Image:  John Randolph of Roanoke, VA

John Randolph of Roanoke, VA

Subsequently the translation fell into the hands of John Randolph, and was in his possession at the time of his death. [John Randolph (June 2, 1773 – May 24, 1833), was known as John Randolph of Roanoke.  He was a planter, and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives at various times between 1799 and 1833, the Senate (1825–1827), Minister to Russia (1830). and served as President Thomas Jefferson’s spokes person in the House.] Jane Bolling (my first cousin 8x removed) was married to Colonel Richard Randolph.

“I have undertaken this little work…”

And, in Robert Bolling’s own words, his reasons for writing his manuscript:  “I have undertaken this little work because I have often regretted that my ancestors had never done it. Whatever regards them shall be always of importance to me, and the day perhaps will come when there may be persons desirous of knowing particularly what regards my brothers and myself.  For that reason I will continue my relations tho’ I must speak of persons still living to the present day–1764.”  And, I might add that in other places Colonel Bolling even gives thought to where and why more historical and family documentation and portraits should be protected and transcribed as perhaps even “a summer project for a student or intern.”  Here,  Robert, speaks words after my own heart.

Throughout Robert’s memoir he brings his life and times and those of our families back to life for me to live in his moments and thought processes.  I am so very humbled in learning about the family lines, dignitaries, accomplishments, trials, and tribulations.  I once had thought our family was without legacy or role models to emulate.  I also thought that if our family is ever to achieve any form of success or have a legacy for our next generations that we, today’s generation, must be the ones to make it happen–not that identifying earlier generations’ role models would change my personal desires to share any discoveries and newly found knowledge about who we were, where we came from, or what we did along the way–not at all so.

Next, when I compare our family tree that has about 7,800 people in it and extends back to the 10th or 11th century now, awareness of our prominent ancient ancestors in Europe (mainly England), as well as our prominent colonists who help construct the United States of America as a government, held high positions, and led men on the battlefields during times of war overwhelms me.  The Bolling’s going back to England seem to have been in the “in crowds.”  That is, they had privilege so they could attend and found the best schools and universities in England and Boston and Virginia.  They built churches in England that have the Bolling crest engraved on them, and they became statesmen and men in powerful positions in the early United States.  The Bolling women married well into families like the  Rolfe’s, Randolph’s, Bland’s, Blair, Jefferson’s, and Washington’s, to name a few.  But, times weren’t always easy in the early years of our country and many ‘ne’er do wells’ set upon hard times during their lives.  As we say, “life happens,” to us all.

The transcribed, typed version of Robert Bolling’s memoir spans 68 pages.  It is chucked full of wonderful entries–more than I could comment on in a single post, so I will continue with more ancestral chronicles over time.  For now, cheerio!

Dad-Daughter Relationships

Image:  Collage of Dads and Daughters

Me and my Dads: Frank Burton Boling, father; Robert Gideon “Roy” Ford, paternal grandfather; John Carpenter Ford, paternal great grandfather: 1948-1954, 1965

Two happenings over the past couple of days prompted this post:

The first was intended to be a routine doctor’s appointment for my 84 year old dad, Frank Burton Boling. It was a follow up for a sore that required special wound care because of dad’s diabetes and peripheral artery disease. As it turns out, the Doctor told us straight up that the arteries and veins in my dad’s right leg especially are not providing blood flow to his lower extremities. And, he followed up with statistics on rates of gang green setting in in these kinds of cases. Obviously, this was upsetting news to my dad, mom, and me, who were all in the room during the exam.

Then I got to thinking how our roles have changed over the last 15 years or so. My dad was the handsome, virile, super intelligent, quick of wit, quick to fix, and forever caregiver to his family from the age of 5! A role which I have now fully inherited as his most senior child.

Dad still is compassionate and empathetic to a flaw. He would give anyone the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it. He has his quick wit and ‘hanging in there’ yet positive attitude despite his failing legs, loss of vision in one eye and loss of hearing in one ear. He never complains about his limitations, and openly expresses his appreciation for all the help and companionship he receives. And, there’s never a day that passes that he’s not interested in playing a mean game of double deck pinochle, which we do about twice a week!

Baylor University released a study on “…Game Changers for Dad-Daughter Relationships,” on February 19, 2013.

As I read this article, I could tell that the close bonds that I have with my dad were not necessarily from “shared activities,” like sports, vacations, or working together as the article suggests. Rather, it was those pivotal times when our family had to pull together during a crisis–of which, there were several. And, I think me seeing my dad’s expressions when I could use my inner strength to take the lead to set an example or find a solution to fix the boo-boo’s were the strongest bonding moments that we shared.

Dad not having a mother in the home or a father who was capable of caring for his children when they were young left him with little knowledge or experience about how to relate to his children. He worked constantly to provide and expressed his love through his holiday gift-giving. And, despite my anger at my dad’s disappointment when I didn’t get all “A’s,” it gave me the inner strength to sometimes be an over-achiever, but also to not look at or for problems. Til this day, I always look at inconveniences as opportunities to excel.

A Time for Everything…

So when I reflect back on some sobering moments from this week and this season we’re in, I rely on my faith to get us through whatever lies ahead and I remember as it was written in the bible in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”

If you or someone you know is in this season, too, please reflect on your parents and how they cared for you when you were unable to care for yourself:

Traditions: Were Your Baby Shoes Bronzed?

About My Bronzed Baby Shoes

Image:  Bronzed Baby Shoes

Joanne Boling Dickinson’s
Bronzed Baby Shoes

Mom and Dad said I was a late walker at 15 months old.  They also said I had early and great verbal skills.  And, from the time I was a toddler I wanted to get in the last word.  When I couldn’t, I would silently tap (as in imitating a stomp) my foot and that meant the conversation was over and I got in the last word!  Whether this “cute” behavior prompted them to bronze my shoes or it was just family tradition, I don’t know.  I do know, though, that my two brothers shoes were never bronzed. (ha-ha)

The History of Bronzing:

Believe it or not, I researched the tradition and found limited stories about specifically bronzing baby shoes.

In brief comments by Deana Case||Love to Know Member she noted that bronzing dates back before the sixth century and bronzing tools were used around 1500 B.C. to make statues. You can still find bronzed statues, picture frames, dishes, and other items that have been parts of family households for centuries.

It just makes sense that, likewise, baby shoes were bronzed to keep alive tender memories of early childhood.  You may find baby shoes cast in bronze, pewter, gold, silver, and even porcelain.  And, as you can tell my mine, above–they remain a lasting family keepsake–and now a family antique!

Bronzing companies are still around.  They will bronze anything and everything that you feel was meaningful in your family’s life or history.  There are even new products and processes that take on the bronzing look that you can do on your own.  Easiest resource is to search “bronzing” on the web.


Bowlingtown, Kentucky–A Lost Communiy, but not Forgtten


This post tells the story of the Bowling’s/Boling’s and Bowlingtown– a story as viewed by ancestors and living relatives; it includes a famous colonizer; a single woman’s efforts to keep Bowlingtown and its families on the map and in our memories; and, a local newspaper’s documentary about them all.

A Brief History

Image:  Bowlingtown Main St. 1910

Bowlingtown Main St. 1910

Daniel Boone, the Great American Pioneer, used his daring, wood-craft, and “wilderness scout” skills and experiences to open up the landscape and colonize Kentucky for his family and other settlers that founded Bowlingtown like the Bowling, Boling,  Barger, Begley, Combs, Duff, Hacker, Rice, and West families.

Image: Buckhorn Lake

Buckhorn Lake

Bowlingtown was a thriving community of hundreds that once prospered where Buckhorn Lake state park now stands. After several years efforts (1995-1999), by Jewell Gordon, one of the last residents’ of Bowlingtown, a plaque now appears at the front of the Buckhorn Lodge that reads:

Bowlingtown 1800 -1960:

Long before Buckhorn Lake was created and the state park established in 1964, a small community flourished for many generations here, along the middle fork of the Kentucky River.

Early records refer to this area as the Bowling District, founded by Reverend Jesse Boling (from whom my paternal grandfather got his name), his wife Mary Pennington, Reverend Duff and 50 other families. Daniel Boone guided them to this remote area. Bowlingtown was a thriving community of hundreds by the late 1800’s . There was a post office, school, churches, grocery, saw mill, blacksmith and the Frontier Nursing Service. Local officials included a sheriff, magistrate, justice of the peace, and tax commissioner. The citizens were primarily farmers and coal miners. The people of Bowlingtown were known as patriotic, honest, kind, and well-educated.

In 1960, the construction of Buckhorn Lake began which forced Bowlingtown families to abandon their homes and relocate. Family graves (873) were re-interred to Buckhorn Cemetery. All were sad to leave their homeland of seven generations. This exhibit is dedicated in their memory.

Jewell Gordon published the following message on the Hazard Kentucky special web page dedicated to Bowlingtown:

I was probably one of the last to be born in Bowlingtown. I started seven years ago to get the Buckhorn lodge or park renamed Bowlingtown. I did this in memory of my grandfather and also to prevent my birthplace from disappearing. When the Corp of Engineers decided to build the dam everyone was forced to leave. This place had been a homeland for seven generations of family and friends (mostly Bowlings/Bollings).

His family and friends from Bowlingtown were scattered to the four winds. That was the first time I saw him cry.

My grandfather was a strong man who farmed and mined most his life to build up a heritage to leave his children (16+ acres in Perry Co and 64+ acres in Leslie). The government gave him enough money to buy 1/2 acre “unfarmable, not even a garden” lot in Richmond, KY. His family and friends from Bowlingtown were scattered to the four winds. That was the first time I saw him cry. He refused to visit Buckhorn Lodge or the lake because he and many others were adamant that it should have been named Bowlingtown. Maybe now he can rest in peace and I’m sure he will smile once again for Bowlingtown.

The lodge sits on the hill where the original log cabin school house was built in early 1800’s, which a white frame schoolhouse replaced in early 1900’s. The beach and swimming area is where children and adults alike played baseball. The picnic area was where they dug up hundreds of graves, which my grandfather watched to insure all relatives were properly re-interred at the top of the hill across from the lodge. It was horrific and caused him nightmares.

So you see it has been very important to get a 2′ x 3′ sign installed in front of the lodge with Bowlingtown’s history. The sign illustrates the river and where the various families lived (designated by numbers) with a list of family members associated with each house. The sign was designed by my Father, Floyd Hacker, who is 78 years old. He also provided all the family names/members and where each house was located. There is a sign inside the lodge with a history of the Bowlings/Bollings that goes back to 1066 in Bradford, England (Bolling Castle still stands today in memory of the Bollings).

It is important to note the source of the funds for this project: $2000 from Bowlingtown family and friends and $1000 grant from the KY Heritage Society; And without the KY State Parks co-operation this project still would be on the drawing board.

Jewell Gordon, Bowlingtown Project Mgr.

The sign and exhibit honoring Bowlington was dedicated Saturday, October 2nd, 1:00 p.m. in the lodge at Buckhorn Lake State Park in Perry County. Hazard radio station WSGS-FM covered the event and Governor Paul Patton was scheduled to attend.

For more information contact:

Jewell Gordon
telephone 303-361-6748
fax 303-344-5787

The Communities of Perry County: Bowlingtown

By Bailey Richards, Staff Reporter
Hazard Herald Newspaper
January 29, 2012

<p>A replica of the homes on Bowlingtown is on display at the Buckhorn Lodge.</p>

A replica of the homes on Bowlingtown is on display at the Buckhorn Lodge.

Editor’s note: Perry County has numerous individual communities, all with their own stories and folklore. They have interesting names, formation stories, and histories, all of which make up the history of Perry County. The Hazard Herald is celebrating this with a recurring feature profiling the communities of our county.

Bowlingtown is no longer a place that can be visited, but it is still on the map thanks to the work of Jewell Gordon and the Bowlingtown Project.

Bowlingtown only exists in the collective memory of the people that lived there before it was flooded to create Buckhorn Lake in the early 1960s. For years after the dam was constructed and the valleys flooded, Bowlingtown had no sign or indication of having existed at all.

That was until Jewell Gordon worked from 1995 to 1999 to have some sort of marker placed to indicate where the town had been. Since then, signs and historical societies have been formed to memorialize the town.

Gordon has even managed to put Bowlingtown back on the map where it can be seen, marked in the lake on sites like Map Quest and in some atlases.

“When they built the dam, Bowlingtown just went off the map. It just no longer existed,” said Gordon, who was born in Bowlingtown and raised there until she was around eight years old.

Bowlingtown was settled by the Boling family from England as one of the earliest settlements in Perry County. It was named for Jesse Boling, or Bowling, and his family. Boling had served in the Revolutionary War and his descendant, Pat Barger, still has Boling’s pension form from the U.S. government when he applied for his pension at the age of 74 in 1832.

According to Jewell Gordon, the families that founded Bowlingtown had followed Daniel Boone into the forests of Kentucky.

“Daniel Boone brought those people into Bowlingtown, and he had bought some of the land there and then sold it to the Bowlings and four other families that lived there,” said Gordon.

The Bowling family was by far the most predominant family in Bowlingtown. One former resident, George Barger, who was around 10 when the town was flooded, said they probably outnumbered the other families 3 to 1.

The Bowling family has a long history that can be traced all the way back to Anne Boleyn, who was the Queen of England from 1533-1536, before she was beheaded by her husband, King Henry VIII. Boleyn was the mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Bowling name has changed spelling several times since Anne Boleyn. According to Jewell Gordon, her grandfather was a Bowling, however, his grandfather was a “Boling,” both of whom lived in Bowlingtown.

At the time the town was flooded, there was a thriving community living in Bowlingtown. Several hundred people lived in the incorporated town that had its own commission and sheriff. George Barger’s father was in his early 60’s when the town was flooded. He was the local postmaster as well as a farmer and entrepreneur.

Five generations of Bowlings and other families had lived in Bowlingtown until 1956 when the Commonwealth of Kentucky decided to dam the Kentucky River to help reduce flooding. Bowlingtown and several other areas lay in a flood plain, and following several large floods the Army Corps of Engineers decided to build a dam, flood the area, and evacuate the town.

“My grandfather, he just loved Bowlingtown, and it just destroyed him when they had to move,” said Gordon.

According to Barger, his father was one of the first people to be told about the town being evacuated since he owned much of the land. He and his family stayed in the town until 1959, whereas others began moving in 1957 in anticipation of the ultimatum to move.

The residents were paid for only their land, not their buildings, and only paid for the land that would be covered by water. Gordon said that her grandfather, Arlie Bowling, was only given enough money from the government to afford a small home on very little land.

“All total, he had probably 125 acres down there in Bowlingtown,” said Gordon. “The money that he was given was enough that he could buy a quarter of an acre in Richmond, and it was swamp land.”

Many of the residents of Bowlingtown were also angered by the name chosen for the new lake.

“For my grandfather and the people that loved Bowlingtown, they hated the fact that they named it Buckhorn,” said Gordon. “I mean it wasn’t Buckhorn, it was Bowlingtown.”

In 1999, after spending five years working to get Bowlingtown recognized, Gordon and around 150 former residents of Bowlingtown gathered for the dedication of a sign at Buckhorn Lodge telling about the town and the families.

“When people saw that sign, people put their hands on it like they were going back in time and remembering their relatives,” said Gordon.

A second sign was placed indoors that told the history of the Bowling family.

As a surprise to the group, the Army Corp of Engineers that had flooded their home had changed the welcome sign going in to the park to read, “Bowlingtown home of Buckhorn Lake.” Gordon said that for the residents, in a way this brought Bowlingtown back.

Today, Bowlingtown has been reconstructed in an exhibit at Buckhorn Lodge in a room lined with replicas of the homes of the community. A map of the town with the names of the families in each home also sits in this room. The homes have the names of the inhabitants along with replicas of stores and schools.


And, you might ask me; “But, what’s your connection to the Boling’s and Bowlingtown’s story?”

Well, in fact, I share the same lineage from Pocahontas and Colonel Robert Bolling from the  15-1600′s and have a link to the Reverend Jesse B. Bolling, born in 1758, who died in Kentucky 1841.  It appears that my grandfather, Jesse B. Bolling, (1902-1978) was a namesake to Jesse B. Bolling, “The Elder”, 150 years later. And, in the video, you might also notice the presence of music and musicians–we Boling’s all seem to share the talents and love of music across the miles and through the generations.


The Video via YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TwSx-PxG5SU


It’s a Small World…


A Follow-On to I’ve Got the Music in Me–and Oh, How it Moves Me! – Part 3

On February 25, 2013, I published a blog I’ve Got the Music in Me–and Oh, How it Moves Me! – Part 3.  It included a song with lyrics sung by C. Daniel Boling, who shares the surname,talents and heritage of the Boling family.

Daniel, as it turns out, is an award-winning folksinger/songwriter/guitarist who “has a storyteller’s eye for detail,” as published in his bio on the web.  In his songs the interesting characters that live on through his music and lyrics are drawn from his life, family and friends. Here’s another example of Daniel Boling’s clever lyrics and entertaining stories.

Beginning in February, 2008, Daniel started performing and touring full-time. Daniel prefers venues where original, lyric-driven music is valued and folks love to listen to his creative stories.

Although Daniel and I didn’t know each other when my blog story went live, shortly thereafter he commented on it and we exchanged a few messages.  And, low and behold we learned that we do, in fact, share the same lineage from Pocahontas and Colonel Robert Bolling from the  15-1600’s.  We next discovered a link to the Reverend Jesse B. Bolling, born in 1758, who died in Kentucky 1841.  This Rev. Jesse B. Bolling, “The Elder,” is a great grandfather in Daniel’s line.

It appears that my grandfather, Jesse B. Bolling, (1902-1978) was a namesake to Daniel’s Jesse B. Bolling, 150 years later.  And just this week, I learned from my father that not only was my grandfather, Jesse, a cabinetmaker, but he also made a cigar box ukulele, indicating his interest in music, too.

Besides being creative writers, lovers of music, and apparently both quick witted, Daniel and I are sharing similar life experiences with our octogenarian elders.  It just goes to show you, that  the longer you live, the smaller the world becomes;and, around any corner may be another clue to who you are, from where you came, and who among you, might be a member of your family that you just haven’t met yet.  Just as in Adam and Eve’s days in the garden and in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, when it comes to family, it can be a small world–“It’s a world of laughter. A world of tears. It’s a world of hopes. And a world of fears. There’s so much that we share. That it’s time we’re aware. It’s a small world …”


“Darwin’s Pride & Joy” by: C. Daniel Boling Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos


Walt Disney’s: It’s a Small World After All Music published on YouTube by: OliviaYVids.

Joanne_Dickinson_Family_Tree-2 on Ancestry.com