Appalachia, Baptist Fry, Charles I. Stone, Charles Lucas, Christian Fry, Druzilla Fry, Emily Fry, genealogy, Green Shoal Creek, history, James Lawson, John Fry, Lincoln County, Logan County, surveyor, Virginia, West Virginia
Abbotts Branch, Anthony Fry, Appalachia, Boone County, Cabell County, Caroline Fry, Catherine Fry, Christian Fry, Cora A. Fry, Druzilla Abbott, Elizabeth Fry, Elizabeth Hunter, Emily Lucas, farming, Fourteen Mile Creek, genealogy, Giles County, Green Shoal, Hardin Fry, Harts Creek District, Henry H. Hardesty, history, John Fry, John Henan Fry, Julia A. Fry, Kanawha County, Lincoln County, Lurana Fry, Mary A. Fry, Robert Hunter, Sulphur Spring Fork, timber, Virginia, West Virginia
From “Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, West Virginia,” published by H.H. Hardesty, we find this entry for Christian T. Fry, who resided at Hart in Lincoln County, West Virginia:
One of the farming population of Hart Creek district, was born in Cabell county, West Virginia, in 1824, and he is a son of John and Catherine (Snodgrass) Fry, natives of Giles county, Virginia. Mr. Fry chose for a help-meet Elizabeth Hunter, and in Boone county, West Virginia, in 1849, they were married. Their children number eight, born as follows: Julia A., April 26, 1850; Anthony, November 1853; Caroline, December 1856; Mary A., August 1859; John H., September 1861; Cora A., September 1864; Hardin, June 15, 1867; Lurana, July 1871. Mrs. Fry was born in Kanawha county in 1835, and her parents are Robert and Elizabeth (Tayler) Hunter, who reside in Boone county. Christian T. Fry is a prosperous farmer in Hart Creek district, owning 300 acres of good farming land, situated on Browns branch. The land has good improvements, a fine orchard, and a part is heavily timbered with pine, poplar and oak. There is mineral, coal and iron ore in abundance. Mr. Fry’s post office address is Hart, Lincoln county, West Virginia.
Source: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Vol. 7 (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 134.
NOTE: Christian Thomas “Jack” Fry is my great-great-great-grandfather. I descend through his son, John Henan Fry, who settled on Sulphur Spring Fork of Fourteen Mile Creek. I also descend from two of Christian Fry’s sisters, Emily (Fry) Lucas and Druzilla (Fry) Abbott.
NOTE: The Browns Branch referenced in this history is now called Abbotts Branch.
Abbott-Lambert Family Cemetery, Abbotts Branch, Albert Frye, Anna Virginia Boyce, Annette Lynn Lambert, Anthony D. Lambert, Anthony Lambert, Anthony Paul Ferrell, Arthur Fred Lambert, Bertha Abbott, Bessie Adkins, Carlos Courts, Caroline Abbott, cemeteries, Christian Fry, Christian Lambert, Christy Jean Stollings, Clauda Rousey Lambert, Claudey A. Lambert, Clyde T. Lambert, Cooney Mullins, Dale Wagner, David Alexander Lambert, Deborah Ann Courts, Delia Abbott, Della Mae Lambert, Donna Kaye Lowe, Dora Lopez, Eveline Abbott, Gary Winfred Abbott, genealogy, General Abbott, Gracie Justice, Grady Abbott, Green Shoal, Guy Harris, Helen Louise Fry, Henry Mullins, history, Hubert Abbott, Irvin Cooney Lambert, Irvin K. Lambert, Irvin Lambert Jr., J.A. Simpkins, James Donald Aliff, Jannette Lynn Lambert, Jeremy Brandon Shelton, Jerry Lane Stollings, Jesse Abbott, Jesse Lambert, Joe Basadre, John Donald Lambert, John L. Lambert, Juley Lambert, Julia Lambert, Larry Delano Collins, Leota Mullins, Lincoln County, Lona Frye, Lucille Collins, Luraney Fleming, Macie J. Lambert, Margie Lambert, Marie Ferrell, Mary Elizabeth Harvey, Mary Jane Burns, Millard Frye, Mineral Adkins, Minnie Lambert, Mona Courts, Myrtle Abbott, Noah Mayhorn, Oliver R. Davis, Opal Stollings, Pamela Ann Courts, Pearlie Dingess, Phyllis Ann Varney, Ray Lambert, Raymond Lambert, Rome Lambert, Rosa Abbott, Roy Lee Lowe, Ruby V. Workman, Sena J. Abbott, Sherlie Lambert, Sherry Wagner, Shirley Frye, Sidney Mullins, Toney, Valley Kazee, Verlie Lambert, Viola Lambert, Wade Lambert, West Virginia, William Abbott, William Fleming, William J. Justice, Willie Abbott, Willie E. Davis, Woodrow Abbott
The Abbott-Lambert Family Cemetery, which I visited on 1 April 2016, is located between the communities of Green Shoal and Toney at the mouth of Abbotts Branch along the Guyandotte River in Lincoln County, West Virginia. This cemetery was established by Christian T. Fry (b.1824) and his family. Later, due to the prominence of Lambert-Fry descendants, it became known as the Lambert Cemetery. I first visited this cemetery in the early 1990s and periodically return to update my list.
large rock headstone
rusted iron flag pole
rock in ground; likely not a grave
cinderblock headstone and cinderblock footstone
cinderblock headstone and flat rock footstone
cinderblock headstone and cinderblock footstone
tree with deer stand
Anthony Lambert (04 August 1891-23 July 1892); s/o Wade and Julia (Fry) Lambert
Juley Lambert (20 December 1897-26 April 1902)
J.A. Simpkins (2_ January 1915-14? February 1943)
rock headstone with faint writing: “E I IBI DC. THIA 1896”
Sherlie Lambert (10 October 1918-10 October 1918)
Verlie Lambert (25 October 1916-26 October 1916)
rock headstone and rock footstone
flat cinderblock headstone
Albert Frye (1896-1950); s/o John H. and Cosby (Headley) Fry
Lona Frye (1896-no date); d/o Henry and Ellen Mullins; m. Albert Frye
John Lambert (15 March 1881-21 March 1919); s/o Wade and Julia (Fry) Lambert
broken lamb headstone and broken footstone
Larry Delano Collins (22 January 1950-20 September 1950); s/o T. and Gertrude (Abbott) Collins
Lucille Collins (06 August 1939-26 May 1947); d/o T. and Gertrude (Abbott) Collins; death certificate provides the date of May 9, 1947
Sharley Frye carved on rock; d/o Albert and Lona (Mullins) Frye
Millard Frye carved on rock; s/o Albert and Lona (Mullins) Frye; born April 22, 1920; died April 28, 1920
rock headstone and cinderblock footstone
Woodrow W. Abbott (1913-2000); s/o Bill and Rosa (Mullins) Abbott
Delia Tarthena Abbott (1921-1956); d/o Noah Mayhorn; m. Woodrow Abbott
Infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Abbott
Willie Abbott (1894-1972); s/o John H. and Caroline (Fry) Abbott; born December 18, 1894; nicknamed “Bucky”
Eveline Abbott (1892-June 1939); d/o George W. and Rosa (Mullins) Baisden; born March 1896
Anna Virginia Boyce (18 August 1934-18 August 1934); d/o F.M. and Hattie Boyce
tin marker missing name (1911-1938)
Noah Mayhorn (17 June 1887-13 February 1962); s/o Tom and V. (Chafin) Mayhorn
Hubert Abbott (1922-1976); s/o Willie and Eveline (Baisden) Abbott
BABY on stone; could be footstone for grave marked (A) below
rock headstone and rock footstone (child)
rock headstone with writing: “H I I 8”
small white square headstone
small white square headstone
Sidney Mullins (1917-1967); s/o Henry and Leota (Abbott) Mullins; born September 7, 1917; died May 26, 1967
Cooney Mullins (1921-1957); s/o Henry and Leota (Abbott) Mullins
Dorey Lopez (died 1951); d/o Henry and Leota (Abbott) Mullins
Henry Mullins (died July 1943); s/o John H. and America (Sowards) Mullins
Leota Mullins (died March 1938); d/o John H. and Caroline (Fry) Abbott; m. Henry Mullins
raised marker, no writing
raised marker, no writing
small flat rock headstone
pointy rock headstone (A)
cinderblock headstone and rock footstone (child?)
broken rock headstone
General Abbott (no dates); s/o John H. and Caroline (Fry) Abbott; born February 1886; died October 22, 1948
Bertha Abbott (no dates); born about 1902; m. General Abbott
Mineral Adkins (10 August 1913-08 October 1980); PFC US ARMY WWII
Bessie Adkins (1923-1993); d/o Bill and Rosa (Mullins) Abbott
William Abbott (1849-1927); s/o Albert and Druzilla (Fry) Abbott
Rosa Abbott (1874-January 1955); d/o John H. and America (Sowards) Abbott; nicknamed “Sis;” m1. George W. Baisden; m2. John Henry Mullins; m3. William “Bill” Abbott
Pearlie Dingess (1905-1992); d/o John H. and Rosa (Mullins) Mullins; m. Wallace Jesse Dingess
William Fleming (01 March 1862-01 July 1951); s/o William Preston and Arty (Mullins) Fleming
Luraney Fry Flemmings (1867-1961); d/o Christian T. and Elizabeth “Betsy” (Hunter) Fry; m. William Fleming
John L. Lambert (20 October 1900-07 November 1943); s/o Christian and Minnie V. (Holley) Lambert
Anthony D. Lambert (03 September 1902-13 January 1931)
Cristen C. Lambert (05 September 1879-16 March 1938); s/o Wade and Julia (Fry) Lambert
Minnie V. Lambert (12 June 1883-30 November 1966); m. Christian Lambert
Arthur Fred Lambert (01 November 1928-04 February 1976)
Jesse Lambert (05 December 1904-31 October 1977); s/o Christian and Minnie (Holley) Lambert
Raymond L. Lambert (09 February 1941-18 September 1960)
Gracie Justice (04 M arch 1916-24 March 1981); d/o Bill and Rosa (Mullins) Abbott; m. Mink Justice
William J. Justice (19098-1952); nicknamed “Mink”
Christy Jean Stollings (23 March 1973-23 March 1973)
Jr. Abbott (January 1945-January 1945)
Ray Lambert (1925-1925); s/o Irvin L. and Della Mae (Priddy) Lambert
Irvin L. Lambert (19 February 1894-29 March 1946); s/o Jerome B. and Viola (Lucas) Lambert
Della Mae Lambert (15 August 1898-25 February 1976); m. Irvin L. “Cooney” Lambert
Clyde T. Lambert (1919-1994); s/o Irvin L. and Della M. (Priddy) Lambert
Margie Lambert (1926-1996); m. Clyde T. Lambert
Joe Basadre (04 February 1961-27 May 2003)
Jerry Lane Stollings, Jr. (18 February 1979-05 March 1997)
Pamela Ann Courts (12 February 1968-12 February 1968)
Mona Laquetta Courts (31 December 1930-06 October 1996); d/o Irvin L. and Della M. (Priddy) Lambert; m. Carlos Courts
Carlos C. Courts (23 November 1929-30 October 2003); SFC US ARMY KOREA
Clauda R. Lambert (10 December 1931-18 August 1932); s/o Dennie R. and Ensel (Rousey) Lambert
Wade S. Lambert (31 May 1852-20 October 1923); s/o Jeremiah and Sarah (Hedrick) Lambert; middle name “Samuel”
Juley A. Lambert (04 July 1849-06 January 1934); d/o Christian and Elizabeth “Betsy” (Hunter) Fry; m. Wade Lambert
David Alexander Lambert (06 June 1982-08 February 1996)
James Donald Aliff (08 December 1946-30 June 2015)
Jerome Lambert (1871-1946); s/o Wade and Julia (Fry) Lambert; born November 23, 1871; middle name “Bonapare;” died September 5, 1946
Viola Lambert (1874-1939); d/o Irvin and Susan (Brumfield) Lucas; m. Jerome Lambert
Claudey A. Lambert (15 January 1901-08 November 1922); s/o Rome and Viola (Lucas) Lambert
base stone but names, etc. are missing
Guy W. Harris (1914-1955); born October 6, 1913; s/o Guy French and Lucretia (Sias) Harrison; died July 28, 1955
Opal Stollings (26 January 1914-23 May 1983); d/o Rome and Viola (Lucas) Lambert; m. Guy Harris
Marie Ferrell (29 February 1936-27 February 2009)
Anthony Paul Ferrell (25 September 1929-25 December 2011)
Gary Winfred Abbott (11 June 1959-21 March 1916)
Sena J. Abbott (28 May 1934-31 July 2001); m. Jesse Abbott
Jesse Abbott (20 February 1933-15 February 1999); s/ Willie and Eveline (Baisden) Abbott
Annette Lynn Lambert (06 March 1958-12 March 1958)
Phyllis Ann Varney (19 January 1950-30 July 2000)
Jeremy Brandon Shelton (10 September 1984-12 March 1987)
Oliver R. Davis (17 July 1888-29 December 1941); s/o Mose and Amanda (Chaney) Davis
Willie E. Davis (15 April 1892-26 August 1941); d/o Lowery and Emma Davis; m. Oliver R. Davis
Jannette Lynn Lambert (06 March 1958-07 March 1958)
Viola Lambert (21 March 1932-12 August 2008)
Grady Abbott (30 April 1916-12 December 2001); s/o Willie and Eveline (Baisden) Abbott
Myrtle Abbott (08 February 1924-08 February 2000); d/o Rome and Viola (Lucas) Lambert; m. Grady Abbott
Dale Wagner (1955-still alive)
Sherry L. Wagner (1958-2013); m. Dale Wagner
Roy Lee Lowe (10 August 1955-still alive)
Donna Kaye Lowe (13 June 1953-06 March 1999)
Irvin K. Lambert (08 October 1955-28 February 1997)
Macie J. Lambert (27 February 1935-03 August 1998); m. Irvin Lambert, Jr.
Irvin Lambert, Jr. (23 March 1929-02 April 2010); s/o Irvin and Della Mae (Priddy) Lambert
Mary Elizabeth (Turner) Harvey (17 February 1923-30 January 2007)
Helen Louise Fry (27 January 1922-30 March 1996); d/o Irvin and Della M. (Priddy) Lambert
Ruby V. Workman (22 January 1927-14 April 1985)
Deborah Ann Courts (12 February 1970-29 July 2015)
NOTE: The following persons are also buried in this cemetery:
Christian Thomas Fry, born 1824, s/o John and Catherine (Snodgrass) Fry, CSA veteran, died before 1900
Caroline Abbott, born June 7, 1854/December 1856, d/o Christian T. and Elizabeth “Betsy” (Hunter) Fry; m. John Henry Abbott; died July 20, 1939
Mary Jane Burns, born August 1859, d/o Christian T. and Elizabeth “Betsy” (Hunter) Fry; m. Cassander Burns, died after 1920
I could speculate about others and will update the list as I search additional death certificates.
NOTE: Nearly all of the people buried in this cemetery are related to me. Christian Fry is my great-great-great-grandfather.
Admiral S. Fry, Al Brumfield, Arena Ferrell, Boney Lucas, Burbus Toney, Cat Fry, Charles Lucas, Christian Fry, crime, Eliza Fry, Evermont Ward Fry, genealogy, George Fry, George McComas, George W. Ferrell, Green Shoal, Guyandotte, history, James L. Caldwell, Jesse James, John Brumfield, Milt Haley, Paris Brumfield, The Lincoln County Crew, Watson Lucas, West Virginia, writing
According to the Fry history, A.S. Fry eventually moved to Guyandotte, a river town in Cabell County, “where he built and owned a hotel. The Jesse James gang, who robbed a Huntington bank, stayed in his hotel for several nights.” His son George, meanwhile, took control of the family interests at Green Shoal. He presumably lived in the family homestead, where he was located at the time of Milt and Green’s murder in 1889. Deed records refer to it “as the old A.S. Fry homestead above the mouth of Green Shoals” and describe it as follows:
BEGINNING at the mouth of Green Shoals Creek, thence up with the meanderings of said creek to a survey made by C.T. fry, thence with the line of same to a white oak corner on a point, thence up the said point with the line of Chas. Lucas to the top of the mountain, thence running with the ridge to the head of a little ravine to a dog-wood corner made by C.T. Fry, thence down the hollow with C.T. Fry’s and B.C. Toney’s lands to a walnut corner made by said C.T. Fry, thence down the hill with John Fry’s and B.C. Toney’s line to the river, thence down with meanderings of the river to the place of beginning, containing seventy-five acres, more or less.
Although the deed was vague in giving its coordinates, it clearly proved that the “A.S. Fry homestead” — and thus the site of Milt and Green’s murder — was on the same side of the river as the railroad tracks.
By 1889, when the Brumfield gang took over the Fry house, George and his wife Eliza had a six-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. Cat Fry, a niece, also lived in the home. The family was connected to various participants in the 1889 troubles. Eliza’s older brother was married to Paris Brumfield’s sister, while two of her sisters were married to Brumfield’s nephews. These marriages were perhaps complicated when Paris murdered Mrs. Fry’s brother, Boney Lucas.
Following the Haley-McCoy murders, George Fry suffered some bad luck. In 1892, his wife reportedly had an illegitimate child by John Brumfield (Al’s younger brother). Four years later, his father sold the family homestead on Green Shoal to Arena Ferrell, a local storekeeper. George’s wife died around 1902 “when her children were young” (according to one source) and was buried in the old Fry Cemetery at Green Shoal. A.S. Fry himself was murdered at his hotel in 1904. George afterwards moved to Guyandotte where he died on May 19, 1905. Control of family businesses thereafter went to his brother Evermont Ward Fry, who was still alive as late as October 1939.
As for the “murder house” itself, Arena Ferrell deeded it to her adopted son George W. Ferrell, who is credited with writing “The Lincoln County Crew” — the song about Milt’s death. In 1899, he sold it to George R. McComas, who in turn sold it to J.L. Caldwell three years later. (This was probably the same J.L. Caldwell referred to in George Fry’s 1880 letter.) It was around that time (1902-04) when the railroad came through the Guyan Valley, which apparently had a direct effect on the “murder house.”
“The railroad now runs through one side of the house as well as that of the school building,” Ward told Fred Lambert. “This school was about one fourth mile above our residence.”
In 1915, Caldwell sold the property back to Arena Ferrell. Then, in 1919, it was transferred to Watson Lucas, whose heirs sold it to the current owners, the Lamberts, in the 1960s.
A.L. Smith, Adkins Conspiracy Case, Albert Adkins, Arty Fleming, Bill Brumfield, Charleston Gazette, Charley Brumfield, Christian Fry, Cosby Fry, crime, Dan Cunningham, Elizabeth Fry, Elizabeth Lizzie Fleming, Elliott Northcott, Emory Mullins, Fed Adkins, Fourteen Mile Creek, Harts Creek, Henry Mullins, history, J.P. Douglas, Jake Davis, John Fleming, John H. Mullins, John Henan Fry, Kentucky, Lace Marcum, Lillie Fleming, Lincoln County, Logan County, Luraney Fleming, Man Adkins, Margaret Adkins, Pike County, Preston Fleming, Raleigh County, Robert Fleming, Rosa Mullins, Squire Dial, Thomas H. Harvey, Upper Elkhorn Creek, West Virginia, Willard Fleming, Willard Frye, William Brumfield, William Fleming, William M.O. Dawson, writers, writing, Wyoming County
Over one hundred years ago, John Fleming, a desperado twice sentenced to serve time in the West Virginia State Penitentiary, escaped from the Lincoln County jail and disappeared forever in the mountains of the Big Sandy Valley.
John P. Fleming was born in February 1868 to Preston and Arty (Mullins) Fleming at Upper Elkhorn Creek in Pike County, Kentucky. Nothing is known of his early life except that he had a daughter named Roxie by Lucy Mullins in 1887. In the late 1880s, John and his family migrated to West Virginia and settled in the Abbott Branch area of Logan County, just above Harts Creek. In 1891, his brother William married Luraney Frye, a daughter of Christian and Elizabeth (Hunter) Frye, in Logan County. In 1897, his sister Sarah married Squire Dial in Logan County. The next year, brother Robert, or Bob, married Lillie Dempsey, also in Logan County.
On December 25, 1892, Fleming murdered his uncle, John H. Mullins, at Big Creek, Logan County. Essentially, the story went like this: Mr. Mullins’ sons, Henry and Emory, were in a quarrel and Fleming intervened. The elder Mullins came to settle the matter and Fleming fled across a creek. Mullins pursued, knife in hand. At the creek, Fleming shot his uncle. He was immediately taken before Squire Garrett, who discharged him. When a new warrant was sworn out for him, he fled the county. In March of 1893, his wife attempted to meet him but became ill and died at Dunlow, Wayne County. Fleming was at her bedside when authorities arrested him. A Logan County jury found him guilty of second degree murder and Judge Thomas H. Harvey sentenced him to eighteen years in the West Virginia state penitentiary in Moundsville. In the 1900 census, he is listed there under the name of “J.P. Flemons,” inmate. Curiously, he claimed to have been married for one year.
During Fleming’s incarceration, his siblings continued to marry into local families. In 1900, brother Willard married Caroline Caldwell, a daughter of Floyd Caldwell, in Logan County. In 1902, sister Lucy married James F. Caldwell, a son of Hugh Caldwell, in Logan County. Around 1903, brother George married Minnie Tomblin.
After his release from prison, John married Sarah Elizabeth “Lizzie” Frye, a daughter of John Henan and Ida Cosby (Headley) Frye. The Fryes lived on Sulphur Springs Fork of Fourteen Mile Creek, several miles below Harts Creek. Lizzie, born around 1887, was roughly eighteen years younger than John. They may have become acquainted through John’s brother, William, who had married Lizzie’s aunt, Luraney Frye, in 1891.
“Aunt Lizzie was married to John Fleming,” said Willard Frye, an elderly resident of Frye Ridge, in a 2003 interview. “John was a mean man who packed two .45 pistols. He was a member of Charley Brumfield’s gang. He was mean to Aunt Lizzie.”
Fleming’s involvement in the Brumfield gang soon led to more prison time. In the summer of 1907, the “feudist,” as newspapers would later call him, became entangled in the peculiar “Adkins conspiracy case.”
A little earlier, in December of 1906, Margaret Adkins, Fisher B. Adkins, Floyd Enos Adkins, Albert G. Adkins and Fed Adkins — all associates in an Adkins general store business in Harts — took out a four-month loan for $600 from the Huntington National Bank. By April 1907, they had not paid any money toward the loan and asked for a four-month extension. In late June or July, Margaret Adkins, sister to Fed, filed a bankruptcy petition. On July 3, the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of West Virginia adjudged her bankrupt. J.P. Douglass (later a Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates) was appointed as receiver in the case and arrived in Hart to survey the business. A.L. Smith stood guard at the store.
On July 5, after the government had taken control of the merchandise in the store, a vigilante group called the Night Riders robbed the store and hid the various goods in neighbors’ homes and barns.
Following the robbery, detectives descended on Harts in an effort to unravel the details of the crime. The most famous of these detectives was Dan Cunningham, a one-time participant in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. More recently, Mr. Cunningham had been employed by Governor William M.O. Dawson in Raleigh and Wyoming Counties. During his Harts Creek investigation, he boarded with locals and eavesdropped on conversations between suspects. Those involved in the store heist, meanwhile, used various means to suppress information. But as the pressure of the investigation bore down on locals, neighbors began to snitch on each other.
By December of 1907, the State had evidence against eleven men in what the Charleston Gazette called “the celebrated Adkins Bankruptcy Case” which “if proven by witnesses for the government, will equal any novel ever written by Victor Hugo.” Those accused — described by the Huntington Herald-Dispatch as “eleven brawny mountaineers” — were Fed Adkins, Charles Brumfield, Albert “Jake” Davis, Manville Adkins, John Fleming, Willard Fleming, Robert “Bob” Fleming, John Adkins, Albert G. Adkins, Floyd Enos Adkins and William “Bill” Brumfield. The state charged the gang with “conspiracy to defraud the government and to impede the administration of justice after the government had taken possession of Adkins store.”
U.S. District Attorney Elliott Northcott prosecuted the case, while Lace Marcum argued for the defendants. In opening remarks on December 5, according to the Herald-Dispatch, District Attorney Northcott fiercely denounced “the eleven men who have been a terror to the country surrounding the village of Hart, in Lincoln county, for the past six months. He stated in words burning with bitterness that the government expected to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that crimes that would narrow the very souls of every juror had been committed in the vicinity of Hart, and had the story been told him three weeks ago he would have thought it a piece of fiction pure and simple… He also alluded to the fact that the government would prove by witnesses who would tell of the horror that had been created in the neighborhood: houses burned, men shot down from ambush, houses with unprotected women had been shot up and the inmates terrorized until they were afraid to venture outdoors. It was a thrilling recital of the worst crimes that have taken place in this state in a decade.” According to the Herald-Dispatch, the eleven defendants “showed but little interest except to look at each other and smile when the crimes were talked of.”
In Marcum’s opening remarks on December 5, he stated that he would prove the goods found at the homes of the defendants were there several weeks before the Adkins store went bankrupt.
On December 6, Northcott questioned Rosa “Sis” Mullins, a sister to Emory and a resident of Abbotts Branch, who swore that she saw John Fleming’s brothers — Bob and Willard — go by her house the night of the robbery on their way to the Adkins store.
“Nearly every witness who testified yesterday,” the Charleston Gazette reported on December 7, “showed just how desperate these defendants are, and the testimony of Capt. Dan Cunningham unraveled a tale of horror that was realistic in every sense of the word.”
On December 7, Lace Marcum began his defense of John Fleming and the ten other Harts men. Bob Fleming, John’s brother, was the second witness called to the stand. He swore that he knew nothing of the robbery until the day after it happened and that he never saw any of the stolen goods. Willard Fleming, John’s other brother, said he stayed with Charley Brumfield the night of the robbery and saw no one armed. John, referenced in one newspaper account as being a “paroled prisoner,” testified along the same lines, as did all the defendants who were called to the stand. “The entire list of defendants swore to very near the same thing,” reported the Gazette.
For the most part, Marcum’s defense of the eleven Harts men had little chance of success considering the evidence against them. In his closing remarks, he was forced to put them at the court’s mercy by claiming that they had acted the way they did because they didn’t know any better. In the end, ten of the accused were sentenced to twelve- or eighteen-month terms in the West Virginia state penitentiary.
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