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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
JUNE 25, 2015  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.

It is very pleasing to us here at the Magoffin County Historical Society to host visitors from many parts of the world who have ties to our county. Even though several generations may separate them from their Kentucky ancestor, they have that urge to visit the land of their earlier progenitors. We are always interested in the stories of these long-ago citizens who traveled afar but still maintained a bond to their roots in our area.

Morgan V. Brown of Eugene, Oregon was one of our recent visitors. He is a grandson of Bedford Brown and our beloved Mary Lou Preston Brown Byrd. His cousin Jincy Marshall Bailey showed him some local landmarks important to the history of his family. While here he viewed and photographed several of the markers in our Pioneer Village that connect with his Preston, Prater and Patrick ancestors.

Bedford Brown was born in 1919 Williamsburg, VA, the son of Marion Brown and Dollie Covey.

Mary Lou Preston is the daughter of Thomas Herbert "Hub" Preston and Lillie Francis Patrick. Mary Lou was editor of the Plains, Georgia newspaper during the Jimmie Carter presidential administration. She also wrote a column for our local newspaper the Salyersville Independent, titled "The County Common-Tater", much enjoyed by everyone.

"Hub" Preston (1890-1973) was a son of Wallace Washington Preston and Julia Prater. Wallace Preston was born in 1861 Morgan Co. KY and died in 1941 on Burning Fork of Magoffin Co. KY, a son of Henry Preston and Salina Brown.

Henry Preston (1839-1881 Johnson Co. KY) was a son of Moses Coby Preston who was born in 1797 Bedford Co. VA and died in 1868 Lawrence Co. KY. Moses Coby Preston was twice married, first to Elizabeth Haney, dau of William Haney and Sarah Preston and they were the ancestors of our visitor. Moses Prestonís 2nd wife was Nancy Martin Perry.

Henry Prestonís wife Selina J. Brown was born in 1843 Morgan Co. KY and died in 1878, the daughter of Wallace Brown and Nancy Hill. Henry married second to Louisa E. Atkinson. He was a dry goods merchant and a judge.

Returning to Morgan Brownís Prater family, we find that Julia Prater Preston was a daughter of Thomas Prater and Rebecca Auxier. Thomas was born 16 Aug 1824 Floyd Co. KY and died 1 Mar 1912 Magoffin County, KY. He married in 1846 to Rebecca Auxier b. 1827 Johnson Co. KY d. 1917 Magoffin County. Thomas was one of 14 children born to John Prater and Mary Brenton.

John Prater was born in 1785 Russell Co. VA and married in 1806 to Mary Brenton b. 1783 Nicholas Co. KY d. 1866 Magoffin Co. KY.

John Prater at age 65, b. VA was reported as blind in the 1850 Floyd Co. KY census. According to oral history of the family, John and Mary lived and raised their family in a house that was built by his father, Revolutionary War soldier Archibald Prater. This was on the present location of the Burning Fork Community Church and also where Johnís daughter Julia continued to live after her marriage to William Wallace "W. W." Preston.

It is told that about 1836 while John Prater was out taking care of his cattle he was attacked by a bear and fought it to its death. In coming home he waded the river, became ill and spent the last twenty years of his life blind and almost totally paralyzed. He remained completely mentally alert and continued to manage his farm and business with his sons carrying out the work.

Our visitor Morgan Brown had been asked by a friend who also lives in Oregon to check on her Shepherd-Hoskins lineage while he was here. With the help of our 1999 Shepherd and our Hicks family books we found the following: Sally Cecille Shepherd was the daughter of Eddie "Ed" Shepherd and Mildred Hoskins.

Ed Shepherd was born in 1910 Checotah, OK and married in Kentucky to Mildred Hoskins b. 1912 Magoffin Co. KY, daughter of Benjamin Hoskins and Nell Gullett.

Benjamin Hoskins (b. 1885) married in 1904 to Nell Gullett b. 1886. Benjamin was a son of Civil War soldier Robert Hoskins and wife Perlina Patrick. Nell was a daughter of James Madison Gullett and Adeline Harvey.

Ed was a son of Kelsey Shepherd (b. 1878 Floyd Co. KY d. about 1933 OK) and Rhoda Hicks (she was a daughter of Elliot "El" Hicks and Margaret Warrix).

Kelsey was a son of John C. "Hawkeye" Shepherd and Elizabeth Holbrook. John C. and Elizabeth (a daughter of Kelsey Holbrook and Rutha Mullins) left Floyd County, KY in the 1920ís and went to Oklahoma. They came back to Kentucky for a few months but returned to Oklahoma where they lived out the rest of their lives in Bryan Co. OK. Much info on this family was shared with us by our friend Bernice Moore.

John "Hawkeye" was a son of John "Brush Creek John" Shepherd (b. 1812 Lee Co. VA d. 1880 Floyd Co. KY) and Elizabeth "Betsy" Stone. This family lived on Brush Creek, the right hand fork of Beaver Creek of Floyd Co. KY. Betsy Stone was a daughter of Enoch and Nancy Stone. Info on this family is from the collection of Fred Vanderpool of Hippo, KY, son of Monroe and Mary Vanderpool.

In the 1850 Floyd Co. KY census, John was listed as age 38, wife Elizabeth was age 35 and they had the following children in their household (1) David Shepherd age 15, (2) Enoch Shepherd age 13, (3) Mary Shepherd age 11, (4) Daniel Shepherd age 8, (5) Cresia Shepherd age 7, (6) Elias Shepherd age 5, (7) Nancy Shepherd age 5, and (8) Wesley Shepherd age 2. They were neighbors to David Conley, Sr. age 63 b. VA and William M. Salyer age 71 b. NC.

"Brush Creek John" was a son of David H. Shepherd b. 1792 Lee Co. VA d. 1873 Decoy, KY and Lucretia Hale, daughter of Benjamin Hale and Dicy Franklin. They were married in 1809 Lee Co. VA.

This is a short version of a very interesting genealogy on families originally located in our area. Hopefully it will give some insight into further research. We are always interested in learning more about our area and family history. Anyone wishing to contact us may do so by writing Magoffin County Historical Society, PO Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email:

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