Appalachia, Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, Church of Christ, Doc Mullins, Ferrellsburg, genealogy, history, Lincoln County, minister, preachers, Route 10, Tice Elkins, West Virginia
28 Sunday Mar 2021
02 Tuesday Jul 2019
Posted Big Creekin
02 Tuesday Jul 2019
Posted Big Ugly Creek, Hartsin
09 Saturday Mar 2019
Posted Chapmanville, Ferrellsburg, Huntington, Loganin
Appalachia, Belle Dingess, Chapmanville, Charles Curry, Cora Adkins, Cora Kelly, Dude Tomblin, Easter, Ferrellsburg, Ferrellsburg School, fox hunting, genealogy, Gracy Horns, history, Homer Tomblin, Hugh Farris, Huntington, John Dan, John Lucas, John Pitts, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lula Tomblin, Martha Fowler, Martha Mullins, merchant, Piney Fork, Ross Fowler, Route 10, sawmilling, Stella Mullins, Walt Stowers, Wayne Brumfield, West Virginia, Wilburn
A correspondent named “Blue Eyes” from Ferrellsburg in Lincoln County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on April 6, 1923:
The hard road is being rapidly worked on here at this place. We hope Logan County will keep her part of this road worked to make a speedy finish.
Mr. J.W. Stowers is still at home; he doesn’t go out much. Sometimes he fox hunts with his hounds.
Hugh Farris, a merchant from Piney, is here looking after business interests.
Mr. John Lucas made a rushing trip to Chapmanville Tuesday.
Mr. Bartley returned from a home visit in Huntington Monday.
Miss Martha Fowler made a trip to Logan Monday looking after business matters.
Mrs. Belle Dingess is visiting her sister Miss Martha Fowler this week.
Rev. Charles Curry and other Baptist ministers preached at Ferrellsburg school house Easter Sunday.
A Holiness revival will begin here this week by Brother Wellman and wife. We are certainly proud to announce the meeting because the people in this section have got their eyes on this highway of holiness. We are expecting a large crowd and a good meeting.
Mrs. Cora Adkins has been very ill for the past few weeks, but is improving now.
Mrs. Stella Mullins is visiting her sister in Ferrellsburg, Mrs. M. Tomblin.
Mr. John Pitts was on his way to work Saturday night when he fell and shot himself and now is in the Logan hospital.
The beauty of this place left here yesterday—Miss Cora Kelly.
Mr. W.E. Fowler, a merchant of Ferrellsburg, has gone to saw milling.
Mrs. Martha Mullins isn’t very well pleased with this noisy place.
Miss Gracy Horns returned to Ferrellsburg yesterday after visiting her sister at Wilburn, W.Va.
Mr. W.C. Brumfield was calling on Miss Lula Tomblin Saturday and Sunday.
The girls in Ferrellsburg are very sad at this writing on account of bad weather and bad roads, and are hoping the hard roads will be completed in a short time so they can begin joy riding.
Mr. Homer Tomblin and friend John Dan are taking a vacation this week. They will begin work Monday.
19 Thursday Apr 2018
Posted Boone County, Gilbert, Hamlin, Huntington, Logan, Ranger, West Hamlin, Wharncliffein
Appalachia, Beech Creek, Ben Creek, Bluefield, Bluestone River, Bob Browning, Boone County, Bramwell, Cabell County, Charleston, Coal Valley News, Commissioner of Agriculture, Crum, Davy, Devil Anse Hatfield, farming, Gilbert, Gilbert Creek, ginseng, Griffithsville, Guyandotte River, Hamlin, history, Horsepen Creek, Huntington, Iaeger, Island Creek, John W. Smith, Kanawha River, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, M.L. Jones, Mate Creek, Pigeon Creek, Ranger, Route 10, Route 2, Route 3, Sarepta Workman, Tug Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, Wayne, Welch, West Hamlin, West Virginia, West Virginia by Rail and Trail, West Virginia Hills, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Route 3 dated October 14, 1927:
“Changes Can Be Noted” In Island Creek Hills
Madison Editor Waxes Interesting on Old Times and Primitive Conditions–Surfaced Highways Mark the Paths Through Woodland That Were Traveled a Generation Ago.
An article of special interest to Logan folk is here reproduced from the Coal Valley News (Madison) of which M.L. Jones is editor. In a reminiscent mood he tells of road conditions and other conditions that prevailed hereabouts a generation ago. Exceptions might be taken to one or two statements, but the whole article is interesting indeed and informative.
It is considered appropriate that West Virginians should sing the “West Virginia Hills,” and year after year the teachers in their institution disturb their neighbors with this song, while “Tears of regret will intrusively swell.” There is some romance and merit in the song; but it strikes us that it is about time for a revision of this line.
“But no changes can be noticed in the West Virginia Hills.”
To prove our point we quote from memory.
For some years after 1882, there lived in the extreme head of the left fork of Island Creek, or Main Island Creek, a man named Bob Browning. It was 18 miles from Logan. The house was a two-room log cabin, surrounded by palings; and the valley was so narrow that it was difficult to find enough level ground for a garden. Apple trees and peach trees were scattered over a few acres of cleared mountain side. The family subsisted by a little farming, a little hunting and much ginsenging.
This place was between two low mountain gaps. A dim road, usable for wagons in dry weather, led down the creek to Logan, and forked at Browning’s house. One fork led east over one gap to Horsepen and Gilbert of Guyan; the other went west over the other gap to Pigeon creek, and by more or less roundabout ways connected with Ben Creek, Beech Creek, Mate Creek and Pigeon Creek, all of Tug river. Hence, it was a possible road route.
The nearest house down Island creek and on Horsepen creek was two miles; and on Pigeon creek about three-fourths of a mile. A wagon, lightly loaded, passed here on the average six times a year. Horsemen may have averaged one a day, though often a whole week passed without a traveler. It was simply a log shack in the head of the hollow, four miles from a school, ten miles from a store, without anything “which exalts and embellishes civilized life,” and so very remote from the haunts of men that when “Devil” Anse Hatfield and his followers concluded to surrender Tug river to Frank Phillips and the McCoys, they picked their “last stand” on Island creek, four miles below the spot we have been talking about.
Now, in the close of 1927, can “changes be noticed?” We have not been there for over 30 years. But we recently received a present from John W. Smith, commissioner of agriculture , Charleston, W.Va., entitled “West Virginia by Rail and Trail,” containing 22 maps and 174 pictures reproduced from photographs of different parts of the state, and for which we sincerely thank whoever got our name on Mr. Smith’s mailing list.
From this book we learn that when we laboriously trudged through the Horsepen gap or the Pigeon gap, from 45 to 35 years ago, we failed to foresee that within on generation men would pick those two gaps, within less than a miles of each other, as a route for one of West Virginia’s leading roads; and not only for one, but for two, of West Virginia’s leading roads. As we will explain:
Route 3, connects Huntington, Wayne, Crum, Williamson, Gilbert, Iaeger, Davy, Welch, Bramwell, and Bluefield. From Huntington to Wayne and about 15 miles above Wayne, it is mostly on the waters of Twelve Pole creek. It then bears west to Tug river and follows it from Crum to Williamson, about 25 miles. It then bears east to Pigeon Creek, which it follows to the spot we are writing about, in the head of Island creek, some 20 miles. It then goes through the two gaps and down Horsepen creek to Gilbert, on Guyan; up Guyan and Little Huff’s creek, of Guyan, and across the mountain to Iaeger, on Tug river. It then follows up Tug, by Welch, to the head of Elkhorn and then on the waters of Bluestone to Bluefield.
In all, Route 3 is in seven counties, though less than a mile of it is in Logan county, in the head of Island creek. It is graded all the way about 60 percent of it is hard surfaced, including about 25 miles at and near the Bob Browning place. Thus Bob, if alive, can ride on a hard surfaced road from his old home almost to Williamson, one way, and to Gilbert on Guyan the other way; and he could continue south by graded road, until he strikes hard surface again. The last fifty miles next to Bluefield is all hard surfaced, also the lower 25 miles next to Huntington.
But this is not the only big state route hitting this “head of the hollow.”
Route 10 runs from Huntington to the very same spot, a distance of 100 miles, through Cabell, Lincoln and Logan, and is all on Guyan or its tributaries. It is paved, or hard surfaced, from Huntington to West Hamlin, on Guyan where the Hamlin-Griffithsville hard-surfaced road turns off. It is also marked paved for seven miles north of Logan and twelve miles up Island creek. This leaves six miles up by the “Devil” Anse Hatfield place to the Bob Browning place to pave, and it is marked, “paved road under construction.” The only drawback to No. 10 is that from West Hamlin to Ranger is a patch where the grading is not yet satisfactory. Doubtless, within three years both 3 and 10 will be hard surfaced all the way. Even now, from the Browning place, the people can take their choice between an evening’s entertainment in Logan or Williamson.
But that is not all yet. The chances are heavy that there will never be but one hard surfaced road from Logan to Williamson. There will always be a heavy travel from Charleston to Williamson. It will be by our No. 2 to Logan; by No. 10 to the Browning place; and by No. 3 to Williamson. Within a few months it will all be hard surfaced.
From all this we conclude.
First; that we let a good chance slip when we failed to buy a half acre of land where No. 10 joints No. 3 for a hotel and filling station. We could have multiplied our investment by one thousand. But so far as we could see that spot was fit only to hold and the rest of the Earth’s surface together, and to get away from as rapidly as possible.
Second; that “changes can be noticed in the West Virginia Hills.”
We might add that thousands can remember crossing the Kanawha at Charleston on the ferry, because there was no bridge; and few, if any, three-story homes. The writer hereof did his first plowing with a two-horse turning plow in the center of what is now Huntington. It was a cornfield then. It is a fashionable residence district now. He boarded at an isolated log house on a hill back of the Huntington bottom, where now are miles of mansions on paved streets. Even in and about Madison and all over Boone county, it is hard for people to visualize how things looked a short ten years ago. Mrs. Sarepta Workman, on her recent visit to her old…
06 Wednesday Dec 2017
Posted Chapmanville, Huntington, Loganin
Appalachia, Bernice Ward, Bertie Collins, C&O Railroad, Chapmanville, genealogy, Hassel Perdue, Henry Conley, history, Huntington, Kenneth Hilton, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mable Ferrell, Maxey Perdue, O.J. Moses, Omar, Phico, preacher, Route 10, Ruth Queen, Virginia Hurst, West Virginia
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on May 6, 1927:
Rev. Screeds of Omar preached at the Church of Christ Sunday morning and Sunday evening.
Miss Virginia Hurst of Logan spent the weekend here with Miss Click.
Miss Ruth Queen spent the weekend in Logan.
Miss Bernice Ward spent the weekend here with her mother.
Miss Bertie Collins has returned to Chapmanville after a few days absence.
Lamar seemed to be enjoying himself Saturday evening and Sunday. Who is she, Lamar?
Daily Scenes: Beulah on the road to Phico; Carrie coming to school; Jane looking cute; Hazel and John; Inez working in the post office; Lyle calling at the office; Kyle and his sweetie.
Mr. O.J. Moses was visiting his parents in Huntington Saturday and Sunday.
Mrs. Kenneth Hilton and daughter were in Logan Monday.
The Sunday school at the Christian church is progressing nicely.
Rev. Shrive preached two delightful sermons at the Christian church Sunday. The house was crowded.
Mr. and Mrs. Hassel Perdue and son Maxey were visitors in Logan Monday.
The work on both the state and county roads is progressing finely.
Henry Conley was injured Monday by a freight train. All wish him speedy recovery.
Wonder why Miss Mable Ferrell doesn’t attend Sunday school?
Good luck to The Banner and its readers.
05 Tuesday Dec 2017
Posted Chapmanville, Huntingtonin
Appalachia, appendicitis, C&O Hospital, Cecil Shuff, Chapmanville, Charleston, Dorothy Lowe, Easter, genealogy, Geraldine Lowe, Grover Lowe, history, Huntington, John Ferrell, Logan Banner, Logan County, Paul Bentley, Route 10, Sarah Thompson, Stollings, Virginia, West Virginia
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on April 29, 1927:
The work on the roads is going forward nicely. We hope Chapmanville will not be a mud hole always. It is more like Charleston already.
Rev. Remus preached here Sunday. The home was crowded.
Grover Lowe and daughters Geraldine and Dorothy from Stollings attended Sunday school and visited friends here Sunday.
John Ferrell from Virginia is visiting friends and relatives at this place.
The Sunday school is progressing finely. Everyone is invited. Rev. Reeves will preach again Sunday.
Miss Sarah Thompson was taken to the hospital at Huntington where she will be operated on for appendicitis.
Paul Bentley who is in the C. & O. hospital is said to be improving.
Cecil Shuff spent Easter with his girlfriend here.
Daily happenings: Lamar leading the choir; Jack attending Sunday school; Minnie and her smiles; Carlos going to the post office; Victor and Steve flirting with their girls; Joe attending Sunday school; Lois going to school.
Good luck to The Banner, and who has baked those pies?
20 Friday Oct 2017
Posted Chapmanville, Pecks Mill, Yantusin
Albert Cabell, Appalachia, Arnold Barker, Canna Creek, Chapmanville, Christian, Democratic Party, G.S. Chapman, genealogy, H.T. Butcher, history, Joker Dingess, Logan Banner, Logan County, Newt Munsey, Patty Ann Cabell, Pecks Mill, Route 10, Squire Barker, Walter Crislip, West Virginia, Yantus
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on July 16, 1926:
The grading is done, and the road from here to Peck’s Mill is open to traffic.
Mrs. Albert Cabell of Yantus died last Sunday morning after a lingering illness of several months.
H.T. Butcher destroyed some high powered mash near Canna Creek a few days ago. So far no one has appeared to claim it.
Young Joker Dingess was visiting at Squire Barker’s Sunday.
There is a movement on foot to incorporate this town again. This will test out how many tight-wads there are here.
Newt Munsey and Walter Crislip have formed a partnership to operate a hack line from here to Logan. They will do their own driving. It will be known as the Safety line.
Arnold Barker is now clerking in the retail department of the G.S. Chapman store. Arnold is right there when it comes to waiting on the ladies.
Since the new mines have started everybody is at work except the Sons of Rest.
A gentleman from Christian spent the night here Sunday night trying to get his car started, but it would not go, so the next morning he gave a mechanic $1 to tell him he had no has in the tank.
The Democrats here are exclaiming: “How wise we are when the chance is gone, And a glance we backward cast. We know just the thing we should have done, When the time for doing is past.”
19 Thursday Oct 2017
Posted Big Creek, Chapmanville, Ferrellsburgin
A.L. Samson, America, Appalachia, Big Creek, board of education, Cap Adkins, Chapmanville, constable, county clerk, Edgwright, Ferrell Hill, Ferrellsburg, Fisher B. Adkins, genealogy, history, Jim Bryant, John Dingess, Ku Klux Klan, Lincoln County, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lumbago, O.J. Phipps, Republican Party, Route 10, The Old Rugged Cross, West Virginia
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on July 9, 1926:
O.J. Phipps is now on his vacation.
Cap Adkins of Kentucky has been visiting his grand children on Big Creek this week.
Grading on our new road is being finished this week.
Several of our citizens motored to Big Creek Monday evening to get their part of the hot air dispensed by John (Corn) and others.
A white-robed crowd of men of mystery assembled on the Ferrell Hill last Monday night and burned a very beautiful cross and sang “America” and “The Old Rugged Cross.”
Mrs. Jim Bryant is visiting her parents at Edgwright this week.
Fisher B. Adkins of Ferrellsburg was attending the meeting of the Board of Education here Monday. Fisher is a candidate for Clerk of the County Court of Lincoln county.
John Dingess is confined to the house with Lumbago this week.
A.L. Samson is a candidate here for constable on the Republican ticket. He says he served seven years in Lincoln county and never took any one with him to arrest a man in his life. We say hurrah for Abe.
13 Friday Oct 2017
Posted Chapmanville, Huntingtonin
Appalachia, Cam Pridemore, Chapmanville, Democratic Party, deputy sheriff, G.S. Ferrell, H.T. Butcher, history, Hubert Toney, Huntington, John Webb, Logan Banner, Logan County, Martin Johnson, moonshine, moonshining, Peach Creek, Republican Party, Route 10, Squire Barker, Sutton, W.H. Phipps, West Virginia
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on July 2, 1926:
The grading of our road is not quite done, but the road is open to traffic to Huntington.
W.H. Phipps of Peach Creek was here Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Cam Pridemore is the best deputy sheriff we have had for years.
Squire Barker is kept busy hiving bees these hot days.
Ask John Webb what it costs to get a taxi here.
Martin Johnson has purchased the wholesale feed store of G.S. Ferrell. We like to see new capital come to town.
Hubert Toney and wife left his morning for Sutton to visit Mrs. Toney’s parents at that place.
The Democrats can’t see how there comes to be so many Republicans here this time.
H.T. Butcher is making the bootlegger’s life a hard one these days.
30 Tuesday May 2017
Posted Big Creek, Chapmanville, Logan, Whirlwindin
Appalachia, appendicitis, Big Creek, Chapmanville, Dingess Run, Ferrell Addition, French Butcher, genealogy, history, Kessler-Hatfield Hospital, Lee Gore, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, N.P. Butcher, Republican Party, Robert Duty, Route 10, Squire Sol Adams, Tollie Ferrell, Walter Dingess, West Virginia, Whirlwind, William Boothe
An unknown local correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on June 18, 1926:
William Boothe, an aged citizen of Big Creek, died on Dingess Run a few days ago.
Walter Dingess, who was operated on at the Kessler-Hatfield hospital for appendicitis, is at home again.
N.P. Butcher was looking after business matters in Logan on last Monday.
The registrars here are finding Republicans where none used to be.
Miss Tollie Ferrell of Logan was visiting her home folks here Sunday.
The grading on the new road will be finished in two weeks. Better buy property here before it gets too high.
Squire Sol Adams of Whirlwind was here today on business.
French Butcher has taken the job of town thresher for his place and is doing good work.
Lee Gore is building a nice residence in the Ferrell addition. This town is glad to welcome such men as Uncle Lee.
Robert Duty was painfully hurt on last Sunday by being thrown by a horse.
District candidates are beginning to bob us here and there. Looks as though we would have a right good crop of them.
19 Friday May 2017
Posted Harts, Women's Historyin
03 Monday Apr 2017
A.H. Austin, Appalachia, B.M. Wheeler, Big Creek, Charley Wheeler, Ed Gill, farming, Jim Toney, John Adams, L.D. Franklin, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, measles, medicine, New York, Route 10, West Virginia, William Lucas
An unknown local correspondent from Big Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on April 16, 1926:
Here we come with a bit of news from the big city of Big Creek.
This place is getting like New York every day. All the business men are buying new cars, getting ready for the good roads whether they are finished or not.
Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Franklin and family have recovered from a bad case of measles.
Charley Wheeler is confined to his home with measles.
Mr. Jim Toney and family will soon be coming home for the summer.
John Adams, the barber of this city, was seen out car riding in his new car Saturday.
Mrs. A.H. Austin of Logan was called to the bedside of her mother on account of illness.
Mrs. B.M. Wheeler is quite ill at her home here.
Uncle Bill Lucas of this place, who has been ill for some time, is able to be out again. We are sure glad to see him on the streets again.
Mrs. Ed Gill is improving nicely.
Guess there will be some gardens raised in the little city as I see plenty of good fences going up.
We certainly did need a good doctor at this place. We have one now, Dr. Rouse.
There is some talk of getting up a Sunday school in this place. We certainly do need something to wake the people up.
Daily happenings: Marie and her sweetie; Jesse T. and his smiles; Myrtle M. and her letters; Miss Okie C. and her Bobbie; Miss Richardson and her love letters; Julia Thomas and her paint box; Zell Saunders and her powder puff; Sallie Kitchen and her beads; Christine Kitchen and her wrist watch; Martha and her school.
28 Tuesday Mar 2017
Posted Chapmanville, Loganin
A.J. Thomas, Appalachia, Carlie Compton, Chapmanville, Charlie Hale, Clifford Griffin, Ernest Compton, farming, genealogy, Gordon Lilly, history, Hughie Ellis, James Dingess, Jim Hardwick, Johnnie Webb, Katie Chapman, Kitchen, Lizzie Wagner, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lola Shackelford, Martha Roberts, measles, Okey Bryant, P.M. Toney, Route 10, Von Browning, Wallie Kestler, West Virginia
An unknown local correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on March 26, 1926:
We are having some fine weather after such a cold winter.
What will the boys of Chapmanville do now the works are just about shut down?
Miss Katie Chapman of Logan was seen in our little town once more.
Miss Lola Shackelford of Logan was the all night guest of her aunt Saturday.
P.M. Toney and A.J. Thomas were calling on friends in the lower end of the city Sunday.
What made you look so blue, Ace? She will stay longer next time.
Calling on Mrs. Martha Roberts Sunday were the following: Mr. Von Browning and family, Clifford Griffin, Lizzie Wagner, Mrs. Charlie Hale, and Miss Carmicle.
There sure was a turn out at Chapmanville Sunday to inspect the new road.
Miss Carlie Compton and sweetie and Ernest Compton were out walking Sunday.
Wallie Kestler has been on the sick list for a few days but is better at this writing.
The measles are getting bad around here. Mr. Toney’s family and Hughie Elllis’ family has them.
Uncle Gord Lilly is visiting Garland Adams the past week.
Jim Hardwick and Johnnie Webb were out walking Sunday.
Quite a number of people from Kitchen were in Chapmanville Saturday. Squire Lowe was in the bunch, also James Dingess.
Okey Bryant and wife seem to enjoy themselves.
Winter must be over. People are planting gardens here.
12 Monday Jan 2015
Posted Ferrellsburg, Green Shoal, Toneyin
Admiral S. Fry, Burbus Toney, C. Brumfield, Erastus Kelly Steele, Ferrellsburg, Fry, George W. Ferrell, Green Shoal, Green Shoal Post Office, Guyandotte River, Harts Creek District, James H. McComas, Lincoln County, Logan County, postmaster, Route 10, Toney, Virginia, West Virginia
Green Shoal Creek is a tributary of the Guyandotte River located in Harts Creek District of Lincoln County, West Virginia. Prior to 1863, the stream was located in Virginia, and prior to 1869, it was located in Logan County. Today, it is situated on Route 10 between the communities of Ferrellsburg and Toney. Prior to the Civil War, Green Shoal was a sort of community hub for the Harts Creek area. Green Shoal had the first post office located in the Harts area.
Green Shoal Post Office was established on January 4, 1855. It was discontinued on July 9, 1866. Burbus C. Toney, son of Squire and Nancy (Brown) Toney, was postmaster from 1855 to 1866.
Green Shoal Post Office was re-established on November 25, 1873. Admiral S. Fry, a Confederate veteran and merchant, served as postmaster until November 1, 1878. Kale Steele served as postmaster until November 17, 1879. The post office was discontinued on November 17, 1879.
Greenshoal Post Office was established on December 20, 1899. James H. McComas served as postmaster until April 5, 1901. According to one period newspaper account, C. Brumfield replaced McComas on April 2, 1901. Official records cite McComas as postmaster until December 22, 1902. George W. Ferrell, adopted son of local merchants, served as postmaster from December 22, 1902 until December 27, 1904. At this latter date, the post office was discontinued to Ferrellsburg.
In the twentieth century, the Green Shoal area was called “Fry.”
20 Tuesday May 2014
Posted Big Harts Creek, Ed Haley, Harts, Spottswood, Whirlwindin
Adams Branch, basketball, Beecher Avenue, Ben Walker, Billy Adkins, Bob Adkins, Bob Mullins Cemetery, Brumfield Avenue, Buck Fork, Bulwark Branch, Charles Brumfield, Crawley Creek Mountain, CSX Railroad, Ed Haley, Eden Park, genealogy, Guyandotte Valley, Hannah Baptist Church, Harts, Harts Creek, Harts High School, Heartland, Henderson Branch, history, Hoover Church of the General Assembly, Hoover Fork, Huntington, Ivy Branch, John Hartford, Kiahs Creek, Lambert Branch, Lincoln County, Logan County, McCloud Branch, Mingo County, Mount Era Baptist Church, Mountaineer Missionary Baptist Church, Pilgrims Rest Church, politics, Railroad Avenue, Republican, Rockhouse Fork, Route 10, Sand Creek, Smokehouse Fork, Trace Fork, Trace Old Reguarl Baptist Church, Twelve Pole Creek, Upper Trace Fork School, Ward Avenue, Wayne County, West Fork, Whirlwind, Workman Branch, writing
The community of Harts sits indiscreetly in the narrow section of the Guyandotte Valley on land that makes up the northernmost region of the Logan County coalfield and what was once “feud country.” Located some ten miles from a four-lane federal corridor linking the state capital to eastern Kentucky and fifty miles up a two-lane rural highway from Huntington, the second largest city in West Virginia, it is a settlement just on the cusp of modernization. It is a treasure trove of hidden history, quickly disappearing even in the minds of its locals, who have little if any recollection of its booming timber era or the exciting times of the railroad hey-day. It’s really the kind of place you might drive through without noticing much — or never have a reason to drive through at all.
Basically, Harts is an old timber town divided in the center by a lazy muddy river and intersected by a two-lane highway, Route 10. On the west side of the river — site of the old Brumfield business headquarters — is an empty store, a tavern-turned-church-turned-beauty shop, a garage, and a brick tabernacle. On the east side is an old brick general store, a nice video rental establishment, a state highways headquarters, an old wooden general store, a small brick post office, a fire department, a grocery store, a hardware store, a general merchandise store, a Victorian general store-turned-restaurant, and a new brick Head Start center. Running between those buildings on the east side is a track owned by CSX (formerly C&O) Railroad. Just behind the businesses are a few dozen houses of all vintages: brick, wooden, single-story, two-story… There are no street signs or traffic lights or even stop signs.
Route 10 connects Harts with the city of Huntington to the north and with the Logan coalfields to the south. From town, Big Harts Creek Road heads west up the creek to West Fork or Smokehouse Fork, while a little unnamed road diverges north past the tracks toward extinct post offices named Eden Park and Sand Creek. The four streets in town are paved but very few locals even know their proper names, which are Railroad, Beecher, Ward, and Brumfield Avenues. Just down the river is a brick house-turned-bank, a rural health clinic, a brick construction company headquarters, a new coalmine development area called Heartland, and a mechanic shop/gas station (owned incidentally by one Charles Brumfield).
Culturally, Harts might be thought of as an inconspicuous Harlequin romance and Wild West show gone wild, at least in its not-so-distant past. Many of the rabble rousers and roustabouts are long since dead. Actually, somewhat to my disappointment, a lot of the old families are gone completely from the area and no one really feuds any more. Many residents seem to work as schoolteachers or run small stores or work in the coalmines or draw government relief. People are nice and treat each other well. Most are related or at least seem to be. They watch TV or go to church or tend their yards or hunt or fish or ride four-wheelers or hop on the four-lane at Chapmanville and drive to Wal-Mart some 45 miles away. Old-timers are quick to say that Harts has a bad reputation for no reason — the only two murders within town limits occurred almost a century ago. There are no parks, museums or movie theatres — and only a few registered Republicans. It’s the kind of place where you can leave your doors unlocked at night or if you’re gone all day…and feel safe about it.
I have to admit, after several visits to Harts, I loved it. On one visit, I learned from Billy Adkins that the old Ben Walker farm was for sale…and seriously considered buying it. (I passed on the idea when I realized that my wife would never forgive me for it.) Harts, then, would remain a place to “see.” I began telling folks out on the road that it was “my Ireland.” It represented a desire on my part to get back to the kind of places where (at least in my romantic imagination) a lot of fiddle playing originated. A lot of my friends were from these kind of places. For them, when they wanted to tap into that ancestral ancient tone, they thought of Ireland, whether they were Irish or not. For me, coming from St. Louis, Harts was the closest I could ever hope to get to that. Such places are at the heart of the music I love.
Venturing up Harts Creek, the first thing you really notice is Harts High School, a forty-some-year-old two-and-a-half-story yellow brick structure near the mouth of West Fork with a gymnasium, annex building, and a baseball field, all situated on what was a prison camp during the early fifties and, a little further back in time, the upper reaches of the Al Brumfield property (and, a little further still, an Indian camp). In many ways, this school is the lifeblood of the community — at least in the lower section of the creek. In the mid-sixties, just as Harts began to turn away from its violent past, the high school basketball team won a state championship and began building a program known regionally for its successes. Today, basketball is what this community is best known for — not the murders or moonshining traditions of years past — with crooked politics maybe finishing a close second.
A little further up the creek, just below the Logan County line, a few miles past an old country store, a little restaurant, another baseball field, and a place of worship named the Cole Branch Church of Jesus Christ of the First Born. From there, the road forks left onto the Smoke House Fork of Big Harts Creek, location of the Hugh Dingess Elementary School and Dingess, Butcher, Farley and Conley country; or the road forks right into the head of Harts Creek to “Ed Haley country.” Of course, no one calls it that. People think of it as “Adams country” or “Mullins country” and really, that’s about all there ever was in that section. Ed himself is often identified with the Mullins family — his mother’s people. The adults in this part of Harts Creek vote in Logan County — not Lincoln — and send their kids on buses over Crawley Creek Mountain to Chapmanville High School. This section of the creek — where gunshots once rang out regularly and where moonshine was so readily found — is now remarkably quiet and low-key outside of the occasional marijuana bust. Unfortunately, it seems to have lost its musical tradition as well.
Trace Fork, the site of Ed Haley’s birth, is attributed by Ivy Branch in its head, Adams Branch, and Boardtree Branch toward its middle and Jonas and Dry House Branch toward its mouth. There are several small family cemeteries on Trace, with the maroon-bricked Mountaineer Missionary Baptist Church at its mouth. In previous days, the Upper Trace Fork School (now Trace Old Regular Baptist Church) sat in its headwaters, where the Logan-Lincoln-Mingo county line meets. As a matter of fact, Ivy Branch heads near Kiah’s Creek at the Wayne-Mingo County line, while Boardtree Branch heads at McCloud Branch of Twelve Pole Creek in Mingo County. Adams Branch heads at Rockhouse Fork in Lincoln County.
A little further up the main creek is Buck Fork, an extensive tributary comparable to West Fork or Smokehouse in size. It is the ancestral home of the Mullins, Bryant, and Hensley families whose names still dominate the mailbox landscape. In previous decades, it was the location of the Hensley School and Mt. Era Church. Just below Buck Fork on main Harts Creek is a large Adams family cemetery, while just above it is the equally large Bob Mullins family cemetery.
Continuing up Harts Creek is Hoover Fork, home of the Mullins, Adams, and Carter families as well as the Hoover Church of the General Assembly. Henderson Branch, home seat for Tomblins and Mullinses is the next tributary, followed by Lambert Branch (at Whirlwind) and Workman Branch. Bulwark Branch follows (populated by Carters and Workmans), trailed by Brier Branch (Smiths) and Tomblin Branch. In the headwaters of Harts Creek are Tomblins, Daltons, and Blairs, as well as the Pilgrims Rest Church and Hannah Baptist Church.
In all sections of Harts, gossip reigns supreme as a source of local entertainment. (This in spite of Bob Adkins’ warning that people should “tend to their own business.”) Maybe that’s why we hear so much about a 100-year-old murder when we ask about it and a bunch of other things we don’t ask about. Genealogy is super important. When you sit down to talk with someone, the first thing they want to know is how you fit into the community pedigree. It’s a way of squaring you up.
07 Tuesday Jan 2014
Posted Ed Haley, Green Shoal, Harts, Lincoln County Feud, Music, Toneyin
Appalachia, banjo, Bell Morris, Billy Adkins, Brandon Kirk, Bud Workman, Bumble Bee, Charley Davis, crime, Dave Dick, Don Morris, Ed Haley, Greasy George Adams, Green McCoy, Green Shoal, Harts, history, Hollena Brumfield, Hollene Brumfield, Hugh Dingess, Irvin Workman, Milt Haley, Peter Mullins, Ranger, Route 10, Toney, writing
Back at Billy’s, the subject of the “murder table” came up again. Supposedly, the table upon which Milt and Green had eaten their last meal somehow eventually ended up in the possession of Billy’s family. He suggested visiting his aunt Don Morris, who as a child had eaten from the table many times. Taking the cue, we loaded in the car and drove up Route 10 to Don’s house. Don lived at Toney, a small residential settlement just upriver from Green Shoal.
Don was a pleasant lady — very eager to help — and was aged probably in her seventies. After all the introductions, I asked her about the table. She said her grandfather Irvin Workman must have gotten it soon after the 1889 troubles. “He had it way back when he was raising his family,” Don said. “Then my dad, Bud Workman, when he moved out with my mother, they took the table with them.”
I asked, “Who told you that table was the Haley-McCoy table?” and she said, “My dad. It was in his father’s house before it was in his.”
“And you said that people would come by to see it?” I asked. “Who would come to see it?”
Don said, “I imagine it was relatives of the people that was involved in it.”
Don seemed to remember the table well, so I asked her for some paper so I could try to sketch it based on her memories. I started out asking about the length of the table, the style of its legs, and so forth…estimating everything by comparing it to Don’s current table. It was like doing a police sketch. After I had a rough drawing of the table, I asked her about the size and angle of the bullet holes.
Satisfied, I asked Don if she’d heard anything about Milt and Green’s death.
“It was pretty complicated,” she said. “Well, they got those men in and fed them. They knew they was gonna kill them all the time and they let them eat first. I can’t remember too much about the actual thing, because they didn’t talk too much about it in the family. Grandpa did sometimes. Well, I understood they shot them around the table after they ate. But it was execution style. Now, I couldn’t swear to it.”
Don figured the only light in the room was a kerosene lamp in the middle of the table. There was a story, Brandon said, that Hugh Dingess “shot out the lights” just before the murders — which presumably meant this lamp. While this may have occurred (perhaps so no one could witness the subsequent murders and thus testify in a future trial), it seemed unlikely. I mean, the room was probably really crowded if only half the people supposedly there were actually there and shooting in the room would have seemed dangerous. Of course, shooting a kerosene lamp could have set the whole house on fire.
“Well, I have heard they did, and I’ve heard they didn’t, so I couldn’t say which is true,” Don said of the lights. “I don’t think they could have without burning down the table.”
Brandon asked, “Was one of the men supposed to have played music before they killed him?” and she said, “He sang, didn’t he? It seems to me he played the banjo and sang a song. I guess they thought since they was going out anyway they might as well go out in style.”
I said, “Now, I heard that the wives went down there to try to plead for their lives and they turned them away. Have you ever heard that?”
Don answered, “Yes, I’ve heard that, but whether or not it’s true I’m not sure. My husband’s mother Bell Morris was related to the McCoys.”
I said, “Just for the record, what happened to that old house?” and she said, “I bet it burned.”
Don wondered why I was so interested in Milt Haley and I explained that I was researching the story of his son, Ed Haley, of which he was a very important part. I asked if she ever heard Ed play and she said, “I’m not sure, seems that maybe I did a long time ago. I think Haley played with Dave Dick. Dave played banjo. He was blind.” Brandon said Charley Davis had described Dick as a “pretty good” banjo-picker who mostly played “little ditties” like “Bumble Bee”. He lived downriver around Ranger but stayed in Harts for a week or so at a time with different families, sometimes playing for dances. Kids used to imitate him by bumping into things.
After mentioning Ed’s name to Don our conversation dwindled off to me asking if she knew people like Peter Mullins, Greasy George, or Hollena Brumfield. She gave answers like, “Well, I used to know a Peter Mullins. His foot was turned back. I remember watching him go up the hill there at the house.” As for Hollena Brumfield: “I knew one down here at this big old house at Hart. They put in a restaurant and you know it didn’t do too well. She said, ‘We got hotdogs on ice.’ Yeah, I knew those people.”
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