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Uncle Jack Fultz’s Memories of Carter County: House breakers and banjo pickers

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

There is a tendency for each generation to look at what is going on around them and assume things are worse today than they were in the past. That there was a golden age when neighbors looked out for each other, crime was minimal, and – as the song goes – “the people (were) gay.” 

If one thing has been proven to us looking through these scrapbook clippings it’s that little has changed over the last 100 years. Sure, technology has advanced, but the fundamental ways of people and communities are largely the same as they’ve ever been. 

For instance, recent reports of bicycle thefts and automobile break-ins in Grayson made us look back at the below article on “house breakers” in Olive Hill. While I’m sure the people of 1918 thought these shiftless criminals were a thoroughly modern phenomenon, that wasn’t any more the case then than it is today. As the Bible shows us, covetous behavior is as old as humanity. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a commandment about it. 

Not everything is doom, gloom, thievery and despair though, then or now. As another article shows us, there has also always been music, frivolity, and fun. That was as true for the banjo pickers of 1918 as it is for the “On With the Show” singers of 2020. 

So, beware of thieves. Look out for your neighbors. And, when you get a chance, pick up a guitar or a banjo, and sing a song with them. We promise you’ll be glad that you did. 

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. When necessary typographical errors and misspellings in the original have been corrected for clarity. 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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