MASON COUNTY — Some historical figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are easily remembered for their accomplishments, but there several local figures who may not have been as popular whose deeds are just as important to recollect.
History buff Jack Crutchfield Jr. has been hard at work to make sure these sometimes overlooked people are remembered. Crutchfield has recently finished the second documentary in a series called “Obscurely Famous,” and has filmed various locations all across Mason County. This episode featuring local Mason County figures will be airing on WV PBS on Sunday, June 24, at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Some of the “Obscurely Famous” people covered in Mason County’s episode include a World War I hero, a Civil War hero, a frontier scout, a Native American Chief, a statesman, and medical pioneer. Crutchfield has been working on Mason County’s episode since August 2011, and just recently finished it a few weeks ago.
Crutchfield first started the series researching graves in Cabell County, where he is from. When the documentary on Cabell County was finished, he took it to his friend who works for WV PBS. Crutchfield stated his friend said the documentary needed to be seen. The documentary was then sent to the friend’s boss at WV PBS, and the boss wanted a series featuring other counties in West Virginia. For the second episode in the series, Crutchfield decided to research Mason County because of his interest in the Battle of Point Pleasant.
“In Mason County history, there’s so much there that I think some of its falling through the cracks,” Crutchfield said.
Crutchfield stated this new passion of his arose from a hobby of traveling the country and visiting famous cemeteries and grave sites. When he would visit these famous graves, he would also notice several other individuals buried near the famous grave that are somewhat easily forgotten and in disrepair. Crutchfield set out to research these individuals and to create something that would preserve their memory and provide a record for that period of history.
“People don’t realize how many heroes and how many historical things happen here,” Crutchfield said.
He compared his research and traveling to a treasure hunt, stating it may take some work but the end result is very satisfying. He continued, stating it was a shame when lesser known figures who have great accomplishments are lost and their graves are in disrepair, but he is doing his part to make sure these “Obscurely Famous” people are not forgotten as the years go on.
Crutchfield is currently working on episodes for Kanawha, Putnam and Logan Counties. For more information on these documentaries, visit www.obscurelyfamous.net.