New Year’s Raid (1888): Daniel Whitt’s Testimony

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Daniel Whitt’s testimony in the Johnse Hatfield murder trial provides one version of the Hatfield raid upon Randolph McCoy’s home on January 1, 1888:

Q. “Do you know Randolph McCoy?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Do you know Cap Hatfield?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Do you know Robert Hatfield, Ellison Mounts, Elliot Hatfield, Charles Gillespie, Thomas Mitchell, and Anderson Hatfield?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Do you remember of the old man McCoy’s house being burned?”

A. “Yes sir, I heard of it.”

Q. “Where were you a short time before that occurred?”

A. “Three days before Christmas I was in the neighborhood of the Hatfield’s.”

Q. “Who was with you?”

A. “Ance Hatfield, Jim Vance, Johnson Hatfield, Cap Hatfield, Charles Gillespie, and Tom Mitchell, I believe about all of the bunch.”

Q. “What were you doing together and how long had you been together?”

A. “About three days and nights.”

Q. “Were all of you armed?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “What were you doing armed and together?”

A. “Just traveling in the woods most of the time.”

Q. “What did you sleep on?”

A. “We carried our quilts with us.”

Q. “Who was your captain?”

A. “Jim Vance.”

Q. “What was the purpose of your getting together?”

A. “They claimed the purpose was to get out of the way of the Kentucky authorities.”

Q. “What else did they claim?”

A. “When I left them we came to Henry Mitchell’s to get dinner. They wouldn’t let me hear what they had to talk about. Cap asked me if I was going to Kentucky with them. Said they were going to Kentucky to kill Randolph and Jim McCoy and settle the racket. He asked me if I was going with them and I said that I was not. He said that I would go or I would go to hell. I said that I would go to hell. Elias came and took me off. We slept in a shuck pen. When he got to sleep I ran away and went to Pocahontas and was there when this occurred.”

Q. “Was Johnson present when Cap was talking?”

A. “He was in the yard close enough to hear, and he came up to me when Cap was talking and took Cap out and had a talk with him.”

Source: Bill of exceptions at the office of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals in Kentucky, Frankfort, KY.

Queens Ridge News 05.13.1927

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An unnamed correspondent from Queens Ridge serving Upper Hart in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on May 13, 1927:

Mrs. Paralee Browning and Garnet Mullins of Lower Hoover were the evening guests of Cecil McCloud Sunday.

Ireland and Carl Mullins went up Hoover late Sunday enroute to Troy Town.

Mrs. Belle Dora Adams is going to have a son-in-law some one said. Gee, the girls will have to quiet fliring with Charley.

Lucy McCloud was visiting her aunt Mrs. Garnet Martin here Saturday.

Howard Adams made a business trip to New Orleans. Many tears were shed on account of his long absence.

Whirlwind News 05.10.1927

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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 May 10, 1927:

Mrs. Alla Mullins was the guest of Daniel McCloud Monday.

Daniel McCloud made a business trip to Twelve Pole Monday.

All the farmers are getting very busy in this vicinity.

Wilburn Mullins was calling on friends at Daniel McCloud’s Sunday.

Lucy McCloud visited her aunt Lora Martin Sunday.

Bernie Adams has just returned from a business trip to Logan.

Daniel McCloud is teaching a singing school at the Bulwark school house. All report a nice time.

Daily Acts: Florence and her straw hat; Lucy and her pink dress; Lenville carrying milk; Roy making whistles.

Nancy E. Hatfield Memories, Part 4 (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:

“Mrs. Hatfield, we have talked much about an era that is gone. Feuds are ended, railroads and paved highways have come, the huge coal industry has developed, churches and schools are everywhere, and people are educated. Now, I would like to know something about you.”

This is the brief life-story of the remarkable and unforgettable Nancy Elizabeth Hatfield, as she related it to me.

She was Nancy Elizabeth Smith, called “Nan” by her family and friends, born in Wayne County, West Virginia, September 10, 1866. (She died August 24, 1942). In her early years, she lived “close enough to the Ohio River,” she said, “to see the big boats that brought people and goods up from below.” She attended a country school three months out of the year, and acquired the rudiments of a common school education, plus a yearning for wider knowledge.

While she was still a young girl her parents moved by push-boat up the Big Sandy and Tug rivers into what is now Mingo County, then Logan County. They settled in the wilderness on Mate Creek, near the site of the present town of Matewan.

“Why they made that move,” said Nancy Elizabeth, “I have never understood.”

In her new environment, in the summer of 1880, when she was 14 years old, Nancy Elizabeth married Joseph M. Glenn, an enterprising young adventurer from Georgia, who had established a store in the mountains, and floated rafts of black walnut logs, and other timber, down the Tug and Big Sandy rivers to the lumber mills of Catlettsburg, Ky., and Portsmouth, Ohio.

Two years after their marriage Glenn was waylaid and murdered by a former business associate, named Bill Smith–no relation to Nancy Elizabeth. Smith escaped into the wilderness and was never apprehended. The 16-year-old widow was left with a three-weeks old infant son, who grew into manhood and for years, that son, the late Joseph M. Glenn, was a leading lawyer in the city of Logan.

On October 11, 1883, a year after her husband’s death, at the age of 17, Nancy Elizabeth married the 19-year-old Cap Hatfield, second son of Devil Anse.

“He was the best looking young man in the settlement,” she proudly told me.

But at that time Cap had little to recommend him, except his good looks. He was born Feb. 6, 1864, during the Civil War, and grew up in a wild and lawless wilderness, where people were torn and divided by political and sectional hatreds and family feuds–a rugged, mountain land, without roads, schools, or churches.

When he married, Cap could neither read nor write, but he possessed the qualities necessary for survival in that turbulent time and place–he was “quick on the draw, and a dead shot.”

“When we were married, Cap was not a very good risk as a husband,” said Nancy Elizabeth. “The feud had been going on for a year, and he was already its most deadly killer. Kentucky had set a price on his head. But we were young, he was handsome, and I was deeply in love with him. Besides, he was the best shot on the border, and I was confident that he could take care of himself–and he did.”

Nancy Elizabeth taught her handsome husband to read and write, and imparted to him the meager learning she had acquired in the country school in Wayne County. But, more important, the she instilled into him her own hunger for knowledge.

Cap had a brilliant mind, and he set about to improve it. He and Nancy Elizabeth bought and read many books on history and biography, and they also subscribed for and read a number of the leading magazines of their day. In time they built up a small library or good books, which they read and studied along with their children.

At the urging of Nancy Elizabeth, Cap decided to study law, and enrolled at the University Law School at Huntington, Tennessee. But six months later, a renewal of the feud brought him back to the mountains. He never returned to law school, but continued his legal studies at home, and was admitted to the bar in Wyoming and Mingo counties. However, he never practiced the profession.

Nancy Elizabeth and Cap raised seven of their nine children, and Nancy’ss eyes grew moist as she talked of the sacrifices she and Cap had made that their children might obtain the education fate had denied to their parents. But her face glowed with a mother’s pride as she said:

“All our children are reasonably well educated. Three are college graduates, and the others attended college from one to three years. But, above everything else, they are all good and useful citizens.”

As I left the home of the remarkable and unforgettable Nancy Hatfield, I knew that I had been in the presence of a queenly woman–a real “Mountain Queen.”

Source: West Virginia Women (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 153-154.

Aracoma Drug Company (1927)

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From the Logan Banner of Logan, West Virginia, comes this item of history relating to Aracoma Drug Company, dated May 20, 1927:

K. & H. Drug Store is Sold to New Co.

A new company composed of local business men has purchased of F. Kerwood the K. & H. drug store fronting the northeast corner of the Court House. An inventory of the stock was completed last night but the store will not be re-opened before June 1. Meanwhile, elaborate improvements will be made in the front and the interior.

The purchaser is the Aracoma Drug Company, newly incorporated, among the organizers being Victor N. Griffith, office deputy under Sheriff T.S. Hatfield, and his cousin, O.D. Griffith, present manager of the Valley Drug Store. The latter will be in charge of the business. He has been here about three years and is widely known in this section.

Mr. Kerwood, who has been engaged in this business for three years, has made no definite plans for the future, he said last night.

The founder of this store was W.O. Poole, now in the drug business in Williamson, and formerly of Omar. From him Ford McDonald acquired it. Then it passed to Charles Bennett by whom it was sold to Mr. Kerwood and J.G. Hunter, hence its name K. and H.

Matilda Wade (1929)

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In April of 1929, the Logan Banner profiled numerous prominent African-American residents of Logan County, West Virginia.

Matilda Wade

Teacher, Cora School

Miss Wade is a graduate of Douglas High School, Huntington, and West Virginia State College; she has done summer work at the same institution. This is Miss Wade’s first term as a teacher, but her adeptness and aggressive methods have the knack and precision of those of longer experience. Miss Wade has a pleasing manner in her school work which brings willing and immediate reaction from her pupils. Her ideals in education are high. With her disposition to apply herself, and the active and energetic methods she employs, she is bound to reach a high place in her profession. Miss Wade is a member of the West Virginia Teachers’ Association. She possesses another splendid quality in her ability to make friends among the patrons of her community.