Crenshaw County Historical Society Holds Christmas Open House

The Crenshaw County Historical Society hosted an open house at the museum located at 994 Airport Road on Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12. The event was from 2p.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The public was invited to come enjoy mulled cider and homemade goodies by the fireplace. There was also an open invitation to share stories of Christmases past during the event.

The museum was decorated in an 1880s homestyle Christmas theme with live greenery and 2 locally harvested cedar trees, the traditional Christmas tree from days gone by. Strings of popcorn, old timey tree ornaments, and other primitive Christmas decorations were on display throughout the museum.

Fireplace in the 1880s home

Oleta Owens, Ann Hayes, Margie Poole, Barbara Strickland, and Brenda Bodiford-Waldrip cleaned and decorated the museum for the open house. The refreshments were furnished by Pamela Campbell, Oleta Owens, Lila Kate Parkman and Kayo Sport. Coleman and Logan Owens kept the fireplaces burning. Pat and Brenda Waldrip provided a personalized porch leaner welcome sign with the initialism CCHS in blue letters and several in attendance took advantage of the photo opportunity the signage created. Around 25 people attended the open house over the two-day span.

Cedar Christmas tree

Visitors included people from outside of Crenshaw County, including two ladies from Montgomery County. The husbands of Rosemary Kennington from the Flatwood Community and Marlene Cowles from Ramer, both have connections to Crenshaw County. Kennington and Cowles enjoyed sharing and chatting about their ancestors, old Christmas stories, and other oral history information. According to Pamela Campbell, corresponding secretary and treasurer for the CCHS, these kinds of interactions need to take place in order for the unique history of Crenshaw County to never be lost.

“When I look at the obituaries and see another long time member of our community passed on, I think, there goes our history, another story not told. Crenshaw County is full of stories. We have a different story to tell than Montgomery or Covington Counties. We have a great story here that needs to be told, and we need to get these stories recorded and written down or no one is going to know. They will be lost forever. We need to not only visit and talk and write down things we learn from the older citizens, we need to get together and share family stories, see where they cross with other families, and feed our memories with those of others. I know we could get some good, never heard before information and stories to document,” Campbell said.

The building the museum is in, was donated by Dr. Donald H. Morgan, great-great grandson of James Hurt Howard (May 16,1841-Dec.19, 1874), who built the home around 1865 in Rutledge. The building was moved to its current location in 1994 by the historical society and the substantial efforts of Marshall C. Martin, CCHS president at the time. Howard, the original owner of the home, was a farmer and a member of the Masons. He was also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1867 and served as Crenshaw County’s Superintendent of Education.

Educating Crenshaw Countians and those from neighboring communities on the diverse history of the area, and why days of old need to be preserved, is an important goal of the Crenshaw County Historical Society.

John Dewey, American philosopher, once said “Education is a social process; education is growth; Education is not a preparation for life but is life itself, education is the best legacy.”

The Crenshaw County Historical Society is proud to carry on the legacy of James Hurt Howard through volunteer led learning events like the open house, by organizing learning events for students of Crenshaw County Schools, providing information to the public through the genealogy room in the Luverne Public Library, and assisting others with historical information about Crenshaw County and its families.

The CCHS would like to thank Pepsi of Luverne for providing a banner for the open house.
The CCHS invites those interested in the history of the area, to visit their Facebook page and website. Annual membership dues for the CCHS are $25.00. Membership includes receipt of quarterly bulletins that canvas a large array of historical subject matter.