Project Staff

Chuck Welsko, Ph.D.
Project Director

Originally from Pennsylvania, Welsko earned his Ph.D. from West Virginia University under the direction of Jason Phillips. He comes to KHS and CWGK from the University of West Georgia, where he served as a Visiting Professor of Public History. Welsko specializes in the cultural, social, and political of Civil War Era, with a particular focus on Border States, loyalty, slavery, nationalism, and identity formation. He has published research in West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies, as well as reviews for H-Net, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, and West Virginia History. Welsko also has extensive experience with public history, with time spent at Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Remembering Lincoln Project at the Ford’s Theatre Society.

Sarah E. Haywood, B.A.
Editorial Assistant

A native of Harlan, Kentucky, Haywood studied English literature and history at Western Kentucky University, where she received her undergraduate degree in 2015. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky and served as a research assistant in the Department of History in 2018. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked in publishing and communications and comes to the CWGK team with editorial and writing experience.

Deborah J. Thompson, Ph.D.
Editorial Assistant

Thompson received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Kentucky in 2012 and an M.A. in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University in 1988. Prior to her arrival at CWGK in May 2019, she served on the faculty and as coordinator of Country Dance Programs at Berea College, and as faculty and director of the Appalachian Semester at Union College in Kentucky. She is a musician and dancer specializing in traditional art forms of the Appalachian region and is the author of articles on Appalachian music, race, and gender in GeoJournalSmithsonian Folkways Magazine, and Journal of Appalachian Studies. Thompson served as co-editor for Encyclopedia of Appalachia’s (UTP 2006) “Families and Communities” section, including a substantial entry on “Intentional Communities,” as well as a writer in the “Music” section. She contributed to the initial vision of  A Handbook to Appalachia (UTP 2006), also co-writing the chapter on “Folklore and Folklife.” Among her other experiences, she has led several international academic and cultural study exchanges and served as principal investigator for three county-level historic architectural surveys in North Carolina which resulted in publications such as Transylvania: The Architectural History of a Mountain County.

James Bartek, Ph.D.
Research Associate

An Ohio native, Bartek received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Kentucky under the direction of Mark Wahlgren Summers. His dissertation focused on the connection between race and noncombatant immunity during the Civil War Era. He has published articles in the New Mexico Historical Review, Military History of the West, and North & South Magazine and teaches military history at the University of Kentucky.

Carl C. Creason, M.A.
Research Specialist

Creason holds two master’s degrees in History, one from the University of Louisville (2016) and the other from Northwestern University (2018).  He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in History at Northwestern University, where he specializes in American religious history and the Civil War Era.  His dissertation project examines the development of Roman Catholic charitable institutions in the Ohio River Valley during the middle decades of the nineteenth century.  Creason has published articles on Border State prelates during the Civil War in American Catholic Studies and the U.S. Catholic Historian.  Prior to his graduate work, Creason earned a bachelor’s degree in History at Murray State University (2011), and worked in public education in far-western Kentucky as a substitute teacher and Early Edge instructor.  He is a native of Clinton, Hickman County, Kentucky.

Hailey Brangers, M.A. 
Research Specialist

A Louisville native, Brangers received her M.A. in History from the University of Louisville (2019), where she was part of the Public History program. Her thesis “The Tournament and Chivalry as Represented by Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, and Geoffrey Chaucer” examines the literal and figurative presence of women at the tournaments of romance literature produced between 1100-1400. Before joining CWGK, Brangers was part of the collections and curatorial department at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, KY. At Frazier, she transcribed several Civil War diaries and developed them into an educational program that examined the Civil War through diaries from opposing perspectives. Prior to her graduate work, she earned a B.A. in History with a track in Humanities from the University of Louisville (2017). 

Former CWGK Staff

Patrick A. Lewis, Ph.D.
Lewis was a member of CWGK from May 2012 to July 2019, and served as a member of the KHS staff for over a decade. He is currently the Scholar in Residence at the Filson Historical Society. He is also the author of For Slavery and Union: Benjamin Buckner and Kentucky Loyalties in the Civil War (Kentucky, 2015) and of essays in Civil War History and the Register. Lewis is a seasoned public historian, having worked for the National Park Service at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. While at KHS, he helped develop the new KHS HistoryMobile Civil War exhibit. More information about Lewis’s work on slavery, politics, and Civil War Kentucky—along with some inside information about the CWGK project—can be heard in recent interviews on The Rogue Historian and Civil War Talk Radio.

Emily D. Moses, M.A.
Research Associate

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a 2018 recipient of an M.A. in History from Mississippi State University, Moses came to CWGK in July 2018. Prior to her graduate studies, she served as a research intern and docent for Sloss Furnace National Historic Landmark in Birmingham. Moses conducts annotation research and amplifying CWGK’s outreach efforts to audiences of formal and informal learners.

Anthony P. Curtis, M.A.
Curtis was a CWGK staff member from 2012 to 2018. A 2005 recipient of an M.A. in History (with honors) from Marshall University, he led research efforts for not only CWGK but also a variety of projects at KHS and has significant expertise in managing historical collections as well as database- and XML-driven online exhibitions.

Matthew C. Hulbert, Ph.D.
Hulbert was a CWGK staff member from 2015 to 2016. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. A 2015 recipient of a Ph.D. in History from the University of Georgia, Hulbert won the 2016 C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize given by the Southern Historical Association. Hulbert is the author of The Ghosts of Guerrilla Memory: How Civil War Bushwhackers Became Gunslingers in the American West (Georgia, 2016) He has co-edited a collection of essays, The Civil War Guerrilla: Unfolding the Black Flag in History, Memory, and Myth (Kentucky, 2015), and has published essays in Civil War HistoryJournal of the Civil War Era, and Common-Place.

Whitney R. Smith, M.A.
Smith was a staff member from 2012 to 2018. A 2011 recipient of an M.A. in English from Indiana University–Indianapolis, Smith joined CWGK in June 2012. Before joining CWGK, Smith was assistant editor for the Frederick Douglass Papers and served as research assistant for the Santayana Edition, both housed at the Institute for American Thought at IUPUI. Smith coordinated project editorial policy and digital publication through TEI-XML, FileMaker, Omeka, and Drupal systems.

Natalie C. Smith, MLitt
Smith was a staff member from 2018-2019. A 2017 recipient of a Master of Letters from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Smith came to CWGK in 2018 from the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, where she was involved in civics educational outreach and gained archival experience working at the center’s Mitch McConnell and Elaine L. Chao Archives. Smith is an alum of the McConnell Scholars Program, the Kentucky Governors Scholars Program, and gained public history experience at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, Kentucky.