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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • 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.

  • A Christmas celebration at the Hartsough House

    He was born in Owenton but was raised in Wheatley by his grandmother. As a young boy he was apprenticed to a Wheatley cabinet maker, and when the Civil War broke out in 1861, 17-year-old John Clayton (J.C.) Hartsough joined the Confederate Army. He served in the acclaimed Orphan Brigade, but before long his boyhood naivety was traded for the realities of war.

  • Cold, snowy times create unforgettable memories

    Historians agree that the winters of 1778, 1779 and, 1780 were the most brutal ones in America.
    On Christmas Day, 1779, Daniel Boone and his family traveled across the frozen Kentucky River to a site six miles from Boonesborough and set up camp. Here Boone planted his new settlement of Boone’s Station.

  • Severn Creek rife with Owen County history

    Sumac is a native plant of Kentucky. Some varieties grow ten feet in height, and although their berries are poisonous to humans, they are a delectable treat for birds and animals alike.
    In early times there was a prolific growth of sumac along  Severn Creek (spelled Savern in old deeds). Some of the settlers referred to the stream as Sumac Creek, but it was more commonly called Severn. It is thought that the name most likely was to honor Ebenezer Severns who, along with Hancock Taylor and Jacob Drennon, surveyed the area in 1773.

  • Turkeys have a long, rich American history

    In 1782 the bald eagle was chosen as the centerpiece for the great seal of the United States. The following year, Benjamin Franklin declared that the artistic rendition of the eagle looked more like a turkey, which he postulated would have been a better choice as an American symbol.
    In a letter to his daughter, Franklin wrote: “Others object to the bald eagle as looking too much a dindon, or turkey. For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country.”

  • Rural America shaped by beloved grandfathers

    In rural America, many of these vital people are perhaps best pictured as dressed in overalls and walking behind a plow or sitting atop a tractor.
    Their eyes crinkle at the corners from years of squinting in the sun, and their strong, calloused hands speak of tireless devotion to the land.

  • Despite havoc of fires, communities worked together to rebuild
  • Judge Cammack a fair and courageous statesman

    American preacher and author James Freeman Clarke once said, “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”
    In early America, elected officials were referred to as statesmen for they were more interested in the good of their country than of furthering their careers. Statesmen such as Patrick Henry, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others devoted their lives in service to their country.