Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum E-Newsletter
December 27, 2007 , (Volume 3, Number 15)
>>No Genealogical Society Meeting in January.
As is custom, the Bullitt County Genealogical Society will not meet in January. The next regular meeting will be in February and we'll announce details of that meeting at a later time.
>> 1917 Train Wreck memorial went very well!!
I am very happy to report that our memorial meeting for the 1917 Shepherdsville Train Wreck disaster went very well.
While planning the event, I had set in my mind that attendance of under fifty would be disappointing, and one hundred would be successful. But, because of possible holiday conflicts, it was difficult to guess.
Well, over 120 people attended and it was a standing-room-only crowd!
(If you are new to our message group and not aware of the 1917 train wreck story, you can read about it at our web site. The web site also carries a list of those who died or were wounded, It even provides access to the death certificates.)
The memorial was planned around the time of 5:28 p.m., which marked exactly when the tragic wreck occurred ninety years before.
We had a special surprise planned for that time but were not sure at all if it would come about.
The memorial started at 5:00 p.m. with welcome speech and introductions. Reverend Drew Prince of First Baptist Church of Shepherdsville led the introductory prayer, in memory of Emily Haycraft Mashburn, who died in the wreck. She was the wife of Baptist minister Henry Hamilton Mashburn.
At that point I saw that we were way ahead of schedule for the 5:28 surprise (don't panic Dave, don't panic!!), so I adjusted the program a bit.
I introduced the donors that made the permanent $3,000 display possible. They are, by the way, Mary Lou Hackett, Burlyn Pike, Charlie Long, Edward Barrell, and Gary Kempf, and explained the purpose of the display, remarking on the model made by Lloyd Mattingly and the mural made by Carole Powell.
More or less back on schedule, Charles Hartley read a very moving short version of the train wreck story.
At 5:28 the "surprise" had not yet happened. Not sure if it would happen at all, I proceeded with a brief projector slide show that flashed twelve vintage photos of the wreck. With each flash of a photo, the sound of a church bell sounded.
Then I heard the "surprise".
Off in the distance I heard the faint cry of a train whistle. I pointed to the window overlooking the wreck site and said something like, "and the train came". People were confused at first, but then they heard it. A long, sad refrain. A train getting closer and closer, louder and louder, the ground beginning to rumble beneath the dead-silent audience. The train's horn sounding the entire way. Nearly everyone edged up slightly on their seats. As the train passed on by, there was an almost audible sigh of relief.
No wreck this time, but the real train made the past tragedy seem far more real. Several people commented later how goose bumps came up and the hair stood up on the back of their neck.
Many thanks to CSX Railroad for adjusting their schedule to make this special part of the memorial possible.
Then I read a list of the fifty-one people who died in the wreck and a bit on who they were.
After that, scheduled speakers County Judge Executive Melanie Roberts and Mary Lou Hackett made a few appropriate and welcome remarks. Ms. Hackett's grandmother died in the wreck, and her purse and Christmas shopping list that were found at the wreck are part of the memorial display. Ms. Hackett also donated the bulk of the funds for the custom-made display case.
Father David Naylor, of St. Aloysius Catholic Church, presented the closing prayer. Father Naylor was asked to do the closing prayer in memory of Father Eugene Angelo Bertello, the founder of the first St. Aloysius church and a church on Chapeze Lane. Father Bertello was another casualty of the 1917 wreck.
The memorial meeting ended at about 6:50, but many people stayed until nearly 8:00, looking at the display, visiting, and discussing wreck stories with one another.
Many thanks to everyone who made this event such a success.
>> Remember the Museum in your year's donation plans:
This time of year almost everyone seems to be in a generous mood, but many (very many) organizations also ask for donations.
All of the requests can become bothersome.
Forgive the request, but, even with the good group of volunteers that we have, it still takes money to keep things going.
Please keep the museum in mind as you consider gifts and donations this year. We are a tax-deductible, free service so we will always depend on your generosity to do all the good things we do.
For Your Information...
>>Public Library has new Microfilm reader.
Ridgway Memorial Public Library, which is located just a couple hundred feet from the museum, has purchased and installed a new Canon 300 II microfilm reader. Some glitches are being worked out with the newly-developed Canon model 300 II, but it's a really nice machine. Very similar to our museum's own microfilm reader, the 300 II can also copy the film images to computer.
The $7,000-plus machine is a welcome addition to our "Golden Triangle" of research resources. Volunteer Bob Cline coined that term recently (at least the first time I had heard it), pointing out that within just a one block area, we have the Museum (with its growing collection of research resources), the newly rebuilt Ridgway Public Library (with a dedicated genealogical research room), and the Bullitt County Clerk's office (with its vault of county records, plats, and deeds dating back to the formation of the county).
>> Revolutionary War Soldiers
Information of Revolutionary War soldiers and pensioners of Kentucky can be found at this site.
Years of dedicated work by several good people in Bullitt County were recognized statewide this year for their local work, and it is well earned.
Even in disaster, when a fiery train wreck occurred early in 2007, the local response teams did so well that Bullitt County's emergency services people were recognized in a national magazine for the good work.
Not one of these people just suddenly showed up in 2007 and got an award. Every one has diligently served Bullitt County for years, creatively and energetically doing their job, not for recognition, but simply to do good where they could for their community.
Whether by good sense or good luck, Bullitt County has been blessed with several good leaders that have each worked hard for a long time.
Those named here are just a few. I could, and perhaps should, name many more who have not been given official awards, but do good and devoted work nevertheless.
A lot of good has been going on in Bullitt County for a long time, and I just wanted to recognize that in this small way, at this time of year.
Thank you all, for all you do every day.
May you all have a very happy New Year!
Thank you for being a Friend of Bullitt County History.David Strange