By Helen Dedman
Well, it is time for a long overdue blog from Beaumont Inn! Spring is here for the most part and we are ready. Update on the bees—lost two hives over last year. No idea why—mites, swarm, or too much moisture. But one of my original hives, Adelina, is going strong. Bless her heart because I am not the best beekeeper in the world and she basically has to fend for herself. I do medicate and feed her but I’m not good at checking the hive. If any of you beekeepers want to check on her when you visit, just let me know!
Butterfly garden is coming back in full force. Right now I am trying to stay ahead of the weeds. I lost a few plants and will replace them when it gets just a little warmer—all native Kentucky plants, of course.
Garden plots are plowed and tilled, ready for the seeds we started in the new Hoop House. What?! It is a mini green house. I ordered a kit, thinking I could just “whip it together,” but it took our maintenance man, Lloyd Poynter, about a week to get supplies that didn’t come with kit and get it up and stable. What would we do without him (sure wouldn’t have a functioning hoop house!) It is behind the inn in the employee parking lot and it sure is cute!
We had a good winter; really didn’t go anywhere, preferring to stay home and watch the grandchildren grow and take care of our 15 year old lab, Scout. Grandkids are doing well. Dixon and Elizabeth are expecting their third in August!
The cookbook is at the printers and should be out by summer!!! That certainly has been a learning experience. The folks at Keen Publishing have been very patient with me and I also could not have done it without our webmaster, Mark File’s, photographs and advice. But one of the things I realized is all the stories we have been told or read about from the Dedman/Goddard/Bell/Curry families which do not concern food. I know, I know, next goal will be to write the Beaumont story but in the meantime I would like to share some of the stories through blogs. Rest assured a few may have been embellished (as Mark Twain said “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”) or not fully researched. Most of these stories were told to us by TC “Bud” Dedman and/or his sister, Anne Dedman Cherry. Here goes:
William Conn Bell
Judge William Connor Bell was Annie Bell Goddard’s older brother. He and his wife, Sibbie Harvey Bell, lived in a beautiful house on Lexington Ave in Harrodsburg which had been built by Sibbie’s grandfather. One of the outstanding features of the house was the Matthew Lowry (native Mercer County craftsman) carpentry.
When Sibbie began to deliver her first child she had great difficulty. The baby became lodged in the birth canal too long which caused Conn to be born mentally handicapped. Unfortunately, Sibbie died soon after giving birth.
A few years later the Judge remarried and decided to take his new wife and son to visit his cousin by marriage, Ralf Goddard, in California. (Ralf, the 4th child of WW Goddard had gone to California a few years before to “find his fortune.” He started in real estate. As luck would have it oil was discovered on his property, Signal Hill, and the fortune was found!) The two young families were visiting Seattle, Washington when the cable of the cable car in which they were traveling snapped as the car was going downhill, crashing into vehicles, etc. Judge Conn Bell and his wife were severely injured and died shortly thereafter. Lalla, Ralf’s wife and son, Glave were also injured but recovered in several months. Glave’s sight was forever impaired. He had a personal assistant for the rest of his life, even after marrying.
Little Conn Bell was left with a wealthy estate but no parents. His maternal grandparents moved in to the beautiful house to care for their grandson. Annie Bell Goddard, Conn’s aunt, visited often and tried to care for her nephew. The grandparents soon moved Conn to an institution for the handicapped. Annie continued to visit but one day she was told she could not see him and she should go home. But Annie said she would “sit right here” until she was able to see her nephew. Finally she did but he shied away, was dirty and looked malnourished. Annie went home and filed a lawsuit requesting custody of Conn. I do not know how long it took but finally she won custody of Conn and his estate.
By this time the beautiful house was in disrepair and was eventually sold and torn down, making room for the Harrodsburg High School. Woodwork was sold and it is our belief that Annie saved this arch which now hangs in our house.) Annie was appointed guardian but instead of benefitting from that position, she asked a local bank and banker, Mr. Keightley, to be guardian, taking care of Conn and his needs for the rest of his life. Conn was moved to the Stewart Home in Frankfort, which is still in existence, and received wonderful care. He would visit his aunt and her family often. (Chuck remembers his visits when he was small.) He died in 1977 and the remainder of his estate went to a distant cousin.
I am continually impressed with Annie Bell Goddard’s dedication to family, her sense of right and wrong and her fearless quest to make things right.