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January 23, 2008

Neal Center welcomes newest donation
Article from The Carlisle Mercury
By Charles Mattox, News Editor

Neal Building Restoration
The newest addition to the wonderful historical displays in the Neal Welcome Center is a unique historical artifact that was once found in abundance on Nicholas County farms.

An oxen yoke, that can be traced back to the 1800s and, which was owned by a family that once lived and farmed on Stony Creek, has been donated to the Nicholas County Historical Society.

Bobby Anderson, son of the late Robert E. Anderson and Elsie D. Anderson, grandson of Robert E. Anderson Sr., (born in 1858) and Mollie Parsons Anderson (born in 1875) and the great grandson of Noah and Jane Isham Anderson, made the donation at his late father’s request.

“I feel a very good sense of accomplishment with honoring my father’s wishes and making the donation,” a youthful looking, 75-year-old, Bobby Anderson said last week. “I think the Neal Welcome Center has many fine displays.”

The oxen yoke was in remarkably good condition with the exception of missing one of the collars.

Bobby’s father and mother began the search to have the missing collar replaced with original material and with the same craftsmanship as the original, but as the family found out, that was no small undertaking.

Bobby Anderson explained that it took “approximately four and half years” to find the right person who could accurately craft the wooden collar.

Eventually, after Anderson had nearly exhausted all of his search efforts, he contacted Nicholas County native and NCHS graduate Sid Hollar, who with Mark Ross of Quaker Village in Mercer County, worked together to design and make the collar and the wooden pins necessary for holding the collar in place.

David Freeman of Mercer County, who refurbishes furniture, then stained the collar to match the rest of the ancient wooden artifact.

Bobby Anderson expressed praise for the assistance the late Carol Garvin, former president of the Nicholas County Historical Society, who provided assistance and guidance for the Anderson family with the donation process.

Anderson also expressed appreciation for curator of the Neal Welcome Center Jim Haag.

“Mr. Haag gave me a tour of the Center and explained the wonderful displays,” he said. “I think the Neal Welcome Center is very good for the community.”

Although a rarity today, the oxen yoke was an essential farm tool used by the earliest farmers in Nicholas County and was used as a steering mechanism for oxen as they pulled farm implements, wagons or any other heavy items that needed moving before the Industrial Revolution and the age of mechanized farming.

The displays in the Neal Welcome Center continue to impress visitors from far and wide and Historical Society members are grateful for the support and interest they’ve received.

“The support has simply been phenomenal,” Haag said.

Haag encourages any and all members of the community to visit the Center and asks that anyone that would like to honor their family or loved ones with a particular historical artifact or information should not hesitate in calling him.

“This is a great community with wonderful history and we are trying to preserve as much as we can for future generations,” Haag said. “We deeply appreciate Mr. Anderson’s consideration.”

Those wishing to donate items or information to the Nicholas County Historical Society or the Neal Welcome Center are encouraged to contact Haag at .

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