Hero, School and Church Are Topics of Historical Markers Unveiled in August
The Kentucky Historical Society joined communities in Louisville, Berea and Versailles to unveil new historical markers in August.
Saddler Sergeant Otto Voit
Saddler Sergeant Otto Voit, a German immigrant who received the Medal of Honor, is the subject of a historical marker dedicated Aug. 7 at St. Stephen’s Cemetery in Louisville.
Voit received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The marker tells how he and three other soldiers risked death to help other soldiers get water during the battle. After that engagement, he served in the U.S. Army for two more decades and rose to the rank of saddler sergeant. Voit settled in Louisville after his discharge. He became a U.S. citizen in 1902, died in 1906 and is buried in St. Stephen’s Cemetery.
Steven A. Edwards, LTC (Ret.), a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and marker organizer, spoke at the event. Other speakers included Louisville Metro Council members Barbara Sexton Smith, District 4; Marianne Butler, District 15; and Pat Mulvihill, District 10.
Marker sponsors are the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Dept. of Kentucky; and Chapter 146, Military Order of the Purple Heart.
The marker is at 1808 S. Preston St.
Middletown Consolidated School
“It was a ‘red letter day’ in 1927 when black schools at Middletown, Berea, and Farristown merged,” starts the new historical marker for Middletown Consolidated School.
It also was a “red letter day” on Aug. 18 when alumni and teachers, as well as Berea, Madison County and Berea College officials turned out for its unveiling. Speakers shared memories of the school, and sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and the Middletown school song.
The marker tells of the school’s beginning with financial support from both black and white Bereans and the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. Berea College gave four acres, water, electricity and an iron bell reportedly rung at Camp Nelson.
It also tells that the school gave students in grades 1-8 a quality education and allowed them to showcase their talents and achievements by participating in 4-H fairs, plays and Farm Day activities. Robert H. Blythe was Middletown’s only principal until school integration forced its closure in 1963. In 2007, the building underwent restoration, which includes many original features. Today it houses Berea College’s Partners for Education initiative.
The marker is at 439 Walnut Meadow Rd.
Grassy Spring Christian Church
As part of its homecoming celebration, Millville Christian Church honored the history of Grassy Springs Christian Church with a new historical marker that it unveiled Aug. 26.
The marker tells of a nondenominational meeting house built at the site around 1798 when Thomas Henton and Richard Fox each gave a corner of their land for the church. A brick building replaced the original log structure in 1827. Three years later, after hearing the preaching of Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone, the congregation voted to become the Grassy Spring Christian Church. A brick building erected on the property around 1870 burned in the late 1930s.
Grassy Spring Christian Church helped establish Millville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1896. In the 1970s, Millville bought the Grassy Spring property and the two churches merged. The cemetery is the only thing that remains from Grassy Spring Church.
The marker is at 5210 McCracken Pike, Versailles.