Aracoma Hotel in Logan, WV (1933)


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From the Logan Banner comes this bit of history for the Aracoma Hotel dated March 17, 1933:

Arters Brothers Lease Aracoma Hotel Property

Starting April 1st W.L. Davis and Dick Arters, of this city, and E.D. Arters of Huntington will operate the Aracoma Hotel. They have leased the hotel from the Ghiz estate, Mike Ghiz having been manager for the past six months. Dick Arters has been Mr. Ghiz’ assistant.

The Arters brothers are hotel men known the state over. At one time they operated the Faymont in Montgomery, and E.D. Arters was manager of the old Jefferson in Logan, when Dick Arters served in the capacity of assistant manager. The Arters and Mr. Davis have hosts of friends among the traveling public, as well as locally, who will be interested in this announcement. Mr. Davis, now with the Pioneer, used to be at the Aracoma and Mr. Arters has been on the same force. At the present time E.D. Arters is with the Huntington Hotel in Huntington, where he has managed the Farr.

Mr. Davis has lived in this county since 1914. He was superintendent of the Island Creek Coal Company for ten years, and has also been superintendent of the Monitor Coal and Coke Corporation. He became interested in the hotel business several years back. Mr. Davis when interviewed today, in behalf of the new management, said they planned on renovating the Aracoma as soon as they can take charge, give their particular attention to social gatherings, for which the hotel is an ideal place, and further stated that Mrs. E.W. Oakley would remain in charge of the dining room.

Don Chafin’s Deputies (1912-1917)


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The following list of Don Chafin’s deputies prior to the Battle of Blair Mountain is based on Record of Bonds C and Record of Bonds D in the Logan County Clerk’s Office in Logan, WV:

Don Chafin was elected sheriff on November 5, 1912 and appeared on December 28, 1912 with his bondsman U.B. Buskirk for $40,000 (Book C, p. 215)

Name, Date of Appointment, Surety, Surety Amount, Book, Page

Garland A. Adams…28 January 1913…J.W. Chambers…$5000…C…236

Joe Adams…14 October 1913…G.F. Gore, A. Dingess, David C. Dingess, Anthony Adams, Sol Adams, Sr., and Sol Adams, Jr….$5000…C…297

John Barker…5 February 1913…F.P. Hurst…$5000…C…241

J.E. Barlow…26 April 1913…S.B. Lawson…$5000…C…268

J.L. Bess…22 July 1916…Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland…$5000…D…22

Joe Blair…28 December 1912…J.W. Chambers and Allen Mounts…$5000…C…224

John D. Browning…1 July 1914…Fidelity and Deposit Company…$5000…C…345

Bert Bush…6 January 1913…Monroe Bush…$5000…C…230

John L. Butcher…28 December 1912…Lewis Butcher, J.W. Chambers, Albert Gore…$5000…C…221

George Chafin…12 July 1915…James Toney…$5000…C…402

George Chafin…3 January 1917…J.B. Toney…$5000…D…74

J.A. Chafin…20 June 1913…J.W. Chambers and A.A. Vance…$5000…C…275

John Chafins…31 January 1913…H.H. Farley and A.J. Browning…$5000…C…240

Art Chambers…25 July 1914…Cush Avis, J.L. Chambers…$5000…C…349

Charley Conley…18 June 1914…George Butcher, Ed Chapman, William White…$5000…C…342

Nim Conley…18 July 1913…Ed Chapman and W.W. Conley…$5000…C…281

R.J. Conley…25 March 1913…Albert Gore…$5000…C…252

A.J. Dalton…26 December 1913…Fidelity and Deposit Company of MD…$5000…C…315

Riley Damron…5 July 1913…Millard Elkins and J.E. McCoy…$5000…C…278

David Dingess…3 April 1913…J.W. Chambers and George Justice…$5000…C…254

Everett Dingess…10 November 1913…John F. Dingess and Burl Adams…$5000…C…304

Vincent Dingess…7 July 1913…Georgia Dingess, William Gore, and Albert Gore…C…$5000…279

Ed Eggers…21 April 1913…Paul Hardy…$5000…C…264

Green Ellis…1 January 1917…Don Chafin…$5000…D…78

Joseph A. Ellis…30 January 1913…O.M. Conley…$5000…C…239

R.H. Ellis…undated…Elizabeth Ellis…$5000…C…233

H.H. Farley…29 January 1913…L.E. Steele…$5000…C…237

W.F. Farley…28 December 1912…Robert Bland…$5000…C…223

William Farley…13 January 1914…Wash Farley, A. Dingess, Lewis Farley, G.B. Farley…$5000…C…319

J.H. Ford…16 May 1914…P.J. Riley…$5000…C…336

Harry S. Gay, Jr….15 October 1913…S.B. Lawson…$5000…C…299

Albert Gore…28 December 1912…J.W. Chambers, G.F. Gore, Millard Elkins…$5000…C…222

C.W. Gore…2 January 1917…Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland…$5000…D…76

John T. Gore…11 July 1916…G.F. Gore and Lewis Farley…$5000…D…18

Pete Gore…5 December 1916…Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland…$5000…D…63

William Gore…31 December 1914…W.E. White, James Ellis…$5000…C…377

Joe Hall…23 April 1913…C.P. Donovan, Paul Hardy…$5000…C…267

A.A. Hamilton…14 June 1913…A.A. Hamilton…$5000…C…273

Paul Hardy…20 February 1913…W.F. Farley…$5000…C…244

John Harrison…19 April 1913…J.S. Miller, M. Elkins, W.E. White, and James Ellis…$5000…C…262

E.R. Hatfield…6 January 1914…$5000…H.H. Farley…C…316

Tennis Hatfield…14 June 1915…James Ellis and Lewis Chafin…$5000…C…396

William Hatfield…28 December 1912…J.S. Miller and George Justice…$5000…C…229

J.O. Hill…17 April 1913…Katie Mounts…$5000…C…261

B.J. Hiner…23 April 1913…C.P. Donovan and Paul Hardy…$5000…C…266

W.L. Honaker…8 August 1916…Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland…$5000…D…23

Mat Jackson…13 October 1913…Albert Gore, Van Mullins, G.F. Gore, and David C. Dingess…$5000…C…296

Frank Justice…8 July 1914…America Justice…$5000…C…346

S.B. Lawson…12 April 1913…J.W. Chambers…$5000…C…256

G.W. Lax…21 April 1913…Paul Hardy…$5000…C…263

Harrison Lowe…5 March 1914…no surety [blank]…$5000…C…326

F. Middleburg…16 May 1914…D.V. Wickline…$5000…C…337

Charles H. Miller…25 November 1914…Don Chafin, W.E. White…C…368

J.M. Moore…14 May 1915…American Surety Company of NY…$5000…C…391

Allen Mounts…226

Cecil Mounts…11 June 1913…Allen Mounts…$5000…C…272

Cecil Mounts…2 January 1917…Lillie Mounts…$5000…D…79

K.F. Mounts…28 December 1912…Allen Mounts…$5000…C…225

K.F. Mounts…6 January 1917…Katie Mounts…$5000…D…72

Adrian Murphy…6 February 1917…W.H. Bias and W.E. White…$5000…D…77

John D. Neece…21 March 1914…W.E. White, R.H. Ellis, and J.S. Miller…$5000…C…330

George Robinett…17 July 1913…George Justice…$5000…C…284

Joe Scaggs…231

F.A. Sharp…28 December 1912…W.F. Farley and L.G. Burns…$5000…C…217

Clark Smith…22 December 1913…Mary Chafin…$5000…C…313

L.E. Steele…29 January 1913…H.H. Farley…$5000…C…238

Noah Steele…6 September 1913…L.E. Steele, Jr….$5000…C…290

Charley Stollings…21 July 1913…Matilda Stollings, Tom Butcher, Bettie Stollings, W.I. Campbell, and Milton Stowers…$5000…C…283

T.B. Stowe…13 January 1913…Martha J. Stowe…$5000…C…234

Elias Thompson…16 April 1913…W.I. Campbell and K.F. Mounts…$5000…C…258

George E. Thompson…17 April 1913…A.F. Gore and Willis Gore…$5000…C…260

Simp Thompson…3 October 1916…Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland…$5000…D…36

C.A. Vickers…12 January 1914…L.D. Perry and F.D. Stollings…$5000…C…318

Taylor Walsh…28 July 1914…W.E. White, Albert Gore…$5000…C…350

Moses Williamson…29 April 1913…L.H. Thompson…$5000…C…270

Clay Workman…28 December 1912…S.B. Lawson…$5000…C…228

Frank P. Hurst was elected sheriff on November 7, 1916 and appeared on November 28, 1916 with his bondsmen J. Cary Alderson, S.B. Robertson, and R.L. Shrewsbury for $100,000 (Book D, p. 54); deputies appointed after November 1916 may be Hurst–and not Chafin–deputies (a few names are duplicated for this reason, I think)

Orville McCoy Recalls “Squirrel Huntin'” Sam McCoy (1990)


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On July 24, 1990, scholar Rebecca Bailey interviewed Orville McCoy (b.1922) of Raccoon Creek, Kentucky. What follows here is an excerpt of Mr. McCoy’s memories of his grandfather “Squirrel Huntin'” Sam McCoy and his book.

RB: Okay. What kind of stories did you hear about the feud when you were growing up?

OM: Well, about such materials you’ll find in my book. I recorded just about everything I knew about it.

RB: Do you know how your grandfather came to write his manuscript?

OM: Yes, he wrote in the year, I believe it was, 1931 while he was in St. Louis, Missouri. We all also got that information recorded in the book.

RB: How come him to be in St. Louis? Do you know?

OM: Well, he went west in the year about nineteen and ten and I think he first went to California and then back to Kansas and…and then to St. Louis.

RB: Did he take his wife and children with him?

OM: Yes. He took his whole family except my dad. He was the only one stayed here at Racoon.

RB: Was he the oldest? Is that why he stayed?

OM: No, he wasn’t the oldest. Yeah. I guess he was the oldest. He was the only child by him and his first wife, America Goff.

RB: Did she die or did they divorce?

OM: Well, yeah. She died young.

RB: How old was your father when his father left to go out west?

OM: That would be pretty hard for me to figure, I don’t bet. You could go to my book and deduct and subtract a little there and come up with an answer.

RB: He was probably a young man, though, because he had twelve children by the time you were born so he was probably a young man and married.

OM: Yeah. I’d say he should have been around thirty, something like that.

RB: Did your father remember any of the events of the feud or hear about them?

OM: No, he couldn’t remember any of the incidents, I don’t think except what was told to him.

RB: Alright. Do you have much contact with any of your McCoy cousins?

OM: Oh, yeah. I correspond with them. I got some in Kansas. Joshua Tree, California, and Tacoma, Washington, Remington, Washington, Pennsylvania.

RB: We were talking off tape. You said that a lot of McCoys didn’t stay in this area.

OM: No, they was quite a few of them went out west.

RB: Did they go looking for work or…?

OM: I guess they was seeking adventure.

RB: How did you come to have the manuscript that “Squirrel Huntin'” Sam wrote?

OM: Well, I obtained it from Sam when he was out here to pay us a visit in 1937.

RB: What kind of person was he?

OM: Oh, he was quite a tall man. About six foot or better.

RB: What do you remember about him?

OM: Well, when he visited us, he came out here to visit us about three times in the thirties. First come in ’36. ’38. Maybe ’39. He died in ’40. They shipped him back here.

RB: Do you know where he’s buried?

OM: Yeah.

RB: Where’s he buried?

OM: He’s buried in Collins Cemetery in the head of Frozen Creek.

RB: Okay. Were you always interested as a child in in your family history?

OM: Well, not in the early years. I always held on to that book though and preserved it. I guess I was around fifty-eight years when I let them publish it.

RB: Would you tell me on tape again who published it for you?

OM: Dr. Leonard Roberts of Pikeville College.

RB: Why was he interested in it? Do you know?

OM: Dr. Roberts?

RB: Un-huh.

OM: Well, he was working for the college and that’s how he… Well, it benefited the college, you know, doing Appalachian study centers, they called it. He published books and so on for them.

Tom Chafin Recalls Story of Ellison Hatfield’s Killing (1989)


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On June 21, 1989, scholar John Hennen interviewed Tom Chafin (1911-1997) of Williamson, West Virginia. What follows here is an excerpt of Mr. Chafin’s story about the death of his grandfather Ellison Hatfield in 1882 and other general memories of the Hatfield family.

JH: Okay, let’s go ahead and just follow that line. Tell me about Ellison Hatfield. And of course Ellison Hatfield was one of the participants in the early days of the so called Hatfield and McCoy feud.

TC: He’s the one that the McCoys killed. Uh, he lived up Mate Creek at the mouth of a hollow they call Double Camp Holler. He came down to Matewan here and got with some of his friends and they had a saloon here. It was called a saloon then, not the liquor store like we call it.

JH: Do you have any idea where that saloon was?

TC: Uh…the saloon was close to where the liquor store is now.

JH: Okay.

TC: I’m…I’m sure it was in the same building. That’s the Buskirk building. And he got with some of his friends and they got to drinking and was a having an election across the river in Pike County, Kentucky. Just across the river here. And he said to them said, some of his friends said, “Let’s go over and see how the elections goin’,” and when they got over there, they got into it with them and he was cut all to pieces with knives. He didn’t die in Kentucky. They loaded him up and hauled him back in a wagon. They hauled him back through the river up here at the upper end of Matewan and took him to Warm Holler. Now this is Warm Holler straight across from the bank on the right goin’ down there. You go across the railroad tracks. Uncle Anse Ferrell lived there. That was Ellison’s uncle. Uncle Anse Ferrell lived there in a big old log house. And they took Ellison there to his house that evening and he stayed there all that evening, all that night, and all day the next day and died the next evening. Just about dark. But in the mean time now, the Hatfields captured the three McCoy boys that they said did the killin’ of Ellison. Cuttin’ him up with knives. They captured them and took them up to a place they call North Matewan just out of Matewan here. They had and old school house there at the mouth of Rutherford Hollow. And they had an old school house there at the mouth of Rutherford Holler and that’s where they kept the three McCoy boys. All this evening, all night tonight, all day tomorrow, until tomorrow evening. And they brought him back down here, took him across the river and then a little drain, I call it, instead of a holler. It’s not a holler, it’s just a drain where water runs out where you go up to the radio station. That’s where they tied them to three papaw bushes. Now, we don’t have any papaw bushes around like we used to. We used to have whole orchards of them but they all disappeared. Why, they was papaws everywhere You could pick up a bushel of papaws anywhere when I was a boy. But you don’t even see a papaw tree any more. They said they tied them to three papaw bushes and killed all three of them.

JH: And this was after Ellison died?

TC: They waited until Ellison died. Say he died this evening and they went up there and got them and took them over there I believe the next morning.

JH: Who were some of the Hatfields involved in this?

TC: Well, to be exact, I’d say Cap… Cap was the head man. He was Devil Anse’s oldest son. 

JH: I’d like you to tell me a little bit more about Cap Hatfield and well, do you have a personal memory of Devil Anse? I know you have been to his house when you were a boy.

TC: No.

JH: You can’t remember anything directly about him?

TC: I’ve been to his house. I know where his house is. I knew what kind of house it was. It was a log house and it had a window in that end of it and a window in this end of it and it was across the creek. I could show you right where it is on Island Creek over there and I can remember goin’ over there with my grandfather Mose Chafin. Now, he was a brother to Devil Anse’s wife, Aunt Vicy. We’d go over and see Aunt Vicy after Uncle Anse had died. I believe he died in 1921 and I was ten years old when he died. And when I would go over there with him, probably I was twelve or thirteen or something like that, after Uncle Anse had died. And we’d ride a horse. I’d ride on the hind and my grandfather Mose Chafin. And I could tell you exactly how to go. We’d go up Mate Creek across the hill into Beech Creek and from Beech Creek into Pigeon Creek and Pigeon Creek into Island Creek.

JH: And Vicy was still living at that time?

TC: Yeah.

JH: So you knew her then?

TC: Yeah. She was a pretty big fat woman. She wasn’t too big and fat. She was about, say, hundred and sixty, something like that, I’m guessin’. I’m gonna guess it. About a hundred and sixty pound. Anyhow, she was a big fat woman.

JH: Now, Cap lived on up into…to be an old man?

TC: Yeah. Willis is the last man that…last one to die.

JH: He was the son of Devil Anse also?

TC: Yeah. I was with him at a birthday party for Allen Hatfield on Beech Creek. That was his cousin. Allen was Elias’ boy* and he was Ellison’s boy**. Willis was. That made them first cousins and Willis was the only Hatfield left on Island Creek so we got him to come to that… Allen’s boy Estil Hatfield got him to come over to the birthday party, and I believe Truman went with me. He died in seventy-eight. I can tell you when he died.

JH: Willis?

TC: Willis died. Last child that Devil Anse had died in seventy-eight. 1978.

*Should read as “Wall’s boy”

**Should read as “Anse’s boy”

Red Rock Cola in Logan, WV (1939)


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The Red Rock Company was founded in 1885 by Lee Hagan and G.T. Dodd of Atlanta, Georgia. Dodd initially introduced ginger ale as the company’s first product, which became popular in the South. The Red Rock Company was among the oldest producers of carbonated beverages in the U.S. Babe Ruth endorsed Red Rock! By 1938, Red Rock was an early leader in the distribution of carbonated beverages, distributing 12-ounce bottles by way of a distribution network of 200 bottlers. 
As of 1947, Red Rock products were bottled in 45 of 48 states, but by 1958, the company’s success began to decline. After the 1950s, the Red Rock Company seemed to vanish entirely and it is unknown when the company disestablished.

Magnolia District: Justices of the Peace (1824-1895)


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The following list of justices of the peace for Magnolia District in present-day Mingo County, West Virginia, is based on historical documents available at the Logan County Courthouse in Logan. Several things to consider: (1) The list will be expanded over time based on new research; (2) the targeted area for this research is the Hatfield-McCoy feud region; (3) some justices included in this list may have in fact been located outside of the feud region; (4) dates for justices are primarily derived from deeds and county court/commissioner records; and (5) Mingo County was formed from Logan County in 1895.

John Ferrell (1838)

April 26, 1838

David Mounts (1838-1840)

April 26, 1838

January 31, 1840

March 23, 1840

August 22, 1840

Samuel F. Varney (1861)

March 14, 1861

Ephraim Hatfield (1861)

March 14, 1861

William Tiller (1867)

October 1867

Valentine “Wall” Hatfield (1870-1885)

February 11, 1873

April 8-9, 1873

August 12-16, 1873

February 10-12, 1874

October 13-14, 1874

December 8-12, 1874

December 29, 1874

August 10, 1875

October 12-16, 1875

August 8-9, 1876

elected October 10, 1876

July 1, 1878

October 1879

July 1880

December 10, 1880

December 14, 1880

appointed June 13, 1881

January 28, 1882

July 22, 1885

Asa McCoy (1873-1876)

February 11-12, 1873

August 12-16, 1873

December 9-12, 1873

June 16, 1874

October 22, 1874

December 9, 1874

February 11, 1875

June 9, 1875

June 13-17, 1876

August 8-9, 1876

Ephraim Hatfield (1876-1878)

elected October 10, 1876

February 11, 1878

A.W. Ferrell (1880)

April 1880

referenced on February 8, 1881 as a former justice

Joseph Simpkins (1882)

appointed to fill unexpired term, October 17, 1882

Michael A. Ferrell (1888)

elected November 6, 1888

Federal Troops Burn Logan Courthouse During the Civil War (1862)


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From Law Orders Book A 1873-1878 in the Logan County (West Virginia) Circuit Clerk’s office comes this entry regarding the destruction of the Logan County Courthouse in 1862:

On the 14th day of June 1878, came the following persons viz: John Dejarnett, Thomas Buchanan (except as to Investigation of the Regiment), Dr. Hinchman, who being duly sworn in open Court depose and say: That they know the fact that the Court House of Logan County West Virginia after being temporarily occupied by the 34th Ohio Regt of Federal troops commanded by Col. Seiber, was set fire to and burned up, in the month of Nov. 1862. The said Court House had not been occupied at any time by the Confederate troops, but was used alone for the administration of Justice and for the custody and preservation of the Records of the Several Courts of the said County of Logan. The building was Constructed of bricks and wood, and was a substantial, durable and convenient Exterior, and was worth at the least at the time of its destruction not less than four thousand dollars and belonged exclusively to the said County of Logan, which County has ever since been within the jurisdiction of West Virginia. The destruction of said building was a wanton and inexcusable act of the said Regt. and in no manner contributed to the prosecution of the war in behalf of the Federal Government.

At a County Court continued and held for the County of Logan State of West Virginia on the 14th day of June 1878. Present Isaac Morgan, President, and James R. Perry and L.D. Chambers, Justices, the Court with the view of obtaining Compensation for the destruction of said Court House from the Government of the United States, caused the gentlemen above named to be examined on Oath in open Court, and ordered the substance of the facts above stated by them to be spread upon the Records of this Court, and the Court further caused to be certified that the above named citizens of said County of Logan and that their Statements are entitled to full faith and credit and further that they are in no wise interested in this application except in common with other citizens of the County and Tax payers thereof.

Source: Law Orders Book A 1873-1878, p. 713-714. Note: The entry contains a few errors, such as the date of the courthouse’s destruction, the spelling of Col. Edward Siber’s name, and the correct name of the unit (37th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment).

New Year’s Raid (1888): Daniel Whitt’s Testimony


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Daniel Whitt’s testimony in the Johnse Hatfield murder trial provides one version of the Hatfield raid upon Randolph McCoy’s home on January 1, 1888:

Q. “Do you know Randolph McCoy?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Do you know Cap Hatfield?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Do you know Robert Hatfield, Ellison Mounts, Elliot Hatfield, Charles Gillespie, Thomas Mitchell, and Anderson Hatfield?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Do you remember of the old man McCoy’s house being burned?”

A. “Yes sir, I heard of it.”

Q. “Where were you a short time before that occurred?”

A. “Three days before Christmas I was in the neighborhood of the Hatfield’s.”

Q. “Who was with you?”

A. “Ance Hatfield, Jim Vance, Johnson Hatfield, Cap Hatfield, Charles Gillespie, and Tom Mitchell, I believe about all of the bunch.”

Q. “What were you doing together and how long had you been together?”

A. “About three days and nights.”

Q. “Were all of you armed?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “What were you doing armed and together?”

A. “Just traveling in the woods most of the time.”

Q. “What did you sleep on?”

A. “We carried our quilts with us.”

Q. “Who was your captain?”

A. “Jim Vance.”

Q. “What was the purpose of your getting together?”

A. “They claimed the purpose was to get out of the way of the Kentucky authorities.”

Q. “What else did they claim?”

A. “When I left them we came to Henry Mitchell’s to get dinner. They wouldn’t let me hear what they had to talk about. Cap asked me if I was going to Kentucky with them. Said they were going to Kentucky to kill Randolph and Jim McCoy and settle the racket. He asked me if I was going with them and I said that I was not. He said that I would go or I would go to hell. I said that I would go to hell. Elias came and took me off. We slept in a shuck pen. When he got to sleep I ran away and went to Pocahontas and was there when this occurred.”

Q. “Was Johnson present when Cap was talking?”

A. “He was in the yard close enough to hear, and he came up to me when Cap was talking and took Cap out and had a talk with him.”

Source: Bill of exceptions at the office of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals in Kentucky, Frankfort, KY.

Queens Ridge News 05.13.1927


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An unnamed correspondent from Queens Ridge serving Upper Hart in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on May 13, 1927:

Mrs. Paralee Browning and Garnet Mullins of Lower Hoover were the evening guests of Cecil McCloud Sunday.

Ireland and Carl Mullins went up Hoover late Sunday enroute to Troy Town.

Mrs. Belle Dora Adams is going to have a son-in-law some one said. Gee, the girls will have to quiet fliring with Charley.

Lucy McCloud was visiting her aunt Mrs. Garnet Martin here Saturday.

Howard Adams made a business trip to New Orleans. Many tears were shed on account of his long absence.

Whirlwind News 05.10.1927


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An unnamed correspondent from Whirlwind on Big Harts Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on May 10, 1927:

Mrs. Alla Mullins was the guest of Daniel McCloud Monday.

Daniel McCloud made a business trip to Twelve Pole Monday.

All the farmers are getting very busy in this vicinity.

Wilburn Mullins was calling on friends at Daniel McCloud’s Sunday.

Lucy McCloud visited her aunt Lora Martin Sunday.

Bernie Adams has just returned from a business trip to Logan.

Daniel McCloud is teaching a singing school at the Bulwark school house. All report a nice time.

Daily Acts: Florence and her straw hat; Lucy and her pink dress; Lenville carrying milk; Roy making whistles.

Nancy E. Hatfield Memories, Part 4 (1974)


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Howard B. Lee, former Attorney General of West Virginia, provided this account of Nancy Hatfield (widow of Cap) in the early 1970s:

“Mrs. Hatfield, we have talked much about an era that is gone. Feuds are ended, railroads and paved highways have come, the huge coal industry has developed, churches and schools are everywhere, and people are educated. Now, I would like to know something about you.”

This is the brief life-story of the remarkable and unforgettable Nancy Elizabeth Hatfield, as she related it to me.

She was Nancy Elizabeth Smith, called “Nan” by her family and friends, born in Wayne County, West Virginia, September 10, 1866. (She died August 24, 1942). In her early years, she lived “close enough to the Ohio River,” she said, “to see the big boats that brought people and goods up from below.” She attended a country school three months out of the year, and acquired the rudiments of a common school education, plus a yearning for wider knowledge.

While she was still a young girl her parents moved by push-boat up the Big Sandy and Tug rivers into what is now Mingo County, then Logan County. They settled in the wilderness on Mate Creek, near the site of the present town of Matewan.

“Why they made that move,” said Nancy Elizabeth, “I have never understood.”

In her new environment, in the summer of 1880, when she was 14 years old, Nancy Elizabeth married Joseph M. Glenn, an enterprising young adventurer from Georgia, who had established a store in the mountains, and floated rafts of black walnut logs, and other timber, down the Tug and Big Sandy rivers to the lumber mills of Catlettsburg, Ky., and Portsmouth, Ohio.

Two years after their marriage Glenn was waylaid and murdered by a former business associate, named Bill Smith–no relation to Nancy Elizabeth. Smith escaped into the wilderness and was never apprehended. The 16-year-old widow was left with a three-weeks old infant son, who grew into manhood and for years, that son, the late Joseph M. Glenn, was a leading lawyer in the city of Logan.

On October 11, 1883, a year after her husband’s death, at the age of 17, Nancy Elizabeth married the 19-year-old Cap Hatfield, second son of Devil Anse.

“He was the best looking young man in the settlement,” she proudly told me.

But at that time Cap had little to recommend him, except his good looks. He was born Feb. 6, 1864, during the Civil War, and grew up in a wild and lawless wilderness, where people were torn and divided by political and sectional hatreds and family feuds–a rugged, mountain land, without roads, schools, or churches.

When he married, Cap could neither read nor write, but he possessed the qualities necessary for survival in that turbulent time and place–he was “quick on the draw, and a dead shot.”

“When we were married, Cap was not a very good risk as a husband,” said Nancy Elizabeth. “The feud had been going on for a year, and he was already its most deadly killer. Kentucky had set a price on his head. But we were young, he was handsome, and I was deeply in love with him. Besides, he was the best shot on the border, and I was confident that he could take care of himself–and he did.”

Nancy Elizabeth taught her handsome husband to read and write, and imparted to him the meager learning she had acquired in the country school in Wayne County. But, more important, the she instilled into him her own hunger for knowledge.

Cap had a brilliant mind, and he set about to improve it. He and Nancy Elizabeth bought and read many books on history and biography, and they also subscribed for and read a number of the leading magazines of their day. In time they built up a small library or good books, which they read and studied along with their children.

At the urging of Nancy Elizabeth, Cap decided to study law, and enrolled at the University Law School at Huntington, Tennessee. But six months later, a renewal of the feud brought him back to the mountains. He never returned to law school, but continued his legal studies at home, and was admitted to the bar in Wyoming and Mingo counties. However, he never practiced the profession.

Nancy Elizabeth and Cap raised seven of their nine children, and Nancy’ss eyes grew moist as she talked of the sacrifices she and Cap had made that their children might obtain the education fate had denied to their parents. But her face glowed with a mother’s pride as she said:

“All our children are reasonably well educated. Three are college graduates, and the others attended college from one to three years. But, above everything else, they are all good and useful citizens.”

As I left the home of the remarkable and unforgettable Nancy Hatfield, I knew that I had been in the presence of a queenly woman–a real “Mountain Queen.”

Source: West Virginia Women (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 153-154.