Alex Messer, Appalachia, Beech Creek, Blackberry Creek, Bud McCoy, Cap Hatfield, Charlie Carpenter, Devil Anse Hatfield, Doc Mayhorn, Elias Hatfield, Elijah Mounts, Ellison Hatfield, Ephraim Hatfield, feuds, G.W. Pinson, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Mitchell, history, Joe Davis, John C. France, Johnson Hatfield, Mose Christian, Pharmer McCoy, Plyant Mahon, Plyant Mahorn, Preacher Anse Hatfield, Sam Mahon, Tolbert McCoy, Valentine Wall Hatfield
The killing of Tolbert, Pharmer, and Bud McCoy by a Hatfield-led gang on August 8, 1882 represented one of the most sensational events of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. What follows is Plyant Mayhorn’s deposition regarding the affair:
COMMONWEALTH VS DOC MAYHORN &C
Bill of Exceptions
FILED Sept. 1889
G.W. Pinson, Clk
The defendant had sworn as a witness Plyant Mahorn who proves that I was at Doc Mayhorn house on Beech Creek when Eaf Hatfield came and said that Ellison Hatfield had been stabbed shot and killed and that his father had Wall Hatfield had sent word for them to send him his horse and Doc went down to Wall’s House. He was away from home and at the mouth of beech. I went back home and got my horse and at the request of Wall’s wife who is my mother in law me and Doc took Wall’s Horse to him. We found him near the mouth of Beech Creek some ten miles above Blackberry. We all concluded we would come down and see Ellison that at that nor no other time was there any thing said by him or by Wall or any other person in his presents that they was to be any harm done to any person. That he did not know who had hurt Ellison until he got to Blackberry Creek. Then they learned who it was and that they had taken Ellison out and they then heard that the boys that had cut and shot him. Ellison was to have a trial up on Blackberry that day and they that is he and Doc and some others concluded to go up and hear the trial. They went up and Just above Rev. Anderson Hatfield’s they met quite a crowd coming down the creek with the McCoy boys. Ance, Capt., Jonce, Wall & Elias Hatfield, C. Carpenter, Alex Messer, & others were along. I reined my horse and of the ___ and let them pass and fell in behind. They went on down to Rev. Anderson Hatfield when they all stopped for dinner me, Doc, John C. France, Mose Christian and perhaps others turned our horses in the pasture below the house and after dinner we got tired waiting for trial and went down into the field to catch our horses and while or as we came up through the field with our horses the crowd was going down around the field. We come out and soon got on our horses and went on down. When got to the mouth of Blackberry I seen the McCoy boys sitting on a log. Me and Doc went across to McFannin’s store and I went in. Did not see them cross the river. Doc was in the yard and I heard they had crossed and [I cropped bottom of photo] an hour me and Doc got on our horses and went on down to Anderson Ferrell’s where Ellison Hatfield was and staid there and helped to wait on him all night. Did not see the McCoy boys until next morning. Went to the school house. Was there a short time. Did not see Mrs. McCoy there. Was back there again that evening and did not see her there. He did not see her over there. Was only at the school House twice. Had no gun nor pistol from the time I left home during the whole time I was gone. Was not across the river in Kentucky any more until after the Boys was killed. Had no understanding with any one nor did I know that such a thing was to be done. He heard no intimidation from any one that the boys were to be killed. That he went up the river with Wall & Elias Hatfield and Elijah Mounts to Jo Davis and staid a short time and went back and went just below the mouth of Sulphur ___ heard the firing of guns or pistols. I said to Mounts want (sic) in the worlds does that mean and Mounts said I don’t know. I was shocked. Did not know what __ ____. Went on down River and up Mate. Me & Doc staid at Henry Mitchell’s all night next went and helped bury Ellison and went across the hill home. Remained there at work until we was brot over here I had at no time any purpose of mind in me or any intention of doing harm to the McCoy boys or any one else. I was a good friend to the McCoy boys. Never had any thing against them when we met them coming down blackberry __ between Rev. Andersons once what called the waste hous it was about ¼ mile above Andersons me and them Did not hear an owl hoot or a person hoot like an owl between the time we left Jo Davis and the time the crowd from over the river come to us on Mate that he heard nothing that was said between Jo Davis Wall & Elias Hatfield. He was ten or 15 steps away at the time. My brother Sam and Dock went with me to the mouth of Beech and we left with Wall about day. It is about 3 miles from Wall Hatfields to the mo. Beech.
Written on left margin (and marked through): We left home on Tuesday and got a ___ ____ of Br__ where Wall was about daylight.
For more information about this incident, follow these links:
Allen Hatfield, Appalachia, Beech Creek, Beni Kedem, Charleston, Charlie Simpkins, Cincinnati, civil war, Clyde Kiser, Deanna Hatfield, Devil Anse Hatfield, Devon Church of Christ, Doc Mayhorn, Eliza Murphy, Ellison Hatfield, feuds, Frankfort, genealogy, Goldie Hatfield, Gordon Smith, Grapevine Fork, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Hugh C. Boyd Lodge No. 119, Jane Hatfield, Jane Maynard, Joseph Chester Hatfield, Joseph Murphy, Kentucky, Kentucky Colonels, Lawrence Hatfield, Logan County, Major Hatfield, Martha Bell Murphy, Maryland, Mingo County, Norfolk and Western Railroad, North Tazewell, Ohio, Pike County, Plyant Mayhorn, preacher, Raymond Hatfield, Right Hand Fork, Rockville, Thacker, Valentine Wall Hatfield, Virginia, West Virginia, Williamson, Williamson Memorial Hospital, Willis Hatfield
My name is Deanna Hatfield and tonight I would like to share with you a West Virginian, Allen Hatfield, who the community of Beech Creek honored and loved. Allen was born October 11, 1877. He was the youngest child of the pioneer couple, Wall Valentine Hatfield and Jane Maynard Hatfield, who settled on Beech Creek in 1861, the year that the Civil War broke out in this country. His parents had settled at the mouth of Grapevine Fork of Beech Creek. They had occupied a log cabin near the present site of Lawrence Hatfield’s home. He was the nephew of Captain Devil Anse Hatfield, clan leader in the famed Hatfield-McCoy Feud, and a first cousin of Willis Hatfield, the only surviving child of that family.
Almost until the day of his death, Allen carried a sadness in his heart over the death of his father in the days of the famous feud. His father, a peaceable man, was not an active member of the fighting group of the Hatfields during the trouble between his family and the McCoys but was named in warrants along with two of his sons-in-law, Doc and Plyant Mayhorn. Allen Hatfield, but ten years old at the time, remembered that his father Wall, thinking that he had nothing to fear in the courts of Kentucky, wrote the prosecuting attorney of Pike County that he and his sons-in-laws wished to surrender in Pikeville and stand trial for crimes for which they were accused. Allen Hatfield recalled the incident from his boyhood, including the feud. His father did go to Pikeville to voluntarily stand trial and clear his name but he was convicted by a prejudiced jury, the son remembered, and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Kentucky State Prison in Frankfort. After sentencing, he lived about one year and his burial place is still unknown today. The two Mayhorns served several years and were later pardoned.
One of his fondest memories was that of his mother Jane who took over the management of the home and did a good job of raising a large family after her husband was taken from her. She did chores around the homestead. A great and interesting conversationalist in his adult years, he liked to tell of how he and his friends made bows and arrows–arrows consisting of straight pieces of wood with a horseshoe nails attached as the spike. He became an excellent marksman with the bow and arrow and later with his first rifle as he helped to provide squirrels and other wild game for the family table.
The early years of Hatfield’s life were marked by sadness as a result of the loss of his family in the feud. But his hours spent in the great outdoors hunting and fishing provided a therapy that led to his development to splendid manhood. He was several years old when the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company built an extension from Virginia to southern West Virginia and Mingo County, which still was Logan County at that time.
In 1899, Hatfield was married to Martha Bell Murphy, daughter of Joseph and Eliza (Steele) Murphy. She had just turned fourteen when he proposed and her family thought she was too young to wed. The young couple sort of eloped the night of April 8, 1899, to Allen’s home where they were married by Allen’s brother, Ellison, a country preacher and a granny doctor, as he later recalled. Late that summer, he amassed enough lumber to build their first home—a one-room abode that was erected next to the hillside just north of the present homestead. Allen Hatfield made most of his furniture and his wife tended a garden and dug ginseng to help the family fortune.
During the ensuing years, the Hatfields had eleven children, two of whom preceded them in death. Lawrence Hatfield, who married Dollie Kiser, is now retired and lives with Dollie on Beech Creek at the mouth of Grapevine Fork. Estel Hatfield, who married Virginia Varney, lived with his dad and still lives in the old homeplace. Estel is an agent for the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company. Major Hatfield, who married Mildred Friend, is employed as an agent also for the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company in North Tazewell, Virginia. Rosa Hatfield, married Wayne Simpkins, lives on Beech Creek on Right Hand Fork. Goldie Hatfield married Gordon Smith, and they make their home below Grapevine Fork on Beech Creek. Mamie Hatfield married Charlie Simpkins and makes her home in Rockville, Maryland. Glendeen Hatfield married Douglas Berlin, and they make their home in Louisiana. Etta June Hatfield, never married and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Erma Hatfield married Forest Baisden, and she lives in Williamson, West Virginia. Milda Hatfield, deceased, was a retired school teacher and was never married. Joseph Chester Hatfield, died at six months old.
In 1914, Allen bought from his brother Smith a grocery store at the old homeplace and moved the merchandise to a small building at his home. He built a large home later and it was there that most of the children were born. He expanded his business to a larger store building, which still stands, and then he erected the present homeplace. During his early merchandising days, Hatfield was compelled to haul his goods from the railway station at Devon by team and wagon for the roads had not been built and most of the rough team tracks was through the creeks. It was a problem in the wintertime to get through the streams as they were filled with ice. After the county built a road up Beech Creek, he retired his team and wagon and switched to a gasoline-powered vehicle to haul and deliver his goods. He learned carpentry in the early years of his marriage and continued this art until 1964 when he retired. Hatfield was a 57-year member of the Hugh C. Boyd Lodge No. 119 AF & AM at Matewan and received his 50-year service award from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia in 1970. The lodge, when he became a master mason, was known as Thacker No. 119. It was located at Thacker, West Virginia. It later was moved to Matewan. He also belonged to the Beni Kedem Temple of Charleston, being a 50-year member of the Shriners. He also received the honorary commission of a Kentucky Colonel on April 10, 1972. He had been a member of the Devon Church of Christ since 1916 and sponsored the building of the present church that stands near his home on Beech Creek.
In his years of selling groceries, Hatfield said he never lost but 50 dollars in bad debts. He was proud of his heritage, a leader in his community, and in his active life a crack shot with a rifle, pistol, and shotgun. His hunting and fishing kept the table supplied with food. He won beef, hogs, turkeys, and chickens in the old-time rifle matches that were so popular in the Beech Creek area years ago. He and the former Martha B. Murphy were married 71 years before her death on May 25, 1970. His life might have been used as the subject by the poet who wrote, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” Allen Hatfield had spent a lifetime doing just that, living beside a little country road on Beech Creek and being a friend to mankind. On March 2, 1975, Allen was taken to the Williamson Memorial Hospital for ailments associated with his advanced age. He then was released and re-entered the hospital on April 18 in critical condition. On Friday, May 2, 1975, the community of Beech Creek lost one of the dearest old-timers that was ever known. Allen Hatfield, 97, prominently-known Mingo pioneer citizen, retired merchant of Beech Creek, died at 3 a.m. in the Williamson Memorial Hospital of a lingering illness. Funeral services were scheduled at the Chambers Funeral Home Chapel with his beloved ministers Clyde Kiser and Raymond Hatfield officiating. Burial took place in the family cemetery behind the homeplace on Beech Creek. His grandsons and great-grandsons were his pallbearers. Allen would have wanted it this way. Simple.
NOTE: Some of the names may be transcribed incorrectly.
Appalachia, Beech Creek, Ben Creek, Bluefield, Bluestone River, Bob Browning, Boone County, Bramwell, Cabell County, Charleston, Coal Valley News, Commissioner of Agriculture, Crum, Davy, Devil Anse Hatfield, farming, Gilbert, Gilbert Creek, ginseng, Griffithsville, Guyandotte River, Hamlin, history, Horsepen Creek, Huntington, Iaeger, Island Creek, John W. Smith, Kanawha River, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, M.L. Jones, Mate Creek, Pigeon Creek, Ranger, Route 10, Route 2, Route 3, Sarepta Workman, Tug Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, Wayne, Welch, West Hamlin, West Virginia, West Virginia by Rail and Trail, West Virginia Hills, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Route 3 dated October 14, 1927:
“Changes Can Be Noted” In Island Creek Hills
Madison Editor Waxes Interesting on Old Times and Primitive Conditions–Surfaced Highways Mark the Paths Through Woodland That Were Traveled a Generation Ago.
An article of special interest to Logan folk is here reproduced from the Coal Valley News (Madison) of which M.L. Jones is editor. In a reminiscent mood he tells of road conditions and other conditions that prevailed hereabouts a generation ago. Exceptions might be taken to one or two statements, but the whole article is interesting indeed and informative.
It is considered appropriate that West Virginians should sing the “West Virginia Hills,” and year after year the teachers in their institution disturb their neighbors with this song, while “Tears of regret will intrusively swell.” There is some romance and merit in the song; but it strikes us that it is about time for a revision of this line.
“But no changes can be noticed in the West Virginia Hills.”
To prove our point we quote from memory.
For some years after 1882, there lived in the extreme head of the left fork of Island Creek, or Main Island Creek, a man named Bob Browning. It was 18 miles from Logan. The house was a two-room log cabin, surrounded by palings; and the valley was so narrow that it was difficult to find enough level ground for a garden. Apple trees and peach trees were scattered over a few acres of cleared mountain side. The family subsisted by a little farming, a little hunting and much ginsenging.
This place was between two low mountain gaps. A dim road, usable for wagons in dry weather, led down the creek to Logan, and forked at Browning’s house. One fork led east over one gap to Horsepen and Gilbert of Guyan; the other went west over the other gap to Pigeon creek, and by more or less roundabout ways connected with Ben Creek, Beech Creek, Mate Creek and Pigeon Creek, all of Tug river. Hence, it was a possible road route.
The nearest house down Island creek and on Horsepen creek was two miles; and on Pigeon creek about three-fourths of a mile. A wagon, lightly loaded, passed here on the average six times a year. Horsemen may have averaged one a day, though often a whole week passed without a traveler. It was simply a log shack in the head of the hollow, four miles from a school, ten miles from a store, without anything “which exalts and embellishes civilized life,” and so very remote from the haunts of men that when “Devil” Anse Hatfield and his followers concluded to surrender Tug river to Frank Phillips and the McCoys, they picked their “last stand” on Island creek, four miles below the spot we have been talking about.
Now, in the close of 1927, can “changes be noticed?” We have not been there for over 30 years. But we recently received a present from John W. Smith, commissioner of agriculture , Charleston, W.Va., entitled “West Virginia by Rail and Trail,” containing 22 maps and 174 pictures reproduced from photographs of different parts of the state, and for which we sincerely thank whoever got our name on Mr. Smith’s mailing list.
From this book we learn that when we laboriously trudged through the Horsepen gap or the Pigeon gap, from 45 to 35 years ago, we failed to foresee that within on generation men would pick those two gaps, within less than a miles of each other, as a route for one of West Virginia’s leading roads; and not only for one, but for two, of West Virginia’s leading roads. As we will explain:
Route 3, connects Huntington, Wayne, Crum, Williamson, Gilbert, Iaeger, Davy, Welch, Bramwell, and Bluefield. From Huntington to Wayne and about 15 miles above Wayne, it is mostly on the waters of Twelve Pole creek. It then bears west to Tug river and follows it from Crum to Williamson, about 25 miles. It then bears east to Pigeon Creek, which it follows to the spot we are writing about, in the head of Island creek, some 20 miles. It then goes through the two gaps and down Horsepen creek to Gilbert, on Guyan; up Guyan and Little Huff’s creek, of Guyan, and across the mountain to Iaeger, on Tug river. It then follows up Tug, by Welch, to the head of Elkhorn and then on the waters of Bluestone to Bluefield.
In all, Route 3 is in seven counties, though less than a mile of it is in Logan county, in the head of Island creek. It is graded all the way about 60 percent of it is hard surfaced, including about 25 miles at and near the Bob Browning place. Thus Bob, if alive, can ride on a hard surfaced road from his old home almost to Williamson, one way, and to Gilbert on Guyan the other way; and he could continue south by graded road, until he strikes hard surface again. The last fifty miles next to Bluefield is all hard surfaced, also the lower 25 miles next to Huntington.
But this is not the only big state route hitting this “head of the hollow.”
Route 10 runs from Huntington to the very same spot, a distance of 100 miles, through Cabell, Lincoln and Logan, and is all on Guyan or its tributaries. It is paved, or hard surfaced, from Huntington to West Hamlin, on Guyan where the Hamlin-Griffithsville hard-surfaced road turns off. It is also marked paved for seven miles north of Logan and twelve miles up Island creek. This leaves six miles up by the “Devil” Anse Hatfield place to the Bob Browning place to pave, and it is marked, “paved road under construction.” The only drawback to No. 10 is that from West Hamlin to Ranger is a patch where the grading is not yet satisfactory. Doubtless, within three years both 3 and 10 will be hard surfaced all the way. Even now, from the Browning place, the people can take their choice between an evening’s entertainment in Logan or Williamson.
But that is not all yet. The chances are heavy that there will never be but one hard surfaced road from Logan to Williamson. There will always be a heavy travel from Charleston to Williamson. It will be by our No. 2 to Logan; by No. 10 to the Browning place; and by No. 3 to Williamson. Within a few months it will all be hard surfaced.
From all this we conclude.
First; that we let a good chance slip when we failed to buy a half acre of land where No. 10 joints No. 3 for a hotel and filling station. We could have multiplied our investment by one thousand. But so far as we could see that spot was fit only to hold and the rest of the Earth’s surface together, and to get away from as rapidly as possible.
Second; that “changes can be noticed in the West Virginia Hills.”
We might add that thousands can remember crossing the Kanawha at Charleston on the ferry, because there was no bridge; and few, if any, three-story homes. The writer hereof did his first plowing with a two-horse turning plow in the center of what is now Huntington. It was a cornfield then. It is a fashionable residence district now. He boarded at an isolated log house on a hill back of the Huntington bottom, where now are miles of mansions on paved streets. Even in and about Madison and all over Boone county, it is hard for people to visualize how things looked a short ten years ago. Mrs. Sarepta Workman, on her recent visit to her old…
Alifair McCoy, Appalachia, Beech Creek, Calvin McCoy, Chafinsville, crime, Dan Cunningham, Devil Anse Hatfield, Dollie Hatfield, feud, feuds, Floyd County, Frank Phillips, genealogy, George Hatfield, Gilbert Creek, Greek Milstead, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Clay Ragland, history, Huntington Advertiser, Johnse Hatfield, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Matewan, Mingo County, murder, Nancy Hatfield, Norfolk and Western Railroad, Oakland Hotel, Pikeville, Portsmouth Blade, Prestonsburg, Southern West Virginian, T.C. Whited, Thomas H. Harvey, true crime, Vanceville, West Virginia
From the Logan County Banner of Logan, WV, and the Huntington Advertiser of Huntington, WV, come the following items relating to Johnson Hatfield:
We are glad to see that Johnson Hatfield, who has been confined to his room for the last ___ weeks, is able to be on the street again.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 2 March 1893.
There was an unfortunate difficulty at Matewan on Sunday last in which Mr. Johnson Hatfield was severely wounded through the hand. His son had become involved with an officer which drew his father into the trouble.
Source: Southern West Virginian via the Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 1 January 1896.
Johnson Hatfield, accompanied by his daughter, Miss Dollie, left on Monday last for a visit to friends and relatives in Mingo county.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 23 January 1897.
Johnson Hatfield and daughter, Miss Dollie, have returned from a visit to friends on Sandy.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 6 February 1897.
Johnson Hatfield, the genial proprietor of the Oakland Hotel, is visiting friends at Pikeville, Kentucky.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 28 August 1897.
Johnson Hatfield has returned from a visit to Pikeville, Ky.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 9 October 1897.
Johnson Hatfield is at Williamson this week.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 23 October 1897.
The many friends of Mrs. Johnson Hatfield will regret to learn of her serious illness. She has a very bad attack of rheumatism.
Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 13 November 1897.
Johnson Hatfield and wife, of Mingo, passed through here [Chafinsville] last Sunday en route for Vanceville, where they will make their future home.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 21 April 1898.
TAKEN TO KENTUCKY ON A SERIOUS CHARGE–NOW IN JAIL.
Johnson Hatfield was arrested yesterday and taken to Pikesville, Kentucky, and lodged in jail on a charge of being an accomplice in the murder of Alifair McCoy on New Years night about nine years ago. This murder was committed during the feud of the Hatfields and McCoys.
Source: Huntington (WV) Advertiser, 20 July 1898.
NOTE: Not all of these stories may pertain to the Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield of Hatfield-McCoy Feud fame. For instance, items relating to the Oakland Hotel and a daughter named Dollie relate to a Johnson Hatfield (born 1837), son of George and Nancy (Whitt) Hatfield.
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