Appalachia, Brit Jones, Buchanan County, Carroll County, Catherine Wills, Catlettsburg Republican, crime, Flora Baisden, Floyd County, genealogy, Grant Bollman, Grover Waldron, Grundy, Harrison Baisden, Harrison Baisden Jr., Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Hiram Wills, history, Ira J. McGinnis, Jack Maynard, James Brewer, Jeffersonville, John Brewer, John Henry Baisden, John Lee White, John Smith Baisden, Johnson County, Kentucky, Lebanon, Lee Brewer, Lewis Dempsey, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Logan Democrat, Marrowbone Creek, Martha Baisden, Mingo County, murder, Naugatuck, Parkersburg Sentinel, Pigeon Creek, R.W. Buskirk, Reuben Baisden, Riley Brewer, Robert Irons, Robert L. Baisden, Ruby Harrison Baisden, Trace Fork, Virginia, West Virginia, William Baisden, William Bevins
Between 1883 and 1891, several members of the Baisden family suffered troubles in their section of West Virginia and Virginia. What follows are some news and other accounts of those events:
At the mouth of Pigeon creek, in Logan county, Grant Bollman and Dr. Harrison Baisden got into a difficulty over a settlement, short words brought blows, when Bollman used a knife severely if not fatally stabbing Baisden. Thereupon he drew a revolver and shot Bollman, who died the same day from the effects of the wound. There is little hopes of the recovery of Baisden.
Parkersburg (WV) Sentinel, 18 August 1883
Judge McGinnis has issued a vacation order to the Circuit Clerk of Wayne County admitting Dr. Baisden, charged with the murder of Yancy Bolin, in Logan County, to bail in the sum of $2,000.
Huntington (WV) Advertiser, 31 July 1886
According to one item printed in an old genealogy newsletter: “John Smith Baisden was born May 14, 1864. On May 29, 1885 he married Martha Jane Wills who was born in Carroll County, Virginia, on August 4, 1870, the daughter of Hiram and Catherine Massey Wills. Martha had come to Floyd County, Kentucky, in a wagon train in 1879. She was fifteen when she married John Smith Baisden. They had two children: Flora, who was born on January 8, 1888, and Ruby Harrison “Harry” Baisden [February 7, 1890]. On May 4, 1890, John Smith Baisden was shot and killed by John Brewer and John Lee White, while the family was visiting in West Virginia. He was shot in an argument over a horse. It is thought that his murder was indirectly associated with the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. The Baisdens became involved after relatives married McCoys. About the same time of his father’s death, the Hatfields kidnapped and imprisoned Ruby Harrison Baisden (then only a child) and other members of the McCoy clan, and held them in a log barn in what is now Mingo County, West Virginia. Ruby Harrison Baisden was found by a roadside where he had been left for dead. Soon after John S. Baisden’s death, Martha, against the advice of family members, returned to Kentucky by horseback, traveling at night over lonely mountain trails with her son and daughter.”
Last week several capias against John Henry Baisden and John Smith Baisden were placed in the hands of the Sheriff of this County. The Baisdens had established the very unenviable name of being dangerous and desperate men, and, a part of the process was placed in the hands of Wm. Bevins with instructions to go by way of Marrowbone to summon a guard who knew the haunts of the Baisdens and to locate them if he could and meet the Sheriff, who was accompanied by Jailor Buskirk, Deputy Sheriff McDonald and several guards, at the mouth of the Trace Fork of Pigeon. Mr. Bevins arrived on Marrowbone on Friday morning and learned that just before his arrival the Baisden boys had made an attack on the house of James Brewer with Winchester Rifles, and that assisted by John Lee White, he had repelled the attack, mortally wounding John Smith Baisden. On learning this Mr. Bevins at once summoned a posse consisting of John Lee White, Brit Jones, James Brewer, Riley Brewer, Lee Brewer and John Brewer and followed the Baisdens to Pigeon Creek. Locating them at Dr. Harrison Baisden’s, Bevins left all of the guard about a quarter of a mile from the house, except John Lee White, who he took with him to find the position of the Baisden boys. As soon as he came in sight of them he demanded their surrender, which they refused to do and fire was opened on them. James Baisden was killed and John Henry Baisden was badly wounded and captured. William Baisden having left the crowd made his escape and is still at large. John Henry Baisden was brought to this place and is now in jail. He was shot through both arms and in the right side, but his wounds are not dangerous. All parties regret the killing of young James Baisden, as there was nothing against him. Heretofore a man in this county had thought that to establish for himself the name of a dangerous man was all the security that he needed against the officers of the law. That is now changed and all of them will hereafter be hunted down.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 24 April 1890
John Smith Baisden, who was shot by James Brewer and John Lee White, on April 18th, while making an attack on Brewer’s house, died last Sunday evening.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 8 May 1890
On Monday morning John Henry Baisden was turned over by the authorities of West Virginia to Wm. A. Bevins upon a requisition from the Governor of Virginia. Baisden is wanted in Buchanan county, Va., for the murders of a man named Irons. Bevins, accompanied by R.W. Buskirk and Lewis Dempsey, started with Baisden to Jeffersonville, Va., where he will be confined for safe keeping until the Buchanan authorities are ready for his trial. He was not taken to Buchanan as there has been some talk of lynching him there.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 26 June 1890
R.W. Buskirk, Wm. Bevin and Lewis Dempsey, who took John Henry Baisden to Virginia on a charge of murder, returned on Sunday. The prisoner was first taken to Jeffersonville, then to Grundy, and finally to Lebanon as neither the Jeffersonville nor Grundy Jail were safe.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 10 July 1890
A Logan Man Gone Wrong.
Wm. Baisden, formerly of this county, was last week sentenced to the Virginia penitentiary from Buchanan county, for the term of 18 years, for the murder of a man named Irons, some two years ago. Outside of whisky, Baisden was regarded as a good man, and had a great many friends on the Sandy side of our county, where he was raised, and where his relatives now live.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 6 August 1890
Baisdens Allowed to Escape.
John Henry Baisden who killed Robert Irons in Buchanan county, Va. last fall and who afterwards figured in a terrible tragedy in Logan county, W.Va., and who was captured and taken to Virginia has been allowed to escape. After killing Irons, he fled to W.Va. to find another man living with his wife. He got a party of his relatives and went to attack the man, but was met by an officer and posse in search of him. Two desperate fights ensued between the two parties on consecutive days and Jim and John Smith Baisden were killed. John Henry was captured, after being seriously wounded, and lodged in jail. The parties who captured him in W.Va. delivered him to the authorities all right and received the Reward. He was afterwards sent to Russell county jail and being taken back to Buchanan for trial was taken from the guard by his brother. It is thought that the officers were willing that the prisoner should be rescued.
Catlettsburg (KY) Republican via the Logan County (WV) Banner, 21 August 1890
Murder on Sandy.
Monday afternoon Harrison Baisden, Jr., a member of the notorious gang of Baisden outlaws came down to the Mouth of Pigeon where there was a whiskey boat moored on this side of the river. He took his horse across to the Kentucky side, and then returning, he walked deliberately up to Jack Maynard, between whom and himself, it appears, there had been some bad blood, and shot him through the head, killing him instantly. The last heard from Baisden he was in Kentucky riding from about five men, who were pursuing him hotly. As the report says he was very drunk and the men were only a mile behind, the chances are that he is captured by now. It is feared that if he is caught that he will be lynched.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 3 September 1891
A rumor has reached us that Reuben Baisden, the murderer of Jack Maynard, was found dead at the head of a lonely creek, in Johnson county, Kentucky, with fifty-three bullet wounds on his body and his dead horse lying on him. It was thought that he had been dead about three days when found. We do not credit the story.
Logan County (WV) Banner, 17 September 1891
Manslaughter for Dr. Baisden
In the Mingo criminal court last week, Dr. Robert L. Baisden was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for killing Grover Waldron, at Naugatuck on April 23, of last year.
The evidence showed that young Waldron was stabbed to the heart on the above named night near the signal tower at Naugatuck. Dr. Baisden was coming down the tower steps when some person threw a beer bottle against a stone wall not far away. Young Waldron and two companions were standing near the foot of the steps.
Using an oath Dr. Baisden inquired who threw the bottle at him and there came a reply and also an oath, that it was for him and some one of the three also called out that they would send Dr. Baisden to hell “feet first” if he was not careful.
Logan (WV) Democrat, 20 April 1911
Albert Mullins, Appalachia, Big Branch, Boone County, Buchanan County, Dicy Collins, Dorcas Mullins, genealogy, Harts, Harts Creek, Henry H. Hardesty, history, Isham Collins, James A. Mullins, James P. Mullins, Kentucky, Lincoln County, Louisa Jane Mullins, Mary J. Mullins, merchant, Minnie B. Mullins, Victoria Mullins, Virginia, West Virginia
From “Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, West Virginia,” published by H.H. Hardesty, we find this entry for James P. Mullins, who resided at Big Branch of Harts Creek in Lincoln County, West Virginia:
Came to Lincoln county in 1877, and now owns 250 acres of fine farming land on Hart creek. The farm has good improvements, and a large orchard. Mr. Mullins was born in Kentucky in 1848, and he is a son of James P. and Dorcas (Mullins) Mullins, residents of Boone county, West Virginia. Elizabeth J., daughter of Isham and Dicy (Johnson) Collins, was born in Kentucky, October 5, 1855, and in Buchanan county, Virginia, May 25, 1872, she became the wife of James P. Mullins. Five children are the result of their union: Mary J., born October 5, 1873; Victoria, April 23, 1876; Albert, July 18, 1877; Minnie B., July 1, 1879; James A., November 13, 1883. Mr. Mullins is a man of good business qualifications, and is prosperously engaged in merchandising, with business headquarters on Hart creek, one and one-half miles from its mouth. He may be addressed at Hart, Lincoln county, West Virginia.
Source: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Vol. 7 (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 136.
Adam Runyon, Analena Porter, Aquillia Runyon, Asa Williamson, Aubrey Lee Porter, Bill Fields, Bill Porter, Brandon Kirk, Buchanan County, Buskirk and Wittenberg, Clarence Hinkle, Etta M. Porter, Ferrellsburg, genealogy, Graveyard Point, Guiniford Apney, Hatti Hinkle Apney, history, Inez, Jean Ramey, John Porter Jr., John W Runyon, John W. Porter, Kentucky, Martin County, Mary Runyon Fields, Mary Williamson, Maude Williamson, Merrill Porter, Norfolk, Point Pleasant, Rockcastle Creek, Russell Goble, Samuel W. Porter, Stafford Fork Precinct, Stidham, Virgil Ramey, Virginia, Virginia Lee Porter, Wealthy Runyon, West Virginia, writing, Wyoming County
The John W. Runyon family seems to have headed further south to try their luck elsewhere. In February 1902, Mary Runyon, her recently remarried daughter, Wealthy (Runyon) Hinkle-Fry, and her former son-in-law Clarence Hinkle were listed in Martin County deed records as residents of Buchanan County, Virginia.
John Runyon, meanwhile, soon gave up on his case in Wyoming County. A court entry dated April 2, 1902 and titled “John W. Runyon vs. Buskirk and Wittenberg” mentions how he “failed to give bond for costs as required in an order entered at a former term of the Court.” The Court ruled that “the defendants recover of the plaintiff their costs in their behalf expended in their defense herein including an attorneys fee of $10.00.” Included in this record was a list of thirty-four “Petit Jurors” who were, for some reason, to be paid “out of the County Treasury to wit” for their services in this case, some of them serving as many as nine days and being paid as much as eighteen dollars. It wasn’t clear why jurors served up to nine days, as records indicate that the court dismissed Runyon’s case before it went to trial.
After a short stay in Virginia, the Runyon family returned to Martin County and settled near the old Stidham Post Office on Rockcastle Creek, several miles north of the countyseat of Inez. On June 25, 1903, Wealthy Fry died at the age of 22 years old. Aquillia Porter died on February 20, 1910. A few months later (April 20) her husband remarried to Maude Williamson. Both of the Runyon girls were buried in the Williamson family cemetery at Stidham. Runyon’s legal problems, meanwhile, continued in Martin County as late as the 1910s.
On the bright side, John and Mary Runyon Fork purchased many acres of land around Rockhouse between 1893-1917 and sold at least 1,001 acres in that same vicinity between 1904-1932. Most of it went to their family: Sam Porter got 100 acres in 1910, 50 acres in 1917 and 35 acres in 1925. Various members of the Williamson family also bought tracts from John and Mary Runyon.
In 1920, John W. Runyon was listed in the Martin County Census as a resident of the Stafford Fork Precinct. He was a 65-year-old general laborer. His wife Mary was 55 years old. Asa G. Williamson, age 52, brother-in-law, was also in the household. Next door was the family of grandson John W. Porter, a 23-year-old farmer, with wife Etta M. (age 23). There were two children listed: Analena, age three; and Virginia Lee, age one. Aubrey Lee Porter, 22-year-old brother to John, who was also present in the home and employed as a coal miner.
John Runyon died on January 12, 1925 in Martin County. His widow spent her final years under the care of his niece, Mary (Runyon) Fields, who had been listed with the family in the 1900 Wyoming County Census. Mary was a daughter of John’s twin brother. She married Bill Fields and participated in much of the “family business” (marriage records, land transactions). Mary Runyon was still alive in 1952, when the Runyon genealogy book was assembled and was a source on the Adam Runyon family line.
Back in Ferrellsburg, Brandon called Bill Porter, an 80-year-old man in the Inez-area who was distantly connected to John Runyon’s family. He hadn’t known Runyon personally but said, “He was a well-thought of person. He followed the timber business. Everywhere he went he had bad luck. He was pretty bad to crook people.”
Mr. Porter said the Runyon place sat just above the old Stidham Post Office at Graveyard Point and told all about the Runyon descendants. He said Aubrey Porter married a Williams and raised a family of three children (including one son named Jimmy) in Columbus, Ohio. John W. Porter had two children — Merrill and John, Jr — and lived in Norfolk, Virginia. Hattie (Hinkle) Apney had two daughters: one named Guiniford, who married Russell Goble (an active member of the Inez School Board for years), and Jean, who married Virgil Ramey. Mr. Porter thought Hattie divorced her husband and moved to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where she died.
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