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  Magoffin County Historical Society 
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This article, written by Todd Preston, president of the Magoffin County Historical Society, was taken from the
September 15, 2016  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 $32.00 per year out of state.

This week we are taking time to inquire about some of our Magoffin County families about whom we have only sparse information. We would appreciate any further info that you may have on the Riggs, the Day and/or the Medley families who have ancestral ties to Magoffin County. Please contact us at Magoffin County Historical Society, PO Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 or email

The name of "Bill Riggs" has been mentioned a few times when the stories of old homes were being told to us, especially in the upper reaches of the Licking River area. We had been told that he was a house carpenter but no one seemed to know of his origin or ancestry.

We looked in some census records of our county and found a William C. Riggs, age 28, with the notation that he was a "carpenter" in the first census of Magoffin County (1860). His wife’s name was Margaret and she was age 30. Three children were in the household: Mary H. Riggs age 6, John P. Riggs age 4 and Susannah Riggs age 1.

By 1870 William C. Riggs had moved to Greenup Co. KY and his age was given as 35, b. West Virginia. In this census year his wife’s name was listed as Lorena age 27. There were 3 children in the household, Mary age 15, Susan age 12 and one named William Riggs age 10. There was no mention of the child John P. Riggs born about 1856.

In the Vital Statistics we found that the child William Riggs was 28 Jun 1860 in Magoffin County to William Riggs and Margaret Neely.

This gave us a clue as to William C. Riggs’ first wife. We found that one Margaret Neely married in Scott Co. VA on 23 Feb 1853 to William C. Riggs.

Margaret Neely was born in 1832, a daughter of David Neeley. It appears that Margaret Neely Riggs died after Jun 1860 when her son William, Jr. was born. On 10 July 1865 William C. Riggs married 2nd to Lorena Brown born about 1843, a daughter of David Brown and Izana Pitts. David and Izana lived in the section known as the Brown Mountain in the Galdia, KY community about 7 miles southeast of Royalton, KY.

William Riggs’ daughter Mary can be found in the Greenup, KY area where she married Dan Holloway. William and his wife Lorena moved on to Cincinnati, OH and his daughter Susan was still in the household in 1880 at age 21.

We next find William C. Riggs in 1910 at age 81 and widowed in the home of his daughter Mary and husband Daniel Holloway. They lived on Brushey Road of Schultz in Greenup Co. KY.

We do not know if William and Lorena had children of their own and do not know of his early family history. Some census listings give his birthplace as Virginia.

Another family with connections to Magoffin County that we have been researching is that of Joseph C. Day (born ca. 1829) and his wife Elizabeth "Lizzie" Cooper (b. ca. 1834). They both gave their place of residence as Lick Creek when they married on 10 Jan 1858 in Morgan Co. KY.

We have their children as (1) Mary Day b. 1857 d. 1935 Caney, Morgan Co. KY m. Daniel Bays, (2) Julia Day b. 1862, (3) William Day b. 1864, (4) George Day b. 1866 and James Day b. 1876. In 1880 this family lived on Middle Fork of Magoffin County; there was also a 1-year old grandson, Cortise Day in their household.

Another family that we have little info on is the Medley family. Julius Johnson Medley was born about 1829 in North Carolina (according to the entry in the 1860 Magoffin Co. KY census). We first found him in the 1850 Floyd County census, apparently in the area that became Magoffin County in 1860. Their 1850 neighbors were Samuel and Jane Rice, Alfred and Bertha Crace and Tom and Susan Bays.

In 1850 Julius Medley was in the household of his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Fletcher (sometimes referred to with the surnames of Miles or Arnett). Julius Medley had married her daughter Celia and they had a two-year old daughter Elizabeth (b. 1848). Elizabeth Fletcher age was given as 64 and her birthplace as Virginia. Also in the home was Kelsey "K. N." Fletcher age 35 b. Tennessee.

In the 1860 Magoffin census, Julius J. Medley at age 30 and wife Celia age 37 had the following children: (1) Elizabeth Medley age 12, (2) Susannah Medley age 7, (3) Sarah J. Medley age 5, (4) Malinda Medley age 3 and (5) Millard F. Medley age 9 months.

Johnson and Celia were in 1870 and 1880 Magoffin County census records. Added children were (6) Bethany Medley b. 1861, (7) Jane Medley b. 1868 and (8) Ben Medley b. 1870. By 1900 census the only Medleys in Magoffin were Johnson’s daughters Jane b. Jul 1861 and Elizabeth b. Mar 1850 with a niece Lou b. 1889.

The Floyd County Vital Statistics shows a record of three of the children of Celia Fletcher and her husband. In these listings he is called "Johnson" Medley. Susannah’s birth is given as 12 Feb 1852, Sary Medley was born 6 July 1854 and an unnamed daughter was born on Licking on 25 Dec 1856.

Through our work on the Vanderpool family for the 23rd Magoffin County Founders Day in 2001 we learned that daughter Sarah Jane married in 1869 to Jacob Butler Vanderpool and had these children: (1) William J. Vanderpool b. 1872, (2) Berry Vanderpool, (3) Priscilla Vanderpool, (4) Ben Frank Vanderpool, (5) Laura Vanderpool, (6) John E. Vanderpool, (7) Harry H. Vanderpool, (8) Boyd E. Vanderpool and (9) Millard Vanderpool.

Two of the daughters married into the Arnett family. Susan married in 1871 to Catlett Arnett and Bethany married in 1893 to "Preacher" Reuben Arnett.

We would like to receive pictures and information on any of these families for use in our quarterly Journal.

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