A long journey to find my legacy

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Guest column by George W. Robertson

Recently, on a rainy, dismal day during my latest trip to Owen County, I stopped at the badly overgrown and neglected cemetery on route 127 at the Owen/Franklin County line. 
Genealogy has long been my obsession.  Because my roots have, for over 200 years, been firmly planted in Owen County, I have reason to believe that among the burials there, the Robertsons and Thorntons resting in this graveyard are among my Owen County ancestors.  I am naturally interested in the fascinating, frequently violent, history of the area.  From Revolutionary War veterans who claimed the land warrants at Forks of Elkhorn and settled the area through the tragedy and turmoil of the Civil War, the history of Owen County has been under-credited and under-recorded.
After leaving the graveyard, I stopped for research at Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, then to the Owen County Public Library and Owen County Historical Society Museum. At these locations I met Christina Rice, Doris Riley, Jeannie Baker, Pat Adkins, and Owen County author Margaret Murphy.  All fascinating women dedicated to the preservation of Owen County history.  They gave me the name of Steve Stewart, whom I called and made arrangements for the initial cleanup of Carr/Robertson cemetery as reported in the May 11 issue of the News-Herald.
Through speaking with Stewart and the historical society members, it is my understanding that the cemetery has been cut and cleaned and is in a condition where it can now be easily maintained. The historical society has it’s hands full cleaning other cemeteries in preparation for Owen County Days and there is a shortage of volunteers as well as funding. I realize that, like so many other areas of historical significance in this country, it is impossible to save everything.
However, now that the initial cleaning is done, all that is needed to save this beautiful piece of Kentucky history from oblivion is one local person or civic minded group in the area who would donate a couple of hours a month, only for the summer.  It’s good to be able to say “Maybe I can’t clean up the world, but I can dust off my own little corner”.  (A few bucks donation to the historical society won’t hurt either).
Kentucky has one of the most progressive cemetery preservation programs in the country. As well it should. These burial grounds are among the most accurate archives of this county’s history of the exploration and expansion of the west.  So much change is taking place ours is probably the last generation which will be able to preserve this final, physical heritage.
The names in the Carr/Robertson cemetery include:Fitzgerald, Taylor, Webb, Mascoe, Thornton, Moppin, Graves, Craig, Robertson, Whalen, O’Nan, Brewer, Gill, Wise, Marshall.  If your surname is any of these, why don’t you take a walk and get acquainted with the people who are the reason for you being here?  During the quiet time you might even get to know yourself a little better.