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Take a walk around the square
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The Jackson County Historical Association (JCHA)

Those who have no pride in the past or no hope for the future seldom keep good records. The past 156 years in Jackson County have certainly given us much to be proud of – both individually and collectively. Knowledge of the past inevitably leads to a deeper appreciation of our heritage and to a sense of responsibility to those who will come after us. So little of Jackson County's history has been recorded for posterity. No group ever faced a greater challenge. At first, the task may appear monumental. If we join hands for small steps during our first year, we can build the foundation for future growth in every direction. Let's all have fun together and really enjoy history as a hobby. I feel safe in predicting visible results from such a group in action.

JCHA cofounder Ann Chambless’s prolog to the first issue of The Jackson County Chronicles in 1976
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A note from the editors:

History drawn from documents bears the stamp of authenticity, but lacks the immediacy and humanity of first person accounts. Shelby Foote, the novelist-turned-historian, was criticized by the academic community because he used the narrative techniques of fiction to bring the Civil War alive. Yet Foote is for most of us the most distinctive and compelling voice recounting the war. He dramatizes the conflict in vivid, disturbing, and memorable ways.

It’s peculiar to those of us born in the wake of WWII that we are now the ones to write history. We are positioned and even obliged to recall the people and events that made our communities memorable and unique.

We’ve been told that 60 is the new 40, but doesn’t hold up in the business of history. In our field, 60 is the new 80. Sixty is an asset, one that uniquely qualifies us to sketch the our childhood and young adulthood for posterity. Too many of those before us believed that their knowledge was too ordinary to warrant being committed to writing. But through the writings of women and men who timidly offered accounts of their lives, we cannot fail to understand both what we’ve preserved and what we’ve lost. Telling our tales might seem self indulgent now, but to succeeding generations, it will be viewed as a gift.

The editors of The Jackson County Chronicles have set 50 years (1966 at the time of this writing) as the dividing line between the contemporary and historical. Unfortunately, those coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s do not yet constitute the core membership of the JCHA.

We appeal to a “new generation” to write accurate and engaging histories of the county. The “Walk Around the Square” is our first collaborative project, but it is only a beginning. The JCHA needs the ideas, voices, and membership of a younger generation.