Often journalists are considered the eyes and ears of a community. Through interviews and research, men and women of the field hold a special power that few others have, the power to inform. Scott County was fortunate to have the kind of journalist who not only utilized his eyes and ears to report but his heart and soul as well. This journalist was the kind of man that stood with his words rather than on top of them in a byline. Byron Brewer, former editor of several Georgetown publications, has impacted the community of Scott County greatly and will continue to do so in the legacy of language he will leave behind.
Byron Brewer was born in Frankfort, Kentucky to Rosemary Williamson Brewer and the late Edward Thomas Brewer. Byron's interest in the world of words was apparent from a very young age, as he started a neighborhood publication, The Bellepoint Gazette, while still in elementary school. Byron continued his journalistic career throughout high school and college, writing for The Panther Press and The Kentucky Kernel respectively. In 1980, Byron landed the job of associate editor at The Graphic. In that moment, Scott County history gained a powerful resource.
Journalism is a unique entity in the fact that it is so versatile, yet simple. Byron used this to his advantage as he began reporting. One of Byron Brewer's most significant contributions to this community was his creation of the "Scott County Personalities." Each week, Byron would select a member of the community, find an interesting or unique quality or story the person had to share, and then report it. Byron's belief that "everybody has a story" is evident in his articles. "Scott County Personalities" feature war heroes, trinket collectors, and volunteers, among others. By writing and publishing the "Personalities," Byron was able to educate and inform the community about the people that they encountered in everyday Scott County life. Creating these articles developed a network and sense of community which could be reinforced each week.
Perhaps Byron's most important impact on the community came in 1998 when he helped to solve the murder mystery of Barbara Hackman Taylor, the "Tent Girl." For years, the mystery of the "Tent Girl" was used as a spook or prank across the county. Being a journalist, Byron's curiosity and human compassion motivated him to find out the true story behind the legend. After conducting much journalistic research and in conjunction with the online detective work of Todd Matthews from Tennessee, Byron was among those who ultimately helped solve the mystery of the “Tent Girl.” Byron carefully followed the investigation process, outlining it in his articles. In conclusion, he finished with "Who Was Barbara Hackman Taylor;" this article fulfilled his original purpose of discovering the "Tent Girl" as a person rather than a mystery.
It may be seen as ironic, or "Byronic," as Byron would say, that a historical figure could continue to make history, but each Tuesday, Byron beats the odds as his column "My Georgetown" runs on the editorial page of the News-Graphic. This column makes an impact on the community each week as the young and old read Byron's accounts of the past. Two elements make this column so valuable. First, it provides a weekly opportunity for older generations to reflect on experiencing Scott County as young-adults. Byron's words are clever, insightful, and full of Scott County history. Secondly, "My Georgetown" is an invaluable primary source for younger generations. There is nothing that changes my perception of the world more than reading about how Scott County used to be. Byron provides lessons, silly anecdotes, and most importantly five minutes for readers to relax and remember.
Byron Brewer is not a typical historical hero, but he definitely has made an impact on Scott County. Byron’s ability to find the extraordinary in the everyday gave the community more “personality.” His inquisitiveness helped a young women finally rest in peace, and Byron’s perpetual interest in journalism gives the community a chance to reminisce each Tuesday. Because of a journalist who wrote with this eyes, ears, heart, and most importantly soul, this community has grown and will continue to learn through a legacy of language.