BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — There’s an adage, “The best journey takes you home.”
On Friday, October 13, 2023, a piece of Beckley history returned to town, after almost 200 years.
Robert and Donna Kearfott, of Florida, came into Beckley on Friday morning, driving to town with a mission. They were bringing “home” a transit, compass and a book of field notes. The yellowed pages showed the book was last in Beckley in 1839, the year after the town had formed.
“What I have is my great- great- great- grandfather’s surveying equipment that was used, according to the field notes, to survey Beckley, West Virginia,” Robert Kearfott explained. “The timeline fits.”
Kearfott said he found the equipment under his grandfather’s steps and took it to his own home after his grandfather’s death.
“It’s been sitting in my closet, and my wife, Donna, says, ‘You know, it’s not doing any good here. Let’s call Beckley, West Virginia, and see if they want to put it on display,’” shared Kearfott. “So I called the mayor, and he was very grateful, and, so, here we are.”
The Kearfotts met Mayor Rob Rappold and Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Baker at the Mayor’s Office. City officials said they will take steps to insure the items and put them on display at Wildwood House Museum, until the event that a Kearfott family member would want to reclaim them.
“Golly, it’s just a godsend, right out of the sky, to get something like this,” said Rappold. “It’s unbelievable, the generosity of these folks, the fact they drove all the way from Florida with the expressed interest of this being their primary reason of coming to Beckley.”
One hundred and eighty five years after his great- great- great- grandfather helped to set the city’s first boundaries, Mayor Rappold presented Robert Kearfott with a key to the city.