Union Miner Fugitive Shoots State Witnesses in Ohio (1923)


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On May 11, 1923, the Logan Banner printed this item relating to the “Armed March” or the Battle of Blair Mountain:


J.W. Swanner and Edward Reynolds, Chief Witnesses in Houston Trial, Murdered By Fugitive

POMEROY, O., May 9.–J.W. Swanner and Edward Reynolds, West Virginia miners, were shot and killed in the mining camp of Vulcan, near here, at 10 o’clock this morning by J.E. Miller, a coal miner. Miller gave as his reason that he feared the two men had come to kidnap him and take him back to West Virginia in connection with the Logan armed march.

Miller’s wife went to the door of their house when Swanner knocked. She closed the door and called to Miller who came to the door with his revolver. He fired through the glass at Swanner, shooting him in the left breast. Reynolds, who was a lame man, attempted to run away and Miller stepped outside the door and fired three shots into Reynolds’ back. Both men died almost instantly.

Were Unarmed

Persons who saw the shooting telephoned to the sheriff’s office at Pomeroy and Deputy Sheriffs Elmer Ashworth and David Moore responded and arrested Miller at his house.

Search of the bodies of Swanner and Reynolds disclosed that they were unarmed. Swanner had in his pocket a letter from A.M. Belcher, offering Miller immunity if the latter would return to West Virginia to testify in the armed march trials.

Swanner and Reynolds had both turned state’s evidence in these cases. When this fact became known the feeling expressed in the mining camp was that both men had got what they deserved. This section is very strongly union in sentiment.

Prosecuting Attorney L.C. Davis…

[I cropped the story here by mistake.]

Union Miners Shoot State Trooper in Mingo County, WV (1921)


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The following story appeared in the Logan Banner on July 8, 1921, providing some history for events in Mingo County, WV, after the murder of Baldwin-Felts agents in Matewan and before the killing of Sid Hatfield at Welch:

Union People Fire on State Trooper LB 07.08.1921 5



Trooper James A. Bolles, of Charleston, who was shot June 14 while engaged in searching for arms in the Lick Creek tent colony near Williamson, Mingo county, may lose the use of his right arm as a result of the injury. The search followed a complaint that automobiles passing on the public highway had been fired upon from the tent colony.

A detachment of state police, assisted by some 10 citizens who had volunteered and been sworn in as special state police, went to the camp to seize arms found there in order to prevent further shooting, the identification of any person using his rifle viciously and recklessly being impossible while many of the residents of the colony had arms.

With a party of 15 special state police, Trooper Bolles came upon a group of armed men. He ordered them to put down their weapons but was answered by a number of shots. The trooper and the citizens with him returned the fire with the result that Alexander Breedlove, on of the armed group, was killed.

Shot From Hillside

Some person hidden away on the wooded hillside opened fire and Trooper Bolles was struck in the back, the bullet breaking several bones and severing a number of nerves. Although severely wounded, the state police officer attempted to lift his rifle. He fell to the ground and was guarded by two armed civilians while others attempted vainly to locate the man who had shot him.

When first taken to hospital, Bolles’ chances of recovery appeared slight but the doctors later announced that he would get well but might lose the use of his right arm. The popularity of the injured trooper was such that many citizens of Williamson called upon him daily in the hospital.

Early Mahon: Banjoist in Mingo County, WV


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Early Mahon (1884-1969), son of Plyant and Vicie (Hatfield) Mahon. Plyant Mahon was a participant of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Early was the grandson of Valentine “Wall” Hatfield. The family holds the original photo.

Regional Place Names


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The following list of regional place names of streams is derived from Surveyors Record Book A at the Logan County Clerk’s Office in Logan, WV. Each document generally lists three dates for the survey; I chose to identify the earliest and the latest date. The purpose of this list is to document the earliest usage and spelling of a place name in my region. Logan County was extremely large in the 1820s and has since been partitioned to create new counties, so many of these places are not located in Logan County today. This list will be updated periodically.

Beech, a branch of Tug Fork (24 May 1825, 12 October 1825, p. 64)

Big and Clear Fork of Guyandotte River (1 October 1818, 26 June 1826, p. 79)

Big Creek (11 December 1817, 25 October 1824, p. 34)

Big Fork of Guyandotte River (18 July 1825, 17 February 1826, p. 73)

Bluff Mountain (1 October 1818, 21 February 1825, p. 37)

Coal Branch of Guyandotte River (17 December 1824, 31 March 1825, p. 42)

Cow Creek of Island Creek (13 December 1823, 11 October 1826, p. 87-88)

Crawley (10 June 1824, 8 July 1825, p. 47)

Crooked Creek (16 February 1825, 1 April 1825, p. 43-44)

Double Camp Branch of Clear Fork (1 June 1821, 29 December 1825, p. 69)

Elk, a branch of Pigeon (16 February 1825, 18 August 1825, p. 51)

Elkhorn River (30 April 1825, 1 November 1825, p. 65)

Flat Top Mountain (22 November 1824, 14 February 1826, p. 72)

Grapevine, a small branch called Grapevine (8 July 1825, 14 October 1825, p. 63)

Green Shoal Creek (15 March 1826, 10 October 1826, p. 86-87)

Harts Creek (17 February 1824, 10 October 1826, p. 87)

Hewetts Creek, a branch of Spruce Fork of Coal River (20 May 1813, 11 April 1825, p. 44)

Huff Creek (11 December 1822, 11 March 1825, p. 40)

Jacks Branch of Clear Fork (6 January 1824, 16 December 1825, p. 66)

Left Fork of Island Creek (4 February 1817, 28 October 1824, p. 35)

Left Hand Fork of Ben, waters of Tug Fork (13 December 1823, 11 October 1826, p. 88)

Laurel Creek and Crooked Run, New River (10 May 1825, 25 August 1825, p. 56)

Laurel Fork of Pigeon Creek (17 December 1824, 10 October 1826, p. 85)

Laurel Fork of Twelve Pole (3 November 1813, 19 March 1825, p. 40)

Lick Branch (24 May 1825, 10 October 1826, p. 85)

Main Right Hand Fork of Big Creek (24 May 1825, 8 September 1825, p. 54)

Marsh Fork of Cole River (17 February 1823, 9 March 1825, p. 39)

Mate, a branch of the Tug Fork of Sandy (8 July 1825, 11 October 1825, p. 62)

Mill Creek of Island Creek (10 January 1823, 29 October 1824, p. 36)

Millers Branch of Tug Fork (4 May 1826, 16 September 1826, p. 81)

North Branch of Big Creek (18 July 1825, 7 September 1825, p. 52-53)

North Fork of Big Creek (4 April 1825, 9 September 1825, p. 54)

Peach Tree, a small branch called the Peach Tree (24 May 1824, 7 October 1825, p. 60)

Peter Huffs Creek (13 December 1823, 12 November 1825, p. 66)

Pigeon Creek (16 February 1825, 15 October 1825, p. 63)

Pine Creek of Island Creek (4 February 1817, 27 October 1824, p. 35)

Rock House Fork of Middle Fork of Island Creek (17 February 1824, 5 October 1825, p. 59)

Rock House Fork of Pigeon (6 February 1825, 22 March 1825, p. 41)

Spruce Fork of Coal River (16 February 1825, 22 April 1825, p. 45)

Trace Fork of Big Creek (16 February 1825, 8 September 1825, p. 52)

Tug Fork of Sandy River (10 March 1825, 24 March 1825, p. 42)

Turtle Creek, a branch of Little Coal River (13 December 1824, 12 April 1825, p. 45)

Wolf Pen Creek, branch of New River (10 May 1825, 25 August 1825, p. 56)

Wolf Pen Creek at mouth of Rattlesnake Branch (10 February 1825, 11 January 1826, p. 71)

James Ferrell Log Cabin on Big Ugly Creek in Lincoln County, WV (1998)


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This log cabin was built by James P. Ferrell before the Civil War. 1998


My friend Mayme Ferrell lived here. James P. Ferrell was her grandfather. 1998


One time, I visited with Eunice (Peyton) Ferrell and Doska (Duty) Adkins. 1998

Armed March (1922)


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On February 17, 1922, the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, offered this little tale relating to the Armed March on Logan County, or the Battle of Blair Mountain as it is mostly known now:


Miss Lacie Kirk, of Peach Creek, Becomes Bride of Jack Brinkham, of Charleston

That little goddess of love called Cupid simply will not be downed. Blows below the belt, solar-plexus blows and all others fail to knock the little fellow out and he remains constantly on the job. Obstacles are nothing in his life and no obstruction is so great as to be insurmountable by him. Cupid had shot his darts into the heart of Jack Brinkman, pianist for the Hippodrome Theatre of Charleston and also into the heart of Miss Lacie Kirk of Peach Creek some months ago and the wounds were to be healed on January 22, when they expected to appear before a minister and have the injury cured via the matrimonial route but Fate struck Cupid a blow that all but put the little fellow out for the count.

On the evening preceding the intended wedding, Capt. Lilly of the state police arrived in Charleston, and in his pocket he carried a warrant for the arrest of Brinkman, charging him with being a member of the armed band who marched on Logan county last August. Capt. Lilly executed the warrant and brought Brinkman to Logan and lodged him in the county jail, where he lingered until Wednesday of this week when he obtained bail.

In the meantime the wound in the heart of Miss Kirk had refused to heal and cupid kept alive the spark of love kindled in her breast in days gone by. She bided the time and with womanly patience and fidelity she counted the days until her intended husband should gain his freedom.

Brinkman was busy Wednesday making preparations for the ceremony and the parlor of the Jailor’s residence was obtained and the nuptial knot tied there. Mr. Wm. Chafin of Williamson was present and played for the wedding ceremony and many relatives and friends of the couple were present to witness the happy event, which was a very elaborate affair. The happy couple left the residence amid the congratulations and best wishes of those present and the day proved doubly happy to them in that the husband had again obtained liberty and likewise a lovely bride.

Chapmanville High School in Chapmanville, WV (1926)


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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes these items of history for Chapmanville High School, dated April 2 and April 16, 1926:

Chapmanville Plans to Vote on Bond Issue for High School Building

Total of $75,000 Proposed, $45,000 of Which to Establish New Structure; Balance to Remodel Others.

Four years of discussion is about to crystallize for the residents of Chapmanville in a High School that will provide for the instruction of both junior and senior high school students if the plans of the Board of Education of that district, which have already been launched, prevail among the voters.

At a recent meeting the tentative plans were prepared after the matter had been discussed with one hundred representative voters who had been invited by special letter to attend for the purpose of ascertaining their will in the matter. Of this number it was found that only four showed any disposition not in favor with the proposed bond issue to cover the completion of the project and these it is confidently expected will find their way over to those who are eager to establish a High School in the district.

Another meeting is scheduled to be held in the school house, at Chapmanville, April 10, at which time details of preparing the proposed $75,000 bond issue will be further discussed.

As proposed now, the bond issue will provide $45,000 to defray the cost of the new High School, and $30,000 to be devoted to converting one-room school buildings into structures of two or more rooms. In this latter, the members of the Board of Education feel that the item of continued maintenance for these old buildings will go a long way toward the cost of creating the new ____.

New buildings will be erected at various parts of the district where it is found they are needed.

Although there are at the present time 150 pupils ready to take up the courses offered in the High School, the structure tentatively planned will entirely care for the future, at least for many years to come.

The achievements of the Chapmanville district in the matter of progress in educational matters during the past six years has been very notable. In 1920, when the present Commissioners took charge, they had a $17,000 debt hanging over their heads.

That debt has dwindled down until now it represents only $2,700.

In 1920 the district boasted of 34 schools, part of them receiving scholars and part of them idle. Since then 13 elementary rooms have been added as well as a Junior High, with three teachers.

This year the school district will obtain $18,000 from the State for the fund devoted to elementary teaching. Also the State will allow the district a little over $1,600, about $350 of which will provide for the cost of the proposed bond issue election. The confidentially expected will find their ______, coal cost and other matters in connection with the upkeep of the schools.

The Board of Education consists of the following members: T.B. Ferrell, president, Big Creek; T.B. Stone, Secretary, Kitchen; Robert Sanders, Banco; and George Mullins, Queens Ridge.


Chapmanville Orders High School Plans

Architect Will Present Them At Special Meeting April 17; Points Named Where Improvements Will Be Made

At a meeting of the Board of Education of the Chapmanville district, last Saturday night, held for the purpose of further discussing plans in connection with the proposed bond issue of $75,000 for the erection of a High School and the improvement and construction of other school buildings in the district, the board authorized the architect present to draw tentative plans.

These will be presented at a special meeting to be held Saturday, April 17, at the Chapmanville school at 10 o’clock in the morning. At this meeting it is hoped that most of the details of the proposed bond issue will be decided upon and something definite reached regarding the election to take care of it.

It was reported at the meeting that sentiment has grown rapidly and opinion is practically unanimous in favor.

It was proposed that improvements be made in the elementary schools at Stone Branch, Kitchen, Godby Branch, Thompson, Rocky, Striker, White Oak, Browns Run, about the mouth of Smoke House. Also Trace and Buck Forks, Bulwark, Hoover and Upper Trace all repairs made on all buildings that cannot be combined with others.

In order that these matters may be discussed and known to the citizens of the district all are urged by the Board of Education to be present at the next meeting.

Note: Chapmanville High School was consolidated with Harts High School in 2006-2007.