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Event quenches historical thirst

The Leora Brown School, one of the oldest still-standing African-American school buildings, hosted an inaugural festival earlier this month called Harrison County History and Heritage Days.
While one may think this county already has enough festivals, it’s clear that room can be made for this (hopefully) annual event.
There are other historical events around the county, but the history, heritage days took a peek at the more obscure and less known facts about the county.
Special guest speakers for a Thursday evening dinner and Friday afternoon lunch were Sharon Uhl and Lynn Keasling, DAR members who have researched old county records.
Uhl and Keasling shared historical facts from 19th century courthouse documents and from local newspapers including obituaries, wills and the popular section from The Corydon Democrat ‘Runaway spouses, divorces, affairs and crimes of the heart.’
Many of the stories used in the popular walking tour ‘Corydon’s Unsavory Past’ came from this section.
One of the obituaries read by Uhl was from 1899, and spoke of the funeral of Ettie Bowling, which was ‘one of the largest ever witnessed in Elizabeth.’
Another obituary de-scribed the death of a doctor who apparently mistakenly consumed poison when he thought it was some type of medicine.
The event was well-attended with a near capacity lunch crowd Thursday afternoon.
History, heritage days also included an open house at the school that Saturday with many historical items set up to view.
Maxine F. Brown said the event was created to bring awareness not only to the county’s African-American history, but the heritage of all people ‘ past and present ‘ in Harrison County.
Brown also used the event to detail expansion plans for the school property.
Hopefully, in the near future, the Leora Brown School will be joined by another building or two, adding to the historical attraction.
The school recently acquired the Frank Scott and Zenola and Kenneth Arnett properties to join some of Harrison County’s African-American history to a developing African-American Heritage Trail that Brown is creating in six Southern Indiana counties. The plan is for the newly acquired building to become a welcome center for the trail. The Arnett property will be used from expanded parking.
‘I’m very excited about it,’ Brown said. ‘I see the potential.’
In a county rich in history and full of people thirsty for more, Harrison County History and Heritage Days will become an October mainstay at the little school house on the hill.

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