Altina Waller, Appalachia, Asa Harmon McCoy, Betty Caldwell, Bob Hatfield, Bob Spence, Brandon Kirk, Cap Hatfield, Cincinnati, civil war, Coleman Hatfield, crime, Devil Anse Hatfield, Don Chafin, Ellison Hatfield, feud, feuds, Frank Phillips, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Hatfield, history, History Channel, hunting, Jack Hatfield, Jean Hatfield, Joe Hatfield, Johnson Hatfield, Levisa Hatfield, Logan Banner, Logan County, logging, Mingo County, Nancy McCoy, Otis Rice, Perry Cline, Preacher Anse Hatfield, Rosa Browning, Roseanne McCoy, Sarah Ann, Tennis Hatfield, The Hatfield and McCoy Feud After Kevin Costner, The McCoys: Their Story, The Tale of the Devil, Thomas Dotson, timbering, tourism, Truda Williams McCoy, West Virginia
In 2001-2002, I wrote a series of popular stories for the Logan Banner that merged aspects of well-known Hatfield-McCoy books written by Otis Rice and Altina Waller in the 1980s. I had previously enjoyed Rice’s narrative and Waller’s analysis; I did not conduct any new research. Even though I believed the definitive Hatfield-McCoy Feud book remained unwritten, my purpose in writing these stories was not a step toward writing a book; my purpose in writing these stories was to revisit the narrative with some analysis for Banner readers. My hope was that readers would see what I saw: first, fascinating history (or folk story) for its own sake; second, the power of history to create a popular type of tourism.
I was fortunate during this time to meet Jean Hatfield. Jean, born in 1936, operated a Hatfield family museum at Sarah Ann, WV. Jean was not a native of West Virginia but had lived her entire adult life locally and had personally known several of Anderson Hatfield’s children. I really appreciated her desire to promote regional history. She “got it.” She inspired me. Anytime that I drove up Route 44, I stopped to visit Jean at the museum. She was always welcoming. Knowing her reminded me that every Hatfield (and McCoy) descendant is a source of information–-and that for the most part they have yet to tell the story in their own words. Three notable exceptions include The McCoys: Their Story by Truda Williams McCoy (1976), The Tale of the Devil (2003) by Coleman Hatfield and Bob Spence, and The Hatfield and McCoy Feud After Kevin Costner: Rescuing History (2013) by Thomas Dotson.
What follows is Part 2 of my interview with Jean, which occurred on August 7, 2001:
What year was your husband born in?
He was born in ‘25. Grandpa died in 1921. He didn’t remember him but he remembered his grandmother. Grandma died in ’28.
Where did Devil Anse’s house sit here?
It’s up above the cemetery. There’s a ranch-style house there now. There’s a concrete bridge going over there. And a big bottom. And where the ranch style house is, that’s where the old homeplace was.
Is it still in family hands?
No. It’s been out of the family for I guess fifty years or more.
Now, Devil Anse having that many kids, do the grand-kids mingle pretty well?
They’re scattered. We really need to get back to the tradition of having a family reunion where they could all come in. But they’re scattered all over the country. Some in Florida, some in Ohio.
Are there other pictures like this that other branches of the family have?
I would say they all have some. There’s always pictures hidden back in attics and things like that. You never know. There’s one… Bob Hatfield from Cincinnati, he has an extensive family also. He’s through Anderson Hatfield. Preacher Anderson.
Do you know any stories about Anse and bear?
He was a bear hunter. And he killed a momma bear and brought the baby cubs home and raised them. They had them for years. A male and a female. Their names was Billy and Fanny. And Grandma would have to go out and run them out of the well house because they was out there slurping all of the cream off of the milk. They were down-to-earth people. They planted their gardens and things like that.
What about Don Chafin?
He was distant relation to the Hatfields. Grandma was a Chafin so he would have come in on her side. Maybe cousins. There’s a picture over there of Grandpa and him together.
The pictures of Johnse that I’ve seen, I don’t think he’s the best looking of the boys.
Well, I don’t either. Some of the pictures doesn’t do him justice either. This is the one that I like of him. It’s a little bit better. As he got older, he didn’t age very well. But then he had about five wives, too. That has a tendency to age you a bit.
If you have just one wife and she’s no good that can be enough.
I was lucky in that respect. We had 47 good years together. Now that top picture there is Joe and Cap and one of the deputies. His name was Lilly.
Devil Anse’s home burned, right? Did they lose a lot of things in it?
Uh huh. It had a lot of things in it. Somebody said Tennis had stored a lot of guns and ammunition and things like that in it. People were afraid to go by there for a week afterwards because the shots was going off. I would say it was something else because at that time there was no fire departments or anything. It probably just burned out.
Did you ever hear what year it was built?
1889. That’s a replica of it there. It was a seven-room two-story. Cap’s was built on the same pattern.
Did your husband read a lot about the feud?
Mostly, but he disagreed with a lot of it. The Altina Waller book, he liked that. It was a good one. They interviewed him on the History Channel. She never interviewed anyone. She went with public record on everything. And I think a lot of it was Perry Cline pushed a lot of it. Grandpa had sued him because he got on Grandpa’s land and timbered it. Grandpa won 5000 acres of land off of him. After that, all the warrants and the bounty hunters started looking for Grandpa and the boys. Grandpa decided all of a sudden that he was just going to sell him the land and get rid of it and when he did that everything just stopped. She thought in the book too that Perry Cline was the one really instigating the Hatfields and the McCoys and he was taking money off both sides of the family for things. He would buddy up to one side and then do something for someone and they’d pay him and then he would go to the other one and do the same thing.
Did you say you had something of his?
No. Frank Phillips. A pocket knife. We got it through one of our friends way back there. And he didn’t want it because he said it was too grisly. And it is rusty but you know the blade is razor sharp. And it has to be way over 100 years old.
Didn’t he marry Nancy McCoy?
She was Johnse’s first wife. She left Johnse for Frank Phillips. Well now, Asa Harmon McCoy was her father. And he was the one… Grandpa wounded him in the Civil War. And when they all come back from the Civil War he was found dead in the Hatfield territory and they blamed the Hatfields for the killing. But I think years later on they found out that one of his own people had killed him and just throwed him in the Hatfield territory. But now it was his daughter that married Johnse and from what I can understand she made Johnse live pretty rough, which he probably deserved for treating Roseanne the way he did. But now, I talked to Aunt Betty and Aunt Rosie both about Roseanne and they were living at the house with her and they loved her. They said she was a beautiful person. She had coal-black hair, she had a good turn. She was just a nice person. And I think they kind of got mad at Johnse because he was running around and chasing women and things like that.
Now, I’ve heard that Devil Anse wouldn’t allow them to be married.
He wouldn’t. But years later he said he wished he had’ve because Roseanne saved Johnse’s life a couple of times there. That is true. And he did say that he wished he had let them marry. But back at that time there was so much hatred going on between the families. Her father, as far as I know, never spoke to her again. Just because she did take up with Johnse.
What about the shirt that Ellison wore when he was stabbed?
As far as I know, it’s in a museum in New Orleans. There’s a picture there. Uncle Joe had it and he sold it to one of his sister’s grandsons and he passed away and his wife has it. I heard that it was on display in a museum. Henry tried to buy it back after his cousin died but we never did get an answer back from them. I would still like to have it back. Actually, it belonged to Henry’s father and he left it in storage at Uncle Joe’s and Uncle Joe sold it. It should have come down to Henry or Jack. But that’s life.
129th Regiment Virginia Militia, 12th Regiment Virginia Militia, Abner Vance, Adam Browning, Appalachia, Barney Carter, Big Creek, Calvary Hatfield, Chapmanville District, Charles Staton, civil war, David Mullins, Eli Gore, Evans Ferrell, genealogy, George Avis, George Bryant, Gilbert Creek, Gordon Riffe, Granville Riffe, Green A. Clark, Guyandotte River, Hardy District, Harts Creek, Harvey Ellis, history, Huff's Creek, Jack Dempsey, James H. Hinchman, James J. Hinchman, John Chapman, John DeJournett, John Dempsey, John Hager, John Hatfield, John Starr, Joseph B. Browning, Joseph Hinchman, Logan Banner, Logan County, Louis White, Magnolia District, Martin Doss, Mingo County, Nathan Elkins, Pecks Mill, physician, Reece Browning, Triadelphia District, Ulysses Hinchman, Union District, Virginia, West Virginia, Wheeling, William Dempsey, William McDonald, William Stollings, Wyoming County
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history for Logan County printed on November 3, 1936:
Time-Dimmed Record of Early Logan County Families in 1852-1877 Period in Old Books Found at Pecks Mill
Thumbing the now-dimmed pages of a yellowed book which recently came to light in old Peck’s Mill, members of Logan county’s oldest families may read in a painstakingly-kept record of the years 1852 to 1877 how their forefathers were brought into the world, married, educated, governed.
The record is written in pen and ink with the quaint flourishes and old-fashioned double letters of the 1800s by James J. Hinchman, who was clerk of the 12th regiment of the Virginia militia from 1852 to 1858; and by one, Ulysses Hinchman, who was clerk of the 129th regiment from 1858 to the Civil War; and later pastor, doctor, and trader.
The first entry, dated Nov. 3, 1852, records the meeting “at the house of Wm. McDonald near the mouth of Huffs Creek” of the Twelfth regiment of the Virginia militia in the days when Logan county was the property of Virginia.
Among the officers present were Major John Hager and Capt. James J. Hinchman, who was also clerk.
Most of the records at the first, which deal entirely with the regiment, are devoted to the salaries paid for “drumming and fifing,” the fines of 50 cents each for failure to report at meetings, and the excuse of members from duty “because of physical infirmities.”
Among the interesting entries is one relating, it is believed, to an ancestor of ex-champion Jack Dempsey, which reads:
“William Dempsey for fifing one day in Capt. Miller’s company.”
Two dollars, according to numerous accounts, was the regular salary paid for a day of fifing or drumming. For three days training, officers received $10.
Among regiment members mentioned are Calvary Hatfield and Reece Browning, forefathers of the Hatfield and Browning families of today.
On Sept. 10, 1858, the record is transferred to that of the 129th and is kept by Ulysses Hinchman. His first entry tells of a meeting at which John De Journett was elected colonel; K. McComas, first major; Reece Browning, second major; and Ulysses Hinchman, clerk. Officers attending were Captains George Avis, James H. Hinchman, John Starr, John Hatfield, John Chapman, and Barnabus Carter; and Lieutenants Martin Doss, George Bryant, Granville Riffe, Louis White, Charles Staton and Green A. Clark.
Interesting in these pages are the forming of new companies in which the names of the creeks and localities are for the most part the same as today. Among the familiar names are Huffs, Gilbert, Harts and Big Creek, Guyandotte river, and Trace Fork.
There is no mention of the Civil War, but it is mutely attested to by two entries, the first, dated 1862 at the bottom of one page and the second dated 1866 at the top of the next, which read:
“Apr. 5, 1862—Abner Vance and Nathan Elkins received their claims.
1866—Rec’d of Eli Gore, county treasurer for my last year’s services, $50.
“Ulysses Hinchman, superintendent of schools.”
The next year, we are gratified to learn, his salary has increased to $300.
We learn that Logan, which then included Mingo and Wyoming counties, was at that time composed of five districts, Union, Triadelphia, Hardy, Chapmanville, and Magnolia; and that the county’s finances were all handled through Wheeling, then the only city of size in West Virginia.
The records contain long lists of certificates awarded to teachers for $1, among the recipients being John Dempsey, Eli Gore, Joseph Hinchman, Harvey Ellis and Evans Ferrell.
In the midst of the records of 1866 and ’67 we come upon the terse paragraph which informs that:
“The sheriff failed to settle for taxes of 1861.”
The board of education’s budget for 1869 was $2077.60 and was apportioned to these clerks of the various townships; Union, David Mullins; Triadelphia, Gordon Riffe; Magnolia, Joseph B. Browning; Hardy, Adam Browning; and Chapmanville, Wm. Stollings. Increased expenses that year made it necessary to levy a tax of “5 cents on $100.”
An enumeration of all children “between the ages of 6 and 21” in 1868 totaled 2139.
In 1871, our patient scribe becomes “Dr. U.S. Hinchman” and the record his personal account book. We learn much of the practices and hardships of the first country doctors and that his troubles in collecting the pitifully small fees of those days were as great as those of any “specialist” of today.
Dr. Hinchman had no set rates, but based on his charges upon the number of miles traveled (usually 50 cents per mile); the number of days and nights spent, and—quite evidently—the circumstances of his patient.
His customary charge for a delivery, if it chanced to come in the day time, appeared to be $5.50; but if the child arrived in the night and required many miles of travel it was a more expensive proposition—the fees sometimes reaching as high as $9.
The birth of one of these $9 babies is graphically recorded as follows:
“Labor two nights and days–$7
10 miles at 50 cents–$5
The doctor’s highest charge was one of $10 on a case which required three days and nights.
Interspersed freely with the accounts of births, and sicknesses are frequent entries of marriages at $2 each.
Toward the last of the book, in 1877, the author’s handwriting becomes more labored and the fine shadings and flourishing gradually disappear—evidence that his years of soldiering, school teaching, and doctoring were taking their toll.
At this time, too, he begins to record not only his receipts, but his expenditures and trades, and we read, not without envy, of purchases of “one bushel of sweet potatoes, 50 cents,” and “one and a half bushel of Irish potatoes, 75 cents.”
One of the last entries, dated Aug. 1877, tells of his receiving for his professional services a large amount of coffee which he traded for $5 cash, a suit, and a round of shoes,” the latter evidently referring to horseshoes.
As, regretfully, we close the book; we feel that we know that patient and prolific old settler of Logan County, Ulysses Hinchman—his honor as a soldier and officer, his strict accounting of himself as a public official, his hardships and struggles as a country doctor; and through all, his conscientious, faithful keeping of records. And we share, with his descendants, a great pride in him.
Somehow we know that when, with failing hand, he concluded his long accounts in another book; his record was clear and straight—his house was in order.
Appalachia, civil war, constable, crime, Eli Gore, Emmett Scaggs, Frank McKesson, genealogy, George Scaggs, Henry S. Walker, history, justice of the peace, lawyer, Logan Banner, Logan County, Man, Raleigh County, Stollings, Taplin Hollow, Virginia, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about a Civil War hanging in present-day Logan County, West Virginia.
Squire Sentenced Man To Be Hanged In This County
Constable George Scaggs Carried Out Edict Of Justice Of Peace John Perry Near Taplin In Logan County’s Only Legal Hanging
Nothing but the gnarled weather beaten stump of an old locust tree remains today to mark the scene of Logan county’s only legal hanging.
The stump is standing just below the highway at the mouth of Taplin hollow and is the only landmark which calls to mind the hanging of Henry S. Walker, convicted of murder by Squire John Perry of Man in the spring of 1862 and hanged the same day by Constable George Scaggs, uncle of Emmett Scaggs, prominent lawyer, and brother-in-law of Eli Gore, old resident of Stollings.
A story is told that Henry Walker came down Taplin Hollow late one night in the closing months of the civil war on a “scouting” tour. He entered the home of Uncle Frank McKesson and for no apparent reason seized a double bitted axe and chopped to lifeless, bleeding masses the bodies of Uncle Frank and his wife and then fled to Raleigh county.
One week later Constable George Scaggs arrested the man in the county where he was hiding and brought him before Justice of the Peace John Perry.
Squire John Perry had a fine eye for justice and he was meting it out under the Virginia law which allowed a justice of the peace to pass the death sentence.
George Scaggs was delegated as executioner and Walker was put on a wagon and brought to Taplin down the river road to the spot where he committed the crime.
Old-timers say that a crowd of men, women and children laughing and passing jokes on the show they were to see followed the wagon to the scene of the proposed hanging and watched tensely as a rope was thrown over the limb of the locust tree and the noose was placed snuggly around the neck of the murderer.
He was placed on the flour barrel, a couple of feet of the slack in the rope was taken up and tied securely to the trunk of the tree, and George Scaggs, without any preliminaries, kicked the flour barrel from under the man.
The man fell to within six inches of the ground and the awed onlookers gasped as they heard an audible crack which told them the murderer’s neck had snapped. He hung quivering at the end of the rope several minutes before the peace officer cut him down and placed him in the wagon to be taken to Man for burial.
The same crowd followed the wagon back to Man, but it was a crowd of sober individuals who had seen a human life pass into oblivion. There was no joking and even the children talked in muted undertones.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 01 June 1937.
American Revolution, Anderson Blair, Anderson Dempsey, Appalachia, Blair, Blair Mountain, Chlorina Blair, civil war, Democratic Party, Edward Baisden, Frances Baisden, genealogy, genelaogy, Harrison Blair, history, Jean Schmidt Baisden, Joe Blair, John Blair, John McCoy, Joseph Baisden, Joseph Blair, Laurel Fork, Logan County, Lucinda Osborne, Mahulda Blair, Marquis de Lafayette, Mary Chafin, Mingo County, Moses Parsley, Polly Baisden, Powells Valley, Republican Party, Rhoda Blair, sheriff, Solomon Baisden, Susan Bennett, Thomas Copley, West Virginia, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Harrison Blair, an early sheriff in Logan County, WV:
Harrison Blair Was First Democrat Sheriff In Logan
Son of Namesake Of Town Of Blair Served Shortly After Civil War; Democrats Held Office Continuously Until 1924
John Blair, namesake of the little mining town which nestles at the foot of Blair Mountain on the headwaters of Laurel Fork, was the father of Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff.
He was a native of Powells Valley in Virginia and first settled just above the present site of Williamson. He married Polly Baisden and later settled near his father-in-law, Jean Schmidt Baisden, at the Mouth of Laurel.
Blair died in 1860 after rearing a family of three sons and three daughters. His son, Harrison, was Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff after the Civil War.
Harrison was married twice. He first married a Miss Johnson and later a Miss Chafin. His brothers Anderson and Joe married McCoy sisters and made their home near their brother and father on Laurel Fork.
Jean Schmidt Baisden, father-in-law to John Blair, was one of the first settlers at the Mouth of Laurel. He came with Lafayette to America and served under him during the Revolution.
After the war he located at Richmond, Va., and then moved to Reeds Island, New York, where he married a Miss Burnham. At the beginning of the 19th century he moved to the mouth of Laurel and reared a family.
He had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Joseph, who married Lucinda Osborne; Solomon, who married Mary Chafin; and Edward, who married Susan Bennett.
His daughters were Polly, who married Harrison Blair; and Frances, who married Thomas Copley.
John Blair’s daughters were Mahulda, who married Anderson Dempsey; Chlorina, who married John McCoy; and Rhoda, who married Moses Parsley.
The Blairs and Baisdens are a well-known family on the Laurel Fork side of Blair Mountain, though few have crossed the divide and settled on the Guyan river watershed.
Early county history has it that the Blairs were active politically in the county following the Civil War, but no definite facts can be found of individuals holding any official position other than Harrison, who was the first of a long line of Democratic sheriffs, which ruled the county up until 1924, when the Republicans broke the power of Democrats and began their regime which ended in 1932.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 4 May 1937.
Appalachia, Aracoma, Big Creek, Boone County, Brooke McNeely, Camp Chase, Chapmanville District, Charles Williams, civil war, Claude Ellis, coal, Confederate Army, crime, Dave Kinser, Democratic Party, Douglas Kinser, Elbert Kinser, Ethel, Fort Branch, French River, genealogy, ginseng, Harts Creek, Hetzel, history, J. Green McNeely, Jake Kinser, Jane Mullins, Jefferson Davis, Jim Aldridge, John Carter, John Kinser, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, logging, Malinda Kinser, Malinda Newman, Mary Ann Ellis, Mud Fork, Otis Kinser, rafting, Scott Ellis, Smyth County, Stonewall Jackson, timbering, tobacco, Virginia, Washington Township, West Virginia, Wythe County