2017 Recipients

MCHS 2017 Recognition Program Selectees

Nominating Committee

John Lovell (Ch), Laura Steidle, Todd Moberly, Tom Black


Specific Historical Contributions


June 15, 2017

         Col. James W. Caperton was a highly respected attorney, financier, and community leader for many decades in Richmond.  He earned a degree from Centre College and a law degree from Transylvania College.  His early career included several years as an aide to Governor William Owsley before entering private practice.  His professional life included serving on the Board of the Richmond National Bank, the last five as President.  His integrity was beyond reproach and allowed him to assume duties of great financial importance.  Col Caperton had a great regard for history, leading to his selection for important positions.  When the Madison Historical Society was chartered by the Madison County Fiscal Court in 1891, he was appointed first President and led it through its formative years.  He was tasked with presenting the chief address at the dedication of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s very significant pioneer monument at Fort Boonesborough in 1907.  His presentation was we;; received by the 3000 persons attending, including several state officials and National D.A.R. leadership.  Col. Caperton died in 1909.  He was posthumously honored in 1919 with a portrait in the Madison County Courthouse for his great skills and integrity as an attorney.

         His wife, Katherine Phelps Caperton, made her own separate contributions to preservation of historical information and homes.  Her education at the Madison Female Institute and the Bartholomew School in Cincinnati honed her interests in a broad range of subjects and gave her excellent writing skills.  With those, she created an extensive family tree and documented the activities of her family and community to chronicle many activities of the times.  The Capertons lived in three historic homes: Woodlawn, Blair Park and Amberly, which were immaculately maintained and thoroughly documented by Mrs. Caperton.  She was an enthusiastic founding member of the Fort Boonesborough Chapter of the D.A.R. and served in a number of capacities including a term as Regent.  Mrs. Caperton wrote several well researched articles which accurately described the pioneers and their activities at Boonesborough while it still thrived.  She also was deeply involved in the Colonial Dames, including a term as Kentucky Vice President from 1921-23.  She remained active in many historic endeavors until her death in 1945.

         The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Col. James W. Caperton and his wife Katherine Phelps Caperton for their significant and unparalleled contributions in preserving and documenting multifaceted historical aspects of Madison County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Archaeologist Nancy O’Malley has performed countless studies and field investigations of historic sites throughout Kentucky since joining the University of Kentucky in 1979.  She became the Assistant Director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology in 2000.  Her education includes degrees from the University of Texas and the University of Kansas.  Ms. O’Malley has provided numerous training sessions both in the classroom and the field on both basic and specialized archaeological procedures throughout Kentucky.  Her research projects have revealed important information about the pioneer sites of forts, stations, mills, old towns and Native American locations.  She is a prolific writer about techniques and investigative findings in over 85 publications ranging from conference papers, articles, research reports and book chapters to entire books.  Her singular contributions to Madison County history are highly significant as they have defined the original location and layout of Fort Boonesborough, the extent of the battlefield during its 1778 siege, the features of the town of Boonesborough, and information about Boone Trace.  She has also investigated a number of sites in neighboring counties that were important fortified small stations for the pioneers as the Indian threats diminished and the pioneers began to disperse to lands they claimed as their homesteads.  Her diligent work and expert analysis has laid the groundwork for additional historic research, use and interpretation of these areas, and provided the groundwork for detailed future field investigations.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize the Nancy O’Malley for her significant and distinctive contributions that have defined the location and configuration of the pioneer Boonesborough community which have helped to preserve and protect the distinctive features and history of Fort Boonesborough in Madison County, Kentucky.



Miss Mabel Kunkel made her own kind of history as well as passionately conveying the lessons of history to hundreds of students.  She had a teaching career spanning 47 years that was devoted to the schools of Madison County and Richmond in 5th, 6th and Junior High grades.  A former student remembers her as a "sincere person who was motivated largely by her pupils and who possessed a knowledge of Kentucky history and geography that surpassed the textbook."

She graduated from Eastern in 1924, earned a Masters degree from the University of Kentucky, and pursued additional studies at Peabody College, Columbia University and the University of Cincinnati.

For 16 years after her retirement from teaching in 1966, Miss Kunkel researched and wrote “Abraham Lincoln: Unforgettable American”, a 472-page biography and guide to the ways in which Lincoln's memory is preserved.  She is also wrote "Pan America Speaks" a pageant published and distributed by what is now the Organization of American States.

Miss Kunkel was recognized numerous times for her dedicated and skillful teaching including the “EKU Outstanding Alumnus award”, by the University of Kentucky for "exceptional service to education in Kentucky," was named the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year for the Richmond City Schools”, received a “Centennial Year Excellence in Teaching Award” from her Alma Mater, and was named “Woman of the Year” by the Business and Professional Women's Club of Richmond.

She expressed her philosophy when accepting one of these awards, saying “it is I who have been blessed with the opportunities of teaching young people and studying and sharing my information through my work."  After a very long and productive career in education, Miss Kunkel died in 1981.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Mable Kunkel for her significant and unique contributions through nearly five decades of teaching history to Madison County students and preparing an exceptional biography of President Abraham Lincoln.




June 15, 2017


Dr. Dean Warren Lambert was a longtime professor of history and political science, and a Chairman of the History Department at Berea College for a total of 46 years, starting in 1953.  He was a specialist on Russian history and the U. S. Civil War.  Dr. Lambert graduated from Berea College and earned Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Kentucky.  He was awarded the “Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching”, Berea College’s highest award for faculty, and also received the Berea College Alumni Association “Award of Special Merit” in 1994.


He was a member and officer of numerous historical societies and community organizations.  Locally, he was a founding member of the Madison County Civil War Roundtable.  Dr. Lambert was perhaps the most knowledgeable expert on the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky.  His account of this battle in the expertly presented book, “When the Ripe Pears Fell, The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky”, which was published by the Madison County Historical Society in 1996.  It provided the most comprehensive narrative of this Civil War battle which took place near and in Richmond on August 29 and 30, 1862 and its aftermath in the following days.  One review of this book stated “Dean Lambert's scholarly treatment of the subject lacks the usual tedium which I've come to associate with many deep and scholarly works of history.  His love of history flows through undiluted and pure in the pages of this book”. 


Dr. Lambert retired from Berea College in 1999 and died in 2002.


The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize Dr. Lambert for his significant and unparalleled contributions in decades of teaching history to scores of students at Berea College and particularly for preparing an exceptional account of the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky.



Sustained Historical Support (Group)



June 15, 2017

The Fort Boonesborough Foundation was established in 2000 to sustain, promote and foster quality programming at the Fort Boonesborough State Park and Boone Station Historic Site.  It has provided significant supplemental financial support for infrastructure requirements that could not be funded by the Fort Boonesborough’s State Park’s budget.  Since its inception, the Foundation has funded over $175,000 worth of features, services and programs.  The Foundation has been an assertive leader to develop, sponsor and present programs to authentically depict pioneer life.  Significant among these are providing classroom resources for teachers plus sponsoring a day long series of specialized classes each October to about 1500 school children showing them with how early Kentucky settlers lived.  Annually, the Foundation helps present programs depicting “women on the frontier”, the “1778 siege”, “pioneer trade days”, an “18th century Christmas”, and a series of “fireside chats” in February by authentic pioneer reenactors.  It also sponsors the “Gathering of Descendants” to celebrate the pioneers who came to the fort in the late 18th century and reconnect their descendants to that historic past.  It has also facilitated the display of many important pioneer relics and related items at the park.

The Madison County Historical Society is proud to recognize the Fort Boonesborough Foundation for its significant and unique contributions that have preserved, promoted and supported the story of the unparalleled history of Fort Boonesborough in Madison County, Kentucky


Preservation (Individual)


No nominations in 2017


Preservation (Group)


No nominations in 2017