Frank Hutchison (1927, 2019)


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Two Local Musicians Record LB 02.01.1927 1

Logan (WV) Banner, 1 February 1927.

Frank Hutchinson's Songs for Sale LB 03.08.1927

Logan (WV) Banner, 8 March 1927.

Frank Hutchinson LB 03.25.1927

Logan (WV) Banner, 25 March 1927.

BK at Hutchison Grave 2

Here we are visiting the Frank Hutchison grave at the Elbert Garrett Family Cemetery at Lake, Logan County, WV. Photo by Sheila Brumfield Coleman. 10 August 2019

Recollections of Bert Curry about Timbering on Pigeon Creek, WV (1978)


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The following interview excerpt of Bert Curry (born c.1901) was conducted at Lenore in Mingo County, WV, on December 5, 1978.


How much money was around back then?

The first public works to come into the Pigeon Creek areas was when Cole and Crane come in to cut all of this virgin timber. All of Pigeon Creek. They built a splash dam at Delbarton, one on Elk Creek, and one on Rock House. They come in here in 1910 and they paid seventy-five cents a day and board for a man to work and he worked from daylight til dark and along later some of their best men, their team drivers… Team drivers had to work extra hours. They’d put them on by the month. I remember my brother-in-law got $35 a month, but he’d have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and then after supper he’d have to go out and clean the stable and curry his team and doctor ‘em, anything that had to be doctored and feed ‘em and bed ‘em down of the night.

Where did people get most of their income in those days?

If you had a job it was usually helping somebody cut timber. My first job was fifty cents a day carrying water for seventeen men and I was about twelve or thirteen years old.

Was that for loggers?

Well, these was loggers but my brother Wallace had a big field of corn. He had to grow corn to feed his cattle. He had six yokes of cattle and he used cattle in logging and he’d take a big flour barrel full of corn and them cattle would get around and he’d feed that corn to ‘em. They’d eat a barrel of corn each night and they’d let ‘em… Maybe a little fodder, or once in a while in bad weather they’d give ‘em a little hay. But them cattle, they worked ‘em six days a week haulin’ logs. They was trained to work and them six yokes of cattle was worth more than you could get for… You could buy a beef for $25 at that time but if you bought a good oxen that was broke you’d have to give about $50 for him.

What do you remember about the logging operations?

They was very primitive. They had nothin’ like a chain saw. They had a cross cut saw and they had axes and they had cane hooks and they had their teams of oxen and then some had teams of mules and horses. When Cole and Crane come in here they contracted all the cuttin’ of this timber. All the haulin’ it and puttin’ it into the creeks where the waters from the dams would take care of it. They had several contractors. They’d contract a whole boundary, maybe 500 or 1000 acres of timber to cut, and it was all virgin timber. It took six yoke of oxen or two to three big span of mules or horses to pull a tree. They didn’t cut it up into logs like they do now. They cut the whole tree and they didn’t take anything less than 16 inches up to the top. They’d be from 5 to 7 feet down where they cut them off and some of them would be 100 feet long and I’ve seen gorges of logs in Pigeon Creek they claimed had 5,000 trees in it. For a mile it’d be piled up bank to bank as high as they could pile. They’d work sometimes with all the teams they could get around them for three weeks a breaking one gorge. And when they got it to the Tug, they’d raft it. Sometimes they’d raft them and sometimes they would drift them down to the locks at Louisa before they’d raft them and they never went past there. They’d raft them there and then take tug boats and haul them from there to Cincinnati.

How did you raft them? I’m not familiar with that.

They had what you call chain dogs, a little chain about that long (indicates about 12 inches) with a spike on each end. They’d drive a spike in this log here and in this log (indicates two logs laying side by side) to hold it together, one at the front and one at the back, and they’d be oh maybe they’d be 50 feet wide and two or three hundred feet long, the rafts would. Maybe they’d have two or three rafts. One steamboat would be pullin’ maybe two or three rafts.

The logs wouldn’t drift apart?

They’d drive them spikes. Them spikes was about that long (indicating about six inches) and they’d drive them in there and it took a whole lot to pull ‘em out.

Did they work in the winter time, too?

Oh yes! I’ve seen fellers wade Pigeon Creek when they mush ice was a floatin’ and when they’d have to get back in the water to thaw before they could walk.

Was the creek deeper then or about like it is now?

It was more even. They had water all the time but they didn’t have as many severe floods as they have now because this was all covered with timbers, all of everything. See, this mulch in these forests held the water and let it leak out. It didn’t run off like it does now.

The water flow was more evened out this year around?

More evened out. But when they’d have a splash dam at Delbarton, one on Rockhouse up at Lando Mines and one in the head of Elk Creek, they’d time these. They’d know how long it took the water to run from Elk Creek, and they knowed how long it took the water to run from Rock House, and they knowed how long it took the water to meet. They’d try to have them all three come out at once so that they’d have a vast big sudden increase in water. You could look up the creek when they’d splash and you could see a wall floatin’ and a turnin’ in and everything.

And that was to wash the logs out?

Yes, well they washed them out to Tug River that way. That’s the way they got them out of Pigeon Creek.

Do you remember when Island Creek first came into the area?

No. Island Creek first come in about 1901. That was over there. They started when two young fellows come from New York in there looking for oil, to prospect for oil, so they could invest some money. And some old man had a mine open right where No. 1 Island Creek mine is and he was a haulin’ coal with a mule—a mule and a sled. He’d go back in there and he’d haul coal out—a big seam of coal six foot high and good and clean. So they decided that there was where they could make their money. So they got to talkin’ with these fellows and they went and got lawyers and they bought around Holden and Trace Fork and up Mud Fork and a vast area. I don’t know how much: 79,000 acres for 470,000 dollars. And fellows like Henry Ferrell, he counted timber so long. To count timber you have men a goin’ through and selecting the trees and one man a tallying. They’d make a mark on a tree when they’d count it, and the fellow with the tally sheet, he kept the numbers. He said they’d count timber a while and said then they had more money than they had brains. To spend that much money for that much land—470,000 dollars—and he said they put up a band mill and cut the timber and sold the timber and built their camps and sold enough lumber to pay for all of it. They got their coal and their land free. Just cut the timber and sold it and got their money back. People thought they were foolish for paying that kind of prices. Buying some of them farms out with all that timber for thousand dollars—that sounded like an awful lot of money. They didn’t have any money. They weren’t used to money. You worked for fifty cents a day. $1000 seemed like a whole lot.

World War I Recollections of Dr. Edwin M. Godby (1928)


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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this recollection of World War I by veteran Edwin M. Godby of Huntington, WV, dated July 10, 1928:


Dr. E.M. Godby, Now of Huntington, One of 150 Survivors of An Outstanding Episode of World War—Graphic Account of Harrowing Experiences

It has been a little less than 10 years since the story of the Lost Battalion thrilled and horrified the American people.

It was the story of an infantry battalion which pushed its way through in an advance into the German lines while the forces on either flank were being beaten back, writes Wiatt Smith for the Herald-Advertiser.

Of the 1,000 men who went in, only a remnant lived to tell the story of six days in a literal hell. Six days during which they crouched in shell holes and dugouts, without food or water, while the shells from the guns of their own army thundered over them or broke about them and the gas and machine gun fire of a sullen enemy harassed them.

One of those survivors lives in Huntington. He is a dentist and as he goes about his professional work and social life only a slight cough serves to mark him as one who breathed the deadly poison spewed over him by the Bosche.

Dr. Edwin M. Godby, of Fifth Avenue, with offices in the United Cigar Stores building, is the man in question. He told the story to one who had first learned from others of his part in this great drama of the war. Dr. Godby was an ambulance corps man, attached to the Seventy-Seventh division and at the time assigned to Major Whittlesey’s battalion of the 308th infantry for said duty.

Left Logan in 1918

Eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. James Godby of Logan, he was a student of dentistry in the University of Cincinnati when America entered the war. He went from Logan with a draft contingent in March 1918. He trained at Camp Greenleaf, Ga., was assigned to the Medical corps, and crossed the ocean in June as a casual.

Assigned at once to the Seventy-seventh division he first saw the front at post in Alsace-Lorraine.

“There was no action here,” said Dr. Godby. “We were within one kilometer of the enemy but there seemed to be almost an understanding that we wouldn’t bother each other. There was no firing. Occasionally one side or the other would send a raiding party into the others lines, but these were rarely fired upon.

“In July our division went in to replace another division which had helped take Chateau Thierry. We continued in the drive from the Marne to the Aisne. We would advance two or three days and then dig in for perhaps four or five. This went on from July to September.

“Then we moved from the Aisne to the Argonne. One date that stays with me is that of the great barrage which marked the opening of the Argonne drive on the night of September 26.

“On October 13 or 14 we got orders to advance from our position in a 30-mile strip of woods between the headwaters of the Aisne and the Meusc. The Ninety-second division flanked us on the left and two of our regiments and two of the Ninety-second were supposed to advance.

“The advance started as planned, early in the morning, but the right and left flanks were met by such resistance that they fell back to their original positions.

“Major Whittlessey’s men tore through the resisting German line and went forward. It was late in the forenoon before we discovered that we were unsupported on either flank and cut off from the rear.

“We spend six days before we were relieved by another regiment which was almost destroyed in the effort. The battalion was virtually at war strength, having been in only a little while. Of the 1,000 who went in only 150 came back.”

Dr. Godby tells a grim story of the last days. As soon as the soldiers found their situation they began to dig in. It was every man for himself. Dr. Godby says he and two others found a shell hole. They deepened it and were comparatively safe there. But one of the three got too venturesome and raised his head too far above the rim of the crater. His comrades used his body for an additional barricade.

The surviving companion of Dr. Godby was a man named Crane, who had gone in from Pennsylvania. He told Dr. Godby that he had a sister in Huntington whose husband worked for Gwinn Bros. & Co.

“I have often thought I’d try to get race of that sister,” said Dr. Godby, “but I never have.

“We just laid there,” the dentist said, detailing his experience. “Each man had less than a quart of water and no food. After the second day I didn’t have any water. We never missed the food, but of course the thirst was torture. It was terrible, too, to have to wear our gas masks continuously for that becomes torture after the first hour.

“For the first day or two the Germans tried charging us but we were strong enough to beat them back. After that they were content to keep their machine guns turned on us and subject us to a continuous barrage of gas. At the same time we were within the range of our own batteries.

Contemplated Suicide

“American planes passed over us and tried to drop us food, but the Germans got it.

“For the last two or three days nothing mattered. Crane and I tried to devise means of escape. We would work out a plan and then decide it was futile. We decided to commit suicide, but changed our minds. It was simply a matter of trying to keep alive as long as we could. On the fifth night I had only intervals of consciousness. But we had determined to make a dash for freedom and life when daylight came. It would not have been a dash for life, but a dash to death.

I know this is true because we were on the slope of a ravine, the battalion being pocketed on either side of it. We could see the water in the ravine and the bodies of the men who in their desperation had gone there to drink. Not one lived to taste the water.

“But as Crane and I planned to make the final desperate dash I lost consciousness. When I revived I was on a stretcher at a base hospital at Nantes. I never saw Crane again. I have often wondered what became of him.

“Did he,” I asked myself, “live to go for his death drink or was he too rescued?

“I have never talked to anyone who was with the battalion.”

A few days after Dr. Godby revived from his unconsciousness the armistice was signed. He was in the hospital from November 1 until late in December, recovering from the effects of gas. In January 1919, he came back to the United States, received his discharge and resumed his studies. He has been practicing in Huntington two years.

West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, WV (2019)


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Straight ahead…the WV State Folk Festival! Glenville, WV. 21 July 2019


Here we are early in the day. 21 June 2019


Highlight: The Country Store and Museum. 21 June 2019


Inside of The Country Store and Museum are many great things! 21 June 2019


Black Diamond Strings in The Country Store and Museum. 21 June 2019


Here’s Betty Vornbrock winning the fiddle contest. 21 June 2019

paul gartner

Paul Gartner, the winner of the banjo contest, lives in Lincoln County, WV. Photo by Mom. 21 June 2019


Out and about on the grounds. 21 June 2019


Out and about on the grounds. 21 June 2019


Hatfield-McCoy Feud: Schools in 1882


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From “The Rise of Education and the Decline of Feudal Tendencies in the Tug River Valley of West Virginia and Kentucky in Relation to the Hatfield and McCoy Feud” by Homer Claude McCoy (1950):

The following list of school houses are given to determine the location of schools at the time of the feud. Most of the information obtained in regard to the existence of schools and their teachers have been received from interviews. These people were actual students at the schools or had brothers or sisters who went to school there. This information has been verified when possible from different interviews.

Mate Creek School: Mate Creek School was located about a mile up Mate Creek from Matewan which is located at its mouth. It was a log structure and had only one room. The schoolhouse was used during the feud as a prison to retain the three McCoy boys in. David Ross was the teacher of the school during the time of the feud, 1882, just a few days after the boys were held there, and there is a possibility that there was school there before the incident and that David Ross was the teacher.

Upper Mate Creek School: It is believed that there was a school at the head of Mate Creek, but the information is not strong enough to be substantiated.

Coon Branch School: Coon Branch School was located in Kentucky across from the site of Matewan. The teacher of the Coon Branch School was Ambrose Guzlin, and was attending in 1887.

Anderson Ferrell School: This school was located on Anderson Ferrell’s farm a mile below Matewan and came into use when the Mate Creek School was closed about 1883. The teacher of this school was Johnnie Rutherford.

Hatfield School: This school was located on the farm of Elias Hatfield in a hollow behind his home. It was a log structure and came into use when the railroad made it necessary to eliminate the Anderson Ferrell School.

Delorme School: The Delorme school was located near the home of Devil Anse, it was believed, for Charles Carpenter mentioned as a schoolteacher taught in that neighborhood. It is doubtful that there was a school there, for no definite record has been found. Charles Carpenter was said to be a teacher in that locality.

The Dial’s Branch School: This school is not substantiated by any strong evidence as being in operation during the early days of the feud, but was known to exist in the latter days of the feud.

Head of Blackberry School: This was at what is known today as Ransom. This school was some distance (about 15 miles from the mouth of Blackberry). Bob Williams taught school there. Dr. H.D. Hatfield attended school at this school.

Kate Ray who was a teacher at the Elias Hatfield School in 1893, says that she went to school there and when she graduated from the fifth grade she took an examination and taught the next year. She says the examination was not hard, and all the teachers gathered at Williamson. Other teachers that taught there were Albert Simpkins, Dr. Rutherford, Lee Rutherford. Scott Justice taught school at Mud Fork. Mike Clingenpeel was another teacher at Mud Fork.

Mrs. Ray stated:

I went to my first school on Mud Fork in 1888. I was only four years old. They didn’t mind for I didn’t give them any trouble. I learned a little at that age. Lee Curry was the teacher that year. He made improvements in the log school. His first improvement was to put backs on the seats. We did not have any desks or any blackboards. Dick and Will Bachtel also taught school at Mud Fork. They came from Jackson County. They stayed at Sam Jackson’s. They paid about $8.00 a month for board. Scott Justice, now a resident of Huntington, West Virginia, taught school on Mud Fork. So did Mack Clingenpeel. Every one liked Mack. He could explain the lessons so well.

When I was in the fifth grade I went to the Hatfield School below Matewan. When I graduated, I took the teachers examination and taught the next year there at the school on Elias Hatfield’s farm about the year 1895.


Derived from these interviews by Mr. McCoy:

Ella Hatfield McCoy interview (she “lived on Blackberry Creek during the time of the feud”) (c.1949)

W.A. McCoy interview (c.1949)

Kate Ray interview (c.1949)

Hatfield-McCoy Feud: Ellison Hatfield Grave at Newtown, WV (2019)


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Up this way to the old Hatfield cemetery. Newtown, Mingo County, WV. Photo by Mom. 6 July 2019.


Entering the old Hatfield cemetery. It was a bit weedy! Photo by Mom. 6 July 2019.


I mowed some of the graves and made sure to place flowers at the grave of Ellison Hatfield. Photo by Mom. 6 July 2019


Leaving the cemetery, you can return to the paved road by going left over the bridge or right through Mate Creek. 6 July 2019

White Family History at Pecks Mill, WV (1937)


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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the White family in Logan County, West Virginia. The story is dated May 21, 1937.

White Family Among Early Settlers in Logan County

Great Grandfather of Patrolman Frank White Moved From Pecks Mill to Mingo County; His Father Had Settled on Mitchell Farm

Among the pioneer families which settled in and around Logan during the early days of its building from a settlement to a village was the family of John White.

John White came to Logan and settled on the farm later owned by Henry Mitchell with a family of grown men and one daughter. Ben and James had come to Pecks Mill early in the 19th century and built their cabins.

His daughter, Nancy, married Robert Whitt, who afterwards moved to Ohio.

His sons were John, who married Susannah Marcum of Franklin; Ben, who married Anna Stuart of Montgomery; James, who married Lucretia Elkins; and William, who married a daughter of John Sansom, another pioneer of the county.

James, tiring of this section of the country because “hunting was bad”, moved to Mingo county and bought five miles of land on Pigeon Creek for a bear gun and a bear dog.

He reared his family and among his children was John, grandfather of Frank White, city patrolman, Mrs. James Buskirk, Power Plant addition, and Lark, Will, Millard, Howard, Wallace, and Mason, all of Logan.

John was the breadwinner of his family, his father having died not long after his son reached the age of 12. John hunted and filled the soil to take care of his aging mother and several brothers and sisters.

He married Betty Radford, also of Mingo county and was the father of twelve children. They were William, who married Editha White; John, who married Susannah Elkins; Thomas, James, Reuben, Isaac, Charles, Major, Elijah, Hiram, Masten, and Judith, who married James Thompson.

Elijah was the father of the Logan citizens named above. He left Mingo county and came to Logan where he married Viola Ellis.

Thomas, James, and Reuben went to Giles county, Virginia, and Major went to Indiana.

All the others remained in Logan and reared large families.

Ben White was the father of seven children, five sons and two daughters. His sons were John, Arter, Ben, William, and James, and his daughters were Nancy, who married Pleasant Chafin, and Margaret, who married Hezekiah Staton.

James had but one child, a daughter Nancy, who married John Chambers, a son of Robert Chambers of Monroe county.

William, the youngest son, joined the regular army in 1808 and was assigned for duty in a regiment that was being raised by Col. Wade Hampton of South Carolina.

When Hampton was made Brigadier-General in 1806 and assigned to duty at New Orleans, White went with him, and when Hampton was superseded by Wilkinson, White remained with Wilkinson and then under Jackson until after the Battle of New Orleans in which battle he participated.

He returned home in 1816 and married the daughter of John Sansom.

Hatfield-McCoy Feud: Tom “Guerilla” Mitchell grave at Meador, WV (2019)


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Heading up to the cemetery. What a rush! 12 July 2019


This cemetery has several names, most commonly Meador, Varney, or Steele Cemetery. 12 July 2019


Tom Mitchell is buried to the left just as you enter the cemetery. I made sure to place flowers at his grave. 12 July 2019


Tom Mitchell (Feb 1865-10/20/1935), son of Sarah Jane Mitchell, married Nancy Varney and fathered at least twelve children. He was a key participant in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.

Stephen Hart and Harts Creek (1937)


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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Stephen Hart and Harts Creek in Lincoln and Logan counties, West Virginia. The story is dated April 14, 1937.

Stephen Hart Settled at Cheat River, Pete Spurlock, A Great Grandson, Reveals

P.A. (Pete) Spurlock, assistant postmaster at the Logan post office, this morning revealed the destination of Stephen Hart, who went went after he had lived for a short time at the forks of the creek in the lower end of Logan county which now bears his name.

Spurlock said that Hart went to the Cheat River and settled permanently there to hunt deer and rear a family. He said the family name of Hart is as familiar there as the name Dingess is familiar in Logan county.

A daughter of Stephen, Jane, was Spurlock’s grandmother. She lived until 1913 and told her grandson much of the early history of the family which made its home in and around Spurlocksville, Sheridan, Ranger, and Midkiff.

Charles Spurlock, the progenitor of the Spurlock family, came to what used to be the Toney farm below the mouth of Big Creek in 1805 from Montgomery county, Virginia.

“Uncle Charley was a funny old cuss,” his great grandson Pete said this morning. “The story is told that a sheriff of Cabell county was given a capias to serve on the old codger for some minor offense when he was growing old and rather stout.

“Meeting him in the road one day, the sheriff informed Uncle Charley he had a capias to serve on him.

“None abashed, the old man informed the sheriff he was a law-abiding citizen and laid down in the middle of the road and told the sheriff to take him to jail.

“The ruse worked, for the sheriff chose to look for less obstinate prisoners,” Uncle Charley’s grandson said, chuckling.

Another story about the eccentric “Uncle Charley Spurlock” which has gone down in history, whether true or not, was that he lived for a short time below Big Creek under a rock cliff (known as a rockhouse) during the early summer while he was getting his cabin in shape for winter.

The tale is out that “Uncle Charley” explained his strange dwelling place in this way to his neighbors:

“Well I took Sarah (his wife) in a good substantial frame house in Virginia and she wasn’t quite satisfied. I took her to a log house and she wasn’t satisfied. I took her to a rail pen and still she grumbled. Then I took her to a rock house built by God Almight and still she wasn’t satisfied.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with Sarah.”

Sarah evidently became accustomed to “Uncle Charley” for the couple reared four sons. They were John, Seth, Lifas and Robertson. There were no daughters.

Seth was P.A. Spurlock’s grandfather. His father, Marshall, is 78 and lives on his farm near Cincinnati.

Spurlock says “Uncle Charley” is buried on a point at Spurlocksville overlooking the haunts of his early manhood.

Robertson was a gunsmith and lived near Hamlin. Seth was a civil engineer and helped survey much of Logan county. He was a Union soldier. John was a country doctor who practiced at Ranger.

Lifas was a preacher for sixty years and lived at Sheridan.

Charles Spurlock, of Omar, is a distant cousin, the assistant postmaster said. He is the only relative that lives in this section of Logan county, Spurlock said.

Spurlock, at Omar, was born at Spurlocksville and is a grandson of one of the original “Charley’s” boys.