An area rich with history involves several people who strive to keep that story alive for future generations. Harrogate resident Travis Souther works and volunteers his time to do just that.
Souther is the university archivist and special collections librarian at Lincoln Memorial University where he works in the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library. He keeps a record of the original documents, records and artifacts housed at the museum.
“Today I looked in a drawer and found a lock of hair that just happened to come from Abraham Lincoln. These things, keeping a record of it helps people to see what we have here and keep it organized in a way. Unless people know that it’s there, those resources can’t be used,” said Southern.
Southern is currently helping the museum reorganize their collection to give visitors and researchers better access to the many items housed at the museum.
“In a sense, I can almost vicariously relive some of the things our ancestors did or went through. I can almost get a sense of how they felt because I’ve read letters (at the museum) from soldiers and then I put on the clothes at the park and it’s even more real. There’s a tangible feeling there that’s just real,” said Souther.
In his free time, Souther volunteers as a reenactor at Wilderness Road State Park in Ewing, Virginia where he puts his historical knowledge into action.
“Going back to the past and putting technology aside, modern stuff, is a way to enjoy the freedom they had then. It’s freeing to know, in a way, that life goes on without computers and the technology,” said Souther.
He has been reenacting for nine years and got his start in Boone, North Carolina at Horn in the West — an outdoor drama which features Daniel Boone.
At WRSP, Southern can be found weaving and doing handcrafts that would have been common and useful in the late 18th century.
“To be dressed in my period clothing and walking through the mountains, down the paths — I’m almost reliving how they felt and the sights and sounds are very likely the same that they saw and heard,” said Souther.
In his spare time Souther enjoys studying history, hiking, hunting and fishing.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.