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This article, written by Todd Preston,
President of the Magoffin County Historical Society, was taken from the
April 24, 2008
THE SALYERSVILLE INDEPENDENT newspaper.
Salyersville Independent is a weekly newspaper published and
edited by Michael David Prater, P. O. Box 29, Salyersville, KY 41465. Telephone
(606) 349-2915. Yearly subscription rates are $24.00
in Kentucky and $30.00 per year
out of state.
surprise of surprises was bestowed upon me Saturday afternoon (April 12,
2008)! After an unsuccessful attempt to harvest a turkey on the opening
day of hunting season, I had settled down to rest a bit and was about
half asleep when my eldest daughter telephoned me to say that some folks
wanted to see me at the historical society and that I should not wear my
hunting clothes when I came down. This was not an unusual telephone
call as Theresa is an employee of the Seasonal Shop across the street
and, on occasion, when visitors come to town and find our doors locked
they go to that shop and inquire when or how they can get in to the
historical society so I didn’t think too much about it.
When I came down town I saw that our parking lot was full of
vehicles and some had out of state tags. That set me to wondering,
especially when my great grandson Jesse Brown came to meet me and led me
to the door. I stood dumbfounded to see such a crowd and when they
started applauding my entrance, I got weak-kneed!
I found there was a surprise celebration of the 30th
anniversary of the Magoffin County Historical Society going on honoring
the founding members, the late Stanley Gardner, vice president, Connie
Wireman, secretary-treasurer and Ol’ Todd, president.
Well, by the time I came to my senses (that are might nigh
gone - smile) and started shaking hands with such people as Dr. Charles
Hardin, county judge executive of Magoffin, Paul and Helen Bailey of
Wheatfield, IN, Jim and Garnet Brammer of OH, Bruce and Jo Stephens of
Hazard, KY, Brian Ann Arnett of Lexington, KY, Roger Kelley and his wife
Lynn of Berea, KY my sister Jane Conley of Dayton, OH and lots and lots
of other visitors, I was on Cloud Nine.
Connie was a bit late and when she got here there were more
hurrahs and welcoming hugs and handshakes.
A program had been written up and prepared by Charlotte Gillum
and Dorothy Wireman. On the program was a welcome by A. B. Conley,
testimonials from the audience, presenting of plaques by Judge Hardin
and Charlotte Gillum, responses from Connie and Todd and after grace was
said by Belsey Connelley, we all enjoyed a scrumptious meal prepared by
several local people. The highlight of the meal was an anniversary cake
prepared by Ms. Kay Conley Bentley and she had even made small cakes
with the founding members names inscribed. I’ve later learned she came
up with this whole idea of the 30th anniversary, all the time pretending
to be working up a class reunion!! She and Dallas have been hard working
members of the historical society for many years.
My daughter Jessica had prepared a video with various scenes
of early days of the historical society along with many pictures of
Stanley, Connie and I with our families. We enjoyed and appreciated
this very much.
I was extremely proud to have been one of the honorees. The
late Stanley Gardner deserves much praise and accolades for his part in
organizing the historical society and establishing the work ethics early
on for preserving our history and genealogy. He spent his lunch breaks
for well over a year working on copying the Magoffin County marriage
records which was among our first publications. He and Connie worked
very meticulously to make sure they copied all the information on the
certificates that was available and this set the tone for our future
The major portion of honor has to be to Connie and Austin
Wireman and to Connie’s parents, Arvel W. and Mae (Shepherd) Arnett. I
sincerely doubt that the historical society would be able to bask in the
sunshine of success without Arvel who gave advice and assistance. In
addition he and daughter Madge served as couriers in transporting
materials from the historical society to Connie for her to arrange and
type. They also carried many boxes of mail and packages to the
Fredville Post Office where Mae and her daughters would take over and do
the tedious job of preparing them for sending off to our members. From
the time their children Kim and Bill were preschoolers Austin and Connie
traveled many miles, copying cemeteries, doing courthouse research,
traveling far and near to bring us supplies and visiting people to glean
information, so much so that once when Austin was asked how many miles
his new truck had, young Bill answered “Seventy-five thousand HISTORICAL
Connie and I would like to thank everyone who had any part in
this celebration, especially all those who were here with us, those who
planned, cooked, brought refreshments, sent cards, and in other ways let
us know they were thinking of us.
We understand that Jack and Wanda Reed of Bowersville, OH had
wanted to be here for the celebration but Jack ended up in the
hospital. We send our get well wishes and hope to see them soon!
When we were planning our first Founder’s Days back in 1979,
Mr. Tim Bostic, one of our early boosters and also editor of the
Salyersville Independent predicted we could probably last for 10 to 15
years. Well, we’ve sort of outlived your prognostication, Tim. This
society might just outlive you and me. ‘Nuff said?
We will attempt to come back down to earth and get on back to
work with some of our queries. Alice Faye Alsept wrote that she is the
granddaughter of the late Kash Alsept and Alice Davis. She has been
trying to find out more info about a mail carrier whose last name might
have been Walters. This was Moses Walters, “The Singing Mailman” who
was honored by Charles Kuralt in his television program, Traveling
Across America, several years ago. We have that story in our
Pioneer Village post office.
I personally knew Moses Walters, meeting and talking with him
on several different occasions when I was the conservation officer in
the early fifties. One time I offered to take part of an extra heavy
load of mail for him over to Cow Creek but Moses refused to accept help.
I can understand as I was also a horseback mail carrier from Falcon to
Mash Fork thence on to Conley on Rock House, thence back to Falcon.
There was one big difference in Moses and myself. I was about 16 and
had to walk a mile to the starting point and then walk that mile back
home when I had finished but it paid fifty cents a day for a round trip
and that sure beat hoeing corn all day for the same amount!
By the way, Moses Walters is one of the subjects covered in
Volume 4 of our Life Along the Licking River series. We really
appreciate all the nice comments we have heard back from people who
purchased these volumes.
Alice said her father was 78 years “young”. Well, I’m about a
month away from being 80 years old and I’ve spent the last couple of
days turkey hunting and still doing some dog training and cemetery
hunting. I visited the Kash Alsept Cemetery last week but missed
another cemetery on the opposite side of the hill so I won’t be
satisfied until I go back and find it. More bragging...smile!
Thanks for the
letters and phone calls that continue to come in to the Magoffin County
Historical Society, PO Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email:
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