Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fredonia Valley Heritage Society

Although the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society of Caldwell County, Kentucky is young compared to other area historical and genealogical societies, they are operating at full speed. Organized in September 2007, they incorporated in April 2011 and have already published a book, The History of the Fredonia Valley, which resulted in the  Society winning the Thomas D. Clark Award of Excellence given by the Kentucky Historical Society. In addition to winning an award for this book, they sold out, selling close to 1000 copies.

The Society meets the first Thursday night of odd numbered months (January, March, May, July, September and November) at 7 pm. Meeting locations vary, depending on what facility is available. The November meeting is the annual potluck Thanksgiving dinner.  Dues are $15 per calendar year for an individual or $25 for a family. Officers are as follows:
President - Pam Faughn
Vice President - Linda Bennett
Secretary - Maggie Gammon
Treasurer - Dot Rogers
Board Members - Donnie Boone and Martha Bynum

The City of Fredonia has given the Society permission to use a room at City Hall as their Heritage Room and they are in the process of purchasing books, setting up family files and setting up the room for research. They hope to have it open to the public within the next few months.

During 2012, the Society commemorated the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. According to the Kentucky Historical Society's War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, "approximately 60 percent of the war's total casualties were Kentuckians. Kentucky suffered more casualties than any other state combined." The Fredonia Valley Heritage Society compiled a tri-fold brochure about the War of 1812 and Kentucky's significance in that war and distributed it at several different events. They also won 1st place in Fredonia's Annual Parade with their War of 1812 themed float.

The Society dedicated a new monument placed at the Wilson-Blair One Room School and Museum to honor two Civil War veterans in November 2012. The tombstones of these African-American soldiers, Monroe Crider and Henry Rice, were discovered and relocated to the Wilson-Blair African-American School and Museum.

Plans for the future include the 2nd annual "Walk Through Fredonia's Past," a ghost walk through the local cemetery. It is tentatively scheduled for April 27.  The Society also plans to publish a book of the artwork of John F. Rice, who was born in the Fredonia Valley in 1882 and lived there until his death in 1960. As a young man, he served as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in France prior to World War I. His family owned the Rice Brothers Tobacco Factory, which was burned by the Night Riders in 1906. Mr. Rice served as President of the Fredonia Valley Bank 1928-1937. His art work reflects his love for the Fredonia Valley and includes art from his time in France and other locations.

If you are interested in joining the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society or wish to purchase a copy of the John F. Rice book, contact Pam Faughn at

Published 23 Feb 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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