Historical Society News: Flood of '37 a favorite topic for holiday party chat

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By Bonnie Strassell

Dressed in her finest Christmas attire, she patiently awaited the arrival of her guests; and as they entered her decorated doorway, her rooms echoed with laughter and camaraderie.

Approximately 30 people attended the historical society annual Christmas party Thursday, and one almost expected the “Ghost of Christmas Past” (who obviously is interested in history) to be lingering in the corner as he listened to the reminiscing of days gone by. The men gathered in the sunroom around the dessert table loaded with delectable delights, and as they eyed the fare, they swapped stories of Owen County’s past. The 1937 flood seemed to be the favorite topic, and while most were too young to experience its devastation, a few members remembered those weeks quite well. When the subject of discussion focused on the Kentucky River, I mentioned a book by William Ellis, appropriately called “The Kentucky River.” One funny story in the book concerned a statement made by a boat captain who  picked up a passenger, only to discover he had been drinking a little too much. When asked his destination, the passenger said he needed a “ticket to hell.” The captain looked at his mate and said, “Well, just drop him off at Lockport. That’s the closest place to hell that I know.”

Margaret Murphy told of the days when the river froze and John and Catharine Bondurant chose that particular time to move from Henry County to Owen. The weather didn’t deter this hardy family, though, for they loaded up their household goods on a sled and transported them across the frozen expanse. It’s amazing to what great lengths people go for the opportunity to live in Owen County

The ladies gathered and talked of family traditions as they sampled cookies and discussed which had the best texture and taste.

Betty Brumley brought her two grandchildren, around the ages of 1 and 3, and I realized you can never start too soon to instill appreciation of Owen County history.

Despite a nasty fall several hours before the party, Margaret Alice Murphy, who will celebrate her 92nd birthday in a few weeks, didn’t allow age or injury to stop her from celebrating Christmas with her historical society friends. Several members have cancer, but they too were determined to partake in the fun.

Storytelling and an ornament-exchange game ended the evening; and as the last guests left and the lights were extinguished, nutcracker soldiers stood guard on each step of the staircase.

The Owen County Historical Society Museum, exhausted from the merriment, will certainly recover, and once again be anxious to show other visitors her priceless collection of Owen County history.