Letcher County history group working to recover records lost in July flood

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Sunday
Published: May. 14, 2023 at 1:12 PM EDT
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BLACKEY, Ky. (WYMT) - The July 2022 flood led to organizations across Eastern Kentucky losing valuable artifacts showing Appalachian history.

The West Letcher Oral History Society lost their historical records that were kept in the Blackey Public Library.

“We lost all of our binders. We had veterans. We had midwives. Coal mine deaths. We had all kinds of information that we lost every bit of it,” member Joyce Hampton said.

They have spent many days since the flood recovering whatever records they can find.

Hampton was thankful they had some saved on their computers.

“Any coal mine deaths. Anything that way. I can look up death certificates and things that way and usually find it,” Joyce Hampton said.

Recovering everything, however, is taking time, but preserving history makes the process worth it to them.

“We’re just trying to help the people. Doing everything we can. We have also put markers on unmarked graves. If it’s someone that’s in their family or they know who it is, we can mark the graves,” Hampton said.

The West Letcher Oral History Society meets in the upstairs of the Blackey Public Library on the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m.