Appalachia, Ben F. Donley, Cabell County, Claypool Chapel, Crump and Reardin, Dan Westfall, Giles County, Guyandotte, history, Huntington, J.S. Thornburg, Kanawha County, Kenova, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Orville, Pittsburgh, Tazewell County, W.T. Workman, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Methodists in Logan County, WV. The story is dated April 26, 1927:
PLANS FOR SUNDAY’S DEDICATION OF FIRST M.E. CHURCH PROMPT REVIEW OF 100 YEARS OF METHODISM HERE
Methodists from all parts of Logan county and even more distant points are expected to attend the dedication next Sunday of the new First M.E. Church in this city. As previously announced, an impressive program for the day has been arranged. Dr. Daniel Westfall, of Pittsburgh, Rev. J.E. Bird, of Huntington, and Rev. J.S. Thornburg, of Kenova, will be here to assist the pastor, Rev. Ben F. Donley.
It is more than a century ago that Methodism took root in Logan county. There are authentic records telling of the activities of the followers of the Wesleys as far back as 1825, the year the county was carved out of Tazewell, Giles, Cabell and Kanawha. Students of local church history are convinced that Methodist ministers labored in this field prior to that date. Their first goings and comings antedate the West Virginia Conference, which was established by the General Conference while assembled in Pittsburgh in 1848.
For the following review of the history of Methodism in Logan, the Banner is indebted to an adherent of the church who has just been delving into the subject:
First Church Prepares for Dedication
Methodism had its beginning in what is now Logan county in the year 1825 of which we have record, but we feel sure that even before that there were Methodist preachers in the confines of the county.
The History of Methodism in Logan county beings even before we have a West Virginia Conference. It was established by the General Conference while assembled in Pittsburgh in 1848.
Methodism, like all other denominations in Logan county and elsewhere, has been intermittent, not always able to have ministers enough to supply all its work; but wherever possible having local men to exhort the people, and some of these men became great ministers of the church.
Logan County’s Methodism has fared somewhat like that. It has been intermittent in its work. They have had many ministers and many times they have been without a minister. Because of this a large portion of the history has been lost, so far as records are concerned, but in the heart and mind of Methodist people there remains the story of Methodism in Logan county which has been given to them by their ancestors.
At Guyandotte in 1804
We know from the general church history that Bishop Asbury preached in this section of the country before the year 1825 and the minister who was preaching in Guyandotte at the mouth of our river came into the county and preached as early as 1804.
The local church has within the jurisdiction property that was deeded to the church as early as the year 1844 and at this time is defending in the Circuit Court of Mingo county title to property that was deeded to the church in 1882.
The First Methodist Church has been using the old church building or 21 years. It was started by the Reverend J.W. Bedford, who is now living at Parsons, W.Va., and who is still active in serving a church. He began traveling this field in 1872. His circuit included these places as some of the appointments: Claypoool Chapel, Logan, Orville, Starr Chapel, and others that made a circuit of over a hundred miles in length. He walked most of the time and won for himself the name “Walking Joe,” which holds to this day.
The Rev. J.S. Thornburg, a brother of the Rev. Thornburg of this city, was the first preacher in the new church built in 1904. This building has served its people well, but now the needs of the present congregation are so great that they cannot be served in the old building.
In 1924 the Rev. Ben F. Donley was appointed pastor of the local congregation. Upon arrival he found a very much discouraged people, but that willingness that has characterized the Christian people from the beginning–a willingness to arise and work.
Without much ado, or even any shouting from the housetops as to what they were going to do, they set themselves to the task of doing what seemed the impossible.
Planning for Future
The church board made a survey of the community and of the church to find out its needs and to see if it were possible for them to supply them. The first one that arose was the need of a new church building, Sketches were drawn of a building that would care for the church for a number of years, but upon consideration it was decided that the coat was prohibitive. It was then decided to build a part now and complete the plans in the near future. This included departmental rooms and a modern parsonage.
Contract was let to the firm of Crump and Reardin, of Huntington, and ground was broken on November 23, 1926. The corner stone was laid January 13, this year by W.T. Workman, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the A.F. & A.M., of West Virginia.
The new edifice to be presented for dedication on Sunday, May 1, is of English architecture, a very beautiful structure.
Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, Democratic Party, Don Chafin, Ed Chambers, Ephraim Morgan, history, Logan Banner, Logan County, Matewan, Mingo County, Mingo Republican, politics, sheriff, Sid Hatfield, United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this item about Don Chafin, sheriff of Logan County during the Armed March. The story is dated November 6, 1925.
Don Chafin Renowned as Sheriff of Logan
His Prowess During Threatened Invasion of Union Miners is Recalled in Mingo Republican
Bids Friends Goodbye
Don Chafin, former sheriff of Logan county, paid what might be his farewell visit to Williamson for a long time on Tuesday. While here he expressed to many his appreciation of their concern for him in his present plight.
Chafin was the most famous sheriff in the United States during his regime in Logan county, where he ruled with an iron hand. He was the main prop in the Democratic machine there and a prominent figure in the life of the county.
Sheriff Chafin won his greatest fame during the threatened invasion of Logan county by the armed march of 5,000 or more miners bent on destroying the Logan court house and finally reaching Williamson to release from the local jail a number of union men charged with violations of Gov. Morgan’s martial law.
Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers, two well known union men of Matewan, had just been killed on the court house steps at Welch and the passions of the miners were thoroughly aroused. The armed march was once halted but was resumed after a midnight battle between the officers and miners on the county road near Sharples.
The invasion then began with forts and vigor. The offenders of Logan under the leadership of Sheriff Chafin were intrenched along a wide front and several clashes took place. The fame of the the doughty sheriff caused many from the outside to rally to his banner.
Mr. Chafin has numerous relatives and friends here to whom the parting was one of real regret. They are steadfast in their belief in his innocence, claiming that he is the victim of a frameup. Chafin was profuse in his expressions of gratitude over the loyalty of his friends on this side of the Logan line.
Randolph McCoy’s testimony in the Johnse Hatfield murder trial provides one version of the Hatfield raid upon McCoy’s home on January 1, 1888:
Q. “How old are you?”
A. “I was born in 1825.”
Q. “Begin in your own way, and tell all about the case that you know.”
A. “The first thing I knew about it the dogs woke me up. My boy came to the bed and said, ‘Pa, they are coming. Get up.’ And by that time I was up on the floor, and they had surrounded the house and 1 heard one of them say, ‘God damn ye, come out and surrender yourselves, prisoners of war.’ We never spoke. By that time, they had come past the upper house as we called it. We got behind that door that broke. They fired a volley each way in the house and I moved for I saw that I could not stay there. Next, I went to the fireplace. Calvin went to the back of the house. They shot cross shots from each side of the door, through the doors. I stayed there a good while. They kept shooting and, finally, I went into the loft. The firing kept up a long time. I thought it a long time. Finally, they fired the house, the room that I was in, me and my wife, Calvin, and Melvin was in the same room. I took a cup and when the blaze would come through the house I would throw water on it and it out. Finally, the water gave out. The boy had gone up in the loft and I went up where he was. We stayed in the house until three of the joists had burned and the end of the joists had fell down before we had attempted to leave the house. The boy then came to me and said, ‘Pa, ye stay here, I can out-run you and I will go to the barn and try to attract their attention in that direction and maybe I can save you.’ He started and got past the corner of the house when they began firing again. He never got to the barn. The little boy hung onto me but I shoved him loose at the door and went out among them. I stepped out of the house and saw Johnson Hatfield standing eight or ten steps from the rest of them, and just as I stepped out of the house and looked up his gun fired in the direction of Calvin. I discovered that his gun had caught fowl and he was humped down working on it. I fired into the crowd then turned and fired at Johnson. I aimed to shoot him in the neck, but I aimed too low and shot him in the shoulder. The burning house made it as light as day and I know that it was Johnson.”
Q. “What did you do when you shot Johnson, the defendant?”
A. “I ran down the creek.”
Q. “Where did you go then?”
A. “I crawled into the shuck pen.”
Q. “Did you have on your night clothes?”
A. “Yes sir.”
Q. “Where was Alafair McCoy?”
A. “She was in the upper part of the house. They did not fire that until the shots were fired at the other—the room we were in.”
Q. “What did you hear at that time?”
A. “I heard Alafair say, ‘Cap Hatfield and Hence Chambers, you would not shoot a poor innocent woman, would you?’ Then they said, ‘Shoot her, God damit, shoot her down. Spare neither men nor woman,’ and they shot her in the left breast. I heard her fall and struggle near the door. This was all before I came out of the house.”
Q. “Where did you stay that night?”
A. “In the shuck pen, I went back at daylight.”
Q. “What did you find?”
A. “I found my son lying there dead. My daughter dead with her hair froze in her blood to her heart.”
Q. “Was the house there?”
A. “No sir, it was burned up. The little girl had dragged her sister off from the house.”
Q. “How far from the house?”
A. “About thirty yards.”
Q. “How many shots did they fire?”
A. “No man could count them. They came in volleys and platoons.”
Q. “Did you have a gun too?”
A. “Yes sir.”
Q. “Was your wife in her night clothes?”
A. “Yes sir, they thought they had killed her, no doubt, or I think they would have done so.”
Appalachia, Cap Hatfield, civil war, Devil Anse Hatfield, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Howard B. Lee, Island Creek, Kentucky, Logan, Logan County, Nancy E. Hatfield, Pikeville, Randolph McCoy, Tennis Hatfield, West Virginia
Howard B. Lee, former Attorney General of West Virginia, provided this account of Nancy Hatfield (widow of Cap) in the early 1970s:
“Mrs. Hatfield, your husband and his father bore the same given names: ‘William Anderson’. How did they get the nicknames of ‘Cap’ and ‘Devil Anse’?”
“It is very simple,” she replied. “Early in life Devil Anse’s name was shortened to ‘Anse.’ During and after the Civil War he was called ‘Captain Anse’. The son, because he had the same name as his father, was called ‘Little Cap’. As the boy grew larger, the word ‘Little’ was dropped. Also, because of their fierceness in feud combats, the McCoys called the father ‘Devil Anse’ and the son ‘Bad Cap’. The newspapers took up the names and they stuck. Devil Anse liked and cultivated the title; but eventually the word ‘Bad’ was dropped from Cap’s nickname.
“Was I afraid? For years, day and night, I lived in fear. Afraid for my own safety, and for the safety of my loved ones. Constant fear is a terrible emotion. It takes a heavy toll, mentally and physically.
“I now think that my most anxious moments, as well as my greatest thrill, came years after the feud was over. In 1922, Tennis Hatfield and another deputy sheriff went over to Pikeville, Kentucky, to return a prisoner wanted in Logan County. While there, Tennis visited the aged Randolph McCoy1, surviving leader of his clan during the feud. (Tennis was born long after the feud was over.) The old man was delighted to see Devil Anse’s youngest son’, and Tennis spent the night with him.
“The next morning, Randolph told Tennis that he was going home with him. ‘I want to see Cap,’ he said, ‘and tell him how glad I am that I didn’t kill him. I am sorry Devil Anse is gone. I would like to see him, too.’ Tennis was worried. He didn’t know how Cap would receive his old enemy. So he left Randolph in Logan while he acme up to our place to consult Cap.
“Cap listened to Tennis’ story, and said: ‘Does he come in peace?’ ‘Yes,’ said Tennis. ‘He comes in peace.’ ‘Does he come unarmed?’ ‘Yes, he comes unarmed.’ ‘Then I shall be happy to greet him in the same way. Bring him up for supper and he shall spend the night with us.
“My anxious moments were just before these two strong-willed men met. I knew how they had hated each other, that each had tried to kill the other, more than once, that each had killed relatives and friends of the other, and I was afraid of what they might do when they stood face to face.
“My thrill came when I saw them clasp hands, and heard each one tell the other how happy he was to see him. They talked far into the night, and bother were up early the next morning, eager to continue their talks. Tennis came about one o’clock to drive Randolph back to his Kentucky home. Cap watched them until they passed out of sight up the creek, and then remarked, ‘You know, I always did like that cantankerous old cuss.’
“Cap and Randolph never saw each other again.”
1Should be Jim McCoy, son of Randolph.
Source: West Virginia Women (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 152-153