Appalachia, Bowlin, C.C. Chambers, Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, coal, coal camps, Fayette County, fiddler, Frank Adkins, Gassaway, Jewell Encampment, John C. Hicks, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, music, Nick Roomy, Odd Fellows, W.M. Hornsby, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this favorable review by one prominent visitor in 1925. The story is dated Friday, June 5, 1925.
“Truth About Logan”
By W.M. Hornsby
Fayette County Man Who Attended Grand Encampment of Odd Fellows Here Makes Interesting Report.
The yellow journalists and just plain liars who have been telling everything about Logan county but the truth for many years may now prepare to receive a real kick in the slats. Their crazy illusions are due to get shattered.
No man ever came to Logan on a peaceful mission and went away to relate any stories of wrong treatment.
The finest group of men that have visited our city for many moons was here when the Grand Encampment of the Odd Fellows of the state was held in Logan recently. In their meetings at the Christian church many of the delegates confessed that they came to Logan fearful and trembling, all on account of the millions of lurid lies which they had read in various papers before coming here. It may sound like old stuff to say that “truth crushed to earth will rise again” but that is exactly what happened in this case. The delegates were recipients of the famous Logan hospitality. The keys to the city were theirs and they were accorded the kind of a reception which Logan has always given to anything good. After a pleasant visit the delegates departed for their homes with a true knowledge of the conditions which exist here, a knowledge of the fact that Logan is not different from any other prosperous mining section of the country.
One of the gentlemen who attended the Grand Encampment was Mr. W.M. Hornsby, of Bowlin, Fayette county. He too had been filled with the common ideas which prevail about Logan county, but during his visit here he discovered the real Logan, not the kind that exists in the putrid minds of the editors of the sensational yellow journals which have done a grievous wrong to Logan county. He discovered real friends with a handshake just as firm and a smile just as sincere as he had ever known. When Mr. Hornsby returned to his home he wrote a report to this lodge. That report is of vital interest to every Loganite and we are glad to reproduce it in the columns of this paper. The entire report is as follows:
“To whom it may concern…and I think it will concern all true hearted Americans:
“This is a true story of what took place during my stay in Logan county. To get a proper start, I must go back one year. On May 14, 1924, the Grand Encampment met in its annual session in Gassaway, W.Va. When the time arrived to choose a place for our next annual meeting, a good many towns offered invitations to the body. Among them was the town of Logan, and when Logan was mentioned there was silence in the hall, until finally some brother said: ‘Can we meet in Logan?’ For we thought by some of the newspaper reports that Logan county was the hell on earth and the town of Logan was the gateway to the bottomless pit. Then somebody got up in the midst of us and said: ‘Yes, you can meet in Logan, for I’m from the town of Logan.’ We looked over this monster from head to foot but could not see any horns and then our Grand Scribe stood up and declared: ‘Our own dear John wants us to come,’ and we answered, ‘If our own dear John wants us to come, we will go.’
“I started to Logan town on May 12, 1925, from Bowlin, Fayette county, wondering what was going to happen to me. We arrived at Logan the following day in a fine coach donated by the C. & O. for our convenience on the trip to Logan and return.
“When we got off the train at the Logan depot, some brother whispered, ‘Now where–and what?’ Just at that moment we found our way blocked–not by the sheriff and his so-called outlaw deputies as you might think–but by John Hicks with a three hundred pound smile for he is __ and by his side stood our own dear Captain of the Uniform Bank with his fine boys.
“The command was given about face, forward march, and we went up a finely paved street by skyscraper hotels and big mercantile houses to the court house. Instead of finding the so-called persecutors of the law awaiting, we ran into a committee of Jewell Encampment, No. 124, with some of the fairest of the fair sex assisting them and all wearing broad and welcoming smiles. We registered as customary and were assigned to our various hotels.
“After the grand body had been called to order in the Christian church by John C. Hicks, past grand patriarch, C.C. Chambers, mayor of Logan, gave us a fine talk and turned the town over to us, saying ‘the town is yours, do what you want with it,’ and common sense would teach that we were not going to destroy our own property. Next were a group of songs by Mrs. Frank Adkins and Mrs. Nick Roomy, accompanied by fine music, and followed in rotation by several fine speakers, and every one of them said ‘we welcome you,’ and by the smiles on their faces you could tell that they meant it.
“At the close of the morning session we had dinner in the basement of the church, where we saw some of our earthly angels sweating over a hot stove to prepare a feast good enough for a king, while two others rendered fine music and songs, accompanied by one of Logan’s imps–but he had a fiddle, not horns as you might think.
“During the afternoon session in stepped Little John, with the statement, ‘Grand Patriarch, the citizens of this town beg this grand body to let them take you out for an auto ride at your pleasure and show you some of Logan county.’
“___ for the ride, and promptly at that hour it was announced: ‘The cars are waiting.’ And we went out and loaded up according to the capacity of each car. It was found that there were not quite enough cars for all, so an appeal was made to the garage men of the town, and the latter stepped on the starters of some brand new machines and fell in line for our pleasure. Now, Fayette county garage men, would you have done that?
“The trip lasted two and a half hours over paved roads to the coal camps. I was told that part of the roads we traveled over were built by the so-called outlaw operators at a cost of $650,000 and when it was finished they walked into the court house and said to the county court, ‘your honors, we will give you this road if you will keep it up.’ Now, if this is so, I would not mind to have them for neighbors, would you?’ In going from one coal camp to another we met the miners coming from work. Walking? No! Sitting reared back in real cars–no Henry’s–and driving over hard roads built by the so-called outlaw operators for their use. I wish we had some outlaws like that in our town, don’t you?
I will say now, Mr. Newspaperman, wherever you may be over this great nation, listen to plain, honest-to-goodness, one-hundred percent American language. If you have been guilty of this dirty low-down, yellow dog propaganda about Logan county and its fine people. In the name of God and the love of humanity, I say stop right now. It’s a shame if you haven’t any respect for yourselves, for God’s sake have mercy on the people of the best county on earth and the country that gives you shelter for you may just as well stop right now for we have been there from every nook and corner in the United States, and we will not believe you anymore anyway. Cut it out or the devil will get you, for no one could write such stuff but imps. If you will just go to the town of Logan and walk around you will get ashamed of yourself and stop talking about your neighbors.”