Authors: Louis Hatchett
Duncan Hines, standing before his huge collection of cookbooks, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Fall 1953.
How a Traveling Salesman
Became the Most Trusted
Name in Food
Foreword by Michael and Jane Stern
Copyright Â© 2014 by Louis Hatchett
The University Press of Kentucky
Scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth,
serving Bellarmine University, Berea College, Centre
College of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University,
The Filson Historical Society, Georgetown College,
Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky State University,
Morehead State University, Murray State University,
Northern Kentucky University, Transylvania University,
University of Kentucky, University of Louisville,
and Western Kentucky University.
All rights reserved.
Editorial and Sales Offices:
The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40508-4008
Previously published in 2001 by Mercer University Press
The Library of Congress has cataloged the 2001 edition of this book as follows:
Duncan Hines: the man behind the cake mix/Louis Hatchett.â1st ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-86554-773-4 (hardcover: alk. paper)
1. Hines, Duncan, 1880-1959. 2. BusinessmanâUnited StatesâBiography. 3. Food
industry and tradeâUnited StatesâBiography. 4. Hospitality industryâUnited Statesâ
HC102.5.H56 H38 2001
ISBN 978-0-8131-4459-7 (pbk.: alk. paper)
ISBN 978-0-8131-4484-9 (pdf)
ISBN 978-0-8131-4483-2 (epub)
This book is printed on acid-free paper meeting the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence in Paper for Printed Library Materials.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
Member of the Association of
American University Presses
For my Mother and Father
by Michael and Jane Stern
Chapter One: Bowling Green
Chapter Two: Out West
Chapter Three: Florence
Chapter Four: Chicago
Chapter Five: Leave Me Alone or I'll Publish a Book!
Chapter Six: The Dinner Detectives
Chapter Seven: Florence Hines's Last Year
Chapter Eight: Those Who Make Us Wish for Hollow Legs
Chapter Nine: Back Home Again in Bowling Green
Chapter Ten: Life Changes
Chapter Eleven: A Few Pet Peeves
Chapter Twelve: The War Years
Chapter Thirteen: Clara
Chapter Fourteen: Let's Watch Him Eat
Chapter Fifteen: Enter Roy Park
Chapter Sixteen: The World of Duncan Hines
Chapter Seventeen: The Office Life
Chapter Eighteen: Passing the Torch
Chapter Nineteen: Duncan Hines Goes to Europe
Chapter Twenty: We Dedicate This Box . . .
Chapter Twenty-One: Aftermath
No one had ever written a biography of Duncan Hines before, so I needed a lot of help. Fortunately, a number of people rallied to my cause; I apologize to anyone whom I have omitted in the following list. The most important person to this project was Duncan Hines's great niece, Cora Jane Spiller, who not only gave me her valuable time but who enthusiastically ran down leads for me when all other avenues to my investigation were blocked. Her enthusiasm for the book was infectious and encouraging from start to finish. Every biographer should have someone like her to work with. She has been with me through thick and thin from beginning and end; without her support, I would have abandoned this biography long ago.
This book originally took shape as a thesis for a Masters degree in History at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the birthplace and home of Duncan Hines for his first 18 and last his 20 years. I wrote the book first and then scaled it down to 120 pages for the thesis. The first draft of the book was 840 manuscript pages, which I subsequently trimmed to 740 pages.
My main thesis adviser, Dr. Carol Crowe-Carraco, was the one who provided me with the day-to-day thread that helped bring the work to completion. But perhaps my greatest contacts, particularly on arcane questions of style and format, came from Nancy Baird, Connie Mills, and Sandy Staebel, all long-time employees of the Kentucky Library and Museum, which sits on the Western Kentucky University campus. When Dr. Crowe-Carraco was not available, all three answered my innumerable questions. As I worked on this manuscript 100 miles away from their
offices, I must have called them 300 times in the course of a thousand days. They always helped when I asked, and I record my deepest appreciation here.
While writing this book, perhaps the biggest treasure trove of Hinesiana came when I went to the Procter and Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, then the manufacturers of the Duncan Hines cake mixes, and asked to see their Duncan Hines collection. I spoke with Ed Rider, head archivist at P&G, and after a couple of minutes, his staff brought out several large files of Duncan Hines material. After going over these files for an hour, I asked the P&G staff to xerox everything and send it to me. They complied, and about ten days later I received a forty-pound box that nearly mirrored their entire Duncan Hines collection. It took almost a year to fully digest and make use of everything they sent. I offer my sincerest thanks to Ed Rider and his staff for providing me with this material. This would have been a much shorter book without their cooperation.
During my two-year effort composing this book, a number of other people also helped me along the way. I want to thank Jane Jeffries for the critique of the first 300 pages of this book. I also want to thank her for asking me to discard the first 100 pages or so, which pertained not to Duncan Hines but the history of his family. Sometimes a writer can get carried away with the research, and I was including everything I found; I finally realized that not many people would be interested in the fact that Duncan Hines's brother, Porter, put in the first sewer system in Calhoun, Kentucky in 1899.
When Jane left the project, Wendy Yates took her place in critiquing the final product. When the manuscript had been completed, she read it and thought it to be boring, and after I reread it again, I had to agree. So I took a full year to rewrite the entire thing from top to bottomâtwice. To Wendy I owe profuse gratitude.
There were a number of people that I interviewed that I would like to thank. Duncan Hines's brother-in-law, Robert Wright, provided me with some valuable personal insights on Hines's character; Thomas C. Dedman, of the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, gave me plenty of corroborative insight into Hines's influence on the lodging industry; Paul Ford Davis supplied me with a wealth of information about his former employer; Sara Jane Meeks, Mary Herndon Cohron and Wanda Richey Eaton, three of Duncan Hines's secretaries in the 1950s,
furnished me with a plethora of information concerning the working conditions while employed by Hines; Elizabeth Duncan Hines, the wife of his nephew, yielded some useful information; Edward and Robert Beebe, nephews of Duncan Hines's second wife, provided me with some information about their aunt that was unknown to the Hines family; Caroline Tyson Hines, offered me additional and corroborative insights into the personality of Duncan Hines; Maj. Gen. Richard Groves, a nephew of Duncan Hines and son of General Leslie Groves (“Father of the Atomic Bomb”), gave me some critical insights into the early years of Duncan Hines's life which opened up a whole vista of understanding; much help came from Paul Moore, who prepared most of the Duncan Hines guidebooks in the late 1940s and early 1950s; Top Orendorf, who was Duncan Hines's lawyer, also had some useful insights. Duncan Welch, who was Hines's great nephew, gave me all sorts of information as well as provided me with some hilarious stories. Larry Williams, of the Williams Printing Firm was a big help in providing me the history of his business and Hines's relation to it. Finally, I want to thank William Jenkins, a former professor of Government at Western Kentucky University, for providing me with a key clue in unraveling Duncan Hines's past.
The staffs of several libraries were important to me. These people do not get enough credit. I want to thank the college library staffs of the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois for their untiring efforts in running down leads and books for me whenever possible. I also want to thank the staffs of the public libraries in Henderson, Kentucky, Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana for providing me with the materials I needed to complete this project. I especially want to thank Jean Brainerd of the Wyoming Historical Society, who was of tremendous help in helping me piece together the early life of Duncan Hines.
I also want to thank the staff of
magazine for printing my query about Duncan Hines. From that single notice, I received a large number of responses from people who traveled across America during the 1940s and 1950s who used Hines's restaurant and lodging guides exclusively as their source for getting from one place to another in safety and comfort. Of particular usefulness were the insights of Roberta C.
Gilbert, Elinor Macgregor, Frances Wood, Shirley Wheaton, to name a few. To all of them I offer my profuse thanks.
I also want to thank Tim Hollis of the National Lum and Abner Society for providing me with tapes of the Lum and Abner story line featuring Duncan Hines (who was played by Francis X. Bushman on that particular show). Terry Tatum was of tremendous help in finding all the homes that Duncan Hines lived in during his years in Chicago. Lastly, I want to thank Dr. Virginia Grabili, a retired English professor whom I had at the University of Evansville, for deciphering several letters written by Duncan Hines's brother in the 1880s; since she is a master of this sort of thing, I knew she could do it if anyone could. She made instant sense of the scribbles I handed her. I wish I had her talent. I also want to thank Maggy Shannon, Marc Jolley, Kevin Manus, and the staff of Mercer University Press for giving me the opportunity to tell a story worth reading and remembering.
I do not think I have exhausted the subject. If I had been given a grant of several hundred thousand dollars, I could have flown all over creation to investigate every nook and cranny where Hines once trod. As it turned out, I think I did well with the slightly over $500 I spent on this project. But for the author who wants to investigate this subject further, this is a good place to start.
22 March 2001
Today, everyone's a restaurant critic. In 1936, when Duncan Hines first published
Adventures in Good Eating
, he defined the job. Into a nation where eating on the road could be a genuine health hazard and where the few city guides were puffery financed by the restaurants they reviewed, Hines blazed a trail of honesty, reliability, and, most important of all, discovery. His groundbreaking achievement, brilliantly described in this bookâwhich is so much more than simple biographyâis as significant in the world of food as Thomas Edison's is in lighting.
Starting as nothing more than a hobby of jotting notes about the superior eating places he found during his work as a traveling salesman, Hines's penchant for ferreting out good meals gained such a reputation among colleagues, friends, and friends of friends, all of whom sought him out for dining tips, that he decided to summarize and disseminate his notes along with his 1935 Christmas cards. The plan was for his little list to get all the advice seekers off his back so he could pay more attention to his real job. But as you will read in the following pages, “Hines had created a monster. Everyone, it seemed, wanted his restaurant list.”
In an era long before television could create instant fame and blog posts could go viral, Hines's singular way of recommending restaurants transformed him into a celebrity almost overnight, making him “America's most authoritative voice on the best places to eat.” He was a man who had clearly found his destiny, for his unique gift was an ability to use simple, minimal verbiage to not just enumerate an eating place's virtues but do it in a way that conveyed the flavor of the food and the feel of the dining experience.
There have been many talented restaurant critics since Duncan Hines, but we know of none with such self-effacing skill.
Louis Hatchett, himself a respected authority on regional American food, notes that Hines's great contribution wasn't only to tell people where to eat, but also to demonstrate that interesting meals could be the highlight of a road trip. His discoveries were exactly right for a population that had begun to see automobile travel as a privilege of life in America. While many of the places he recommended were big-city landmarks, his signature discoveries were more the rural tea rooms or pancake parlors, the small-town taverns or out-of-the-way country inns (as well as Colonel Sanders's original fried-chicken cafÃ©). Prior to his inventing the job of itinerant restaurant reviewer, travelers who strayed off the beaten path risked, at best, lousy meals or, worse, food poisoning. But a hungry nation soon learned that if Duncan Hines recommended a place, you could count on it. To follow him was to realize something that most of us now take for granted: eating out can be a great adventure. To read this book is to share in that adventure, as lived by a true culinary pioneer.
Michael and Jane Stern
Roy Park and Duncan Hines at Sales Executive Club, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, September 24, 1951.
Left to right: Ruth Wakefield, Duncan Hines, Kenneth Wakefield, Clara Hines, The Toll House Restaurant, Whitman, Massachusetts, October 14, 1950.
Duncan Hines in Hines-Park's Test Kitchen, Ithaca, New York, October 13, 1953.
Duncan Hines at work in his office. Bowling Green, Kentucky, April 23, 1951.
Clara Hines at home, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Notice portrait of Duncan Hines above her (circa 1915), April 23, 1951.
Left to right: Willard Rutzen, Marian Odmark of
This Week in Chicago
, and Duncan Hines in front of birthday cake, 10th annual Duncan Hines Family Dinner, Morrison Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, May 8, 1951.
Duncan Hines Day, Palm Crest Hotel, Haines City, Florida, February 12, 1953. Left to right: Edward Marotti, Walter Jones, F. A. Randall (President Emeritus of Haines City Citrus Growers Association), Mrs. Roy Park, Harold Schaaf, Jim Hogge (Sales Manager), Carol Russ, R. V. Phillips, Clara Hines, Mrs. R. V. Phillips, Roy Park, Mrs. Nichols (Manager of the hotel), Mr. Mathias (horticulturist), Duncan Hines, Forrest Attaway, Ruth Higdon, Tom Brogdon.
Cutting the cake for the second birthday of the Duncan Hines Cake Mixes. Chicago, Illinois, May 11, 1953. Left to right: Roy Park, Clara Hines, Duncan Hines, Allan Mactier (president of Nebraska Consolidated Mills).
Clara and Duncan Hines, cutting a cake in the Duncan Hines test kitchens, Ithaca, New York, September 17, 1957.
Roy Park addressing Duncan Hines Family Dinner members, Chicago, Illinois, May 5, 1958. Left to right: unidentified, Stewart Underwood, Dean Lundberg (Florida state senator), Carlton Dinkier, Jr., Allan Mactier, Bob Shetterley (P & G), Leonard Hicks, Senator Hruska, (Nebraska senator), Roy H. Park, Duncan Hines, Clara Hines, Dean Meek, Bob Grison, Matthew Bernatsky, Dean McAllister (Oklahoma University), Wright Gibson, Ned Cummins.
Duncan Hines, with his brother, Porter Hines, at latter's home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, February 1959, just before he died.
Duncan Hines and Mr. Hackney (proprietor of Hackney's, said at the time to be the largest seafood restaurant in the world) in front of live lobster purifying pool, Atlantic City, New Jersey, May 22, 1949.
Duncan Hines and Clara at Croton Heights Inn, Croton Heights, New York, May 29, 1949.
Duncan Hines carving a turkey at home, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Fall 1953.
Duncan Hines speaking with Bill McBride, host of the Cup & Saucer Club on WOW-TV, Omaha, Nebraska, March 14, 1952.
Duncan Hines helping prepare a meal with World's Largest Frying Pan at chicken supper given by the Poultry and Egg Association, Schollkopf Field, Cornell, Ithaca, New York, July 5, 1955.
Bob Sebree with letters which came with the gifts from various restaurant, hotel and motel operators around the country to buy the Cadillac for Duncan Hines's 70th birthday, Phoenix, Arizona, April 14, 1950.
Duncan Hines being presented the key to his new Cadillac by Bobby Gosnell, outside of Green Gables restaurant at 70th birthday party, Phoenix, Arizona, April 14, 1950.
Duncan Hines and Roy Park, sampling Duncan Hines Ice Cream, July 24, 1950.
Duncan Hines on the set of “Prince Valiant” at 20th Century-Fox, with Debra Paget and Janet Leigh, Los Angeles, California, August 11, 1953.
Clara and Duncan Hines at reception for Duncan Hines Day at the Town House Hotel, Los Angeles, California, August 11, 1953.
Roy Park, Duncan Hines, Merle Johnson, Jim Cathey standing before billboard welcoming Duncan and Clara Hines to Los Angeles, August 11, 1953.
Duncan and Clara Hines being interviewed at the World's Largest Display of Duncan Hines Cake Mix on WBBC in Flint, Michigan, October 1, 1953.
Mital Gaynor, Allan Mactier, presenting Duncan Hines with a Duncan Hines cake, Blackstone Hotel, Omaha, Nebraska, March 10, 1954.
Duncan Hines at home in the kitchen in Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1950s.
Duncan Hines, Clara Hines and Nelle Palmer, just before they sailed for Europe, on the deck of the
S. S. Liberte
. New York, April 8, 1954. Left to right: Roy Park, Nelle Palmer (in hat), Mrs. Roy (Dottie) Park, Clara Hines, Dr. Arthur Hunt, Duncan Hines, Adelaide Park (the Park's daughter).
Clara and Duncan Hines in Hines's new office, Ithaca, New York, June 28, 1954.
Mention the name “Duncan Hines” to Americans under fifty-five today and the image their minds will undoubtedly conjure is a cake mix package. No one can blame them if they fail to recognize the significance of the man for whom the cake mix is named. Was Duncan Hines named for two men, one named Duncan and the other named Hines, who jointly created a nationally recognized brand name? Or was Duncan Hines a real person? Few know the answer.
On the other hand, mention the name “Duncan Hines” to Americans over fifty-five and a much different picture emerges. To this group the sensation upon hearing the name brings forth emotions usually reserved for one deemed reverentially special. To them Duncan Hines was a man, not associated with cake mixes, but one who recommended the best places Americans could eat and sleep when traveling along the country's early paved highways at a time when they were thirsty for such knowledge.
To the generation that followed them, the name Duncan Hines not only brings back fond memories of someone who looked after the traveling public's gustatory and nocturnal needs, it also brings to mind a name and face whose visage was affixed to over 200 grocery store products at a time when Americans were looking for something more substantial than the usual fare served in supermarket cans and packages. This generation knew that if
Duncan Hines put his name and reputation behind a particular packaged product, it was assuredly the store's best foodstuff and more than worthy of their hard-earned dollars.
Overall, though, what both groups most remember about Duncan Hines is that the name, whatever its context, meant the highest possible quality found anywhere. For example, if Duncan Hines recommended a restaurant, it was widely assumed to be one of the country's absolute best. If he recommended an inn where one could spend the night, it was instantly assumed to be one of the highest quality lodging facilities in America. If he recommended a particular recipe, few competing concoctions could surpass its taste. If he recommended an item found on grocery store shelves, it was naturally assumed to be made from the finest quality ingredients. Duncan Hines never recommended anything that was merely good or passable; his recommendation meant it was the last word in excellence.
Anyone could recommend something. And they did, long before Duncan Hines arrived on the scene. The difference, Americans soon discovered, was that when comparisons were made, the things Duncan Hines recommended truly were the best. Unlike today, his judgments of things superior did not come lightly; once mentioned, however, whatever he recommended soon became highly regarded throughout the nation. But there was another ingredient that placed him a cut above the normal dispensers of information, one instructive to all American generations: his judgments were solely his own. He let no one influence his decisions. He was fiercely independent. He could not be bought at any priceâand he let everyone know it. Although restaurateurs, innkeepers and presidents of food manufacturing firms would have gladly sacrificed their fortunes for the honor of having satisfied his favor, Duncan Hines went to great lengths to isolate his emotions from any seductions they may have offered. He was determinedâat all costsâto protect the integrity of his name and reputation, because he recognized their value and what it meant to the millions who placed their faith in him.
Duncan Hines rose to fame simply because he possessed human qualities many Americans wanted to see in their fellow man: character, uncompromising honesty, and integrity. For many Americans it was refreshing to find someone who had those traits. Because of the principled stance Hines took on restaurant sanitation and a whole range of other issues, Americans regarded his every word with the highest esteem; in their eyes, he was one who would never lie or deceive them. He was, they felt, one of their own and was looking after their interests. For this generation, if Duncan Hines said a particular restaurant meal made “a man wish for hollow legs,” it did. And there was no argument about it.
A final factor that contributed to the American reverence for what Duncan Hines had to say was his selflessness. It was widely known among the American public that Duncan Hines turned down fortune after fortune simply because he would not sacrifice his name for financial reward. The man who said “Every man has his price” never met Duncan Hines. Nothing could sway his opinion if he thought something under consideration was even remotely questionable. For a generation of Americans, the name Duncan Hines was, as someone once put it, “the next best thing to God.”
What follows is a little known chapter in the annals of America's cultural history that has never before been adequately detailed. It is the story of an average man who came to America's attention, was perceived by them as unusually trustworthy and who, because of that perception, became an American icon. Surprisingly, the public's perception and the reality were nearly identical.
There is a cartoon from the 1940s that, at one time, was every restaurant owner's nightmare. The scene is a dining room of a fancy four-star restaurant. A waiter has accidentally spilled an entire tray of food onto the head and lap of a nicely-attired customer. The customer, neatly dressed in his evening tuxedo, is trying to stifle his anger and frustration as a large lump of lasagna rolls off the side of his head. The man's indignant wife says to the waiter in a calm, controlled, yet icy voice, “Just wait âtill Duncan Hines hears about this!”
This is the story of how such a potential nightmare came to be. It concerns a man with a penchant for excellence, primarily in matters of food, who raised both the standard of the nation's restaurants and their customers' eating habits by setting himself as an example of the ideal patron. In this role he exhorted his fellow Americans to demand, as he did, only the best from the nation's public kitchens.
Duncan Hines's constant search for excellent restaurants throughout America resulted in filtering out the multitude of poor and mediocre restaurants and directing attention to those truly worthy of consideration. Through his many guidebooks from 1936 to 1962 Duncan Hines favorably remarked on restaurants that were
not only excellent but deserved celebration for the atmospheric and culinary enjoyment they afforded hungry and weary travelers. He made famous the restaurants that strove to put an appealing sparkle into their patron's meals. These restaurants were not only exceptionally clean, they were also noted for their high quality food. He pointed Americans toward restaurants well worth time and trouble to discover, restaurants in out-of-the-way locales too good to pass up. A Duncan Hines recommended restaurant, most Americans believed, was one where taste buds could savor extraordinary culinary delights hardly found anywhere else. For twenty-seven years millions bought his books, took his advice, and were much wiser and happier for it. The words may not mean much today, but not long ago the phrase “Recommended by Duncan Hines” really meant something.
Duncan Hines's story begins not in a restaurant but in the sleepy south-central Kentucky town of Bowling Green. Like many other families who settled in that area during the early part of the nineteenth century, Hines's forebears were originally from Scotland and England. Edward Ludlow Hines, Duncan's father, was born near Bowling Green on 5 November 1842. He was the third son of Fayette and Anne Cook Hines.
It was often reported that Edward Hines was a former Confederate army captain, but in fact he never rose beyond the rank of lieutenant.
Edward Hines enlisted in the Confederate Army at Camp Boone in Tennessee on 1 June 1861 and joined the 2nd Kentucky infantry under Col. Roger Hansen. He surrendered on 9 May 1865, as a member of Company E, the 9th Kentucky Cavalry under the command of William P. C. Breckinridge.
During his four years of service he was never captured by enemy Union soldiers and was proud of it. Except for a short stay in the hospital, he never left his post.
Edward Hines received several battle scars on his stomach as a result of his war service and this left his health in rather precarious shape. For the rest of his life, he had to take care that he did not over-exert himself and make his infirmity still more serious. As a result of this physical limitation, he never had anything resembling “nine-to-five” employment. The elder Hines's war papers reveal
the confession that he joined the Confederate States of America not because he had any particular love of the South or because he had any hatred for the North but rather because, not knowing anything about the people North of the Ohio River, he naturally considered them enemies who had a tendency to look down on him and his way of life. Class envy being qualification enough to participate in the nation's most epic bloodbath, he went off to war at age twenty to battle the Yankee heathen upstarts.
Hines's mother, Eliza Cornelia Duncan, was born in Warren County, Kentucky, of which Bowling Green is the county seat, on 10 August 1846. She was the daughter of Joseph Dillard Duncan and Jane Covington Duncan. Eliza, known as Cornelia, was raised near Warren County's Browning, Kentucky.
The story of how Cornelia met her husband is an interesting one. During the Civil War Edward Hines was riding with some troops across a field and Cornelia, running an errand for her mother, was walking to a neighbor's house. When Edward and his men came upon her and stopped her, he noticed the bottle of cordial she was holding in her hand. The bottle was destined for a neighbor's mother who was ill. Edward asked her to hand it over, Cornelia refused. When he sternly repeated his demand, she persisted in her refusal, telling him the liquid was not intended for him or his troops but for a sick neighbor. When he realized she would not hand it over; he took his horse by the reins and proceeded down the road on horseback with his fellow soldiers-in-arms. As they rode away, he confided to one soldier that he was “going to come back some day and marry that girl.” And he did. After the war's conclusion, and after a romantic courtship, Edward Ludlow Hines and Eliza Cornelia Duncan married at the residence of J. D. Duncan in Bowling Green, Kentucky
on 11 November 1869.
A reception in a house on College Street followed, and an account of the wedding was published in the local newspaper the following day.
Before the Civil War and after, Edward Hines sporadically attended school at various locations in Warren County and eventually graduated from Bowling Green's Warren College.
A career in law interested him, but since Warren College did not
grant law degrees, Hines most likely read law with a local attorney and passed a bar exam to obtain his law license. To support his wife and his budding family, he was appointed to several positions, one of them being the master commissioner and clerk of the Warren County Circuit Court, a position he held for several years.
With the exception of his time as commissioner and clerk of the county court, Edward Hines seems to have never been employed at any job for any considerable length. This circumstance undoubtedly was due to the stomach wounds he received during the war and which gradually worsened with each passing decade. In fact, as he grew older, the wounds eventually led to the deterioration of his health. During the time he served in his capacity as the Warren County circuit court clerk, he continued to practice law, but because of the precarious state of his health, he never handled more than one case at a time.
As an extracurricular avocation, Edward Hines was active with Warren County's local Civil War Veterans group. When Jefferson Davis died in 1889, he wrote a letter to the local newspaper asserting what a fine and great man was the former President of the Confederacy.
Hines was “an old time Democrat,”
as was just about everyone from the South who fought on the Confederate side during the Civil War.
He was widely regarded as an educated man by the community, and everyone knew, especially his family, of the high priority he put on reading. The elder Hines even wrote a few long, interesting treatises. One of these tracts was a combination biography and war memoir; another volume by his hand explicated his personal philosophy; still another told of his world and times. He also wrote many long, philosophical letters to members of his family.
Edward Hines kept himself busy with one activity or another, especially when it involved Bowling Green. Regardless of his activities or whatever occupied his attention, this state of affairs remained in place until the late 1890s, when he retired to a home he had built at the mouth of the Gasper River, 10 miles northwest of Bowling Green in rural Warren County. It was in this idyllic spot that he spent his last years in comfortable contemplative isolation.
The marriage of Edward and Cornelia Hines produced five sons and a daughter, plus four other siblings who died in infancyânot an uncommon occurrence in those days.
Duncan Hines's oldest brother, Hiram Markham Hines, was born 9 March 1871.
As a young man Markham worked in Bowling Green for a time before moving out west. There are two theories as to why he left Kentucky. One is that he was always in poor health, and traveling west for any disorder, then as now, was the cure prescribed. The other theory was that he was engaged to a woman in Auburn, Kentucky, who died of typhoid fever; this incident left Markham a very sad young man, and he may have left after his loved one's death. Regardless of the cause for departure, Markham's act to leave Bowling Green in the late 1880s, set an example for his younger siblings, most of whom would follow in his footsteps to seek their fortune. While Markham spent his years on the western frontier, he wrote his father and siblings frequently, often detailing for them the outlaws he had seen and the adventures he had experienced. It was a thrill for his younger brothers and sister when the postman approached the house and handed them a letter containing new stories from the land beyond the Mississippi River. When news from Markham would arrive at the Duncan household, Joseph Duncan would reply to his grandson with a letter, often allowing little Duncan to scribble notes to his older brother at the bottom of the page. One cute surviving comment from Duncan, characteristic of a boy his age, had him asking his brother to shoot a jackrabbit for him. Very little is known about Markham Hines. He moved frequently, eventually returning to Bowling Green to enter the Spanish-American War of 1898. At the war's conclusion, most of his time was spent caring for his aging and ailing father.
His own health was in perilous shape as well, and at age 46 on 10 October 1917, Markham Hines died in his father's home.
A year after Markham's birth, a second son was born to Edward and Cornelia Hines on 8 April 1872; unfortunately, the child died on 13 May. The boy was never named.
Annie Duncan Hines, Edward and Cornelia's only surviving daughter, was born on 5 April 1873. Following her mother's death,
she went to Frankfort to live with her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Duncan; later she attended a finishing school for girls, the Ward Seminary in Nashville. She had many suitors but only one caught her attention, a young Bowling Green grocery merchant and distant cousin, Arthur Scott Hines. After a short courtship, they were married on 23 December 1896, in Nashville, Tennessee. Their union produced three children, two of whom bore the name Duncan. Throughout the years of their marriage, Annie and Scott Hines lived in two houses in Bowling Green, one on upper Main Street and one at 902 Elm Street; the latter residence would figure prominently in Duncan Hines's later years. Scott Hines was a popular figure in Bowling Green, and was twice elected its mayor (1925-1929, 1941-1942). He died on 19 May 1942, and Annie followed his death with her own on 4 December 1951.
. Annie, as a sister, was protective of her brothers, but particularly of her younger brother, Duncan, and throughout her life showed much concern for his safety and welfare.
Edward and Cornelia's fourth child was named after his father. Edward Ramsey Hines was born on 14 November 1874. Like Markham, as soon as his education had been completed Ed Hines also pulled up stakes and journeyed westward. He first moved to Arizona in 1890 at the age of sixteen, but prospects for a successful life there did not materialize as he had hoped, and he later returned to Bowling Green, where he accepted a job in the Warren County Court Clerk's office under the supervision of Captain W. H. Edley. It was thought he would stay in this position, but, again like his brother, he was restless and was soon in search of another city to call home. He eventually settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where he became a legal adviser to the Railroad Terminal Association, a position he held until his death on 5 December 1935.
At the time of his death, Ed Hines's siblings had come to think of him as the most distinguished member of the clan. Ed had made a success of his life, and his brothers and sister were proud to claim him as one of their own.
The fifth child from Edward and Cornelia's marriage, a son, William Warner Hines, was born in Bowling Green on 23
December 1875. Warner, as he came to be known, attended local public schools, St. Columba Academy, and Ogden College before serving in the Spanish-American War as a member of Company B in the Third Volunteer Infantry. Warner and his brother Markham were one of eleven sets of brothers serving in Company B.
After the war he married Martha Hampton Porter at her home on Upper State Street in Bowling Green on 7 October 1905.
Although their marriage produced no children, they adopted a son, who was already named William.
Warner Hines was engaged in many forms of employment over the years, most of them related to the insurance industry. He worked for the Lamar Life Insurance Company of Jackson, Mississippi, a real estate firm in New Orleans, as an investment broker in Lexington, Kentucky, and an outfit that sold oil in Texas.
Later he moved to New York to work for another insurance company. In 1932, he moved from New York to Nashville where he became an executive with the Spur Oil Distributing Company, a company that owned a chain of gas stations throughout the South. Warner, a quiet, retiring Southerner, was now not far from his boyhood home, Nashville being only an hour's drive away. After his retirement from the oil giant in 1944, Warner Hines returned to Bowling Green, where he lived out his remaining years.
Warner had suffered from a heart ailment for years, and at 9:30 on Wednesday morning, 17 August 1948, a heart attack claimed his life. He was buried in Bowling Green alongside his brothers.
The Hines's sixth child, Porter, was born in Bowling Green on 24 March 1878. Porter's birth came within the walls of the Hines home, in “a house in the 1200 block of College Street.” His given full name was John Porter Hines but he was always referred to by both family and friends as “Porter”.
Named after a Civil War friend of his father,
Porter went to the Bowling Green public schools and spent a year at St. Columba Academy, the local Catholic school, followed by a year at the Southern State Normal School. Porter, by his own admission, received inadequate
schooling because he so frequently moved between the homes of both relatives and friends.
From 1894 onward Porter Hines held a wide variety of jobs over the years, most of them involving river navigation along Kentucky's Barren, Green, and Ohio rivers. In February 1927 Porter Hines joined the staff of Bowling Green's Western Kentucky State Teachers College, a school that eventually metamorphosed into Western Kentucky University, where he became the school's chief mechanical engineer. He must have enjoyed this line of work immensely, because he remained with this job for twenty-eight years, until 1 January 1956, when he retired at age 77.
In 1958 Porter Hines suffered a heart attack and remained in poor health until he died at age 83 on 18 June 1961.
Of all Duncan Hines's siblings, Porter Hines was the one that he was closest to, probably because of the close proximity in their ages. When they grew to be men, they were quite different in their demeanor. Porter grew to be a soft-spoken Southern gentleman while Duncan became the gregarious urbanite with scarcely a trace of Southern accent. While Porter was the picture of relaxation, Duncan was energetic, outgoing, always able to make everyone with whom he came in contact feel at ease. Like his older brothers, Porter would not use the strong language that Duncan was sometimes wont to blurt out in selected moments of exasperation.
The birth of Porter Hines in 1878 was followed by Cornelia giving birth a seventh time, to a daughter, on 5 May 1879. As was the case with the Hines's second child, the girl died three months later and was not named. While Duncan Hines was Edward and Cornelia's eighth child, there were two others: a ninth child, another unnamed daughter, born on 18 June 1881 who lived only three days, and a tenth child, another unnamed son who was born on 7 November 1882 in Colorado, and lived only a day.
The family that Edward and Cornelia had produced was irreparably upset when at 10:30
on the Monday evening of 29 December 1884, Cornelia Hines died of pneumonia in Bowling Green at the age of 38.
Her death caused much unrest among the
Hines household; Edward Hines, due to his war wounds, was unable to effectively look after the brood Cornelia had left behind. Being concerned for their health and welfare, he made arrangements for his children to live elsewhere. Some went to live with members of his family; others were ensconced into the homes of friends. Indeed, the Hines household was soon scattered all across the Kentucky landscape. Duncan, then only four years old, was sent to live with his grandparents in nearby Browning, Kentucky, a village in Warren County, and it was here that his love for excellent food and his first adventure in good eating began.
Born on 26 March 1880 in the 1200 block of Adams Street
in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Duncan Hines was the youngest of the six surviving children of Edward Ludlow Hines and Cornelia Duncan Hines.
Joseph Dillard Duncan (1814-1905) and Jane Covington Duncan (1817-1900) lived on a sizable farm near the Morgantown pike 15 miles from Bowling Green, then an agricultural town with light industry of about 5,000.
It was in this home that Duncan Hines and his brother Porter spent a large part of their childhood. The two boys usually stayed at their grandparents' house for the winter, sometimes remaining there a year before they went home for the summer to live a few weeks with their father.
Joseph and Jane Duncan, who raised the boys as if they were their own, owned plenty of land on which much livestock could always be found grazing. They were both well-educated, well-to-do citizens, who were active in the community's affairs.