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Owen County Historical Society News: A truly historic celebration for us

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The sun smiled, the smell of fresh popcorn wafted through the air, and the gaiety of the crowd was evident at the historical society’s Owen County History Appreciation Day, June 25. A brief period of solemnity was interjected into the festivities when President Jeannie Baker presented a plaque to Joyce Hill Hardin. A picnic pavilion was erected by historical society members from money donated in memory of Joyce’s husband, Scott, who passed away earlier this year. Two of the four Hardin sons and several members of their families also attended the ceremony, along with several of Scott’s friends. Mrs. Michael Hardin has already expressed a desire to rent the pavilion next year when her son is scheduled to be married. The pavilion is a lovely addition to the historical society museum and is a lasting commemorative which will benefit all of Owen County.
This special day would not have been possible without the help of historical society members and the community at large. Our sincere thanks to Pat Beverly, owner of Sunshine Grow, who donated hanging flowers for the pavilion and Jeannie and Darrel Baker and Betty Sue Lusby for the flowers planted around the perimeter. Buddy Forsee of Meadowview showed his support and kindness as he greatly reduced the price of the mulch we needed to landscape around the pavilion, and Petals on the Square provided helium balloons. Owen County’s own Lori Kays fashioned balloon animals with the assistance of her two lovely daughters, Keria and Hillary Kays, who took a break to enjoy a tour of the museum and try their hands at 18th century toys and games. I told a few stories, and the crowd listened intently as Ron Devore coaxed many melodious melodies from his lap dulcimer. Visitors joined in singing hymns when a gospel group, Journey’s End — which includes Dean Riddle, Larry Dale Perry, Danny Duvall, Gladys Bowling, Betty Chappel, and Carlene Dunavent — provided soul-lifting, heartfelt praise music.
Inside the museum, tours were given by Doris Riley and Jeannie Baker; and Ruth Ann Hazlett, dressed in 19th century attire, greeted visitors at the front door while Ethel Kincaid provided tickets for a free dinner (that’s noon in the country, folks) at the back door. Liz Dunavent was busy in the kitchen packaging up cookies and treats for our guests. Dinner was served by Jim Acton and Darrel Baker; and Bobby and Stella Gibson, Jarl Lee Harris and Larry Dale Perry set up tents and chairs, took pictures, and saw that everything ran smoothly. Our thanks also go to News-Herald staff writer, Molly Haines, who mingled among the crowd, her camera flashing, and her pen ever-ready to record this memorable day.
The day was made more special when several donations were given by visitors including three new pictures of veterans, and a cream can which was donated to the museum by Gerri Gibson. The can was used many years ago by Owen countian, Avery Lusby. As she wandered from room to room, Gerri’s daughter, Rae Jean Bebe noted that she has visited many historical society museums over the years but stated that the Owen County Historical Society Museum was by far the most interesting and the best at preserving history of the area.
Before we were able to catch our breath, the society prepared to serve a delicious turkey dinner (Thanksgiving is not just for November) to the Rotary Club two days later. Even after all the work involved in preparing for a delightful history day, dedicated historical society members devoted many extra hours to ensure the success of a sumptuous meal. Thank you Jeannie and Darrel Baker, Stella and Bobby Gibson, Jim Acton, Dean Riddle, Ruth Ann Hazlett, Doris Kistner, Liz Dunavent, Larry Dale Perry, Ethel Kincaid, Judy Picklesimer, Peggy Trinkle, and Verna Catherine Payne.
Beth Raisor Jones and Susan Raisor Benton, residents of Indiana and Michigan and descendants of the Smoot family of Owen County, have spent many years researching the Smoot-Walker feud. They have compiled their findings in a book, “The Smoot-Walker Feud,” published by Dr. Robert Raisor. Both ladies declare there has been much misinformation about this well-known Owen County feud, and they wanted to set the record straight. Plan to attend the historical society meeting, at 7 p.m. July 14 at the I.O.O.F. Hall to hear the inside story of the Smoot-Walker feud.