By MATT CRANE
The Oktibbeha Historical and Genealogical Society will host a tour of the historic Bardwell Home on Thursday as a part of the continuing celebration of Starkville’s 175th anniversary.
Interested participants will meet at the Starkville Public Library at 6:45 p.m. to begin carpooling to the Bardwell home. People may also meet the group at the home at 7 p.m. for the tour.
Local historian Ruth Morgan said the home, located at 1607 Blackjack Road, was built in 1855.
“The house was built by David M. Montgomery as a place of residence for his daughter, Margaret Montgomery Bardwell, and her husband, Cecil Bardwell,” she said. “Bardwell’s father, Araunah Bardwell came to Oktibbeha County in the 1820s … he was one of the first missionaries to come to the Mayhew Mission.”
Morgan said the home is a part of the National Register of Historic Places and remains significant as a rare example of the antebellum vernacular galleried cottage.
“It was constructed at a time when the county was first being settled and when the county’s agricultural base was being established,” she said. “Particularly unusual features are the freestanding columns with brick piers which support the front gallery.”
Genealogy librarian Carolyn Reed for the Starkville Public Library said she is excited about the society’s upcoming tour that visits one of the oldest homes in the county.
“It’s going to be interesting to see, historically, how people lived and how far we’ve come,” she said. “It’s exciting to see how things have developed over time.”
Reed said the resources the library provides for historians and those interested in genealogy has received tremendous help since the opening of The Christopher Randolph Stark and Annie Reynolds Stark Annex over five years ago.
“It’s the newest area of the library with three built through the generosity of Betsy Stark,” she said. “It’s a beautiful area that is focused on Okitbbeha County genealogy with local resources. We have a vault that we are working on to protect documents about our history in this county and the people who lived here.”
Reed said genealogy is a hobby that can quickly become a habit, and recent developments in technology have allowed researchers the ability to access more information than ever.
“It’s amazing the new resources that are coming available all the time with people indexing and extracting information,” she said. “They are putting information online and we get to be the recipients of that and it’s very helpful.”
Reed said while researching the history of a one’s hometown and county is essential to creating a better sense of community, the facts people can learn from their own ancestors can be eye-opening.
“We can learn a lot about ourselves and how to improve on what came before us, and people would be surprised by the traits and the characteristics that their ancestors possessed,” she said. “When you go back, you can find yourself and it bonds you tot he past.”
The Oktibbeha Historical and Genealogical Society’s tour of the Bardwell Home will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at 1607 Blackjack Road. Participants may meet at the Starkville Public Library at 6:45 p.m. to carpool to the home.
For more information, call the Starkville Public Library at 662-323-2766.