Accession Number: 45
Buckhorn Children's Center Collection
Selected Records, 1874-1979
Selected Photographs, 1900-1980
Part A - Selected Records
Series I -
Orphan Home Society of Louisville (Presbyterian Synod Home
for Children) 1874-1956
Series II -
Buckhorn Association, 1902-1960
Series III - Presbyterian
Child Welfare Agency,
Part B - Selected Photographs
In 1902, Reverend Harvey Murdoch came to Buckhorn, Perry County, Kentucky as
the Field Secretary of the E. O. Guerrant Society of Soul Winners. It was Rev.
Murdoch's dream to develop a Christian school to serve the area's isolated residents.
There were no public or private educational facilities for miles around, and
local residents were eager to help.
Murdoch named his school "Witherspoon College" after the only minister
to sign the Declaration of Independence. He wanted students in their twenties
and thirties to have the dignity of attending college. The "College" part
of Murdock's dream never was actualized. However, by the time of his death in
1935, an extensive educational enterprise had been established. It included grades
one through twelve, dormitories, gym, farm and dairy herd for over 200 resident
boys and girls, and a full time staff. There was also a hospital that at the
time, was the only one within a radius of 100 miles.
Reverend Elmer Gabbard succeeded Murdoch and for twenty years continued Buckhorn
School's development. During this first fifty years, Buckhorn provided an education
for some 2,500 boys and girls.
The 1950's saw many changes for Buckhorn and the surrounding region. Paved roads
were built and a public school was established by the Perry County Board of Education.
As a result, Buckhorn's focus shifted from education to care for dependent children
as reflected in the organizational name change to, Presbyterian Child Welfare
Agency (later Buckhorn Children's Center).
At the time of this writing (1980s), Buckhorn Children's Center offers an open
campus setting for the care and treatment of boys and girls from ages eleven
to fifteen. The Center's program is designed for children considered not to be
a threat to themselves or others and otherwise able to function in a normal classroom
setting. Center staff includes an executive director, one or more social workers;
house-parents; and other support personnel in the areas of education, recreation
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