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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

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.

The winter weather is such that it is not very comfortable to be "out and about" so a good bit of our time has been centered on going through some of our materials from the past. Among these was a bundle of emails from the late 1990s when we were just getting into the "new" way of corresponding with our members. This column will consist of some bits and pieces of genealogy from these letters that may be of help and interest to our readers. Perhaps your interest in your own family history will be revived and you will be inspired to write about it. If so, we would certainly appreciate receiving a copy for our files here at the Magoffin County Historical Society, PO Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email: magoffin@foothills.net)

One series of our 1990 "letters" came from Vivian Kinner who was researching the Rife family. She had researched the surname back to one Hans George Rief who was born in 1660 in Germany near the border of Switzerland. The last name gradually changed to "Riffe" and is usually spelled "Rife" here in Magoffin County.

Vivianís line of the family came from Virginia and settled in Greenup County, KY. Elexious Riffe was born 21 April 1819 and died 23 May 1893. His wife was Judith (called "Judy") Arthurs b. 13 Jan 1823 d. 14 Jan 1904. At the time the letter was written the Riffe farm in Greenup County was still owned by descendants of Elexious and Judy.

The children of Elexious and Judith Riffe were (1) Lucretia Riffe b. 1841, (2) William Henry Riffe b. 1843; (3) Osborn Daniel Riffe b. 1847, (4) James Riffe b. 1854, (5) Piety Riffe b. 1857 m. -?- Hamilton; and (6) Lexius Riffe b. 1863.

The 1870 Oldtown, Greenup Co. KY census has Lexius Riffe age 57, b. WV, wife Judith age 46, dau. Mollie H. age 19, son James W. age 16, dau. Piety age 12.

James W. Riffe, son of Elexious and Judith, was born 30 July 1854. James was first married on 13 Mar 1878 in Greenup Co. KY to Nancy Ellen Mead. They appear in the 1880 Oldtown, Greenup Co. KY census as follows: James W. Riffe age 25, Nancy E. Riffe age 26. There are no known children of this marriage. Apparently Nancy died young and was buried on Crane Creek on the Riffe farm in Greenup County.

James married 2nd in 1896 to Cassie Wireman. Cassie was born in 1879 in Magoffin County, KY to Wiley Wireman and Delilah Allen. She died on 28 Dec 1956 in Hanging Rock, Lawrence Co. OH.

By 1910 James and Cassie lived on Trace Fork in Magoffin Co. KY. The census lists their family as: James Riffe age 54, Cassie age 33, Sarah Riffe age 13, Lec Riffe age 11, Russell Riffe age 8, Katie Riffe age 7, Wiley Riffe age 6, Lola Riffe age 2 and Delila Riffe age 15 months.

By 1920 Trace Fork, Magoffin Co. KY, James Riffe was age 65 and reported his parents as having been born in Virginia. Wife Cassie was age 41 and their oldest daughter was still in their household. Sarah had married Emory Jones (he was age 29 in 1920) and they had a child, 4-year old Sammie Jones.

A list of the children of James and Cassie is as follows: (1) Sarah Riffe b. 1896 (m. Emory Jones); (2) Leck Riffe b. 1898 (m. Adgie Wireman), (3) Russell Riffe b. 1900 (m. Maudie Baldridge), (4) Katie Riffe b. 1902 (m. 1st William Slusher; m. 2nd John Bailey; m. 3rd Andrew Jackson "Jack" Hall), (5) Wiley Riffe b. 1903 (m. Katie Prater; m. 2nd Mae Prater Ingram), (6) Lola Riffe b. 1907 (7) Delila Riffe b. 1909 (m. Frank Mahan), (8) Elliott Rife b. 1911 (m. 1st to Sally Swim; m. 2nd to Curtis Wireman), (9) Norman Riffe b. 1913 (m. Ida Mae -?-), (10) Walter Rife 1916 (m. Virginia Mae Dillow); and (11) Julia Riffe b. 1920 (James "Jim" Baldridge).

James "Jim" Riffe died 29 Jan 1935 at age 80 years, 10 months and 29 days. He is buried in the Rude Cemetery, Flatwoods, Greenup Co. KY.

Another email of the same time frame came from Peg Olson, a descendant of Civil War soldier, William Oditt. Her information says William was born in 1843 Morgan Co. KY, the son of Henry Oditt and Martha Baker. Williamís father Henry Oditt was drowned in the Licking River before 1853. Williamís mother, Martha Oditt then married on 20 Oct 1853 Morgan Co. KY to Uriah Cottle, age 54. Marthaís age was given as 25 on the marriage record. Uriah was born 21 Jan 1801 and died at age 76 on 12 Nov 1876 (buried Cottle Cem., Morgan Co. KY). He was the son of Joseph Cottle and Nancy Nickell. He was first married to Cynthia Ann Jones.

Uriah Cottle and Martha are listed in the 1860 West Liberty, Morgan Co. KY census as follows: Uriah Cottle, age 60, b. VA, wife Martha age 37, b. KY. Children Cynthia A. Cottle age 4, Berthene Cottle age 3, William Oditt (surname was spelled "Odebt" in that census) age 16, Eliza J. Oditt age 14, George Ann Oditt age 10, Lafayette Oditt age 10. Also in the household was 70-year old Susannah Loggins listed as "pauper".

Ms. Olson wrote that William Oditt lived in Magoffin County when he joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He served in Company C, 5th KY Regiment. After being captured he was sent to the Camp Chase Confederate prison in Columbus, OH where he died 21 May 1864 and was buried in the prison cemetery there (grave # 163).

William Oditt had married Margaret Simmons in 1861 Morgan Co. KY and upon his death, his widow was left with a baby Thomas Oditt. Margaret later married James Haney and the baby was raised as Thomas "Haney".

Thomas Oditt-Haney died in 1936 Magoffin Co. KY. He first married on 8 Jun 1891 to Nevada Patrick. Their children were (1) June Haney b. 1890, (2) Clay Stanley Haney b. 1892, (3) Fred Haney b. 1893, (4) Josie Haney b. 1896, (5) William Riley Haney b. 1899, and (6) Charles Haney b. 1902.

On 23 May 1904 Thomas Haney married in Magoffin County to Mary F. Reed (1875-1935), dau of James Henry Reed and Emily Jane Prater. Their children were (7) John Boyd Haney, (8) William Floyd Haney, (9) Dorsie Haney, (10) Daisy Haney and (11) Leroy Haney.

Any additions and/or corrections to either of these families would be very welcome.

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Last modified:      Saturday, February 21, 2015