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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
MAY 14, 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.

A few weeks ago we received a query and a subsequent article for printing in our quarterly Journal from Suzanne Burrows Antippas of New York. Her Montgomery ancestor was John A. Montgomery, Civil War soldier (private, 14th Kentucky Infantry Regiment (Union) 1863 – 1865). John A. Montgomery married Sarah Marshall of Floyd County KY and moved from Magoffin County, KY to Kansas, eventually settling in Sun City, Barber (then Barbour) Co. KS. John was a son of James H. Montgomery and his first wife Elizabeth Picklesimer. His grandparents were John Montgomery, Jr. and Sarah Flannery.

Others from Magoffin County who came along or wound up in Sun City, Kansas as well, included John A.’s army buddy Elbert Dixon, several members of the Whitaker family and Miles and Betina Risner, b. 1860 and 1862, who lived at one time as teenagers with John and Sarah Montgomery. Also resettling in Sun City was Sarah’s brother Ruben Marshall of Magoffin County along with his wife and children.

John A. Montgomery later removed to Logan County, OK. Oklahoma was also the state where many of our other Magoffin County people landed as they "went west", including Shepherds and Hales.

Williamson Co. TX was another location our people traveled to. One of these was Abner Salyer, brother to Samuel Salyer for whom Salyersville was named. He once lived in the vicinity of the former Millard-Hensley School at Bloomington, KY and his wife Nancy Hale is buried there. After Nancy’s death in 1873 Abner and other family members left the area traveling to and settling in Texas.

Some of the Kentucky based surnames found in Wenatchee, Chelan Co. WA are Howes, Hackworth, Pace and Power. Several others family names can be found in the early issues of the Salyersville Independent. These families kept in touch with eastern Kentucky relatives.

Throughout our years as we worked to gather genealogical information on our people, we have often been encouraged in our search by receiving queries, stories and/or pictures from people in far off places who have "roots" in Magoffin County.

Such was the case with our very first Founders Days held in honor of the Adams family, inspired by the visit of Joe and Yvona Mason of Texas who were searching for info on her ancestor William "Uncle Billy" Adams. Our town of Salyersville was known as "Adamsville", named for Uncle Billy, prior to the formation of Magoffin County in 1860.

Our purpose in recounting these instances of our people found in other areas is to invite anyone who has information, stories, pictures, source records, etc. to write to us telling of our people’s journey to other places in the world.

We are interested in what attracted our people to move away to other places, realizing many times it was the promise of land, jobs, or relatives already in that area. Some of the other questions we have are how many family members made the trip; how did they prepare for the trip, how did they travel, what hardships did they experience on the journey, and how did they live once they arrived at their destination?

How was their first dwelling constructed and of what material? What trade did the early settler practice in the new environment? How did the weather conditions they encountered affect their lives?

Did family members die along their journey? Were new babies born into the family during the journey?

Sometimes our citizens who traveled to far off places returned to our area after a period of time. Did you have family members to do so?

Are there newspaper clippings mentioning your ancestors and their travels?

These are just a few of the topics we hope you will consider writing about if anyone of your family history had the experience of traveling from their homeland here in eastern Kentucky to another area.

Our mailing address is Magoffin County Historical Society, PO Box 222, Salyersville, KY 41465 (email:

We want to thank Bob Stapleton of Florida for his material on the Tackett/Lemaster/Stapleton branches of his family which was received this week. Bob was a great help with providing pictures and information on Lemaster veterans when we were compiling our volumes on our military men and women.

This reminds us that the last Monday of May (this year the 25th of May) is Memorial Day, a traditional observation day since 1971. Prior to that time, our families always celebrated the 30th of May as "Decoration Day".

This special holiday dates from 1868 when it was designated as a time of placing flowers on the gravesites of our veterans. Gradually the purpose of the day was broadened to include all those who have passed on.

Let us remember all those who have gone before us and left a legacy of memories and good works. We hope to be able to clean some of the cemeteries this year and leave them in a more presentable condition.

Please take a moment to photograph and copy inscriptions on those cemeteries you visit and share that information with us, along with the cemetery location.

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Last modified:      Saturday, May 16, 2015