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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Historical Society News | New Liberty home to Owen County’s first Catholic church

    It has been said that in the early 1900s there was a Baptist church on every hilltop in Owen County. While Baptists were certainly in the majority, it is interesting to note that a Catholic church was established in New Liberty as early as 1888.
    A small informative book by Rev. Albert Ruschman, “The Church in Tobaccoland: History of the Catholic Church In Owen County, Kentucky,” describes in detail the role of the Catholic church in the area.

  • Historical Society News: Canning in jars dates back more than 160 years

    At the close of summer, they find themselves nestled between rows of canned tomatoes, beans and squash. Like crown jewels they reflect the light and cast hues of red, orange, pale green and purple; and cradled inside the confines of these small glass jars of jellies and preserves memories are created of people, places and times spent with mothers and grandmothers, held captive in aprons and overseeing the yearly ritual of canning.

  • Historic landmarks serve as a reminder of rich heritage

    In the 1900s the toll of church bells ushered in Sunday morning worship services in almost every Owen County community. However, as communities began to decline, churches and businesses closed their doors, and as folks moved on or passed away, buildings were left to the ravages of time.
    It has been said, “The history of a community contributes to its personality and character, and historic preservation provides a link to the roots of the community and its people.”

  • Cobb detailed early Owen Co. in 1890 book

    In the 1700s, Kentucky was cut-off from the settlements in the East by hundreds of miles of wild, forest-covered mountains. It became the scene of one of the most bloody and heroic struggles in American history.
    In 1773, the McAfee brothers and their party were perhaps one of the first to explore the area of Owen County. They made camp at the mouth of Mill Creek where present-day Perry Park stands.

  • Preston recalls life on the Kentucky at historical society event

    With a bit of nostalgia, she wove a colorfully vibrant tapestry of life along the Kentucky River; and as her words created powerful images, Amalie Preston captured the quintessential soul of the Kentucky.
    Amalie is the great-granddaughter of riverboat captain Squire Jordan Preston, whose many years on the Kentucky made him something of a celebrity. She grew up and still resides along the Kentucky River in Mercer County, and her stories delighted a roomful of visitors at the historical society’s River Day April 27.

  • Owen countians often looked to the woods for ailment relief

    Turpentine, sassafras tea and coal oil (kerosene) were common ingredients in home remedies used for generations of Kentuckians who grew up under the knowledgeable tutelage of grannies or local herbalists.
    Though some may think it strange to look in the woods and meadows for ailment relief, Kentucky soil embraces a wealth of healing herbs and grasses.

  • Kentucky River has proved both old friend and nemesis

    Meandering through the heartland of Kentucky its history boasts of heroes such as Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, Isaac Shelby, John Harrod and Benjamin Logan. Yet, most times it just quietly murmurs stories of the common folk who settled along its banks and who, despite ravaging floods, were inescapably drawn back to Kentucky’s ancient song. 

  • Owen County favorite Hattie Hill passes away at 93

    She knew life inside and out, and though she had her share of hard times, most days found her at the Owen County Senior Center capturing moments of the past, evoking smiles, generating laughter and offering a colorful collection of reminisces.
    Hattie Hill never let the grass grow under her feet. Growing up on a farm she knew first-hand the endless work involved in keeping food on the table, and through the years she worked as many as eight jobs to support her family.

  • Colorado Grant’s ‘Wild West Show’ and historic Sparta

    Though it doesn’t often make headlines, and some of its residents might think of themselves as Owen County’s red-headed step-children, the community of Sparta (half of which sits in Owen, the other half in Gallatin) embraces an early rich history of the area.
    Many may not be familiar with Sparta history or the fact that the community was first called Ross Mill, named after David Ross who built what is believed to be the oldest mill along Eagle Creek.

  • Music of the ‘common folk’ highlighted during Celtic celebration

    As slender fingers glided along its strings, the spirited violin beckoned the deep-throated viola and perky piano to join in and melodious notes, chasing each other around the room, captured hearts and created picturesque images of ancient Celts in their homelands of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
    Last week the Owen County Library meeting room was transformed into a Celtic celebration by a trio of talented musicians from Northern Kentucky. The Owen County Historical Society and Owen County library sponsored the event.