Appalachia, Bank of Huntington, Bob Greever, Bud McDaniel, C.W. Jones, Cabell County, Frank James, Henlawson, Henry Lawson, history, Huntington, Island Creek, Jesse James, Logan, Logan County, Merrill Mines, Robert T. Oney, Tennessee, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the James Gang’s robbery of a Huntington bank…and the fate of a safe:
Historic Safe In Offices Merrill Mines, Henlawson
Bank Safe Robbed by Jesse James’ Gang at Huntington in 1875 Now in Fire-proof Vault at Henlawson
Used As Storage For Old Files
The Merrill Mines at Henlawson have a safe in their payroll office which has a unique history.
The safe is being used by the company as a storage place for old records and is in a fire-proof vault.
But it was not always thus.
According to Bob Greever, payroll clerk, who became interested in the history of the safe and clipped a news story from a Huntington newspaper to support his story, the depository was once in the old Bank of Huntington on Third avenue and Twelfth street and was robbed by members of Jesse James gang, who made their getaway with $14,500 on Twelfth street to Fourth avenue, thence to Tenth street and out Tenth street to the hills, closely pursued by a hastily formed posse.
Old-timers in Logan still remember the posse which followed the gang to Logan and lost its trail at the forks of Island Creek long enough for the gang to make their escape to Tennessee.
Reports came back to Logan that the posse overtook the band in Tennessee, killed one of the gang, Bud McDaniel, and arrested another by the name of Webb or Keen. The man the police arrested was brought back to West Virginia and was sentenced to the penitentiary for 20 years. Most of the money was recovered.
An excerpt from the news article describing the bank robbery reads:
“On Monday, September 6, 1875, between the hours of 1 and 2 o’clock a group of men later discovered to have been members of the dreaded James gang, descended on the Bank of Huntington and, at the point of a pistol, forced Robert T. Oney, cashier, to open the bank’s safe in order that they might rifle the contents.
“They complimented the cashier on his courage and insisted on restoring to him an amount of money shown to be his by a credit slip on the counter.
“Reaching the outside of the bank the four men sprung into their saddles, brandished their pistols in the air and galloped away, yelling like Comanche.”
“It was definitely learned that Jesse James was not among them, but there was uncertainty as to whether or not Frank James was in the party. Colder Young was present and may have been leader of the detachment.”
C.W. Jones, general manager of the Merrill Mines, said that the old safe, which weighs every bit of two tons, was first owned by Henry Lawson, lumber operator at Henlawson.
Lawson brought the safe from Huntington by pushboat and put it in his lumber offices on the site of the Merrill Mine offices.
When the Merrill Mines opened their workings, the safe was left near its original site and a fireproof vault was built around it.
The safe is showing the ravages of nearly a century of service. The combination is broken, it squeaks on its hinges, and some of the cement which is encased between steel plates on the safe doors is beginning to crack.
However, the safe is in its final resting place, the door of the vault is too small to get the safe through.
Logan (WV) Banner, 13 May 1937
Andrew Lewis, Appalachia, Aracoma, Battle of the Island, Big Creek, Boling Baker, Coal River, Dingess Run, Elizabeth Madison, George Booth, Gilbert Creek, Guyandotte River, Hatfield Island, history, Island Creek, John Breckinridge, Kentucky, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mingo County, Montgomery County, Native American History, Native Americans, Spruce Fork, Thomas Madison, Virginia, Washington County, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of information about Logan’s early history printed on April 26, 1937:
Land On Which City Of Logan Now Stands First Owned by Breckinridge
The tract of land on which the city of Logan now stands and the Island–now “Hatfield’s Island”–once belonged to John Breckinridge, scion of an old Kentucky family and leader of the attacking party which broke the control of the Shawnee Indians in the Guyandotte valleys in the “Battle of the Islands.”
Princess Aracoma was killed in this battle and Boling Baker, her renegade white husband, was banished forever from the lush river valley where he had spent his days since his desertion from the English forces in Virginia.
Captain Breckenridge led the attack which made the valley safe for white settlers, and, in appreciation of his services, the new government allowed him 300 acres at the mouth of Island creek.
The land grant was made early in the 1780s along with a few others on Island Creek, Dingess Run, Gilbert Creek, Big Creek and the Spruce Fork of Cole River.
Surveying parties from Montgomery and Washington county, Virginia, braved the wilderness and apportioned the land in Guyan Valley and vicinity to early Indian fighters who had contributed their services to opening the valley for white settlement.
Included in the surveys made by deputy surveyors from Montgomery county were grants apportioning much of Island Creek, Spruce Fork, and Dingess Run to persons whose names are still remembered in the county has holders of much of this county’s land.
In these early surveys Andrew Lewis was given 3000 acres on Island Creek along with 2000 acres on Big Creek, and 3000 acres on Gilbert Creek.
Thomas Madison was given 2000 acres on Spruce Fork, 1000 acres on Dingess Run, and 2000 acres on Gilbert Creek.
Others who figured in this early allocation of land were Elizabeth Madison, who was given much of Spruce Fork; George Booth, who was awarded several thousand acres along Guyan River and on Island Creek; and George Booth [same name listed twice in this story], who received much of the land along Island Creek.
Later in the waning years of the 19th century other grants were made by the new government with the stipulation that settlement be made immediately, but these early grants were rewards for work well done in opening the valley of the Guyandotte for settlement.
Appalachia, Bob Hatfield, Cap Hatfield, Carrara, Devil Anse Hatfield, Elias Hatfield, Elizabeth Hatfield, Elliott Hatfield, F.C. McColm, genealogy, Hatfield Cemetery, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Huntington, Island Creek, Italy, Joe Hatfield, Johnson Hatfield, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mary Hatfield, McColm Granite Company, Nancy Hatfield, R.E. Trevey, Rose Hatfield, Sarah Ann, Tennis Hatfield, Troy Hatfield, West Virginia, Willis Hatfield
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the statue of Anderson Hatfield at the Hatfield Cemetery on Island Creek:
Hatfield Statue is Shipped from Italy
A statue of “Devil Anse” Hatifeld, which has been recently completed by a world famous sculptor in Carrara, Italy from a model drawn by F.C. McColm, of Huntington, has been shipped to that city where it will be placed on display, before erection at the grave of Captain Hatfield, near his home on Main Island Creek, Logan county.
The statue shows the late “Devil Anse,” standing erect, typifying the stalwart, West Virginia mountaineer, in a characteristic pose, with slouch hat, loose long coat and baggy trousers.
The pedestal, which is being made by the McColm Granite Company, is thirteen feet high. There is no epitaph, merely the words, “Captain Anderson Hatfield, 1839-1891,” and “Levicy Chafin, his wife, 1842–.” The statue is being erected by his family. There is a space at the side of the monument for the thirteen children, who are: Johnson, William A., Robert L., Nancy, Elliott R., Mary, Elizabeth, Elias, Troy, Joseph D., Rose, Willis E., and Tennis S.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 17 March 1922. Note: The Banner printed an incorrect date for Anse Hatfield’s death year.
Memorial Unveiled To “Devil Anse” Hatfield
Magnificent Statue Unveiled at the Family Burying Ground Last Sunday Before Friends.
ERECTED TO MEMORY OF STATE’S MOST NOTED MAN
Carved from Italian Granite by a Noted Sculptor in Carrara Arriving Here Last Week
The magnificent statue of Anderson Hatfield, better known throughout this section of the nation as “Devil Anse” Hatfield, was unveiled Sunday afternoon at the family burying ground near his old home on Upper Main Island Creek.
Preparations had been made for a large crowd and a free dinner had been prepared, but due to the condition of the roads and to the fact that showers fell in the afternoon hundreds of his friends were kept away. About 500 people braved the threatening clouds to attend and gazed upon a handsome marble figure standing 13 feet in height, typifying the deceased mountaineer in his daily walks of life.
The majestic statue is erected to the memory of one of the most noted characters that ever lived in West Virginia. It is erected to the memory of a life that was crowded with thrilling events, but in this body, that witnessed and participated in many historical events, there ran a strain of human kindness never exceeded.
In keeping with the well known hospitality of the Hatfields, his relatives had prepared a bountiful repast for all that visited their home Sunday and the food was all that could be desired. His children and grandchildren were there in large numbers and many of the friends of the family.
The statue stands in the family burying ground and the full life size figure stands majestically overlooking the hills and valleys were “Devil Anse” in his lifetime was wont to roam as lord and master of all he surveyed.
The statue is of Italian granite and was carved by a noted sculptor in Carrara and is set upon a granite pedestal. The shaft contains the name of the noted old leader, together with the dates of his birth and death, the name and date of birth of his wife. Space is left on other portions of the statue for the names of his thirteen children.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 14 April 1922.
Appalachia, Aracoma, Bluestone Valley, Boling Baker, Deskins Addition, Guyandotte River, Hatfield Island, Henry Mitchell, history, Island Creek, John Breckinridge, John Dempsey, John Dingess, Joseph Workman, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Montgomery County, Nancy McNeely, Native American History, Native Americans, Nimrod Workman, Peter Dingess, Shawnee, Tazewell County, Virginia, West Virginia, William Dingess, Wythe County
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Logan’s earliest Anglo settlers in a story printed April 1, 1937:
First White Settler To Make His Home In Logan Lived on Hatfield Island
The first white settler to make his home near Logan was James Workman who was with the force of men who struck the blow that broke the power of the Shawnee in the valley of the Guyandotte.
He was a member of the group of white settlers who pursued Boling Baker from a settlement in the Bluestone valley to the island that is now known as “Hatfield Island” and there burned an Indian village and mortally wounded Princess Aracoma. Boling Baker escaped.
After Workman had a glimpse of the beautiful lush valley of the Guyandotte, it took little persuasion by John Breckinridge, who had been granted much of the valley after the battle of the Islands to get Workman and his two brothers Joseph and Nimrod to make settlement there, Breckinridge was forced to settle the land by the law of 1792 in order to hold title to it.
Workman and his two brothers came to the island in 1794 and built a cabin and planted a few acres of corn. In 1795 and 1796 the brothers planted the same land and James, who was a man of family, brought his wife and children from their old home in Wythe (now Tazewell) county, Virginia, where they continued to live until about the year 1800 when they moved to a farm nearby which was later owned by Henry Mitchell.
The first recorded permanent settlement was made by William Dingess, son of Peter Dingess, a German. Dingess was the oldest in a family of eleven children.
He was born in Montgomery county in 1770 and married Nancy McNeely. He purchased a survey of 300 acres, which covers the present site of the courthouse and a portion of the land across the river which is now Deskins addition.
Dingess moved to his survey in 1799 and made his home. John Dempsey came with him and built a cabin on the island, but afterwards moved to Island Creek.
William Dingess was said to be almost a giant in strength, but so peaceable that no one could induce him to fight. He was a relentless Indian fighter in the Guyan Valley, however. A story is told that he was with a force of whites who pursued a band of Indian marauders as far as the falls of the Guyan where they killed several braves.
Dingess cut a portion of the skin from a forearm of one of the braves and tanned it using it for a razor strop until his death.
The first settler had no children by his first wife. In 1800, Peter Dingess and John Dingess joined him and built their homes in the fertile land on each side of the river near the islands. Other settlers followed in time and the little settlement grew to a thriving frontier town.
Abraham Lincoln, Appalachia, Barnabus, Ben Creek, Betty Caldwell, Betty Hatfield, Bob Hatfield, C.C. Lanham, Cap Hatfield, Charles Dardi, Charleston, deputy sheriff, Devil Anse Hatfield, E. Willis Wilson, Elias Hatfield, Elliott R. Hatfield, F.M. Browning, Fayette County, feud, genealogy, governor, Halsey Gibson, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry D. Hatfield, Hibbard Hatfield, history, Holden, Huntington, Island Creek, J.O. Hill, Jim McCoy, Joe Hatfield, John Caldwell, John J. Jackson, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, L.W. Lawson, Levicy Hatfield, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lundale, Marion Browning, Mary Howes, Mate Creek, Matewan, Matilda Chafin, Mingo County, Nancy Carey, Nancy Mullins, Nathaniel Chafin, Omar, Pike County, Pikeville, Pittsburgh, pneumonia, R.A. Woodall, Randolph McCoy, Rebecca Hatfield, Rose Browning, sheriff, Tennis Hatfield, Tom Chafin, Troy Hatfield, Tug River, W.R. Eskew, West Virginia, Wharncliffe
The following news items from the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, provide some history about the final years of Levisa Hatfield, widow of Anse Hatfield:
MRS. HATFIELD BETTER
Mrs. Levicy Hatfield, widow of Ance Hatfield, continues to recuperate from a serious illness and is now able to walk about the home of her daughter, Mrs. F.M. Browning, of Holden, where she has been cared for. She is 84 years old.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 03 June 1927
Mrs. Hatfield Hurt
Mrs. Lovisa Hatfield, widow of the late “Devil Anse” Hatfield, is suffering from injuries received in a fall at her home on Island Creek Sunday. She hurt her hip and shoulder and forehead and her condition was such as to cause some concern, yet she was able to sit up yesterday. Two or three of her daughters are helping to take care of her. She is 85 years old.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 20 September 1927
DEVIL ANSE’S WIDOW, AGED 86, RECOVERS FROM PNEUMONIA
In recovering from her recent severe illness Mrs. Levisa Hatfield, widow of the late “Devil Anse,” has again demonstrated her remarkable vitality. Though in her 87th year, she is now recovering from pneumonia with which she was stricken on December 28. Monday of this week her lungs began to clear up, and her son, Sheriff Joe Hatfield, said yesterday that she seemed to be assured of recovery.
So critical was her illness for several days that half a dozen physicians were summoned to her bedside. These included Dr. H.D. Hatfield, L.W. Lawson, J.O. Hill, Brewer and Moore as well as Dr. E.R. Hatfield, of Charleston, a son of the aged patient.
Mrs. Hatfield celebrated her 86th birthday at the Hatfield homestead near the head of Island Creek on December 20.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 18 January 1929.
Devil Anse’s Widow Died Early Today
Mrs. Levisa Hatfield Succumbs Unexpectedly In 87th Year
10 Living Children
Hers Was Life of Storm And Stress for Several Decades
Funeral services for Mrs. Hatfield will be held at 2:30 Sunday at the Hatfield cemetery on Island Creek.
Mrs. Levisa Hatfield, widow of “Devil Anse” of Hatfield-McCoy feud fame, died at the family homestead up near the head of Island Creek at about 8 o’clock this morning. Though she was frail and had been in ill health all winter, the news of her passing caused much surprise and regret among relatives and friends outnumbered. Still, her condition yesterday was unsatisfactorily, indicating she had suffered a backset.
Mrs. Hatfield celebrated her 86th birthday on December 20. Eight days later she was stricken with pneumonia, and for several weeks her condition was alarming. Despite her advanced age, her indomitable grit and wiry strength and endurance triumphed, having as she did the tender, constant care of her children and other kinfolk, neighbors, and friends.
Hers was a stout heart, otherwise it could not have, withstood the storms that raged about her home and her family for many years. But long before her interesting career ended, peace and contentment had come into her life, and her declining days were brightened by the successes that had come to her children and grandchildren.
The decedent was born and reared on Mate Creek in what was then Logan county but now in Mingo. She was a daughter of Nathaniel Chafin. In her teens she was married to a neighbor youth, William Anderson Hatfield, who shortly thereafter entered the Confederate army and attained the rank of captain. That was a trying experience for a bride, but a longer and more terrifying one came in the early ‘80s when her family became involved in a now historic private war with the McCoys, a large family living on the Kentucky side of the Tug River. Even after the feud ended and a tacit agreement was carried out whereby her family moved back from the Tug and over the county divide and their foes went farther away from the Tug in the opposite direction, tragedies cast their shadows across her pathway. Chief of these was the slaying of her sons Troy and Elias by a drunken miner in Fayette county in 1911. The miner, too, was riddled with bullets after his victims had fallen mortally wounded.
Ten children survive Mrs. Hatfield and three are dead, Johnson, the oldest, having died in 1922 on Ben Creek, Mingo county. The living are: William A. (Cap), who shared with his father the leadership of their clan in the days of the feud, now a deputy sheriff and living at Stirrat; Robert L., Wharncliffe; Mrs. Nancy Mullins, living just above the Hatfield place; Dr. Elliott R., Charleston; Mrs. Mary Howes, at home; Mrs. John (Betty) Caldwell, Barnabus; Sheriff Joe D. Hatfield; Mrs. Marion (Rose) Browning, Holden; Willis, deputy sheriff at Lundale; Tennis, former sheriff.
She is survived by two sisters and a brother: Mrs. Betty Hatfield, widow of Elias Hatfield and mother of U.S. Senator H.D. Hatfield; Mrs. Rebecca Hatfield, of Logan, mother of Hibbard Hatfield, and Tom Chafin, who lives on Mate Creek.
Mrs. Hatfield and devoted to her home and family. And her home as well as herself was widely known for hospitality. There the friend or wayfarer ever found a welcome. She was a member of the Church of Christ and was baptized along with her husband by Uncle Dyke Garrett some years before her husband’s death.
No announcement was made this forenoon as to the funeral arrangements. Squire Elba Hatfield, a grandson, said he supposed the funeral would be held Sunday. Burial will be in the family cemetery.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 15 March 1929
Great Crowd At Funeral of Mrs. Hatfield
Throng Surpassed That of Any Previous Funeral In County
Pictures Are Taken
News of Death of “Devil” Anse’s Widow Travels Far and Wide
Hundreds of relatives and friends and neighbors paid their last tribute of affection to Mrs. Lovisa Hatfield Sunday afternoon. It is declared to be, by persons capable of judging, the largest funeral crowd ever assembled in the county. Perhaps the maximum attendance of the afternoon was no larger than that at the funeral of Charles Dardi last November, but on Sunday people were coming and going for an hour or more before the hour set–2:30–for the services and until the services were concluded.
Early in the afternoon a crowd began to form both at the Hatfield cemetery and the homestead. A cool, steady, stiff breeze made it uncomfortable for those who gathered at the cemetery, with the result that they did not tarry long there; and on account of weather conditions a great many did not leave their cars, which were closely parked along both sides of the highway from Sheriff Joe Hatfield’s home up to and beyond the home of the decedent.
The attendance at Sunday’s rites exceeded that of the funeral of Mrs. Hatfield’s widely known husband, “Devil Anse,” which was held on Sunday, January 9, 1921. At that time there was but a semblance of a highway up toward the head of Island Creek and most of those who attended the rites of the old feudist chieftain rode on a special train that was run that day or walked for a great distance.
At the homestead there were scripture readings, sermons, and tributes by Rev. Joe Hatfield, a nephew of the decedent, of Matewan; Rev. Halsey Gibson and Rev. C.C. Lanham, pastor of the first Methodist church of Logan. Before the cortege left the house R.A. Woodall, local photographer, took pictures of the body at rest in a beautiful metallic casket and of the grandchildren and perhaps others who were grouped on the porch.
At the grave the services were conducted by Rev. W.R. Eskew of Omar and a solo by a Mr. Woods of Huntington featured the singing. Mr. Eskew paid a tribute to the generosity and hospitality of Mrs. Hatfield, to her love of home and her devotion to her children and other loved ones.
As related in Friday’s paper, Mrs. Hatfield died at about 8 o’clock that morning, after having nearly recovered from pneumonia. Her age was 86 years, two months and 25 days. She was a daughter of Nathaniel and Matilda Varney Chafin and was born on Mate Creek, now in Mingo county. Her sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Hatfield of Huntington , Mrs. Nancy Carey, Pittsburgh, and Mrs. Rebecca Hatfield of Logan, and her brother Tom Chafin of Mingo were at the funeral.
All over the country the news of Mrs. Hatfield’s death was flashed and it called forth much comment on the old Hatfield-McCoy feud that for a long time held the close attention evidently of millions of newspaper readers.
An old sketch of “Devil Anse” says he had none of the attributes of “bad men” in his character. He was always recognized as a loyal friend of the many who had some sort of claim to his friendship. Numbered among those who believed he had been right in the position he took during the feud days were the late Judge John J. Jackson, known as the “Iron Judge,” who was appointed to the federal bench by President Lincoln, and the late Governor E.W. Wilson, the former protecting Hatfield when he was called into court, and the latter refusing to honor a requisition of the Governor of Kentucky for the arrest of Devil Anse on a charge of killing some particular member of the McCoy family.
Detectives, real and alleged, had arranged for the capture of Hatfield, spurred by a reward, after they had seen to it that he was indicted on a charge of whiskey selling; in 1888, Judge Jackson, hearing of these plans, sent word to him that if he would appear in court voluntarily the court would see that he had ample protection until he returned to his home in this county.
Uncle Anse appeared and was acquitted of the charge against him. Some of the detectives pounced on him soon after he left the court room, but Judge Jackson summoned all of them before him, threatened to send them to jail, and directed special officers to see that Hatfield was permitted to reach his home. After Hatfield was well on his way, Judge Jackson told the detectives that if they wanted to get him they could proceed, just as the McCoys had been doing for a number of years. They never went.
Captain Hatfield spent the last 20 years of his life peacefully on his farm then in an isolated section of the county. Once he was prevailed upon by some enterprising amusement manager to go on the vaudeville stage but the lure of his home in the mountains soon proved stronger than the lure of the footlights.
In the splendid account of the death of Mrs. Anderson Hatfield, estimable woman who passed away at her home Friday, it was stated that Mrs. Hatfield was one of the last of either the Hatfield or McCoy family directly connected with the feud and that all the McCoy principals are believed to be dead. This last is in error as James McCoy, who resided in Pikeville for many years and latter came here, where he lived with his family for a number of years, and after the death of his wife only a few years ago again returned to Pikeville and is now living there. He is a highly respected and esteemed citizen and was the eldest son of the late Randall McCoy, of Pike county, and was one of the main principals of the feud.
Catlettsburg cor. in Huntington Advertiser
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 March 1929.
Abner Vance, Appalachia, Aracoma, Ben Stewart, Ben White, Bluestone River, Boling Baker, Buffalo Creek, Charles Hull, Clear Fork, Dingess Run, Elias Harman, Flat Top Mountain, genealogy, George Berry, Gilbert Creek, Guyandotte River, Henry Clay Ragland, history, Horse Pen Mountain, Huff Creek, Island Creek, James Hensley, James Hines, James White, John Breckinridge, John Carter, John Cook, Joseph Workman, Kentucky, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Mallory, Native American History, Native Americans, Oceana, Peter Huff, Rockcastle Creek, Shawnee, West Virginia, William Dingess, William S. Madison
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history concerning Boling Baker and Princess Aracoma, dated March 23, 1937:
Dying Words of Princess Aracoma Related In Story Taken From Banner Files
Though much has been written on the history of Logan county, just as much has been forgotten about its early development.
One of the county’s first historians, Henry Clay Ragland, mayor of the city, church worker and editor of the Logan County Banner, recorded some of the high spots of the development of Logan county in a series of articles which he ran in his newspaper during 1896.
It is from this series of articles that the following story of the early settlement of Logan county is taken.
Records show that a large number of white men first set foot in what is now Logan county in the spring of 1777, when Captain Charles Hull with 20 men pursued a band of marauding Shawnees to the site where Oceana was later built. They lost the trail at Oceana and had to turn back. The Shawnees had raided a white settlement near the falls of New River one spring night and had stolen thirty head of horses. The army captain and his men set out in pursuit but the redskins had too great a start.
Huff Creek was given its name on this expedition in honor of Peter Huff who was killed in a skirmish on the banks of the stream as the men returned home. Huff was buried near the spot where he was killed, which is believed to have been near where the town of Mallory now stands.
Other men on this expedition and who returned to the valley of the Guyandotte later and built homes were John Cook, James Hines, William Dingess and James Hensley.
The first white man really to be identified with what is now Logan county was Boling Baker, a renegade white, but the old-timers would not give him credit for being a white man. They said: “He lived with the Injins and that makes him an Injin.” Baker, however dastardly he was, was indirectly responsible for the settlement of Logan county in 1780-85.
The renegade had one great weakness. A weakness that they hung men for in those days. He was a horse thief. He would take a party of Indians a hundred miles through the mountain passes of Logan county to raid a white settlement in order to steal 20 or 30 horses.
Baker had gone into the business on a large scale. At the head of Gilbert Creek, on Horse Pen Mountain, where the mountain rises abruptly with almost cliff-like sharpness, he had stripped bark from hickory trees and stretched it from tree to tree making a pen in which to keep his stolen stock.
Old settlers of the county who have had the story passed down to them from their great-grandfathers say that the pen was somewhere in the hollow below the road which leads to the fire tower on Horsepen Mountain. It was from this improvised corral of Boling Baker that the mountain was named.
But, back to how Baker was responsible for the settlement of the county.
He left his Indian camps on the Guyan river in the fall of 1780 and visited the white settlements in the Bluestone valley in the Flat Top mountain territory. There he told the settlers a story of how he had been captured by the Indians when he was a young man and had learned their ways. He said he had just escaped from the Shawnee tribe known to be hunting in the Guyandotte valley and was on his way back east to see his father and mother who lived in Boston. Shrewd chap, this Baker!
The settlers were taken in by his story and allowed him to remain with them for several weeks during which time he got the location of all the settlers barns well in mind and after a time departed “back east.”
Soon after the renegade left the Bluestone settlement the whites awoke one rainy morning late in autumn and found every barn empty. The Indians had come with the storm which lashed the valley and had gone without arousing a person. Thirty horses from the settlement went with them.
An expedition headed by Wm. S. Madison and John Breckinridge—son of the Breckinridges who settled much of Kentucky—was made up in a neighboring settlement and set out in pursuit of the thieving Shawnees.
They trailed the party over Flat Top Mountain and southwest to the headwaters of the Guyan River by way of Rockcastle creek and Clear Fork. Trail marks showed that the band had gone down the river, up Gilbert Creek to Baker’s pen and thence over the mountain.
Madison and his 75 men did not follow the Indian trail over the mountain but the redskins probably brought their herd of 50 or 75 horses down Island Creek to the Guyan.
The white expedition chose to follow the Guyan in a hope that they would find the party encamped somewhere along its banks. Scouts had reported that a large tribe of Indians used the Guyan valley as its hunting grounds.
Madison’s party followed the river down to Buffalo Creek—named because the white men found such a large number of buffalo grazing in its bottoms—crossed Rum Creek and pitched camp for a night at the mouth of Dingess Run because “Guyan” Green and John Carter, scouts sent ahead to reconnoiter, had reported finding ten Indian lodges in the canebrakes of an island formed by the joining of a large creek and the Guyan river.
The men rested on their guns for the night and the following morning divided into two parties and attacked the encampment from the front and rear.
In the furious fighting that followed, nine of the thirty Indians in the camp were killed and ten or twelve wounded. Only a few escaped the slaughter of the white men. Among those captured was an old squaw 50 or 60 years old, who by her bearing, was obviously leader of the party. She was wounded but refused to talk.
Near midnight, however, following the massacre of the camp the old squaw felt death creeping upon her and called Madison to her quarters, and told him in broken English the following:
“I am the wife of a pale face who came across the great waters to make war on my people, but came to us and became one of us. A great plague many moons ago carried off my children with a great number of my people, and they lay buried just above the bend in the river. Bury me with them with my face to the setting sun that I may see my people in their march to the happy hunting ground. For your kindness I warn you to make haste in returning to your homes, for my people are still powerful, and will return to avenge my death.”
The proud princess died before morning and the white men buried her “near the bend in the river.” The Indian captives were all killed.
Four days later the men returned to the valley of the Bluestone.
Among those who helped Wm. S. Madison rout the Shawnees and who vowed to possess the valley of the Guyandotte for themselves and their children were George Booth, George Berry, Elias Harman, Ben Stewart, Abner Vance, Joseph Workman, Ben White and James White. All these names are familiar in the county today.
After the Indians were pushed to the west, surveyors allotted the land to the first settlers who had dared, with Madison, to come into the wilderness of the Guyandotte and open it up for the white man.
Madison owned several thousand acres of land on Island Creek, Gilbert Creek and Dingess Run. Other fighters were given like parcels of land.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 23 March 1937
Appalachia, Aracoma, Barnabus, Barnabus Curry, Boling Baker, Buffalo Creek, Cham, Chapmanville, Chauncey, Chauncey Browning, coal, Crystal Block, Curry, D.E. Hue, Dehue, Dingess Run, Edward O'Toole, Gilbert Creek, Guyandotte River, history, Horse Pen Mountain, Huff Creek, Island Creek, Jim Gilbert, Litz-Smith Coal Company, Logan Banner, Logan County, Main Island Creek Coal Company, Mallory, Micco, Mountain View Inn, Native American History, Native Americans, Omar, Omar Cole, Peter Huff, Rum Creek, Sarah Ann, Sarah Ann O'Toole, Stirrat, Twisted Gun Lick, West Virginia, William Dingess, William S. Madison
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Logan County place names:
Naming of Logan County Towns and Creeks Related By Logan Banner Reporter
While the first white settlers who entered the county near the middle of the 18th century had to have names for the creeks and runs in order to locate their homes, the children of these first settlers had to have names for each large settlement in order to have their mail delivered to them. Both groups used interesting methods of naming the landmarks.
Early Indian fighters who had contact with Boling Baker and his horse-thieving found little trouble naming the mountain which rises behind Mountain View Inn at the head of Island Creek. Because of the renegade’s custom of using one of the steep hollows for a corral, Captain William S. Madison, an early pioneer, named the mountain Horse Pen. Likewise, Gilbert Creek was named for Jim Gilbert, an Indian scout, who was killed in an Indian skirmish on that tributary of the Guyandotte. Near the place where he was killed there is an old salt lick which is named “Twisted Gun Lick.” The story is told that Gilbert, before he died, hit his gun barrel against a tree to keep the Indians from using it on his comrades. His friends, coming to the lick several hours later, found Gilbert scalped and the twisted firearm lying nearby.
Huff Creek was similarly named for a Peter Huff, whose scouting party was ambushed by a roving band of redskins and Huff was killed in the ensuing battle. They buried Huff on the banks of the creek near the present town of Mallory.
Buffalo Creek, however, received its name in an entirely different manner. The first settlers who hunted in the valley of the Guyandotte found buffalo herds so plentiful on this creek that they called it Buffalo Creek.
Dingess Run was named for a pioneer family of Dingesses which settled in its broad bottoms. William Dingess was the patriarchal head of the family and his children named the run in memory of him.
Island Creek received its name from the Indians who were awed by the beauty of a large creek flowing into the Guyandotte with such force as to cut an entirely separate bed, thus forming an island in the middle of the river. Old timers say that in the early days of the county Island Creek entered the Guyan river at the upper limits of Aracoma. Only during flood time did the creek meet the river at its present point.
As for the towns which have sprung up in the county since coal became king, many were named for prominent people living in them at one time or another or for pioneer families who lived in the towns when the coal companies first came in.
A unique method was used, however, in naming Micco. It received its name from the first letters of the Main Island Creek Coal Co., which formerly operated the mines there.
Omar was named for Omar Cole who was closely associated with the development of the town. The Cole family held, and still holds, extensive mining leases in the vicinity of that mining town.
Sarah Ann acquired its name from the wife of Colonel Edward O’Toole, who was manager of the coal company when the town applied to the government for a post office. The town is generally known as Crystal Block.
Barnabus received its name from Barnabus Curry, a pioneer settler whose home was near the town.
Stirrat was named for Colonel Stirrat, who was manager of the Main Island Creek Coal Company at one time.
Chauncey was named for Chauncey Browning, well-known son of a pioneer family who owned much of the land near that town. For many years the town of Chauncey was not large enough to be made a post office, but after the Litz-Smith Coal Company opened its mines there the town grew to proportions large enough to warrant a post office.
Dehue was given its name in honor of D.E. Hue, the first superintendent who operated the mines there.
Cham, a small place about two and one-half miles above Dehue, got its name from a Chambers family who lived on Rum Creek.
Chapmanville was named for the Chapmans, Curry for the Curry family and Aracoma for the famous Indian princess.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 25 March 1937
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on February 1, 1929:
A. Dingess, prominent merchant of Mud Fork of Island Creek has been quite indisposed at his home with flu.
Mrs. Hugh Workman has been on the sick list for the past week.
Abe Dingess, manager of Dingess’s grocery store here, was called to Mud Fork to see after his father’s business there.
C.M. Gore was a business visitor in Logan Friday.
Wallace Toney has been sick the past week, but we are glad to say is back with his business again.
Mrs. Lisa Salyers has been on the sick list the past week.
Geo. Chapman of this place is out again after a bad spell with the flu.
Appalachia, Bill Staten, Bob Hatfield, Cap Hatfield, crime, Devil Anse Hatfield, Ellison Hatfield, feuds, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Howard Alley, Island Creek, Kentucky, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mingo County, Nancy Hatfield, Paris McCoy, Pike County, Randolph McCoy, Sam McCoy, Tolbert McCoy, true crime, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this story by Howard Alley titled “The Hatfield-McCoy Feud” and dated May 10, 1937:
The Hatfield-McCoy Feud…
“Aunt Nancy” Hatfield, Widow of “Cap” Hatfield, Relates That Historic Feud Actually Started Over An Election Argument When “Uncle” Ellison Was Killed Following Argument With a McCoy
Much has been said and many volumes have been written about the historic Hatfield-McCoy feud which took place in Logan and Mingo counties in the latter part of the last century. Lecturers have said the feud started over a razor-backed hog, and novelists have written that it began when a McCoy married a Hatfield lass and deserted her after he learned that she was to bear him a child. Both theories have their foundation in tradition, but neither Hatfield nor McCoy close to the feud has been quoted as saying either was right. Yesterday the mystery was cleared up. Because it seemed so utterly preposterous that two solid, level-headed mountain families with the solidity of the English for a background could wage a ten-year killing spree over a razor-backed sow when the woods were full of the animals, and because it was equally as improbable that the feud started over unhappy marital relationships when it is an established fact that mountaineers let their offspring take care of their own home life, we decided yesterday afternoon to find out what event was the spark which actually set off the powder magazine of mountain passion which rocked the hills of this section for nearly a decade.
And in the warm sunshine of a late spring Sunday afternoon we sat on the porch of the late William A. (Cap) Hatfield’s rambling frame home on the upper stretches of Main Island Creek and talked to “Cap’s” wife, the last survivor of those who were closest to the Hatfield clan in the feud.
“Aunt Nancy”, who has survived seventy winters and admits that she is “young and has the ‘hang’ of it,” but “don’t think I can do it again”, gazed reminiscently out over the newly-turned acres of her husband’s creek bottom estate, and her eyes grew misty as she told us of the closing years of the last century when Hatfield and McCoy alike expected death at every bend of the creek.
“That feud didn’t start over no ‘hog lawsuit’ and it didn’t start over a Hatfield-McCoy marriage,” Mrs. Hatfield said in a tone that showed plainly her disgust for those writers who had written of the feud and by twisting the facts had capitalized on it. “I’ve got a red-backed book two inches thick here that one of my sons brought to me and said: “Read this, Ma, and you’ll find out why we fought the McCoys.’ I read it–two pages of it–and it’s layin’ in there now with dust on its backs. Not a word o’ truth in it.”
She grew repentant.
“But they have to make their livin’, I guess. You want to know how it started? I’ll tell you. The Hatfields was always a political family, and it was their politics which got ’em into this fight. If they hadn’t gone to that election in Pike county in August of 1882, ‘Uncle’ Ellison would never have been killed and Ellison’s brother, ‘Devil’ Anse would never have been drawn into it. But I’m gettin’ ahead of my story. The way it was, ‘Uncle’ Ellison Hatfield was an officer in Logan county in 1882 and was sent out to arrest Sam and Paris McCoy who was supposed to have killed Bill Staten, ‘Uncle’ Ellison’s brother-in-law. These boys warn’t sons of Randall McCoy, ringleader of the McCoys. They were just cousins. He got the two boys and brought them to Logan county jail in Logan and afterwards testified agin’ them in a trial. The McCoys were ‘sent up’ for the killin’. Then in August ‘Uncle’ Ellison went to Pike county to ‘work’ at the polls, and it was so ordered that he was working for a man that the McCoys were agin’. Well, the only thing that could happen did happen. One of Randall McCoy’s sons, just a little twenty-one-year-old shaver, started a argument with ‘Uncle’ Ellison, and Ellison, who was always too high tempered for his own good, slapped him down. The little feller bounced up, and Ellison slapped him down agin’. But this time he jumped on top of him, and ’bout the time he drawed back his fist, aimin’ to end the fight, a shot rung out and ‘Uncle’ Ellison toppled over. He weren’t dead though. He told his friends to call ‘Devil’ Anse, who come a runnin’, and the McCoys ‘cleared out.’ ‘Devil’ Anse took his brother home and he lived from that Saturday until the next Wednesday. Just before he died, he said to Anse: ‘Anse, I want you to give the McCoys the ‘law’.’ And that’s what ‘Devil’ Anse did. He gave ’em the ‘law’ as he knowed it–and that was just about the only law in them days–and lived to see the justice handed out. And, well, you know as much about what happened after ‘Uncle’ Ellison died as I do. I don’t want to add any more tales to the list.”
We took the hint, and willingly began to talk about the celebration of “Aunt Nancy’s” birthday last September when she fell off her back porch and was told by one of her sons that “she shouldn’t have been trying to turn handsprings at her age.”
“I wasn’t hurt bad enough to keep me from cuttin’ my birthday cake. And I gave Bob the smallest piece because he was so smart about me fallin’.”