Appalachia, Big Sandy River, H.M. Stafford, history, Johnson County, Kentucky, photos, pushboat, steamboats
31 Friday May 2013
Posted Big Sandy Valleyin
31 Friday May 2013
Appalachia, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddler, Forked Deer, guitar, history, Kentucky, Lawrence Haley, music, Pat Haley, Ralph Haley, writing
I kept in close touch with Lawrence, who Pat said always perked up at my calls. His comments about his father’s music were very helpful. At times, I felt as if I might be talking to Ed.
“I guess Pop learned any time he was sitting around jamming. Anytime he was just sitting around making music with a bunch of friends, they was practicing and learning new pieces. How it would sound this a way and how it would sound that a way. You try different styles and things or you just try for speed. I’ve watched Bill Monroe and some of his stuff and it seems like that’s part of his aim is to see how fast he can play sometimes. Well, that might have been my dad’s. I know in that piece of music, ‘Forked Deer’, I think there’s a certain spot in it Pop changes his speed right there at the last a little bit. And I guess that’s the way most fiddlers do to see if people can keep up with them.”
I said to Lawrence, “Well, you know, a lot of that fiddling and everything, it was a competition. I bet if somebody came along that thought they could beat your dad, I bet your dad threw them a few loops to let them know who’s boss.”
“Yeah, I guess he did. He’d probably set and help somebody. Say, ‘Now you’d better do it this way,’ or something. If he liked who he was with, that’s the way he’d be. He’d play with them, and if the guitar player wasn’t doing it right… I’ve heard him a lot of times when Ralph — him and Mom would be a playing — he’d tell Ralph to change chord ‘so-and-so.’ And Ralph finally got to the point where he could chord it properly, but then he wanted to make those runs between chords. Pop would tell him how to get to a certain place, or what chord to be at. He’d tell him to change chords, so I guess he told everybody that if they wasn’t getting to where they should be at the right times. He’d let them know, if he wanted to teach anybody. If he played with you for a little while and saw that you weren’t going to make it, he’d probably tell you, ‘You just might as well put it up.’ That’s the way I think about my dad. I’m maybe like Clyde: I didn’t know him enough really to know what kind of a man he was. A lot of my knowledge of him is hearsay, too.”
31 Friday May 2013
30 Thursday May 2013
Ashland, Clyde Haley, Ella Haley, fiddle, fiddler, John Hartford, Lawrence Haley, music, Pat Haley, writing
As soon as I got back from California, I got on the phone with Lawrence and told him all about meeting Clyde. He took issue with some of the things his brother had told me. As for what Clyde said about him holding the fiddle down at his lap: “Well, he might have done it. I’ll tell you, if he did, he wasn’t playing the fiddle like he should. He wasn’t a fiddler then. He was just making music, probably at a square dance. They fed him too much liquor or something and he was about to pass out on them. That’s the way I’d look at that ’cause Pop had a lot of pride in his music. I don’t think he’d done that intentionally. He wasn’t no show-off with the fiddle. He might show some enthusiasm when he was playing a piece exceptionally good. He was enjoying his own talents right then.”
Lawrence got back on the subject of what Clyde had told me about Ed’s drinking and abuse.
“If he tells you that my dad made him drink or caused him to be a drunkard or an alcoholic, then Clyde was fibbing to you ’cause Clyde did that on his own. He might not have been around it as much if he hadn’t went with my dad, but he did it on his own. I don’t think Pop would have given him… Like he said, he’s sitting there at the table up on Horse Branch feeding it to him while Mom was sitting there across the table from him — I don’t think he done that. Maybe he might have been different with some of us, but he never struck me or never offered me anything to drink like that.”
I asked Lawrence how his health was holding up and he said, “Well, since I’ve talked to you, I been on the backside. My intestinal system ain’t working right and nobody seems to know anything about it. I don’t know whether I’m ever gonna get over this, John. Seems like I get to go forward for a day or two and then drop back for three or four. It wears you down after a while.”
He paused: “Other than that, I’m getting along all right.”
I told Lawrence I was planning to come see him in Ashland in the next few months — that maybe we could run around and he’d start feeling better.
“Okay,” he said, “I don’t think I’m gonna be able, John. You’re just gonna have to take Pat with you or one of the kids.” He laughed. “Take one of them along instead of me because I haven’t got the strength really. They’ve just drugged me right on down to where I can walk through the house and I’m ready to lay down. Right now, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just be that way. I’ll just stay in a rested position as much as I can and just lay like I’m in a hospital bed and see if that don’t help me. Just pure rest.’ So, I’m gonna give that about another week, then I’m gonna find me a specialist I reckon and find out what’s the matter with me.”
28 Tuesday May 2013
28 Tuesday May 2013
California, Clyde Haley, genealogy, John Hartford, life, photos, Stockton
28 Tuesday May 2013
California, Clyde Haley, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddler, history, John Hartford, life, music, writing
While on tour in California, I visited Clyde Haley at what he kept reminding me was his “hospital.” Clyde, I noticed, had his mother’s nose and those piercing blue eyes that Pat Haley told me about. We were allowed some privacy in a sun-drenched courtyard, where he encouraged me to “ask away” about his father. At first, his memories were fuzzy, but when I played the fiddle for him, he got very excited — “You’re playing my dad’s tunes!” — and started calling out the names of songs, places, and people. He told me quite a bit about Ed, although the historical accuracy of our conversation deteriorated fairly quickly. Clyde said his father played with the fiddle positioned at his groin — a remarkably different location than anywhere I’d seen before. He also said that when Ed played for a long time at dances, he straightened his right leg and rested his left forearm and the fiddle on his left leg, which he propped up on a chair. He held my fiddle to better show me what he meant, but it looked so bizarre that I just wasn’t sure about it.
Talking with Clyde was great in that he offered a completely different slant on Ed’s character and personality than what Lawrence gave me. He was very adamant about Ed being an angry, abusive drunk, and even went so far as to blame his failures in life on him. He said the first time he ever tasted moonshine, Ed slipped it to him at the dinner table and he got so drunk that he fell off of his stool. Ella bent over to help him up and smelled alcohol on his breath. “Moonshine whiskey,” she said to Ed. “What are you trying to do, kill him?”
26 Sunday May 2013
Posted Big Sandy Valley, Timberin
Appalachia, Catlettsburg, culture, history, Kentucky, life, logging, photos, steamboats, timbering, U.S. South
26 Sunday May 2013
Posted Culture of Honorin
26 Sunday May 2013
Appalachia, blind, Ed Haley, fiddler, genealogy, history, Josie Cline, Kermit, Mont Spaulding, music, U.S. South, West Virginia, writing
Later that night, I got back on the phone with Grace Marcum. I just had to know more about Josie Cline.
“She was a little round-faced woman…a little short, chubby woman,” Grace said. “And she wore her hair twisted up on top of her head, a little roll, you know, in a pin. Seem to me like she was blue-eyed, as good as I can remember. Josie Cline’s been dead for years. She collected bridge toll on this here… Well, it’s a free bridge now. They freed it, but when it was first built, they let Josie collect the toll. And she lived there in that little house, her and her husband. Her husband was a paralyzed man, and he couldn’t talk. I don’t know what happened to him.”
I asked Grace if Josie was supposed to be Ed’s older or younger sister and she said, “I guess she was an older sister. She was a funny old woman. She could make anybody laugh. Fine person.”
I asked her again about Josie being a fiddler and she said, “Oh yeah, her and Mont both.”
“Her and her brother Mont.”
So she had another brother?
“Oh yeah. Seemed to me like — Mont Spaulding. He wore colored glasses. He wasn’t very tall.”
How could Josie be a sister to Ed and Mont Spaulding when everyone all had different last names? Was she a half-sister?
“Well, she could’ve been, yeah,” Grace said. “But I know they was awful close. Yeah, they had a time. Mont was a pretty good fiddler, and Josie was, too. I couldn’t say which one was the best, but now they played at square dances and everything. Yeah, my dad hired them to play a many a Saturday night down there at the hotel.”
I asked Grace how often Ed came through the area and she said, “Oh, I don’t know. You know, I was just a small girl, and I couldn’t tell you nothing like that ‘cause my father had a grocery store on this side of the railroad — between the railroad and the county road — and I worked there with Dad. He put us all to work. Raised a big family of us, so we all worked, you know, we all helped out.”
After hanging up with Grace, I formulated a theory that maybe Milt Haley had Josie Cline by another woman before coming to Harts and marrying Ed’s mother. It was just a hunch, like the “Emma Jane Hager-Emma Jean Haley” thing. I also wondered if Grace hadn’t partially confused Ed with Mont Spaulding or if Ed was in fact a boyfriend to the widowed Josie.
25 Saturday May 2013
Appalachia, Ashland, culture, history, Kentucky, Lawrence Haley, life, photos, U.S. South
25 Saturday May 2013
Clyde Haley, Ella Haley, John Dillinger, John West, Josie Cline, Kermit, Logan, Logan County, music, Pretty Boy Floyd, Sarah West, West Virginia, writing
I gave Clyde Haley a call to ask him about this Josie Cline, who was somehow connected to Ed Haley. Was it his sister, half-sister…or even a girlfriend?
“No, I don’t recall him ever having anybody by that name around the house,” Clyde said. “I’ve just heard my dad talk about her. He didn’t womanize, if that’s what you’re talking about. He didn’t bring any women around the house or anything like that.”
I mentioned that Josie Cline was supposedly Ed’s sister and he wasn’t surprised.
“He might have,” he said. “I never did get acquainted with her. Josie Cline — I recall the name real well. I don’t recall any Clines personally. We went up around Kermit and Logan and up in that area quite a bit, you know. My dad took me with him all the time. I was his pet. I wasn’t around that area too much. The only time I went over there was one time I run off from home and went over that way and scrounged, you know. I couldn’t have been over ten, eleven, twelve years old.”
I asked Clyde why he ran away and he said, “Well, mostly because I was just that type of a guy. I didn’t always stay around the home. A lot of the times when I was away from home that way, it was because I was in dutch with the law, you know. I had to get away from Ashland. And we’d go different places, you know, me and my dad.”
I asked if Ed ever got “in dutch with the law” and he said, “Not too often, not too often. The only time he ever got in dutch was one time when he was whooping us kids in school you know and he whooped me so hard using a thin, brown belt — and he was using the buckled end of it to whip me with… He wrapped that belt around my body and accidentally hit my tally-whacker you know and put me out of commission for about three months. Yeah, I remember that pretty well. He wouldn’t never whip the other boys like he whipped me. But as I look back on my lifetime, I see that he did things that he wouldn’t ordinarily have done if he had been a normal man. He was blind and he done these things to us and my mother — he beat my mother quite a bit, you know. If he could have seen like a normal person, I think he’d been an altogether different person. I forgave him a lot of that stuff but he was awful mean to my mother.”
“He’d come in drunk sometimes and beat on her and every time he’d do that, when I was big enough, I’d hit him with something. I hit him with a milk bottle one time, one of those big old heavy milk bottles. But I conked him with one of them one time and cut a pretty good gash in the top of his head. If he’d ever found out that that was me that done that, he’d a beat me half to death. But we all told him that Sarah West done that. She stayed with us. John West’s wife. John West stayed with my mother and dad a lot of times too, because I remember him pretty well. And he did things around the house that my mother and father couldn’t do. He was like a handyman. But Sarah West got the blame for that milk bottle because I blamed her. I told him, I said, ‘Pop, that was Sarah done that, hit you in the head with that milk bottle.’ And he got on her about it. And I remember she couldn’t talk real well. She had a hesitant speech. She says, ‘Mr. Haley that was Clyde did that. Wasn’t me. That was Clyde.’ Trying to tell him it as me. And he wouldn’t believe her. She took the blame for that, poor girl. I was a regular hellion.”
I asked Clyde if he remembered any of the other people who worked around Ed’s house and he said, “We had so many people stayed around in my house. My mother and father were hospitality plus. You know, anybody that came around the house they were just like family. There was a lot of them that was at my house because they knew my mother’s part of the family, like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. Those people in that category. They were from right there in the area. Their homes were right around in Logan and West Virginia. My dad was from Logan County. They’d come and listen to my dad play the fiddle. There’s stories that I could tell you that you wouldn’t believe about my dad — those things that we done when he was away from home. Things that were mean, pertaining to the family. He wasn’t a nice person to be around. If you come down this a way and we get together and talk, I can tell you things that I wouldn’t tell you on the phone.”
24 Friday May 2013
Appalachia, culture, history, Jenkins, Kentucky, life, photos, Pike County, U.S. South
24 Friday May 2013
Ed Haley, fiddler, Grace Marcum, history, John Hartford, Josie Cline, Lucian Muncy, Milt Haley, Pat Haley, Rush Muncy, Sammy Muncy, Tug River, writing
For reasons I can’t quite explain, although perhaps related to my belief in genetic memory, Ed Haley’s genealogy remained a real source of interest to me. I knew virtually nothing about his father’s background, although I had a strong suspicion that Milt Haley’s roots were somewhere along the Tug Fork at the West Virginia-Kentucky border — that same section of country made famous by the Hatfield-McCoy feud. Taking a tip from Pat Haley, I called Grace Marcum, a woman of advanced age who was somewhat of an authority on the old families in her section of the Tug Valley. I first asked Grace if she remembered a fiddler named Ed Haley.
“Oh, I did know Ed Haley years ago when I was a girl,” she said. “He played a fiddle and he was blind. He had a sister named Josie and she married a Cline and he stayed with her.”
“Oh, Lord,” Grace laughed. “I was just a young girl. I’m 80 years old now.”
I said to Grace, “Now, we’d understood that the Muncys were related to the Haleys,” and she said, “They was. Ed visited Loosh and his wife pretty often. He stayed with Loosh a while and then he stayed with Rush a while. They was old Uncle Sammy Muncy’s boys. They used to live here. My daddy sold him the store. He bought our grocery store out, Loosh did. Yeah, they always kept a grocery store a going, both of them did.”
23 Thursday May 2013
Appalachia, banjo, culture, history, life, photos, U.S. South
23 Thursday May 2013
Posted Big Harts Creek, Ed Haley, Spottswood, Warren, Whirlwindin
Andrew Jackson, Ben Adams, Bill Abbott, Bob Mullins Cemetery, Buck Fork, Chloe Mullins, civil war, Confederate Army, Dicy Adams, Ed Haley, Elizabeth Mullins, Enoch Baker, genealogy, Harts Creek, Henderson Dingess, history, Hollene Brumfield, Imogene Haley, Imogene Mullins, Jackson Mullins, Jane Mullins, Jeremiah Lambert, John Frock Adams, John Gore, John Q. Adams, Joseph Adams, Kentucky, Logan County, Margaret Gore, Mathias Elkins, Peter Mullins, Riland Baisden, Spencer A. Mullins, Tennessee, Ticky George Adams, timbering, Trace Fork, Turley Adams, Van Buren Mullins, Weddie Mullins, Weddington Mullins, West Virginia, writing
Ed Haley’s grandfather, Andrew Jackson Mullins, was born about 1843 to Peter and Jane (Mullins) Mullins. Jackson, as he was called, was named in honor of President Andrew Jackson, that early American icon. Like many folks in those days, Peter and Jane Mullins appear to have been caught up in the Jackson mystique. They even named one son Van Buren, after his vice president. Jackson Mullins was the first child born to Peter following the family exodus from Kentucky or Tennessee to Logan County, (West) Virginia. The 1850 Logan County Census listed him as seven years old. In 1860, he was eighteen. During the Civil War, Jackson served in the Confederate army. Brothers Weddington and Van Buren served as Confederates. In the late 1860s, Jackson married the slightly older Chloe Ann (Gore) Adams, a widow. Chloe had been born around 1840 to John and Margaret (Dingess) Gore, pioneer residents of Harts Creek. She had first married John Quincy “Bad John” Adams, a first cousin to Jackson, with whom she had four children: Dicy (born 1857), Joseph (born May 1858), John C. “Frock” (born c. 1861) and George Washington “Ticky George” (born 15 Jul 1864). She and Jackson had three children: Imogene Mullins (born c.1868), Peter Mullins (born May 1870), and Weddington Mullins (born April 10, 1872). Jackson and Chloe are thought to have lived on Trace Fork, perhaps at the present-day site of the Turley Adams home where they certainly lived in later years.
What little is known of Jackson Mullins — the man who partially raised Ed Haley — comes through deed records and census records. On February 13, 1869, his uncle Spencer A. Mullins wrote him a note that read: “Mr. A.J. Mullins and wife: you will pleas Come down and git your Deed for the Buck fork Land. I will not pay the taxes any longer.” In 1869 he purchased 200 acres of land on the creek from Riland Baisden. The next year he was listed in the 1870 census as 27 years old with 700 dollars worth of real estate and 200 dollars worth of personal property. His daughter — Ed Haley’s mother — first appeared in that record as “Em. Jane Mullins,” age two. An April 1871, Justice Jeremiah Lambert provided a receipt to him for $2.80 “in the cost of the peace warrant in favor [of] him against Benjamin Adams.” An 1871 Logan County tax receipt listed A.J. Mullins as a resident of “Hearts Creek.” On February 28, 1877, the Logan County Court appointed him as “Surveyor of Roads in Precinct No. 76 in place of Weddington Mullins for the time of two years commencing April 1, 1877.” On December 17, 1877, the Logan County Clerk provided a receipt to him for recording a deed from Henderson Dingess and wife (parents to Hollene Brumfield). An 1878 tax receipt shows him in charge of six tracts totaling 244 acres under the ownership of “John Adams Heirs.”
The 1880 Logan County Census listed Jackson as 37 years old, while his wife was 40. Children in the household were John C. Adams (aged eighteen), George Adams (aged 15), “Emagane Mullins” (aged 12), Peter Mullins (aged 9), and Weddington Mullins (aged 6). That same year, Jackson sold five tracts of land totaling over 200 acres to brother-in-law Mathias Elkins for 3,000 dollars. He also sold 50 or so acres on Buck Fork to his father Peter and stepmother Elizabeth for 600 dollars. In February 1881, the Logan County Court reappointed him to relieve his brother Weddington as Surveyor of Public Roads for Precinct No. 76 “commencing April 1st, 1881.” That same year, he secured land from the John Q. Adams estate and bought 100 acres on Trace Fork from A.A. Low, attorney. On August 7, 1883, Enoch Baker, a timber boss on Harts Creek, provided a receipt to him for fifteen dollars “in payment for a Stove.” In 1886, Jackson deeded 37 tracts on Trace Fork to stepsons Joseph and John Adams. On April 2, 1888, he signed a promissory note agreeing to pay William Abbott $41.75 plus interest within a year. Because he was illiterate, he signed the note with an “X.”
In March 1891, Jackson and Chloe Mullins deeded their property on Trace Fork to their three children: Imogene Haley, Peter Mullins, and Weddie Mullins.
In the 1900 Logan County Census, Jackson gave his birth date as March of 1845, while Chloe gave hers as July 1834. Ed Haley first appears in the 1900 Logan County Census as “James E. Haley, born August 1885,” and living in their home. His birth date of 1885 was two years later than what was given by the Haley family records. By 1910, Jackson lived with son Peter Mullins, while Chloe was in the home of Weddie Mullins’ widow, Mag. Ed was absent from the census entirely, indicating that he was gone from Harts by that time. A few years later, in 1915, Jackson Mullins died and was buried in an unmarked grave at the Bob Mullins Cemetery on main Harts Creek. His widow died in 1919.
21 Tuesday May 2013
Posted Big Harts Creek, Calhoun County, Ed Haleyin
Appalachia, blind, Ella Haley, genealogy, Harts Creek, history, Jack Haley, life, Liza Mullins, photos, Stinson, West Virginia
21 Tuesday May 2013
Clayton McMichen, culture, fiddle, fiddler, Georgia, Georgia Wildcats, history, life, music, photos, Skillet Lickers
21 Tuesday May 2013
Posted Ed Haleyin
Barney Carter, Ed Haley, genealogy, Harts Creek, history, Jackson Mullins, Jane Mullins, Kentucky, Mathias Elkins, Peter Mullins, Pike County, Solomon Mullins, West Virginia
Ed Haley’s roots, at least on his mother’s side, originated in the high mountains of Appalachia somewhere in that wild section of country situated along the Virginia-Kentucky state line. Peter Mullins, Haley’s great-grandfather, was born around 1804 in Kentucky or, according to one source, in North Carolina. The son of a notorious counterfeiter, “Money Makin’ Sol” Mullins, and reported descendant of those mysterious people the Melungions, Peter chose for his wife Jane Mullins, a first cousin. Between 1830 and 1858, he and his wife had at least eleven children. The sixth child, Andrew Jackson Mullins, was Ed Haley’s grandfather. Peter and his wife initially lived in Pike County, Kentucky, near Clintwood, Virginia. Based on census records, the family remained in Kentucky throughout the 1830s. Family tradition, however, states that Peter relocated to Marion County, Tennessee, due to his involvement in a counterfeiting operation. Around 1841-42, he traveled north to Upper Hart in what was then Logan County, Virginia, and settled near a sister, Dicy Adams. In 1842, he bought 25 acres of land from Abijah Workman and Mekin Vance on Hoover Fork. Deed records indicate that he operated a mill on Hoover. Two years later, he acquired 50 acres on the “first lower branch” of Trace Fork.
There are no stories chronicling Peter’s life on Harts Creek, nor any photographs to reveal anything about his physical features. All we have are census records and deed records — somewhat dry but noteworthy. In the 1850 Logan County Census, he was 46 years old and had 200 dollars worth of real estate. Three years later, in 1853, he bought 40 acres of land on Hoover from John and Sarah Workman and 37 additional acres on Trace. That same year, he sold a 35-acre tract (that included a “mill built by Mullins”) and a 25-acre tract on Hoover to son-in-law Barney Carter for 400 dollars. In 1854 he bought 30 acres on the Gunnel Branch of Trace Fork and another 1/4 acre on Hoover from Carter. On this latter property, he acquired a mill and dam, referenced in the deed. Three years later, he purchased three tracts of land totaling 97 acres on Trace. In 1858 he sold land on Hoover to son-in-law Mathias Elkins for 400 dollars. The next year, he sold a small acreage on Hoover to Carter for 100 dollars. In 1860, Peter appeared in Logan County Census records as 54 years old with 1,500 dollars worth of real estate and 2,000 dollars worth of personal property. In 1869, he bought 29 acres from Elkins for 100 dollars located “10 poles above the Alfred Tombline House” on Harts Creek.
In 1870, 63-year-old Peter Mullins appeared in the Logan County Census with his wife Jane and four of their children. Within in the next few years, Jane Mullins died. In 1874, Peter remarried to the much-younger Elizabeth (Johnson) Bryant and settled on Buck Fork. That same year, he sold a tract on the Bills Branch of Trace to son-in-law William Jonas, then bought 50 acres of land on Harts Creek above Lick Branch from Carter the following year. The 1880 Logan County Census listed him as a 68-year-old farmer; his wife Elizabeth was aged 40. That same year, he sold 80 acres on Trace to son Jackson Mullins — Ed Haley’s grandfather — who simultaneously sold him 50 acres of land on Buck Fork for 600 dollars. In 1882, he bought surface rights to a 100-acre tract and a 30-acre tract on Buck Fork and a 25-acre tract on Trace. Thereafter, in 1883, he sold 35 acres to son Solomon Mullins on Buck Fork for 250 dollars and 20 acres to Mary D. Mullins on Trace Fork for 100 dollars. In 1886, he sold 30 acres to Dicy Blair on Buck Fork.
Peter died around 1888 and was buried on Buck Fork under a large stone slab. In March of 1889, just a few months before the outbreak of the Haley-McCoy trouble, his heirs sold 20 more acres of his property on Buck Fork to Dicy Blair.
19 Sunday May 2013
Writings from my travels and experiences. High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water. Mark Twain
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Genealogy and History in North Carolina and Beyond
A site about one of the most beautiful, interesting, tallented, outrageous and colorful personalities of the 20th Century