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Historical Society News

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By Bonnie Strassell

  “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven...”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-3)

As 2010 draws to a close, the Owen County Historical Society looks back upon the past year and reflects on the many seasons that presented opportunities to preserve and proclaim the history of Owen County, its people, and the rich traditions they hold — traditions that were passed on in pictures and artifacts. Glimpses of the past in stories such as those told of the severe winter of 1917 when the Kentucky River froze, and many Owen countians died from a flu epidemic. Doctors were frantically trying to visit homes to give the ill some relief, and the hearses were overwhelmed, transporting people to the cemeteries for burial.
Lela Maude Hawkins of Monterey was born in February of that year and recalls a family story relating the episode of a visit from the doctor to attend her flu-sticken family. Lela’s mother had just given birth and was trying to care for her newborn and all the sick in the household. The doctor told her father, Albert, who was in bed with the flu, that he must get up and nurse the ill, for his wife was in worse shape than he.
This story isn’t included in our “Owen County, Kentucky Family History Book,” but  many other wonderful family histories are highlighted on its pages. So if you haven’t picked up your copy, do so today. Books can be purchased at the Owen County Historical Society Museum for $60 each plus tax and shipping, if required.
The publishing of this treasure was an enormous undertaking, and for a season (over a year), the historical society members diligently worked to produce this lovely keepsake.
However, this endeavor wouldn’t have achieved success without all the people of Owen County and those across the country who contributed their time and effort to write and send in their family histories. Our thanks to all of you who joined us in that season to help create this memorable legacy.
 The number of people and organizations who have assisted the historical society and museum this year are many. We have received donations of clothing, artifacts, pictures, and books. The story on the front page of the News-Herald a few weeks ago, describing this season of hard times for the museum,  brought some monetary donations for which we are sincerely grateful.
Thanks to all who donated, and for those who have not, please remember the cost of upkeep on the museum is high, but the cost of losing our history is much higher. No donation is too small to help.
Our thanks to all our historical society members, especially president Jeannie Baker, who have spent innumerable hours to keep the museum open and the history of Owen County alive. Many museum repairs were made by our volunteer handymen: Darrel Baker, Hugh Duvall, Bobby Gibson and his assistant, and Jarl Harris. The News-Herald kindly ran pictures of unknown Owen countians with the hope they would be recognized; and though none have been identified,  perhaps someday, someone will remember a face and another piece of Owen County history will be regained.
As one season gives way to another, the Owen County Historical Society looks forward to a fresh new page on which to record the joys and sorrows,  the struggles, hardships, sacrifices, and victories of the indomitable people who have made their home in this place we call Owen.
The historical society is always exploring new avenues in the search for support. It has been brought to our attention that we can turn in old ink cartridges in return for a small amount of money. If everyone in the county would participate, that small amount could grow and  would help with our expenses for the museum. Any style or size cartridge will work, and we appreciate anyone who would drop their used cartridges at the museum. If we are not open, just put the cartridge in the letter slot on the front door. Our thanks to you in advance.