Is Your KY Ancestor in the Log Cabin?

Exploring the Log Cabin Newspaper

Thanks to the generous Kentucky Genealogical Society Digitization Grant Program, the Cynthiana-Harrison County Library has digitized the Log Cabin newspaper and made it available online for free! Most of my ancestors lived in the vicinity of Harrison County, so this was fabulous news! I live 100 miles south of Cynthiana. Now I can sit at my computer and search the digitized issues of the Log Cabin newspaper.

To get started, I went to the site to learn how to use it. Log Cabin was a weekly publication, and the collection was from January 1896 to September 1960. To search, select a year and then a month. All the selected months’ issues display. Click on the one you want to view. The issues run four–six pages. Once you open an issue, there is a toolbar. It includes a search function (useful for finding a surname), zoom, text clipping tool, and more.

Log Cabin Home page at the Cynthiana-Harrison County Library Digital Archive


Now I was ready to explore the collection, hoping to find news of my ancestors. Since the search is by year and month, I looked for dates connected to them, such as birth, death, and marriage. Here is what I found for three ancestors.

An Obituary for My Great-Grandmother

Elizabeth Jane Doan is my second great-grandmother. She was a main character in the Doans Arrive in Harrison County, KY Family Story I wrote about the Civil War.

She died in May 1908, so I pulled up the corresponding issues and started searching. Finally, in Vol XIII May 29, 1908, No. 21 I found her obituary through the easy-to-use Search feature.

Searching the newspaper for the obituary of Mrs. E J Stevens. We added the red lines to highlight what the Search function found.


Details of a Tragic Accident for My Great-Uncle

Grover Cleveland Gruelle is my great-uncle. Vol XXIX Aug 1, 1924, No. 31 tells the details. Here is the text that I extracted from the site using the Clip feature.

“Mr. G. C. Gruelle, of the Kelat neighborhood, who has for some time been employed by the State Highway Commission was seriously burned while he was at work in Bracken County, near Brookville, Tuesday morning. While transferring some hot tarvia into a barrel there was an explosion, and the hot liquid was thrown over the lower part of Mr. Gruelle’s body. He was brought to the Harrison Memorial hospital and is thought to be in a very serious condition.”

He died at the Harrison Memorial hospital in Cynthiana the next day.

A Profile of my Great-Grandfather’s Business

Portrait Joseph W Haley Source: Author’s Collection

Joseph W. Haley (11 Jan 1862 – 1 Nov 1925) is my great-grandfather. He owned a lumberyard in Berry, Kentucky. It was typical for the Log Cabin to cover stories about the communities and people that made up its readership.

In 2013, I had found a reference on to a Log Cabin article about the town of Berry. Now I could go to the source: Vol VII 4 Oct 1902 No. 40. Here is the excerpt from the newspaper, where you can see the many other names mentioned.

News from Berry

The following is for the benefit of people who do not come to Berry and yet would like to know something of our progressive little city: We boast of three of the most up-to-date general merchandise stores in the country. The Blue Grass Grocery of which Harry W. Berry is manager, and is an offspring of the Blue Grass Grocery, which Langdon-Creasy Co. started here a few years ago. The Blue Grass has an able staff of clerks in Will Chole, Andrew McNees and G. C. Matthers. Business has grown so that they have been compelled to rent the old brick store formerly occupied by Renaker and Son and in that they keep their hardware, etc. B. Grass & Co. is the oldest firm in Berry. They bought out the stock of goods of J. B. Crouch several years ago, added to the stock, and now has one of the prettiest stores in the country. Recently on account of lack of space, they were compelled to move from the old store into the Terry building, which was made larger for them. In this store Will Barnes, J. Thomas Conyers and Miss Rebecca Gross push things over the counter for you.

Z. F. Fisher moved here from Dayton, Ky., in the autumn of ‘95. He occupied the little store room on the corner of Bridge and Cottage Row. This soon proved to be too small for a man of Mr. Fisher’s ability, so the partition was removed. Business improved with these good old Republican times, and last winter Mr. Fisher purchased the room under the K. of P. Castle, and made an addition reaching to that. Now he has an elegant store. Mr. & Mrs. Fisher and Robert Fogle look after the interests of the “Cannonball.”

On further down the street we come to the saloon, owned and run by Dille Craig. But as we do not drink, we go across the road and find a livery stable of McClure and Cummins. They have not owned this business for long, but already it shows signs of marked improvement. In undertakers and embalmers, Berry has two that are hard to beat. Roger Perrin Blair has his office and casket room on Cottage Row, opposite the K. of P. Castle. His apparatus is of the most modern style, as likewise that of John W. Marshall on Bridge street, over the offices of Drs. Gillespie, McVey and Earle. Mr. Marshall is a cobbler and harness maker of no mean ability and is one of the councilmen of this city.

Next come the millinery parlors of Miss Bel Stone. Here the ladies can find anything beautiful in the way of headwear. The boys must see something worth looking at, too, judging from the way one young man hangs around.

Turning our eyes towards the south-east, we see a sign that reads: “J. W. Haley, Lumber Yard, Contractor and Builder.”  Upon arriving at this place of business we see piles of dressed and undressed lumber. But being not in the least modest, we stay and talk to this genial man, who is liked by everybody. He tells us of the trials of a lumberman, the slow freights, high charges, slow workmen unloading lumber, shingles and brick, high prices (10¢ an hour) they demand. He says that he is not making any money, but walk down the railroad and you will find a home – the prettiest of the pretty. This shows what good management and ‘tend to your own business’ will do. 

In going down the railroad we pass by the depot, where O. S. Lauderman pulls the reins for L. and N. It is not very widely known that more freight is handled at Berry than at any other station in this division. The freight receipts average about $60 per day.  The two mammoth tobacco warehouses are run by J. E. Yelton, who is assisted by Business Chowning, Joe Ewalt, Dudley Moss and Oscar Marshall. Here many thousands of pounds of tobacco are shipped annually. Among the business houses here, none are more conspicuous than the new implement firm of Renaker Brothers. They probably sell more vehicles and farming implements than any firm in Harrison County.

Newspapers as a Source

These are just a few examples of the ancestral information and stories waiting to be found within the pages of the Log Cabin.



Editor’s Notes

The Kentucky Genealogical Society provided funding for this digitization project along with several others. If your institution has a collection of genealogically significant Kentucky records, you can apply for the KYGS Digitization Grant.


About the Author

<h3><a href="" target="_self">Deborah Oliver</a></h3>

Deborah Oliver

Deborah Oliver, a retired Human Resources professional, lives in Nancy, Kentucky, on Lake Cumberland with her husband Bob. Before moving to Nancy in 2014, they lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. They have two sons and three grandsons. She developed her interest in genealogy as a retirement avocation. Other interests include reading, gardening, backyard birdwatching, and spending time with friends and family.

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