About 10 months ago the Highland County Historical Society was discussing a way observe the 175th anniversary of both its Highland House Museum and Scott House. That discussion turned into a countywide celebration dubbed Pioneer Day that will unfold Saturday, Aug. 24 on the grounds of the Scott House in Hillsboro.
As part of the event, representatives from almost every community in the county have volunteered to have displays of photos, documents, maps and artifacts that represent their particular area.
“I mentioned at the October board meeting last fall that the 175th anniversary of the completion of the Highland House and Scott House was coming up in 2019. Both structures were built as residences in 1844 and have had an interesting past. We should have an event that celebrates the historic buildings,” said Vicki Knauff, director of the Highland County Historical Society.
“We shared various ideas knowing we wanted more than an open house, but were not sure what we wanted to do or could do,” Knauff added. “Finally, in February a group of us met and decided we wanted a daylong event that focused on what life was like in the early days of Highland County, during the time period the Highland House and Scott House were built, and that every community in the county would be invited to participate. Thus, Pioneer Day was born. It would be an educational day of fun, fellowship and family.”
Following is a list of the communities that will be represented and who will be representing them:
* Greenfield – Doug Karnes
* Leesburg – Alice Teeters
* Lynchburg – Christine Hamlin
* Belfast – Lynn Neal
* Berrysville – Carolyn Michael
* Brush Creek Twp./Sinking Spring – Nina Couser
* Buford/Pricetown – Jim Faust
* New Market – Max Petzold
* Mowrystown – Richard Tissot
* DAR – Jane Stowers
* Southern Ohio Genealogical Society – Dwight Crum
* City of Hillsboro – Drew Hastings
Knauff said she has contacted multiple individuals from Marshall and Highland, but has received no response. Still, she said is happy that so many have agreed to take part in the event.
“I am thrilled at the response I have received from the communities,” she said. “This event provides the ideal opportunity to showcase their unique history, people and stories, and how they have been a major contributor to the rich history of Highland County.”
The Highland County Historical Society will cover the county as a whole, while Greenfield will have a table display highlighting the 70th anniversary of the Grenfield Historical Society through photos and other memorabilia. The Leesburg Area Historical Society will focus on the ongoing restoration of the depot in Leesburg, and Lynchburg will have artifacts from the Freiberg/Workum Distillery that once was largest employer in the village.
Belfast will display a doctor’s buggy that was used in the 19th century and a painting of a covered bridge, and Berrysville will showcase its history in photos and artifacts. Brush Creek Township and Sinking Spring will highlight photos of the octagonal school and the Gov. Charles Byrd home, and Buford and the Pricetown area will have information about the southwest corner of the county. Willa Stanforth paintings and a Presbyterian church silver communion set will be on display as well as photos of Highland County’s first jail in the New Market display. The Mowrystown Brick and Tile Factory will be the focus of Mowrystown’s booth. The city of Hillsboro will highlight the various businesses, the historic district and various changes the city has gone through since the 1840s.
All those displays will be set up on the east side of the Scott House. Knauff said booths will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and each will have someone to talk to and share memories.
Two organizations that partner with the historical society are the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Southern Ohio Genealogical Society (SOGS). DAR’s mission is historic preservation, education and patriotism. The DAR Waw-Wil-A-Way Chapter will commemorate the 125th anniversary of DAR in Highland County in 2020. SOGS will offer advise on how to conduct genealogical research and the many tools and resources available to discover ancestors, Knauff said.
Pioneer Day, however, will offer much more than just displays about the county’s communities.
On the day of the event there will be tours of the Scott House, including the basement where some believe there was a tunnel that was part of the Underground Railroad, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; a pancake breakfast/brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; a bake sale and bake competition from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and a Kona Ice truck selling refreshments from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Grassy Run Historical Society will hold Appalachian skills demonstrations including rope making, quill writing, cooking, tin punching, weaving, archery, blacksmithing, hunting, quilting, painting and camping.
The Highland County Antique Machinery Club will be on hand with antique tractors and antique farm machinery including corn shellers, grain hammermills and more. The Mootz family will be there showing their father’s winning plow and tractor that won the 1957 World Plowing Contest held in Peebles.
Area Boy Scouts plan to create a primitive campground on the front lawn of the Scott House to demonstrate techniques and demands on the colonial plains. They will be camping overnight on Friday and serving as volunteers for the event.
Visitors will also be able to tour the Scott House widow’s walk on the roof the building where citizens watched for enemy bombers during World War II.
The breakfast/brunch menu will offer pancakes, bacon, sausage and drinks to help raise money for the Highland County Historical Society. The bake sale and baking contest will serve the same purpose.
The society also plans to offer visitors a free Highland County history pictorial brochure and Scott House history being sponsored by the Thompson Funeral Homes, Southern Hills Bank, Merchants National Bank and Gibbs Insurance.
“Bring a lawn chair and spend the day celebrating history,” Knauff said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.