GALLIPOLIS — In the words of Ben Montgomery, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, it was in 1955 that Emma Caldwell Gatewood “told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown in Gallia County with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars.
“The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail.”
Grandma Gatewood became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone. She became a hiking celebrity, appearing on television and even featured in the pages of Sports Illustrated.
Emma Rowena Caldwell Gatewood has been a topic of inquiry of library patrons throughout the years, as many locals are interested in the life of this inspiring woman from Gallia County.
Bossard Memorial Library, in partnership with the Gallia County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, will have a living history presentation, followed by a film documentary on the life of Grandma Gatewood.
“Trail Magic,” written by Kelly Boyer Sagert, with performances by Bette Lou Higgins and Priscilla Kaczuk, will be presented at 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at Bossard Memorial Library. Produced by Eden Valley Enterprises and FilmAffects, “Trail Magic” is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Ohio Historical Society’s History Fund. The History Fund is supported exclusively by voluntary donations of Ohio income tax refunds and designated gifts to the Ohio Historical Society.
Both Debbie Saunders, Bossard Library director, and Amanda Crouse, director of the Gallia County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, expressed their enthusiasm in bringing this living history portrayal to Gallia County.
“There are still many local family ties to Emma Gatewood in our community. We hope to see the community attend this special event, free and open to all, which will celebrate this chapter of our local history through the life of Emma Gatewood,” Crouse said.
In echoing a similar sentiment, Saunders noted, “Bossard Library is pleased to collaborate with the Gallia County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau on this event. In the preface of author Ben Montgomery’s New York Times bestseller, “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail,” readers will find this quote by George Washington Sears, ‘We do not go into the woods to rough it; we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home.’
“Those who are familiar with Grandma Gatewood’s story know that she overcame much adversity in her life, first at home and also on the trail. We invite the public to visit the Library on Oct. 24 when the life of Grandma Gatewood will be portrayed on both stage and screen, as we celebrate this trailblazer whose legacy serves as a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.”
For more information on this program, contact the library at 740-446-7323 or the Visitors’ Center at 740-446-6882.