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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Trees, rocks served as boundaries in early deeds

    Early pioneers in Kentucky claimed land by “tomahawk rights.”  These rights were acquired by deadening a few trees near a spring and making one’s mark, name or initials in the bark. This practice was also accompanied by cabin and corn claims. As a result of building a cabin or planting a crop of corn upon a section of land, a person was acknowledged as its owner.

  • Orphans lend powerful narrative to American history

    The first orphanage in America was established in 1729 when Indians massacred settlers near Natchez, Miss. An orphanage was unusual during this time; most orphans in the 1700s were taken into homes of neighbors or relatives. There was no court or government involvement. Families and friends just took it upon themselves to take these children under their wing to be raised as part of the family.

  • The day 'Happy' Chandler switched on the lights in Owen County

    In 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law creating the Rural Electrification Administration to provide funding to local cooperatives that would distribute electricity.
    At that time Kentucky’s governor, A.B. “Happy” Chandler, was instrumental in securing electric power for the Commonwealth; and in 1937 a loan of $130,000 was approved for Owen County Rural Electric Co-Op to construct lines for 600 customers. Yet, as late as the mid-1930s nine out of 10 households in Kentucky were without electricity.

  • Rose shares ancient Owen Co. artifacts with society

    Like many 10 year olds the young Owen countian spent much of his spare time hunting squirrels. One day while hunting these wily little tree climbers, the boy ducked under a tree branch, and as he cast his eyes to the ground, he spied a perfectly formed arrowhead. That discovery of a single ancient artifact set Owen countian Bobby Rose on the path of a life-long journey into the world of stone points, axes and pipes and fueled his determination to preserve these ancient treasures of the past.

  • Historical Society News | Daniel Boone's nephew original deacon at Harmony Baptist

    The little pedal organ, poised as if ready to share a melodious hymn,  stands in a small niche in the parlor of the Owen County Historical Society Museum. Many years ago its keys, now yellowed with age, rejoiced at the touch of the small fingers gliding up and down its keyboard.
    In the early 1900s, this unique little gospel organ traveled in the buggy of Owen County evangelist John Allie Lee. Reverend Lee’s daughter, Snowdye, accompanied her father and played hymns calling the faithful to worship.

  • Early Owen countians lived frugally, persevered during hard times

    The currency commonly used in Colonial America was the British pound or Spanish coins called “pieces of eight,”so named because the coins could be cut into smaller denominations of eight pieces.

  • Old newspaper articles give glimpse into Owen’s past

    They were just ordinary everyday folks. Some lived in large cities; others resided in small towns or on isolated farms. Yet, for one brief moment in time they stood in the limelight, and their stories, some delightfully crafted to evoke laughter, others to awaken memories of long ago, became memorialized in newspaper articles, family histories and community narratives.  

  • Stories from Sparta’s past sure to delight

    In 1800, several families from Virginia, led by John Carlock, William Swango, Jacob Walters, Sr. and John and David Alcorn settled in the valley near Two Mile and Eagle Creeks. These pioneers built their homes and businesses on the south side of Eagle Creek and called their community Ross’s Mill. A few years later, the growing village was known as Brock’s Station, possibly because a small fort (station) was erected in the area for protection against Indian attacks.

  • Ky. tradition of pulling candy gives families a chance work together

    As winter settled in on the early 20th-century rural farm, and cloudy bleak days brought the promise of snow and more snow, Owen County housewives took out their heavy cook pots, set in cream and checked their larders to make sure there was plenty of sorghum, molasses and sugar on hand. Twas the season to chase away the winter doldrums and sweeten life with a little (or sometimes a lot) of sugary confections in the form of candies, caramel corn and popcorn balls.

  • History of local churches creates a link to the past

    The spiritual fervor and religious enthusiasm on the early American frontier profoundly influenced our nation. Coming out of the Revolutionary War, the American people also revolted against the traditional Anglican church of England, and Methodist and Baptist itinerant evangelists offered a grass-roots Christianity that appealed to the everyday folks settling in the backwoods of Kentucky.