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In West Virginia, Brandon was busy interviewing local folks about Ed Haley and his father’s 1889 murder. He first dropped in on Earl Brumfield, a grandson to Al Brumfield, who lived at Barboursville, near Huntington. Earl was born in 1914 — nine years after Al’s death — and was a Depression era schoolteacher in Harts. At the time of Brandon’s visit, Earl was bed-fast and withered with age and in poor health and was barely able to speak plainly. Brandon started asking him general questions about the Brumfields.

Earl said Al Brumfield was bad to chase women throughout his marriage to Hollena. He had a mistress in a little town downriver named Betty Meade, who bore him two illegitimate children. When Hollena found out about his affair, she enlisted the help of her brother-in-law Jim Brumfield to kill the woman. Supposedly, Al knocked Jim’s gun away just before the shooting started and did it with such force that he broke his younger brother’s arm.

Earl said Al had other affairs. One time, Hollena was in the yard and saw him with a woman hid behind a log across the river. Outraged, she fetched a shotgun and shot at him every time he poked his head out from the log. This, of course, sounded like a tall tale — but it surely had a glimmer of truth in it.

Apparently, Al’s infidelity was a constant source of trouble in his marriage. Earl laughed telling about it, but it would have made for a terrible situation, especially since Hollena was a shattered beauty. Maybe Al’s infidelity was what drove Hollena to have her reported affair and love child with Fed Adkins in the early 1890s. Either way, Hollena had her revenge when Al was sick and near the end of his life. According to Earl, she often confined him to the upstairs of their house while she stayed downstairs. If he needed something or was feeling contrary, he would peck his cane on the floor to get her attention.