Anna Adams, Billy Adkins, Brandon Kirk, Chapmanville, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddling, Gaynelle Thompson, history, Imogene Haley, John Adams, Kiahs Creek, Little Harts Creek, Logan County, Milt Haley, Mona Haley, music, Roxie Mullins, Ticky George Adams, Wayne County, West Virginia, writing
In Chapmanville, Brandon and Billy dropped in on Gaynelle (Adams) Thompson, a granddaughter of Ticky George Adams who spent a lot of time with Aunt Roxie Mullins during her “last days.” Gaynelle said Ed Haley’s mother never remarried after Milt’s death and died prematurely when Ed was eight to ten years old. She said Ed used to visit her parents, John and Anna Adams, on Trace Fork during the summers in the ’30s and ’40s. “Everybody in the country thought they was nothing like him,” she said. Gaynelle heard that Ed was a drinker and could get rough but said he was well mannered at the Adams home. He never cursed or drank and talked mostly to Gaynelle’s mother. He came with his daughter and wife and stopped visiting when he became too sick to travel just a few years before his death. In earlier years, he played on Kiah’s Creek and Little Harts Creek near the Wayne County line.
Admiral S. Fry, Al Brumfield, Arena Ferrell, Boney Lucas, Burbus Toney, Cat Fry, Charles Lucas, Christian Fry, crime, Eliza Fry, Evermont Ward Fry, genealogy, George Fry, George McComas, George W. Ferrell, Green Shoal, Guyandotte, history, James L. Caldwell, Jesse James, John Brumfield, Milt Haley, Paris Brumfield, The Lincoln County Crew, Watson Lucas, West Virginia, writing
According to the Fry history, A.S. Fry eventually moved to Guyandotte, a river town in Cabell County, “where he built and owned a hotel. The Jesse James gang, who robbed a Huntington bank, stayed in his hotel for several nights.” His son George, meanwhile, took control of the family interests at Green Shoal. He presumably lived in the family homestead, where he was located at the time of Milt and Green’s murder in 1889. Deed records refer to it “as the old A.S. Fry homestead above the mouth of Green Shoals” and describe it as follows:
BEGINNING at the mouth of Green Shoals Creek, thence up with the meanderings of said creek to a survey made by C.T. fry, thence with the line of same to a white oak corner on a point, thence up the said point with the line of Chas. Lucas to the top of the mountain, thence running with the ridge to the head of a little ravine to a dog-wood corner made by C.T. Fry, thence down the hollow with C.T. Fry’s and B.C. Toney’s lands to a walnut corner made by said C.T. Fry, thence down the hill with John Fry’s and B.C. Toney’s line to the river, thence down with meanderings of the river to the place of beginning, containing seventy-five acres, more or less.
Although the deed was vague in giving its coordinates, it clearly proved that the “A.S. Fry homestead” — and thus the site of Milt and Green’s murder — was on the same side of the river as the railroad tracks.
By 1889, when the Brumfield gang took over the Fry house, George and his wife Eliza had a six-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. Cat Fry, a niece, also lived in the home. The family was connected to various participants in the 1889 troubles. Eliza’s older brother was married to Paris Brumfield’s sister, while two of her sisters were married to Brumfield’s nephews. These marriages were perhaps complicated when Paris murdered Mrs. Fry’s brother, Boney Lucas.
Following the Haley-McCoy murders, George Fry suffered some bad luck. In 1892, his wife reportedly had an illegitimate child by John Brumfield (Al’s younger brother). Four years later, his father sold the family homestead on Green Shoal to Arena Ferrell, a local storekeeper. George’s wife died around 1902 “when her children were young” (according to one source) and was buried in the old Fry Cemetery at Green Shoal. A.S. Fry himself was murdered at his hotel in 1904. George afterwards moved to Guyandotte where he died on May 19, 1905. Control of family businesses thereafter went to his brother Evermont Ward Fry, who was still alive as late as October 1939.
As for the “murder house” itself, Arena Ferrell deeded it to her adopted son George W. Ferrell, who is credited with writing “The Lincoln County Crew” — the song about Milt’s death. In 1899, he sold it to George R. McComas, who in turn sold it to J.L. Caldwell three years later. (This was probably the same J.L. Caldwell referred to in George Fry’s 1880 letter.) It was around that time (1902-04) when the railroad came through the Guyan Valley, which apparently had a direct effect on the “murder house.”
“The railroad now runs through one side of the house as well as that of the school building,” Ward told Fred Lambert. “This school was about one fourth mile above our residence.”
In 1915, Caldwell sold the property back to Arena Ferrell. Then, in 1919, it was transferred to Watson Lucas, whose heirs sold it to the current owners, the Lamberts, in the 1960s.
Admiral S. Fry, Anderson County, Burbus Toney, Charles Lucas, Cincinnati, civil war, Eliza Fry, Evermont Ward Fry, Franklin County, Fred B. Lambert, Garnett, genealogy, George Fry, Green Shoal, history, James L. Caldwell, Kansas, Lucinda Lucas, Ohio, Ottawa, Rhoda Fry, Will Fry, writing
A.S. Fry — the man who owned the home where Milt Haley and Green McCoy were murdered — was a former officer in the Confederate army and early businessman in Harts. According to the Fry history, “Shortly after his return home from the War, his adventurous spirit led him to Kansas and on to Texas; his family remained in Lincoln County. After his return from the West, his youngest son was born.” This son, Evermont Ward Fry, was born in 1872 and was later interviewed by Fred Lambert.
“When I was a boy, people gathered for a week’s religious meetings,” Fry told Lambert. “My father would keep from forty to fifty people. They held meetings in the summer or early fall. The people came on horseback from all directions. The preaching was at the Green Shoal School house; this was an old log building. Before it stood three or four beech trees. Preaching was under these trees. On one occasion my father’s house caught fire. He kept store and had just received an order of five or six dozen buckets. It was the nighttime, but he got out the fire buckets and the men formed a line up from the river. They put out the fire, but one end of the house was pretty badly burned.”
In subsequent years, A.S. Fry made other trips West, apparently with his son, George. George Franklin Fry was born in 1858 and was married to his first cousin, Eliza Virginia Lucas, a daughter of Charles and Lucinda (Fry) Lucas.
“Mrs. Rhoda Fry — Wear in this city and will Remain Hear for a few days,” A.S. Fry wrote to his wife from Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas, on July 14, 1880. “Lands is from $3 to $20 dollars per acor. Thare is fine crops hear. We may By Land in this County. This is said to be the beste County in the state and thare is thousands of acors for sail heare. It is vary warm. I don’t know when I will be at home. I will wright when I will be at home and I want you and Ward to meet me at huntington. This is a nice Country. I will wright to you in 2 or 3 days what we ar a doing. We have Gist Reatch this City. The Pepel is all Kind and seemes to tak intrust in Emzy Jane. I have nothing worthey of wrighting. Give all of my frieands best Respects for me and tell BC Toney not to Rune his stones two close. So I will close by saying that we ar well. Hoping the last few Lines will find you all well. So fare well. If you Right Direct yere Letter A.S. Fry, Garnett, Anderison Co., Kansas.”
“We wrote you from Cincinnati Ohio regarding Goods,” George wrote as an attachment to the aforementioned letter. “We bough[t] a little stock — and if Will has not gone after them go at once — they are in care of J.L. Caldwell. We also sent Bills at same time. In close you will find a butiful song bough[t] on Train.”
Al Brumfield, Ben Adams, Billy Hall, crime, Ed Haley, Eveline Dingess, feud, Floyd Dingess, Harts Creek, Henderson Dingess, history, Hollene Brumfield, Hugh Dingess, Imogene Haley, John W Runyon, Kentucky, Kiahs Creek, Robinson Creek, West Virginia, writing
At the time of the ambush on Al and Hollena Brumfield, Henderson Dingess and his family were in no mood to see yet another one of their fold die violently. Less than a year before, on November 15, 1888, Floyd Dingess, an older son of Henderson, was murdered while working logs at the mouth of Rockhouse Fork on Harts Creek. It was a horrific deed: Floyd, whose wife was several months pregnant, was murdered by his own brother-in-law, Billy Hall. Floyd had never been popular with the Halls. He reportedly made a habit of bullying Billy. It was said that when he came home from working, his wife would clatter pots and pans in the kitchen just so her family wouldn’t hear his footsteps.
When Billy finally shot Floyd on that fateful day, some of the younger Dingess boys were fishing in the creek nearby. They raced home to tell their family what had happened, while Billy quickly returned home and received instructions to hide out in Robinson Creek, Kentucky. Meanwhile, Floyd’s pregnant wife was floated across the creek to her husband, who died in her arms. Hugh Dingess, Floyd’s brother, tracked Billy to Kiah’s Creek but lost his trail. For years, Hugh was devastated by his brother’s death. He used to get drunk and shoot the Halls’ cattle.
The Dingesses eventually learned the whereabouts of Billy Hall and prepared to fetch him by force. The Halls on Harts Creek caught wind of their plan and sent word to Billy to escape by train to Tennessee, which he did — and was never heard from again.
Surely, when Milt Haley and Green McCoy shot Hollena Brumfield less than a year later, the Dingess family was determined to execute a harsh revenge. It was, after all, the second attack on their clan in several months. We wondered then, why would Milt, Green, Runyon, and Ben Adams — knowing the fate of poor Billy Hall — want to risk their lives (and fortunes) to attack Brumfield? Surely Milt and Green — taking a cue from Billy Hall — were well aware that once they committed their heinous act, the only avenue open to them was to flee the state forever. We also wondered if Milt just abandoned Emma and Ed on Trace Fork or if there was some kind of arrangement to later meet him in Kentucky?
Al Brumfield, Billy Adkins, Brandon Kirk, crime, feud, Green McCoy, Green Shoal, history, Milt Haley, Opal Brumfield, Paris Brumfield, Rome Lambert, Stella Abbott, Tucker Fry, Wayne Brumfield, West Virginia, writing
A little later, Brandon and Billy visited Wayne Brumfield at Douglas Branch in Ferrellsburg. Wayne was born in 1926 and is the great-grandson of Paris Brumfield. As expected, Wayne and his wife Opal knew the general story of the Haley-McCoy killings. Wayne said the whole trouble was over someone losing timber but he never heard of anyone named John Runyon or Ben Adams. He said Tucker Fry and Rome Lambert — two residents of Green Shoal who (Brandon discovered) were married to Al Brumfield’s first cousins — supposedly participated in the Brumfield mob. According to Opal, Milt or Green said to the other, “Eat plenty ’cause it’ll be our last meal.” She also remembered hearing that Stella Mullins cooked their dinner, that a pistol was used to kill them, that someone hid under a bed and that chickens pecked at their brains in the yard. Wayne said people were afraid to touch Haley and McCoy’s bodies.
Andrew Francis Messinger, Bill Duty, Blackburn Messinger, David Messinger, Fall Creek, genealogy, George T. Swain, George W. Parsley, history, James Muncy, James Parsley, John H. Messinger, Jr., Keenan Parsley, Kentucky, Lawrence County, Lincoln County, Marcum-Muncy Feud, Nellie Muncy, Nicholas Messinger, Pigeon Creek, Ryburn Parsley, Tug River, Wayne County, West Virginia, Wilson Messinger, writing
Penelope Muncy — Milt Haley’s mother — was born around 1823 to James Muncy and Mary Martha Copley. Nellie, as she was sometimes called, was probably an illegitimate child. On January 23, 1840, she married Ryburn Parsley in Lawrence County, Kentucky. In her marriage record, she gave her last name as Copley…not Muncy. According to Logan County historian George T. Swain, Nellie and her husband settled on Jenny’s Creek near the Tug Fork. They had at least four children: James Parsley (born c.1842), George W. Parsley (born c.1845), Sarah J. Parsley (born c.1848) and Martha Parsley (born c.1850). Ryburn was listed in the 1850 Logan County Census of (West) Virginia as a farmer then disappeared from local records. Swain’s history of Logan County gives a clue: “Riburn [Parsley], who married a Miss Muncey, became involved in the Muncey-Marcum feud and moved to Mississippi and became a brigadier general of the Confederate States in the Civil War.”
Strangely, Parsley left his wife and children in the Tug Valley.
In 1853, Nellie gave birth to a son named Keenan Parsley at Big Hurricane Creek near FortGay on the Big Sandy River in Wayne County. In Keenan’s birth record, no father was listed, perhaps indicating that he was an illegitimate child. Approximately three years later, Nellie gave birth to a son census records identify as Thomas P. Parsley – a.k.a. Thomas Milton Haley.
In 1860 Nellie married Wilson Messinger in Logan County. In her marriage record she gave her age as 37 years, her surname as Muncy instead of Copley or Parsley and listed her parents’ names as James and Mary Muncy. She also referred to herself, curiously enough, as a widow. At the time of the marriage, Wilson Messinger (also widowed) had five children: Mary Messinger, born about 1844; Blackburn Messinger, born about 1846; Andrew Francis Messinger, born about 1848; John H. Messinger, born about 1850; and David Messinger, born about 1855.
In the 1860 Logan County Census, Wilson and Nellie lived at the mouth of Pigeon Creek in the Tug Valley near Bill Duty. Wilson operated a mill and owned $250 worth of personal property. He had the following children in his household: two Parsley stepchildren (including Milt), five children, and a newborn son, Wilson Messinger, Jr., who was less than a year old.
By 1870, Nellie and Wilson had disappeared from West Virginia census records, possibly indicating their death or a move across the Tug into Kentucky. The family seems to have broken apart, as many of the Messinger children flocked to live near their wealthy grandfather Nicholas Messinger, a water mill operator in the Fall Creek area of Lincoln County.
Milt Haley apparently didn’t follow his stepsiblings to the GuyandotteValley. In 1870, he was still on Pigeon Creek in the home of Bill Duty, who was no apparent kin to him. Was it a coincidence that Duty had been a close neighbor to the Messingers in 1860?
Alvie Thompson, Ben Adams, Brady Thompson, Brandon Kirk, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, Ewell Mullins, George Baisden, Gladys Williamson, Greasy George Adams, Guyandotte Voice, Harve Adams, Herbert Thompson, history, Horsepen Mountain, John Hartford, Susan Adams, writing
Meanwhile, Brandon was in contact with Brady Thompson of Stafford, Virginia. Brady, a grandson of Ben Adams, had also seen the Guyandotte Voice newspaper article. He was sure that his grandpa Ben hired Milt and Green to ambush Al Brumfield because his grandmother — Ben’s last wife — had told him so. They shot at Brumfield but accidentally shot his wife, who rode behind him on a mule. They were eventually captured and chopped to death with axes near the mouth of Harts Creek.
It was in the years after the feud that Ben married Brady’s grandmother.
“My grandmother was an Indian,” Brady said. “Some way she said he took them away from some Indians on Horsepen Mountain and brought them over there when she was about fifteen and when she got about eighteen or nineteen year old he married her. His wife had died. He musta been married three or four times ’cause he musta had 25 or 30 kids.”
Brady didn’t seem to think much of his Grandpa Ben, who taught his sons to be “no good.”
“All they ever done is set around and figure out how to get a big war started between the families,” he said. “They’d kill one another.”
Brady said his Grandpa Ben died at his home on main Harts Creek in 1910 and “was buried up there on Trace.”
Brandon asked if there were any pictures of Adams and he said, “I believe old Harve Adams up on Trace before he died, he had Ben’s picture.”
I gave Brady a call to ask him about Ed and he said, “I was about six or eight years old when I seen Ed Haley. They come to my father’s place, my Uncle George’s place. The kids had brought Ed and his wife in that evening on two mules. A bunch of us kids all slept on the floor and they all drunk and played music all night long. I waked up early that morning — a big frost on — and they was still playing music. I thought that was the best music though I ever heard.”
Ed played a lot with Brady’s banjo-picking uncle George Baisden and occasionally at Ewell Mullins’ store on Trace.
Back in Harts, Brandon and Billy drove up Hoover Fork to see Brady’s younger brother, Alvie Thompson. Alvie was a very dedicated Mormon who’d just moved back to Harts Creek from out West.
“Grandpa Ben Adams was a big, tall ruffian — a rough villain,” Alvie said. “He’d beat his wife with a switch when she’d run off.” Ben lived in the head of Trace and operated a dam on Harts Creek.
Alvie remembered Ed Haley as a short, heavy-set man who visited his Uncle George Baisden as late as 1949-50. Gladys Williamson, Alvie’s 78-year-old sister, said Ed brought two of his sons there and he and Uncle George played music out on the porch or under walnut trees near the barn. Alvie’s father Herbert Thompson sometimes joined in with his banjo as did Ella, who played the guitar and banjo. Alvie recalled Ed playing standard tunes like “Arkansas Traveler”, “Sourwood Mountain” and “Sally Goodin”.
Andersonville Prison, Arthur I. Boreman, Ben Haley, Ben Haley Branch, Bessie Fraley, Bill Smith, Brandon Kirk, Cabell County, Cabell County Scouts, Cain Adkins, Catherine Haley, civil war, Ed Haley, history, Independent Company of Scouts, James H. Ferguson, James Haley, Jane McCoy, Kentucky, Kiahsville, Lick Creek, Lincoln County, Martha Spence, Peter McCoy, Quincy, Thomas McCoy, Wayne County, West Virginia, William A. Haley, writing
On March 20, 1865, Captain Benjamin R. Haley wrote West Virginia Governor Arthur I. Boreman about his capture the previous fall, the disbanding of his independent company of scouts and of his desire to join Captain James H. Ferguson’s Cabell County Scouts.
I have the Honor to Report the condition of my company of Ind. Scouts for Wayn County W.Va on the night of the 15th of Sept./64 we were Surrounded by 115 Rebells under command of Bill Smith in person I having only my Self and Seven of my men on duty when we were captured together with nine citizens whom I had cald in and armed to assist us in case we should be attacked we were all gobbled up with our armes and accouterments making in all Seventeen gunes with there accouterments. on my Return after Being parroled I Lernd that Senator Bowen had Recivd orders from you Excellency to take up the Remainder of the armes and accouterments and to Disband the men that was not captured. I have been bound to keep the parole they gave me for Life Sake not that I hold them a Legal Ware power yet for that and personal Safety I have kept it till now. I ernistly Desire an exchange as I wish to participate in defending my country with James H. Ferguson of Cabell County on whose List my name Shall Shortly appear.
On March 25, 44-year-old Haley enlisted in Ferguson’s Company of Cabell County Scouts at Guyandotte for one year, along with his sons William and 18-year-old James. Ben was appointed 2nd Sergeant on April 1, while William was appointed corporal. James was listed as a private in a muster roll dated May 25. The war, of course, wound down in the spring of 1865 and with it the military career of Ben Haley.
After the war, Haley settled in the headwaters of Ben Haley Branch, a tributary located at a small post office known as Kiahsville near the Wayne-Lincoln county line. In 1870, 50-year-old “Benjamin Hale” was listed with his family in the Sheridan District of newly created Lincoln County with $315 worth of real estate and $200 worth of personal property. His son William was also still in the area, having married Catherine O’Neil of Ireland in 1869. By 1880, 66-year-old Ben was back in Wayne County with 30-year-old Martha Deeryfield Spence and her children. His wife and younger children were no longer in the county.
During the 1880s, Ben Haley relocated to Quincy, Kentucky, perhaps around the time of Ed Haley’s birth in 1885. According to locals, nothing remains of his home on Ben Haley Branch except an old well. Just down the hill is Lick Creek, where Cain Adkins had been born in 1833.
In 1890, Catherine Haley was listed in the Special Union Veterans Census as a resident of the Laurel Hill District of Lincoln County. She gave John’s military information as follows: 9th West Virginia Infantry (Company G) from October 1862 until October 1864 and 1st West Virginia Infantry (Company F) from 1864 until June 1865. He suffered from consumption and was held in prison for nine months and fourteen days in Andersonville and Florence, South Carolina.
By 1900, there were no Haleys living in the Grant District of Wayne County.
Of Ben’s children, only Jane Haley currently has any descendants in the WayneCounty area. Jane married Thomas McCoy, Jr. (no relation to Green) and was the mother of Peter McCoy — the preacher who gave Milt and Green money for their escape in 1889. Peter died in 1963 but his daughter Bessie Fraley lives at the old homeplace on Route 37 near the family cemetery at the Wayne-Lincoln county line. When Brandon called her, she said her grandma Jane McCoy (Milt’s half-sister) was a “great big fat lady” who died before her birth in 1920. She had never heard of Milt Haley or even Ben Haley and had no idea that a Ben Haley Branch was only a few miles from her home.
5th West Virginia Infantry, Arthur I. Boreman, Ben Haley, Bill Smith, Camp Chase, Catlettsburg, civil war, Guyandotte, history, Independent Company of Scouts, James Buskirk, Jim Smith, Kentucky, steamboats, Stephen Strawther, Wash Watts, Wayne, Wayne County, West Virginia, William A. Haley, William T. Sherman, writing
On August 30, 1864, Captain Benjamin R. Haley wrote a letter to West Virginia Governor Arthur I. Boreman:
Sir I have the Honor of reporting to you the Success and condition of my company I have Lost no men tho there is Some ten cases of Sickness in my company owing to exposure in Scouting and Lying out in the night time we have had quiet times for the Last month untill the Last few days we now have Bill Smith and his gang in our midst which gives us much trouble and fatigue Looking out for him we also have Jim Smith the arch trator and a Small gang to Look after which is a great innoiance attended with considerable Trouble and Danger so upon the whole we have our hands full and in deed we may consider ourselves fourtunate if we are able to compete Successfully with them our armes are in good order and ammunition plenty for the ensuing month.
We have Arrested 9 Disloyal citizens which have been Sent away under Gen. Shermans order and two more who are now under trial at Catletts Burg Ky. Also one cofederate Soldier who was sent to Camp Chase whose name was Wash Wats. There has been Recently a trasaction in our county of Some importanc that a cirtain Rebel capt. James Buskerk who was experimenting with uncle Abe pills and took one too many So it worked him out of this wourld and also out of our way for ever and at the Same time there was one Stephen Strawther who took a very Heary Dose which is prooveing it is Supposed pretty fatal to him tho he may recover its affects for any thing we know yet we do hope it may have a good effect Let it work as it will it is an expressed opinion that if this Little company Should be removed the gurillas would be robbing Steam Boats between Catlettsburg & Guyandott and it is threatned Strongly as it is.
Attached to the August 30 letter was this message:
Sir wee are concious that our company is too weak to purform the Duty that is Required oweing to the increased numbers of gurilas and the Disbandment of the other three companies puting all together it becomes dangerous to Scout through the county or even to Hold a position in the County we have time and again Reported to the federal forces and with one Single exception have failed to get Help they invariably tell us to Remain with them and Keep out of Danger which you at once Se gives our County no protection at all now I have conversed with your warmest costituance and just friends and they all think it Due them and the intrust of our county that you Should give an order for more men now I can asure you the men can be recruited in a very Short time. You are aware that the term of Servis of the 5 Va Regt. is now about out and there are quite a number of them who have not nor will not reenlist also quite a number of them who Reside in wayn County and cannot Stay at home under existing circumstanses. They therefore would Readily enlist in a compey of this kind and Defend the Interest of the Loyal people of this county. There are also quite a number of citizens who would becom Souldiers in a Local Company like this be you assured we must have moor men or Suffer great Loss after Runing great Risks of our own Live we are held as usurpers of the Laws of Va and cald Borman Bogus theaves and cut throats by the Rebels and threatened with instantaneous Death when captured.
We are not at all Dismaid or intimidated at there threats not with Standing that there is plenty moor men to Help us we think it nothing more than Right they Should be permitted to do wee know they will do if armed and put at it we therefor petition you to give us the minimum number of a company Say eighty the Rank and file to be paid from the Date of there enlistment and for to be economical Say one Lieutenant.
On September 15, 1864, Haley was captured by a force under the command of Rebel Bill Smith. A few days later, on September 23, he was officially discharged from the 5th West Virginia Infantry, as was his son, William. The following day, the Wheeling Intelligencer reported on his capture:
A RAID: A few days ago the notorious rebel Bill Smith, with about sixty men, made a raid on Ceredo, situated on the Ohio river, in Wayne County in this state. They captured Capt. Ben. Hailey, and eight of his men, who belonged to the West Virginia State Guards, who were stationed at Ceredo for the protection of that point and surrounding neighborhood. They also captured all the male citizens of the place, with the exception of two old men, and robbed the Post Office of stationary and postage stamps, and other valuables, to the amount of about forty dollars, and robbed the citizens of all the horses in the neighborhood, and about seven hundred dollars. The guerillas left Ceredo with their prisoners and booty, going in the interior, in the direction of Wayne Court House, robbing the citizens of their horses and other property. The loyal citizens have been greatly annoyed for the want of necessary protection, ever since March or April last, the country being overrun by guerillas, committing depredations of the most shameful character, such as murdering citizens, robbing houses of bed clothing and their valuables, and taking money from citizens. It would be a great relief to the loyal citizens of Wayne County if the military authorities could possibly spare soldiers sufficient to protect said county from the bands of guerillas that are continually infesting the county, and driving the loyal citizens away from their homes.
45th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry, Albert Gallatin Jenkins, Arthur I. Boreman, Ashland, Ben Haley, Buffalo Shoals, Catlettsburg, Ceredo, Cumberland Gap, Flemingsburg, Independent Company of Scouts, James Haley, John Bowen, Kentucky, Louisa, Morgan Garrett, Mount Sterling, Prestonsburg, Saltville, Vincent A. Witcher, Virginia, Wayne County, West Virginia, William A. Haley
On June 8, 1863, Benjamin R. Haley and his son James enlisted for one year of service in the 45th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry. The 45th was organized in the summer of 1863 as a battalion (four companies) whose purpose it was the protect the Virginia front and the counties of eastern Kentucky. On October 10, the 45th was upgraded to a regiment in Ashland. At that time, Haley was made captain of Company B, while son William A. Haley was made second lieutenant.
“During the early part of 1864 the regimental headquarters were at Mt. Sterling, Ky., from which point the 45th was continually employed in constant and arduous duty, covering the entire Virginia front from Cumberland Gap to Louisa, and keeping in check, by ceaseless activity, the rebel cavalry command concentrated in and about Abingdon, Va.,” according to Union Regiments of Kentucky.
In March of ’64, the 45th moved its headquarters further north to Flemingsburg, Kentucky. Haley, perhaps wishing to remain closer to his home in Wayne County, resigned on March 17, 1864. William absented himself from command at Prestonsburg, Kentucky, on April 24, 1864 while on the march to Saltville, Virginia. James A. was mustered out on December 24, 1864 at Catlettsburg.
On April 8, 1864, John Bowen, a resident of Buffalo Shoals, wrote West Virginia governor Arthur I. Boreman to request that Ben Haley be permitted to organize a company and provide more Union protection in Wayne County.
Dear Sir I wish to inform you that Mr. Morgan Garret has declined to raise a Scouting Company for this part of our county and has gone to Kentucky. Horse Stealing is Still going on here. We need a company for this part of the county very much. They have three companeys upon Sandy and I understand they are trying to get another one. I think if their are to be another company for this county it ought to be for this part of the county. I would recommend either Benjamin Haley or William Nixson for capt. of a company and I request that one of them be commisioned to raise a company as soon as possible as we need protection badly.
Governor Boreman heeded Bowman’s request. On April 28, 1864, 46-year-old Ben Haley organized an Independent Company of Scouts for Wayne County. Some 25 men enlisted at Ceredo to serve in Captain Ben Haley’s Company for twelve months. “The members of my com were organized and Sworn in to the Servis by Abel Segar Esq the only Justice of the Peace that is in the County that will attempt to Edecute his office,” Haley wrote to the governor. On May 7, he requested 25 hats, 25 pairs of boots, 25 woolen blankets, 25 rubber blankets, 25 haversacks, 50 flannel shirts, fifty pairs of drawers and fifty pairs of stockings. He also requested 25 Colt rifles, 4000 bullet cartridges, 25 bayonet scabbards, 25 waist belts, 12 screw drivers and two ball screws, among other items. On May 10, Haley took his oath of office and then signed an oath of allegiance to the United States of America on the following day.
On June 6, Haley wrote Governor Boreman:
Sir I have the Honor of reporting the condition of my co of Independent Scouts for Wayne Co West Va. We are in Camp at present in Ceredo. The men in good condition except 3 cases of sickness disserrtions non captured two rebels prisoners one of Rebel Witcher command & the other of Jenkins turned over to the post at Catllesburg Ky please instruction what to be don with Sick also what is to be don with capturd property horses guns in consequence of the U.S. Troops being Sent to the front we are very much trobled with Strong bands of gurillas which prevents our Scouting very far in the county notwithstanding we have Scouted considerable & have lost no man I think in my next months report I shall be able to give a good account of the Service of my men as they are brace & hardy. Men all Suplied with arms in good condition.