Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm Ashamed of My People

Here is the sticker that I mentioned the other day.  Uncle DV had it made up and gave them out for Otho Bentley's 100th birthday.  I didn't remember it being back in 1984.  I thought it was later, but I do know that was the time period he was doing.  I called him and he verified it was at the 1984 reunion when he passed these out.

This is not a great picture.  It is a scan that was online.  If anyone wants a better copy, email me and I will copy my original sticker.
If you can't read it, it says O & C Coal Company, Millstone, Kentucky  at the top. To the left of the eagle it says "In memory of Otho Bentley".  To the right  it says "I'm Ashamed of my People".  Under the eagle it says 1884 - 1984.
Uncle D. V. had these made up and gave them out at our 1984 Family Reunion at Millstone. 
I read about it online in someone else's blog.  They had the whole story wrong.  Then Aunt Lettie's granddaughter, Janet, told them some of the story, but they still didn't have it right.  I have emailed the lady several times and know that she lived in Michigan and is still online, but apparently that email address and her writings are no longer valid.
O and C stood for Otho and Can.  Otho, of course, was Otho Bentley, my grandfather.  He was born in 1884.  Can was Can Martin Bentley, "Dr. Can".  Can was Otho's daughter, Lettie's second husband.  He is the father of Alan, Terry and Carol Ann Bentley. 
Dr. Can and Otho went into business together.  They bought a piece of land at the left fork of Millstone.  Eventually, Otho bought the land from Dr. Can and that property is the old homeplace.  There are still two deeds for the property. 
If you have been there anytime in the last few years, you know that there are two mobile homes and a covered picnic shelter .  The old wooden bridge which used to be used to cross over the creed has long since fallen apart.  When the coal was stripped from the top of the mountain the company that mined it put in a cement bridge which could handle the weight of the coal trucks and the big construction vehicles which were used.  I know somewhere I have a picture of one of the huge machines that fell over when it tried to go up too steep of an incline and layed there for a while.
Uncle D. V. said that Can and Otho's tipple was to the left of where Jerry's home sits now.
So that is where O and C Coal Company comes from.
"I am ashamed of my people." was a saying Poppy used.  It was meant facetiously.  Uncle D. V. said a lot of people took it the wrong way.  I guess since I never heard him say that, I would fall into that category, too.  However, he was one to do a joke, so I can imagine him saying it to get a rise out of folks.  Since I mentioned it the other day, I thought I would give it more of a story.

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