Token of history donated to museum

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Lawrence County Historical Museum acquired a 170-year-old piece of history on Wednesday.

After 33 years, the Ironton-Lawrence County Festival of the Hills Celebration Committee has donated their Conestoga wagon to the museum so the public can continue to enjoy it.

“It’s sad to see it leave, but it’s going to have a good home,” said John Boright, treasurer of the Festival of the Hills Committee.

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Boright also said that the committee wanted the 170-year-old wagon to be treated with tender care and that the museum has a better place to store it.

At the Festivals of the Hills Committee meeting on Wednesday, Boright presented the ownership documents of the wagon to Bob Cleary, president of the Lawrence County Historical Society.

“We’re really thrilled to get this,” said Fondalene Alfrey, vice president of the Lawrence County Historical Society.

According to the Festival Committee, the Conestoga wagon was built in the 1840s and was driven by a family from Virginia who wanted to move west. They came through the Cumberland Gap in their covered wagon and settled in Winchester, Ky. The family had intended to move farther west, but loved Winchester so much they decided to stay. The wagon was kept in their barn until 1977.

The Festival Committee bought the wagon in 1977 and had been displaying it at their events and featuring it in the Memorial Day parade.

The Lawrence County Historical Museum has plans for the wagon also.

“We want to have it out for public viewing all that we can,” said Cleary.

Exhibits Chairwoman Kay Rader said she also appreciated the donation.

“We are really grateful to get this,” Rader said. “It has made us really happy.”