Just call it history by committee.

A tome on Greenup County’s past a retired judge set out to write on his own has turned into a group effort.

Following the publication two years ago of his first book, “A Masterful Retreat,” which is about a Civil War event that terminated in Greenup County, Lewis Nicholls said a number of people had been urging him to pen another volume.

Nicholls said he saw a need for a new, updated book about the history of Greenup County because the only other one written on the subject — ”A History of Greenup County, Kentucky,” by the late Nina Mitchell Biggs and Mable Lee Mackoy — ends with the 1950s.

When it came time to seek out information about the Native American tribes, Nicholls said he sought the assistance of Dwight Cropper.

Cropper, of South Portsmouth, is an archeologist with the University of Kentucky and was recently appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission. He is a recognized expert on the indigenous peoples who once inhabited the land now known as Greenup County.

During his discussions with Cropper, Nicholls — a retired circuit judge for Greenup and Lewis counties who still works as a special judge, filling in on cases where regular judges have had to step aside — said it occurred to him that Cropper should be the one writing the chapter on Native Americans.

“He (Cropper) said he’d be willing to help,” Nicholls said. “He also said that his mother had been after him to write a history of Greenup County.”

Cropper then pitched the idea of involving others with expertise on various aspects of Greenup County’s history in the project. Nicholls said he readily agreed.

Since then, Cropper has taken over as sort of an unofficial coordinator project, Nicholls said. He came up with an outline and e-mailed it to everyone who has agreed to participate. The group also conducted an organizational meeting recently at the Short Stop restaurant in South Shore, he said.

Others have signed on to the project, Nicholls said, include Dr. Roland Burns, a Boyd County resident and retired Morehead State University professor who will be writing about Greenup’s geology and geography; Independent outdoor columnist G. Sam Piatt, who will pen a chapter about the county during the World War II years; Annelle McMullen, who will write about art, music and literature; Gaylord Cooper; Kathleen Virgin-Kenney and Tom Heaberlin.

Others are still being recruited for the project, Nicholls said.

Plans call for the book to be a single volume, written in narrative style, he said.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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