The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 31 July 2014

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
July 31, 2014 (Volume 10, Number 7)

Dear Friends,


>> Bullitt County Genealogical Society meeting August 16. The August meeting will feature guest speaker, Paulita Keith, our Bullitt County Circuit Court Clerk. Paulita will be sharing information about the records and documents that are available at the Circuit Clerk's office for research. Our meeting is at the Ridgway Memorial Library meeting room in Shepherdsville at 11:00 am. Refreshments are always provided and interested visitors always welcome.

>> Snellen Reunion August 2nd. Jim Snellen tells me that there will be a Snellen family reunion on August 2nd, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm at the Nelson County Fairgrounds in Samuels Hall. These are primarily the descendants/ancestors of John, David, and Zachariah Snellen. For more information, contact the museum for David Snellen's phone number.

>> Fish Fry Fundraiser for Mt. Washington Historical Society. Dale Salmon tells us that the Mt. Washington Lions Club will be hosting a special Fish Fry to benefit the Mt. Washington Historical Society on Friday, August 15th. This is additional to the Lions Club regular 2nd Friday Fish Fry events.

>> The Spencer County Historical & Genealogical Society meets Monday, August 25, 7 p.m., at the library in Taylorsville.

>> The Louisville Genealogical Society meets Tuesday, August 12, 1 p.m., at the LDS (Mormon) Church on Hurstbourne Pkwy. David Ruckman will speak on "Pathways into the American Wilderness." The society also meets Tuesday, August 26, 1 p.m., at the same location. Program: Show & Tell. Show off your antiques and family memorabilia.

>> Museum Executive Director opening. Things are moving along fairly well on our process of finding a new Executive Director to operate the museum (while I seek a little more retirement ! :) ). The selection committee has interviewed a few very good people, and we are excited about the possibilities. The hope is to have a selection approved by the genealogical society in September. If you are interested and haven't applied, here is a link to the job description. Just remember that time is running out, and that it is primarily a volunteer job, with just a little supplemental pay.

Activity & News...

>> Barbara Bailey books on loan. Barbara Bailey, one of the founders of the museum, and a staff Volunteer at the museum every Friday, has loaned us a couple of books for a few weeks. One book is about British Villages, which might be helpful if tracing your roots to that area. The other is more fun; it is called "The President's Stuck in the Bathtub", which tells funny stories about Presidents and the White House, while providing important education as well.

>> Bullitt Blast booth. Barbara and Ken Bailey pretty much soloed for us at the Bullitt Blast and Shepherdsville festival this past July 4th & 5th. I set up the tent, but Barbara & Ken set everything else up and staffed the booth for the genealogical Society and for the museum. I am probably forgetting someone, but thanks to Ken & Barbara for doing this work to let more people know about us and what we have to offer! They even sold several of our books! :)

>> Volunteer Wilma Lemons is surely about to wear out a scanner at her home as she continues scanning some of our special collections of documents to computer. Over the past few months, she has scanned 5,040 pages of the Owens family files that had been donated to us by Howard Owens, 5,968 pages of our Gertrude Collings collection, and 1,294 more pages of our Statira Mathis papers. Doing this massive work not only preserves the pages of information and photos, it allows us to easily protect a digital copy off-site, while clearing some of our file cabinet space. File space is always a problem for our little office as we constantly pack more and more genealogy files and photos into the limited space. Our cabinets get so packed that the folders sometimes tear from the stress of pulling them out or forcing them back into the drawer.

>> Old Bullitt County Bank building (known for the last several years as PBI) is closing August 1 except for drive-through. The substantial old stone and brick building on the corner of Buckman and Second Streets in Shepherdsville will be closing its doors soon. Drive-through banking will still be offered, but the lobby doors will be closed August 1. One photo at right shows the building nearing construction in February, 1923. Before 1923, Bullitt County Bank was housed in a building across Second Street. That building, along with the large Troutman Brothers Mammoth Dry Goods Store, burned down just a couple of years later. The other photo at left is a more recent one of the bank branch with its later additions. PBI will be moving most of its Shepherdsville operations to its newer branch at the intersection of Conestoga and Adam Shepherd roads.

This is one of the few buildings in the county which I have dreamed could be a fantastic museum building for us some day, but that is much beyond our capability at this time. I don't think we could even manage the electric bill, so we'll just keep that in our dreams for now, and remain very happy in our current arrangements at the courthouse. :)

>> Goody Day Tuesdays. If you like sweets, Tuesdays are definitely the day to come by the museum. Every Tuesday, either Nancy Blakeman or Sherry Lee, two of our staff volunteers on that day (shown here), brings a cake or pie or something for all to share. That might explain why Tuesdays are busy days. :)

>> Brenda Rittman, with the assistance of Juanita McCauley, continues scanning obituaries to computer. 2556 obituaries from our card files have now been scanned so far. They have a long way to go, though, because this is a big collection stretching back to about 1970, with quite a few scattered ones from older times. That 2556 just gets them to the "C's", so you see this is quite a project. They have also completed a separate Gladys Lloyd collection of several hundred, that had been donated to us, as well as a binder of obituaries that had been collected by Daniel Buxton. Brenda tells me that she gets through the tedium of the project by noticing the stories in many of them. By the way, Juanita has also donated several office items such as staplers and post-it notes. Thank you, Brenda & Juanita! Hang in there! :)

>>Bowman Valley bus. The photo at left and the other one showing the writing on the back of the photo, was recently given to the museum by Craig Larimore, from a collection that his mother, and our friend, Betty Larimore, had before her death. I love this photo! According to the writing on the back, this 1929 photo is of one of the first, if not THE first, Bullitt County school buses. If I Googled it correctly, the bus is a 1925 Model T. The bus is sitting at the Bowman Valley Schoolhouse, which is sitting just out of sight on the right. Bowman Valley is the old two-room school house that we hope to move in the next month or so, and preserve as part of our history.

On that subject, the committee that is trying to save the old school house really needs help soon on a couple of jobs. In order to move the school under a maze of power lines, the old sheet metal roof and roof rafters must be removed, and then, when the school is at its new location, it will need the rafters rebuilt and a new "old-style" "standing-seam sheet metal roof applied. That's a lot of work to do but surely there are some roofers and framers out there willing to help us preserve this little bit of history for our future children to see? Please consider and get us someone to provide this labor of love as a donation, or at least greatly-reduced price.

Back to the bus... Some of us were commenting that this old bus would have been miserable to ride in, with no heat and just canvas for windows. But then someone reminded us that in those days, when students had to walk long distances in all weather, a little bus like this might seem wonderful.

By the way, wouldn't such an antique bus really be something to show at the celebration ceremony when the school preservation is completed?

>> Web Site Additions. As we do every month, we have added quite a bit of new information and stories to our web site. Be sure to click on these links to take a look.

>> Salt Making model in the works. Betty Hartley has restored a model about salt making that had originally been built by Lloyd Mattingly back in the 1970's. We are working to get a display case made to protect it. When the case is made, we'll put it out on display and I'll post a photo of it for you. Of course, salt making was the earliest industry in Kentucky and a large part of that was done at Bullitt County's salt licks.

>> Airplane crash donation. Ken Machtolff & Charlie Arrington visited us at the museum this month, and brought gifts. Ken & Charlie researched and wrote a magazine article last year about a Thunderbirds F100C jet plane that crashed in Bullitt County in 1959 after an air show in Louisville. Ken and Charlie donated a copy of their story, some photos and documentation, along with a model of the plane, and the actual parachute cable from the wreckage.

We don't have it on display yet, but we hope to make a display of it all sometime in the near future.

Thank you, men.

>> Book donated. Museum Volunteer, Beverly Owen, who is one of our volunteers and who also worked on the recent Maryland-to-Kentucky Reunion genealogical conference, has donated a book that had been published for that purpose. The "Maryland to Kentucky and Beyond Inc. Reunion Pictorial Book", compiled by Elizabeth Jones Donahue, consists of 356 pages of family photos and information related to the families of that great pioneer migration.

For Your Information...

>> World War One is coming upon us in the form of 100th anniversaries. One story is shown in our web listings above, and several more will come. Museum Volunteer, Sherry Lee, recently wrote a story for The Pioneer News newspaper about Golden Riley, a man who all the papers of the time reported as having died of disease in the war. But actually he survived until the 1970's. Most lists, even this "official" one shown here, still lists him among the dead of WWI. Still, this page might be worth a look if you are interested in this war, which started in Europe in 1914, which the U.S. joined officially in 1917, and which ended on November 11, 1918.

I hope to write something about Lilburn Radcliff sometime soon, if I can learn enough about him. Lilburn was a Bullitt County boy who did die in WWI. Of particular interest and sadness to me is that he died on the last full day of the war. He is buried in France, but that is about all I know so far.

Final Thoughts...

I was looking through a book at the museum today. It is "The President's Stuck in the Bathtub" book that Barbara Bailey has loaned us. One of the stories in the book mentions that President Andrew Jackson was notorious for his terrible spelling. He was a powerful person of presence, though, and is said to have defended his bad spelling by proclaiming that a person who could spell a word only one way lacked imagination.

Even though it is not right, I suppose spelling, as well as much of written history, is often in how a person looks at it.

Thank you for being a friend of the Bullitt County History Museum.

David Strange
Bullitt County History Museum
Executive Director
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address:

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Sep 2020 . Page URL: