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 3 Odds and Ends; or, Here and There Predictably, once back in the Big Settlement, George Morgan and Cotton Chinn moved straightway to Mundy’s Landing on the Kentucky River.1 Many boats, both new ones and those in disuse , were docked at this popular river place. George and Cotton bought a one-hundred-foot, steel-hulled, Irish-manufactured Tyrone ferry and, now with George M. Chinn as the skipper, began to convert it into a huge Kentucky River houseboat.2 They named it the Iron Duke and installed a small propeller on its stern that could move them along at a snail’s pace to environs around Mundy’s Landing.3 Within weeks of his return from North Carolina, Chinn was deeply involved in several activities: getting Chinn’s Cave House ready for business, commuting to Frankfort, where he performed several services for lieutenant governors, governors, and other high-ranking officials, and now restoring a ferry. There was, however, one thing that, in George’s opinion, couldn’t wait. He simply could not abide being so close to the river without actually getting into it. Apparently, he seined all the way “up to his Adam’s Apple” from Johnson’s Bridge on the Kentucky to Clear Creek, which was a “mile past the Montgomery Place.” All he wanted to do was bring in a respectably sized fish; instead, he woke up the next morning “with a taste in my mouth like a bilious pelican and a fever that ran the juice Kentucky Maverick 48 up in the doctor’s thermometer like the motor meter on a frozen Ford.” Continuing his hyperbole, Chinn avowed that his “temples throbbed like a mashed thumb, and my tongue bore a marked resemblance to those well known non-skid batter cakes that are commonly called waffles.”4 He blamed his problems on just about everything and everyone except himself. He had gotten “soft,” he said, and “it goes to show what . . . [effect] wearing underwear will have on a simple and untutored child of nature.” He claimed that five years ago he could have “stripped off naked” and “climbed a thorn tree with a cub bear under each arm and never gotten a scratch.” It made him feel as though he were a “sissy” to traipse all through Clear Creek (if it ever occurred to him to use an old-fashioned pole and line and fish from the bank, he never mentioned it) and then “turn up with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peeling.”5 And, making matters at their absolute worst for George Chinn, he did not catch even a minnow! He dolefully reported to Lieutenant Governor Chandler that he had “joined the ranks of the unemployed.” Pointedly, he mentioned his father’s recent visit to Frankfort and his conversation with Chandler—George Morgan Sr. had asked Chandler to find a job for George Morgan Jr. Chandler had promised to do the best he could. George Jr. sought to capitalize on this opening . He told Chandler, “Please don’t put me in a place unless you are confident of my ability to serve,” but he made it clear he would consider any job, except bookkeeping: he’d be about “as useful” in bookkeeping “as a glass eye at the movies.” He could handle anything in the adjutant general’s office, seeing as how he had six years already of military experience. (He was counting his years at Millersburg Military Institute as well as active involvement with ROTC while a student at Centre.) He had, he claimed, clocked up 1,784 hours of drilling from cadet private on to cadet major and then to the position of commandant. He’d love any position, he said, that required traveling, reminding Odds and Ends; or, Here and There 49 Chandler of the times when Chinn had roamed the Commonwealth on behalf of governmental programs and institutions. He closed this lengthy letter to Lieutenant Governor Chandler by reminding him that he “depended” on Happy being “right on the cuff.”6 A few days later, Chinn received a short and friendly letter from the lieutenant governor addressed to “Hon. George Chinn”: “My Dear George: I will be on the cuff for you. Come to see me when you can.”7 The friendship between these two young up-and-comers in Kentucky reflected the considerations and courtesies of the Chandler-Chinn families going back for generations. Jack Chinn seems to have been the last...


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