Felix Settle, master gunsmith
When smallpox swept through Barren County, Kentucky in 1808, one of its victims was 38-year-old William Settle, the county’s first gunsmith. But his third son, Felix Settle (1801-1871), took up his father’s trade, establishing a rifle shop in Roseville, then in Glasgow. After learning the business from their father, Felix’s sons Simon Settle and Willis F. Settle made guns in Greensburg, Glasgow, Hiseville and Russellville.
Today, a historical marker in Barren County commemorates three generations of Settle gunsmiths, and a rifle bearing the “SETTLE” mark is a prize for collectors. Some say that Felix Settle was one of the best rifle makers in the country, but Felix’s great-grandson maintained that it was Simon Settle who had no equal in the manufacture of muzzle loading (cap and ball) rifles. Of the three in his collection, he said: “They are neatly made, perfectly balanced, finely inlaid, and shoot true to the mark today . They are indeed a work of art.”
In addition to several Settle rifles in its collection, WKU’s Special Collections Library has more information on the family and its gunsmiths in the Settle-DeWitt Family Papers. Click here to download a finding aid.
One of the most popular recent art additions in the Helm-Cravens Library is “Set the Night on Fire,” a tribute to Jim Morrison of the rock group, The Doors. Born James Douglas Morrison in Melbourne, Florida in 1943, Morrison was a singer-composer-poet whose band became an icon of the late 1960s with hits like “Light My Fire” which in 1967 became the number one song of the “summer of love.” After completing his seventh album, a documentary film, three collections of poetry and a screenplay Morrison was discovered dead in his Paris apartment on July 4, 1971. He’s buried at Paris’s Pere Lachaise cemetery near the graves of Moliere, Balzac, Edith Piaf, Chopin and Oscar Wilde. See Jerry Hopkins entry in American National Biography Online, a WKU e-book.
Poole is an award winning Kentucky artist who paints with watercolors, acrylics, oils, pastels and mixed media. His work has appeared in many state, regional and national exhibitions. He’s a signature member of the Louisiana and Kentucky Watercolor Societies and the International Society of Acrylic Painters. Tom was a huge fan of The Doors and Jim and viewed his death at 27 as a great tragedy. His poem below is used with permission:
Dance with the Shaman
Can’t you reach a little higher?
Take a trip to hide the pain
Don’t you know
Cocaine is just another chain?
Spin and swirl
Dance with the Shaman
You are approaching your tortured destruction
Death is doing His best seduction
Reach out…your friend is here but The End is coming
C’mon…break on through…Transcend!
Spin and swirl
Dance with the Shaman
Click here to visit Tom Poole’s MySpace page.
World War I message from King George V
“Well, I got my gun,” wrote Wilson Sprowl to his family from Camp Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was June, 1918, and the Monroe County, Kentucky resident, in training for duty with the American Expeditionary Force, boasted of his prowess on the rifle range. Tied with another soldier for the top score, he reported that “I warent beet.” A month earlier, Wilson’s biggest complaint was the series of inoculations that had left him with a sore arm and caused some of his mates to become sick or faint.
One of the letters Wilson sent home was not his own; it was instead a neatly handwritten message from George V of the United Kingdom. The King welcomed Wilson and his fellow recruits “on your way to take your stand beside the Armies of many Nations now fighting in the Old World the great battle of human freedom.” He wrote of his desire to shake the hand of each American soldier and “bid you God speed on your mission.”
Wilson Sprowl’s mission, unfortunately, ended with his death on October 4, 1918.
A finding aid for Wilson Sprowl’s letters in the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library can be downloaded here. For more World War I materials, search TopScholar and KenCat.
Alec Vinsant, a WKU student singer-songwriter appeared with his band today at Java City to a large appreciative group. The casual rocking sound featured Vinsant’s originals to old favorites like “Hold My Hand” by Hootie and the Blowfish.
Photos of the Event
Joseph W. Hawkins
Portraits of Joseph W. Hawkins and George Ann Nicholas Hawkins are featured in a newly published biography, “Marie Prescott: A Star of Some Brilliancy” by Kevin Lane Dearinger.
Marie Prescott bio
The book explores the family roots, life and career of this native of Paris, Kentucky, including an ancestor, Joseph W. Hawkins, who was influential in the founding of the state of Texas. Prescott led a somewhat unconventional and often notorious life that included directing and starring in Oscar Wilde’s first play,”Vera, or the Nihilists.”After cataloging, the book will be available in the Harrison-Baird Reading Room of the Kentucky Library & Museum.
The Java City Noon concert series returned on Wednesday with a performance by Technology vs. Horse. Bowling Green’s premier alt-rock group performed to an appreciative crowd outside the newly renovated Java City cafe in Helm Library. The concerts have become a tradition here on campus over the last few years as a great way to take a break while listening to live music. Don’t miss next week’s concert featuring singer/songwriter Alec Vincent.
Photos of the Event
USO “Letter on a Record”
Before there was e-mail or Skype or DVDs or even cassette tapes, there was the “Letter on a Record.” During World War II, servicemen could enter a booth at USO clubs operated by the National Catholic Community Service and make an audio recording. The result was a two-sided, wax-coated cardboard disk, 6-1/2 inches in diameter and playable on a turntable at 78 r.p.m., that could be mailed to friends or loved ones back home.
One of these “letters on a record” is part of the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library. Speaking from Camp Crowder, Missouri, Private Thomas W. Sutton extends greetings to Eva Mae Stone in Washington, D. C. In the few minutes of recording time available, Sutton asks her if she’s heard any good dance records lately (like Don’t Do It Darling), tells her about mutual friends, including “Chuck” (“he had to take a few weeks of basic [training] all over again and of course that didn’t appeal to him”) and, true to the nature of many soldiers, talks about his plans for his next furlough and how much he misses the “barbecue sandwiches and milkshakes” at one of his favorite hangouts.
A finding aid for Thomas W. Sutton’s “letter on a record” can be downloaded here. For more information on World War II collections at WKU’s Special Collections Library, search TopScholar and KenCat.
TopSCHOLAR, WKU Libraries’ research and creative activity database, ranks in the top 5% of universities worldwide according to CSIC, a public research body in Spain. Rankings are based on size, visibility and rich files. TopSCHOLAR is ranked 185th out of 3026 among US institutions. According to Library Technical Services Department head, Connie Foster, the ranking indicates the “TopSCHOLAR is not only digitally competitive with other United States universities but with universities from all over the world.
Western Kentucky University Libraries has selected The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby: The Story of Jimmy Winkfield, written by Crystal Hubbard and illustrated by Robert McGuire, as the winner of the fourth Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award. Hubbard is a sports buff and full-time writer. Her children’s books have received honors such as Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year and ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project. Hubbard lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and their four children. McGuire is a full-time illustrator with a degree in fine arts whose work reflects a love of diverse cultures. He currently lives in New York City. The author and illustrator have been invited to attend an awards luncheon in their honor at the Kentucky Library & Museum in November.