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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • 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.

  • Locals known for practical jokes, lightheartedness

    Famous French poet and novelist, Victor Hugo, once wrote “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

    Hugo was very perceptive, for it is laughter that binds families and communities together and creates special moments in life.

    Owen countians are natural-born storytellers, and as they relate an amusing incident, at times accompanied by a bit of blarney, their eyes light up, and their soft chuckles explode into loud hearty guffaws of laughter.

  • Civil War encampments still lively even in the middle of wintertime

    As he cradled the concertina and coaxed it to sing, the strains of “Rosin The Bow” gallantly galloped across its pleated folds, and for one brief moment in time, the melodious instrument captured a piece of history.

    Brother Matt Merrill, his passion for history lighting up his bearded countenance, was the historical society’s special guest speaker last week.

    Matt is pastor of First Methodist in Owenton, a history teacher in Woodford county, a former historical reenactor, and a delightfully informative scholar of the Civil War.

  • News that did not make national headlines still relevant to local history

    After the treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, officially ending World War I, Owen countians looked forward to putting war memories behind them, and retuning to a life of normalcy.

    Though most folks in Owen County were more concerned with local happenings, remarkable events occurred across the country in 1919.

    On Jan. 15, 1919, 2.5 million gallons of hot crude molasses flooded the streets of Boston, taking the lives of 21 people.

  • Firefighters exhibit selflessness, create assurance amid tragedy

    It has been said that volunteer firefighters are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

    Up until the 1800s, fighting fires was done by volunteers, and fire equipment was rudimentary.

    In colonial towns, fire buckets had the owners name painted on them, and laws required town residents to purchase their own buckets and keep them repaired.

  • Tough holidays and winters create lifelong memories

    BY BONNIE STRASSELL
    Owen County Historical Society

    Someone once said the Christmas season waves a magic wand over the world, and when the grand finale arrives, the child in everyone comes to life.

    Perhaps one of the most poignant Christmas memories of the early 1900s revolved around the kitchen, where  delectable scents, wafting from the oven of a wood cook-stove, offered promises of good things yet to come.

  • One-room schoolhouses and Christmas trees

    BY BONNIE STRASSELL
    Owen County Historical Society

    They were designated Agee, Beech Grove, Buck’s Run, Clark Ridge, Fortner, Hawkins, Little Hope, Mint Springs, Slab Lick, Panther Lick and White Chapel. They dotted the hillsides and backroads of Owen county, and according to the July 4, 1974 Bicentennial issue of the News-Herald, at one time there were more than 70 of them in the area.

  • Owen’s military sacrifice Christmas family time for the nation’s freedom

    “Christmas Eve will find me. Where the love light beams. I’ll be home for Christmas. If only in my dreams.”

  • The mule: The original farm technology

    They made a farmer’s work easier, or more difficult, depending on their disposition on any given day.
    Some declared they are quite ornery, though it has been said they are not as obstinate as donkeys. Perhaps that is a matter of debate, yet most Owen County farmers agree that the mule was an indispensable addition to life on the family farm.
    The mule’s contrariness has been expounded upon in stories, poems and songs, and there is no denying patience can wear thin when trying to convince a mule of his duties.

  • The unwelcome guest of Thanksgiving Day 1950

    On Thanksgiving Day, 1950, an uninvited and unwelcome guest made an appearance in Owen County.
    Its arrival took folks by surprise, and its impact upon Owen County and Kentucky was undeniable.
    Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it departed a few days later, and yet memories of its presence were shared for years to come.