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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • 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.”

  • Vision of cemetery preservation growing

    It sits alongside Squiresville Road on Gary Minch’s farm, but over the years, weeds and tangled vines have proclaimed victory as they sought to deny its existence. It is sheltered by a rock wall which seems to stand in defiance of the elements as it struggles to protect narratives of the past.
    At one time, hundreds of these dotted the landscape of Owen but today, many have lost their identity, and their stories have been silenced.

  • Hattie Hill recalls hog killing time in Owen County

    Most days will find her at the Owenton Senior Center, and age doesn’t seem to prevent the spry 92-year-old Hattie Hill from enjoying life to its fullest.
    Hattie is also quite the storyteller, and her memorable reminisces evoke smiles, generate laughter, and at times create a lump in the throat as she recalls the hard times growing up in Owen County.

  • Don Crupper recalls childhood at Fortner Ridge

    It struggles to peek from behind tangled weeds and tall grasses as if  to once again claim its place in history, and if one doesn’t look closely, it’s easy to miss this all but forgotten one-room schoolhouse on Fortner Ridge. However, its story was shared last week at the historical society meeting when Fortner Ridge native Don Crupper described the school’s vital presence in the Fortner community.

  • Passionate patriotism spread like wildfire during WWII

    World War I was touted as “the war to end all wars,” and yet 21 years after its conclusion, another world war began in which 12 countries participated and over 60 million people died.  
    World War II took the lives of 405,000 Americans, and although no battles were fought on American soil, the war affected all phases of American life. It caused shortages that required Americans to deal with rationing. Ration stamps were issued to allow families to purchase items in short supply like sugar, meat and gasoline.

  • 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