Established 1987 in Barbourville, Kentucky

Knox Historical Museum

History & Genealogy Center

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Doug Bargo receives 2017 Susan Arthur Historical Preservation Award

Douglas Bargo, a key volunteer at the Knox Historical Museum, has received the annual Susan Arthur Historical Preservation Award. The award was presented by the GFWC/KFWC Barbourville Junior Woman's Study Club in October 2017 during the Daniel Boone Festival.

In photo at left, Doug Bargo is in the center. The presentation was made by the Junior Woman's Study Club's Tonya Castle, left, and Boone Festival president Travis Carmack.

Doug came to the Knox Historical Museum in 2011 in search of information about a cemetery along Highway 229 that had Civil War soldiers buried in it, with hope to find a way to have its historical significance recognized. After a talk with Museum President Michael C. Mills, he became more curious about southeastern Kentucky’s local history and joined the museum staff.

Since then, Doug has done the following:

  • He has taken responsibility for historical photo reproduction, classification and filing.
  • He has become the museum’s most persistent computer researcher, spending more hours researching online, locating and preserving many documents relevant to local history.
  • He placed a large group of research materials on the museum’s website (, such as:
        a. The complete genealogical columns of Patsy Ann Koerner and Nadine Davis Smith, originally published in the Mountain Advocate.
        b. Large selections from former Knox Historical Society’s genealogy periodical, Knox County, Kentucky Kinfolks, along with some listings of families analyzed therein.
        c. Whole recordings of audio Oral History interviews and transcriptions, both original and from past years.
        d. Updates of the museum’s Facebook account.
  • He conducted a number of audio Oral History interviews, the most recent additions to the museum’s recording library.
  • He created new topical exhibition displays and rearranged earlier ones.
  • He took part, along with Mike Mills and Steve Valentine, in researching the location of the route of Boone’s Trace through Knox County and later travelled over part of the extended route with nationally known historic road explorers.
  • He has written and edited several essays in the museum’s magazine, The Knox Countian, including an account of that Boone Trace venture, book reviews, editing W.S. Hudson’s “Barbourville Story,” and writing a thorough analysis and history of Barbourville’s American Fidelity Bank, by which he was employed for a number of years.

In addition, Doug’s experiences at the American Fidelity Bank, Phillips and Associates, CPAs, and with the CSX Railroad Company gave him a practical level of financial knowledge that has been of much benefit to the museum staff.

Museum President Michael Mills calls him one of the most faithful and hard-working researchers, knowledgeable docent, exhibit arranger and photo editor on the museum staff. There is scarcely an area of museum operation that has not felt his touch.

In short, in less than half a dozen years, this man has become an indispensible man at the Knox Historical Museum: Assistant Editor of The Knox Countian, Co-Editor of the museum’s annual “Barbourville History Calendar,” and Assistant Manager of the museum’s website and Facebook account.

And if that’s not enough of a recommendation, he is a member of the Daniel Boone Festival Committee, active with the Long Rifle Shoot and other festival events.

Since September 1985, Doug has been married to Tammy Smith, daughter of Shirley Smith of Gray and the late J.D. Smith. Doug and Tammy reside at Gray, Kentucky.

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