Historical Society News By Bonnie Strassell

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Cedar was the tree of choice for Christmas in Owen County

By The Staff

Funny how the seemingly mundane task of chopping down a tree can take on special significance at Christmas.

Most Owen countians remember the days when, weeks before the holiday, families would journey to the woods to choose that extraordinary tree that, for a short time, would take a place of honor in their home. 

While cedar may not have been a favorite of everyone, it grew abundantly on the hillsides of Owen County and graced most of our homes at Christmas.

Today, historical society member Teresa Swiggert still brings cedar boughs inside her house to capture the aroma of years gone by.

Decorating the tree provided an exciting, family tradition, and everyone joined in the task of testing lights, stringing popcorn, and strategically placing ornaments for just the right effect.

Many years ago, trees may only have boasted a few strands of popcorn and carefully positioned candles, whose soft-lit glow would capture imaginations. But today, even though many homes have artificial trees, the same traditional  family gatherings to decorate the Christmas tree continues.

Only four people showed up to decorate the historical society museum for Christmas, yet the Hartsough Home came alive with laughter as Owen County Historical Society President Jeannie Baker, Darrel Baker, Ethel Kincaid, and I joined together for a fun-filled day of positioning trees, unwinding tangled lights, and climbing ladders to hang ornaments on the uppermost branches.

Though suffering from a severe earache, Ethel Kincaid didn’t let that get the best of her. Sporting a lovely wool hat to keep her ear warm, Ethel served as sentinel over the ornaments, carefully making the selection of which of the many lovely choices to display on the front of the tree. Please make an effort to visit the museum during the holiday season and enjoy the beauty of this wonderful legacy left to Owen County.

The location of the historical society Christmas party has been changed.

Most members wanted to continue our tradition of holding the Christmas party at the museum. So instead of the I.O.O.F. Hall, the party will be held at the museum, at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

Everyone is asked to bring a finger food to share, and if you want to participate in the ornament game, please bring a $5 ornament to exchange.

We continue to receive wonderful donations for the museum, and want to thank everyone who has made an effort to bring in items of Owen County history.

Recently, Margaret Towles contributed a lovely glass milk pitcher, and an item which graced most Owen County homes — something for which we were all grateful, especially on cold, winter nights — a chamber pot.

If you are looking for a unique, lasting gift for a loved one this holiday, please consider buying a copy of “Owen County, Kentucky Family History Book.” They are $60 plus tax and can be picked up at the museum, or we can mail them to you or your loved one with postage added.

What better gift to our family than a legacy of their heritage.