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Bath County News - Outlook
Owingsville, Kentucky
September 5, 2013     Bath County News - Outlook
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September 5, 2013

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2 - ,September 05, 2013 Yollr Hometown Newspaper News Outlodik Heaven Is A Lot Like By Charles Mattox ,Pale Death with impa tial tread beats at the poor man's cottage door and at the palaces of kings." Hor- ace. Taken from "Teasing Se- crets From The Dead, My Investigations At Ameri- ca's Most Infamous Crime Scenes" by Dr. Emily Craig. Sometimes I sit and hold Emily's Vowel. I 'e always liked hand tools, especially those used to excavate dirt. I've worked on many construc- tion and landscape projects across the Bluegrass, and I can say with the utmost of confidence that I shovel well. But it has been my pas- sion with amateur archeol- ogy and the smell of fresh- ly exposed dirt that takes me to the place I most like to be. My search for Native American and Pioneer arti- facts over the past four de- cades has given me insight and special visual training in finding elusive artifacts that have remained hidden for centuries. In late August of 2003 I became aware of a homi- cide investigation that be- gan with the discovery of disarticulated skeletal re- mains in Fleming County at the Wildlife management Area near Beechburg. I had been a journalist for a couple of years. The site was taped off and there was a lot of activ- ity following the recovery of the skeletal remains, which were discovered mi- nus the skull. It was during that in- vestigation that I met Dr. Emily Craig, the state's Fo- rensic Anthropologist with the Kentucky Medical Ex- aminer's Office. I found her to be ex- tremely professional, cor- dial and pleasant, though we were only able to speak briefly as she was being hurried from this scene to another homicide scene across the state. As fate would have it there was a large local and state police presence at the scene and I also met KSP Sgt, Craig Motley at the scene. In the hustle and bustle of activity at the scene, Sgt Motley's ride took off on down the EMILY'9 TI'q.OWEL. road and left him standing there; standing there all alone except for me. It was hot and he was hot and I saw an opportu- nity and offered him a ride back to the Fleming Coun- ty Sheriff's Office, the rally point where law enforce- ment officers were meet- ing to discuss the case and examine photographs and evidence. I hadn't been allowed inside the crime scene, but now that the investiga- tion regarding the crime scene was concluded with the remains being taken to Frankfort for identifica- tion, I asked Sgt Motley, if we could go back over the scene one more lime. I wanted to see if anything had been overlooked or missed. "You're not going to find anything," he said. "Dr. Craig is the best and she doesn't miss anything." Dr. Craig's reputation had preceded her but I knew she was being hur- ried at the scene and after heating about my maniacal obsession with collecting Native American artifacts and how such a practice had given me "a good eye" he affirmed I was giving him a ride back to town and said, "well, in that case, ok, follow me." The victim would soon be identified as Walter "Wally' Greenfield of Wall- ingford. Wally had been killed by Ed Parker and Angela Davenport, ac- cording to testimony pre- sented later during their trial. They had killed Wally and dumped his body, at the Wildlife Management Area and then removed his head, throwing it over the new Goddard Bridge where it would be discov- ered In the next few days. They had covered Wal- ly's remains with cedar trees and branches. I saw where Dr. Craig had excavated around the body, searching for dues, gathering evidence. "You ready Scoop?" Sgt, Motley asked inquiring if I was hot enough and ready for a cool ride back to Flemingsburg. "Just about," I replied as I pointed out a polished wooden handle nearly in- visible in a pile of cedar branches. "I'm going to remove this from the ground," I said. "It looks like one of Dr. Craig's trowels." Sure enough, it was; a GOLDBLATT brick Vow- el, diamond-shaped and perfect for archaeological and forensic anthropologi- cal work. I called Dr. Craig the next day and told her I found her Vowel and I knew she had been hur- fled away from the scene. I offered to mail it to her or even drive it to the Medi- cal Examiner's Office in Frankfort. "No," she finally said after we discussed archae- ology and forensic anthro- pology for a few minutes, "no, I left it there and even though I accidentally left it there, you found it. It's your Vowel now." That was following my first meeting and pro- longed discussion with Dr. Emily Craig. It would not be my last As the years went on we had occasion to speak again and again regarding her work, which frequent- ly brought her to Fleming, Nicholas, Bath, Robertson and Menifee County. Every once in a while I would sit and hold Em- fly's trowel. It's hard to communicate how certain objects can impact one's emotions and how some people can "read" objects and get a glimpse of who has touched the object and other things related to the object. I get this sensation often on Native American village sites and when I hold their artifacts. Sometimes I get it with Emily's trowel. It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned of Dr. Craig's work on a national scale. I learned she had been a leader at the excavation of, the Branch Davidian Com- pound at Waco, Texas. I found she had helped lead efforts in the recov- ery of remains following the bombing of the Fed- eral Building in Oklahoma city. I found she had led the night shift recovery ef- forts for all those months in New York City follow- ing the terrorist attack on Sept, 11, 2001. I spoke with Dr. Craig about her trowel again fol- lowing her testimony in Fleming Circuit Court a few years ago. I asked her if she would consider signing the trow- el and as I saw how the wooden handle had been polished from extensive use, I thought perhaps it had been among her fa- vorite trowels, perhaps her most favorite. She just smiled and said, "No, Charles. I can't sign it for you and it's just a Vowel." But sometimes I sit, and hold that Vowel. Sometimes I feel things hard to describe, btit I weep. Sometimes a vowel is much, much more than just a Vowel. By Cecil Lawson So I might steal your dia- rnonds I'll bring you back some gold - Greg Allman, "I'm No Angel" The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. - Joseph Campbell, my- thologist (1904-1987) A wise traveler never de- spises his own country. -William Hazlitt, writer (1778-1830) For the first time in sev- eral years I decided that I wasn't going to work much over the Labor Day week- end and was going to do some traveling. This is all a part of my ongoing attempt to "down- shift" and not work so much that you might have read about in my previous columns. Sitting in front of 17 inch computer screen and in meetings for hours and hours on end tend to not being very conducive to developing a happy out- look on life. buddy Tom and I talked last week, and we decided that a day trip was order for Saturday, and we decided that our destina- tion was Butcher Holler, the birthplace of country music superstar Loretta Lynn. Lynn was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom this past August for her lifetime achieve- ments as one of the first successful solo- female country singers. Lynn's early struggles and successes were chron- icled in a movie that prob- ably every resident of East- ern Kentucky has seen at least once, Coal Miner's Daughter (1980). "It rained for most of the way Saturday morning to Van Lear, in Johnson Coun- ty, just south of Paints- ville. The roads leading to Butcher Holler were prom- inently marked with signs reading "Loretta Lynn's Home Place," so finding it was no problem Sure enough, at the end of a road that narrowed and eventually turned to gravel, we drove right up THE Photos by Cecil Lawson Country music legend Loretta Lynn's home place, lo- cated at the end of Miller Creek Rd., Butcher Holler, in Van Lear, Ky. to the iconic cabin that was Loretta's birthplace. A group of us visitors were given the tour by Herman Webb, Loretta's brother, who seemed very content to reminisce over Lynn's career and his own as a traveling musician. Music ran in most of the family's veins. Coal mining is much on Kentuckians and politi- cians minds these days, and it defined Loretta and her family's lives. Butcher Hol- ler, and Miller Creek Road, which winds through the narrow valley, was the site of five mines owned by the Consolidation Coal Compa- ny during their productive years. 1910 through 1946. Bath The Mine No. 5 Store is now Webb's Grocery, owned and operated by Lo- retta Lynn's family, and the company's headquarters is now home to the Coal Mining Museum, operated by the Van Lear Historical Society. The town of Van Lear it- self began its existence as a coal camp created by the Consolidation Coal Compa- ny and celebrated its 100th birthday back in August during Van Lear Days. Several people in the area said that the current population of Van Lear and Butcher Holler, around 3000, is approximately half of what it was in Van Lear's heyday1 close to 60001 mak- KvN 1884 Keep up with all the latest news in Bath County online! Visit our facebook page. Like us on facebook https://www.facebook:com/newsoutlook KyN p N I I I IIIIIII II Like us on facebook I :859}/,97-3800 www.ke rassetskentucky.com http_ s:l lwww.facebook-com/pageslMenifee-County- News-Outlook/190065967691341 I " TRUEST TREASURE The view southward from Lockegee Rock, overlooking Cave Run Lake and the Daniel Boone National Forest in Rowan County. ing it bigger than the popu- lation of the county seat, Paintsville. Most of the people who live in Van Lear now are involved in coal mining in surrounding regions, but they have managed to pre- serve their community's rich heritage as an historic mining town. There are also efforts to preserve smaller local monuments, such as Ruck- er Park, which contains a memorial to nine Van Lear miners who lost their lives in an explosion in 1935, and the Miller Creek School, a one-room school house on the way to Butcher Holler. The next day, disappoint- ed that I couldn't find any- thing to do in Morehead beyond going to Wal-Mart, I took a short trip to Lock- egee Rock. Lockegee remains a popular destination for younger folks who are able to shimmy up the often- slick sandstone rocks that surround the pinnacle. I discovered that there must still be some youth in me, because I made it to the top. For those of you who don't know, Lockegee is lo- cated off of a forestry road that runs between Hwy. 1274 and Hwy. 801, by Cave Run Lake, and features sev- eral graffiti covered over- looks above the lake and surrounding Daniel Boone National Forest. It was a sunny day, and I was able to see as far as the Morgan/Menifee/Rowan County Industrial Park, lo- cated about 8 miles away to the west, as the crow flies. There were several peo- ple up therewalking and enjoying the view along with me. On my way up there and back, I couldn't help but notice the in- creased amount of trash along the Vail, mostly,pop and water botfles,:tossed aside. There were also a few campsites with ,huge piles of garbage and burnt logs. The contrast between Van Lear and L0ckegee R0 :k is mstructivC Van Learhas kept ib 6dt:hlive,- because the residerits'tiave a sense of. their owrvhis- tory and struggi ;,mad a strong volunteer ethi . Lockegee is a loc lL, nat- ural treasure whifhlchas often fallen prey,, ,,,the tendency to both public lands and to_" rp4. use , ; P, I',~ it by taking unnedessary risks in dangerous al settings (Rowan County EMS makes at least one trip to Lockegee every year). Our local communities have both history and nat- ural treasures that need to be preserved and cared for, but these things require time, effort, and yes,:tel- lars. Except for the efforts:of a few dedicated people,.it seems like we are letting our history and nature slip away from us, mostly through our indifference. The tourist dollars, could be there, if we would work together to package what we have and give-people something to see. They too might return home with treasure of their own. kentUCKy ~t