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

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This article, written by Todd Preston, President of the Magoffin County Historical Society, was taken from the April 24, 2008 issue of THE SALYERSVILLE INDEPENDENT newspaper.

The 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.

          The 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 endeavors. 
          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 miles!” 
          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!

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:, telephone 606-349-1607.

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