Anthony Shelton, Appalachia, Barboursville, Barboursville Cemetery, Brandon Kirk, Cabell County, genealogy, history, Hollena Brumfield, Lincoln County Feud, Margaret Shelton, photos, Phyllis Kirk, Randolph Moss, West Virginia, William S. Kelley
Al Brumfield, Ann Brumfield, Appalachia, Bruner Hollow, Edward W. Clark, Fine Malinda Nester, Fourteen Mile Creek, genealogy, history, Hollena Brumfield, Jefferson Lucas, John S. Nester, Lewis Adkins, Lincoln County, Louisa Wiley, notary public, Paris Brumfield, Sulphur Spring Fork, West Virginia
Al Brumfield, Alice Dingess, Appalachia, Big Branch, Bridge Branch, Browns Branch, Caroline Brumfield, Cass Gartin, Charles Adkins, Charley Brumfield, Daisy Brumfield, Dave Dingess, Dry Branch, Elias Vance, Enos "Jake" Adkins, genealogy, George W. Dillon, Georgia Brumfield, Hamlin, Harts, Harts Creek, Harts Creek District, Hendricks Brumfield, history, Hollena Brumfield, Hollena Ferguson, Ike Fry Branch, James Brumfield, justice of the peace, L.C. Denison, Lettie Adkins, Lincoln County, Little Harts Creek, Martha J. Dial, Olga Brumfield, Paris Brumfield, Rachel Spry, Rhoda Gartin, Shingle Branch, Sidney Brumfield, W.L. Ferguson, Walton Brumfield, Ward Brumfield, Wesley Ferguson, West Fork, West Virginia, William Adkins, William Workman
The following deed index is based on Deed Book 50 at the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office in Hamlin, WV, and relates to residents of the Harts Creek community. These notes are meant to serve as a reference to Deed Book 50. Researchers who desire the most accurate version of this material are urged to consult the actual record book.
James and Sidney J. Brumfield to Olga Brumfield land for $245 30 June 1909 p. 46-47
L.C. and Rhoda Gartin to William Adkins 32 acres Dry Branch 2 June 1893 Elias Vance, JP p. 58-59
Caroline and Charles Brumfield to William Workman 50 acres Forks of Ike Fry Branch for $180 28 July 1904 Isaac Fry, JP p. 100-101
Allen and Hollena Brumfield to William Workman 195 acres Brown’s Branch for $200 26 June 1900 Isaac Fry, JP p. 101-102
W.L. Ferguson, Trustee of George W. Dillon (bankrupt), to William Workman and Rachel Spry 7 acres Mouth of Bridge Branch 18 November 1907 p. 103-104
Charles and Caroline Brumfield to William Workman and Rachel Spry 10 acres at Mouth of Little Harts Creek for $175 16 September 1909
Calls of Land Allotted to Rachel Spry from the Paris Brumfield Estate (Lot 7) 80 acres below Little Hart p. 106
Allen and Hollena Brumfield to Sarah Mullins and Mary A. Vance 25 acres Bridge Branch for $12 24 December 1903 p. 108-109
Charles Brumfield to Caroline Brumfield Three Tracts on Ike Fry Branch 07 August 1894 p. 111-112
Hollena and Wesley Ferguson, Ward Brumfield, Hendrix and Georgia Brumfield, to Charlie Brumfield 100 acres Guyan River 20 March 1907 Charles Adkins, JP p. 113-114
David and Alice Dingess to Caroline Brumfield 50 acres on Lower Branch of Little Harts Creek for $200 02 January 1909 Charles Adkins, JP p. 114-115
Walton and Daisy Brumfield to L.C. Denison 156, 59, 72 acres on Big and Shingle Branches of Big Ugly Creek 18 July 1908 p. 292-294
Enos and Lettice M. Adkins to Martha J. Dial 93 acres East Fork of Big Harts Creek for $250 12 June 1893 Elias Vance, JP p. 308-309
Note: I copied all of these deeds.
Appalachia, Barboursville, Barboursville College, Blood in West Virginia, Brandon Kirk, Cabell County, Daughters of the American Revolution, Davis Creek, Eastman Community College, George A. Proffitt, ghosts, Guyandotte River, history, Hollena Brumfield, Huntington Advertiser, James I. Kuhn Presbyterian Church, James River-Kanawha Turnkpike, Lincoln County Feud, Logan County Banner, Logan Democrat, Mary G. Moss, Morris Harvey College, Old Toll House, photos, Phyllis Kirk, R.A. Alderman, Robert W. Douthat, S.V. Matthews, Virginus R. Moss, 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.
Amon Ferguson, Anna Terry, Annie Dingess, Ashland, Barboursville, Beatrice Adkins, Bessie Adkins, Bill Adkins, Caroline Adkins, Caroline Brumfield, David Kinser, Ed Brumfield, Enos Dial, Fisher Adkins, Fisher B. Adkins, genealogy, Georgia Brumfield, Harts, Herbert Adkins, history, Hollena Brumfield, Howard Stone, Huntington, Inis Kinser, Jessie Brumfield, Kentucky, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Monaville, Perna Toney, Robert Dingess, Verna Johnson, West Virginia
An unnamed local correspondent at Harts in Lincoln County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on 24 April 1925:
Mr. and Mrs. Fisher Adkins of this place were shopping in Huntington Saturday.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dingess of Logan county were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Adkins of Harts Sunday.
Mrs. Anna Terry and Mrs. Perna Toney were the dinner guests of Mrs. Charles Brumfield Sunday.
Miss Jessie Brumfield of Harts was shopping in Huntington Saturday and was the guest of Mrs. Toney Johnson of Ashland, Ky., and was accompanied by Mr. Howard Stone of Barboursville.
Mrs. Hallena Ferguson and Bill Adkins and Georgia Brumfield were seen out car riding Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. David Kinser, of Monaville were visiting her mother, Mrs. John Adkins, of Harts Sunday.
Mr. Amon Ferguson and Edward Brumfield of Hamlin were visiting home folks at Harts Sunday.
Mr. Enos Dials of this place was looking after business matters in Logan Saturday.
Al Brumfield, Albert Dingess, Alice Adams, Alice Dingess, Andrew D. Robinson, Appalachia, Bill Fowler, Chapmanville District, Enzelo Post Office, Everett Dingess, Ferrellsburg, genealogy, George W. Adkins, Glen R. Dial, Halcyon Post Office, Harts, Harts Creek, Harts Creek District, Harts Post Office, Henry S. Godby, Herbert Adkins, history, Hollena Brumfield, Hollena Ferguson, Ina Adams, Isham Roberts, James Mullins, John S. Butcher, Lawrence Riddle, Lewis Dempsey, Lincoln County, Logan County, Nora St. Clair, Queens Ridge Post Office, Ross Fowler, Sallie Adkins, Sallie Farley, Shively Post Office, Sol Riddell, Spottswood Post Office, Thomas H. Buckley, Ulysses S. Richards, Warren Post Office, West Virginia, Whirlwind Post Office
Big Harts Creek, located in Harts Creek District of Lincoln County, West Virginia, and Chapmanville District of Logan County, West Virginia, has hosted seven post offices: Hearts Creek/Hart’s Creek/Hart/Harts (1870-present), Warren (1884-1894), Spottswood (1901-1908), Halcyon (1906-1923), Whirlwind (1910-1950s), Enzelo (1916-1922), and Shively (1926-?). Today, one post office exists at the mouth of Harts Creek in the town of Harts.
Enzelo Post Office (1916-1922) — located in the Logan County section of Harts Creek
Ulysses S. Richards: 22 March 1916 – 15 December 1922
Post office discontinued: 15 December 1922
Halcyon Post Office (1906-1923) — located near the mouth of Marsh Fork of West Fork of Harts Creek in Logan County
Albert Dingess: 3 May 1906 – 20 April 1921
Everet Dingess: 20 April 1921 (took possession), 11 May 1921 (acting postmaster), 21 September 1921 – 14 July 1923
Post office discontinued: 14 July 1923, mail to Ferrellsburg
Hearts Creek Post Office (1870-1872) — located at the mouth of Big Harts Creek in Lincoln County
Henry S. Godby: 3 November 1870 – 20 November 1872
Post office discontinued: 20 November 1872
Hart’s Creek Post Office (1877-1880) — located at the mouth of Big Harts Creek in Lincoln County
William T. Fowler: 2 March 1877 – 9 September 1879
Andrew D. Robinson: 9 September 1879 – 2 December 1880
Post office discontinued: 2 December 1880
Hart Post Office (1881-1910) — located at the mouth of Big Harts Creek in Lincoln County
Andrew D. Robinson: 6 July 1881 – 12 November 1883
Isham Roberts: 12 November 1883 – 3 June 1884
Thomas H. Buckley: 3 June 1884 – 1 July 1884
George W. Adkins: 1 July 1884 – 25 May 1885
William E. “Ross” Fowler: 25 May 1885 – 30 October 1891
Post office discontinued: 30 October 1891, mail to Fourteen
Allen Brumfield: 19 January 1900 – 6 September 1905
Hollena Brumfield: 6 September 1905 – 25 July 1907
Hollena Ferguson: 25 July 1907 – 30 July 1910
Post office discontinued: 30 July 1910, mail to Queens Ridge
Harts Post Office (1916-present) — located at the mouth of Big Harts Creek in Lincoln County
Lewis Dempsey: 5 April 1916 – 12 April 1921
Herbert Adkins: 12 April 1921, 30 April 1921 (assumed charge) – 31 December 1953 (retired)
Glen R. Dial: 31 December 1953 (assumed charge), 22 January 1954 (acting postmaster), 8 March 1955 (confirmed) – 29 July 1966 (removed)
Shively Post Office (1923-?) — located on Smokehouse Fork of Big Harts Creek in Logan County
A. Butcher: 1923-1924
Ina E. Adams: 4 December 1925 (acting postmaster), 18 January 1926 – 2 August 1935
John S. Butcher: 2 August 1935 (assumed charge), 18 September 1935 (acting postmaster), 25 October 1935 – 1 January 1949
Mrs. Sallie Farley Adkins: 1 January 1949 (assumed charge), 10 June 1949, 1 October 1949 (assumed charge) – 22 July 1958 (resigned)
Nora St. Clair: 22 July 1958 (assumed charge) –
Spottswood Post Office (1901-1908) — located near the mouth of Trace Fork in Logan County
Alice Adams: 9 October 1901 – 4 August 1905
Alice Adams Dingess: 4 August 1905 – 31 December 1908
Post office discontinued: 31 December 1908
Warren Post Office (1884-1894) — located near the mouth of Smokehouse Fork in Lincoln County (today Logan County)
Andrew D. Robinson: 17 June 1884 – 17 January 1894
Post office discontinued: 17 January 1894
Whirlwind Post Office (1910-1950s)
L.W. Riddle: 31 March 1910 – 25 May 1911
Sol Riddell: 25 May 1911 – 30 April 1914
James Mullins: 30 April 1914 –
NOTE: For more information regarding the Whirlwind PO, see other posts at this blog.
Source: U.S. Appointments of Postmasters, 1832-1971, maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration; Polk’s West Virginia State Gazetteer & Business Directory, 1923-1924 (Detroit, MI: R.L. Polk & Company, 1923).
America Dalton, Andrew Elkins, Appalachia, Arena Ferrell, Ben Walker, Blackburn Lucas, Brad Toney, Cabell County, Catherine Adkins, Charles Adkins, Charles Lucas, D.K. Adkins, Emma Duty, Floyd Enos Adkins, Floyd Fry, genealogy, George Alderson, George Duty, George Hill, George Staley, Greenville Perry, Harts Creek District, Hezekiah "Carr" Adkins, history, Hollena Brumfield, Irvin Lucas, Isaac Gartin, John Clay Farley, John F. Duty, John H Fry, John W. Berry, L.H. Burks, Levina Hager, Lincoln County, M.B. Adkins, Malinda Johnson, Melissa Adkins, Nancy Alford, Overton Elkins, Patterson Ferrell, Patterson Toney, Sarah A. Brumfield, Sarah Berry, U.S. South, Wade S. Lambert, West Virginia, William Bell, William R. Lucas, Wirt Toney
Based on land books available at the Lincoln County Clerk’s office, the following persons owned property with buildings in Harts Creek District in 1903. Many of the persons listed below were business owners. The value of their structures are provided:
Hollena Brumfield, $750
Catharine Adkins, $300
George Hill, $250
Blackburn Lucas, $250
Bradford Toney, $250
Floyd E. Adkins, $150
L.H. Burks of Cabell County, $150
George and Emma Duty, $150
John H. Fry, $150
Wirt Toney, $150
George Staley, $75
D.K. and M.B. Adkins
John C. Farley
Wade S. Lambert
William R. Lucas et als
Nancy A. Alford
J.W. and Sarah Berry
Sarah A. Brumfield
L.H. Burks of Cabell County
John F. Duty
Isaac G. Gartin
Blackburn B. Lucas
Benjamin W. Walker
Source: Land Book (1901-1904), Lincoln County Clerk’s Office, Hamlin, WV.
Benjamin Adkins, Billie Brumfield, Brady Dingess, Charles Adkins, Cole Branch, Dick Adkins, Draxie Webb, Earl Black, Enoch Adkins, Enoch Adkins Jr., Garnet Willis, Harts Creek, Hollena Brumfield, Lace Adkins, Lincoln County, Mary Jane Brumfield, Maurice Adkins, Mayme Adkins, Minerva Adkins, Mollie Brumfield, Pearlie Brumfield, West Virginia, William Brumfield
The Charles Adkins Family Cemetery, which I visited on April 19, 2014, is located at the mouth of Cole Branch of Big Harts Creek in Lincoln County, West Virginia.
W A on unmarked rock
Billie Brumfield, Jr. (20 February 1910-12 March 1955; s/o William “Bill” and Hollena “Tiny” (Adkins) Brumfield
Hollena Brumfield (13 December 1873-11 December 1963); d/o Charles and Minerva (Dingess) Adkins; m. William “Bill” Brumfield
Brady Dingess (7 January 1917-30 January 1960); PFC 1330 BASE UNIT AAF WWII; s/o Tom “Stink” Dingess and Mary Jane Brumfield
Mary Brumfield (25 September 1897-November 1917); d/o William “Bill” and Hollena (Adkins) Brumfield; born September 1898; died 26 June 1917
Mollie Brumfield (8 April 1899-May 1917); d/o William “Bill” and Hollena (Adkins) Brumfield
Pearlie Brumfield (May 1895-1902); d/o William “Bill” and Hollena (Adkins) Brumfield; not listed in 1900 census
Bill Brumfield (2 July 1871-2 November 1930); s/o Paris and Ann B. (Toney) Brumfield; born July 1875
Garnet J. Willis (11 March 1909-26 September 1938); d/o William “Bill” and Hollena (Adkins) Brumfield; m1. Edward Miller; m2. Harvey Willis
Mayme Adkins (March 1912-November 1913); d/o Stonewall “Dick” and Weltha (Dingess) Adkins
Lace Adkins (1916-1916); s/o Stonewall “Dick” and Weltha (Dingess) Adkins
Ward Adkins (10 October 1914-17 October 1914); s/o Charles “Reb” and Laura (Tomblin) Adkins
Charles Adkins, Sr. (1850-1922); s/o Isaiah and Mary Jane (Toney) Adkins; born March 1850; died 12 July 1919
Minerva Adkins (1852-1925); d/o Harvey S. and Patsy (Adams) Dingess; m. Charles Adkins; born November 1850; died 10 September 1920
Stonewall Adkins (18 June 1889-10 December 1936); named Richard “Dick” Adkins; s/o Charles and Minerva (Dingess) Adkins
Enoch Adkins, Jr. (30 November 1933-30 November 1933); s/o Enoch and Cynthia (Moore) Adkins
Enoch Adkins (1881-1933); s/o Charles and Minerva (Dingess) Adkins; born November 1883; died 20 September 1933
Maurice Adkins (20 September 1928-25 December 1928)
Benjamin Adkins (1881-1938); s/o Charles and Minerva (Dingess) Adkins; born 1 November 1880; died 18 July 1938
Draxie Webb (20 November 1929-29 June 1963); d/o Enoch Adkins and Emerine Browning
Up on Hill
Earl Black (1910-1956); s/o Nim Black and Martha Alford; died 15 November 1956
Appalachia, banjo, Bell Morris, Billy Adkins, Brandon Kirk, Bud Workman, Bumble Bee, Charley Davis, crime, Dave Dick, Don Morris, Ed Haley, Greasy George Adams, Green McCoy, Green Shoal, Harts, history, Hollena Brumfield, Hollene Brumfield, Hugh Dingess, Irvin Workman, Milt Haley, Peter Mullins, Ranger, Route 10, Toney, writing
Back at Billy’s, the subject of the “murder table” came up again. Supposedly, the table upon which Milt and Green had eaten their last meal somehow eventually ended up in the possession of Billy’s family. He suggested visiting his aunt Don Morris, who as a child had eaten from the table many times. Taking the cue, we loaded in the car and drove up Route 10 to Don’s house. Don lived at Toney, a small residential settlement just upriver from Green Shoal.
Don was a pleasant lady — very eager to help — and was aged probably in her seventies. After all the introductions, I asked her about the table. She said her grandfather Irvin Workman must have gotten it soon after the 1889 troubles. “He had it way back when he was raising his family,” Don said. “Then my dad, Bud Workman, when he moved out with my mother, they took the table with them.”
I asked, “Who told you that table was the Haley-McCoy table?” and she said, “My dad. It was in his father’s house before it was in his.”
“And you said that people would come by to see it?” I asked. “Who would come to see it?”
Don said, “I imagine it was relatives of the people that was involved in it.”
Don seemed to remember the table well, so I asked her for some paper so I could try to sketch it based on her memories. I started out asking about the length of the table, the style of its legs, and so forth…estimating everything by comparing it to Don’s current table. It was like doing a police sketch. After I had a rough drawing of the table, I asked her about the size and angle of the bullet holes.
Satisfied, I asked Don if she’d heard anything about Milt and Green’s death.
“It was pretty complicated,” she said. “Well, they got those men in and fed them. They knew they was gonna kill them all the time and they let them eat first. I can’t remember too much about the actual thing, because they didn’t talk too much about it in the family. Grandpa did sometimes. Well, I understood they shot them around the table after they ate. But it was execution style. Now, I couldn’t swear to it.”
Don figured the only light in the room was a kerosene lamp in the middle of the table. There was a story, Brandon said, that Hugh Dingess “shot out the lights” just before the murders — which presumably meant this lamp. While this may have occurred (perhaps so no one could witness the subsequent murders and thus testify in a future trial), it seemed unlikely. I mean, the room was probably really crowded if only half the people supposedly there were actually there and shooting in the room would have seemed dangerous. Of course, shooting a kerosene lamp could have set the whole house on fire.
“Well, I have heard they did, and I’ve heard they didn’t, so I couldn’t say which is true,” Don said of the lights. “I don’t think they could have without burning down the table.”
Brandon asked, “Was one of the men supposed to have played music before they killed him?” and she said, “He sang, didn’t he? It seems to me he played the banjo and sang a song. I guess they thought since they was going out anyway they might as well go out in style.”
I said, “Now, I heard that the wives went down there to try to plead for their lives and they turned them away. Have you ever heard that?”
Don answered, “Yes, I’ve heard that, but whether or not it’s true I’m not sure. My husband’s mother Bell Morris was related to the McCoys.”
I said, “Just for the record, what happened to that old house?” and she said, “I bet it burned.”
Don wondered why I was so interested in Milt Haley and I explained that I was researching the story of his son, Ed Haley, of which he was a very important part. I asked if she ever heard Ed play and she said, “I’m not sure, seems that maybe I did a long time ago. I think Haley played with Dave Dick. Dave played banjo. He was blind.” Brandon said Charley Davis had described Dick as a “pretty good” banjo-picker who mostly played “little ditties” like “Bumble Bee”. He lived downriver around Ranger but stayed in Harts for a week or so at a time with different families, sometimes playing for dances. Kids used to imitate him by bumping into things.
After mentioning Ed’s name to Don our conversation dwindled off to me asking if she knew people like Peter Mullins, Greasy George, or Hollena Brumfield. She gave answers like, “Well, I used to know a Peter Mullins. His foot was turned back. I remember watching him go up the hill there at the house.” As for Hollena Brumfield: “I knew one down here at this big old house at Hart. They put in a restaurant and you know it didn’t do too well. She said, ‘We got hotdogs on ice.’ Yeah, I knew those people.”
Later that evening, I expressed an interest in visiting Alice Workman. Alice was Billy’s aunt by marriage and lived right across the street in Harts. More importantly, she was the daughter of French Bryant, who, according to some sources, had murdered Milt Haley and Green McCoy at Green Shoal.
French Bryant, according to Billy’s notes, was born in 1855 or 1858 in Logan County, (West) Virginia. His parents were Rufus and Lucy Adeline (Caldwell) Bryant. French married Polly Dingess, a daughter of William and Emaline (Stollings) Dingess, and settled on Marsh Fork, a tributary of the West Fork of Harts Creek, in Logan County. He and Polly had six children: Carolina (1880), Edna (c.1882), Almeta “Allie” (1885), Fannie (1889), Hollena (1890), and Auglin (1896).
Just after the turn of the century, in 1902, French married Augusta Bryant, a cousin, and had one child, Gladys (1903). In 1904, he married Martha Ann Carter (1882-1964) and had nine children: Clarence (1905), Ruth (1907), Ruby (1907), McDonald “Doc” (1909), Robert Lee (1911), Wilson “Wig” (1913), Pearl (1915), Ann (1917), and Alice (1921). He and Martha raised their family on Piney Creek, a small West Fork tributary in Logan County.
French died on February 9, 1938 and was buried on the ridge in the head of Piney and Hugh Dingess Branch.
I wondered if Alice might be willing to talk about her father with us. I pictured her as an ancient woman — much like Roxie Mullins — who was full of stories and family heirlooms. I asked Billy if we were going to stir up any trouble asking her about Milt and Green’s murder and he laughed and said, “I don’t think so. Just don’t forget — you get to go back to Nashville. I have to live here.”
Alice greeted us at her back door. I was surprised to find that she was a relatively young woman, just slightly older than I. Billy told her that we were doing research on some of the old-timers around Harts and wondered if she had any old pictures of her father. Within a few seconds, she produced an incredible photograph of French Bryant in his younger days. Instead of looking like an “axe-wielding murderer” or a “feuding hillbilly with a chip on his shoulder,” he was a real “stud” — neatly groomed, in shape, and sporting a respectable suit (bowtie and all).
Alice said she didn’t know much about her father’s early life because he died when she was a teenager. In his younger days, he had supposedly worked as a stonecutter and made railroad ties. “They say he was a real dancer in his younger days,” she said, smiling. He eventually settled in the head of Piney Creek, where Alice was raised.
Billy told Alice that I was interested in the old vigilante mob in Harts — people like French Bryant, his grandpa Fed, the Brumfields… She sort of laughed, saying, “Yeah, yeah,” but didn’t offer any information. We got the impression that she probably didn’t know anything about her father’s supposed participation in the 1889 mob and that if she did she wasn’t going to tell us about it. She did say that her father loved Hollena Brumfield and used to visit her in Harts. We knew that he had named a child after her.
Alice basically remembered her father in his graying old age. She said he kept the mustache of his youth, packed a pistol only for protection, and seldom drank anything. He was baptized about two years before he died. His widow (Alice’s mother) thereafter settled on a West Fork farm — the same place where Lawrence Haley and I had stopped when looking for directions to Milt’s grave in 1993.
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.
Thereafter, on January 9, 1890, came this powerful bit of news in soft faded print: “John Runyon, Deputy Sheriff of Lincoln county, and Benjamin Adams, of Harts Creek, registered at the Oakland House Saturday [Jan. 4]. Mr. Runyon says that every thing is quiet on Harts Creek, and thinks that the Brumfield-McCoy war is at an end.”
The implications of this tiny find were huge. First of all, John Runyon didn’t leave the Harts area for Kentucky immediately after Milt and Green’s murders, as we had been told. Secondly, he had distanced himself enough from the trouble by January of 1890 to provide the local paper a quote concerning the status of the feud. So what had happened between November 1889 when The Ceredo Advance reported the feud as having a Brumfield faction and a Runyon faction, and January 1890 when Runyon dubbed it a “Brumfield-McCoy war?” The newspapers themselves were confused because one of them said regarding the factions at work in the feud: “if two sides [it] could be said to have…”
Obviously, by January of 1890 Runyon had found a way to separate himself from the trouble, perhaps at the expense of Ben Adams. But why would he be so bold as to register at the Oakland House (a popular meeting place for timbermen) at the same time as Adams? And what was his reaction when the newspaper reported him there with “old Ben Adams”? Surely, the Brumfields and Dingesses felt their joint occupancy at the hotel was just too suspicious — as did we. No doubt, Runyon’s statement that “every thing is quiet on Harts Creek” changed immediately.
We were also fascinated by the fact that Runyon was a Lincoln County deputy-sheriff. Previously, we had only heard that Runyon was the owner of a small “grab-a-nickel” store near the mouth of Harts Creek. How did he get to be a deputy? Wouldn’t that position have been best served by someone from a large family (meaning many votes for the sheriff) and with deep roots in the area? Maybe we had underestimated Runyon. His status as a deputy-sheriff was perhaps an indicator that he had more power and was more of a threat to local businessmen and politicians like Al Brumfield than we’d figured.
Also, as an officer of the law, Runyon should have played a prominent role in settling the 1889 troubles, first in regard to Hollena and Al’s shooting, then later in regard to Milt and Green’s murder. The fact he was a local lawman and a suspect in the crime may have explained why the Brumfields resorted to using vigilante justice in handling Milt and Green. What kind of justice could they have expected from Runyon and his friends in the county seat after all, if he was an enemy or maybe even behind the hiring of Milt and Green in the first place? We wondered, did the Brumfields ask him to accompany their posse to fetch Milt and Green in Kentucky, or was he already a suspect in the crime? Obviously, there were a lot of questions along those lines.
Al Brumfield, Allen Martin, Andrew D. Robinson, Andrew Robinson, Anthony Adams, Appalachia, Ben Adams, Ben Robinson, Boardtree Branch, Chloe Gore, Chloe Mullins, crime, David Robinson, Dicy Adams, Elizabeth Abbott, genealogy, general store, Greasy George Adams, Green McCoy, Harts Creek, Harvey Adams, Henderson Dingess, history, Hollena Brumfield, Hugh Dingess, Jackson Mullins, John Frock Adams, John M. Adams, John Robinson, Joseph Adams, Joseph Robinson, Lincoln County Feud, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Lucinda Brumfield, May Adams, Meekin Branch, Milt Haley, Peter Carter, Rhoda Robinson, Sallie Dingess, Solomon Adams, Spicie McCoy, Susan Abbott, Ticky George Adams, timber, Trace Fork, Victoria Dingess, Viola Dingess, West Virginia, Wilson Abbott
Ben Adams — the man who supposedly hired Milt Haley and Green McCoy to assassinate Al Brumfield — was born in 1855 to Joseph and Dicy (Mullins) Adams on Big Harts Creek in Logan County, (West) Virginia. His older sister Sarah married Henderson Dingess and was the mother of Hollena Brumfield, Hugh Dingess and several others. He was a first cousin to Jackson Mullins, Milt Haley’s father-in-law, and a brother-in-law to Chloe Mullins, Milt’s mother-in-law, by her first marriage to John Adams.
In 1870, 17-year-old Ben lived at home with his mother, where he worked as a farmer. He was illiterate, according to census records. His neighbors were Andrew Robinson and Henderson Dingess, both of whom had married his sisters (Rhoda J. and Sally). In the next year, according to tradition, he fathered an illegitimate child, William Adams, who was born to Lucinda Brumfield (niece of Paris).
In 1873, Ben married Victoria Dingess. Victoria was born in 1856 and was a first cousin to Hollena Brumfield and Hugh Dingess. The marriage made for an interesting genealogical connection: Ben was already Hugh’s uncle; now he was also his brother-in-law, as Hugh was married to Victoria’s sister, Viola (his first cousin). Ben’s daughter Sally, who was named after Hollena’s mother, later married a cousin of Spicie McCoy, Green’s wife. For all practical purposes then, Ben Adams was genealogically connected to all sides of the feud — making it a true intra-family feud from his perspective.
For the first decade or so of his marriage, Ben lived with his mother on family property, although he did acquire land and open a general store business. In 1880, he was listed in the Lincoln County Census with his mother Dicy, aged 63, and family. He was 26 years old, Victory was 23, Sally was six, son Charlie was four, daughter Patsy A. was two, and son Anthony was a few months old. George Greaar, age 20, was a boarder. In 1881, he purchased 25 acres on the Meekin Branch of Trace Fork. Three years later, he was listed in a business directory as the proprietor of a general store. At that same time, his brother-in-law and neighbor Henderson Dingess was a distiller.
Later in the decade, Ben fathered three more children: George “Greasy” (1885), Harvey (1886), and May (1889). In 1889, the time of Milt Haley’s ambush of Al Brumfield, Adams owned 260 acres on the Boardtree Branch of Trace Fork valued at $1.00 per acre in Logan County.
Anthony Adams — Ben’s brother and ally in the 1889 troubles — was a prominent timberman on Harts Creek. Anthony had been born in 1849 and was the husband of Pricie Alifair Chapman, Burl Farley’s half-sister. In 1884, Adams was listed in a business directory as a blacksmith. In 1889, he owned two 50-acre tracts of land, one valued at $3.50 per acre with a $30 building on it, the other valued at $2.00 per acre. By that time, he had three sons of fighting age who may have participated in the feud: Solomon Adams (born 1869), Horatio “Rush” Adams (born 1871), and Wayne Adams (born 1874), as well as a son-in-law, Harrrison Blair (born c.1867).
A quick examination of the Adams genealogy gives a clue as to Ben’s other 1889 allies. First there was brother “Bad John” Adams. Adams was deceased at the time of the Haley-McCoy incident, but he had been married to Chloe Gore — mother of Emma Jean (Mullins) Haley. He had three sons of fighting age in 1889: Joseph Adams (born 1859), John Frock Adams (born 1861), and Ticky George Adams (born 1865)…as well as son-in-law Sampson Thomas.
Rhoda J. Robinson was a sister to the three Adams brothers. She had several children who may have allied with Ben: David Robinson (born 1860), Ben Robinson (born 1866), John R. Robinson (born 1868), and Joseph Robinson (born 1870). There was also brother Solomon Adams, who may have offered his loyalty to Ben, along with sons John M. Adams (born 1869) and Benjamin Adams (born 1867), and sons-in-law David Robinson and Peter Carter (c.1873).
As for Ben himself, he stayed busy with timber after the feud. According to an 1896 article from the Logan County Banner: “Benj. Adams, of Hart, is hauling some fine poplar from trace fork.” In 1901, he married Venila Susan Abbott, a daughter of Wilson and Elizabeth (Workman) Abbott, and had at least eight more children (born between 1901 and 1921). Not long after his remarriage, he was accused of murdering a local postman named Jim Allen Martin — and nearly went bankrupt paying for his legal defense. He died in 1910 and was buried on the hill near the mouth of Trace Fork.
In West Virginia, Brandon was busy interviewing local folks about Ed Haley and his father’s 1889 murder. He first dropped in on Earl Brumfield, a grandson to Al Brumfield, who lived at Barboursville, near Huntington. Earl was born in 1914 — nine years after Al’s death — and was a Depression era schoolteacher in Harts. At the time of Brandon’s visit, Earl was bed-fast and withered with age and in poor health and was barely able to speak plainly. Brandon started asking him general questions about the Brumfields.
Earl said Al Brumfield was bad to chase women throughout his marriage to Hollena. He had a mistress in a little town downriver named Betty Meade, who bore him two illegitimate children. When Hollena found out about his affair, she enlisted the help of her brother-in-law Jim Brumfield to kill the woman. Supposedly, Al knocked Jim’s gun away just before the shooting started and did it with such force that he broke his younger brother’s arm.
Earl said Al had other affairs. One time, Hollena was in the yard and saw him with a woman hid behind a log across the river. Outraged, she fetched a shotgun and shot at him every time he poked his head out from the log. This, of course, sounded like a tall tale — but it surely had a glimmer of truth in it.
Apparently, Al’s infidelity was a constant source of trouble in his marriage. Earl laughed telling about it, but it would have made for a terrible situation, especially since Hollena was a shattered beauty. Maybe Al’s infidelity was what drove Hollena to have her reported affair and love child with Fed Adkins in the early 1890s. Either way, Hollena had her revenge when Al was sick and near the end of his life. According to Earl, she often confined him to the upstairs of their house while she stayed downstairs. If he needed something or was feeling contrary, he would peck his cane on the floor to get her attention.
Admiral S. Fry, Andrew D. Robinson, Andrew Robinson, Appalachia, Big Branch, Bill Fowler, Chapmanville, Confederate Army, Dicy Roberts, Elias Adkins, Francis Fork, G.S. Fry, general store, Green Shoal, Harts, Harts Creek, Harts Creek District, Henry H. Hardesty, Henry S. Godby, history, Hollena Brumfield, Isham Roberts, Jack Johnson, James P. Mullins, Joseph Workman, Marsh Fork, Martha Jane Brumfield, merchant, Milt Haley, Paris Brumfield, Sallie Dingess, Sand Lick Run, teacher, Thomas H. Buckley, timber, West Fork
The town of Harts — originally named Hart’s Creek — was established at the mouth of Big Harts Creek in the summer or fall of 1870 when Henry S. Godby, a peg-legged Confederate veteran from Chapmanville, petitioned the government for the creation of a post office called “Hart’s Creek.” At that time, Green Shoal was the most thriving spot in the Harts section of the Guyandotte River. A.S. Fry was its chief businessman and postmaster. Godby’s effort to establish Harts as a postal town was a short-lived venture. By 1876, Green Shoal still reigned supreme in local affairs. According to a business directory, it could boast a gristmill, free school and a Baptist and Methodist church. T.H. Buckley and G.S. Fry were physicians, while Joseph Workman was a clergyman.
Around that time, in 1876, Bill Fowler — a local general storekeeper — petitioned the government for the creation of a “Hearts Creek” post office and established his business headquarters at Harts. Fowler had migrated to the area in 1847 and married a daughter of Elias Adkins, an early settler. After a short stint as a schoolteacher in 1871, Fowler was by 1876 a general storekeeper and owner of some 30 acres of land on the Marsh Fork of West Fork. In March of 1877, he became postmaster of “Hearts Creek;” he was also a saloon keeper according to oral tradition. As his business interest generated profits (primarily in timber), he extended his land holdings. In 1878, he purchased 75 acres on the Guyan River from Abner Vance, valued at $5.00 per acre. The following year, he added a 90-acre tract to his estate on the west side of the Guyan River, valued at $3.25 per acre, which he purchased from brothers-in-law, Aaron and Enos Adkins.
Throughout the period, Fowler was unquestionably the chief businessman in Harts. Curiously, Andrew D. Robinson replaced him as postmaster of Hearts Creek in 1879. Robinson was a Union veteran and former township clerk, justice of the peace, and secretary of the district board of education. He was a brother-in-law to Ben Adams, as well as Sallie Dingess (Hollena Brumfield’s mother). In 1881, Robinson shortened the name of the Hearts Creek post office to “Hart.”
The Green Shoal area, meanwhile, fell into a state of decline as a local economic center. A.S. Fry gave up his postmaster position in 1878. He maintained his local business interests well into the next decade, then turned them over to his son George and left to pursue a hotel business in Guyandotte, a town situated at the mouth of the river in Cabell County. The Green Shoal post office was discontinued in 1879.
By 1880 — roughly the time that Milt Haley came to Harts from “over the mountain” — Harts reigned supreme as the hub of local business affairs. In that year, according to census records, the population of the Harts Creek District was 1,116. There were 1,095 white residents, fifteen blacks and six mulattos. 93-percent of locals were born in Virginia or West Virginia, while six percent were born in Kentucky. Most men worked at farming, although A.S. Fry and Paris Brumfield both had stores. In 1882-1883, Brumfield was listed in a state business directory as a distiller.
At that time, Bill Fowler was the undisputed kingpin of the local business scene. According to Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, published around 1884, Fowler owned 200 acres of land at the mouth of Harts Creek and 254 acres on Mud River. He also owned 200 acres on Sand Lick Run, a branch of Francis Fork, based on land records at the Lincoln County Courthouse. “That situated on Hart creek produces well,” Hardesty wrote, “and has a good orchard and a part is heavily timbered with oak, poplar and pine; coal and iron ore are quite abundant.” Fowler was the father of four small children, recently born to his second wife.
There were other notable business folks in the neighborhood, namely Isham Roberts, who operated a store near Fowler on the Guyandotte River. He was the son of Dicy Roberts and the stepson of Jack Johnson, a local farmer. In the early 1880s, he married Martha Jane Brumfield, a daughter of Paris Brumfield, and opened a store on rental property at the mouth of Harts Creek. By 1884, when Hardesty wrote his history of the county, he referred to Roberts as “a prosperous young merchant in Hart Creek district, having his headquarters on Guyan river, at the mouth of Big Hart creek. His prices are the most reasonable and the business very extensive.” Roberts was the postmaster at Harts from 1883 until 1884, when Dr. T.H. Buckley replaced him.
James P. Mullins, who operated a general store building above Roberts at Big Branch, was also a budding merchant. By 1882, Mullins was the owner of a $200 storebuilding situated on a 203-acre tract of land. Over the next few years, he added another 55 acres on lower Harts Creek and 150 acres on Francis Fork (this latter tract likely acquired for timbering purposes). Hardesty referred to Mullins as being “of good business qualifications and prosperously engaged in merchandising, with business headquarters on Hart creek, one and one-half miles from its mouth.” In that year, Mullins purchased an additional 93 acres on Harts Creek. One year later, the value of his store building increased by $100, hinting at his growing prosperity.
At that point, Ida gave us her account of the Haley-McCoy murders.
“Some man that lived down there at Hart had a business and Al Brumfield had a business,” she said. “Al Brumfield, he wanted to get rid of him so he would get all the trade and so he was supposed to paid them so much to kill him. And they hid as they come out of Harts Creek, they said, one Sunday afternoon, I believe. They were hired to shoot and kill Al, but they hit the woman. She was riding on behind him on a horse. I can remember seeing her. She married again after that — a Ferguson. She wasn’t a very large woman. She died with a big hole in her cheek there where they shot her. They said they went into Kentucky and got them and they was supposed to delivered them back to the law over at Hamlin, our county seat. And they stopped down there to stay overnight. That was supposed to been the house of John Fry across the track there, I was told. That was a stop-off place. Do you know where Lonnie lives now? Well now, there’s where the log house stood.”
Ida stopped, thinking, then said, “I used to hear Dad and them talk about it. He said where their horses were tied in those fences… You know how they used to build the old log rail fences? He said they tore that place apart that night, those horses and all the shooting and everything going on. And said when they were eating supper that night — Green McCoy and Milt Haley — said one looked over to the other’n and told him, said, ‘You better eat all you want because this will be our last meal.’ Sure enough it was. Started shooting them in the bed and they was handcuffed together. I don’t know what hour it was but it was some time in the nighttime, you know, after they’d gone to bed. Now Grandma Cat was at that house that night when those men were killed. And they said when that was going on she hid up a chimney — big open fireplace. She hid up in there. It was kindly a rough time, they said.”
I asked Ida if she ever heard anyone mention the names of the vigilantes.
“Who was in the pack?” she said, laughing. “People just surmised it, I guess. I wasn’t told but my daddy, he always thought Uncle Charley — that was one of his brothers — was in on it. He was a huge man, Uncle Charley was. As well as I remember, he was real fair-complected. He finally got killed afterwards. Uncle Charley, I went to his funeral. He was a big, fat round-faced fellow and he had bullet wounds in his cheeks. Back then, the undertakers, you know, they didn’t have all that stuff to work with then.”
Brandon asked Ida if Bill Brumfield was in the gang and she said, “Uncle Bill? Now, I never did hear his name mentioned. He was accused of murdering, you know, but not them.”
Billy said, “They was about 20 or 30 of them. Wild times.”
I asked Ida if she ever saw the “murder house” and she said, “No, but my mother told me about it. At that time, she was going to school around at what they call the Toney Addition. And she said when they went out of Green Shoal that morning to school, you know, Milt and Green was laying out in the yard still handcuffed together. Mother thought they was colored people. They were beat up, I guess, and shot, you know, and blood all together — that’s the reason she thought they looked like colored people. That’s what she said. Now, she seen them. And I remember tales they’d left a little stream of blood run down through the yard. There was blood all over. I remember that very clearly, her telling us that.”
Ida said the old Fry home at the mouth of Green Shoal was torn down years ago, probably when the site was “built up” by the railroad around 1904.
To get to Ida’s house, we drove a short distance up Green Shoal Road, a somewhat narrow strip of pavement that snaked its way alongside the creek. We were welcomed inside by some of her family, who knew Billy and Brandon. Just inside the door, I spotted Ida sitting in a chair near a bed and a fireplace. In the initial small talk, we learned that Ida was born on Green Shoal in 1914 and had lived there all of her life. Brandon began by showing her a picture of her grandfather, Paris Brumfield. She said her father Jim Brumfield (1880-1965) had spoken of him.
“Dad said he kindly mistreated their mother,” she said. “He drinked an awful lot. The children were afraid of him. Now, I can remember Dad talking about seeing him get killed. Uncle Charley was the one killed him, his own son. I think Dad said he was about 16 years old — maybe older. Dad said he was hid up on the hill behind a foddershock when Uncle Charley shot him. Said he was laying down the drawbars and said Charley told him not to come any farther and he just kept going and he shot him in the back. He said he saw the dust jump out of his jacket. He’s told us kids that lots of times.”
Jim was practically raised by his brother Al in Harts because his mother died not too long after his father’s murder. In 1900, he was with his brother John at Chapmanville when they were attacked by the Conleys. He was stabbed and carried a piece of the knife blade in his body for the rest of his life. A little later, he fell out with his older siblings (Al, Rachel, and Charley), who he felt had “swindled” him out of some of the family property.
Brandon asked Ida if she remembered going to visit Hollena Brumfield and she said, “I never was there. Dad didn’t think much of her as a sister-in-law.”
Ida said she’d kinda been raised away from all the Brumfields around Harts.
“They used to come here, but we never was down in there too much,” she said. “The first time I was ever in Uncle Charley’s house is when I attended his funeral. And Uncle Bill’s house, I never was there at all. But I always liked him. He was here quite a bit, Uncle Bill was, you know. Spent a little time in jail for killing a man. I was afraid of him, though. He was a little guy and wore a little sandy mustache. He dodged around up in here after they found this man dead. He’d been dead quite a while and he’s supposed to got beat up at Uncle Bill’s house. I think he beat him up with an axe handle as well as I remember. They carried him back in there someplace. That’s what we were told. Billie killed Uncle Bill. Said he was drinking whiskey out of a half a gallon jar and Billie slipped around the house and shot him. They thought that was over his mother, too. They was really rough down in there.”
Ida said she heard about the Haley-McCoy killings from her mother Letilla Dial and grandmother Cat Fry (the infamous “Aunt Cat”). Ida’s mother Til was raised by Sarah Lucas, who married a Brumfield and then later a Workman. Hearing the name Lucas caused me to ask Ida if she knew anything about Boney Lucas.
“Oh, yeah,” she said. “They was raised up on the creek here. Boney Lucas — I’m not sure but I believe that was Aunt Sarah Workman’s brother. I can remember hearing her talk about Boney Lucas. Now, they were raised down here someplace in a log house.”
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