• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Field trip informs Daisy Hill residents about Jack Jouett

Residents of the Daisy Hill Senior Living Community in Versailles had two opportunities to learn about Capt. Jack Jouett, a hero of the American Revolutionary War. Last Thursday afternoon, author Martha J. Hutcherson read her children's book, Jack Jouett: Portrait of an American Hero, to other residents in the activities room at Daisy Hill. In Hutcherson's book, Matthew Jouett tells the story of his father's daring 40-mile midnight horseback ride in June 1781 to warn Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia Legislature of a British raid - thereby preventing their capture in the midst of the Revolutionary War.

Her book's storyteller grew up to become a renowned portrait painter, and readers are informed of Capt. Jack Jouett's dissatisfaction with that career choice - and his unwillingness to allow his son to paint his portrait - in the final words of his narration: ".Perhaps I have painted a portrait of my father after all." Hutcherson was asked by the Woodford County Heritage Committee to write Jack Jouett: Portrait of an American Hero. And she remembers having "a really good time" researching Jouett's life before writing his story. On Friday morning, Sept. 23, a group from Daisy Hill took a field trip to the frontier stone cabin and historic brick house on Craigs Creek Road in Woodford County where Capt. Jack Jouett lived with his wife, Sally Robards, and their 12 children. Former Simmons Elementary School Principal Bob Burkich, who built a house for his family on 20 acres next door to the Jack Jouett House, but never lived there, told others participating in last Thursday's Daisy Hill book discussion, "I was very proud of my neighbor." Burckich always appreciated being that close to a house with such historic significance. Illustrated by Hutcherson's friend and a former art teacher, Rebecca B. Blair, Jack Jouett: Portrait of an American Hero was published in April 2014.

In addition to being available for purchase at the Jack Jouett House Historic Site, copies of the children's book written by Hutcherson are available at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home in Charlottesville, Va. "So she's getting famous outside of Woodford County and the state of Kentucky," Katie Robie, Hutcherson's daughter, told those at her mom's book reading last Thursday. With the support of local businesses, copies of Jack Jouett: Portrait of an American Hero will be given to Woodford County elementary school fourth-graders attending Frontier Day this Thursday and Friday at the historic site. "It's one of those stories that you've never heard, but even adults love the children's book," said Jill Roseberry, executive director of the Jack Jouett House Historic Site. ".It's a great educational tool." Roseberry described Jack Jouett: Portrait of an American Hero as a great starting point for anyone - young or old - who wants to learn about an American hero whose family once lived in Woodford County. A self-published poet and author of two memoirs, including one about growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Hutcherson's poems are regularly published in Daisy Hill's monthly newsletter. Prompting one resident to say, "I love her poems" after last Thursday afternoon's reading of Jack Jouett: Portrait of an American Hero.

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