Alexander Breedlove, Appalachia, Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, Charleston, crime, history, James Bolles, Lick Creek, Logan Banner, Matewan Massacre, Mine Wars, Mingo County, United Mine Workers of America, Welch, Williamson
The following story appeared in the Logan Banner on July 8, 1921, providing some history for events in Mingo County, WV, after the murder of Baldwin-Felts agents in Matewan and before the killing of Sid Hatfield at Welch:
TROOPER SHOT IN MINGO FRAY
WOUNDED MAN MAY LOSE USE OF ARM AS RESULT OF THE AFFAIR
Trooper James A. Bolles, of Charleston, who was shot June 14 while engaged in searching for arms in the Lick Creek tent colony near Williamson, Mingo county, may lose the use of his right arm as a result of the injury. The search followed a complaint that automobiles passing on the public highway had been fired upon from the tent colony.
A detachment of state police, assisted by some 10 citizens who had volunteered and been sworn in as special state police, went to the camp to seize arms found there in order to prevent further shooting, the identification of any person using his rifle viciously and recklessly being impossible while many of the residents of the colony had arms.
With a party of 15 special state police, Trooper Bolles came upon a group of armed men. He ordered them to put down their weapons but was answered by a number of shots. The trooper and the citizens with him returned the fire with the result that Alexander Breedlove, on of the armed group, was killed.
Shot From Hillside
Some person hidden away on the wooded hillside opened fire and Trooper Bolles was struck in the back, the bullet breaking several bones and severing a number of nerves. Although severely wounded, the state police officer attempted to lift his rifle. He fell to the ground and was guarded by two armed civilians while others attempted vainly to locate the man who had shot him.
When first taken to hospital, Bolles’ chances of recovery appeared slight but the doctors later announced that he would get well but might lose the use of his right arm. The popularity of the injured trooper was such that many citizens of Williamson called upon him daily in the hospital.
On February 17, 1922, the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, offered this little tale relating to the Armed March, or the Battle of Blair Mountain as it is mostly known now:
JAIL PARLOR IS SCENE OF HAPPY WEDDING FEB. 15
Miss Lacie Kirk, of Peach Creek, Becomes Bride of Jack Brinkham, of Charleston
That little goddess of love called Cupid simply will not be downed. Blows below the belt, solar-plexus blows and all others fail to knock the little fellow out and he remains constantly on the job. Obstacles are nothing in his life and no obstruction is so great as to be insurmountable by him. Cupid had shot his darts into the heart of Jack Brinkman, pianist for the Hippodrome Theatre of Charleston and also into the heart of Miss Lacie Kirk of Peach Creek some months ago and the wounds were to be healed on January 22, when they expected to appear before a minister and have the injury cured via the matrimonial route but Fate struck Cupid a blow that all but put the little fellow out for the count.
On the evening preceding the intended wedding, Capt. Lilly of the state police arrived in Charleston, and in his pocket he carried a warrant for the arrest of Brinkman, charging him with being a member of the armed band who marched on Logan county last August. Capt. Lilly executed the warrant and brought Brinkman to Logan and lodged him in the county jail, where he lingered until Wednesday of this week when he obtained bail.
In the meantime the wound in the heart of Miss Kirk had refused to heal and cupid kept alive the spark of love kindled in her breast in days gone by. She bided the time and with womanly patience and fidelity she counted the days until her intended husband should gain his freedom.
Brinkman was busy Wednesday making preparations for the ceremony and the parlor of the Jailor’s residence was obtained and the nuptial knot tied there. Mr. Wm. Chafin of Williamson was present and played for the wedding ceremony and many relatives and friends of the couple were present to witness the happy event, which was a very elaborate affair. The happy couple left the residence amid the congratulations and best wishes of those present and the day proved doubly happy to them in that the husband had again obtained liberty and likewise a lovely bride.
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of news relating to coal miners on strike in Mingo County, dated March 31, 1922:
Mine Workers Cut Mingo Miners’ Wage
Will Reduce Strike Benefits to $3 to Men in Mingo Field, According to Letter
WANT AND FAMINE SURE TO INCREASE RAPIDLY
Fight Has Been a Losing One for Many Weeks and as Big Strike Looms Further Aid is Gone
The miners who have been fighting and striking in Mingo county for recognition of the union have just received word that their schedule of relief had been cut to $3 a week which would show that their fight has been a losing one.
This long story of suffering, want and privation in Mingo county will now be added to with additional misery, for the coming strike cannot be reckoned in days. Surely we of Logan county should be glad of the fact that our miners are working with their employers and not against them, and the first man who would suggest the Mingo conditions as better than the ones we are now enjoying should be properly dealt with by his fellow workers who are sure of year around employment at good wages to the $3 a week or less that is given to the strikers in Mingo. Surely the union officials will realize some day the suffering their greed is causing and stop this movement toward anarchy.
The following is the letter sent to miners on strike in Mingo county:
Williamson, W.Va., Mar. 20, 1922
Dear Sir and Brother:–
As you well know the drain upon the International Treasury for sometime has been very great. Notwithstanding that we have continued to supply the miners of Mingo county with a very liberal amount of relief. The amount of relief issued in the Williamson field has been greater than that in any strike in the history of the organization. The miners have been working on slack time throughout the country and on March 31, 1922, the present working agreement will expire and the miners of Mingo county will be standing side by side with the other miners of the country. The other miners of the country have given you more consideration than they have given themselves and are still willing to give further consideration through the long duration of your strike.
It will require a considerable amount of money to carry on negotiations so that it will be necessary for us to reduce the relief at this time.
I am therefore advising you that beginning with the week of March 27th, the schedule of relief will be men $3, women $1, child 50 cents a week. I am not sure that I can continue to pay even this amount if the general suspense of mining should last any length of time. However the miners of this country will do the best they can and continue to send in the liberal relief amount as long as possible.
With every good wish, I am,
Very truly yours,
International representative and financial agent
United Mine Workers of America
Appalachia, Beauty, Charleston, Cinder Bottom, coal, crime, dancing, Elizabeth Nagy, Ellis Park, Emmett Scaggs, Himlerville, history, Hungarian Benevolent Association, Hungarian Miners' Journal, Hungarian-Americans, Hungarians, Huntington, Joe Hatfield, Kentucky, Keystone, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Martin County, McDowell County, Mingo County, Mud Fork, Rose Mustapha, Warfield, Welch, West Virginia, Williamson, Williamson Daily News
Between 1900 and 1920, a large number of Hungarians settled in West Virginia. Most were employed as coal miners. As of 1920, 6,260 Hungarians lived in West Virginia, primarily in Logan and McDowell counties. The Logan Banner, seated in Logan, WV, offered coverage of Hungarian news. It also commented on items published by Martin Himler in the Hungarian Miners’ Journal.
New Marathon Dance Record Is Made Here
Rose Mustapha, Pretty Hungarian Starts the Step Believed to Be the record.
At nigh noon Sunday, Rose Mustapha, a beautiful Hungarian girl, tripped the starting step in a terpsichorean debauch, that is believed to have established a record for sustained dancing in groups. Rose led a cotillion of thirty of her countrymen over a stretch of nineteen hours of continual dancing.
The dance started at twelve o’clock Sunday noon and continued without intermission till seven o’clock Monday morning. The jolly spirit of old Budapest struck color with jazz hilarity as the dancers spun in a vortez over the polished floor.
Hundreds of the dancers’ admirers rimmed the floor, hailing the participants in a half dozen different languages and dialects. Three wheezy but quite animated violins provided the music, which ran in wild Magyar strains and jazzy syncopation.
For the most part the dancers adhered to their native folk dances, but occasionally a couple would break into a fox trot, or a one step. At six o’clock Sunday evening, the dancers were given liquid nourishment as they whirled, and at midnight the same was repeated.
Most of the dancers finished strong, but several of the weaker sex had to be helped from the floor by their friends. Long distance dancing is quite common in their native land, and had the participants been in trim the task would have been comparatively easy, they say. As it was all of the men, who are miners, reported for work Monday morning and so far no ill results have been reported of the affair.
Logan (WV) Banner, 3 August 1923
Several hundred persons enjoyed the dance given by the Hungarian Benevolent Association at Ellis Park skating rink last Saturday night. The program included many attractive features and novelties. Miss Elizabeth Nagy of Mud Fork was the winner of the beauty prize. She received a fine watch and $5 in gold.
Logan (WV) Banner, 29 November 1927
Hungarian Paper Tells of Resorts Hereabouts
Sensational Charges Prompt Williamson News to Demand Investigation and “Clean-Up”–Logan and Neighboring Cities Are Mentioned In This Alleged Expose
A Hungarian paper published at Himlerville, Ky., not far from Williamson, is running a series of sensational articles on vice conditions in Logan, Williamson, Huntington and Charleston. These articles are printed both in English and Hungarian and are attracting much attention, many copies of the paper having been sent to the cities named.
Two articles about Logan have mentioned various resorts in which it is charged that vice is rampant, that protection is obtained by bribery of officials, and that conditions are getting worse. Local officers brand these so-called disclosures as either baseless or greatly exaggerated.
In Williamson the expose has attracted much attention, particularly since the Williamson Daily News carried the following editorial, under the heading, “A Clean City.”
It’s a sad commentary on our city, county, and state police officials when the leaders of the foreign element in our midst are forced to take the lead in cleaning up moral conditions.
Through the Hungarian paper published at Himlerville, Ky., a campaign is being waged to clean up Williamson, Logan, Huntington and Charleston.
We are primarily concerned in Williamson and this paper charges that Williamson is harboring not less than eleven Hungarian brothels and some fifteen speak-easies. The editor of the paper has furnished the Williamson Daily News with the names of eight hotels and rooming houses where he says “light o’ love ladies” may be found.
It is common knowledge in Williamson that what he charges is true. Furthermore it is also common knowledge that there is hardly a hotel from the best to the worst in the city that does not harbor women of prostitution.
These women are debauching our manhood and spreading disease and there are attendant demoralizing evils which add to the indictment against them.
Not only are there Hungarian brothels in Williamson, but there are brothels that cater to every race and condition. The fact that they exist is known to practically every person in Williamson.
In this same Himlerville paper in an article published in this week’s issue it is stated that “Protection fees vary between twenty-five and seventy-five dollars weekly” suggesting a reason why no action is taken to remedy conditions.
We have had every reason to believe that Williamson was infested with brothels of every degree of degradation, but until the bold statement is made in the Hungarian paper, we had no reason to suspect that some persons were receiving protection fees.
However, such a state of things is a natural noncomitant, in view of the laws of the land. It would be very easy for city, state or county officers to take action, and if they do not the question immediately arises: Why?
It cannot be argued that it is impossible to clean up the city in this respect. We all know better. The chief of police and four good policemen, with proper backing of the mayor and the citizens of Williamson could do the job, and do it thoroughly in ten days. In doing it they could be so impressively earnest that there would be no recurrence of the evil for months to come. If instances of violations of the law of this character did occur in the future they could enforce the law with such vigor as to deter others. Williamson would soon be classed as a “clean city.”
Even the notorious “Cinder Bottom” at Keystone has been cleaned up. Welch, the county seat of McDowell county, is known far and wide as a “clean city.” Chippies and their like give it a wide berth. Why? Because the mayor and the chief of police of Welch, with a determined citizenship back of them, will not tolerate the evil. Merchants and business men of Welch generally are unreservedly in favor of an absolute ban against women of evil character being allowed to remain in hotels and rooming houses, because they know it hurts business and is a thoroughly demoralizing factor.
Primarily the question is one for the mayor and the chief of police at Williamson to handle, but there are other law enforcement agencies that could function.
For instance, the prosecuting attorney has an effective weapon at hand if he wants to use it. We refer to the state padlock law, upheld by the supreme court. With this weapon he could close every hotel and rooming house in the city that harbored women of ill fame. And there would be no question of securing sufficient evidence to act. It is ready at hand.
There is another agency, the state police. This efficient body of men could take action and bring the matter to a hand.
The state health department is aware of the fact that Williamson is one of the vilest cities in the way of brothels in the state. It has investigated conditions here and has data that could be used by officials who wanted to take action. Furthermore the state health department, on request of the city or county officials, would send investigators here to ascertain true conditions. But, if we understand the situation rightly there is no need for further investigation. The brothels are conducted more or less openly, are well advertised and unfortunately are well patronized.
There would be no lack of information to proceed upon if city, county or state officials wanted to take action. And first of all, it is up to our city officials to act.
Logan (WV) Banner, 27 January 1928
NOTICE TO LOGAN
With newly sharpened sticks the Hungarian Miners Journal, published at Himlerville, Ky., continues to prod into vice conditions hereabouts. Its latest issue is devoted largely to a further exposure at Williamson’s intrenched vice, but Logan has not been forgotten. In fact, in a large type box on the first page notice is given that the spotlight will be turned again soon on the garden spot. It says:
“The brother-situation of Williamson is taking up all our space and our energies for a few days.
“This does not mean that we have nothing more to say about Logan brothels.
“A score of Hungarian criminals, keepers of brothels and white-slavers are harbored in and by Logan, to the great detriment of the decent Hungarians in the Logan field.
“We demand the expulsion of these criminals and we will turn to Logan in a very short time.
“Surely the decent citizens of Logan are not going to build a roof over their town to designate THE red-light district.”
Logan (WV) Banner, 3 February 1928
Hungarian Paper Reverts to Logan’s Need of Reformation
Editor Fisher Takes Crack at The Banner, Sheriff Hatfield and Chief Scaggs–Long Silence Broken By Familiar, Rasping Outcry
Remember the Magyar Banyaszlap, a newspaper formerly published at Warfield, Ky., not far from Williamson, W.Va. A year or more ago it probed conditions in Logan and carried some sensational strictures about county and city officials. Finally, an officious and offensively inquisitive soul, the editor hisself, came in person and before he left was given quite a thumping by Chief of Police Scaggs.
Some time later the coal company located at Warfield and Hungarian-owned, went into the hands of a receiver and whether the Banyaszlap then suspended publication or not it ceased to come to this office. The other day a copy came. It is published in Columbus now but its editor is evidently still interested in conditions here. After scanning its eight pages, the writer of these lines found but one article printed in English. That embraced a clipping from The Banner and the Banyaszlap’s comments thereupon. The article clipped appeared to the Banner on April 9 and had to do with reports that the sheriff’s forces were determined to suppress the liquor traffic in boarding and lodging houses that cater to foreign-born miners. Most Banner readers will recall that news item and for that reason it will not be reproduced here, but what the Columbus paper says may be of some interest.
“We are glad to note the sudden interest of Sheriff Hatfield, and the rather mild interest of the Logan Banner, in the speak-easyes.
“The officers do not have to ‘trail’ these boarding houses, for we have published a list of them.
“And we have also published a long-long list of speak-easyes and brothels in Logan, W.Va., with addresses, and names, with locations and any other needed informations.
“Why not start a housecleaning right here in Logan, W.Va., and spread it then to the coal field?
“We can promise Logan and its vicinity that others than the sheriff will also be interested in these affairs.
“When the gunman (called chief of police) of Logan so heroically objected to our articles, we have promised that we will have the matter attended to in good time.
“It will happen soon.
“Perhaps hence the sudden interest in the Logan vice.”
Logan (WV) Banner, 23 April 1929
For more information about Hungarians in West Virginia, go here: https://www.appalachianhistory.net/2017/03/magyars-in-morgantown.html
For more information about Martin Himler, Himlerville (Beauty), and the Magyar Banyaszlap: Hungarian Miners’ Journal, go here: https://www.appalachianhistory.net/2014/11/saving-himler-house.html
Appalachia, Baldwin-Felts Agency, Bluefield, Cabell Testerman, Carleton Starr, Chambers Hardware Store, chief of police, Clara Berman, coal, crime, Harry Berman, history, Matewan, mayor, Mine Wars, Mingo County, Sid Hatfield, teacher, United Mine Workers of America, Welch, West Virginia, Williamson
On December 2, 1978, Harry Berman of Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia, recalled the Matewan Massacre of May 19, 1920:
When do you remember that the union… What do you remember about the organization of the unions?
Well, that was in Matewan. I was at the age of about thirteen years old at that time. That was about 1915, I’d say. This was concerning the miners there, about a strike. They all got together and so they went on a strike, and the company has ordered the people that went on a strike. The company has ordered them to vacate their homes.
That was the company houses?
That was the company houses. The miners at that time, they didn’t approve of it and so they began to gather around. So they got Baldwin-Felts men in there. There as about twelve of them from Bluefield, West Virginia. So they came in on that midnight train that comes through there about twelve.
The Baldwin-Felts gang was a gang that broke the unions. They traveled all over the state or throughout the coalfields breaking the unions.
Well, they were trying to break the union at that time, but these twelve men were sent in here from Bluefield and they came in on the twelve o’clock train and they went over to the hotel. They spent the night there and the next morning they got up and out and they vacated more houses for these men. This kindly upset the union men at that time. So anyway then when after all that was all done they all went back again to the hotel, and so they packed their bags. Unfortunately, what they done, they took their rifles, they took them apart, and they packed them on the inside of their bags and some of them packed them on the outside of their bags.
In other words, they were going to show that they were leaving in peace?
After vacating people from their company houses?
Yeah. That was about the time… Let’s see, the train comes through there, that Number 16, it comes through there about five o’clock in the evening. So they all came to the station at that time. When they all got to the station, all the union men–there must have been at least 100 of them–all gathered around them. You know, as they came to the station. Well, I was standing there in front of the door, in front of my father’s store there at that time, and watched all these people coming to the station. So, they all went the other way–that was Chambers Hardware at that time–they went toward Chambers Hardware. When they all got there, they all bunched together.
Was that the union men bunching together?
That was the union men that bunched together there around the Baldwin-Felts men, because I don’t think the Baldwin-Felts men suspected anything at all. If they did, they would have went there with their rifles, see.
In other words, you think they were surprised with an ambush?
Yeah, they were surprised. It took them by surprise.
The whole, as I understand it, the whole Baldwin gang was shot on the platform as they were getting ready to board the train?
Well, before the train came in. That was about maybe fifteen minutes before the train came in through there, see. So the mayor of the town was Testerman. He went along with them to the Baldwin-Felts men down in there and also with the union men and they all bunched around Chambers Hardware Store. Then the chief of police–he was also in the crowd, too. Just for the curiosity I went right along with them. Sid Hatfield, I knew him pretty well. So when he was standing there with Testerman, which is the mayor. Facing one another, I was standing about maybe two feet in the back of Sid Hatfield, and all at once there was a shot fired and I think he was the one who put a bullet through Testerman.
Yeah. The mayor. And then that was what started all this shooting. So the first thing I knew I got scared and I beat it back to the store again, see, and while I was going back to the store there was one man laying across the broadwalk. At that time there wasn’t any…
Boards for a sidewalk?
Yeah. The boards were made out of sidewalks. One was scattered there. One was laying here, one was over there. And the first thing you know, then they began to get out and try to get away from them, if they could, you know, see. But the first thing I knew, there must have been at least maybe about eight or ten of them laying around on the ground there.
Bullets went over your head. Remember the bullets that were shot over your head?
Oh, there was bullets everywhere at that time. I really do recall that. That’s a fact. Then after Sixteen came in, the union men, the conductor got off. Which he was a tough conductor, too, he was. They called him McCullock. A captain McCullock at that time. So he got off of the train and he wanted to know what it was all about. And then union men all went into the train. When all the passengers on the train came off you know, the union men went in there and they were searching the train because they figured that some of these detectives stopped Sixteen down there just on this side of the tunnel. To see if any did get on there. Because they said there was about…
In other words, they expected more of the gang to come in?
No. Some of these that did get away from the union men… They thought about two or three of them went down toward the tunnel to stop the train to get on. So that’s what they expected, you know.
The union breakers?
Yeah, the union breakers, and so when the train came in to the station they rushed into the train and they looked all through the compartments. Under the seats and everywhere and there wasn’t no union men on there.
Yeah. There wasn’t any detectives on there at all. In the meantime, I think there was about maybe one got away, from what I understand. He was hid in a coal pile. Mrs. Hoskins, a school teacher, hid him in a coal pile and she didn’t say anything about him at all. She must have felt sorry for him or something. And I think he got away. He really did… He got away, from what I understand. So that was it and so when Sixteen came in they put Testerman on the baggage car and before he got to Welch he died.
They killed him.
Yeah. Well, they killed him, naturally.
In other words, he left here alive but they killed him before he got to the hospital?
Yeah. He died in the baggage car. Testerman died in the baggage car.
But the chief of police’s family killed him because the chief of police had been shot?
No. The chief of police wasn’t shot. Let’s get it straight. The mayor is the one who got shot. The chief of police is the one who shot the mayor.
American Revolution, Anderson Blair, Anderson Dempsey, Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, Blair Mountain, Chlorina Blair, civil war, Democratic Party, Edward Baisden, Frances Baisden, genealogy, genelaogy, Harrison Blair, history, Jean Schmidt Baisden, Joe Blair, John Blair, John McCoy, Joseph Baisden, Joseph Blair, Laurel Fork, Logan County, Lucinda Osborne, Mahulda Blair, Marquis de Lafayette, Mary Chafin, Mingo County, Moses Parsley, Polly Baisden, Powells Valley, Republican Party, Rhoda Blair, sheriff, Solomon Baisden, Susan Bennett, Thomas Copley, West Virginia, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Harrison Blair, an early sheriff in Logan County, WV:
Harrison Blair Was First Democrat Sheriff In Logan
Son of Namesake Of Town Of Blair Served Shortly After Civil War; Democrats Held Office Continuously Until 1924
John Blair, namesake of the little mining town which nestles at the foot of Blair Mountain on the headwaters of Laurel Fork, was the father of Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff.
He was a native of Powells Valley in Virginia and first settled just above the present site of Williamson. He married Polly Baisden and later settled near his father-in-law, Jean Schmidt Baisden, at the Mouth of Laurel.
Blair died in 1860 after rearing a family of three sons and three daughters. His son, Harrison, was Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff after the Civil War.
Harrison was married twice. He first married a Miss Johnson and later a Miss Chafin. His brothers Anderson and Joe married McCoy sisters and made their home near their brother and father on Laurel Fork.
Jean Schmidt Baisden, father-in-law to John Blair, was one of the first settlers at the Mouth of Laurel. He came with Lafayette to America and served under him during the Revolution.
After the war he located at Richmond, Va., and then moved to Reeds Island, New York, where he married a Miss Burnham. At the beginning of the 19th century he moved to the mouth of Laurel and reared a family.
He had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Joseph, who married Lucinda Osborne; Solomon, who married Mary Chafin; and Edward, who married Susan Bennett.
His daughters were Polly, who married Harrison Blair; and Frances, who married Thomas Copley.
John Blair’s daughters were Mahulda, who married Anderson Dempsey; Chlorina, who married John McCoy; and Rhoda, who married Moses Parsley.
The Blairs and Baisdens are a well-known family on the Laurel Fork side of Blair Mountain, though few have crossed the divide and settled on the Guyan river watershed.
Early county history has it that the Blairs were active politically in the county following the Civil War, but no definite facts can be found of individuals holding any official position other than Harrison, who was the first of a long line of Democratic sheriffs, which ruled the county up until 1924, when the Republicans broke the power of Democrats and began their regime which ended in 1932.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 4 May 1937.
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On October 17, 1928, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. visited Logan, WV, and gave a speech to approximately 10,000 people. The Logan Banner offered plenty of coverage for the event:
War-Time Buddies to Greet Col. Roosevelt
After His Meeting Here Wednesday Night–General Conley Will Also Speak at Open-Air Meeting That Night–Whale of Rally Assured
Every ex-service man in Logan county is urged to meet Col. Theodore Roosevelt when he comes here to deliver a campaign address in front of the Court House next Wednesday night. A reception in honor of the distinguished son of a distinguished sire will be held in Republican headquarters on the fifth floor of the White & Browning building after the political meeting is ended. There he will be greeted by his war “buddies” and every soldier, sailor and marine who served in the World War, regardless of political affiliations, is asked to be present.
Col. Roosevelt is billed three speeches on Tuesday. He is expected to speak at Welch in the afternoon and at Princeton at 5 p.m. and at Beckley that night. He is in great demand and Logan Republicans are elated over the definite promise from state headquarters that he is coming here.
General W.G. Conley, Republican nominee for Governor, will accompany or join Col. Roosevelt here and both will speak at the Wednesday night meeting. It is probable, too, that Dr. H.D. Hatfield and A.A. Lilly, former attorney general, will be here at the same time. General Lilly is billed for a speech at Braeholm on Monday night.
Logan (WV) Banner, 12 October 1928
Col. Roosevelt and General Conley Speak in Logan Tomorrow Night
Open-Air Rally at Court House Expected to Attract Delegations From All Sections of County–Service Men to Hold Reception for Col. Roosevelt After Speaking Is Ended
With the coming of Theodore Roosevelt and General W.C. Conley tomorrow for what is expected to be a memorable night meeting, the speaking campaign in this county may reach a climax. They will be the chief speakers at an open-air meeting in front of the Court House. It is probable that Governor Gore will come also and in that event he may serve as chairman of the meeting.
A.A. Lilly, former attorney general and Hugh Ike Shott, Republican nominee for congress, who addressed a huge gathering at Braeholm and Lundale last night, will speak at Peach Creek tonight; Senator Jackson and E.F. Scaggs also spoke at last night’s gatherings. Mr. Shott will remain in the county up to Wednesday night.
Governor W.J. Fields of Kentucky will address a Democratic meeting in the court room tonight.
Widespread interest has been aroused in the Roosevelt-Conley meeting and delegations are looked for from every section of the county. Ex-service men are to turn out in force to meet and greet the distinguished soldier-son of the beloved soldier-president of the same name. A reception to which all ex-service men are invited will be held on the fifth floor of the White & Browning building after the big meeting is concluded. Roosevelt’s war record, his activity in helping to organize the American Legion, and his fondness for those who served with him have endeared him to World War men everywhere.
A prohibition rally sponsored by the W.C.T.U. will be held at the Court House at 7:30 Friday p.m. Everyone is urged to come. The speakers for this occasion have not been announced.
Col. Roosevelt Center of Interest of Biggest Crowd Ever Seen Here
Republicans Stage Rally Eclipsing Any of the Past in Guyan Valley, With Attentive, Enthusiastic Crowd Estimated At Around 10,000 Mark
GEN. CONLEY AND OTHERS TAKE PART
Ex-Service Men Add Zest to Ovation for Gallant Soldier Son of Beloved T.R.–Rev. Mr. Lanham Is Chairman–Flowers For Teddy
Before the largest crowd ever assembled in Logan county, Col. Theodore Roosevelt, eldest son of the late president, made an eloquent and elaborate appeal in front of the Court House Wednesday night for the election of Hoover and Curtis on November 6.
His oratory, his Rooseveltian grimaces, his deep-furrowed smiles, his warm and radiant fellowship, and genuine camaraderie in meeting and greeting ex-service men, won the hearts of all. And how game he was! Exhausted by his effort to make himself heard to the far corners of the crowd confronting him and really surrounding him, following a strenuous ordeal of many days, traveling at night and speaking several times a day, he had difficulty making his way from the platform back through the crowd and into the Court House corridor. To several companions he hoarsely confided, “I’m a wreck!” Nevertheless, he tried to shake every hand and exchange a friendly greeting with those who swarmed about him. His exit was marked by a renewal of the ovation that greeted him when he, General W.G. Conley, Senator M.Z. White, County Chairman and Mrs. G.R. Claypool, Casey M. Jones, Calvert Estill and others in the party wormed their way through the crowd to the platform erected at the foot of the steps on the side of the Court House.
After the meeting the distinguished visitor was whisked to Republican headquarters where ex-service men in large numbers held a reception in his honor. Again and again he was “dee-lighted” and thrilled to find some “buddy” who had belonged to some military unit with whose history Roosevelt is familiar. Then he would cry out to his pal Casey Jones, Charleston newspaperman and bosom friend for more than a decade,” What do you know about it, Casey, here’s an old pal that served with” so-and-so company or regiment.
Not only ex-service men but more than one professional man of Logan, miners and others whispered to him, or yelled out to his wake, “We’ll be voting for you some time, Teddy!”
Hits the Line Hard
After the reception the Colonel returned to Charleston, to make ready for a busy schedule yesterday. He was billed for speeches at Harrisville, Ripley and Pt. Pleasant, and had arranged to get back to Charleston last night and to speak both at Beckley and Welch today. All day yesterday here whenever the matter of his visit was discussed in any group the prediction was advanced that he was too terribly exhausted to adhere to his schedule. And his Logan friends are sincerely concerned about him. However, he will return to New York at the end of the week.
Wednesday night’s rally will be remembered for years, say political observers, not only because of its size but also because of its direct bearing on a momentous contest for supremacy.
Most estimates of the attendance hover around the 10,000 mark. John M. Mitchell, court bailiff, who has been familiar with political activities in this county for half a century, said it exceeded twice over any crowd he had ever seen in the county. Others say the only meeting ever held here worthy of comparison was that addressed by Senator Pat Harrison in the 1924 campaign. To the writer the crowd seemed more than half as large as that which heard John W. Davis in Huntington in 1924. That crowd was estimated at 25,000, but that was an obvious exaggeration–a characteristic of the estimates of political assemblages.
The Folks Were There
Cloudy weather and a light rain that set in at the hour when the meeting was scheduled to start doubtless kept away a considerable number and caused scores to leave. On the outer edges it was impossible to hear the speakers and so there was a steady going and coming of persons wishing to see and hear. windows in about half a dozen buildings were occupied, small boys were atop the Old Stone building, and there was a good-sized crowd clustered on and about the platform, steps, windows, portico and corridors of the Court House.
Roosevelt has a good voice but it was put to a terrific test here, considering what he had undergone recently. His voice is better than his father’s was and he is more humorous, but the only striking resemblance between the two as public speakers is that grinning grimace that once seen can never be forgotten. In his speech he did not delve exhaustively into any one issue or phase of the campaign but he gave a comprehensive review of the issues and personalities that Republicans generally assume to be involved in this campaign. As for Tammany he panned it as it has never been panned before hereabouts. He recalled, too, that his grandfather had fought the greedy Tiger: “My father fought it; I am fighting it, and if it lives 20 years longer, I expect and hope my son Teddy III will be fighting it.”
Rev. Lanham Presides
It was after 8 o’clock when the speakers arrived–more than half an hour late–whereas all available seats and many vantage points had been occupied for nearly if not fully two hours. At the home of Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Claypool they had been entertained at dinner–or supper, as Teddy and most of us call it. Besides the Colonel and General Conley there were six other guests: Hugh Ike Shott, Republican nominee for representative in Congress; Senator M.Z. White, Williamson; C.M. Jones, publicity man and side for Mr. Conley; Calvert N. Estill, Charleston correspondent for the Ogden chain of newspapers, and Senator Naaman Jackson.
Rev. C.C. Lanham, pastor of the First Methodist Church, who has been a leader in the fight to avert any backward step on prohibition, was chairman of the meeting. He filled the role with tact and good judgment and introduced the various speakers in happy style.
General Conley was the first speaker, but sensing the crowd’s desire to hear the Colonel he cut short his remarks. He did not take up state or national issues but after a word of congratulation to those who had sponsored such an immense turnout he withdrew.
Flowers For Colonel
Next a pretty little surprise was sprung. Mrs. W.C. Price, of Huntington, who is taking the lead in organizing the Republican women of the county, was introduced. Turning to Col. Roosevelt, after bringing a basket full of beautiful flowers into view, she told him of the esteem in which he is held by the women and presented the flowers in behalf of the woman’s Republican Club as a token of appreciation of his services in this campaign and of his zeal in promoting the public welfare. His face wreathed in wrinkles and aglow, he replied: “I accept with thanks. And I would much rather stand high in the esteem of women than of men. They are more important. I know, for I am married.”
The chairman then introduced W.C. Lybarger, secretary of the railway Y.M.C.A. at Peach Creek, who in turn introduced Col. Roosevelt. He paid the visitor a splendid tribute for his valor on the battlefields of France, touched the high points of his political career, and said he had a leading part in organizing the American Legion.
At the outset Roosevelt sketched the character and growth of the orphaned Hoover and gave some intimate glimpses into the habits of living and of thought, of his working and his industry and resourcefulness in solving problems of public and playing, of his zeal in tackling concern. Between these two men there is a close friendship, and there was no mistaking Roosevelt’s whole-hearted admiration for the farm boy of Iowa who has risen to a position of pre-eminence in the minds and hearts of his countrymen and even of the folk of many other lands.
Logan (WV) Banner, 19 October 1928
Appalachia, Beaver Creek, Big Sandy River, Bill Necessary, Carter Caves State Park, Curly Wellman, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddler, fiddling, Floyd County, Fraley Family Festival, Grayson, history, Huntington, J P Fraley, John Hartford, Kentucky, Lawrence Haley, Levisa Fork, Lynn Davis, Mingo County, Molly O Day, Molly O'Day, Mona Hager, music, Nashville, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, Snake Chapman, Tug Fork, U.S. South, Ugee Postalwait, West Virginia, Williamson, writers, writing
A few months later, I met Lawrence Haley at the Fraley Family Festival at Carter Caves State Park near Grayson, Kentucky. Lawrence and I spoke with Bill Necessary, a musician who saw Ed and Ella all over the Big Sandy Valley when he was about twenty years old. He said they rode a train up Levisa Fork to Paintsville, the seat of government for Johnson County, where they spent the day playing music at the courthouse. From there, they continued by train to Prestonsburg, county seat of Floyd County. At times, they went into the nearby coal camps of Beaver Creek and played at theatres. From Prestonsburg, they took the train to Pikeville, the county seat of Pike County, and then continued over to the Tug River around Williamson, county seat of Mingo County, West Virginia.
“Aw, they took in the whole dern country up through there,” Bill said. “By the time they made that circuit, why it’d be time for them to come again. I guess they’d tour a couple of weeks. By God, I just followed them around, son.”
Lawrence didn’t remember going to all of those places with Ed but did remember staying with Molly O’Day’s family around Williamson. Bill said Molly’s widow Lynn Davis was still living around Huntington, West Virginia.
Bill said Ed always wore a long overcoat — “rain or shine” — and even played in it. He never sang or entered contests.
“He was pretty up to date on music at that time,” Bill said. “His notes were real clear, boy.”
Back in Nashville, I worked really hard trying to figure out Ed’s bowing. There was a lot of contradictory information to consider. Snake Chapman said he bowed short strokes, indicating a lot of sawstrokes and pronounced note separation. J.P. Fraley, Slim Clere, Lawrence and Mona said that he favored the long bow approach and only used short strokes when necessary, like for hoedowns. Preacher Gore, Ugee Postalwait and Curly Wellman spoke about how smooth his fiddling was, which kind of hinted at him being a long bow fiddler. All were probably accurate in some respect. It seemed plain to me that one reason why there were so many contrasting and sometimes completely opposite accounts of how or even what Ed played was that everyone I’d talked to witnessed him playing at different times and places during his musical evolution. All along the way, he was experimenting, looking for that “right combination” or playing the style needed to create the sounds popular in a certain area. Even what I could actually hear on his home recordings was really just a glimpse into the world of his fiddling as it existed at that moment toward the end of his lifetime.