The “Reading the
River” group went to the Straight Fork of the Licking River on June 19
th. This is an educational outreach program of the
Northern Kentucky University and any teacher who desires to further
their education can become a member of this expedition that starts at
the headwaters of the Licking River which we refer to as the “Spring” This is only their first leg of their week of visiting other watersheds in eastern Kentucky.
Montgomery, A. B. Conley and I went to the “Spring” a couple of
weeks ago as a tree had fallen over large rock where the spring is
supposed to bubble up but no water was flowing so A. B. and James
went down a ways and found water then cleaned out the spring.
On Monday James
and I met this group at Charlene Osborne's church at 10 a.m. and it
was misting rain. We traveled on up as far as the
minibus could get. The members of the Reading the River group had
raingear so started hiking. I brought up the rear as I could drive
up and I hauled some of their heavier equipment and picked up a
couple of the group along the way.
Over into the
spring area they went for pictures. James discovered the second
spring had dried up but found another spring lower down where they
could take samples.
We came back
down to the church where the group was to eat their lunch. James and
I came back to the home-twenty and found A. B. Conley, Toddie
Preston and Chad Daniels cooking a big kettle of soup beans and the
home-twenty ladies had brought in cornbread and other goodies so
when the river group got here at about five o'clock, we sat down to
a scrumptious meal. They then had their final
orientation in our archives building before departing for Morehead.
We want to
thank Charlene and her family for permitting the group to visit the
area and the church and we thank A. B., Toddie , Ruth Anna, Dorothy,
Stacey, Leola, Jessica, Haley, Lisa, Jean, also Ruth Anna's pastor
and his wife Robert and Eula Simmons for all the good food.
We extend a great big thanks to Dennis Prater, District Judge, for
coming in and greeting this group. Northern Kentucky University is
his alma mater. What all of you have done will be remembered by
twenty-five out of county people and their instructors. These people
will spread the word of the congeniality of Magoffin County to a
“bunch” of classrooms in our state and that is promotion of tourism
at its best!
society can't afford to advertise as some other parks or centers can
but we survive by word of mouth from those who visit and tell
The search of
Magoffin County cemeteries goes on! James Montgomery and
I headed up Route 7 to Brushy one day and picked up Ray Shepherd who
served as our guide. We visited the cemeteries where known veteran's
are buried back downstream to Rt. 7 then went upstream to Spruce
Pine and crossed over into the head of Brushy to the Stephens-Bailey
Cemetery which is a very large and well kept cemetery. I
wanted to show James that section between this cemetery and the Dan
Wireman Cemetery where we had picked up Ray Shepherd and I really
don't advise travel in this area except by ATV's. We did
make it because Ray knew where to get out of the creek bed onto the
4-wheeler trails but we almost lost it right across from the Sulphur
Springs which I had visited a couple of years ago. We made it
through and visited cemeteries on Route 7 and “thereabouts”,
including the Dan Shepherd Cemetery .
James and I
went to Howard's Branch on Thursday evening and visited cemeteries
in that area. We found several veterans' graves. I wanted to visit
the Doc Bill Howard Cemetery where Connie A. Wireman and Taylor
Reffitt have had new stones put up earlier this spring.
After quite a bit of inquiry we found it, actually an Arnett lady
came down to show us the cemetery. This is an example of
how nice people are. She offered to help in cleaning up this
Branch we stopped at “Big” John Montgomery's store for a thirst
quencher before going up Trace or 542. I had traveled that road many
times even helped dedicate a Confederate marker for Morgan Wireman a
few years ago down near the mouth but I hadn't been on the left fork
so this was “new ground” for me. Well, we found several
cemeteries but the most memorable was the Malcolm Wireman Cemetery .
We had been told to go up a driveway to a house then go through the
yard to the cemetery. We were reluctant to drive through the lawn so
we started out walking and finally found the cemetery on the very
top of the hill. I hung my cane on the chain link fence
and proceeded to copy and take pictures. I had gone by Malcolm Jr.'s
grave as some flowers had grown up and obscured the dates so on the
way out I suggested that James push them aside so I could see the
dates. As he started to do this he saw some movement; yep it was a
copperhead snake! So instead of James parting the
flowers he zapped the snake then threw it over the fence.
You can guess we became a little more cautious after that.
We traveled on
up and got on an old coal haul road which James said went into
Breathitt County . It was getting late so I didn't go all the way up
this hill. We came back down and passed Jake Wireman
Fork which James said was nearly as long as the one we had just
traveled so I won't be satisfied until I explore that fork of Trace.
We make this
one last plea for you to send in your veteran's material for our
upcoming veteran's book as the publishing format is alphabetical.
Take notice as we are way past our original deadline. We
need the soldier's discharge info, picture in uniform, a family
picture, etc. so make this your No. 1 priority this week.
We have visited
most of the cemeteries where veterans are interred and at present I
have 550 pictures of veteran's foot or headstones. I realize there
are a lot of veterans that don't have identifying inscriptions
designating them to be veterans and I also know I didn't visit all
cemeteries so this is not a conclusive report of all veteran's
graves. Now, what have I gotten out of all this
traveling besides a lot of miles on my Rodeo? I now have
a better picture in my mind of all the areas of our county and I
have seen some of the most beautiful areas. Of course there are a
few “scars” here and there. I have met some of the
nicest people along the way and had some of the best “guides” who
have shown me the “way”. Without their help I could not have done
what I have been able to do so I appreciate all who have extended a
helping hand. Perhaps Ashland Oil has become a bit
richer for I've “filled up” the Rodeo about twice a week at Super
America, averaging $30 at a time. Rite-Aid was another
benefactor as I've averaged getting two rolls of film developed a
week. I think Magoffin County as benefited from all this as well as
all of this will be put into print for future generations and I know
Ol ' Todd has had a ball! No, I've not quit but have to
slow down a wee bit and get the grass cut around the Pioneer Village
Send or bring info in to 191 South Church Street in Salyersville, write Box 222 , Salyersville , KY 41465 (email
). Our telephone number is 606-349-1607.