Fredericktown Citizen honored with 2006 Governor's Humanities Community Involvement Award

November 25, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
John Paul Skaggs was recently honored with the 2006 Governorís Humanities Community Involvement Award, conferred by the Missouri Humanities Council. This award recognizes a special contribution to a communityís understanding of its heritage. The award ceremony took place at the Missouri Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City. Mr Skaggs was presented with a proclamation from the Missouri House by Andrew Felker, on behalf of Speaker of the House Rod Jetton.

John Paul Skaggs is recognized for his lifetime commitment to the history and heritage of the Madison County area. He is the President of the Historic Madison County Society in Fredericktown, as well as a founding member of the Society. A Fredericktown native, born in May of 1924, he grew up helping on the family farm raising prize winning cattle and a variety of cropsdriving the team of horses.

R. to L., Andrew Felker on behalf of Speaker Rod Jetton, presenting
proclamations to John Paul Skaggs, MHC Board chair, John A. Wright.

Even as a young man, John Paul had a keen interest in learning about everything. In additon to listening to radio news and working on motors and farm implements, he read everything he could get his hands on. His mother used to tell stories about how his curiosity sometimes got him into trouble, especially when he used his brothers in his experiments.

Books and reading have always been very important to John Paul. In the first grade he wrote his first book at St. Michaelís Catholic School. In the 1930ís, Fredericktown had a fairly new library. Every day John Paul would walk a few blocks to check out a book, go home and read it and return it the next day. In the 1960ís it was a family routine for John Paul to lead all six of his kids to the library every Tuesday night to read and check out books. The librarians through the years have welcomed and taken great care of John Paul Skaggs.

In the 1970ís John Paul, along with others interested in local history, revived the county historical society. Serving as the Societyís president for nearly 40 years, John Paul has committed his life to preserving and communicating local history. An amateur photographer, John Paul has worked hard to rescue, copy and preserve countless old photographs of people, places and activities in Madison County. He has edited, encouraged, and prompted books published by the Society, including Historic Madison County 1818 - 1989, the Historic Madison County Index, Cemeteries of Madison County Vol. I, Smaller cemeteries & Vol. II, Larger cemeteries, World War I Veterans of Madison County, World War II Veterans of Madison County, and Veterans of Madison County After 1946.

In addition to these books, he has been a regular contributor to the Fredericktown Democrat-News, writing columns and stories in our local paper,

At the age of 82, John Paul spends his days either at the library or at the Historic Madison County Museum. His adult children consider the local library to be ďDadís office.Ē As part of a county Reading for the Blind program, John Paul weekly selects, reads and tapes audio of newspaper articles and historical items of interest to be distributed to those who cannot read.

John Paul is never without some unusual item or puzzle in his pocket to show people and start a conversation. An avid collector, John Paul preserves many types of hand planes, hammers, mining related items, old books, medical instruments, and map

Since 1971, the Missouri Humanities Council has provided thousands of programs to help Missourians enjoy a rich cultural life and develop community citizenship. Our mission is to enable families and communities to broaden their appreciation of history, literature, and the ideas that shape our democracy. Our programs include: READ from the START, family reading initiative; Chautauqua, community celebration of history: Charettes, consulting for local museums & cultural institutions; Museum on Main Street rural initiative of the Smithsonian Institution; as well as Grants and Initiatives to fund locally generated programs.

To learn more about the Governorís Humanities Awards, this yearís other honorees, or to nominate someone for the 2007 Community Heritage, Excellence in Secondary Education, or Book Award, please visit our website,

MHC is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Federal agency.