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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Cecil's efforts bring historical watch to history center

    Its smooth, rounded face embraced over 140 years of history. Purchased in Liverpool, England, it became war plunder when it was removed from the body of a young Kentucky soldier at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

    Through the determined efforts of former Owen countian Jerry Cecil, the pocket watch of 2nd Lt. John J. Crittenden III, who died at Custer’s Last Stand, is on display at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.

  • Local love stories have often involved sacrifice

    Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, Robin Hood and Lady Marion, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Love stories, some historic, others fictional, have always ignited the imagination, captured the heart and survived the test of time.

    Family love stories have entertained Owen countians for generations. Some create poignant memories of long ago, while others elicit skepticism at the thought of Papaw in the role of Romeo.

  • Letters carried tales of everyday life

    Author and storyteller Phyllis Theroux once wrote, “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

    Letters presented opportunities to share with others significant pieces of a person’s life.

    After the Revolutionary War, Americans became part of the great westward expansion into Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and beyond.

    As families and friends were left behind, letters sent back home provided a bridge between the old life and the new.

  • 4-legged friends provide companionship

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” -- Roger Caras, author/photographer

    Though a bit blurry, the photo creates a poignant image of a man and his dog. Taken prior to his tragic death in 1947, William Duvall and Butch share a special moment together in a typical Owen County farm scene.

    William and Butch were inseparable until William died in 1947. When William was crushed between a truck and scantling at one of his barns, Butch tried to sound an alarm by constantly barking, but to no avail.

  • Owen residents fought for freedom

    If age determined manhood, perhaps they didn’t qualify. Many were eighteen or nineteen, some younger. Yet, that fact was insignificant in battle. In all the wars which our country fought, young men served as a testimony that age is not a qualifying factor that determines honor, sacrifice, or heroism.
    The Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 tested the mettle of our nation, as a new breed of Americans fought and won their independence.

  • Sept. 23, 2015: Old-time tunes have long been a local tradition

    Hans Christinan Anderson once asserted, “Where words fail, music speaks.”
    As settlers climbed across the Appalachian Mountians to create homes in Kentucky, they brought with them the culture, traditions, and music of their forefathers.
      Songs they brought from distant lands marked the history of their people. Their music chronicled their fight for freedom, their moments of sadness and joy and brought solace into lives which at times were impacted by danger and despair.

  • Historical Society News, Aug. 19, 2015

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
    In the Shakespeare play, “Romeo and Juliet,” these words are spoken by Juliet and imply that a name doesn’t define the character of something. However, just the name “rose” conjures up the image of a lovely flower with a light delicate fragrance. So, perhaps names are significant and play an important part in our lives.

  • Historical Society News, July 8, 2015

    For thousands of years the Kentucky river has sung its ancient song in whispers, gurgles, and at time in furious tirades. It makes a wide sweeping bend at Gratz; and according to the “Owen County 1883 Atlas,” the river collected the waters from two creeks on either side of the town. The names assigned these tributaries were “Clay Lick Creek” and “Lowdenback or Hogs Thief Branch.”

  • Historical Society News, May 6: Stories of panthers not uncommon in Owen County

    They roamed the hills of early Kentucky in great numbers and sightings of their sinewy forms on nightly forays in Owen County have been recorded  throughout the years.
    Their eerie midnight screams have sent goose bumps scrambling along the arms of even the most brave and family stories of confrontations between man and these fierce predators have been passed down through generations.

  • Historical Society News, April 22: News determined to keep history of Gratz alive

    Although technology contributed much to the advancements of the 1940s-1960s, it also changed the fabric of rural America.
    In the wake of progress, small Owen County communities were forever transformed.
    Gratz is nestled amidst the hills of Owen County and is poised along a stretch of the Kentucky River.