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Appalachia, author, authors, Footprints from City to Farm, From the Rio Grande to the Rhine, genealogy, George Martin Nathaniel Parker, history, jails, John B. Wilkinson, Kentucky, Kingsport, Lights in the Old Home Window, Logan, Logan County, Mt. Nebo, North Carolina, Princeton, prison reform, Reservoir Hill, teacher, Tennessee, Tennis Hatfield, West Virginia, writers
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about author George Martin Nathaniel Parker, dated 1926:
WELL KNOWN AUTHOR FINDS LOGAN JAIL BEST MANAGED IN WEST VA.
EATS UNUSUAL DINNER OF PRISONERS
Having inspected more than 100 jails in West Virginia as a humanitarian effort to better conditions for his fellow man, G.M.N. Parker, author, editor, and former Logan school teacher, this week visited the Logan county jail and highly commended the administration of the institution under the jurisdiction of Sheriff Hatfield and the management of Jailer Kummler.
He wrote a description for The Banner giving his impressions of the Logan county institution. The writer was born in Mt. Nebo, N.C., and became a school teacher in his youth. Forty years ago he was persuaded by Judge John B. Wilkinson to come to Logan from Kentucky, where he then was teaching, to take charge of the school here in the old wooden building on Reservoir Hill. He taught here a year.
From the school work, Parker devoted himself to writing books in connection with editorial newspaper work. Of late years, he has made his home at Princeton, W.Va.
Published books of this writer include “From the Rio Grande to The Rhine,” “Lights In The Old Home Window,” and “Footprints From City to Farm.” His latest volume is “The Key to Continent,” now on the press.
“In this connection,” said Parker, “at Kingsport, Tenn., in the back woods one of the largest book publishing plants in the United States. Here my books are published. The plant turns out one and one-half million volumes monthly. The paper, cloth, and other materials used in the books are manufactured in one big plant. It ought to be a matter of pride to the South to realize that the biggest bookmaking plant in the nation is in Tennessee.
“I came back to Logan for a brief visit with old friends being hungry for the hills. I was born in the hills and like to come back to them from time to time.
“In addition to noting the remarkable change in the Logan county jail, I note other remarkable progressive changes in Logan.
“Of the 100 or more jails in West Virginia I have inspected, I find that the Logan county institution is the most progressive and best type and best operated institution of its kind.”
The article dealing with his visit at the Logan county jail follows:
Even at its best, human life ever has been and ever will be a continual battle; education battling against ignorance, society against selfishness, democracy against aristocracy, right against wrong.
Right is synonymous with law, and law is synonymous with legal master. As the rod is to the parent in the home, so is the prison to the legal master in the country. As the rod is to the home, so the prison is to correct disobedient men and women in the county.
Some prisons correct them only with punishment. These are usually political plums passed out as rewards for campaign activities, and those to whom they are passed go on the philosophy that the more the punishment, the more successful in the correction.
Under this philosophy, prison keepers swell their bank deposits by shrinking the prisoners’ food and by furnishing an inferior quality; a quality so poorly prepared that only the half-starved can eat it; so poorly prepared that the most consecrated Christian could not consistently say grace over it.
The prisons are no better. I have visited some whose floors were common cuspidors so thickly covered with tobacco quids that their sickening fumes almost knocked me back as I entered the door. On my way along the corridors, I have heard prisoners beg for bunks that were free from lice, and have seen green flies swarming in the cells.
We measure the strength of the chain by its weakest link. We measure the morale of the county by its prison. This measurement is an enviable tribute to Logan. In the management of the prison the county sees more than money; sees men. Sees more than punishment; sees purity. Seeing we are all human chameleons in that we absorb our surroundings; that suggestions are the steps in the mental and moral stairs; that cleanliness is the rising road. Logan county has adopted cleanliness as a creed and requires all prisoners to live up to it so that the air circulating through the cells is as free from offensive odors as the breezes that fit the leaves on the surrounding forest peaks.
A word about the way the jail food is prepared. Though a stranger and visitor, an unexpected one at that, I went to the prison when the court house clock was striking 12, and asked the keeper to let me eat dinner with the prisoners. He unlocked the iron door and passed me in—at the same time saying that dinner would be sent in directly.
I was not expecting roast lamb, quail on toast, an English pudding—neither did I get them. All I got were the old familiar Bs: bread, bacon, and beans. But they were good, as good as my mother prepared, way back when I plowed corn in Logan’s hills. In fact, while chasing a chunk of bacon around through my pan of beans—trying to make it stop long enough to cut off a mouthful with my spoon—I seemed again to be a plowboy—happy because I had more than I had when plowing barefooted on the backwoods farm.
Amid the rattling of spoons on the tin pans I watched the prisoners, most of them young, some good and some bad—some are good or better than you or I. All qualified and encouraged to go forth like the graduates from a school and bless the country with ideal citizenship.
I said then that Logan’s prison ought to become as famous as Denver’s juvenile court; that what Denver’s juvenile court was doing for boys and girls, Logan’s prison was doing for young men and young women.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 24 August 1926
African-Americans, Alabama, Appalachia, Arthur I. Boreman, civil war, history, J.W. McWhorter, Moundsville, North Carolina, Ohio River, Potomac River, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, West Virginia State Penitentiary
HISTORY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA PENITENTIARY.
WRITTEN BY A PRISONER.
In 1863 the state was admitted as one of the constellation of states of the union. Virginia had seceded from the union by a majority vote. The strong and indomitable minority citizens of the Old Dominion residing in the western part of it, many of whom were Scotch and Irish descendants and natives of the adjoining states, who had taken up their homes in the valleys and on the hillsides, were loyal to the Union, loved well the flag, and reverenced with an undying affection the builders of the union of states for the greater blessing of the people, and stood firm and unyielding for an indivisible united country. By their hands and brave hearts they built a state stretching from the Potomac to the Ohio river, carved out of the Old Dominion. The war-born daughter of the historical commonwealth proved, in subsequent years, to be rich in the production of materials in active demand in the marts of commerce, and she now outstrips her mother state in the race for greatness, prosperity, and happiness.
Many regions of the state are mountainous, and the principal industries are lumbering, mining, and oil production. Many of the white people are typical mountaineers and somewhat rough and uncouth in manner, while the negroes, many of them, have drifted from North and South Carolina, Alabama, and other southern states to be employed in the development of these industries.
There are very many respectable farmers, professional and business men, and cultured ladies residing in these almost inaccessible parts; but the rough element in many places predominates, and the order of the day and night is drinking and brawling, ending as a rule in desperate encounters and murder. Most of the white and black inmates of the penitentiary have been and are now composed of the lawless men from these regions, from the time it was only a stockade of ten acres in 1866, when Hon. J.W. McWhorter of the Tenth Judicial District was appointed warden by Governor Boreman. He resigned this position after viewing it. In a letter to Warden Hawk he states it was for the reason that there was not so much as a building erected for the shelter of the inmates, and he thought he could not work the convicts to advantage under the circumstances. The penitentiary has been improved from time to time to the present, by additions, until it is a massive structure of stone and iron, with a high stone surrounding wall. It has 695 inmates at the present writing.
The center, or main building, is built after the old baronial castellated style of architecture, and with its several stories height, it makes an imposing appearance. It is flanked on the north and south by the stone and strongly-barred buildings, wherein the old and first built stone cells and the modern steel ones–900 in all–are placed. Entrance is to be had into the prison proper by means of a round turning iron-barred cage in the main hallway of the central building.
Source: E.E. Byrum, Behind the Prison Bars: A Reminder of Our Duties Toward Those Who Have Been So Unfortunate as to Be Cast Into Prison (Moundsville, WV: Gospel Trumpet Publishing Co., 1901), pp. 73-75.
Albert Allen, Appalachia, Ballardsville Methodist Church, Boone County, Cabell County, Charleston, civil war, Coal River, crime, Crook District, Daniel Boone, Danville, Edgar Mitchell, Frankfort, French and Indian War, genealogy, history, Jack Dotson, Johnson Copley, Kanawha County, Kanawha River, Kanawha Valley, Kentucky, Lee Sowards, Lewisburg, Logan Banner, Logan County, Madison, Missouri, Nathan Boone, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Peytona District, Point Pleasant, Pond Fork, Ruckers Branch, Scott District, Sherman District, Spruce Fork, St. Albans, Virginia Assembly, Washington District, West Virginia, West Virginia Synodical School, Yadkin Valley
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Boone County in a story dated December 9, 1927:
Boone county was created in 1847 of parts of Kanawha, Cabell and Logan counties. Its area is 06 miles, 65 miles larger than Logan, and in 1920 its population was 18,145. It is divided into five magisterial districts, as follows: Crook, Peytona, Scott, Sherman and Washington.
Boone county commemorates in West Virginia the name of Daniel Boone, the pathfinder to the west. It is an honor worthily bestowed, for who has not heard of Daniel Boone and the story of his efforts as an explorer, hunter, land-pilot and surveyor. His was a romantic life, picturesque and even pathetic. For more than a century he has he has been held as the ideal of the frontiersman, perhaps for the reason that his course in life was not marked by selfishness and self-seeking. He fought with the Indians, but was not tainted with the blood-lust that so often marred the border warrior and made him even more savage than the red man whom he sought to expel; he built and passed on to newer fields, leaving to others the fruits of his industry and his suffering. As a man needing plenty of “elbow room,” his places of residence mark the border between civilization and savagery for a period of fifty years. And there was a time, a period of nearly ten years, when his cabin home was on the banks of the Kanawha, a short distance above the present City of Charleston.
Daniel Boone was born in the Schulykill Valley, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 1734, but in 1750 removed with his parents to the Yadkin Valley, in North Carolina. Here he grew to manhood, married and reared a family, but was active as an Indian trader, frontiersman and defender of the feeble settlement. He was with Braddock’s army at its defeat on the Monongahela in 1755, and a few years later became the founder and defender of Kentucky. He strove with the red man with force and stratagem, and many are the fire-side tales recounted and retold in West Virginia homes of his prowess with the rifle; his ready plans and nimble wit that helped him out of situations that seemed almost impossible. Many, perhaps, are without foundation of fact; others contain enough of truth to leaven the story. Of his service to the western settlers, records preserved in the archives of state and nation show that he was indefatigable. At the Indian uprising in 1774, Boone was sent out to warn the settlers and surveyors, ranging from the settlement on the Holston river throughout all of what is now southern West Virginia to Lewisburg. In 1788, after he had lost his property in Kentucky through defective titles and failure to properly enter land grants, Boone and his family removed to Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, where they remained about one year. Contrary to his habit, his next move was toward the east to a site near the City of Charleston. When Kanawha county was formed in 1789 Boone was a resident and was named the first Lieutenant Colonel of the militia, and the following year, 1790, was elected a member of the lower house of the Virginia assembly. Colonel Boone left the Kanawha valley in 1799, removing to Missouri where he had been granted a thousand arpents of land by the Spanish government and had been appointed a Syndic for the Femme-Osage district–a local office combining the duties of sheriff, jury and military commandant. Colonel Boone died at the home of his youngest son, Colonel Nathan Boone, on the Femme Osage river, Missouri, September 26, 1820. His remains, with those of his wife, were some years later taken to Frankfort, Kentucky, and re-interred with pomp and ceremony. A monument erected by the state marks his last resting place.
Madison, the present county seat, is located at the junction of Pond Fork and Spruce Fork, which form Coal River, is 603 feet above sea level and in 1920 had a population of 604. It was incorporated as a town by the circuit court of that county in 1906. At the organization of the county in 1847, the seat of justice was located on the lands of Albert Allen, at the mouth of Spruce Fork, opposite the present town of Madison. The original court house was burned by Federal troops during the Civil War, and for a time thereafter the seat of justice was located at the Ballardsville Methodist Church. In 1866 the court house was re-located on the lands of Johnson Copley, opposite the old site, and the public buildings erected, which were used until 1921 when the present fine court house was erected.
The West Virginia Synodical School maintained and operated by the Presbyterian church, occupies the site of the original court house, opposite the present county seat.
Danville, another incorporated town in that county, had a population of 327 in 1920.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 9 December 1927.
11th Virginia Cavalry, Appalachia, Camp Narrows, Chapmanville, civil war, Confederate Army, Edward Chapman, Giles County, history, Hugh Toney, J. Green McNeely, Logan Banner, Logan Country Club, Logan County, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
Rev. J. Green McNeely (1871-1943) located the following letter written by Hugh Toney to Edward Chapman when he razed a log cabin situated on the property that later became the Logan Country Club, near Chapmanville.
Camp Narrows, Va.
March 26, 1861
I saw the officers of the 11th Virginia Cavalry about your horses. Col. French and Maj. Smith both say that your horse shall be give up if the horse can be found.
I have not been able to find out anything about who got your horse yet. The horses were sent off to North Carolina. If I have any chance to get your horse, I will attend to the matter for you. If you know the man’s names or any of the men’s names that was present when your horse was taken, write to me their names.
I have made careful inquiries about Ira Woodram’s horse. I have not been able to find out anything about his horse, also John’s. I can’t bear that horses were taken.
I can’t find out who took them, it being uncertain about getting your horse or pay for him the way matters stand at this time.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 25 June 1941.
Albermarle, Appalachia, Bluefield, Buchanan, Collier's Weekly, Dry Fork, genealogy, George A. Dean, Henry Clay Ragland, Herald-Dispatch, history, Huntington, Iaeger, Imperial Order of Redmen, J.B. ellison, Jefferson Hotel, Kentucky, Keyes Sisters, LaRoy Stock Company, Lena Boyd Nelson, Lena Gross, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan Democrat, Logan Nest 1442, Matewan, Modern Maccabees, Norfolk and Western Railroad, North Carolina, Order of Owls, Sayersville, Silver Cloud Tribe 138, Tazewell County, Virginia, W.L. Richardson, West Virginia, Williamson
In 1912, Logan Banner editor George A. Dean married the former Lena Gross, who soon thereafter disappeared. Here are a few stories about the event:
Editor Dean Married
On Monday, Nov. 11 in the minister’s study, Geo. A. Dean and Miss Lena Gross of Virginia, were united in marriage by Rev. W.L. Richardson.
Mr. Dean is the hustling editor of the Logan Banner and is well-known in this city and surrounding country as a man of push and energy, while the bride was one of the charming dining room girls at the Hotel Jefferson.
Mr. and Mrs. Dean will be at home to their friends after Nov. 18.
Source: Logan (WV) Democrat, 14 November 1912.
Editor of “Most Fearless Weekly” on the Trail
West Virginia editors who have failed to receive the Logan Banner on their exchange tables during the past three weeks, no doubt, marveled at its absence. But there is a reason–a tragic, gnawing reason which has caused the editor, Geo. A. Dean to suspend temporarily editorial duties and to embark upon a quest which means more to him than journalistic honors or the mere touch of hollow gold.
Readers of the Banner will remember that there appeared graven upon its front page four months ago Mr. Dean’s and his wife’s own announcement of their marriage. The paragraph attracted more than usual attention, partly because of its unique construction and partly because of the unusual manner of its presentation, but more than all because Mr. Dean was very prominently in the editorial limelight because of recent rather prominent mention in Collier’s Weekly. But that is history, and in mere prelude to the situation which now confronts him: to-wit: that of a married man, wifeless, disconsolate, yearning for the things that were.
Mr. Dean, who has been in Huntington and vicinity for two days seeking a trace of his evanished spouse, speaks frankly of his bereavement, and is importunate that the home-loving public shall, if possible, assist him in finding and restoring his lost treasure. In brief, Lena Boyd Nelson Dean has gone away and, some fear, forever departed. She went without the tender formality of a farewell husband’s kiss. She went away surreptitiously, mysteriously. She went, and Mr. Dean, who has sounded the very depths of heaven and earth, is no whit the wiser whither. Descriptive circulars, telling her height, weight, complexion, color of eyes and hair, manner of dress, and all that pertains to accurate and dependable description have been scattered broadcast all over the territory in which it might be surmised that she would be obscuring herself from the eyes of love and yearning. Mr. Dean stated last night, in conversation with the Herald-Dispatch, that he had absolutely no heart for business, that he had known no rest, no surcease from the terrible heart-longing that had seized upon him and held with tenacious grip from the morning of his wife’s departure. He has searched high and low. He has communicated with every known relative of his wife, without being able to get even the shadow of a clue tending to lead to the discovery of her whereabouts. He gives the following verbal photograph, which is almost as good as the ordinary studio product, and much better than a tintype:
Lena Boyd Nelson Dean, formerly of Williamson and Matewan and Bluefield. Four months ago she served as waitress, cook, and house girl at Logan, W.Va. Last seen at Kenova on Sunday morning, March 2. Physical description: Age 26. Height 5 ft. 2. Coal-black eyes given to starry twinkle. Raven black hair. Rather full lips. Gold filling in front teeth. Deep, well modulated musical voice, with a tendency to coarseness in time of cold. Can not read or write much as her early education was neglected. Her costume is described as being strict in the style of today. Raincoat, drab-colored; blue-serge, two piece coat suit. Beaver hat, embellished with four black ostrich plumes. Leather suitcase, canvass trunk and gold-headed umbrella.
Mr. Dean feels that his wife may have returned to one of the three occupations ascribed to her in the opening paragraphs.
He has important mail for her, both registered and ordinary, and is awaiting anxiously any news of her, and his arms are open to her return. The Logan editor’s plight is positively pitiful. He has grown emaciated, hollow-eyed, faded, wan. The tireless vigil, the ceaseless search, the anxious waiting hours, have all played their part in preying upon his splendid vitality. He is discouraged but not defeated, and will continue the search as long as human endurance will permit, or else sooner find the partner of his joys and immediate cause of his great and overpowering grief. His plight has elicited much sympathy. For what is life without a partner?
Source: Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch via Logan (WV) Democrat, 13 March 1913.
Appalachia, Boone County, Camp Creek, Charles L. Estep, civil war, Coal River, Coal Valley News, Cumberland Gap, Danville, education, Hadalton, history, Huntington, Isaac Barker, Jackie Dolin, John E. Kenna, John Halstead, John Morris, Kanawha River, Kentucky, Kinder Hill, Little Coal River, Logan, Logan Banner, Madison, Marshall A. Estep, Maysville, Mud River, North Carolina, Ohio River, Olive Branch Baptist Church, Spruce Fork, Spruce Ridge, Texas, Thomas Price, Turtle Creek, W.H. Turley, W.W. Hall, West Virginia, White Oak Creek, Wilderness Road
A story titled “Old Times in Boone County Told About By Historian” and printed in the Logan Banner in Logan, WV, on April 20, 1928 provides some history for Boone County:
Old-timers and students of local history should be interested in the following excerpt from the history of Boone county by Prof. W.W. Hall. The family names mentioned are familiar ones.
What is here reproduced was taken from the Coal Valley News:
About the year of 1798 Isaac Barker reared a pole cabin on the brow of the hill on the lower side of White Oak Creek, near old lock seven. This was the first white man’s home established in Boone county. The second settler in the county was Johnson Kinder, a brother-in-law of Barker. He settled on Kinder Hill a few months after Barker came. The first settler on Little Coal River was John Halstead, who settled at the mouth of Camp creek about 1800. A few months later Jackie Dolin was married to Isaac Barker’s daughter and led his blushing bride, attired in her homespun, through the trackless forest up Brush creek and over the hill to a scantily furnished home on Camp creek. Not long after this Thomas Price, a daring hunter from North Carolina, wandered over the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap to Maysville, Kentucky, where he embarked in a canoe, ascended the Ohio, the Kanawha, the Coal and the Little Coal rivers to the present site of the town of Danville, and became the first settler there.
For some years after the coming of the white men there were no churches, but when an Old Baptist or Methodist preacher would arrive in the settlement, word was passed around to the neighbors and that night earnest prayers, exhortations and hallelujahs would ascend from those rude homes. The first church erected in the county was the Olive Branch Baptist church at the mouth of Turtle creek. The first term of the circuit court held in the county after its organization in 1847 was held in this church. The grand jury made its investigations while seated on the framing in Ballard’s old water mill near by, and the petit jury retired to the paw paw bushes below to consider their verdicts.
The daring hunters, adventurous pioneers and brave soldiers who came from the best families in the east to establish home in the wilderness, were not contented to let their children grow up without the rudiments of an education, so they established Old Field schools in the slave cabins, tanneries, country churches and abandoned dwellings, when an itinerant teacher who could read, write and cipher a little came along. The first free school in the county was taught by John Morris, just after the Civil War, in an old house abandoned by Dr. Church. The old house stood across the hollow from W.H. Turley’s present residence in Madison. Within the next year or two a log school house was erected near the upper end of Danville and another on the point across the river from Hadalton. The children of Madison had to go to Danville or Hadalton to school until 1885, when the people of Madison, by mandamus, compelled the board of education to give them a school. The first school house erected in Madison is now used by Dr. Smoot for a barn. While the course of study in these early schools was meager and the work crude, yet they did succeed in inspiring a few boys to strive for higher education. Former United States Senator John E. Kenna was born in Boone county and attended his first schools in a log house on Big Coal river. Dr. Marshall A. Estep, an eminent physician of Texas, and his brother, Judge Charles L. Estep, of Huntington and Logan, were reared in the “Promised Land,” the name of their father’s mountain home on the summit of Spruce Ridge, and attended their first schools in a log house on the Spruce Fork. One of these early log school houses still stands on the head of Mud river, remote from the highways frequented by trade and travelers. Two of the most recent prosecuting attorneys of the county, two clerks of the circuit court, two of the clerks of the county court, four county superintendents of schools, chief U.S. Marshal for the southern district of West Virginia, and two prosperous dental surgeons attended school when boys in that little log school house on the head of Mud. The attendance in it was never large.
Writings from my travels and experiences. High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water. Mark Twain
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