Appalachia, Big Ugly Creek, Durg Fry, genealogy, Gordon Fry, Guyan Big Ugly and Coal River Railroad Company, Harts Creek District, history, Laurel Fork, Lew Burks, Lincoln County, Mary Clark Burks, timber, West Virginia
Al Brumfield, Albert Adkins, Ann Davis, Ann Mullins, Appalachia, Arabell Gill, Arena Ferrell, Ben Walker, Big Branch, Big Sulphur Branch, Big Ugly Creek, Brooke Adkins, C.D. Haverty, C.E. Burns, Cain Lucas, Catherine Adkins, Charles V. Huffman, Charles W. Mullins, Clementine Dingess, Columbia Gas and Electric Company, Cove Creek, Cumberland Adkins, D.P. Lambert, David F. Smith, Durg Fry, Ed Dingess, Edmund Fowler, Elizabeth Mullins, Elizabeth Nelson, Emily Rakes, Emmazetta Adkins, Ene Adkins, Fisher B. Adkins, Flora Lucas, Floyd Rakes, Fourteen Mile Creek, Fowlers Branch, genealogy, George Alderson, George E. McComas, George R. McComas, Gilbert Hager, Giles Davis, Granville Wiley, Green Shoal, Guyandotte River, Hamlin, Harriet McComas, Hellen M. Burks, Henry Adkins, Henry C. Sias, Henry H. Sias, Herb Adkins, Hiram Lambert, history, Hollena Brumfield, I.N. Mullins, Isaac F. Nelson, Isaiah Mullins, J.B. Pullen, J.L. Caldwell, J.S. Payne, Jacob K. Adkins, Jake Adkins, Jefferson Lucas, John A. McComas, John Q. Adams, John S. Brumfield, John W. Nelson, Joseph Browning, Julia Alderson, Keenan Ferrell, Keenan Toney, L.H. Burks, Lace Marcum, Laura Fry, Leander Wiley, Levi Rakes, Lewis Adkins, Lewis C. Queen, Lincoln County, Little Harts Creek, Little Ugly Creek, Louisa Wiley, Major Adkins, Martha E. Brumfield, Martha Fry, Martha Sias, Mary A. Mullins, Mary E. Williamson, Mary F. Fry, Mary J. Mullins, Mary L. Nelson, Mary McComas, Matilda Wiley, Milton Nelson, Minerva J. Fowler, Nancy E. Lucas, Olive F. Adkins, Peter M. Mullins, Philip Hager, Pinkston Queen, Polly Spurlock, Richard Adkins, Rine Spurlock, Robert Fry, Robert L. Fry, Rosa A. Fry, Rosa Browning, Rufus Estep, Rufus Pack, Salena Estep, Sand Creek, Sarah B. Maynard, Sarah E. Adkins, Sarah M. Adkins, Sarah Mullins, Sherman Nelson, Solomon C. Mullins, Spencer Adkins, Spring Branch, Squire Sol Adams, Steer Fork, Sulphur Spring Fork, Susan Adkins, Susan Lucas, T.R. Shepherd, United Fuel Gas Company, Vietta Haverty, W.S. Enochs, Walt Stowers, West Fork, West Virginia, Wilford Fry, Yantus Walker
The following deed index is based on Deed Book 56 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 56. Researchers who desire the most accurate version of this material are urged to consult the actual record book.
Enos A. Adkins to late Ann F. Davis 200 acres Green Shoal Creek (her interest in Enos’ future estate) 6 November 1883 p. 99-100
Fisher B. Adkins to Catherine and Herb Adkins 1 acre 1/2 interest in land where store of F.E. Adkins and J.W. Stowers is located, 1/2 interest in store and stock of merchandise, farm items conveyed by F.E. Adkins on 14 May 1909, one pair of bay horses 15 June 1909 K.E. Toney, NP 3 July 1909 p. 82-83
Lewis and Emezetta Adkins to Sarah M. Adkins 50 acres West Side Guyandotte River 8 August 1899 Jefferson Lucas, NP 24 February 1900 p. 147-148
Richard and Olive F. Adkins to Sarah M. Adkins 50 acres Below Mouth of Fourteen Mile Creek 18 June 1892 David F. Smith, JP p. 145-147
Richard Adkins and Spencer Adkins to D.P. Lambert 80 1/4 acres Fourteen Mile Creek (Laurel Hill District) 17 July 1897 Isaac Fry, JP p. 42-44
George A. and Julia Alderson, Floyd and Emily Rakes, and C.D. and Vietta T. Haverty to J.L. Caldwell 8 acres (mineral) Sand Creek 7 December 1894 Elias Vance, JP p. 19-22
Joseph and Rosey Browning to Lace Marcum and T.R. Shepherd 45 acres Ridge Between Little Harts Creek and Big Branch 30 March 1910 Charles Adkins, JP 1 April 1910 p. 252-253
Allen and Hollena Brumfield to Louisa Wiley 176 acres Sulpher Spring Fork of Fourteen Mile Creek 12 February 1903 Jefferson Lucas, NP p. 40-42
Martha E. and John S. Brumfield to Henry H. Sias and his heirs 87 1/2 acres East Fork of Fourteen Mile Creek 24 October 1907 Jefferson Lucas, NP p. 13-14
L.H. and Hellen M. Burks to Gilbert Hager 50 acres Little Ugly Creek 19 February 1906 p. 106-108 [includes survey map]
Clementine and Ed Dingess, Ann F. and G.D. Davis, Susan and Henry Adkins, Julia Y. and B.W. Walker, Brooke and A.G. Adkins, F.E. Adkins, C.E. Burns (special commissioner) to Catherine Adkins 33 acres West Side Guyandotte River (land conveyed to Enos Adkins by J.K. Adkins on 29 October 1892) 1 October 1908 Fisher B. Adkins, NP 12 October 1908 Sol Adams, JP 16 October 1908 p. 86-88
Clementine and Ed Dingess, Susan and Henry Adkins, F.E. and Catherine Adkins, Brooke and A.G. Adkins, Julia Y. and B.W. Walker, and C.E. Burns (special commissioner) to Ann F. Davis 225 acres 1 October 1908 Fisher B. Adkins, NP 12 October 1908 Sol Adams, JP 16 October 1908 p. 101-103
Salena Estep to Rufus Estep 360 acres Spring Branch of West Fork 25 April 1910 p. 320-321
Arena and Keenan S. Ferrell to J.W. Stowers one acre Fowler’s Branch (part of tract conveyed by John Q. Adams on 25 May 1896) 28 October 1908 K.E. Toney, JP 30 October 1908 p. 84-85
Anderson Fry to A. Gill 25 acres Big Ugly Creek 7 January 1907 D.F. Smith, JP p. 128-129
Robert Fry to Wilford Fry, Martha Fry, and Rosa A. Fry 110 acres Ketchum Branch Guyandotte River 3 January 1888 J.B. Pullen, Jr. p. 287-289
Robert L. and Mary F. Fry to Arabell Gill Big Sulpher Branch of Big Ugly Creek 16 January 1904 Philip Hager, Jr., NP 16 February 1904 p. 125-126
Philip Hager to Robert Lee Fry 50 acres Big Sulpher Spring Branch of Big Ugly Creek 10 February 1898 John A. McComas, NP p. 124-125
E.C. and Flora Lucas to W.S. Enochs 20 acres and 39 acres Fourteen Mile Creek at or Near the Mouth of Cove Creek (Laurel Hill District) 29 March 1907 Jefferson Lucas, NP p. 268-269
Jefferson and Nancy E. Lucas to Cumberland Adkins 295 acres Fourteen Mile Creek (Laurel Hill District) 11 April 1907 D.F. Smith, JP 12 April 1907 p. 234-236
George E. and Mary McComas to J.L. Caldwell 24 acres East Side Guyandotte River 23 July 1900 p. 31-33
George R. and Harriet McComas to J.L. Caldwell 75 acres East Side Guyandotte River 19 February 1902 James McComas, NP p. 28-30
I.N. and Elizabeth Mullins to J.L. Caldwell 43 1/2 acres and 95 acres East Side Guyandotte River 1 September 1894 J.S. Payne, JP 8 October 1894 p. 23-25
Peter M. and Mary A. Mullins, A.S. and Sarah E. Adkins, Solomon C. and Mary J. Mullins, Granville and Matilda Wiley, John W. and Mary L. Nelson, C.W. and Ann Mullins, Edmund and Minerva J. Fowler, Isaiah and Sarah Mullins to J.L. Caldwell 43 1/2 acres East Side Guyandotte River 24 November 1894 Hiram Lambert, JP 30 November 1895 and 29 November 1894 p. 25-29
Milton and Elizabeth Nelson to Sherman Nelson 94 acres Big Branch and Fourteen Mile Creek 15 March 1906 Jefferson Lucas, NP p. 17-18
Milton and Elizabeth Nelson to Sherman Nelson 213 acres Big Branch of Guyandotte River 29 March 1909 Jefferson Lucas, NP 4 June 1909 p. 15-16
L.C. and Pinkston Queen to Sarah B. Maynard 113 3/4 acres Wiley Branch of Twelve Pole Creek 18 December 1907 William Toppins, JP p. 250-251
Levi Rakes et al to J.L. Caldwell 47 acres East Side Guyandotte River 28 July 1900 Isaac Fry, JP 30 July 1900 p. 36-38
Henry C. and Martha Sias to Isaac F. Nelson 85 acres Steer Fork of Fourteen Mile Creek (Laurel Hill District) 17 February 1909 Rufus Pack, NP p. 266-267
Marine and Polly Spurlock to Laura Fry 15 acres Ketchum Branch Guyandotte River (Laurel Hill District) 6 November 1889 Elias Vance, JP p. 289-290
United Fuel Gas Company to Columbia Gas and Electric Company 87 acres of Charles V. Huffman (26 March 1908) and 258 acres of Susan Lucas (24 March 1908) 1 December 1909 p. 270-275
Louisa and Leander Wiley to Mary E. Williamson Part of 176 acres made to Louisa Wiley by Allen Brumfield (Laurel Hill District) 7 July 1905 Jefferson Lucas, NP 11 July 1905 p. 38-40
NOTE: I copied all of these deeds.
Big Ugly Creek, Bill Fry, chickens, Durg Fry, Emma Paris, farming, Frank Fry, genealogy, history, John Harder, John Shelton, Leet, Lincoln County, Lincoln Republican, Sand Creek, Toney Paris, West Virginia, Zattoo Cummings
“Reporter,” a local correspondent from Leet in Lincoln County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Lincoln Republican printed on Thursday, April 19, 1923:
The farmers of this section are slow this year in getting their work started.
Emma Paris has been very ill the past two weeks.
Toney Paris has purchased some fine stock chickens and is going into the poultry business.
Forest fires have damaged the property of Zattoo Cummings a great deal this spring.
John Harder lost a fine horse one day last week.
Bill Fry has gone to Sand Creek to haul for John Shelton.
Anderson Fry is suffering from boils on his neck.
Frank Fry lost six bushels of potatoes one night recently, thieves having entered his potato hole.
Big Ugly Creek, Bill Monroe, Boney Lucas, Carl Toney, charlie paris, Clarence Lambert, Durg Fry, fiddler, fiddlers, fiddling, Frank Fry, Grand Ole Opry, Green Shoal, Guyandotte River, history, Irvin Lucas, Jack Lucas, Jim Lucas, Jupiter Fry, Leander Fry, music, Paris Brumfield, Sam Lambert, writing
At the turn of the century, Jim Lucas was the best fiddler on Big Ugly Creek — that peculiarly named creek located a few miles downriver from Harts Creek. Jim was born in 1881 to Irvin Lucas (a fiddler), and was a nephew to Boney Lucas and Paris Brumfield. Based on interviews with Jim’s family, Jim always went clean-shaven and wore an overcoat year round because “whatever’d keep the cold out would keep the heat out.” He was also an avid hunter and cowboy — he could supposedly command cattle from across the Guyan River. As for his fiddling, Jim either cradled the fiddle on the inside of his shoulder or held it under his chin. He gripped the bow with two or three fingers right on its very end, used a lot of bow, and patted one of his feet when playing. He sometimes sang, typically played alone, and devoted a great deal of his time fiddling for children. Every Saturday, he’d get with Clarence Lambert at his home on the Rockhouse Fork of Big Ugly or at Sam Lambert’s porch on Green Shoal. Some of Sam’s daughters sang and played the guitar. Jim’s grandson Jack Lucas said they played a lot of gospel and bluegrass music but could only remember one tune Jim played: “Ticklish Reuben.” Jim had to give up the fiddle when he got old but always put an almost deaf ear up against the radio and listened to Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry. He died in 1956.
Charlie Paris, a long-time resident of the Laurel Fork of Big Ugly Creek, remembered Jim Lucas coming to visit his grandfather Durg Fry in the thirties. He said his grandpa Durg lived on Laurel Fork in a home with cracks between the logs so large that “you could throw a dog through” them. He was a fiddler himself, as were his brothers Leander and Jupiter and his nephew Frank Fry. Charlie said Durg played with the fiddle under his chin and never sang or played gospel or bluegrass. He patted his feet when playing and, in his old age, would hold himself up by a chair and dance to music. One time, when he and Jim were hanging out on Laurel Fork, Jim reached his fiddle to a younger fella named Carl Toney and said, “Your turn.” Carl was a very animated fiddler and when he took off playing “Orange Blossom Special” Jim just shook his head and said, “I’ve quit.”
As we headed out of Big Ugly, we dropped Eunice and Doska off at their homes and said our “thank yous” and “goodbyes.” Billy suggested leaving the creek by a different route than Green Shoal, so we could see the grave of Ed’s great-great-grandfather, Money Makin’ Sol Mullins. That sounded good to me, I said. Plus, it was such a beautiful day; the extra drive with our windows down would be a nice way to take in all the fresh air and scenery.
We drove out of Big Ugly on a paved road and then over a mountain that dumped us at a gravel road on the Ellis Fork of the North Fork of Big Creek in Boone County. Sol’s grave was a few feet from the road in a weed patch. His headstone read, “SOLOMON MULLINS, FEB 23, 1782 NC – AUG 28, 1858, A GENIUS IN HIS OWN TIME.” Quite an epitaph for a counterfeiter. On the back of the headstone were the names of his sons: Peter (Ed’s ancestor) of Harts Creek, Alexander of Kentucky, Eli of Kentucky and Spencer of Harts. The footstone mentioned his military service and provided conflicting dates from what was given on his headstone: “SOLOMON MULLINS, 16 KY MILITIA, WAR OF 1812, FEB 20, 1782 – AUG 25, 1858.”
His wife’s headstone listed the names of their daughters: Matilda, Jenny, Margaret, and Dicie (Hollena Brumfield’s grandmother).
Back at Billy’s, we pulled out the Fry family history and looked up information on Lewis “Jupiter” Fry (1843-1924), the fiddler Mayme referenced as her father’s favorite.
“Known as Jupiter because he was interested in astronomy, he owned a telescope and predicted the weather to his family and associates,” the history read. “He also owned a typewriter and typed his own contracts. He never hired a lawyer when he was hauled into court, but represented himself and pleaded his own case. Once when he was involved in a feud over his land, he shot a man. The victim survived and Jupiter was not sentenced. He was a tall, thin man who was well-known for his fiery temper. Lewis owned and operated a grocery store at Gill of Lincoln County for many years. He also operated a push boat, running it from Gill to Guyandotte to buy groceries.”
Jupiter’s younger brother Anderson “Durg” Fry (1849-c.1938) was also a fiddler. He married a first cousin, Drusilla Lucas, and lived at Durg Frye Hollow on the Laurel Fork of Big Ugly. Drusilla was a sister to Boney Lucas and a first cousin to George Fry.
“Durg, of average height, was truly a mountaineer, a great hunter who practically stayed in the woods: coon hunting, trapping, hunting ginseng and catching ground hogs,” according to the Fry history. “He sold lots of animal furs, butchered cattle and hogs for others, and also made molasses. He smoked a pipe and chewed tobacco. He had a dog he called ‘Rat,’ and told others that when he died he hoped the Lord gave him back Rat and 1,000 acres for hunting ground. Durg loved to tell stories and relate stories of the past.”
Mayme Ferrell had told us nothing about Leander Fry (1856-c.1896), who seems to have been the best of the family fiddlers. The Fry history simply said that he “could play the violin well,” while the Lambert Collection had mentioned him as “a great fiddler” who “used to come down [the Guyan River to Guyandotte] from Lincoln on timber to play the fiddle.” Billy said his father used to play a tune called “The Ballad of Lee Fry”. Leander’s biography was vague: so far as we could tell, he never married nor had any children.
Bill Duty, Billy Adkins, Chloe Mullins, Durg Fry, Ed Haley, fiddlers, genealogy, Green McCoy, history, Hollena Brumfield, John Wesley Berry, Jupiter Fry, Mayme Ferrell, Milt Ferrell, Milt Haley, music, writing
I asked Mayme who her father’s favorite fiddler was and she laughed and said, “I suppose my daddy’s favorite fiddler was a man named Jupiter Fry. He married my daddy’s aunt.”
Billy asked, “Was he a brother to Durg Fry?”
“Yes,” she said. “You smart people. He went to New York one time and won a fiddling contest. He used to live down the creek here on the Laurel Fork of Big Ugly. My daddy used to go around there to Uncle Jupiter’s — they didn’t have much — and they would play poker all night long with just two or three pennies. They were very, very poor. Not many people were very well off. You wouldn’t think it by looking at this dilapidated place now but we had quite a bit. All the buildings are torn down. We had plenty — enough for us. We had some money here all the time. But Uncle Jupiter was the best fiddler in the country at one time.”
I asked Mayme if Jupiter was a right- or left-handed fiddler and she said, “Oh goodness, I don’t know. I don’t remember Uncle Jupiter. I remember Durg. He played some, too. He was right-handed. Durg would play and dance while he played. He did the hoedown. He did enjoy dancing.”
I asked Mayme if she remembered hearing any talk about Milt Haley and Green McCoy and she said, “Heavens, yes. Why didn’t I listen? Daddy talked about them. There was a great deal said but I just dismissed it from my mind. I didn’t try to remember it. Did Hollene Ferguson come in there in any way? She was a real kind person. I was there a few times. Incidentally, my mother’s daddy built that house.”
What was his name?
“John Wesley Berry. He was a riverboat captain and a carpenter from Guyandotte.”
I said, “I know Hollene put people up for the night and I’ve heard that Ed Haley had gone through there and stopped off and played the fiddle.”
“Well, Ed Haley frequented the place in this area,” Mayme said. “He’s been on this creek, too.”
She wasn’t sure if her father ever met Ed but she heard him talk about him.
Brandon figured they knew each other based on some interesting genealogical connections: one of Milt Ferrell’s uncles married Money Makin’ Sol Mullins’ granddaughter, while another uncle married a sister to Chloe Mullins (Ed’s grandmother).
I got kinda excited about Mayme confirming Ed’s trips through Big Ugly.
“Well see, we knew that he’d been to see Bill Duty a lot,” I said. “And we have found that Milt Haley, his father, was actually living in Bill Duty’s household at one time.”
“Milt Haley lived with Bill Duty before Bill Duty ever moved here, when he was still down in Logan County,” Brandon said, “and we think Milt may’ve moved up this way with Bill when he moved up here.”
“Well, I think maybe he did,” Mayme said quickly. “I think maybe he did. You’re awakening some old memories. I think he lived with them.
“Was there music in Bill Duty’s household?” I asked.
“I don’t know about that,” Mayme said. “Bill Duty married my daddy’s aunt.”
“Let me ask you a question,” I said to Mayme. “In the community back when you were a little girl did most people talk about the Haley-McCoy affair, or did they try not to talk about it for fear that somebody might hurt them or something?”
“I don’t think that there was any fear of being hurt,” she said. “They were not quite as notorious as the Hatfields and McCoys were.”
Just before we left, Mayme “made” me promise to come back and play for her in the fall.
I asked her for a favor: Could I go up into the old part of her house?
“Sure,” she said, “Just be careful.”
When I opened the door from the living room leading into the original cabin, I was so overwhelmed with sights and smells of the nineteenth century that it chilled me to the bone. It was dark, except for a little light streaming through a window, and everything was dilapidated, dusty, damp — and in most cases, ruined. A lot of the furniture had just rotted or collapsed to the floor and there were piles of papers everywhere at my feet. It was as if the people living there fifty years ago had just walked out, blew out the candles and never went back. Upstairs was the same. The whole experience made such an impression on me that I later began packing a picture of Mayme’s cabin in my fiddle case and eventually used it as a graphic on one of my albums.
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