My Quest for “The Forgotten Story” in America

IMG_1437 barefoot mennonite women walking 2.jpgIMG_1404 Old porch things 2.jpgIMG_1243 Tommie on country road.jpghttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-quest-forgotten-story-america-tommie-flannery-baskis

 

 

My Quest for “The Forgotten Story” in Scottsville, KY

Through the years, my quest for “the forgotten story” has taken me on many intriguing and inspiring journeys through America, especially the mid-west river towns.

These lovely places and towns that have deep roots in early American history have touched my soul and given me the inspiration for many of my creations.

Whether my creations, such as a new painting, a photographic capture of an abandoned place in time, a new writing of “the old ways and lost stories” for my books “The Abandoned Story” or exploring the forests and countryside for wild plants and roots, I have been deeply moved by the strength and resilience of the people, old towns and countryside in the mid-west towns.

Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky have always been to me, an intriguing and rich source for old stories and ways, abandoned places, history and landscape so lovely and diverse, teeming with a natural energy and abundance of life.

It is no wonder that Native Americans professed that Kentucky was a sacred place with its diverse life, large trees and water sources.

The journey that follows will be from the countryside and quaint town called Scottsville, in Allen County KY. Allen County, KY was named for Colonel John Allen, a soldier and state senator. He was killed leading the 1ST regiment of Kentucky Riflemen at the Battle of Frenchtown, Michigan during the infamous war of 1812.

Scottsville, a very proud American town, is and always has been the government and commercial center of Allen County, KY. The place that resides by Bays Fork was settled in 1797 as a stagecoach station and the town was created and established by 1817. Kentucky’s 4TH governor, Charles Scott inspired the town’s namesake.

Scottsville boasted a grand courthouse that was “prominently positioned” to interrupt the traffic flowing in the turnpike that lead from Louisville to Nashville.

Before the turn of the century there were many small established businesses and small industry. The new technology that would come at the turn of the century, the Dixie Highway, oil boom, telephone, electricity, automobile and such would help the growth expansion of Scottsville.

I have written in the past, a more concise story about Scottsville and its large Noah Hoover Mennonite community, a branch of the Old Order Mennonites. Scottsville is the home of their main settlement; coming from Snyder Counter Pennsylvania they chose Scottsville in 1978 to create a new settlement in Kentucky.

The following is an excerpt from a past writing of my encounters with some of the Mennonite men, women and children in Scottsville, when I met with knife maker and metal forger of the old ways, Sam Stoner.

“I travel a dusty and buggy worn path with the overhanging boughs of locust, oak and maple above me…the scent of a deep and wild damp raises cool from the spring creek. The wind sends a soft honeysuckle fragrance as my eye catches a sturdy Mennonite man. He is walking with solemn purpose in a tall field along a fencerow…he bends down to pull on something from the earth. He looks at the approaching storm that is foreseen…”

I was helped much and given a few hand drawn maps by two kind young Mennonite men that worked a fine organic vegetable and strawberry market. They both were very inquiring of my name and book and of course helped me pick out the firmest squash and tomatoes to take back home. The one man was busy drawing for me a fine map that had a few turns and T’s in the road but he left out the names of the roads and lanes. His friend kindly smiled and turned to the other joking to him that “maybe he should put some names to those markings” he was making.

I laughed and thought that was probably wise considering my experience and knowledge of the twisting country lanes out here in Kentucky. Well, unfortunately the map took me to a general store run by a man named Matthew who was very solemn but kind and quick. He listened to my story about my quest to find Sam Stoner, the blacksmith who makes fine knives and tomahawks. He then neatly took to drawing a map with two small bridges on it that would finally lead to Sam. It did and I was thankful to be here for the day was getting late.

I slowly walk up the lovely country drive to the scent of coal fire burning. I was excited for I knew he must be working on forging something special.

Sam was talking knife business with another local man and he smiled and seemed like he didn’t have a care in the world. I thought that here was a man who is very content and joyful at his craft.

When my turn came to speak I was eager to see and learn as much as I could. I explained my reason for coming to see him and about my book. Sam was more than happy to show me around and answer my questions. He even made a knife out of a railroad spike for me to see. I was thrilled to watch his process. Sam, unbeknownst to me, had just been interviewed for KET. He said I could capture some photographs as I watched him stoke and wind up the coal fire. The incredible show began…I was amazed and listened to him describe the bone and woods he liked to use, such as tiger maple, burled walnut, rosewood, ash and other hardwoods from the area. He would often use deer and elk antler. He would speak about the interesting and beautiful craft of jewelling the blade. His work was as beautiful to watch as his fine craftsmanship and artistic ability was displayed by each unique knife that was finished.

He had two Belgian horses running on a track to move the pulley system that operated the automated hammer machine for flattening the hot metal to be made into the knife blade. This was the “Old Way”. I really enjoyed my journey into Sam Stoner’s blacksmith workshop and can only extend a gracious wish for his extended art, prosperity and joy of life.

I hope that this journey has taken you to a time and place where “old stories and dreams” still live brightly.

Always search for the hidden gems, the lost stories, in your existence. They hold the truest power, the brightest light-

 

Tommie XO

-Angel Blue-

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Read more at my LinkedIn link above!

By angelblueperfume

My name is Tommie Flannery Baskis and I am the creator of the scent combinations at Angel Blue Perfume LLC. Many of you know me as a photographer of abandoned haunts, old towns and American history. I am also a published writer of the book “The Abandoned Story” and a fine art painter with many exhibits through the years. I am thrilled to share another dream with you all in the creation of Angel Blue Perfume and Cologne. These very special and elegant scents are natural and free of petrochemicals that can be harsh on your skin. Ever since I was young and would smell the intoxicating essences of such plants like honeysuckle, mimosa flowers, my Grandmother’s rose garden and magnolia blossoms, I have dreamed of creating unique combinations from nature. I always wanted to be adorned in those lovely scents from the roots, leaves, flowers, spices and wood smoke I would come to love and know. These scents were pure enchantment for me… “My dream has been to create something truly special, distinctive and lovely from nature… the scent, that when adorned, would evoke the story and mood of the carefully selected notes and essence that were chosen for each artisan crafted perfume and cologne. I believe in the power of weaving a story out of nature’s own roots, flowers, leaves, wood, spices and fruits…” The chief chemist and distiller along with our team, handcraft small batches of these divine and unique creations that are all natural, wildcrafted essential oils and essences to be mixed into lovely and alluring scents. One will discover in Angel Blue, many distinctive, mysterious and lovely notes that are sensual, earthy and ethereal. Whether you are seeking a truly feminine or masculine scent, we can offer that enchantment! The gentlemen can be delighted to know my exclusive signature cologne for them is “DragonSlayer” with notes of fresh lime, anise, bergamot, pine, sandalwood, cedarwood, black pepper and a touch of cocoa make this truly masculine scent a desirable warm and smoky blend of sensual plant essences! The ladies and gents will love the masculine notes that evoke earthy warmth, deep forest with a touch of dark spice. …Truly a Mysterious and Sensual Delight… Your senses will be enticed by unique combinations of warm and exotic mimosa, vetiver, cocoa, clove, orange blossom, geranium, coconut, rose, ylang ylang, luscious vanilla, jasmine, chamomile, lime, anise, sandalwood, pine, bergamot, cedar wood, lemon, lavender, black pepper, myrrh, amyris, spikenard, violet leaf, rosewood, balsam of peru and many other enticing note combinations. Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready to step into your unique, natural fragrance and into your dreams… All fragrances are natural and Free of petrochemicals, synthetic dyes, propylene glycol, phthalates, mineral oil, sulfates, parabens and never tested on animals…

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