Students to reveal folknography data

Published 9:52 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

IRONTON — For nearly two years, Ohio University Southern students have engaged in a folknographic research project in Blackfork and Poke Patch.

Though only shadows remain of the once thriving communities, both Blackfork and Poke Patch hold special significance in the story of the Underground Railroad and Black history in southern Ohio.

Students have interviewed more than 100 people with ties to the area, investigated numerous leads, collected data and made some interesting discoveries.

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One such discovery includes a unique rock structure known to locals as the Window Rock House.

Numerous rock formations throughout Appalachia called rock houses have been used for shelter, barns or storage. Up the soggy, long path of Poke Patch Hollow, an obscure rock house guards a trace of hushed voices, long-held hopes and dreams of escaping enslaved people searching for freedom.

The Window Rock House provided shelter for an untold number of freedom seekers as they passed through southern Ohio.

On Friday at 3 p.m. in the Ohio Room (Collins Center) at Ohio University Southern Campus, Dr. David Lucas, associate professor of communication studies, along with several students from the folknographic research project will unveil photos, dimensions and other factual data concerning the Window Rock House.

“In the waning days of Black History month, all of us realize the special importance and significance of this cultural discovery,” Lucas said. “We hold this find as one of the most important results of the project. Such a place should be recognized and memorialized as extremely important to all of us.”

During the press conference, researchers will present new information along with photos and data to the campus, community, reporters, journalists and media representatives.

For more information, contact Dr. David Lucas at 740.533.4577 or at 740.534.8557.