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The Town Historian

October 29, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Genealogy, Oral history, Social history

I truly am amazed by the connections a community like Midway, KY has; all I had to do was open my eyes and ask a neighbor! My story starts with a friend who informed me that his friend had passed away. I offer condolence, we chat, and I go on walking my dog. The next day I stop at the local market on my way home to buy some milk. I believe in supporting local businesses, so it’s a ritual. At the register I throw in at the last moment a Woodford Sun newspaper. On the cover is an article about the newest building being constructed at Midway College and I’m interested. As usual, too much to do and not enough time to do it; I set the paper aside, temporarily forgotten. Back to my history research! A day passes and I am reminded of my friend’s grief when I see the funeral hearse parked outside of the church. The bells toll and can be heard through out the town, naturally I take a minute to reflect. My thoughts have been trying to turn over just about every leaf available to find my next blog muse for our Service Learning Project. By the way, that paper set on my kitchen table until my mother came to visit 3 weeks later. Reading it was the the first thing she did that afternoon, so at dinner our conversation revolved around a Midway woman who had passed on Friday, October 1, 2010 in her home at the age of 91. I soon made the connection that she was the one who my friend was grieving for. So I took the time to read the article, which was a modest tribute aside from an obituary. What I read was about a life full of achievements, local pride, and an amazing family history. I am left feeling ‘a day late, and a dollar short’! May you rest in peace.

Her name is Margaret Ware Parrish.  She was a physical education teacher and coach of all sports at Midway College until 1979.  The local Midway residents knew her as Midway’s historian.  She had served as a past president of the Woodford County Historical Society, and co-authored Woodford County, Kentucky: The First Two Hundred Years.  In addition, she wrote Outstanding Kentucky Women in Sports 1900-1968.  She is named as a pioneer in Kentucky women’s sports,  writing about expanding opportunities for women in sports. Midway College’s most prestigious athletic award is named “Margaret Ware Parrish Athletic Award” (“Margaret ware parrish,” 2010).

Aside from her bio, I find it important to mention her family history. She is the great-grand daughter of James Ware Parrish, the co-founder of the Kentucky Female Orphan School, now Midway College. Miss Parrish is also a direct descendent of Judge Caleb Wallace who was instrumental in establishing the State of Kentucky in 1792 (“Margaret ware parrish,” 2010).

Margaret ware parrish dies at 91. (2010, October 07). The Woodford Sun, pp. A1, A13.

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