Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Peewee Pewee?

I often hear from family historians who are seeking information about an ancestor who lived in the Kentucky Confederate Home. Some are frustrated by their inability to search out information about the town in which the Home and the Confederate Cemetery are located.

When I read their email or letter, I can often spot the problem right away: they’re looking for the town of Pee Wee Valley instead of (the correct) Pewee Valley.

A pewee is a bird, a little brown woodland flycatcher that, I’m told, has never been native to the area. (To further confuse things, Pewee Valley is not technically located in a valley. Its elevation is 300 feet greater than nearby Louisville’s.)

Despite those contradictions, Pewee Valley is a friendly, beautiful little village of quiet of well-bred estate homes in the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles, unpretentious stone church buildings, and polite residential lanes more suited for strolling than driving. (I think of it as that not-quite-country, not-quite-city type of place where a favorite great-aunt might have lived, the kindly old maiden aunt you always wanted to spend more time with.)

It's a town named after a bird, not a short little fella.

So if you’re having trouble searching for more about the Kentucky Confederate Home there, set your search to “Pewee” (with three e’s, not four).

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