Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 8, 2013

Fairview students see personification of Lincoln

WESTWOOD — Growing up in Abraham Lincoln’s Larue County home town of Hodgenville, Larry Elliott already was predisposed to admire the 16th president.

But he admits he didn’t know more than the basic facts about Lincoln until he entered a lookalike contest about 10 years ago and was embarrassed to find out he’d committed some glaring historical errors.

The commercial insurance executive started some serious reading then, invested in a more authentic period costume, and embarked on a second career portraying the only Kentucky-born president at festivals and to school groups.

He also learned, through a family source who dug through the Elliott genealogy, that his great, great, great, great grandmother, whose name was Mary LaRue Enlow, was the midwife who delivered the infant Lincoln in his log-cabin birthplace.

So when Elliott stalked to the front of the Fairview Middle School cafeteria Thursday, the seventh- and eighth-grade history students saw the personification of Lincoln in the familiar knee-length black frock coat and tall black hat.

Elliott, whose Lincolnesque beard, by the way, is the real thing, also has all his facts straight these days. “I started out with some suggested reading and pretty soon I found I couldn’t put the books down. I found that this man was a true genius. He literally saved the country,” he said.

Sometimes Elliott goes to schools where the teachers ask him to play up the homespun humor for which Lincoln was noted and to spin some yarns about his boyhood.

What he prefers, and the approach he took at Fairview, is to connect the threads of Lincoln’s life and the development of antebellum American national politics to drive home his pivotal role in preserving the United States and making it the world’s preeminent power.

“My mission,” he told the students, “is not to tell you funny stories and recite the Gettysburg Address, but to give you the big picture of our country.”

He did it by tracing the history of slavery in America from colonial times to the era of political maneuvering that divided the Union into slave and free states, and ultimately threatened to fracture it forever.

In so doing he managed to drop in historical tidbits about the invention of the cotton gin and the telegraph, the cost of labor and commodities in the early 1800s, the Louisiana Purchase, and the thinking of the country’s founders on the institution of slavery.

He also drew a verbal picture of slave ships and a deep-south slave auction, a sight he said cemented Lincoln’s anti-slavery views.

The big picture, Elliott said after his presentation, is that Americans wrestled for decades with the slavery issue, that the founders understood it was a problem, and that, if not for Lincoln, it could have permanently destroyed the nation.

The reenactment “is an excellent opportunity to step back into history and make it come alive,” said eighth-grade history teacher Keith Isaacs.

“Technology can’t replace a true, live reenactment,” Isaacs said. “This is as close to real life as we’re going to get.”

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Local News
  • News in brief, 07/24/14

    A Fleming County man was arrested on sex charges Tuesday by the Kentucky State Police.

    July 23, 2014

  • Boyd/Greenup backpack program turns 10

    For 10 years, the Ashland Alliance Young Professionals Association has been helping children start their school year off right.

    July 23, 2014

  • Area water plants recognized

    Water treatment plants across the state were recognized for consistently producing drinking water in 2013 that exceeded state and federal water quality standards, including the Rattlesnake Ridge Water District in Olive Hill and six others.

    July 23, 2014

  • City gives wastewater treatment plant operations to Greenup agency

    During joint special meetings of the Greenup Joint Sewer Agency and the Wurtland city commission on Tuesday, Wurtland agreed to hand over operations of its wastewater treatment plant to the agency.
    Pending the signing and approval of certain legal documents, plant operations will officially be under the GJSA on Aug. 1.

    July 23, 2014

  • Edelen studies fiscal health of rural hospitals

    On the fourth stop of his listening tour to address the fiscal health of rural hospitals, Adam Edelen said the crowd in Morehead was the largest he has seen yet.
    The big attendance attests to how seriously the region regards the issue of sustainability of local hospitals, he said.

    July 23, 2014

  • Putnam renovations ‘coming together’ as football season approaches

    Locker rooms are beginning to take shape at Putnam Stadium as rebuilding of the venerable arena nears completion.
    Workers are readying concrete forms on the home side and grading the site on the visitors’ side and soon will erect the structures, the goal to have them ready to use for the first home game of the 2014 season Aug. 22.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huntington man wanted for armed robbery

    The Ashland Police Department is searching for an 18-year-old Huntington man who was involved in an armed robbery last month.

    July 23, 2014

  • Detroit man arrested near Fairview

    A Detroit man was arrested Wednesday after an undercover drug buy near Fairview High School, the Boyd County Sheriff's Department reported.

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Construction at Kentucky football stadium to go on

    The $110 million construction project at the University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium will continue through the upcoming football season with the goal of finishing renovations before the 2015 kickoff.

    July 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone