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Foreclosure sale of historic Shepherd’s Mill postponed

March 18, 2016
Mary Stortstrom - Ogden Newspapers , Shepherdstown Chronicle

A foreclosure sale of the historic Shepherd's Mill property scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon did not take place, due to the Jefferson County Circuit Court's ruling Monday to stay the proposed foreclosure sale. Shepherd's Mill, also known as Thomas Shepherd's Grist Mill, is one of the oldest properties in Shepherdstown, built in 1734 by Thomas Shepherd, the town's founder. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was under the ownership of Patrinka Kelch, who inherited it from her employer. After Kelch's death in 2015, no one came forward as executor of her estate. In that situation, the property went to Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty, who was named executor of Kelch's estate. Monday's hearing in circuit court determined the next steps in dealing with the mill property. Debbie Lowe, executive assistant with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said there is a preliminary injunction that will temporarily stay the proposed foreclosure sale of the property. "There is no sale scheduled at this time, and that will give us the opportunity to properly inventory the property and do what's best by the estate," Lowe said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "A preliminary inventory has already been done, but we need to get the property, both personal and real, appraised." Lowe said the sheriff's office will get an outside auction house or other third-party appraisal specialist to assess the value of the Kelch estate. In addition to complications with Kelch's estate and will, Dougherty said there are approximately 20 individuals and entities with claims against the estate for owing money. Sara Green and her husband, Richard Holzsager, friends of Kelch, said they loaned her $40,000 for maintenance of the historic mill. Green said she and Holzsager are still concerned as to whether they will get their money back; however, she said the fact that the topic of Shepherd's Mill is reaching the public makes her 'feel more secure.' "(My husband and I) found out about the court hearing, and we're very pleased with the results," Green said Tuesday afternoon. "I think the sheriff is going to go through with this process in a more responsible manner. After this hearing, I am more hopeful that the county government will do the right thing with this property." Lowe said there is another hearing scheduled for April 4, during which the injunction will be revisited.



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