2016 Recipients

MCHS 2016 Recognition Program Selectees

Nominating Committee

Dean Whitaker (Ch), Dr. Jim Murphy, Harold Richardson


Specific Historical Contributions


Robert C, Moody is a 6th generation farmer on the family land near Kingston and long-time attorney in Richmond which enabled him to serve as City Attorney for 21 years, Professor in the EKU Law Enforcement, and currently the Attorney for the Shriner’s Oleika Temple.  His lifelong enthusiasm for, and commitment to, historical causes has played out in preservation of numerous sites, most significantly the original parcel for the Battle of Richmond lands which he, with assistance of the MCHS, purchased until Madison County positioned itself to reimburse him.  He also has purchased or enabled purchase of additional battlefield adjacent tracts to include in the Battlefield Park.  His intervention and pro-active work was key in saving the Fort Twetty site from development.  In his law practice, he has successfully prevented loss of a Shawnee village site to mining, saved the Native American Mound at Round Hill, and assisted the Archaeological Conservancy with purchase of other Native American mounds in Madison County to insure their future viability.  His breadth of historical interests is unmatched, and he can speak eloquently on a variety of historical subjects. 

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Bob Moody for his most significant and unique contributions that have developed, documented and preserved local history.



A member of long established Madison County family, Mr. Neale descends from George Washington's grandfather and the Reverend Alexander Tribble, a friend of President Jefferson as well as a very influential Baptist minister in early Madison County.  He has avidly studied local history and genealogy and is considered an expert.  Always ready to talk about history and people, Mr. Neale has advised many amateur historians, local authors and other researchers about their works detailing local history and personalities.  

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize James Neale for his significant contributions to the preservation and documentation of local history.



Mr. Shannon, a former Richmond attorney and now retired in Florida, held many important positions with Madison County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  He served as an Assistant Commonwealth attorney, banker, real estate developer, musician, historian and civic leader.  Among the most significant positions in which he served with historical orientation included 25 years of dynamic leadership as president of the Madison County Historical Society; co-founder of the Society of Boonesborough; and President of the Fort Boonesborough Bicentennial Commission in 1975, as well as being a member of the Kentucky Heritage Commission under three Governors.  He is also active in national organizations including the Sons of the Revolution which honored him in 2015 with its prestigious Patrick Henry Award for exemplary service.  The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Jimmy Shannon for his lengthy and significant contributions to local historical endeavors.



Mr. Tipton, a native of Madison County in the 1850s, and a teacher, attorney, and, most prominently, newspaper editor, became interested in Madison County history and determined to write a published account chronicling it.  In 1891, he became a charter member of the Madison Historic Society, our current society’s original title.  As an enthusiastic historian, he researched and collected massive amounts of information through personal interviews, old newspapers, letters, and from travels covering the Commonwealth.  Most fortunately, his collections were rescued after his untimely death in 1900.  In many instances, they provide the only and significantly unique accounts of Madison County events and people.  His collections are permanently housed in the Special Collections and Archives section of Eastern Kentucky University.  The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize French Tipton for his significant and unique contributions to the preservation of local history.


Mr. Tudor, a native of Madison County and a descendant of John Tudor, a Revolutionary War soldier as well as numerous other pioneers of Fort Boonesborough.  A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, he taught in the business education department of Madison Central High School before becoming a long-time employee of the State Bank and Trust Company culminating in a position of vice president and trust officer.  His great love of Madison County history and genealogy prompted him to organize, in coordination with Mr. James Shannon, the Society of Boonesborough in 1975.  He served as its Registrar until his death in 2014.  He developed a comprehensive, documented listing of pioneers at Fort Boonesborough which was published in 1975 entitled “Early Settlers of Fort Boonesborough”.  He also authored “A History of the State Bank and Trust Company” on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.  He was exceedingly well versed on the genealogy of local families, was active in other historical organizations, and showed his love of all things old as an antique collector and dealer for many years.  Tommy died in 2014.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Tommy Tudor for his significant and unique contributions to the preservation of local and Kentucky history.





Dr. Jonathan Truman Dorris, a native of Illinois who earned his PhD at the University of Illinois, was a professor of history and government at Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College from 1926 until 1953.  A member of many historical associations, he worked for many years to get Boonesborough established as a state park.  He was for many years the curator of the J.T. Dorris Museum, which was housed on the campus and held artifacts and memorabilia of pioneer Kentucky. He authored numerous publications on local history including “A Glimpse of Historic Madison County and Richmond, KY”, “Glimpses of Historic Madison County”, “Old Cane Springs”, and two volumes on the early decades of Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College.  His wife Maude contributed to several of his books.  Their only son, Lt. Donald Hugh Dorris, was killed in 1942 when the USS Vincennes was torpedoed.  Dr. Dorris chronicled that ship in memory of his son by publishing his “Log of the USS Vincennes”.  He died in 1972 and is buried in the Richmond Cemetery.  

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Dr. Jonathon Dorris for his significant and unique contributions that documented many aspect of local history.


Dr. William Elliott Ellis, a native of Shelbyville, Kentucky, holds degrees from Georgetown College, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.  He came to EKU as a professor of Social Science in 1970.  He is a celebrated author who is widely published in historical journals including those of the Filson Club, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Kentucky Monthly magazine.  His publications about local locations and events include “Madison County: 200 Years in Retrospect”, which he co-authored with H. E. Everman and Richard Sears, celebrating the county’s bicentennial, and that was sponsored by the MCHS.  He also wrote “The Kentucky River”, riveting account of the state’s key waterway.  Additionally, he is a sought after speaker, having given many presentations throughout the Commonwealth on a variety of historically oriented subjects.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Dr. Bill Ellis for his significant and unique contributions that documented and preserved local and Kentucky history.



Dr. Engle, a native of Louisville, graduated from Model High School, Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College and the University of Kentucky.  He served in the Army for three years and later attended the First Baptist Church in Richmond where he was a very active church members. He was a professor of economics at Eastern Kentucky University, from 1970 until his retirement.  Continuing his long-time interest in Madison County history he co-authored the “Madison’s Heritage” history column in the Richmond Register with his EKU colleague, Dr. Robert Grise.  Selected columns were published in book form in three volumes entitled “Madison's Heritage” plus another named "Madison's Heritage Rediscovered:  Stories from a Historic Kentucky County." His granddaughter Kathryn Engle helped edit this publication and also catalogued and digitized many of the original articles in the EKU Special Collections and Archives.  Dr. Engle died in 2013.  The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Dr. Fred Engle for his lengthy and significant contributions to local historical preservation.


Dr. Robert Newman Grise, native of Madison County and graduate of Model High School, Eastern Kentucky State College and the University of Kentucky, was a professor of Educational Foundations at Eastern Kentucky University beginning in 1967. He served in the US Army during the Korean War. He also was the sole trustee of the Granny Richardson Springs One Room School located on campus which was used for the elementary school children of Madison County to learn about the early days of education. His love of Madison County history was well known in the community through his collaboration with Dr. Fred Engle on the newspaper column "Madison's Heritage" and the subsequent publication of the three volume set of many of those essays. Also his love of the history of the telephone and collecting them enabled membership in several national associations. Dr. Grise died in 2014. The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Dr. Robert Grise for his significant and unique contributions to the documentation and preservation of local history.



Mr. Johnson, a native of Madison County, graduated from Madison High School and served in the armed forces during WWII.  Returning to Madison County, he was employed for 50 years as circulation supervisor, pressroom operator and advertising director for the Richmond Register.  He was instrumental in developing the Madison County Post Advisor.  He was very active in the First Baptist Church and numerous civic organizations, many in leadership capacities.  He was an avid collector of postcards which served as a basis for two of his books.  His historical publications include:  "Madison County Reflections", quarterly supplements for the Register; "Postcards of Madison County" (1992); and "Madison County Kentucky Postcard Series" (2004).  He also co-authored "How firm a foundation, a History of the Tates Creek Baptist Association of Southern Baptists" (2009).  He died in 2010.  The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Harry Johnson for his lengthy and significant contributions to local historical endeavors.


Sustained Historical Support (Group)


Battle of Richmond Association was found in 2001 to act as the lead organization to preserve the resources and memory of the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, which was prosecuted in three stages across Madison County on August 29 and 30, 1862.  It pitted experienced Confederate soldiers against raw, inexperienced Federal recruits, resulting in an overwhelmingly Confederate victory.  The initial 62 acre tract of battlefield property, including the Pleasant View house, was purchased in 2001.  And soon thereafter became a Madison County historic park.  Protective progress led by BORA resulted in removing this property from the Civil War Preservation Trust’s list of the 10 most endangered battlefields.  BORA has been instrumental in the acquisition of additional tracts of Battle of Richmond land, Civil War era structures, period weaponry and equipment, and the safeguarding of the memories of the soldiers and citizens who participated in or were affected by the Battle.  It also sponsors a large annual Reenactment of the Battle and a Living History event for hundreds of 5th grade students in its educational endeavors.  And it has underwritten additional historical and interpretive signs at important sites associated with the battle.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize the Battle of Richmond Association for its significant and unique contributions that have preserved and interpreted the Battle of Richmond combat areas and events.


In 1907, the Boonesborough Chapter, DAR, erected a stone monument and took ownership of a key portion of the Fort Boonesborough site which it continues to maintain and preserve.  It participated in the erection of four stone monuments in 1915 in Madison County from Boone Gap to Fort Boonesborough, a portion of the 15 erected through southeastern Kentucky to mark Boone Trace.  It currently is working to replace the one at Fort Boonesborough which marks the end of the Trace.  In 1937, it placed a stone monument at Fort Twetty to commemorate the lost suffered by Boone’s trail blazing party in March 1775.  In 2013, it purchased one acre at that site to save it from an encroaching development and thereby preserve one of the oldest Madison County pioneer sites.  The Chapter has diligently fulfilled the DAR service goals of patriotism, education and historic preservation by marking Revolutionary War patriot ancestor graves, providing historical books to local libraries, and sponsoring numerous programs on patriotic subjects. 

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize the Boonesborough Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution for its significant and unique contributions that have preserved, documented and publicized our local history since its chartering in 1896.


The EKU’s Special  Collections and Archives dates back to 1929 when the library defined an objective to preserving Kentucky’s historical  and cultural narratives. Despite the Great Depression, Eastern invested roughly $5,000 of acquisitions from local writer and collector John Wilson Townsend which contained over 5,000 items ranging from autographed books to letters and photographs from famous Kentucky authors.  This came to be known as the John Wilson Townsend Library. As Eastern grew, the importance of preserving its own history and managing its records resulted in the creation of the Archives in 1976.  Eastern’s history and other relevant historical materials formed the basis for a fast growing University Archives.

The Townsend Library and University Archives management merged in 1991, and in 1995, a renovation of the Crabbe Library allowed the two to join in their current location.  The Special Collections and Archive’s diligent collecting and preserving of family, business, business, organizational, educational and governmental documents, records, photographs and ephemera over the last 85 years provides unique record of historical resources.  Now, researchers can easily access and enjoy an array of historical resources and primary sources, all in one place.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize the EKU Library’s Special Collections and Archives for its significant and unique contributions that have preserved and documented 85 years of history for Madison County and Kentucky.

Preservation (Individual)


Judge Chenault is a native of Richmond, Kentucky, and holds degrees from Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College and the University of Kentucky College of Law.  He served in the Navy during WWII in both enlisted and officer billets.  He served with distinction in several legal positions culminating with that of Chief Regional Judge of the Bluegrass Region of Judicial Circuit Courts.  He was a true judicial pioneer with the implementing the first video-taping of court proceedings in the nation as the official record and which has now become the nationwide standard.  His 27 years on the bench were highly regarded, and he received many accolades for outstanding service.  Judge Chenault’s historical contributions to Madison County are equally impressive and numerous.  His breadth of knowledge about local history is unmatched.  He played important roles in the creation of the Fort Boonesborough State Park, creation and restoration of White Hall State Shrine, and the restoration of our ante-bellum courthouse.  He prepared a very learned Introduction to “When the Ripe Pears Fell”, and has made highly informed presentations at many local events.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Judge Chenault for his very significant and numerous contributions that have made, documented, celebrated, and preserved local history.



Kathy and Bill Vockery were graduates of EKU.  Bill was a career Army officer until retirement when he and Kathy became teachers in Madison County and at EKU as well as history researchers.  As a team, they made significant contributions to the documentation and preservation of Madison County history through extensive field research and publication of the inventories of Madison Counties pioneer and country cemeteries to capture information that was quickly being lost to time.  Their two volumes of Madison County pioneer cemetery inventories has provided tremendous value to all who are researching local families and genealogy.  Their transcriptions of many early court records of Madison County translated old materials into readable and readily available formats.  Their dedicated work in Madison County was duplicated in Garrard and Jessamine Counties resulting in a total of 28 volumes of valuable cemetery inventories and record transcriptions.  Kathy has passionately continued with their work after Bill’s passing in 2004.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Kathy and Bill Vockery for their significant and unique contributions that documented and preserved local history.