After the Milt Haley murder, Burl Farley was involved in several other feuds on Harts Creek. Around 1910, he and his brother-in-law Anthony Adams “had it out” over a “mix-up” of logs.
“The Adamses were mean,” Johnnie said. “They’d kill each other.”
Burl also beat up a neighbor named Pig Hall and dared him to ever frequent his property again.
Eventually, Burl left Harts Creek. He timbered briefly at Bluewater in Wayne County then sold his property on Brown’s Run to Johnnie’s father in 1918. He settled at Roach, near Salt Rock, in Cabell County.
Burl’s involvement in Milt Haley’s death apparently haunted him in his later life. Johnnie remembered him being drunk and talking about it.
“I believe it bothered his mind,” she said. “When you do something dirty, it usually hurts your mind. And the cancers eat his face up and killed him. It eat him completely — his ears off, nose off.”
We asked Johnnie if she ever heard what happened to Ed’s mother and she said, “I always thought from what I heard that she stayed with some people around in the Harts Creek area until she died. Before she died and after he died, she was able to work some and she’d go out and work for the neighbors to keep herself up and not ask nobody for nothing. She was an independent person. Don’t know where she’s buried nor nothing.”
Billy wondered if maybe Emma had remarried and Johnnie said, “Well, I’d say — going by some experiences I’ve saw — my dad died when my mother was 48 years old — you can’t call that old — and she never married nor never looked at a man and she lived to be 75 years old on the day she was buried.”
Was there a chance that Ed’s mother might have shacked up with someone?
“No, I don’t believe so,” Johnnie said. “The old women back then was different from the women today. I’ll just put it like I believe it: they were not sex crazy and they lived their life decent. They believed the Bible. They believed one man to one woman and when death parted them…stay single. I’d say my mother was happily married — she had twelve children and to have twelve children she musta loved him or she wouldn’t a stayed with him, would she? My dad, he drank a lot and he abused her a lot, but you know what? When he died and was put in the ground, my mother made a statement. She says, ‘I’ll never be married again.’ She said, ‘There goes my first love and that’s it.’ I’ve saw men ask my mother if she was ready to get married. She said, ‘I wouldn’t look at a man.’ She had the opportunity to marry into some good families, but she wouldn’t do it. And Mom raised nine of us children by herself and buddy she worked hard to raise us. She taught school.”
We asked Johnnie if she’d heard anything about Ben Adams hiring Milt and Green to ambush Al Brumfield.
“I never could get the full details on who was the ringleader behind it,” she said. “They always got to be a leader, and he’s the one that agitates and gets them out and gives them the whisky that gets them drunk. I’m gonna tell you something. Old Ben Adams was mean as a snake, honey. He didn’t care. And old man John Adams was just as mean. Ben was a brother to Grandpaw Anthony.”
Times were pretty wild on Harts Creek in those days.
“They’d go have associations and campaign rallies and they’d kill all kinds of hogs and sheep and stuff you know and have a big dinner set out for them,” Johnnie said. “And buddy they’d just go there and campaign and fight like dogs and cats. Get drunk. I remember in elections and stuff about what they’d do to my dad. They’d get him drunk and he’d walk up and take a knife and just cut a man’s tie off’n his neck as though it wasn’t nothing. Everybody with a big half a gallon of moonshine under his arm. Pistol in his pocket. Now that went on around here, honey. In the sixties, they stopped.”
I asked Johnnie where the old association grounds were and she said, “Well, they’d have one here at Grandpa Burl’s farm and then they’d go on down in Lincoln County and post another’n and they’d ride mules and horses and run them to death.”
Johnnie figured Ed played at the association grounds “because he liked to drink and he was where the action was. He played wherever he could find him a drink.”