Whirlwind News 10.30.1925


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An unnamed correspondent from Whirlwind on Big Harts Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on October 30, 1925:

[The first line is illegible.]

Mrs. R. Bryant was calling on Mrs. Catherine Adkins last Saturday.

Mrs. Lizzie Carter called on Mrs. Jessie Carter Sunday.

Mrs. Mary Thompson visited Mrs. Ollie Mullins recently.

Joe Martin and Thomas Bryant were out joy riding Sunday.

James Toney Survey (1849)


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James Toney survey (1849), 95 acres, lower side of Big Harts Creek, Logan County, VA. Surveyors Record Book B, Logan County Clerk’s Office, Logan, WV. This property is located in present-day Lincoln County, WV. Note: I descend from James Toney through three of his children: Mary Jane Toney, Ann Toney, and Martha Rose Toney.

Nancy E. Hatfield Memories, Part 2 (1974)


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Howard B. Lee, former Attorney General of West Virginia, provided this account of Nancy Hatfield (widow of Cap) in the early 1970s:

Our next stop was at the home of Nancy Elizabeth, the same home where I visited with her and Cap during my campaign. For nearly three hours I asked questions and listened to that remarkable woman recount many of her experiences as the wife of America’s most celebrated feudist.

Nancy Elizabeth’s home also held a number of guns, pistols, and other relics of the feud days. But the most interesting item was Cap’s bullet-proof, steel breastplate, designed to cover the entire front half of his body from his beck to his lower abdomen.

“Mrs. Hatfield,” I said, “judging from the three bullet marks on it, this breastplate was a great protection to Cap; but what was to prevent an enemy from shooting him in the back?” Her eyes flashed as she replied: “Mr. Lee, Cap Hatfield never turned his back on an enemy or a friend.”

“I have read two stories, Mrs. Hatfield, each purporting to give the true cause of the feud: One book stated that it was the result of a dispute between a McCoy and a Hatfield over the ownership of a hog. Another book said that it grew out of the seduction of a McCoy girl by Johnson Hatfield, oldest son of Devil Anse. Is either one of these stories true?”

“No, neither story is true,” she replied. “The McCoys lived on the Kentucky side of Tug River, and the Hatfields lived on the West Virginia side. Hogs don’t swim rivers. I never heard the girl story until I read it in a book, written long after the feud was over. Both stories are pure fiction.”

“The truth is,” she continued, “in the fall of 1882, in an election-day fight between Ellison Hatfield, a younger brother of Devil Anse, and three McCoy brothers, Ellison was shot and knifed. He died two days later. In retaliation, Devil Anse and his clan captured and shot the three McCoy brothers. It was these four senseless killings that started the feud.”

In answer to my inquiry, Nancy Elizabeth said: “Yes, there had been ‘bad blood’ between the two families since the Civil War. In that struggle the Hatfields were ‘rebels’,–loyal to their State, Virginia. Devil Anse organized and was the captain of a company of Confederate sympathizers called the ‘Logan Wildcats’. They were recruited for local defense; but they left the county long enough to take part in the battle of Scary, fought along the banks of the Kanawha River, a few miles below Charleston.

“The McCoys, and their mountain neighbors, were pro-Union; and to protect their region against invasion by ‘Virginia rebels’, they organized a military company called ‘Home Guards’. There were occasional border clashes between the two forces, with casualties on both sides. The war ended only seventeen years before the feud began, and the bitterness still existed in the minds of the older generation, and they passed it on to their children. It was the old sectional and political hatreds that sparked the fight between Ellison Hatfield and the McCoy brothers.”

Nancy Elizabeth declined to estimate the number killed on either side of the feud.

“It was a horrible nightmare to me,” she said. “Sometimes, for months, Cap never spent a night in our house. He and Devil Anse, with others, slept in the nearby woods to guard our homes against surprise attacks. At times, too, we women and our children slept in hidden shelters in the forests.

“But these assaults were not one-sided affairs. The Hatfields crossed the Tug and killed McCoys. It was a savage war of extermination, regardless of age or sex. Finally, to get our children to a safer locality, we Hatfields left Tug River, crossed the mountains, and settled here on Island Creek, a tributary of the Guyandotte River.

“No, there was no formal truce ending hostilities. After a decade or more of fighting and killing, both sides grew tired and quit. The McCoys stayed in Kentucky and the Hatfields kept to West Virginia. The feud was really over a long time before either side realized it.

“Yes, Kentucky offered a large reward for the capture of Devil Anse and Cap. The governor of West Virginia refused to extradite them because, said he, ‘their trials in Kentucky would be nothing more than legalized lynchings’. It was then that Kentucky’s governor offered the reward for their capture–‘dead or alive’. Three attempts were made by reward seekers to capture them.

“Dan Cunningham, a Charleston detective, with two Cincinnati detectives, made the first attempt. They came through Kentucky, and crossed Tug River in the night; but the Hatfields soon captured them. A justice of the peace sentenced them to 90 days in Logan County jail for disturbing hte peace. When released, they were told to follow the Guyandotte River to Huntington, a distance of 60 miles, and ‘not to come back’.

“Next, a man named Phillips led two raids from Kentucky into Hatfield territory. In the first, he captured ‘Cottontop’ Mounts, a relative and supporter of the Hatfields, and took him to Pikeville, Kentucky, where he was hanged. But the second foray met with disaster at the ‘Battle of the Grapevine’. Phillips, and some of his followers escaped into Kentucky, but some where buried where they fell.

“This was the last attempt of the reward seekers. However, Kentucky never withdrew the reward offer, and that is why Devil Anse and Cap were always alarmed and on the alert.”

Source: West Virginia Women (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 151-152

Paris “Witch” Brumfield to Tomblin and Rigsbey Deed (1911)


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Deed Book __, page 127, Lincoln County Clerk’s Office, Hamlin, WV.

Editorial: The Clean Town (1925)


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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this editorial dated August 28, 1925:


Cleanl cleaniness, it has been said, is next to Godliness. A dirty individual is neither clean spiritually nor mentally. Dirt makes for ruin physically, mentally, morally. This is as true of a town as an individual. The dirty town, the town full of rubbish, of untidy houses, of muddy streets, of unsanitary conditions, is non-progressive materially, morally, and educationally. Neither moral nor material advancement flourish in dirty, unkempt dwellings or in unkempt towns.

If any town or city is ambitious for advancement, or if even a few of its men and women are ready to devote their time and energy to the betterment of the community, the surest way to achieve success is to clean up, make back yards and front yards clean, make streets clean and keep them clean, encourage the people to stimulate a love for and a pride in their homes and in their towns, repair the tumble-down yard fences, paint up, make things as clean outside as they would be inside, and then that community will look up mentally, morally and materially.

No community which does not clean up and paint up, which does not do its best to have clean streets and clean yards, has any right to look up and face the world.

It might be said a dirty town makes a dirty people: a dirty people makes moral and material dirt and decay. It is the duty of all men and women to make their homes and their home towns just as clean and attractive and beautiful as possible. He who fails short in this respect falls short of his duty to God and Man. It matters not what else he may do.

John Fry Survey (1849)


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John Fry survey (1849), 44 acres, Left Hand Fork of Green Shoal Creek, Logan County, VA. Surveyors Record Book B, Logan County Clerk’s Office, Logan, WV. This property is located in present-day Lincoln County, WV. Note: I descend from three of John Fry’s children: Christian Fry, Emily Fry, and Druzilla Fry.

United Mine Workers of America (1925)


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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this story dated August 28, 1925 regarding the United Mine Workers of America:


Report Shows 35 Cents of Every Union Miner’s Dollar Goes to Pay Overhead Costs

Virtually 35 cents of every dollar paid into the United Mine Workers of America treasury at Indianapolis goes for overhead expenses, chief of which is salaries, according to the report of the auditors who went over the books of the international’s accounts from January 10 to June 1 of this year. They report that the union had $1,191.991.64 on deposit on various banks on the latter date, despite the payment of some very large sums of money about which little is said.

West Virginia ranks high in the list of expenditures with the statement made that $411,475 was given somebody in connection with the Charleston headquarters of district 17, for the relief of Kanawha miners, for the relief of men who declined to work under the American plan of mining. As this was for 110 days, according to the report, it amounts to virtually $3,750 a day for every day reported. This sum was in addition to the $124,000 given somebody in the Fairmont field, for the aid of strikers there.

Administration Costs High

The “aid” money was also aside and apart from administration expenses in Charleston, because the audit shows the payment of $22,849.05 to William C. Thompson, secretary of District 17, for administrative expenses. Legal salaries were also apart from both of these figures, as the payment of $8.606.57 to Thomas Townsend for work during that period, and $602.11 to Harold Houston, another Charleston attorney, were listed separately. The settlement of claims for back salary, made by William Petry, former vice president of the district is also listed separately, the settlement being made for $500 cash.

The salaries and expenses of officers are lumped in one sum as $254,808.94, or 20.9 per cent of the disbursements for the 110 day period. These salaries and expenses are clear entirely of any incidental office expenses, supplies, etc. Mr. Townsend, the Charleston attorney, received the largest salary of the few listed separately, as Henry Warrum, the Philadelphia attorney received $4.672.73 during the 110 days and John Campbell but $4,250. Several other lawyers received from $2,000 to 3,000 fees.

Gift to Sufferers

Gifts of $250 to the tornado sufferers in Indiana; $500 to the victims of the Barrackville mine disaster; $500 to Illinois tornado sufferers and $1000 to sufferers in the Indiana explosion at Sullivan are also reported, being a very small portion of the disbursements listed.

Recapitulation of the figures show that the balance on hand January 16, 1924 was $1,048,044.40. The incoming from members of the union for the 110 days was $1,362,201.28. This made a total of $2,410,245.78. From this is deducted expenditures of $1,216,254.14 for the 110 days, leaving a balance June 1, of $1,191,991.64.

Whirlwind News 07.24.1925


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An unnamed correspondent from Harts in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on July 24, 1925:

We are sad at this writing, since our friends are passing away so fast. Uncle Thomas Tomblin, who has been ill so long, died at his home. Uncle Frances Collins died at the home of Sol Adams, Jr.

Sol Adams was seen returning from Logan yesterday.

Harve Smith and Tabor Blair were enjoying the Fourth of July while hunting.

The county road is progressing nicely on the head of Hart.

Squire Adams was seen going toward White Oak with a bundle of papers. Wonder where he was going?

Lindsay Blair has quit the county road and gone to 18 mine to repair cars.