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article, written by Todd Preston, the president of the
Magoffin County Historical Society, was taken from the
May 24, 2007
THE SALYERSVILLE INDEPENDENT newspaper.
The Salyersville Independent is a weekly newspaper published and edited every Thursday. For inquires or comments, please write to P. O. Box 29, Salyersville, KY 41465. Yearly subscription rates are $22.00 in Kentucky and $26.00 per year out of state.
Founder’s Day 2007 hasn’t made many ripples in the minds of people thus far this year or so it seems. We are asking ourselves, what is the future of Founder’s Days? The annual event was basically set up to honor our forefathers and making their descendants more aware of their heritage. It would seem that our program has accomplished that goal these past twenty-nine years and we are proud to have been able to have done so.
Write to us at Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email: email@example.com). You can telephone our historical society at 606-349-1607 or visit our genealogy library at 191 South Church Street.
Father Time has taken its toll on many of our former contributors and helpers so we reluctantly have to admit we are finding it tougher to put on a Founder’s Day celebration the public has been accustomed to without more help.
We have received some news that may help put some life into the celebration this year. We will tell you more about this as the details get worked out. We will need to spruce up and fix up and we need more people to get involved before Founder’s Days fades into oblivion for lack of interest. Nuff said?
In our list of projects and plans that have been “in the mill” to be completed is the task of setting a memorial marker for Reuben Arnett. Now this is the Reuben who is the brother of Stephen Arnett who has a marker up river in the Swampton area. If Reuben’s descendants could see that marker I think they would be more concerned and band together to honor their ancestor. I’m not speaking of Reuben Jr. or Black Rube or any of the dozen or so other Reuben’s. This is Reuben Arnett b. 1784 and died in 1856, the son of David and Letty Arnett of Harlan County, KY. He married Susan Kilgore and they were the parents of Ann Arnett b. 1805 (m. William Howard); Stephen Arnett b. 1808 (m. Elizabeth Gullett); William Arnett b. 1809 (m. Jemima Ray); Ambrose Arnett b. 1811 (m. Susan Ray); David Arnett b. 1812 (m. Lydia Gullett); Nancy Arnett b. 1817 (m. Reuben Howard); Hiram Arnett b. 1819 (m. Serena Arnett); Letty Arnett (m. David J. Carty); Reuben Arnett, Jr. b. 1823 (m. Emaline Patrick); Mary “Polly” Arnett b. 1825 (m. Phillip Gose); Fetney Steve Arnett b. 1832 (m. Levisa Kennard and Susan Arnett); and Thomas Arnett b. 1837 (m. Eliza).
How many descendants does Reuben Arnett have out there? Hundreds? I say thousands. I would like to see this marker set as well as every patriarch of each of our early settlers of Magoffin County so that future generations can visit a memorial marker and say, “That’s MY ancestor!”
Another project underway is a marker for Jesse Gullett. We have brought this to you for consideration several times in the past and we are hopeful of bringing this to completion also.
We would like to thank Jim Jackson of Oregon for his donation. He also sent thanks to all those who donated toward the monument erected in the Penix Cemetery on Mash Fork at the gravesite of Smith and “Aunt” Sally Gardner Reed. You will remember that Mollie Conley and her sister Imogene Conley were the primary contributors toward this marker. Jim Jackson first found information on his ancestor in our Journal in a story written by the late Christine Kazee Auxier. This led him to visit our county and to meet with several people who had personal recollections of this great lady who lived on East Maple Street next door to Frank and Abbie (Conley) Kazee where Christine, Mollie and Imogene came to know her. My children also have a special fondness for “Aunt” Sally as she midwifed their mother. After the baby daughter of Glen and Jessie (Patrick) Prater’s was born, Aunt Sally went on her way down to attend prayer meeting at the Methodist Church and it is told she “shouted the rafters off” the church building that evening. Phyllis Joy Prater was brought into this world on February 12, 1932 and Aunt Sally died a couple of years later.
We found out a bit more about Mr. Jackson’s heritage on this visit. He will be retiring in a couple of years and has plans of spending more time in our area to research his family roots. He has found Green Gardner b. 1832 and wife Elizabeth Cockrell b. 1845 in the 1870 and 1880 Breathitt County census records. In 1880 their daughter Sally shows as age 10.
Greenville Clay Gardner died in 1907 and his wife died in 1916. Greenville and Elizabeth were the parents of Emily Gardner (m. George Lackey), James Gundy Gardner (m. 1. Biddie Collins and m. 2. Esther Wright); Alexander H. Gardner (m. Mamie Knight), Matilda J. Gardner (m. Abe L. Reed), Lou Ellen Gardner (m. Samuel Keeton), Mary B. Gardner b. 1876 d. 1894, Jenie C. Gardner, Joseph G. Gardner b. 1880 d. 1958, Jane Gardner, Blaine Gardner, Bessie Gardner, Setie Gardner, Gurtrude Gardner and Octavia Gardner b. 1891 d. 1894.
Karyl Hubbard, 824 Van Visia Dr., Omak, WA 98841 visited Tuesday researching the Prater, May, Allen and Hammon families. She signed out with this notation, “Neat place! I felt right at home.”
I took Karyl to the Joseph Hammon Cemetery at the mouth of Greasy and I was proud to find it in excellent condition. I thank Bart Hammond and his daughter of southern Ohio for the good work, someone even cut out the fallen pine tree that was blocking the road.
Karyl is the wife of Gerald Eugene Hubbard who was born in 1934 in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Hammond descendant through William Preston Hammon. She took pictures to show her husband.
Now, folks, I feel really proud when I see any cemetery cleaned up. This Joseph Hammon Cemetery was a jungle in 1978 when I first copied it. We set a large monument for Joseph Hamman there during the Hammond Founder’s Day.
Now that I’m knee deep in the subject of old neglected cemeteries, let’s move on down river to Bloomington to the John Hammon Cemetery, one that I’ve lost a lot of sweat bringing out of jungle-like surroundings. Ben Gardner, present land owner, has gone above and beyond his duty to keep it cleaned up. He hired it done last year and says he will do the same this year but wouldn’t mind receiving some help, monetary or otherwise.
We helped set a nice monument on that cemetery for John Hammon and John McGuire’s descendants set one there for him also.
Just when we think we have solved all the tough genealogy questions, another one pops up, such is the case this week.
Willis Conley and his wife of Chillicothe, OH visited. Willis is the son of Sterling Conley and grandson of Isaiah “Zer” Conley b. ca. 1882 d. ca. 1936 in OH. Zer married Gypsy Caudill b. 1886, sometimes referred to as Gypsy Shepherd. I believe her to be the granddaughter of “Aunt” Chaney Caudill b. ca. 1836 who shows up in 1870 Magoffin census listed as a free black person in Elder Benjamin and Abigail (Pennington) Caudill’s household. She married in 1873 to Hiram Collins at the home of Harris Howard and it is said there is a cemetery where Aunt Chaney may be buried but I have looked for it to no avail. I would like to see a monument set for Chaney.
The question is who was “Zer” Conley? There is a Zier Conley b. 1878 listed as work hand in the home of Benjamin Salyer and Willis thinks this may be his Zer. I did not find him in the 1880 Magoffin census. Willis thinks he was the son of David and Nancy Ann Conley; we solicit your help in unraveling this Conley family history.
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