Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Historical Society News | Frontier preachers embraced by pioneers for fiery sermons

    They came from the same stock as the early pioneers who settled the frontier in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Though not college educated, they preached the gospel whenever they were moved by the spirit, and Kentucky was fertile ground for early circuit riders to sow the word of God.
    Frontier preachers were zealous and their fiery sermons were embraced by the pioneers whose indomitable ruggedness had forged homes in the wilderness.

  • Owen County’s first justices met nearly 200 years ago

    The War of 1812 ended in 1815 and Americans looked forward to an era of peace and freedom unhindered by British interference and tyranny.

  • Crackers in a barrel and other memories of the general store

    Thick-sliced bologna wedged between chunks of crusty white bread, tangy crisp pickles crowded into a wooden barrel, penny candy displayed in jars placed within reach of the youngest customers. Shelves stocked with sugar, flour, coffee and a variety of remedies guaranteed to cure any ailment known to man.

  • Riverboat captains left behind remarkable stories

    The first of their kind were clumsy, unwieldy and possessed so little style as to be considered an unsightly presence on the Kentucky River. Yet for almost 100 years steamboats commanded supremacy on the river, and their stories delighted Kentuckians for generations.

  • Landmarks serve as reminder of enduring heritage

    Most are gone now, ghosts of the past, leaving behind little trace except that which is stored in the memories of elderly Owen countians.
    Many were showcases of elegance; others created imposing and picturesque images; yet all embraced treasures of history that at times still whisper secrets of the past

  • Owen countians made headlines across the nation

    Over the years stories featuring Owen countians have been reported in newspaper articles across America. Some are true, others are a stretch of the imagination, and a few are downright unbelievable.
    One rather questionable story was reported in an Oregon newspaper, the Columbian, in 1882. According to the article, Judge Major of Kentucky was told by many older people in Frankfort and Owen counties that the Mexican dictator Santa Anna, who massacred the Texans at the Alamo, was born in this area. Judge Major elaborated:

  • Owen County Historical Society | Poke salad nourished a generation during tough times

    In his new book, “The Best Cook in the World: Tales From My Momma’s Table,” author Rick Bragg wrote: “In a South that no longer seems to remember its heart, our food may be the best part left.”
    This poignant statement was clearly demonstrated at the historical society picnic last week where a variety of Kentucky old-time recipes, along with a pinch of Owen County flavor, came to life.
    There was no denying member Stella Gibson’s pickled beets took the center of attention, along with Peggy Trinkle’s bean salad.

  • Owen County Historical Society | ‘First frost’ might be the best cure for pesky horseflies

    As they traveled into Kentucky, early settlers brought with them what little household items they possessed, along with their livestock, their recipes and their home remedies that had been passed down from one generation to the next.
    Turpentine and kerosene were two of the most widely used ingredients in home cures. Many Owen countians recall that as children they were given a worm preventative consisting of a  teaspoon of sugar laced with a drop of turpentine.

  • Owen County Historical Society | Kentucky militia took center stage during War of 1812

    They were called the “ragtag and bobtail of creation” and the Kentucky volunteers joining up to fight in the War of 1812  were in no way fashionable. Some wore large floppy hats, while others sported coonskin caps. Their pants were made of various materials from homemade linsy to buckskin, and though many wore shoes, a great number wore moccasins or went barefoot.
    According to Col. Orlando Brown, who was a child when Kentucky’s citizen soldiers rendezvoused at Georgetown, the dress of the Kentucky militia was anything but uniform.

  • Historical Society News | Stories from Owen County's numerous communities linger on

    At one time over 60 communities thrived amid the hills of Owen County. Each one was unique and most shared special stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next.
    An 1886 article in the Owenton Democrat described a rather entertaining story that occurred in Gratz at the dedication of the Gratz Baptist Church.