A.C. Rouse, A.R. Browning, Appalachia, Bill Blizzard, Blair, Blair Mountain, Charleston, crime, deputy sheriff, District No. 17, Don Chafin, Ferndale, Frank Keeney, George Munsy, H.M. Miller, history, Hubert Ferrell, J.E. Wilburn, J.L. Workman, John Gore, Lens Creek, Logan, Logan Banner, Madison, Marmet, merchant, Mine Wars, Mother Jones, Savoy Holt, sheriff, T.C. Townsend, United Mine Workers of America, Warren G. Harding, West Virginia
Here is one article from the Logan Banner relating to Bill Blizzard and the Armed March on Logan County, WV, popularly remembered today as the Battle of Blair Mountain:
Blizzard Gloated at Gore’s Death, Said
“That’s fine! What’s the matter you haven’t killed any others?” William Blizzard, mine workers’ officer, was quoted as saying after he heard of the death of Deputy Sheriff John Gore and two companions at the hands of a party of union miners, according to testimony Monday at Blizzard’s trial upon an accessory to murder indictment growing out of the armed march against Logan county in 1921. Blizzard is charged with having participated in the plans that caused the death of George Munsy, one of the Logan defenders killed with Gore.
Hubert Ferrell, of Ferndale, the witness who quoted Blizzard’s words, declared the mine workers’ office made the statement in a speech to the armed miners gathered at Blair on the afternoon of the day after they had returned from Blair mountain where the Logan “defenders” were killed.
“It don’t seem like it would take any more nerve to kill Don Chafin (Logan county sheriff) and his thugs than it would a sheep-killing dog,” Ferrell testified Blizzard continued in his speech. “Right tomorrow I want you to fix up to go over the top. It don’t matter about losing a few men. I want you to go over to Logan and let the men out of jail and tear the thing down to the ground.”
Under cross-examination Ferrell added that Blizzard had told the men he wanted them to eat dinner the next day “on the jail house step.”
Ferrell, according to his testimony, failed in his first effort to visit the men who participated in the armed march when he was stopped by guards at the mouth of Lens Creek where the marchers first assembled. He denied that he had ever desired to join the march and said he went there only to see if there were any men there whom he knew. T.C. Townsend, one of the defense attorneys, cross-examined Ferrell vigorously upon that point. The witness said he was on his way to Charleston to buy clothing at the time. Later he said he went to Blair intending to go on to Logan and visit his half-brother, but was prevented by the armed men in Blair from either going on or returning and eventually returned home on a special train after federal troops took charge of the situation.
While he was at Marmet at the mouth of Lens Creek and unable to go farther up the creek because he could not give the guards the password and did not belong to a union, Ferrell said Fred Mooney, secretary treasurer of District No. 17, United Mine Workers, and a man who was said to be C. Frank Keeney, the district president, were there in an automobile. Mooney, the young man told the jury, asked the guards if any guns and ammunition had arrived and on being told he had none informed them that two truck loads had left Charleston. The man pointed out as Keeney told the men he did not believe they were sufficiently prepared and that they would do better to go home, “get prepared and then go over and get Don Chafin and his thugs.”
On the day before Gore and Munsy were killed, Ferrell said Blizzard also made a speech from the porch of the school house that served as base for the armed forces on the union side at the mountain and asked what was the matter that they were not having more success and told them they ought to go over and “get Chafin and the thugs and get it over with.”
Mrs. J.E. Wilburn, wife of the miner-preacher who was one of the principal witnesses for the state now serving a sentence of 12 years for his part in the killings on Blair mountain, testified that guns and ammunition were stored in the parlor of their home. She did not know Blizzard, she said, but men who took the arms into the house said Blizzard had brought them, she testified.
A.R. Browning, a merchant at Blair, told the court that members of the armed forces there got merchandise at his store and told him to charge it to the United Mine Workers of America. The things they got, he said, included shoes, overalls, and other clothing and also some women’s clothing, which he thought, they got for their wives and daughters.
H.M. Miller, a constable at Madison, said that just before Keeney made a speech at the ball park near there which he counselled the marchers to return to their homes, he had a conversation with the union president in which Keeney said that “if the federal troops would keep out he would take these men and go through Logan with them.”
Earlier in the day, J.L. Workman and A.C. Rouse of Marmet had testified as to the occurrence during the assembling of the men on Lens Creek. Workman told of “Mother” Jones’ efforts to get the men to go back to their homes and her declaration that she had a telegram from the President of the United States, which he said Keeney called a “fake.” Later that day both Workman and Rouse said Savoy Holt in a speech from the running board of an automobile said the union officials were their but could not address the men and that he had been instructed to tell them that the telegram was not genuine and that they were to “go on.” Rouse said Keeney and Mooney were in this automobile and that Blizzard was in another nearby. A man he did not know spoke from the running board of the automobile in which Blizzard was riding, telling the men to go on, and Blizzard’s car drove up Lens Creek followed by the armed hordes.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 6 July 1923