Susan Taylor was born on 3 February 1889 in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Kentucky, the second daughter of John Cook Taylor and Sarah A. Ramsey. Just days after Susie’s third birthday, her mother died on 12 February 1892, leaving Susie and her sister, Gracie, motherless.
John remarried in August 1894, but that marriage ended in divorce. He married a third and final time in January 1900, and Emma Jane Owens became Susie and Gracie’s step-mother when the girls were 13 and 10. They were close to Emma Jane for the rest of their lives.
Susie married August Krueger on 7 September 1911 at John and Emma Jane’s house in Mt. Vernon. August was born on 8 June 1879 to Fritz Krueger and Henrietta Pruesner.
The Krueger family (including August’s two brothers and a sister) immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1885. Henrietta and the four children arrived in New York City on 30 April 1885 aboard the Werra. They departed from Bremen, Germany and Southampton, England. Fritz apparently came earlier as he is not on the passenger list for that sailing with them, however, he reported arriving in 1885 in the 1900 U.S. census. Fritz became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1892, which also gave his children citizenship.
The Kruegers first settled near Crab Orchard in the Ottenheim community in Lincoln County, Kentucky. They moved to Mt. Vernon in 1892, where Fritz started a brick and lime manufacturing business. Fritz also served as a contractor on building projects using his bricks and limestone. August worked in his father’s business managing the brickyard. Krueger oversaw construction of many building in central and eastern Kentucky. Many courthouses, churches, and houses in central and eastern Kentucky were built with their brick.
Susie and August lived in a two-story brick house near the corner of West Main and Williams Street in Mt. Vernon. They had four children, all born in Mt. Vernon. Henrietta W. was born on 18 March 1914, Marie on 14 September 1915, John William (Bill) on 29 May, 1920, and Christine (Tiny) on 21 February 1922.
August died of heart failure on 16 February 1927 at the hospital in Berea, Kentucky, leaving Susie with four children under thirteen years old. Four years later, their oldest daughter, Henrietta, died of influenza. August and Henrietta were buried in the Krueger plot at Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.
Susie married Harvey Owens, the son of James W. Owens and Averill Laswell, on 31 October 1937 in Brodhead, Rockcastle County. It was also a second marriage for him. Harvey married Lula Debord in 1906, and she died in 1936.
Susie and Harvey didn’t stay married long, but a divorce record has not been located. They lived in Ohio for a short time but by 1940, Susie was back in Mt. Vernon living in her house on West Main Street with Bill and Tiny. Susie’s last name was Krueger in that year’s census record, and she went by Krueger for the rest of her life.
Susie’s health was failing in 1964. One day, her niece Faye stopped by to see her. Susie told Faye she was craving a blackberry pie. Faye told her she had some blackberries in the freezer and would go home and make her a pie. After Faye left, Dr. Griffith came by to check on Susie and told her he thought she needed to be in the hospital. She told him Faye was bringing her a blackberry pie, and he said she could go to the hospital after she had a piece. Susie died of pneumonia and heart disease a few days later on 14 February 1964 at the Rockcastle County Baptist Hospital in Mt. Vernon.
Susie’s funeral was held on 16 February at Cox Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon with Bro. Howard Ray, minister of 1st Christian Church, officiating. She was buried in the Krueger plot in Elmwood beside August and Henrietta.
Henrietta, who was named for August’s mother, died nine days after her seventeenth birthday. She had been ill with influenza for five days when she died at home on 27 March 1931. Mastoiditis contributed to her death. Henrietta was buried in the Krueger plot in Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.
Marie graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1932. After attending Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College in Richmond for one year, she received her Teachers’ Certificate.
Her first teaching assignment was at Cummins, a rural school in Rockcastle County on what is now Highway 461. In 1933 it was a rocky road which was hard for horses to travel. Marie boarded in the district and rode horse back from home to school on Monday morning and back home on Friday evening. She had about forty students and earned $52.70 per month. The term was only six months that year.
After teaching that one term, Marie returned to Eastern. She continued for two and a half years before becoming an adult education teacher through the W.P.A. Program. She next worked for the State Department of Education and in the Rockcastle County Superintendent’s office. Her duties included gathering county school statistics and long range planning for the county schools.
In 1937, Marie was assigned the Durham school in the southeastern part of the county beyond Livingston. She again boarded in the district and walked a mile each way to and from school. In fall 1938, Marie was moved to the school at Wildie. She boarded with Florence Barnes on Brush Creek Road to be closer to school. This assignment continued until at least 1940.
After Wildie, Marie taught at the Owen Allen, Long Branch, and Freedom schools, spending two years at Freedom. In the summer of 1944, many regular qulified teachers had taken jobs in city war plants and teach positions were filled by emergency certificates. Marie’s job was to help those teachers get started. She visited teachers with the least training, but also stop by schools that had qualified teachers as she passed them on her rounds.
Marie graduated from Eastern State Teachers College in 1946. That fall she began teaching first grade at Mt. Vernon, a position she held until she retired in 1977.
Her teaching career carried over to her churches. She taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and youth activities at the Presbyterian Church and later First Christian Church in Mt. Vernon for years.
Marie was dating Henry Cox when they had a serious car wreck on 9 January 1954. Henry was driving north near Calloway in Rockcastle County around 10:30 p.m. when a car driven going south got into the wrong lane. Henry swerved to avoid a head-on collision but could not get out of the way. Marie was knocked unconscious and emergency personnel initially believed her to be dead. An ambulance transported her to Berea College Hospital in Berea, where she was treated for a concussion, shock, and bruises. Henry was shaken up, bruised, and had a broken little finger on his left hand. The other driver was not seriously hurt. Both cars were a complete loss.
Marie married Henry on 23 November 1955 in Mt. Vernon. Henry Huston Cox was born on 15 May 1916 in Rockcastle County, the son of Edward Cox and Mattie McFerron. He worked for the City of Mt. Vernon Water Works.
Marie and Henry did not have children. They had been married almost 38 years when she died on 10 November 1993 at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. Henry died on 31 December 1999 in Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky. They are both buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.
John William Krueger
Bill worked for the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad and lived in Independence, Kenton County, Kentucky. He married Leota Combs on 9 November 1944.
Leota was born on 4 June 1908 to Matthew and Catherine Combs of Knox County, Kentucky. Bill and Leota did not have children, but she had a daughter from a previous marriage.
Bill died on 24 July 1999 at King’s Daughters Hospital in Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, from injuries sustained in a car accident. The accident occurred in Milton, Kentucky, which is in Trimble County. Bill, who was suffering from dementia, had left home to cash a check at a Kroger store in Independence. Why he ended up sixty miles away is unknown. Bill was buried on 27 July in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Kenton County, Kentucky. Leota died on 31 January 2001 and was buried beside Bill.
Christine was known as Tiny to friends and relatives. Her college attendance and teaching career mirrored Marie’s. She attended Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College (now Eastern Kentucky University) for one year before her first teaching assignment. She attended college part-time while teaching and later graduated.
Tiny taught at five one-room schools in Rockcastle County before joining the faculty at Mt. Vernon Grade School as an 8th grade teacher in 1950. The one-room schools where she taught were Gum Springs, Boiling Springs, Sayre, New Chesnut Ridge, and Brush Creek.
In an oral interview conducted as part of the Rockcastle County Oral History Project, Tiny told that rural teachers served as nurse, doctor, dentist, counselor, and sometimes playmate. At the beginning of the school year, rural teachers were provided a dipper, water bucket, erasers, and books by the Board of Education. She and other rural teachers held pie suppers to raise money for other supplies they needed.
Tiny never married and did not have children. She enjoyed painting as a hobby, and several of her paintings still hang in her cousin Faye’s house.
She died on 27 October 1998 at the Rockcastle Hospital in Mt. Vernon. Tiny was buried in the Krueger plot at Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.