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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Many centenarians have called Owen Co. home

    What is the secret to a long life?
    According to one recent study there are currently over 500 centenarians in the state of Kentucky, and when many were asked the secret for their longevity, their answers varied.
    Some declared long life was the result of good food and exercises, while others proclaimed it was their deep abiding faith. One Kentuckian, who at the age of 104 walked two miles a day, attributed three daily beers as the special ingredient that provided her with a long life.

  • Remembering Verna Kathryn Payne, 1916-2017

      Her slight frame suggested fragility, yet beneath a delicate outward appearance was an undeniable strength of character and indefatigable spirit that inspired those who came to know and love Verna Kathryn Kemper Payne. 

  • Spanish Flu claimed the lives of many Owen countians

    It galloped across Kentucky, leaving devastation in its wake, but its destructive power also affected the lives of almost every American.  Many were at a loss as to how to fight this deadly enemy, and before it vanished the following year, 675,000 Americans had succumbed to its attack.

  • Written memories provide insight to Owen County’s past

    Images of Owen countians were captured in photographs, their daily lives recorded in letters, diaries and family histories, and stories of their undaunted spirit were shared by one generation to the next.

    It is these vital pieces of long ago that bind the past to the present and give us insight into our history.

    In a 1950 News-Herald insert, articles written by several Owen countians created a nostalgic journey to bygone days.

  • Lead once extracted from Gratz and Moxley communities

    Sought after by both the American Indians and the early frontier settlers, it was necessary when hunting game in the wilderness, and a means by which an army attained victory on the field of battle. 

    Round balls, molded from lead, was the ammunition of early America. They were used in muskets and the famous Kentucky rifle, and this vital commodity helped conquer the American frontier.

  • Mad stones have been known to cure what ails

    For centuries blisters, bunions and boils were treated with home remedies, as were more serious illnesses. From purging to blood letting to herbal poultices, folks treated themselves, their families and their neighbors, using remedies passed down through generations.
    With the advent of antibiotics, many old remedies went out of vogue. Although leeches and maggots were used since ancient times, by the 20th century they became a treatment of the past. That is, until recently.

  • Secret tunnel may have provided safety for local judges

    It was said the secret tunnel snaked its way underneath the streets of Owenton from the Owen County Courthouse to one of the nearby banks.
    While attending Owen County Schools, Owen County Senior Center Manager Stacy Sipple Long, heard about this underground passage. The story goes that it provided a safe way for a judge to leave the courthouse if he rendered an unpopular verdict.

  • Monterey a booming city during the early 20th century

     The early 1900s saw events and advances that changed the face of America.
    In 1900 a Small Pox epidemic raged in Kentucky with the state experiencing a 20 percent death rate. Health authorities were demanding everyone in the state receive a vaccination.
    In 1901 Marconi sent the first wireless transmission over 2,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, and wireless communication was born.
    In September of the same year William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States was assassinated.

  • Soap may have decided early-1900s election

    19th-century physician, historian and author William Osler wrote: “Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.”
    This statement still holds true today, for it has been verified that good old-fashion soap and water are every bit as effective as the most costly sanitizer.
    The earliest recipe for soap making was found on a Babylonian clay tablet, dated around 2200 B.C.; and the ancient Egyptians were known to have bathed regularly, using their own special highly-scented soap.

  • Bustling communities once dotted Owen landscape

    Many sprang up along streams, creeks, and rivers. Others were established where gentle rolling hills cradled rich fertile soil. Their names varied, and over the decades many completely vanished. Yet, their stories serve as a reminder of the vital impact communities have on the culture, traditions, and history of a nation.
    A hundred years ago Owen County boasted over 70 communities, many of which are gone. Yet, a glimpse of a once thriving village might be captured on an early deed, in a diary or family story, or happen upon in an old newspaper article.