Appalachia, Beauty, Charleston, Cinder Bottom, coal, crime, dancing, Elizabeth Nagy, Ellis Park, Emmett Scaggs, Himlerville, history, Hungarian Benevolent Association, Hungarian Miners' Journal, Hungarian-Americans, Hungarians, Huntington, Joe Hatfield, Kentucky, Keystone, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Martin County, McDowell County, Mingo County, Mud Fork, Rose Mustapha, Warfield, Welch, West Virginia, Williamson, Williamson Daily News
Between 1900 and 1920, a large number of Hungarians settled in West Virginia. Most were employed as coal miners. As of 1920, 6,260 Hungarians lived in West Virginia, primarily in Logan and McDowell counties. The Logan Banner, seated in Logan, WV, offered coverage of Hungarian news. It also commented on items published by Martin Himler in the Hungarian Miners’ Journal.
New Marathon Dance Record Is Made Here
Rose Mustapha, Pretty Hungarian Starts the Step Believed to Be the record.
At nigh noon Sunday, Rose Mustapha, a beautiful Hungarian girl, tripped the starting step in a terpsichorean debauch, that is believed to have established a record for sustained dancing in groups. Rose led a cotillion of thirty of her countrymen over a stretch of nineteen hours of continual dancing.
The dance started at twelve o’clock Sunday noon and continued without intermission till seven o’clock Monday morning. The jolly spirit of old Budapest struck color with jazz hilarity as the dancers spun in a vortez over the polished floor.
Hundreds of the dancers’ admirers rimmed the floor, hailing the participants in a half dozen different languages and dialects. Three wheezy but quite animated violins provided the music, which ran in wild Magyar strains and jazzy syncopation.
For the most part the dancers adhered to their native folk dances, but occasionally a couple would break into a fox trot, or a one step. At six o’clock Sunday evening, the dancers were given liquid nourishment as they whirled, and at midnight the same was repeated.
Most of the dancers finished strong, but several of the weaker sex had to be helped from the floor by their friends. Long distance dancing is quite common in their native land, and had the participants been in trim the task would have been comparatively easy, they say. As it was all of the men, who are miners, reported for work Monday morning and so far no ill results have been reported of the affair.
Logan (WV) Banner, 3 August 1923
Several hundred persons enjoyed the dance given by the Hungarian Benevolent Association at Ellis Park skating rink last Saturday night. The program included many attractive features and novelties. Miss Elizabeth Nagy of Mud Fork was the winner of the beauty prize. She received a fine watch and $5 in gold.
Logan (WV) Banner, 29 November 1927
Hungarian Paper Tells of Resorts Hereabouts
Sensational Charges Prompt Williamson News to Demand Investigation and “Clean-Up”–Logan and Neighboring Cities Are Mentioned In This Alleged Expose
A Hungarian paper published at Himlerville, Ky., not far from Williamson, is running a series of sensational articles on vice conditions in Logan, Williamson, Huntington and Charleston. These articles are printed both in English and Hungarian and are attracting much attention, many copies of the paper having been sent to the cities named.
Two articles about Logan have mentioned various resorts in which it is charged that vice is rampant, that protection is obtained by bribery of officials, and that conditions are getting worse. Local officers brand these so-called disclosures as either baseless or greatly exaggerated.
In Williamson the expose has attracted much attention, particularly since the Williamson Daily News carried the following editorial, under the heading, “A Clean City.”
It’s a sad commentary on our city, county, and state police officials when the leaders of the foreign element in our midst are forced to take the lead in cleaning up moral conditions.
Through the Hungarian paper published at Himlerville, Ky., a campaign is being waged to clean up Williamson, Logan, Huntington and Charleston.
We are primarily concerned in Williamson and this paper charges that Williamson is harboring not less than eleven Hungarian brothels and some fifteen speak-easies. The editor of the paper has furnished the Williamson Daily News with the names of eight hotels and rooming houses where he says “light o’ love ladies” may be found.
It is common knowledge in Williamson that what he charges is true. Furthermore it is also common knowledge that there is hardly a hotel from the best to the worst in the city that does not harbor women of prostitution.
These women are debauching our manhood and spreading disease and there are attendant demoralizing evils which add to the indictment against them.
Not only are there Hungarian brothels in Williamson, but there are brothels that cater to every race and condition. The fact that they exist is known to practically every person in Williamson.
In this same Himlerville paper in an article published in this week’s issue it is stated that “Protection fees vary between twenty-five and seventy-five dollars weekly” suggesting a reason why no action is taken to remedy conditions.
We have had every reason to believe that Williamson was infested with brothels of every degree of degradation, but until the bold statement is made in the Hungarian paper, we had no reason to suspect that some persons were receiving protection fees.
However, such a state of things is a natural noncomitant, in view of the laws of the land. It would be very easy for city, state or county officers to take action, and if they do not the question immediately arises: Why?
It cannot be argued that it is impossible to clean up the city in this respect. We all know better. The chief of police and four good policemen, with proper backing of the mayor and the citizens of Williamson could do the job, and do it thoroughly in ten days. In doing it they could be so impressively earnest that there would be no recurrence of the evil for months to come. If instances of violations of the law of this character did occur in the future they could enforce the law with such vigor as to deter others. Williamson would soon be classed as a “clean city.”
Even the notorious “Cinder Bottom” at Keystone has been cleaned up. Welch, the county seat of McDowell county, is known far and wide as a “clean city.” Chippies and their like give it a wide berth. Why? Because the mayor and the chief of police of Welch, with a determined citizenship back of them, will not tolerate the evil. Merchants and business men of Welch generally are unreservedly in favor of an absolute ban against women of evil character being allowed to remain in hotels and rooming houses, because they know it hurts business and is a thoroughly demoralizing factor.
Primarily the question is one for the mayor and the chief of police at Williamson to handle, but there are other law enforcement agencies that could function.
For instance, the prosecuting attorney has an effective weapon at hand if he wants to use it. We refer to the state padlock law, upheld by the supreme court. With this weapon he could close every hotel and rooming house in the city that harbored women of ill fame. And there would be no question of securing sufficient evidence to act. It is ready at hand.
There is another agency, the state police. This efficient body of men could take action and bring the matter to a hand.
The state health department is aware of the fact that Williamson is one of the vilest cities in the way of brothels in the state. It has investigated conditions here and has data that could be used by officials who wanted to take action. Furthermore the state health department, on request of the city or county officials, would send investigators here to ascertain true conditions. But, if we understand the situation rightly there is no need for further investigation. The brothels are conducted more or less openly, are well advertised and unfortunately are well patronized.
There would be no lack of information to proceed upon if city, county or state officials wanted to take action. And first of all, it is up to our city officials to act.
Logan (WV) Banner, 27 January 1928
NOTICE TO LOGAN
With newly sharpened sticks the Hungarian Miners Journal, published at Himlerville, Ky., continues to prod into vice conditions hereabouts. Its latest issue is devoted largely to a further exposure at Williamson’s intrenched vice, but Logan has not been forgotten. In fact, in a large type box on the first page notice is given that the spotlight will be turned again soon on the garden spot. It says:
“The brother-situation of Williamson is taking up all our space and our energies for a few days.
“This does not mean that we have nothing more to say about Logan brothels.
“A score of Hungarian criminals, keepers of brothels and white-slavers are harbored in and by Logan, to the great detriment of the decent Hungarians in the Logan field.
“We demand the expulsion of these criminals and we will turn to Logan in a very short time.
“Surely the decent citizens of Logan are not going to build a roof over their town to designate THE red-light district.”
Logan (WV) Banner, 3 February 1928
Hungarian Paper Reverts to Logan’s Need of Reformation
Editor Fisher Takes Crack at The Banner, Sheriff Hatfield and Chief Scaggs–Long Silence Broken By Familiar, Rasping Outcry
Remember the Magyar Banyaszlap, a newspaper formerly published at Warfield, Ky., not far from Williamson, W.Va. A year or more ago it probed conditions in Logan and carried some sensational strictures about county and city officials. Finally, an officious and offensively inquisitive soul, the editor hisself, came in person and before he left was given quite a thumping by Chief of Police Scaggs.
Some time later the coal company located at Warfield and Hungarian-owned, went into the hands of a receiver and whether the Banyaszlap then suspended publication or not it ceased to come to this office. The other day a copy came. It is published in Columbus now but its editor is evidently still interested in conditions here. After scanning its eight pages, the writer of these lines found but one article printed in English. That embraced a clipping from The Banner and the Banyaszlap’s comments thereupon. The article clipped appeared to the Banner on April 9 and had to do with reports that the sheriff’s forces were determined to suppress the liquor traffic in boarding and lodging houses that cater to foreign-born miners. Most Banner readers will recall that news item and for that reason it will not be reproduced here, but what the Columbus paper says may be of some interest.
“We are glad to note the sudden interest of Sheriff Hatfield, and the rather mild interest of the Logan Banner, in the speak-easyes.
“The officers do not have to ‘trail’ these boarding houses, for we have published a list of them.
“And we have also published a long-long list of speak-easyes and brothels in Logan, W.Va., with addresses, and names, with locations and any other needed informations.
“Why not start a housecleaning right here in Logan, W.Va., and spread it then to the coal field?
“We can promise Logan and its vicinity that others than the sheriff will also be interested in these affairs.
“When the gunman (called chief of police) of Logan so heroically objected to our articles, we have promised that we will have the matter attended to in good time.
“It will happen soon.
“Perhaps hence the sudden interest in the Logan vice.”
Logan (WV) Banner, 23 April 1929
For more information about Hungarians in West Virginia, go here: https://www.appalachianhistory.net/2017/03/magyars-in-morgantown.html
For more information about Martin Himler, Himlerville (Beauty), and the Magyar Banyaszlap: Hungarian Miners’ Journal, go here: https://www.appalachianhistory.net/2014/11/saving-himler-house.html
A.M. Belcher, Appalachia, Charleston, coal, deputy sheriff, Ed Reynolds, Edgar Combs, George Munsey, Harold W. Houston, Harry R. Barnes, history, Jackson Arnold, James Miller, James Swanner, John Chafin, John Gore, justice of the peace, Lee Belcher, Logan, Logan Banner, Mason City, Matewan, Meigs County, Mine Wars, Ohio, Point Pleasant, Pomeroy, Savoy Holt, U.S. Cantley, United Mine Workers of America, W.M. Swanner, Wallace Chafin, Welch, West Virginia, William Chafin
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the armed march of 1921:
OFFICERS SAY OHIO MOB THREATENED LIVES
“Let’s Make It a Matewan-Welch Affair,” Yells Citizens of Pomeroy
Officers Say Lives Were Threatened
Another tragic sequel to the miners “armed march” on Logan was narrowly averted at Pomeroy, Ohio, Monday, when a mob of about three hundred persons are said to have threatened the lives of Deputy Sheriffs Wallace Chafin and Lee Belcher, and Mr. Chafin’s son William, who went to Pomeroy to visit his grandfather. The officers were sent to Pomeroy with requisition papers for the removal of Savoy Holt, and U.S. Cantley, who are wanted in Logan on the charge of being accessory before the fact of the killing of George Munsey and John Gore, during the “armed march.”
A statement was given out by Officer Chafin Wednesday, which he described in detail the affair at Pomeroy. Bearing requisition papers for the removal of Holt drawn by the Governor of Ohio and later held up by the agreement of attorneys of both the defense and prosecution till after the trial of James Miller. Officers Chafin and Belcher reported to the sheriffs of Meigs county. They were sent to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office of the county where they were advised that they would have to get other papers for their purpose. They then went before Justice of Peace Harry R. Barnes and swore out a fugitive warrant for the two men wanted. “A crowd of seventy-five or a hundred gathered around the jail. All of the men wore coats and did not seem friendly,” Mr. Chafin said. “We returned to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, and as I came out there was considerable commotion among the large crowd of men. Persons were being waved back and told to stand aside. These directions were being made by members of the crowd,” Officer Chafin said. Chafin returnerd to the Sheriff’s office and was told that he had been called away, and that he could not see Holt.
“Officer Belcher, myself and my son were directed to the Mayor’s office. We were told that the Mayor had a telegram for us from Governor Donahey, which said that Holt should not be delivered and that if we were ___ to run us out of town and tell us not to return. We did not go to the Mayor’s office, and thought if we were really causing trouble it would be best for us to leave immediately. From the time I arrived in town I noticed that the atmosphere had changed since I was last there. Not an officer could be found anywhere. People gazed out on the streets from their houses in great numbers. And several people were noticed to follow us from the time we arrived in town.”
“When we decided to leave, we hired a taxi cab with the intention of going to Point Pleasant. Again, the crowd which seemed to be growing surrounded the cab, and the driver fled, leaving us standing amidst the crowd in the middle of the street. We heard some one in the crowd say, ‘Let’s make it another Welch or Matewan affair.’ A man who said he was a newspaper reporter began to ask questions as the crowd pushed in against the cab. We were asked if we weren’t Logan county thugs, and if we were not in the gang that opposed the ‘armed march.’ We told them that we were regular Logan county officers and had been serving as Deputy Sheriffs for some time, also that we had been sent there with the proper papers to return Savoy Holt to Logan. They were told that I had been a Deputy for two years and that Belcher had been in office for six years. The crowd dropped back and we got our bags and endeavored to hire another taxi, but evidently the drivers had been given instructions not to drive us. They all refused and we were forced to go to the ferry. The crowd continued to swell and they followed us to the ferry. The ferry boat was on the West Virginia side and we were forced to endure the jeers and threats of the crowd until the boat returned to the Ohio side.
While on the ferry ten or twelve men came in a group and demanded me to get off, saying that I had given a false name. I told them if they wanted me they would have to come and get me. They approached and requested me to show further identifications and I compiled by showing them my Masonic cards.”
“Upon arriving on the West Virginia side I saw several of the same men I had seen in Pomeroy. Another taxi was hired to take us to Point Pleasant. As we started we were hailed. The taxi was stopped and we were told that the driver could not take us. We concluded that we would walk to the next station to avoid trouble. A short distance below the town we were surrounded by about twelve men in automobiles. Heading for the river, and afraid that they would kill my son, we returned to the station at Mason City to wait for a train. While sitting in the station group after group of men came to the doors and men swarmed around. I believe they would have fired on us in the station if there had not been several women sitting near us. The first train to arrive was an east bound train which we took to Parkersburg. The last words we heard from the crowd was from a large man who seemed to act in capacity of spokesman. He yelled, ‘I’m damn sorry boys we did not make this another Welch or Matewan affair.'”
Mr. Chafin reported the affair to Governor Morgan at Charleston Tuesday. He was instructed by the governor that the removal of Holt and Cantley would be affected by the state authorities. It is understood that Colonel Jackson Arnold has been sent to Columbus, Ohio, to get the proper extradition papers for the men’s removal. Cantley is still at large and Holt is being held in the county jail at Pomeroy, where he has been held as a witness in the case of James Miller who was sentenced from two to twenty years for the killing of E. Reynolds and W.M. Swanner. Holt was in the Miller home in Pomeroy at the time of the shooting which took place in Miller’s front yard.
Logan (WV) Banner, 3 August 1923
POMEROY, OHIO, IS A REFUGE AFTER CRIMES ARE COMMITTED, SAID
A.M. Belcher, Attorney, Says the Failure of Meigs County to Relinquish Prisoners Is Proof.
MAKES STATEMENT WHILE CALLING ON PROSECUTOR
“The attack on Deputy Sheriffs Wallace Chafin and Lee Belcher, at Pomeroy, Ohio, where they were threatened by a mob when they attempted to return Savoy Holt to West Virginia for trial in connection with the armed march on Logan, in 1921, is only added proof to the claim that the Pomeroy Band is serving as a refuge for various crimes in West Virginia,” said A.M. Belcher, state counsel in the prosecution of the so-called armed march cases.
Mr. Belcher was here Thursday to assist Prosecuting Attorney John Chafin resist an application for a change of venue for Harold W. Houston, chief counsel for District 17, United Mine Workers and Edgar Combs, a member of the mine workers union, for their alleged connection with the murders which grew out of the armed march.
“The refusal of the Meigs county authorities to turn over Holt to the custody of the Logan county sheriffs was in a direct violation of an agreement we had made with attorneys representing the defense,” said Mr. Belcher.
“At the time J.E. Miller was indicted for the murder of James Swanner and Ed Reynolds, Holt was indicted as an accessory to that crime. He was also wanted by the Logan county authorities for his participation in the march, but an agreement was made with Miller’s attorneys that if he were allowed to remain in Meigs county until after the Miller trial that he would immediately be returned to Logan.”
Requisition papers for Holt’s return were honored at the time by Governor Donahey but at the request of Miller’s attorneys West Virginia decided not to insist upon Holt’s immediate return, relying on the defense’s promise that he would be surrendered as soon as the trial was over.
“When Deputies Chafin and Belcher went to Pomeroy Tuesday they had in their possession the requisition papers issued at the time we instituted the original proceedings. They were signed by Governor Donahey on May 15. Neither of the two deputies expected any resistance but to their surprise they were met by a mob of 300 men who not only drove them out of town but pursued them across the river into West Virginia territory.
It would appear that there is something radically wrong with the state’s government that would permit a mob’s action to override its official decisions. The Pomeroy Band has become the refuge of scores of miners who took part in the uprising against Logan county. The entire section apparently is in sympathy with the band of radicals who fostered the march against the citizens of a peaceful county.
The temper of the mob which threatened the two Logan county deputies is seen in the fact that it was only by a miracle that the two officers escaped with their lives. “Let’s make it another Matewan affair” was their battle cry; and the reason that two more West Virginians did not meet death in Pomeroy as did Jim Swanner and Ed Reynolds is due to the courage and coolness of the two officers.
Holt was once in custody of the Logan county officers but was released on bail. Soon after his release he is said to have gone to the headquarters of the United Mine Workers at Charleston and then on the following day left for Pomeroy. It was on the next day that Swanner and Reynolds went to Pomeroy to offer Miller immunity if he would return to Logan county and testify for the state in the armed march cases.
Miller met the two men at the door of his home near Pomeroy and shot both of them to death, though neither of the Logan deputies were armed. Holt, it is said, was in the house at the time of the shooting.
Logan (WV) Banner, 10 August 1923
The following story about an attack upon a non-union mine at Ottawa in Boone County comes from the Logan Banner on July 21, 1922:
300 Shots Are Fired At Boone County Mine
Three hundred shots were fired from the mountain side into a group of non-union miners as they were going to work at 7:30 A.M., in a mine at Ottawa, Monday. There were no casualties as the miners fled and hastily hid behind trees, and other points of safety.
Two state troopers stationed at Ottawa made an immediate dash for the scene of the trouble but the firing which had lasted for only a few minutes, was over when they reached the mine. An investigation disclosed the fact that the attacking party had made a hasty retreat and their whereabouts could not be ascertained. A call for assistance brought five additional troopers from Clothier who brought with them a bloodhound but the dog could not take the trail evidently due to some substance that the attacking party had used to throw the hounds off the trail.
Immediately after the firing was over an investigation was made and 30 sticks of dynamite were found concealed beneath the mine track inside of the drift mouth of the mine and so arranged that it would explode when the first mine motor entered.
The outbreak Monday was the first that has occurred on Little Coal River in some months and the state police in that section are making every effort to apprehend members of the party who did the firing. Ten special officers were sworn in at Madison on Monday and Capt. Midkiff, in charge of the state police at Clothier, dispatched trooper Lloyd Layman to Logan Monday where he was furnished with 30 high-powered rifles and 3,000 rounds of ammunition with which to equip the special officers and successfully combat any further outbreak that might occur as well as to assist in apprehending members of the attacking forces last Monday.
Trooper Layman stated that in addition to the ten men sworn in Madison there would be 50 special officers sworn in at Ottawa, and every effort put forth by officers to track down the men who were responsible for the mine battle and bring them to justice.
Appalachia, Baldwin-Felts Agency, Bluefield, Cabell Testerman, Carleton Starr, Chambers Hardware Store, chief of police, Clara Berman, coal, crime, Harry Berman, history, Matewan, mayor, Mine Wars, Mingo County, Sid Hatfield, teacher, United Mine Workers of America, Welch, West Virginia, Williamson
On December 2, 1978, Harry Berman of Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia, recalled the Matewan Massacre of May 19, 1920:
When do you remember that the union… What do you remember about the organization of the unions?
Well, that was in Matewan. I was at the age of about thirteen years old at that time. That was about 1915, I’d say. This was concerning the miners there, about a strike. They all got together and so they went on a strike, and the company has ordered the people that went on a strike. The company has ordered them to vacate their homes.
That was the company houses?
That was the comp-any houses. The miners at that time, they didn’t approve of it and so they began to gather around. So they got Baldwin-Felts men in there. There as about twelve of them from Bluefield, West Virginia. So they came in on that midnight train that comes through there about twelve.
The Baldwin-Felts gang was a gang that broke the unions. They traveled all over the state or throughout the coalfields breaking the unions.
Well, they were trying to break the union at that time, but these twelve men were sent in here from Bluefield and they came in on the twelve o’clock train and they went over to the hotel. They spent the night there and the next morning they got up and out and they vacated more houses for these men. This kindly upset the union men at that time. So anyway then when after all that was all done they all went back again to the hotel, and so they packed their bags. Unfortunately, what they done, they took their rifles, they took them apart, and they packed them on the inside of their bags and some of them packed them on the outside of their bags.
In other words, they were going to show that they were leaving in peace?
After vacating people from their company houses?
Yeah. That was about the time… Let’s see, the train comes through there, that Number 16, it comes through there about five o’clock in the evening. So they all came to the station at that time. When they all got to the station, all the union men–there must have been at least 100 of them–all gathered around them. You know, as they came to the station. Well, I was standing there in front of the door, in front of my father’s store there at that time, and watched all these people coming to the station. So, they all went the other way–that was Chambers Hardware at that time–they went toward Chambers Hardware. When they all got there, they all bunched together.
Was that the union men bunching together?
That was the union men that bunched together there around the Baldwin-Felts men, because I don’t think the Baldwin-Felts men suspected anything at all. If they did, they would have went there with their rifles, see.
In other words, you think they were surprised with an ambush?
Yeah, they were surprised. It took them by surprise.
The whole, as I understand it, the whole Baldwin gang was shot on the platform as they were getting ready to board the train?
Well, before the train came in. That was about maybe fifteen minutes before the train came in through there, see. So the mayor of the town was Testerman. He went along with them to the Baldwin-Felts men down in there and also with the union men and they all bunched around Chambers Hardware Store. Then the chief of police–he was also in the crowd, too. Just for the curiosity I went right along with them. Sid Hatfield, I knew him pretty well. So when he was standing there with Testerman, which is the mayor. Facing one another, I was standing about maybe two feet in the back of Sid Hatfield, and all at once there was a shot fired and I think he was the one who put a bullet through Testerman.
Yeah. The mayor. And then that was what started all this shooting. So the first thing I knew I got scared and I beat it back to the store again, see, and while I was going back to the store there was one man laying across the broadwalk. At that time there wasn’t any…
Boards for a sidewalk?
Yeah. The boards were made out of sidewalks. One was scattered there. One was laying here, one was over there. And the first thing you know, then they began to get out and try to get away from them, if they could, you know, see. But the first thing I knew, there must have been at least maybe about eight or ten of them laying around on the ground there.
Bullets went over your head. Remember the bullets that were shot over your head?
Oh, there was bullets everywhere at that time. I really do recall that. That’s a fact. Then after Sixteen came in, the union men, the conductor got off. Which he was a tough conductor, too, he was. They called him McCullock. A captain McCullock at that time. So he got off of the train and he wanted to know what it was all about. And then union men all went into the train. When all the passengers on the train came off you know, the union men went in there and they were searching the train because they figured that some of these detectives stopped Sixteen down there just on this side of the tunnel. To see if any did get on there. Because they said there was about…
In other words, they expected more of the gang to come in?
No. Some of these that did get away from the union men… They thought about two or three of them went down toward the tunnel to stop the train to get on. So that’s what they expected, you know.
The union breakers?
Yeah, the union breakers, and so when the train came in to the station they rushed into the train and they looked all through the compartments. Under the seats and everywhere and there wasn’t no union men on there.
Yeah. There wasn’t any detectives on there at all. In the meantime, I think there was about maybe one got away, from what I understand. He was hid in a coal pile. Mrs. Hoskins, a school teacher, hid him in a coal pile and she didn’t say anything about him at all. She must have felt sorry for him or something. And I think he got away. He really did… He got away, from what I understand. So that was it and so when Sixteen came in they put Testerman on the baggage car and before he got to Welch he died.
They killed him.
Yeah. Well, they killed him, naturally.
In other words, he left here alive but they killed him before he got to the hospital?
Yeah. He died in the baggage car. Testerman died in the baggage car.
But the chief of police’s family killed him because the chief of police had been shot?
No. The chief of police wasn’t shot. Let’s get it straight. The mayor is the one who got shot. The chief of police is the one who shot the mayor.
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history for Sheriff Don Chafin. The story is dated February 10, 1922:
REJECT SHERIFF’S RESIGNATION
Don Chafin Presents Same to the County Court But Would Not Be Accepted
ACTION OF SHERIFF DUE TO LACK OF COOPERATION
He Has Agreed to Serve Out Term of the Office After Urging of Court and Friends
Last week Don Chafin tendered to the county court his resignation as Sheriff of Logan county. The county court promptly rejected his resignation and Mr. Chafin was prevailed upon by his friends to let the matter drop and continue to serve the county in his official capacity.
The direct cause of his resignation was the lack of cooperation on the part of some of his deputies. To those who are unacquainted with the official duties of a Sheriff in Logan County the duties of the office might be considered one of ease and pleasure but to those who are initiated with the trials and tribulations of the position it is a well known fact that the life of a Sheriff in this county is anything but a bed of roses.
The Banner is directly opposed to the political policy of Don Chafin but it must be remembered that when Mr. Chafin offered himself as a candidate in the fall of 1920 for the office of Sheriff he was elected by an overwhelming majority in keeping with the choice as expressed by a majority of the citizens of the county. The Banner accepted the result and resolved to extend to the incoming Sheriff all the assistance within our power in fulfilling the duties of his office. Since that time we have had no occasion to regret our course. The previous term of Sheriff Chafin had satisfied us that the duties of the office would be fulfilled honestly and faithfully and the short time that he has served during the present term has justified our faith.
Logan county is in many respects far different from any other county in the state. We are in one sense of the word isolated from other sections of the state inasmuch as we are situated on a branch of a railway system with only one outlet. Consequently it is no easy matter for the mining operators in this field to secure labor. In their efforts to supply their mines with labor it is necessary for them to draw on the supply of raw labor of the larger cities. This brings into our midst an element of labor that is not always of the most lawful type but in many instances the men are of foreign birth and of various races hence we are sometimes so unfortunate as to admit many men of criminal tendencies.
Not one tenth of the labor required in the various industries of the county are of native birth, the other 90 percent being men who have no interest here other than the wages they may receive. Thus if may be seen that it requires constant attention to duties by the authorities of the county to maintain the law and prevent crime. To do this not only requires courage but tact and diplomacy as well.
How faithfully Don Chafin has performed the duties of the office the world is well aware. When thousands of armed men had banded themselves together with the avowed intention of invading our peaceful county last fall it was he that said, “They shall not pass.” They did not pass. Don Chafin stood like a stone wall and while the army of angry men stormed at the gates of our county he firmly held his men on the defensive and saved our county from invasion. Ho well he performed this duty is attested by commendation from all parts of the nation and needs no repetition here.
This is the second term of Don Chafin as Sheriff of this county. The citizens to the county called him to serve. While the routine of his duties may prove most irksome and perplexing we trust that he may exercise the fullest measure of patience and continue to serve the citizens of Logan county during the remainder of his term. The Sheriff needs the cooperation not only of his official family but of every law abiding citizen of the county and we should be quick to express our appreciation of duties well performed by giving to him all the assistance within our power.
Appalachia, Ashland, author, authors, coal, Guyandotte Valley, history, Kentucky, Logan Banner, Logan County, physician, poems, poetry, Thomas Dunn English, Three Forks, Viola Ann Runyon, West Virginia, writers, writing
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Veola Ann Runyon, authoress-poet of Logan County. The story is dated January 13, 1922:
LOGAN COUNTY HAS AN AUTHORESS-POET
Mrs. Veola Ann Runyon, of Three Forks, Has Had Much of Her Work Published.
We never know in what nook or corner we may find unknown talent or beneath what bushel measure we may and a shining light unless, perchance, we may trip across a clue that may lead us to a welcome discovery. Such was the case with a representative of The Banner on a recent trip to Three Forks, when he fortunately learned of the presence there of Mrs. Veola Anne Runyon, a poet and talented writer of fact and fiction.
Mrs. Runyon was born in Ashland, Ky. Her grandfather was a French physician and author. From him she derived the gifted talent at at the early age of sixteen she began writing stories and for the past ten years she has been a regular contributor to several of the largest magazines of our country. She has in preparation at the present time a romance which will be happily connected with the coal mining industry, while she has in the hands of her publisher two other books, one dealing with scientifical and botanical work and the other on entomological facts.
The story now in preparation will be eagerly sought by all readers in Logan County, due to the fact that part of the plot will be based upon knowledge gained within this county. Mrs. Runyon was requested by her publishers to write a story closely connected with the mining industry and so not knowing the details connected with the industry she came to Three Forks, and while stopping at the Club House there she is gathering facts that will prove invaluable in her latest work.
Mrs. Runyon is a gifted writer and is filled with the love of the work. She is also deeply interested in botanical work and the study of nature. Through persuasion we were able to secure some of her poems for publication in The Banner, and we are pleased to announce that arrangements have been made with her for regular contributions to the columns of this paper.
Her presence here will recall to mind another author who came to Logan County in years gone by. Dr. Thos. Dunn English recognized the beauty of these mountains and the nearness of true nature and came here during the period between 1850 and 1860. Some of his poems deal with life in the Guyan Valley.
With her ability and fluency of language, Mrs. Runyon should find in these grand majestic mountains and wonderful natural beauty an invaluable aid to inspiration that will enable her to complete a wonderful story that should attract the favorable attention of the most critical.
Note: I cannot locate any biographical information for this writer. Three Forks, according to one source, is also known as Saunders (Buffalo Creek).
A.F. Morris, Alvin Linville, Andrew J. Browning, Appalachia, Big Branch, Big Ugly Creek, C&O Railroad, C.C. Fry, C.W. Campbell, Carroll District, Charles Brumfield, coal, Cole Branch, Cora Adkins, Delana Thompson, Dick Elkins Branch, E.W. Holley, Emzy Adkins, Fourteen Mile Creek, gas, genealogy, Georgia Perry, Harts Creek, Harts Creek District, history, Ike Fry Branch, Isaac Gartin, J.H. Meek, J.W. White, James M. Toney, John Adkins, John Dingess, John P. Frye, John W. Robertson, John W. Tomblin, Josephine Robinson, Keenan Toney, Laura Aldridge, Lincoln County, Mary White, O.J. Spurlock, oil, Patton Thompson, Rockhouse Fork, Roma Spears, Sarah A. Perry, Thomas Browning, Wash Dempsey, William Manns, Wilson and Sons
The following deed index is based on Deed Book 60 at the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office in Hamlin, WV, and relates to residents of the Harts Creek community. Most notations reflect Harts Creek citizens engaged in local land transactions; some reflect Harts Creek citizens engaged in land transactions outside of the community. These notes are meant to serve as a reference to Deed Book 60. Researchers who desire the most accurate version of this material are urged to consult the actual record book.
A.F. Morris, special commissioner, and E.W. Holley to John P. Fry 75 acres Fourteen Mile Creek 13 January 1900 p.72-73
Laura Aldridge to C.C. Fry 3 acres Big Ugly Creek 17 May 1909 p. 79-80
William Manns et ux to Josephine Robinson 75 acres Big Harts Creek 19 February 1887 p. 82
Georgia Perry to John W. Robertson timber Big Branch Harts Creek 23 December 1909 p. 83-84
Sarah A. Perry to Georgia Perry 19 acres Ridge Between Dick Elkins Branch and Rockhouse Fork 14 September 1906 p. 85-86
Sarah A. Perry to Georgia Perry 26 acres Big Branch Harts Creek 15 September 1906 p. 86-87
Isaac G. Gartin to James M. Toney 56 acres and 35 1/4 acres Harts Creek District 3 January 1899 p. 125-127
Patten and Delana Thompson to J.W. and Mary White 102 acres and 22 acres Carroll District 22 February 1887 p. 136-137
Alvin Linville et ux to Roma Spears et ux 32 acres Big Ugly Creek 28 January 1910 p. 213-214
A.F. Morris et ux to Romie Spears et ux 32 acres Big Ugly Creek 19 July 1910 p. 214-215
J.H. Meek, trustee, to C&O Railway Company right of way Harts Creek District 30 June 1910 p. 283-284
John W. Tomblin et ux to K.E. Toney 100 acres interest in coal, oil, cas, etc. Big Harts Creek 13 August 1910 p. 300-301
John Adkins et ux to K.E. Toney 45 acres interest in coal, oil, gas, etc. Lower Big Branch 5 July 1910 p. 301-302
Emzy Adkins et ux to Cora Adkins 40 acres Harts Creek District 4 February 1905 p. 304-305
Charles Brumfield et ux to Wilson and Sons 100 acres Ike Fry Branch 12 may 1902 T.J. Wysong, notary public p. 375-376
A.F. Morris et ux to O.J. Spurlock 100 acres Big Ugly Creek 16 November 1909 p. 412-413
Andrew J. Browning et ux to K.E. Toney 200 acres coal, oil, gas, etc. Big Harts Creek 10 August 1910 JP Charles Adkins 17 August 1910 p. 425-426
Wash Dempsey et al to Thomas Browning Big Harts Creek 24 January 1905 p. 426-427
C.W. Campbell, special commissioner, to John Dingess Coal Branch 16 August 1898 p. 442-443
Note: I copied all of these deeds.
This site is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and promotion of history and culture in Appalachia.
Genealogy and History in North Carolina and Beyond
A site about one of the most beautiful, interesting, tallented, outrageous and colorful personalities of the 20th Century
For Readers, Writers, and Lovers of Historical Fiction