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Uncle Jack Fultz’s Memories of Carter County: Booze, lies and politics

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

It’s election season again, and while we know attack ads are nothing new, the special supplement to the Carter County Herald from July 24, 1919 takes rumor, innuendo, and repudiation to levels that – while undoubtedly serious at the time – may strike us as humorous today. 

Dr. J.H. Hughes wished to run for Representative on his vows to eliminate unneeded offices, such as game warden, fire marshal and county engineer, which would result in “saving over $4,000” in county taxes, but had to address some sort of rumor involving an automobile tire. 

We’d love to know just what that tire story was all about, but we guess it’s one of those things where you had to be there. 

With Delbert Kibbey, though, we know exactly what rumors he was trying to kill. His opponent in the Republican primary was apparently telling folks that Kibbey wouldn’t maintain offices in Olive Hill if elected to the office of Tax Commissioner. But Kibbey assured voters that not only would he keep those offices open, but he would appoint “a competent deputy” to run the office when he wasn’t available. 

It’s Bannie Tabor’s statements on his candidacy for Representative in the 87th Legislative District that really take rumor squashing to the next level though. While Tabor’s statements are too long to print in full, he addresses rumors from his primary opponent, Mr. J.A. Lewis that he and his other primary opponent are drunks and that he doesn’t really live in Carter County, before attacking Lewis for running purely for his own personal gain. Tabor also accused Lewis directly of being a liar. 

Tabor notes that while “Lewis voluntarily promised to not assail neither of his opponents character” he had it on good authority that Lewis told individuals from Soldier that “Mr. Denues and myself was drunkards.” Tabor goes on to say he has never seen their mutual opponent under the influence and “as to myself I will admit that I have drank quite a little whiskey during my life but for the past several years I haven’t drank whiskey to an excess.” 

He also addresses rumors that he was drunk on the House floor, and, in a post script, accuses Lewis, a former Rowan County resident, of running for office “before he got his cooking stove set up” in his Carter County residence. 

It’s all very entertaining, and we wished we had room for all of Tabor’s statements to the voters in Carter County’s 1919 Republican primary, including both post scripts, which filled the better part of an entire newspaper page. 

You just have to love politics. 

Editor’s Note: This is the 16th in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. We thank Sally James of Sally’s Flowers in Olive Hill for sharing her uncle’s collected clippings with us and the community. – Jeremy D. Wells, editor, Carter County Times

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