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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • 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.

  • Early churches pivotal to Owen history

    The first pioneers to settle in Kentucky believed it was as important to bring their spiritual beliefs as it was to bring rifles and muskets for defense and tools to clear the land.
    Early churches met in forts, stations, family cabins and log buildings and as towns were established, churches became the spiritual and social center of community life.

  • ‘Free Frank’ sold gunpowder to free himself, family

    He came to Kentucky as a slave in the 1790s. After his daily work, his master leased him to other farmers and permitted the young man to earn a little of his own money. This young slave, Frank, was also an entrepreneur. He explored local Kentucky caves, collected niter, boiled it down to make salt peter and combined it with sulfur and charcoal to produce gunpowder.
    Frank sold his gunpowder on the streets of Lexington, and was able to make enough cash to not only buy his freedom but that of his wife and a son.

  • Owen Co. remains ‘home’ for those who have traveled far and wide

    Perhaps it’s memories of the lay of the land or reminisces of our childhood that evoke a longing for the place of our birth. Maybe it’s the remembrance of parents and grandparents whose daily lives reflected an era of the hardworking folks that helped create a prosperous and enduring America.
    Whatever the reason for our nostalgia, the stories of our lives give insight into our past and are treasures to share with future generations.

  • Ky. caves aided in gunpowder production during War of 1812

    The War of 1812 saw Kentuckians volunteering by the hundred of thousands. Many would never set their sights on home again; yet the dream of a nation, unfettered by the yoke of the British crown and free from the constant harassment of Indians, compelled them to fight.