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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
January 21, 2010 issue of THE SALYERSVILLE INDEPENDENT newspaper.

The Salyersville Independent , a weekly newspaper.
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 “big yellow school buses” that the late Nolan “Country Cousin” Hall of the WRLV radio station here in Salyersville used to warn us to watch out for haven’t been on the roads since before the Christmas break and from the weather reports, it will be a few more days before our schools will be in session again.  We have had some very cold temperatures along with snow and sleet.  I realize it is nothing compared to the weather a little south of us and, on top of that, some areas there do not have drinking water.  Of course, I don’t imagine that our cousins up north are sitting out under their shade trees either!

            Now, I’m going to report an episode that I took for the truth…a fellow I was discussing the weather with told me he ran over a black snake on the highway today.  Another fellow told me he had run over one the day before and stopped to investigate.  He said he traced it back to where it came out of its hole in the snow! 

            I keep watching for the Ol’ groundhog that took up residence under one of our log cabins in the Pioneer Village last fall but he or she must be still sleeping soundly.

            Another little oddity of note, I have put out quite a bit of bird feed here in the village and at home but I have not seen any evidence that any of it is being consumed.  Are there fewer birds this winter?

            We have had several deaths here in our community in recent days.  We are very sorry for the loss of Mrs. Byron (Betty Wireman) Salyer.  A few years ago, her family gave us some items for the Pioneer Village; one being a set of wall maps such as were once used in the old one-room schools.  We also have excellent examples of her grandson Jeremy’s artwork in our archives building. 

Another of our losses is the patriarch of the Big Half Mountain area, Clyde Holiday who has folded his hands in pleasant sleep and taken his flight with the angels. Clyde was a Magoffin County school bus driver in earlier times and has many friends, young and old.  I daresay that there are few who could outtalk my old buddy, especially when he got to bragging on his cowherd.  Now, if you saw his nice farm and pastures, you could see that he had reason to do a little bragging, he was a hardworking man.

Ms. Dorothy Shepherd Wireman has lost her brother, Clarence Edward “Jake” Shepherd, after a long illness.  We are deeply saddened by her loss and we surely miss her here at “headquarters” as I, a very senior “senior citizen” can hardly answer the phone and have never even turned on a computer, etc.  We are trying to keep things going the best we can while she is away. We send our condolences to her family and all those who have lost their loved ones.  

Our members have been calling about their winter issue of the Journal of the Magoffin County Historical Society.  We were hampered in getting it sent out in a timely fashion when our copier quit working then Ms. Dorothy’s absence will make it somewhat later, so bear with us here at the “home-twenty”.  We will eventually get it in the mail.

The planning committee of the Sesquicentennial celebration for Magoffin County for this year has also had some setbacks caused by the weather, as several meetings have had to be cancelled or postponed.  We are pressing on with our plans to organize a Civil War Re-enactment of the “Battle of Puncheon Creek/Half Mountain” in the spring. A Magoffin County delegation was scheduled to travel to Whitesburg to work out some plans last Friday but the meeting had to be called off due to the weather.  We have had individuals and groups of both Union and Confederate re-enactors visiting us and helping us with suggestions toward having a successful event. 

I hear also that many of our “Southern Belles” are making or obtaining those Civil War period hoop dresses so they can get into the act as there is to be a Southern Ball to round out this activity. 

Folks, this is only one event of the Sesquicentennial and what I’m building up to is that we hope your organization might be enticed to have some type of happening to “further the cause”.  For instance, the four local United Baptist churches are commemorating the 200th birthday of the local Burning Springs Church in conjunction with Magoffin County’s 150th birthday.

So far, only Barbara Reed Patrick has committed to try to have some type of special event for the Sesquicentennial.  Now, I am only one of several members of the committee and since we have missed a couple of meetings, there may be others that I am not aware of who are also planning events.  We would like to see every organization get into the spirit of celebrating this special birthday of Magoffin County.

We thank those who have written and called. Our telephone number is 606-349-1607.   If you would like to contact us by mail, write Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email:

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