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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Winding roads from the past still remembered by some

    Many early roads that snaked through the hills and hollows of Kentucky have been lost to history, their names and locations forever erased from the memory of man. Most were named after a settler who held a patent on land through which the road ran. However, remnants of the some of these roads exist, and their stories linger in local folklore.
    Road names were known to change over time, perhaps when the pronunciation of a road wasn’t clearly understood. Such seems the case with Kay’s Branch Road.

  • Horses contributed to America’s success

    His name was Topsy. During the summers of the 1920s, he would faithfully plod across Cedar Creek carrying a little girl to her cousin’s playhouse by an old sycamore tree. Munching on the lush green foliage along the creek he would patiently wait for his charge’s signal to make the return trip home.
    As time marched on, Topsy would deliver his owner,  Margaret Alice Karsner, to school or take her on amazing adventures galloping across the fields of her Monterey farm.

  • Brothers fought and died alongside one another in War of 1812

    His slender long-fingered hands rest atop a cane. Yet, the stately white-haired gentleman in the picture sits erect, and his finely chiseled features reflect a strength that seems to deny his frailty or the need for a walking stick.
    The handwritten caption below the picture identified the Owen countian as “Uncle George 98 years,” and this image of George S. Forsee has become a treasured piece of Owen County history.

  • Memories of ‘the good ole days’ often reveal stark realities

    The sentence usually began with “I remember when...”, and then the speaker would launch into a story of the past, sometimes served with embellishments that had tiptoed in over the years and became a permanent fixture of the narrative.
    However, many stories which passed down through the generations gave hard facts and revealed the stark realities of often difficult times in the “good ole days.”

  • A glimpse into the past: Former N-H publisher visits New Liberty

    In the 1700s families from Virginia and the Carolinas traveled with friends and neighbors into the wilderness of Kentucky. They joined together in large groups for defense against Indian attacks and frontier brigands, and to offer each other assistance in clearing the forest and building homes. Before long communities dotted the landscape of the Commonwealth and these small villages and towns created an unforgettable and enduring history which helped define the character of Kentucky

  • Walking wonders traversed the back roads of Owen County

    They walked to their fields, they walked to their neighbor’s home, they walked to the local general store and their children walked to school. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was this daily walking that contributed to the good health of many Kentuckians.

  • Owen Co. doctors prevailed during 20th century

    “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm.”
    The above quote was taken from the Hippocratic Oath which was a solemn promise historically taken by physicians. It was first used in Greece and was one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. Originally the oath required a new physician to swear to uphold specific ethical standards.

  • Owen County was caught in the crossfire of the Civil War

    Owen County was caught in the crossfire of the Civil War. Though occupied by the Union Army by 1862, most county residents sympathized with the Southern cause, and although some Owen countians joined Union forces, a great number joined the Confederate Army.
    Civil War stories are entrenched in family histories, and many have been recorded. Historian and riverman, Charlie Johnson, has written many Civil War articles featuring Owen countians and many are included in a new book currently being published by the Owen County Historical Society.

  • Remembering the ‘pie ladies’ of Dog Hill

    They were called “the pie ladies,” and a child living on Dog Hill (East Adair) in the late 1950s and early 1960s most likely purchased one of the flaky muffin-size pies that the pie ladies sold for a quarter.

  • Business directories provide insight to early Owen County

    As they migrated from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the Carolinas, early settlers to the Owen County area brought with them the knowledge and the tools of their trade.
    Many were farmers, whose stalwart endurance provided a viable, productive and stable economy. Others possessed skills that were instrumental in creating thriving communities, and by the 1880s, these Owen County villages boasted undeniable prosperity.