Bill Mulligan's picture
January 8, 2020 to December 1, 2020
Kentucky, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Local History, Popular Culture Studies

The Jackson Purchase Historical Society is pleased to announce its program for 2020. As in years past, the Society will meet at a number of different venues in the Purchase region to better serve the community and its members.

The Society’s 2020 series of public programs will begin on Saturday, January 25 with a panel discussion on the history of Baptist churches in the Jackson Purchase. The session is organized jointly with the J. H. Spencer Historical Society.  Several speakers will briefly share their research on the role of Baptist churches in the history of the Jackson Purchase and the history of particular churches. The audience will be invited to share their own knowledge of Baptist history in the region as well. JPHS President Bill Mulligan said, “We try to include all aspects of the history of the region in our programs and in our Journal. Religion has certainly been an important part of the lives of people in the Jackson Purchase as long as there have been people here. The landscape gives testimony with the many churches of all sizes that dot it; speaking to their importance in people’s lives. The J. H. Spencer Historical Society has done a great job preserving and publishing Baptist history across the Commonwealth of Kentucky through their meetings and Journal. Through some common members, we have developed this program I hope in the future we can work with other denominations and religious groups to present programs on their history.”  

The program will be held at the West Kentucky Baptist Association’s recently dedicated building, 318 McMorris Street, Clinton beginning at 10:30 am on January 25. Coffee and donuts will be available before the program. Free and open to the public.

 Our March meeting will feature United States Forest Service archaeologist Chris Thornock discussing African American lives and landscapes in the lower Tennessee River area in the period before Land between the Lakes was created and families displaced as well as the dislocations caused by the construction of Kentucky Dam. It has been some time since we had a program that was based on archeological research. The construction of Kentucky Dam had a tremendous impact of the lives of people in the Jackson Purchase and the continuing role of TVA has been equally significant. JPHS Vice President Richard Parker has organized the program.  "Chris Thornock has been researching displaced African-American communities destroyed by the creation of the Kentucky Dam for many years. The stories of these African-American communities have been lost. Chris Thornock has allowed these communities to tell their stories once again."  Parker said.

The program will be held at The Hotel Metropolitan, 724 Oscar Cross Ave. Paducah, beginning at 10:30 on March 7. Free and open to the public.

The year 2020 marks the centennial of women obtaining the right to vote nationally as Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment. In observance of this milestone our April program will focus on the campaign that led to passage of the amendment. We are partnering with Murray Woman’s Club and the Capt. Wendell Oury Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to sponsor a Kentucky Humanities Council Chautauqua program. Kelly O. Brengelman from Midway, Kentucky will portray Kentucky Suffragist Madelyn McDowell Breckinridge. Ms. Brengelman’s performance has received very positive reviews and promises to be an outstanding event. “Women’s suffrage is a major milestone in our history and the JPHS is pleased to partner with two active and important women’s groups to bring the program to Murray and the Purchase region,’ said JPHS President Bill Mulligan.”Across the country, Daughters of the American Revolution chapters are observing the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment," said Dr. Ann Landini, Chapter Regent of the Capt. Wendell Oury Chapter of the DAR in Murray. "We are delighted to join with the Jackson Purchase Historical Society and the Murray Woman's Club in sponsoring this important history program for the public, especially students, to learn more about the efforts of suffragists to give women the right to vote. Many early DAR members were instrumental in the struggle for women's rights."

The program will be held at the Murray Woman’s Club Clubhouse at 704 Vine Street in Murray on Saturday, April 25 beginning at 10:30 am. Free and open to the public.

In July the Society will hold its annual election of officers and revive what had once been common for the Society – a luncheon meeting. In July the Society will hold its annual election of officers and revive what had once been common for the Society – a luncheon meeting. We intend for a July luncheon to be an annual event in the future. Noted local historian and author Bobbie Smith Bryant will speak about Cooking the Kentucky Way, a topic she's written about with her second publication titled, Passions of the Black Patch: Cooking and Quilting in Western KentuckyIn a Kentucky Living Magazine article, Kentucky's storyteller, Byron Crawford, described the book this way, "A patchwork of homespun memories have followed Bobbie from the family farm of her 1960 childhood in Calloway County -  all across Kentucky. Passions of the Black Patch: Cooking and Quilting in Western Kentucky, features over 200 regional recipes, more stories and a collection of hand-crafted quilts passed down in her family. Wrapped up in those quilts are stories as colorful as the pieces of the quilts. JPHS President Bill Mulligan added “I am delighted Bobbie Smith Bryant can be our luncheon speaker. Those who have heard her know she is a captivating speaker. Her work speaks deeply to the heart of the Purchase and the family farms that were its foundation.” Bryant will have the cookbooks on hand as well as her most recent publication, A Beautiful Star: The Life of Lois Etoile Brewer, which deals with farm family life in the Jackson Purchase when family farms were very common.  

We will meet at Carr’s Steakhouse, 213 West Broadway, Mayfield on Saturday July 18 at 11:30 – an hour later than our normal starting time. Reservations and a fee for the luncheon will be required. Details about making a reservation will be available later.  
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JPHS President Dr. Bill Mulligan will provide the September program. He will discuss how he came to edit the Civil War letters of a sixteen-year-old Union Army Private, who found himself in Columbus, Kentucky, almost exactly 900 miles south of his home in Buffalo County, Wisconsin on the upper Mississippi River. The resulting book, Badger Boy in Blue: The Civil War Letters of Chauncey H. Cooke (2007) was cited by the Wall Street Journal as one of the five best books by someone who was homesick. “My relationship with Chauncey began as part of a project to develop characters for Columbus-Belmont State Park in the mid-1990s with no idea it might eventually be a book. Several years later I came to appreciate more fully his insights into what was going on around him and what the letters offered. Both he and a brother had written published reminiscences of their early years in Northwest Wisconsin and the letters of another member of his regiment had been published as well. So there was quite a lot to work with. I decided to explore his world and went to Buffalo County. It was something of an adventure and I came away with a deeper appreciation of Chauncey and his life and that it would be a great story to share,” Mulligan said. Since Cooke wrote quite a bit about the people he encountered in Columbus that seemed the most appropriate place for the meeting.

The program will be held Saturday, September 19 beginning at 10:30 am in the Conference Room at Columbus-Belmont State Park, 350 Park Road, Columbus, Kentucky.  Free and open to the public.

Traditionally the Society meets in Martin, Tennessee for our November meeting and we will do so again this year.  Jenna Stoker Wright will speak on “A Musical Legacy: My Uncle Gordon, the Jordanaires, and Elvis.” Gordon Stoker, originally from Gleason, was first tenor of The Jordanaires and its leader for most of its existence. The Jordanaires were a prolific musical group that sang back up for Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, among others while also recording gospel albums of their own. They recorded many No. 1 hit songs not only with the "King of Rock and Roll" Elvis Presley, but many other musicians. The won multiple Grammy Awards and are in Country Music Hall of Fame as well as the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and others. Wright's presentation focused on her uncle's journey as a pianist and vocalist, his commitment to family, and his influence on and support of other musicians.   

The program will be held Saturday, November 14 beginning at 10:30 am at the Weldon Public Library, 100 Main Street, Martin, Tennessee. Free and open to the public.

In 1958, a group of people from western Kentucky and west Tennessee who were interested in local and regional history met in Murray, Kentucky and formed the Jackson Purchase Historical Society to promote interest, study, and preservation of the regional history of the territory included in the Chickasaw Purchase of 1818-19. Andrew Jackson (before he was president) and Isaac Shelby negotiated the treaty with the Chickasaw Nation represented by Levi Colbert and family. Jackson played the leading role in the negotiations. The Treaty was ratified in 1819 and opened the region to full settlement. The area of primary interest to the Jackson Purchase Historical Society includes the Kentucky counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, and McCracken and Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley in Tennessee. We have an interest in, and welcome members, from all of West Tennessee, as well as all those who trace their roots to the Jackson Purchase and want to stay in touch with home. The Society’s interest in the general heritage of this region extends to bordering counties and larger national issues that have affected the region and the lives of its people. In 2018, we celebrated our sixtieth anniversary of service to the region.

The Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society has made an important contribution for more than forty years and has received awards from the Historical Society of Kentucky in 2013 and 2017. Our meetings share current research by scholars at all levels with the community of those interested. All are welcome to attend and all meetings are free.

Membership is open to all who are interested for $15 per year (August to July) and includes a copy of our annual journal.

Contact Info: 

William H. Mulligan, Jr., PhD