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Let's look at the river town of Dycusburg in 1848
By Brenda Underdown, contributor, The Crittenden Press
Appeared March 24, 2005

Part 2 of a series on Dycusburg.

Samuel H. Cassidy
Samuel H. Cassidy.
 
S.H. Cassidy, the senior member of the firm of S. H. Cassidy & Co., was born in Princeton Aug. 30, 1835. When he was quite young his parents moved to Eddyville and from there to Dycusburg when Mr. Cassidy was 18 years old. He has continued to reside in Dycusburg, making that his home ever since.

At the age of 21, he engaged in steam boating, serving a regular apprenticeship as engineer, and filling successively and the various positions in a boat from engineer to captain, on boats plying the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. This he followed until 1861, when he engaged in the mercantile business with W. E. Dycus, at Dycusburg, under the firm name of Dycus & Cassidy.

From the start, this firm had the confidence of the people, and began to grow in magnitude. In 1874, Mr. Dycus died and the firm name was changed to that of S. H. Cassidy & Co. By this time the business of the firm had gown until it was second to none in the county. In addition to running a large general store, a large commission and forwarding business was transacted, and the firm dealt extensively in grain, tobacco and general produce, in this line overshadowing all other dealers in this section.

Mr. Cassidy continued the business under the new firm name for several years when he gave up all the branches except that of grain and tobacco, and today, more than 33 years since Mr. Cassidy began the business, the firm stands in the front ranks in all-western Kentucky.

Samuel H. Cassidy tobacco stemmery

Samuel H. Cassidy tobacco stemmery

Samuel H. Cassidy tobacco stemmery.
 
The members of the firm besides Mr. Cassidy are W. S. Dycus and F. B. Dycus, and in tobacco alone, these men are perhaps the largest dealers in the county, handling large quantities of this staple for export and for the markets of this country. They operate two large plants, one in Lyon and the other in Crittenden County.

The Lyon County house is at Kuttawa. It is 50 x 200 feet, four stories high, and is located between the main stem of the N. N. & M. V Railroad and the Cumberland River. The firm owns its own sidetrack to the factory, and thus is enabled to place its shipments on board the steamers from one end of the building, or on board the cars at the other end, without the expense of trouble incident to drayage. Mr. W. S. Dycus, who grew up in the firm, has charge of the Kuttawa house.

In Dycusburg, three large houses are operated: 150 x 50 feet, 125 x 80 feet and 80 x 60 feet respectively. Their buildings fronts on the Cumberland River, running back two squares, and are connected by tramways crossing the street from the second story windows.

The buildings are from two to three stories high, and are furnished with all the modern improvements for handing tobacco, fine scales and scales trucks, eight improved racket screws for prizing. There are three double receiving doors to the buildings. The interior of the buildings are so arranged for hanging strips or leaf, that they class and grade each purchase and hogshead separately.

The compartments each hold a certain amount and when filled, it contains exactly a hogshead of a certain grade or color, thus the business is so systematically arranged that it is known at all times just what amount and number of hogsheads of the various classes is hanging and in what state of preparation for shipment, at home, or abroad, it is.

The main office of the firm is located at Dycusburg. The books are so kept that they are at all times a perfect index to the business.

At the close of each day these books show the amount of tobacco received, the cost of the same and the average prices. The capacity at both places of business is three million pounds and not a season goes by that this firm does not handle immense quantities of the famous Kentucky product, paying out thousands of dollars to the farmers of Crittenden, Caldwell, Lyon and Livingston Counties.

In addition to the grain and tobacco business the firm deals extensively in real estate in three counties, and has large investments in farmlands and town lots. In September 1887, Mr. Cassidy conceived the idea of guying land and building a town on the O. V. Railroad. The firm purchased a track in Caldwell County and laid off what is no the prosperous and growing town of Kelsey, with its splendidly equipped stores, a good depot, express and telegraph office and other things that go to make a real live little city.

As founder of this town Mr. Cassidy displayed the foresight that has always marked his many successful enterprises. As a public-spirited citizen Mr. Cassidy deserves much credit. Every enterprise in reach of him for years has felt the influence of his money and practical, broad business experience.

When the people of Crittenden County were moving every energy to get the O.V. Railroad, Mr. Cassidy stood among the foremost workers for the undertaking and being close to the projectors, his influence and untiring energy and had much to do with bringing the road through Marion.

Mr. Cassidy stands high as a Mason, having joined the order when 21 years of old. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and in politics he is a firm believer in the doctrines of the Democracy, and an active worker in his party.

He has been married twice, his first wife was Miss Narcissa Clement, daughter of the late I. N. Clement of this county by whom he had two children, Mrs. Mary R. Rice, wife of H. C. Rice, of Kelsey, and Mr. S. R. Cassidy one of the leading spirits and most successful merchants of Kelsey. Mr. Cassidy's present wife was Miss Maggie A. Wilson, daughter of James Wilson, of Caldwell County. He has two children living by his last wife, a son and daughter.

Thanks to Brenda Underdown for supplying this article to dycusburg.com.