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  Magoffin County Historical Society 
"Preserving Our Past for the Future"

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This article, written by Todd Preston, the president of the Magoffin County Historical Society, was taken from the May 31, 2007 issue of 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.


                As I write this, Memorial Day is still a couple of days away and I haven’t gotten around to all the cemeteries I usually clean up.  I did get to my Helton ancestor’s cemetery this Wednesday evening and was able to use a weed-eater and get it in shape in about 3 hours.  As I worked, my thoughts went back to yesteryear when it would take Mom and her brood of “youngins” nearly all day to do the job as Mom fought the myrtle vine that threatened to cover the cemetery year after year.  She would dig it up by the roots. Now it is poised right up to the cemetery boundary, ready to take it over again.  It lays like a green carpet on all four sides.
                I want to try to get to Paintsville in the next couple of days as there are 3 family connected cemeteries in that locale that I want to work on.
                Mrs. Bridie (Hale) Shepherd had donated several special school books to the historical society and this week she brought us a cabinet to display them in. It is now in our schoolhouse cabin.  Bridie said she would also bring in a skin board that was used in pioneer times in the process of tanning animal hides. She suggested we put it in the Muzzleloader shop to show the tanning process.  She also brought a Civil War book, the Confederacy 1861-1865.  We commend Mrs. Shepherd for her thoughtfulness. These are great additions to the Pioneer Village.
                John Culbertson’s children visited Monday and pulled weeds out of our flower beds.  We thank them for their work in helping keep things looking nice around here.
                Eula Slone of Hilliard, OH dropped in for a visit and left a monetary donation which is much appreciated. We are in need of some US flags as ours need to be replaced.
                Brian Conley has donated a bridge that I plan to put at the Doc Bill Howard Cemetery on Howard’s Branch, off KY Rt. 7.  Ola and Bud Hall and other family and community people are interested in seeing this cemetery cleaned and having some markers set.
                Mary Zapata (marymare3 wrote to try to find her gr/grandmother’s identity. She may have been married to Grogertine Dyer and had a son Mitchel Dyer. Grogertine is thought to have been part Native American who came north and married her gr/grandmother.
                The 1930 census of Magoffin County lists “Grotine” Dyer age 26 (b. 1904), wife Hattie Davis age 26, and children Bessie age 10, James age 7, Carlos age 5 and Sonie age 2. Mitchel is not listed and may be the “Sonie age 2” or could have been born after 1930. The 1940 census has not been released yet.  A cousin of theirs, Herman Dyer, says Mitchel was Hattie’s son.
                Hattie was the dau of Joseph Davis b. 1863 and Celia Alsept. Celia was born in 1870, the dau of Robert Alsept (or Patrick), Pvt. Co. D, 45th Mtd. Inf. CSA, during Civil War times.  He married Jane Risner b. 1827, dau of Michael Risner.
                Robert was a son of Elizabeth Alsept and Henry Patrick. I do not see any Native American blood lines in this family.
                Ernie Nichols (mountanaman95 wrote to us concerning the Gibson children who are buried on top of the point in front of the former R. C. May store and sort of adjacent to the late Kermit McNew’s barn.  Kermit told me several years ago that he had been told that some Gibson children were buried in that area. I made a search but there seemed to have been some dozing done in the area and I found nothing.
                Later, Bill Minix’s son told me he had once found a grave in that general locality. I have not followed up on this info yet.
                The cemetery where the two graves are located that the forest fire fighters told me about is located up on the point in front of the old R. C. May store location. It is shaded by a large oak tree which has kept the location clear of undergrowth. I didn’t make an extensive search as it was late evening and no place for an ol’ man to break a leg or worse!
                Ernie mentioned that his uncles said his mother Mary Belle Perkins Nichols had a couple of children buried somewhere in that area so I am printing this to ask our readers to talk with our older people who may be able to answer the question as to the Nichols children’s burial site.
                Prentice R. Pelfrey, 9048 Rockcliff Dr., Easton, MD 21601, and his wife visited Saturday morning. His ancestor chart reads as follows: Hillyard Pelfrey b. 1889, son of Tilden Pelfrey b. 1877. Tilden was a son of Wm. Riley Pelfrey b. 1841 and a grandson of Daniel Pelfrey b. 1818. Daniel was a son of William Pelfrey b. 1794 Montgomery Co. VA and a grandson of William Pelfrey, Sr. b. 1766 who married Elizabeth Quarrels.
                William Pelfrey, Jr. married in 1814 Floyd Co. KY to Nancy Hannah (as found in the 1850 Johnson Co. KY census).  Daniel Pelfrey married Remember Roten b. 1810 d. 1874, dau of John Roten and Elender (found in the 1860 Morgan Co. KY census).
                William Riley Pelfrey married Nancy -?- b. ca. 1842-1859. William Riley is found in the 1860 Morgan as well as the 1900 Wolfe Co. KY census.
                Tilden Pelfrey married Lucy -?- b. 1879 and found in the 1900 Wolfe Co. census.  Hillard Pelfrey married Lucy –?- b. 1895 and she is found in the 1920 Wolfe Co. census.
                Prentice was looking for the Pelfrey Cemetery on Cemetery Road in Magoffin but I sent him on to Morgan County.  I hope he found the info he needed in West Liberty but in case he didn’t, I’m asking anyone with knowledge of this Pelfrey Cemetery to contact him.
                Jodi Wright and her family of Lucasville, OH have been searching for the burial site of Elder James Conley b. 1846 d. 1915, minister of the Bonanza United Baptist Church. He had a daughter, Fanna Conley who married Albert Pace.
                James was a son of Thomas Connelly, Jr. and Mahala Davis. Mahala was born in 1832, a dau of James Davis and Catherine Salyer. James was a son of Richard Davis b. 1773. Thomas was a son of Thomas Connelly b. 1777 and Susan Joynes b. 1770. Susan was a dau of Thomas Joynes and Sarah Caudill.
                Thomas Connelly was a son of Capt. Henry Connelly and Ann McGregor. Can anyone help with identifying the burial site of Elder James Conley?           

Attending the monthly meeting were Carolyn Wright, Juanita Toft, Roy “Todd” Preston, James C. Montgomery, Connie A. Wireman, Dallas Bentley, Kay Bentley, Jodi Wright, Jill Cole, Leola Cole and Belsey Connelley.  We have heard from some people interested in helping with Founder’s Day 2007 which will feature the Carpenter family along with various family, church and school reunions this coming Labor Day.  If you are interested in getting involved with the events, let us hear from you.            

Write to the Magoffin County Historical Society, Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email:, telephone 606-349-1607 or come in to visit us at 191 South Church Street in Salyersville.

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