Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, Blair Mountain, Charleston, crime, deputy sheriff, Edgar Combs, Ephraim Morgan, genealogy, governor, Harold Houston, history, Howard Gore, Huntington, J.E. Wilburn, John Gore, John Wilburn, labor, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Moundsville, prosecuting attorney, United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia, West Virginia Federation of Labor, Wheeling Metal and Manufacturing Company
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, in a story dated August 14, 1925, comes this bit of history relating to the “armed march” on Logan and Mingo counties in 1921:
FEDERATION ASKS PARDON FOR MAN WHO KILLED GORE
The West Virginia Federation of Labor has been holding its annual convention in Huntington during the past week.
On Tuesday morning the convention unanimously passed a resolution calling upon Governor Howard M. Gore to pardon or parole Edgar Combs who is serving a sentence imposed in connection with the murder of John Gore who was killed on Blair mountain when the “Red Necks” made their famous “armed march” in an attempt to invade Logan and unionize this field.
The resolution was presented Monday by Attorney Harold Houston, of Charleston, counsel for the United Mine Workers in District 17.
The resolution was as follows:
“Whereas Edgar Combs is now confined in the state penitentiary at Moundsville serving a life sentence imposed by the circuit court of Logan county for the alleged murder of John Gore, killed on Blair mountain during a clash between members of the ‘armed march’ of 1921 and a posse of Logan county; and
“Whereas he is now the only person serving in the penitentiary for an offence connected with said uprising, the Rev. J.E. Wilburn and John Wilburn, his son, having turned so-called ‘state’s evidence’ and been pardoned by Governor Ephraim H. Morgan, the said pardon to take effect early in the year 1926; and
“Whereas all of the many hundreds of prosecutions growing out of said trouble have been dismissed and abandoned by the prosecuting attorney of Logan county; and
“Whereas Edgar Combs has a wife and five infant children dependent upon him for maintenance and support, his wife at the present time working for the Wheeling Metal and Manufacturing company in an effort to keep her family together.
“Therefore, be it resolved by the eighteenth annual convention of the West Virginia Federation of Labor assembled at the city of Huntington W.Va. that we earnestly petition the Honorable Howard M. Gore, Governor of West Virginia, to grant and extend executive clemency to Edgar Combs, and either pardon or parole him for said alleged offense.
“And be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution be immediately forwarded to Governor Gore for its consideration.”
A.M. Belcher, Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, David Moore, Edward Reynolds, Elmer Ashworth, history, J.E. Miller, J.W. Swanner, L.C. Davis, Logan Banner, Ohio, Pomeroy, prosecuting attorney, United Mine Workers of America, Vulcan, West Virginia
On May 11, 1923, the Logan Banner printed this item relating to the “Armed March” or the Battle of Blair Mountain:
STATE’S WITNESSES ARE SHOT TO DEATH IN OHIO BY MARCHER
J.W. Swanner and Edward Reynolds, Chief Witnesses in Houston Trial, Murdered By Fugitive
POMEROY, O., May 9.–J.W. Swanner and Edward Reynolds, West Virginia miners, were shot and killed in the mining camp of Vulcan, near here, at 10 o’clock this morning by J.E. Miller, a coal miner. Miller gave as his reason that he feared the two men had come to kidnap him and take him back to West Virginia in connection with the Logan armed march.
Miller’s wife went to the door of their house when Swanner knocked. She closed the door and called to Miller who came to the door with his revolver. He fired through the glass at Swanner, shooting him in the left breast. Reynolds, who was a lame man, attempted to run away and Miller stepped outside the door and fired three shots into Reynolds’ back. Both men died almost instantly.
Persons who saw the shooting telephoned to the sheriff’s office at Pomeroy and Deputy Sheriffs Elmer Ashworth and David Moore responded and arrested Miller at his house.
Search of the bodies of Swanner and Reynolds disclosed that they were unarmed. Swanner had in his pocket a letter from A.M. Belcher, offering Miller immunity if the latter would return to West Virginia to testify in the armed march trials.
Swanner and Reynolds had both turned state’s evidence in these cases. When this fact became known the feeling expressed in the mining camp was that both men had got what they deserved. This section is very strongly union in sentiment.
Prosecuting Attorney L.C. Davis…
[I cropped the story here by mistake.]
Perceptions of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud and of Southern Appalachia in general often differ greatly among insiders and outsiders. The following letter from Lafe Chafin of Mingo County, WV, reveals his disdain for inaccurate reporting by the New York Times about the feud and his community:
Chafin Scores New York Times For News Story
Mingo Prosecutor-Elect Takes Exception To Story Recalling Old Family Feud and Tells Some Facts About State.
Penchant for publication by New York newspapers of news stories calculated to place West Virginia in an unfavorable light before the public and to ignore publicity matter favorable to the state is charged in a communication forwarded by Lafe Chafin, prosecuting attorney-elect of Mingo county in The New York Times on December 12.
The letter reads:
The New York Times.
New York, N.Y.
Your attention is invited to an article published in the New York Times on Sunday, November 16, 1924, on page 20 of section 8, headlined, “One More Hatfield Bites the West Virginia Dust.” The article appears on the back page of section 8. Hence, it is apparent to the reader that you did not care to dignify it as news matter for the public but simply used as filler. No doubt you had run out of anything else to print on this page and so ran this in the thought that it would be interesting reading for those who have heard of the feud days in West Virginia. The article is unsigned. Hence, I am taking you, as editor, to task for permitting the publication of it and what I shall say will be offered in a spirit of friendly criticism and I hope you will accept it as such.
To begin with, you deliberately publish an untruth when you say, at the head of the article, that Alex Hatfield was killed and that Mingo county was humming and teaming with excitement. It is true that a man by the name of Alex Hatfield was shot about ten days prior to the recent election, but it is not true that he was killed, or even seriously wounded. He sustained a flesh wound and this is known only to a few people. Alex Hatfield is not the son of the mountaineer who started as bloody a feud as the south has ever known. In fact, he is not related in any way to the Hatfields who were involved in the so-called Hatfield-McCoy feud. The writer of the article simply seized upon the fact that a Hatfield had been shot as an excuse to rehearse his conception of the so-called Hatfield-McCoy feud, and he proceeds to write in a dime-novel fashion his notion of what happened in the fight between the Hatfields and the McCoys.
If it were not for the fact that your paper is read so universally and by people who do not know of conditions in West Virginia and Mingo county, I should not write you this letter. The so-called Hatfield-McCoy feud is dead and has been dead for twenty-five years or more. Every community, like every family, has its family skeleton, but we bury our skeletons and try to keep them buried until someone like you comes along and resurrects them.
I shall not take the time to point out all the slander and untruths included in this article, because most of it is untrue, as all who know conditions here will attest. I want particularly to call your attention to the fact that the apparent excuse for the article, if any there is, lies in the fact that a man by the name of Hatfield was shot about ten days prior to the recent election. Notwithstanding the fact that he only sustained a flesh wound, you carry a story in this article almost a month later, to-wit, November 16, 1924, that he was killed and that the county was all in excitement and that it has never forgotten the days of the so-called feud. A publication of the standing of The Times cannot afford to publish such misstatements and to libel this community in such manner.
Would it not be better to publish facts about West Virginia and about our community? In the thought that you were misinformed in this instance, I purpose giving you some facts that you can publish with safety and without fear of contradiction.
The population of West Virginia in 1920 was 1,500,000. Ninety per cent of the population is native white American. Less than four per cent is foreign born. Ninety-eight per cent of the farm population is native American stock. Less than six per cent of the population is illiterate. The per capita wealth is $1,429.64. There are twelve state educational institutions to train for leadership in the professions. There are 213 high schools, with an enrollment of 35,000. There are 1,800 high school teachers. Five thousand five hundred complete high school courses each year. There are 500,000 enrolled in the elementary schools. The per capita cost of education based on enrollment is $44.20.
This is the kind of publicity we want and we feel it is the kind that we deserve. Our natural resources are unmatched by any other state in the union. While these resources are decreasing, our human resources are increasing, in value. Like any community, we have had, and how have our problems, but we are doing our best to solve them. You are not helping us to solve them by publishing such articles as you published in our issue of November 16.
I would be glad to know that you have given some attention to this letter, and it seems to me that in justice and fairness to our county the party responsible for the article appearing in your issue of November 16, should be taken to task.
It so happens that I am the prosecuting attorney-elect of Mingo county and I resent such libel, not only as a citizen of the county, but as an official. Since I cannot prosecute the writer of the article for this libel, I think I at least ought to take this matter up with you as the editor and ask you to correct it insofar as you might be able to do so.
Yours very truly,
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 December 1924.
Alva Grimmett, Appalachia, Barnabus, Blair Mountain, Bruno, Buffalo Creek, Cabin Creek, Campbell's Creek, carpenter, Charleston, Christian, coal, Democratic Party, deputy sheriff, Don Chafin, drum runner, Ed Goodman, Emmett Scaggs, George McClintock, Great Depression, Hatfield Bottom, Henderson Grimmett, history, Joe Hatfield, John Chafin, Kanawha County, Kistler, Landsville, Logan County, Mallory, Mallory Coal Company, Matilda Hatfield, McKinley Grimmett, moonshining, Nancy Grimmett, prosecuting attorney, Republican Party, Sand Lick, sheriff, Superintendent of Schools, Tennis Hatfield, Thomas Hatfield, United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia, Wild Goose Saloon
McKinley Grimmett was born on November 30, 1896 to Henderson and Nancy (Hatfield) Grimmett at Sand Lick, Logan County, WV. On May 14, 1916, Mr. Grimmett married a Ms. Plymale, who soon died, in Logan County. One child named Alva died on June 21, 1919 of whooping cough, aged fourteen months. His World War I draft registration card dated September 12, 1918 identifies him as having blue eyes and light-colored hair. He was employed by Mallory Coal Company at Mallory, WV. On November 13, 1919, he married Matilda “Tilda” Hatfield, daughter of Thomas Hatfield, in Logan County. He identified himself as a farmer in both of his marriage records. During the 1920s, he served as a deputy under Sheriff Tennis Hatfield.
The following interview of Mr. Grimmett was conducted at his home on July 17, 1984. In this part of the interview, he recalls his occupations. Coal, Don Chafin, Tennis Hatfield, unionization, and the Great Depression are featured.
Did you ever go to work in the mines?
Oh yeah. I’ve been… That’s what I done over here for 44 years and two months, in and around the mines.
Who hired you?
Yeah, a fellow by the name of Frazier down here at Logan. Superintendent. Not at Logan. Landsville. I stayed there four years, pretty nigh of five years. Then I quit down there and I come to Christian and I stayed up here. A fellow by the name of Harry Venebale hired me over here, the superintendent. And I stayed with him 34 years. Wouldn’t let nobody else hold a lever but me. Drum runner. I’d run as high as 35 railroad cars a day off of that hill. I’ve done it many a day.
Did you do other jobs?
Oh yeah. Days the mines didn’t work I was the carpenter boss. That is, I was overseer over ‘em all. After the union come in, why I wouldn’t take it as a boss. They just run me as a leader, you know. At that time, I’d either have to go in as a boss or get off the union, you know. And I knowed the union was the best for me and I stayed with the union.
Did you have any role in organizing the union?
Oh yeah. I had a big… They wouldn’t let us organize on their property. We had to go across an island over there in the river and have our meeting to organize.
Is it true that local men had the union organized and were waiting for Washington to allow it?
Yeah, that’s about right. We got it. No, they come from Cabin Creek and Kanawha County and Campbell’s Creek over there and tried to organize us. Don Chafin was the high sheriff. He got so much ton per coal and everything. And we couldn’t do a thing because he had every child, woman, and everything else on his side to block us every way. They come to Blair Mountain and had fights. Killed several people, too. Both sides. But I never was in it. I was running a drum and they never did ask me to go. But they paid ‘em. They did go from over there. And went from around here, too. To fight against them, you know. And there was several of them got killed up Dingess Run there. I’ve been at the place where one fellow, sink hole he was in. There was four of them got killed: deputy sheriffs. George Gore and a fellow by the name of Mitchem. I don’t know the other two. I’ve forgot ‘em now. George Gore and Mitchem. But I know where they was at and everything there.
Can you describe Don Chafin?
I’m not too familiar with him now. But he controlled Logan County all the time. Whatever he said, why they had to do or they’d get around you and beat you to death or something like that, throw you in the river, tie your hands behind you – stuff like that.
Were you a Chafin deputy?
I worked for Tennis Hatfield and Joe.
How did Tennis hire you?
Well, Emmett Scaggs run against him. And the County Court was Democratic and they give it all to Emmett. Tennis carried it up to the high court and he won it. About that time, that’s when it was, 1922 I believe it was, last part of 1922, well Emmett, he was a well-educated fellow, he had been the superintendent of schools and everything, he turns around and registers and turned to be a Republican, well then they appointed him prosecuting attorney. You understand? Give him a job. Now the Democrats didn’t do that—Tennis and all of them did. It made a full change around whenever Tennis was elected. The County Court had been Democratic all the time and it turned over, changed hands, and make a Republican County Court. Just like they’ve got now, it’s all Democratic. And a Republican couldn’t get nothing. I’ve seen John Chafin and Hi beat an Italian man. He had two ducks carrying them. Had to wade the river. They fired him over there at Christian. Had to ride horses that day and time. Didn’t have no cars. And they jumped off their horses after they overtook him and they beat him until he couldn’t walk. My dad had a store down at the mouth of the creek and he went and got him and got him up to the store and his ducks got loose. And Mother got the ducks and she raised all kinds of ducks from ‘em. But I haven’t seen that man from that day to this. He’s dead now. But they liked to beat him to death. Now Henry Allen was another one. They barred him from the union. He was a big organizer when it first started. And he got to playing crooked work and they put him out of the union. And he’d done something or other to the party. And they beat him around there at Kistler so hard – the creek was up. Buffalo was a big creek any way. They throwed him up there at Ben Gall’s store in the creek and he washed down there at Kistler and lodged up behind the middle pier at the railroad track. Some men run in and helped him out. I forget who it was. I didn’t see that go off but that’s what happened. Well, he come up here, Henry did, to where I was walking and wanted me to get him a job. Well, I told him I would talk to the boss. A fellow by the name of George Kore. George Kore give him a job working for Tony Lumber Company, helping build houses, you know. He worked about three days and why George fired him and wouldn’t have nothing more to do with him. Henry’s dead now. That’s the last I knowed of him.
Do you remember the names of any early union organizers?
I never did meet ‘em. I tell you they kept me busy all the time as a repair man and drum runner, and days that the mines didn’t run I had to do repair work on the houses and tipples and stuff. Them organizers was, one of ‘em was a fellow by the name of Hall. I’ve seen him but I forget his first name. He had an office over there in Charleston. He was president of the union then. Don Chafin went over there and aimed to tell him what to do and he shot Don. It put Don in the hospital for a long time. After he got out there, Don Chafin and Tennis Hatfield had been in to the Wild Goose business selling bootlegging moonshine whisky up at Hatfield Bottom [in Barnabus]. And they fell out. And Tennis, he goes before the federal grand jury. I forget who the judge was. I knowed him. [George McClintock] And Tennis indicted him and sent him to the pen for four years. But they never did do nothing to Hall for shooting him over there in the miners’ office. But he never did go back in it anymore.
You remember when the mines began to mechanize?
Oh, yeah. I was in there then. I worked up til ’62.
How did the mines change?
Well, they loaded by the car that day and time when they first started. Then they got conveyors in. And they cut the coal and they throwed it on them conveyors by hand. And they built belt-lines from here all across the river, just as far as you wanted to, you know. Had different offsets in it and different motors pulling the belt line. And it come out into a big tipple and dumped into a tipple and then I took it from that. I run it 2100 feet down the incline over there on two monitors on three rails. Now you figure that out. Ten tons to each monitor Now they come up there to the middle way place and they put four rails, you understand? And then one monitor passed the other one at that middle place. All the time. They had a big drum. The drum was twelve foot in diameter and fourteen foot long that way. Built out of gum. Six by six gum. Rope was inch and a quarter.
Was there much bitterness among people when mechanization started?
Oh, no. They was all for it. They was everything was settled. Whatever the union said, they had to do at that time. It was all loaded by the ton by the car. There wasn’t no weighing or nothing like that ‘til they got the union. Then they had to put scales in, you know, and weigh these cars of coal and they had to pay so much a ton. Why, there was people over there at Christian – I never will forget it. Ed Goodman was his name. He’d be broke every week. He’d never load over four or five cars. Just 35 cents a car and a car would hold about four tons, five. And they was starving him to death. He’d come in there on paydays and I’d come in. I was always the last man getting off the hill. He was wanting on dollar scrip. He’d come over and whisper to me and tell me they wouldn’t let him have a one dollar scrip. And I’d vouch for him. Sometimes I’d pull my pay envelope out—they put your money in a pay envelope, you know—and I’ve pull out my pay envelope and give him a dollar and that would do him until Monday. He had a big family. They all weren’t home at that time. He managed. And then when the union come in, they had to treat him the way they did the rest of them.
Did you maintain steady work during the Great Depression?
Yeah. I’ve always had work. I get awful good Social Security. I study all the time – they worked me too much. I actually couldn’t stand it hardly. They’d work me Sunday and every other day. But now I never got no big money at that time. I started off at four dollars a day and I ended up with two hundred and fifty dollars a month. I stayed on that way for 19 years. They wouldn’t give me a raise. I asked ‘em for more money. Miners got a raise, you know. They said no, he couldn’t give it. Was going broke. I said well if you won’t give it I’ll be leaving you first of the month. And he didn’t think I would. Day before I was supposed to quit I sent my toolbox off the hill and everything. They had a man-car there that they rode backwards and forwards that people rode up and down the hill in. That night the man said if I would stay he would split the difference with me. Give me half. Give me twenty-five dollars. I said no I won’t do it. I’ve made you a fortune here. So he wouldn’t come up to fifty dollars and I wouldn’t come off it. Next day they had a wreck. A fella was running… I was sitting here. And they wasn’t no timber around there and I could see the monitors from here. And he wrecked and I never seen such dust in all of my life. And I got in my car and went over there. And they tore one up so bad they had to buy a new one. A monitor. That cost ‘em some money, too.
NOTE: Some names may be transcribed incorrectly.
African-Americans, Appalachia, coal, Con Chafin, crime, Democratic Party, deputy sheriff, Don Chafin, E.T. England, guitar, Guyandotte River, Herald-Dispatch, history, Huntington, Ira P. Hager, John B. Wilkinson, Ku Klux Klan, lawyers, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, mine guards, O.J. Deegan, politics, prosecuting attorney, Republican Party, sheriff, timbering, W.C. Lawrence Jr., West Virginia
From the Herald-Dispatch of Huntington, WV, comes this story printed by the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, dated October 30, 1914:
Republican Voters Driven from Co. by Gunmen
Deputy Sheriffs, Acting as Mine Guards, Are the Law and Enforcement Thereof.
Many Believe Martial Law Will be Sequel to Rule of Thugs.
Democratic schemes for the intimidation of Republican voters, for the prevention of a Republican victory in the state next Tuesday, whether by fair means or foul, have reached their climax in Logan county. If there is a place in West Virginia where lawlessness has succeeded law and order, where the persons chosen to enforce the law have initiated a system of rule by force and intimidation, a rule by force of clubs and pistols, a rule by thugs and gunmen, that place is Logan county.
A thorough investigation of conditions in Logan county today proves that the Ku Klux Klan in the south were mere pikers. There are men in Logan county who could beat them blindfolded.
The man, woman or child who would enjoy life–aye, who are willing to accept life or pass through Logan county, must be careful not to cross the paths of Sheriff Don Chafin and his force of about two hundred armed deputies.
And it can be truthfully said that the paths of these men extend to every nook and corner of the county. And several newly-made graves along the banks of the Guyandotte river and its tributaries shows who is the law and the enforcement thereof.
Several men have been shot, two negroes fatally, others have been clubbed and driven out of the county, women and children have been forced to flee clad only in their night-clothes, upon order of the Chafin deputies.
And all this because some Republicans desired to be registered in order that they might cast their votes for the Republican candidates next Tuesday.
Logan county is about to throw off the yoke of Democracy. The coal and lumber industries are rapidly being developed, and, as is always the case in progressive communities, the Republicans are making large gains.
If the voters of Logan county are allowed to cast their ballots as they desire, and those ballots are counted as cast, the Republican candidates will be elected.
If the conspiracy which has been formed by and in the interest of the Democrats is allowed to be carried out, the Democrats will continue in control of the county, the enforcement of law will be a mere joke and there will be probably a score added to the newly made graves along Old Guyan after next Tuesday.
Opinions vary as to what the outcome will be. Some believe that only martial law will prove a solution. Others are of the opinion that conditions will grow gradually worse and that the enforcement of law and order in Logan county will be a subject for investigation by the next legislature which convenes in January. Most certainly, if the threats of the Democrats are carried out, the Republicans are driven from the polls next Tuesday, the legislature will be asked to make a sweeping investigation and their findings will reveal conditions incredible in a civilized state.
Don Chafin is high sheriff of Logan county. His cousin, Con Chafin is prosecuting attorney. All the county officials are Democrats. Circuit Judge Wilkinson is a Democrat, though a man who wants the law enforced.
Sheriff Chafin, it is estimated, has about two hundred deputies. When he was elected, a part of his platform was that he would drive out the Baldwin mine guards from Logan county. No Baldwin men are known to be in this county now but these deputy sheriffs are known as mine guards. All of them are supposed to be armed with pistols, black-jacks and the usual weapons of gunmen. But few of them are licensed to carry such weapons and there is no trouble to find evidence that they have these weapons in violation of the law. Some of them are known to be ex-convicts and as such would not be licensed to carry revolvers, etc.
They shoot, club, slug and thug at will. But they are not arrested and imprisoned. For they are the law and the enforcement thereof.
Events of the past few weeks show the effectiveness of this organization of deputies and the way in which they operate. When the registrars were on their rounds registering the voters some of the deputies were on hand and even the Democratic registrars were afraid not to obey their orders. To go back further, they were on hand at the Democratic primaries and the Democratic nominees were the men of their choice and of that of their chief.
The Democratic registrars refused to register many Republicans, especially among the colored voters. When the county commissioners met to canvass the registration, four Republican lawyers State Senator E.T. England, Ira P. Hager, W.C. Lawrence, Jr., and O.J. Deegan, the latter being Republican county chairman, took the lead to see that Republicans entitled to vote were registered. One hundred colored voters were brought into Logan for examination and registration.
Threats have been made by deputies against the journeying of negroes to the court house, there to demand their rights, and the republican leaders realized there was danger.
The work before the county court was slow, as the democratic leaders challenged every step of the republicans. But eleven men were passed upon the first day, five of whom were registered, six turned down. That night the apparent cause for delay came. A colored family lived at Monitor, a mile from the court house. It was supposed that some of the negroes awaiting registration were there. This gave the conspirators a chance and the gunmen got busy.
Soon after dark a band of armed men raided the house, shot out the windows, fired bullets into bodies of two colored men, beat up others and drove a woman and child into the hills without giving them time to dress. The raiders said they were looking for “strange niggers.” As the result of that raid one colored man lies in an unmarked grave on the hillside and another is likely to join him soon. No “strange niggers” were in that house.
A colored man owned a cleaning and pressing establishment within a couple of squares of the court house. His windows were demolished and his place of business next morning looked as though a German siege gun had been turned on it.
A score of colored men awaiting registration were quartered for the night in the office of Senator England, and adjoining offices. About 11:30 o’clock at night some of the negroes were awakened by noises in the hallways and a sensation of not being able to breathe. They rushed to the windows and threw them open, but met with a shower of stones from the outside.
Piled on Senator England’s desk can be seen the stones hurled with force as is shown by the scars on the walls. Some of the stones were thrown from the court house steps.
No arrests were made. A grand jury was in session and Judge Wilkinson instructed the jurors to ferret out the dastardly assault and bring the miscreants to justice. But not an indictment resulted. It is no mystery in Logan as to who committed the deed. Any citizen not afraid to talk, and they are few, will name half a dozen deputy sheriffs as being in the party.
A telephone exchange girl next door to where some of the negroes were attacked made an outcry and was told that she would not be hurt if she kept still. She knows who told her to keep quiet, but would hardly give his name, probably not if she faced a jail sentence for contempt of court. It is not safe to talk in Logan county. “Don’t mention my name,” is what they all say when discussing the outrages.
A short distance from Logan is a construction camp. A large crowd of deputies raided the camp. One negro was playing the guitar and singing. No “strange niggers” were found there, but the one negro sang his last song. He, too, lies in an unmarked grave along the banks of Old Guyan. “Resisting arrest” was the excuse given.
Such depredations naturally drove many colored voters away and they will not vote.
Though threats have been made against the life of Senator England and his followers, they are putting up a game fight. By agreement the county court was to hold a night session to get through with the registration. England was later notified that nothing further would be done that night but the work would be taken up the next day he was amazed to find the court was no longer sitting. He went before Judge Wilkinson, mandamused the county court to sit again, and got ninety-eight colored voters registered.
The democrats were beaten in that game. “What’s the difference,” said a deputy when the court reconvened. “We will get them election day.” It has been openly boasted by the democrats that in many precincts the republicans, especially the colored voters, will not be allowed at the polls next Tuesday.
The sheriff and his deputies form an organization with unlimited power. Every little town or village, every public works, has the deputies. By intimidation and force in most instances and by favors in others, these deputies can run things to suit themselves. Infractions of the law by supporters of the organization can easily be overlooked, while on the other hand, the slightest technical violation can be punished to the full extent of the law.
The high-handed way in which the Democratic county organization is running things has caused a ruction in the Democratic ranks and many of them will quietly vote the Republican ticket. Many members of the old-time militant Democracy, some of them ex-Confederate soldiers, have assured the Republican leaders that they can no longer approve the Democratic methods employed in Logan County and will record their votes against it.
A.A. Lilly, A.D. Cook, A.J. Fowler, A.L. Sansom, Amherstdale, Appalachia, assessor, B.A. Browning, B.L. Holland, Bernadine B. Ridenour, board of education, Bruce White, C.V. White, Chapmanville, Charleston, Christian, circuit clerk, county clerk, county commissioner, Curry, Edward Cooper, Edward S. Doolittle, Evart Campbell, Fayette County, Ferrell-Cook Republican Club, G.R. Claypool, George Godby, H.C. Burgess, Henry D. Hatfield, Henry Godby Jr., history, House of Delegates, Hugh Ike Shott, Huntington, Huntington Advertiser, I.M. Conley, Ira P. Hager, J.C. Elkins, J.D. Copley, J.M. Mitchell Jr., J.W. Hinchman, James Jeffrey, John M. Perry, John Perry, justice of the peace, lawyer, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Logan District, Lon Walls, Mike F. Matheny, Naaman Jackson, O.J. Deegan, Pat Riffe, prosecuting attorney, R.F. Mitchell, Republican Party, Richard Kirk, S.A. Ferrell, sheriff, T.C. Whited, Thomas B. Hensley, Thomas Wilson, Triadelphia District, Union Army, W.A. Brazie, W.C. Lawrence, W.P. Neekamp, Wayne County, West Virginia
From various regional newspapers come these stories about the Republican Party in Logan County, West Virginia:
Republicans of Logan
Endorses the Candidacy of Judge Doolittle for Supreme Judge
The Logan county republican convention was held last week. Instructions were given for Gaines for Congress, and the candidacy of Judge Doolittle, of this city was endorsed for Supreme court judge.
Source: Huntington (WV) Advertiser, 30 April 1900.
The Republican Ticket
The Republicans, at their convention on Saturday, nominated a full county ticket.
The nominee for House of Delegates, Pat Riffe, is a native of the county and an old Union soldier.
W.A. Brazie, the nominee for County Clerk, is a native of Fayette and came here about twelve years ago, and worked in this office about ten years. He is well known in the county, and is well fitted for the position for which he is named.
J.D. Copley, the nominee for Circuit Clerk, is a native of Wayne, …
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 2 October 1902.
Republican County Ticket.
Member of the Legislature–Naaman Jackson, of Logan.
County Clerk–John Perry, of Logan.
Circuit Clerk–J.M. Mitchell, Jr., of Curry.
County Superintendent of Schools–R.F. Mitchell, of Christian.
Member of the County Court–A.D. Cook, of Triadelphia District.
W.C. Lawrence, for the Committee on Nominations, reported the following selection for members of the County Central Committee of the Republican Committee of Logan County.
For Logan District, Bruce White, I.M. Conley, James Jeffrey, T.C. Whited and W.C. Lawrence.
For Triadelphia District, H.C. Burgess and Lon Walls.
For Chapmanville District, A.J. Fowler and T.B. Hensley.
Hon. O.J. Deegan was selected County Chairman and Hon. Ira P. Hager as County Secretary and Treasurer, both promising young attorneys of Logan.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 17 July 1914.
Republicans Organize Club At Chapmanville
Republicans met at Chapmanville Friday night and organized a campaign club and named it the Ferrell-Cook Republican club. Praise was sounded for local and national Republican administrations for the tax reductions that have been made. The following officers were elected: S.A. Ferrell, chairman; Evart Campbell, secretary; A.L. Sansom, treasurer. Another meeting of the club was called for 7 o’clock tonight.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 October 1926.
Appalachia, Bob Bryant, Calvary Bryant, Con Chafin, crime, Cush Chambers, Floyd Bryant, genealogy, Harts Creek, Henderson Bryant, history, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Marion Bryant, moonshine, moonshining, Nellie Bryant, prosecuting attorney, Robert Bland, West Virginia
In a story titled “111 True Bills Found By Grand Jury Which Submits Final Report” and printed in the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, on October 12, 1926, we find this item (excerpted here):
“Concluding a four-day session the grand jury made its final report and was discharged last night by Circuit Judge Robert Bland. There were 111 indictments returned, 66 for felonies and 45 for misdemeanors–a total somewhat larger than the average for Logan county grand juries. Names of those indicted are withheld from publication for the reason that some persons involved are not in custody. Capiases will be issued forthwith for those indicted and not in jail, while those in jail and all who are apprehended without delay will be arraigned very soon. Court attaches are of the opinion that none of these will be tried until next month as there was already a big criminal docket. However, considerable progress has been made so far. Having caught up with the calendar, court adjourned yesterday morning for the remainder of the day, after a short session.
“Victory has come to the Bryants, who live on Old House Branch of Harts Creek, and who were indicted for operating a still last December. The joint indictment embraced Hent Bryant and his sons Calvary, Bob, and Floyd. When the case was called on Tuesday the defendants elected to be tried separately, whereupon Prosecuting Attorney Con Chafin chose to try Calvary first. There was a large volume of testimony for each side. The case was submitted to the jury without argument at 9 o’clock Tuesday night and in a few minutes a verdict of acquittal was returned. C.C. Chambers represented the defense.
“The State’s evidence showed that an official raiding party found a spot about three-fourths of a mile from the Bryant home where a still had been in operation and where a quantity of mash had been poured out shortly before the arrival of the officers. The Bryant premises were then searched, but no still or whiskey was found. However, Marion Bryant, a cousin of Calvary, testified that Calvary had employed him to assist him in the operation of a still.
“From the Bryants there came positive denials of any interest in any still or of any knowledge of a still having ever been in operation at the spot in the woods where the officers thought that they had made a significant discovery. The defense attacked the credibility of Marion Bryant’s testimony, claiming that he was actuated by spite. It was testified by members of the family that Marion, after staying at Hent Bryant’s home for a while and doing odd jobs, had been requested to leave; that he made threats against the family at that time because Nellie Bryant, a daughter of Hent, spurned his love and his proposals of marriage.
“After the jury returned its verdict, the cases against the other Bryants were continued to the next regular term.”