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This article, written by Todd Preston, the president of the Magoffin County Historical Society, was taken from the
September 13, 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.
It is Labor Day Monday as I write this. Here at the historical society we measure the years not by the calendar but by Founder’s Days and now we are looking back on another enjoyable and successful event here in Magoffin County, our 29th!
The week before Founder’s Days was devoted to tours by county school children which we greatly enjoyed. This year Mrs. Brickey, Mrs. Allen and Mrs. May brought their students for a special tour. This was their first visit to the Pioneer Village and we invite them to come back again.
We began on Tuesday again this year with our opening ceremony to kick off the week-long activities. Again we had the pleasure of having the Magoffin County Muzzleloaders and the Boy Scouts with troop leaders Haskel Sizemore and Ralph Mullins helping with this event as well as Saturday’s dedication ceremony. Our Carpenter family marker did not arrive in time for Founder’s Days so James Montgomery and I fashioned a temporary marker that was set in place to indicate where the permanent marker would be placed and its inscription. Our program was made even more enjoyable by having Burl Cole along with the Prater Memorial Methodist Church choir singing for us. We thank them all for the joyful music. Special thanks to James Montgomery and Belsey Connelley for serving as chairpersons for this event. The opening night was rounded off by the Baby Pageant with directors Jessica Preston, Lisa Preston, Paula Montgomery, Abbie Conley and Theresa Dotson as well as Katie Prater helping with this eagerly anticipated event.
Lisa Swiger and Tonya Ward did an excellent job with the Children’s Pageants on Wednesday night. Again we were awed by the talent and poise displayed by our young people. The parents are to be commended for their help with costumes and props for the baby and children’s pageants.
The following two evenings were devoted to the Miss Teen Pageant with directors Tanika Howard and Olivia Bailey and Jincy Bailey’s Miss Magoffin Pageant. Some of those who helped with the event were Melodye Stephens, Tanika Howard, Ginger Oney, Jill Johnson and C. C. Russell. Our talented young people make Magoffin County proud!
Friday was our first all day portion of Founder’s Days. Brooke Jenkins had a very successful Heritage and Cultural Arts Show, along with a Culinary Arts Competition at the Magoffin County Extension Office. Ty Back, 4-H Agent, conducted the ever-popular Pet Show with people coming from far and near to show and to see animals of all sizes and kinds.
We thank the Magoffin County School system for dismissing school so that students and their families could attend the school events. Our students and teachers all over the county helped prepare for it. This event was under the direction of Charlotte Gillum, Theresa Miller and Jaynie Poe and they were joined by teachers from our grade schools who gave up a “free” day to support the participating students. They are all to be commended for their dedication to our county’s young people. Immediately following the Spelling Bee, Art and Math Contests we had the Herald Whitaker Middle School Drama Club performing A Musical Salute to Famous Kentuckians. We know there were many teachers who worked with them for their performance and two of them were on stage, Tim Cain and Debbie Cain. The Middle School students were amazing and showed so much talent. We were thrilled to have two of those performers the students saluted appear in person on our outdoor theater stage, Tom J. Whitaker and Charlie Sizemore! These two represent Magoffin County success stories, Tom with his art and music and Charlie with his music along with his law career. Both just happen to have been born and raised in the Puncheon Creek area off KY Rt. 7 here in Magoffin. Charlie has a newly released album, GOOD NEWS released by Rounder Records that from all indications is going to be a real winner!
That wasn’t all the good music we had on our stage, Toddie Preston appeared with Arnett Bros. & Co. Band and Rodney Marshall from Michigan rounded out a real winning afternoon of music. Rodney is a very talented young man who was born in the Gun Creek area near Royalton.
Saturday was our big day for visitors to our county as we met new people and renewed acquaintances with lots of former and present residents of our county. We think everyone was surprised to learn that so many of our local people are related to the Carpenter family, we are having people come in to look at our genealogy chart that shows their relationship to this family. Remember that we would like to set a new memorial marker for the ancestor of the Carpenters, Fielding Carpenter, who is buried in Breathitt County. We were proud of our Grand Marshals who represented their ancestors so well. They were George Carpenter, John Carpenter, Leonard Carpenter, G. V. Joseph, Christine Lyon and Tressie Oney. Special thanks to Carter Conley and the Rescue Squad and the Volunteer Fire Departments for directing a grand parade. The entries were fantastic and we appreciated the help of Katie Prater and Dave Blair. They were joined by one of our special visitors, John Britton.
Tonya Ward and Lisa Swiger were hard at work again right after the parade bringing the Look Alike Contest and a talent showcase to our stage. We can’t thank these two enough for all they do to make Founder’s Days successful; we believe this was their 16th year to help direct events, not counting all the other years when they worked in other capacities.
Sunday was family day in Salyersville as church services were held at the Pioneer Village Church by the State Road United Baptist Church. Eddith Hensley, Donna Miller, Jessica Preston, Betty Whittaker and Dorothy Wireman had helped prepare for the homecoming dinner that was held at the Hall Community Center. A wonderful array of food was ready for the visitors who shared dishes of their own for a bountiful feast. Eddith is a big help to us each year as she keeps the community center open for our use as well as cooks and cleans and makes everyone feel welcome. We enjoyed having Eddith, Dorothy, Betty, Donna and Jessica working in our own kitchen the day before, the busy cooks and delightful smells added to the festive atmosphere!
Eagerly awaited each year is the Gospel Sing at the cabins with directors Joe Carroll and Phillip Caudill. We had so many nice comments from those attending who enjoyed the music provided by the various groups. Thanks, Joe and Phillip!
I don’t think we could have survived without our helpers who came in from other areas to help “put on the show”. Bob and Betty Whittaker came from Piedmont, SC and spent the whole week here, Betty mostly worked inside helping Dorothy, and Bob helped Ol’ Todd outside getting the last-minute jobs done and picking up trash until it looked like there would be no end to that chore. Rumpke hauled six big trash bins away. A lot of others got out and helped clean up also, even my nephew Roger Kelly of Berea got in on the act. I can’t mention all the helpers but I’m grateful to my daughters, Abbie and Jessica and grandson Cory Dotson, plus Dorothy Wireman. On Friday we worked until 1:30 in the morning.
Sharon Nutt and her twin sister Karen helped us by cleaning up headquarters and they did a great job. Alma Shepherd Holiday, Jodi Wright and her mother Carolyn helped on Saturday by keeping the cabins open. This was a real plus for the visitors to our area.
John Britton and his wife Debbie pitched right in and helped with the jobs that needed doing. John is a descendant of the Risner family and has researched his family for several years; we are currently working on a story of his genealogy search that is fascinating so watch for it in our historical society Journal!
On Sunday afternoon a group of us went to Hawes Fork to set a couple of Manns markers in two different cemeteries, a confederate marker for William Mann and, on the way back, one for Elijah Manns, grandfather of Herley Manns.
These two cemeteries are close together, one on either side of the creek, but it is quite a walk between them, GPS N-37-34.535 W-83-05.608. Those making this trek were Bob Whittaker, Herley Manns and his wife Margie, Paul and Helen Bailey of IN, John and Debbie Britton from Columbus, OH, plus Ol’ Todd, J. W. Back and Dave Risner trailing along. We had a little dedication at each cemetery and took lots of pictures.
This Monday, Labor Day, we picked up the Joseph Conley Confederate marker to set in the Samuel Bailey/Nancy Runyon Cemetery on the Straight Fork of Licking near the spring. This group consisted of Bob Whittaker, Herley Manns, James Montgomery, Willie Conley, Joe Skeens and myself. Now, this didn’t mean that headquarters was shut down, no siree! Connie, Betty Whittaker and Donna Miller kept a steady pace helping everyone who came in to do research. Donna even took over the tour guide job! Thanks to them all!
Yes, it’s been a hectic week and the hard work was worth it all. When you see so many happy faces of those who took part in the many events such as pageants, pet shows, school events, etc. as well as those who were visiting our county for Founder’s Days. My great-grandson Jesse Brown took first place in the first grade art contest and Ol’ Todd was mighty proud. Just think of all the dozens of other youngsters and teenagers who had the experience of standing in front of an audience which numbered in the thousands for some events. Bob Whittaker and I attempted to take pictures of that great sea of people from our archives building but couldn’t capture them all from our vantage point and this didn’t include the hundred or so who weren’t in the bleacher area.
The search for ancestors is a never ending quest here at our library and we could fill a book with all the people who come through our portals during Founder’s Days, for instance, among many others a young lady came in yesterday. She didn’t sign in but was married to a Stacy and was attending a Stacy Reunion in West Liberty. She wanted directions to the Robert Hoskins Cemetery and I started drawing out a map for her. I gave up and just took her to that cemetery plus a couple more Hoskins cemeteries. She was so appreciative and thought I “hung the moon”! This tour guiding doesn’t get to happen all the time but is very much enjoyed.
Jesse Stamper (leecorydon @juno.com) writes that he is a descendant of Archibald Prater, Caleb May, Jeremiah Patrick as well as the McGuire, Blair, Minix and Fugate family and asks if we have info on those families. He writes he really needs help on the ancestry of Caleb May. I haven’t heard of anyone who has discovered the names of Caleb’s parents.
John H. and Lois H. Shepherd of 25335 Wilderness CC Dr., SE Maple Valley, WA 98038 (johnloho6 @comcast.net) sent a query. John H.’s father was born in 1909, son of Thomas B. Shepherd and gr/son of Hiram Shepherd b. 1878. Hiram was a son of Alamander Shepherd b. 1855 and grandson of John Shepherd b. 1812. John was a son of David Henderson Shepherd b. 1793 and a grandson of Jonathan Shepherd.
Hiram married Minnie Montgomery, dau of Crittendon Montgomery. Crit was a son of Samuel Montgomery and Catherine Sizemore. Catherine was a dau of George Sizemore and Sallie Anderson. Sallie’s father was George Anderson from TN.
Thomas B. Shepherd m. Margaret Miller b. 1903, dau of Nehemiah “Miar” Miller. Miar was a son of Anderson Jackson Miller and a grandson of Elizabeth Miller. Miar Miller married in 1892 to Mary Levana Waddle, dau of Thomas Waddle, Jr. and gr/dau of Thomas Waddle, Sr.
The work hasn’t stopped here at the historical society. We have the 3rd Journal of the year ready to mail out to members and work is starting on another important publication. The telephone number at our genealogy library is 606-349-1607 and our mailing address is Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email: Magoffin@foothills.net ).
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