From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this item dated September 2, 1921 about Kanawha County sheriff H.A. Walker and his role in the “armed march” on Logan County, WV, by UMWA miners:
IS KANAWHA PROUD OF HER SHERIFF?
We presume the citizens of Kanawha county are justly proud of their sheriff, H.A. Walker.
When Kanawha county citizens, all miners, last week decided that since Logan county was enjoying an unbroken peace of seventeen years, or from the time coal operations began, it would probably overlook the state pistol toting law and the United States treason laws and remain peacefully subservient thus allowing them to pass as quietly through Logan county as possible which might include pillaging a few homes and only a murder or two. Did Logan’s sheriff permit it? Let’s see.
This mob was allowed to gather in Kanawha county by their sheriff who visited their camp, saw armed sentinels and is said to have received authentic information of pillaging and looting and auto holdups in his county yet sends in the report of “everything orderly.” This then means that a person or several hundred persons may carry arms in Kanawha county so long as they are orderly even though he or they should hold up an auto or two “to see if the driver was carrying whiskey to the campers along the road.”
For shame, Kanawha. You permit a man to hold this high office who allows all of this in violation of his sacred oath, because he fears to disarm these men who came down through Boone leaving a trail of blood along the way, into Logan where families forsake their homes at two o’clock in the morning and drive to Logan city for protection; where every available man is pressed into service for fighting while his mother, wife, daughter and sister spend sleepless days and nights preparing food for him.
You should be pleased, Kanawha, that some of your citizens have produced this reign of terror, but it remained for Logan county’s sheriff to uphold the laws of the State of West Virginia and the laws of the United States and stop this mad rush of Kanawha county citizens into Mingo which would have ended in a manner which God alone knows.
There is no place in modern civilization for the Kanawha demonstration. It is wrong in principle, subservient to anarchy and flagrantly outrageous in the reputation it gives the state. It is the fault of Sheriff Walker that the name of West Virginia is once again disgraced as one of the United States, but thanks to Sheriff Don Chafin and Logan county citizens, the laws are upheld before the more serious encounters ensued.
A.S. Bryan, Appalachia, Aracoma Lodge 99, banker, banking, C.C. Crane, C.H. Bronson, Charleston, Cincinnati, Cole and Crane Company, Ettye Robertson, First Presbyterian Church, genealogy, Gilbert, Guyan Valley Bank, Harry N. Robertson, history, Huntington, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Indianapolis, J. Murray Robertson, John Edwin Robertson, Kentucky, Knight Templars, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Louisville, Mae Robertson, Mary S. Robertson, masons, merchant, Ohio, politics, Portsmouth, Robert S. Shrewsbury, Ruby Robertson Parris, sheriff, Shriners, Spring Hill Cemetery, Stirrat, Sydney Robertson, W.B. Miles, West Virginia, Wheeling Consistory
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this obituary for former sheriff Sidney B. Robertson, dated June 22, 1923:
S.B. Robertson Dies At Huntington Home
Former sheriff of Logan county, Sidney B. Robertson, of 501 Fifth Avenue, Huntington, died Monday afternoon at 5:40 o’clock after a lingering illness. He has been in failing health for over a year, but it was not until about four months ago that his condition was regarded as serious. The best medical skill in the country was employed in his behalf, but none could make a diagnosis of his condition.
Funeral services will be conducted this afternoon, at 2:30 o’clock at the late home by the Rev. J.L. Mauze, pastor of the First Presbyterian church of which Mr. Robertson was a member. The body will be interred in Spring Hill Huntington cemetery following the services.
Mr. Robertson was born, August 3, 1864, and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Edwin Robertson. He early entered into business, and was prominent in lumber circles for some time, being associated with the late C.C. Crane, of Cincinnati, in that business. He served as sheriff of this county from 1900 to 1904 and following that engaged in the wholesale grocery business, until the time of his retirement, a year ago, which was necessitated by ill health. He had extensive holdings in coal mines of the county.
Mr. Robertson was in Logan about a month ago with Laryed Buskirk, on business connected with the purchase of the Stirrat-Gilbert right-of-way–at that time Mr. Robertson was in very poor health and told friends that it was doubtful if he would ever be in Logan again.
On February 22, 1884, he was married to Ettye Bryan, of Logan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.S. Bryan. Four children were born of this union. Fifteen years ago, in the fall of 1907, the family moved to Huntington, which has been their home since that date.
Mr. Robertson was prominent in Masonry. He was a member of the Huntington chapter, No. 53, was a Shriner in the Charleston Beni Kedem temple, was a member of the Kanawha Commandery of Knight Templars of Charleston, held the thirty-second degree in Masonry in the in the Wheeling Consistory, and was past master of Aracoma lodge 99, of this city. He was also a member of the Logan chapter of I.O.O.F. He was at one time president of the Guyan Valley Bank and held a great number of offices in the different companies in which he was interested. He was a member of the First Presbyterian church of Huntington and was a member of the Men’s Bible class of that church.
Mr. Robertson is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ettye Robertson, three sons, Dr. J.E. Robertson, of Louisville, Ky., Harry N. Robertson of Logan, and J. Murray Robertson, of Huntington, an uncle, Sydney Robertson of Mana, Ark., three sisters, Mrs. C.H. Bronson and Mrs. W.B. Miles of Huntington, and Mrs. Mae Robertson of Pawtucket, R.I., and three grand children, Robert S. Shrewsbury of Huntington, John Edwin Robertson, Jr., of Louisville, Ky., and Mary S. Robertson of Logan.
Mr. Robertson’s only daughter, Mrs. Ruby Robertson Parrish, met a tragic death only a few weeks ago, dying as a result of injuries received when the family automobile went over a cliff near Portsmouth, O., while returning from the Memorial Day races at Indianapolis.
Appalachia, Delorme, Democratic Party, Devil Anse Hatfield, Evaline Marie Hatfield, genealogy, Grace Ferrell, history, Huntington Business College, Island Creek, Joe D. Hatfield Jr., Joe Hatfield, Levisa Hatfield, Logan Banner, Logan County, Marshall College, Mingo County, politics, Republican Party, sheriff, Stirrat, teacher, Tennis Hatfield, Tug River, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of political history dated December 13, 1927:
J.D. Hatfield Announces Candidacy For Sheriff
Native Son Will Ask for Republican Nomination in May Primary–That He Would Enter Race Was Expected, and That He Possesses Unusual Political Strength Is Undisputed
Joe Hatfield will be a candidate for the Republican nomination for sheriff in the primary election May 29.
That announcement will doubtless arouse tremendous interest but will create little surprise. For many months the public has expected that at a seasonable time his hat would be quietly tossed into the ring and remain there until the voters had registered their approval or disapproval. Having determined upon a course of action, he will go straight ahead.
Born and reared in Logan county, in love with its every stream and mountain, hoping and expecting to spend the remainder of his life amid the rugged hills to which his ancestors were lured by fate a century ago, he says he has long had an ambition to serve as sheriff of the county beloved of his kith and kin.
The statement that he was born in this county calls for this qualification: Joe Davis Hatfield was born at Delorme, on Tug River, then in Logan county but now in Mingo. That was 44 years ago. Except for a period at Huntington Business College and a year (1903-4) at Marshall College, he has lived hereabouts and his life is an open book. He attended country school on Island Creek and had some experience as a relief teacher, though at no time did he ever consider that his vocation. He is a brother of Sheriff Tennis Hatfield and a son of the late Captain Anse Hatfield and Lovisa Chafin Hatfield–their fourth youngest child, Tennis being the youngest.
Joe was married in 1917 to Grace Ferrell of a Mingo county family and is the father of two children, Evaline Marie, aged eight, and Joe D., Jr., aged five.
His fraternal affiliation are limited to the Elks and the Modern Woodmen of America.
In commenting on his announcement, Mr. Hatfield said, “I’m not running for the office solely for the honor and rewards it might bring, but also because I believe I can fill it in a way that my children and friends will be proud of. I want to give the people a square deal for their sake and mine–why should a man in an important office like that want to do less? I expect to be nominated, but if not I’ll do my part for the man who beats me; and when nominated I’ll plan to wage an active and winning campaign. Besides my experience and observation have given me some ideas about what a sheriff can and should do and I’ll probably discuss these with friends and perhaps in the papers at the proper time.”
It is not The Banner’s purpose to espouse any man’s candidacy before the primary, yet there is no hesitancy in saying here and now that Joe Hatfield will be regarded by voters of all parties as a formidable candidate for the nomination. Quiet, suave, friendly, neat and attractive in appearance, on intimate terms with hundreds and even thousands of voters in the county, the scion of a prominent pioneer family, his strength is obvious to the humblest citizens as well as those trained in politics. And while on the subject of politics, let it be recalled that Stirrat, Hatfield’s precinct, was the banner Republican precinct in the county in 1926. The Republican vote varied from 310 to 312 for the different candidates; the Democratic vote from 54 to 58. The precinct won a flag for the largest registration of Republican voters before the primary and won a silver cup for the largest Republican vote in the election, the prizes having been offered by the county committee. Incidentally, that feat was credited largely to Joe Hatfield and brought the first prophecy the writer heard that he would be the next sheriff of Logan county.
Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, Blair Mountain, C.W. Conrad, Charles Town, Charleston, circuit clerk, crime, deputy sheriff, Don Chafin, H.E. Keadle, history, Jefferson County, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mexico City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, sheriff, U.G. Young, United Mine Workers of America, Walter Allen, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the “Armed March” at Blair Mountain, dated February 2, 1923:
Allen Is Traced By Deputy E. Keadle To Mexico City
Walter Allen, convicted of treason at Charlestown on September 15, and sentenced to ten years in the state penitentiary and who was released on bond of $15,000 with U.G. Young of Charleston as surety and who jumped his bond and fled from the state recently has been traced by Logan officers to Mexico City.
A capias was received here on December 20 for Allen, the capias being issued to C.W. Conrad, clerk of the circuit court of Jefferson County, when Allen failed to appear there on the date set. Deputy H.E. Keadle took the capias to Charleston and called at headquarters of the United Mine Workers, and attorneys for that organization professed their ignorance of his whereabouts and stated they would do all within their power to apprehend the fugitive.
However it was ascertained that Allen had been in Oklahoma City, Okla., and the officers there were requested by wire to arrest the fugitive but he had fled the city when they searched for him. Deputy Keadle then continued the search and the latest information received at the sheriff’s office here states that Allen is now known to be in Mexico City, Mexico.
Allen was convicted for his participation in the armed march of Logan in August and September, 1921. According to the evidence in the trial which lasted five weeks, he handled the finances and otherwise assumed direction of the armed march which was stopped at the border of Logan County where a battle between the invaders and the state forces raged over a battle line extending for 25 miles.
After his conviction his attorneys noted an appeal and stated the case would be carried to the supreme court. The time granted Allen for his appeal expired December 13, but the time expired without any record of an appeal being noted. When Allen failed to appear at Charlestown to begin his sentence a capias was issued for him and sent to Sheriff Chafin for execution and the hunt for the fugitive then began.
Due to the red tape connected with extradition proceedings, it is not yet known what steps will be taken by Logan authorities toward extraditing the fugitive.
For more information about Mr. Allen, go here: https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/205
Appalachia, county clerk, crime, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Jacob Smith, James H. McCoy, John Dils, Kentucky, merchant, Pike County, Pleasant McCoy, Randolph McCoy, S.K. Damron, Sallie McCoy, Sam McCoy, sheriff, William McCoy, William P. Johnson
NOTE: This case is most definitely unrelated to the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. I included it here because of the involvement of John Dils. The William McCoy involved in the case is likely the brother to Sallie (McCoy) McCoy, wife of Randal McCoy.
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history for Sheriff Don Chafin. The story is dated February 10, 1922:
REJECT SHERIFF’S RESIGNATION
Don Chafin Presents Same to the County Court But Would Not Be Accepted
ACTION OF SHERIFF DUE TO LACK OF COOPERATION
He Has Agreed to Serve Out Term of the Office After Urging of Court and Friends
Last week Don Chafin tendered to the county court his resignation as Sheriff of Logan county. The county court promptly rejected his resignation and Mr. Chafin was prevailed upon by his friends to let the matter drop and continue to serve the county in his official capacity.
The direct cause of his resignation was the lack of cooperation on the part of some of his deputies. To those who are unacquainted with the official duties of a Sheriff in Logan County the duties of the office might be considered one of ease and pleasure but to those who are initiated with the trials and tribulations of the position it is a well known fact that the life of a Sheriff in this county is anything but a bed of roses.
The Banner is directly opposed to the political policy of Don Chafin but it must be remembered that when Mr. Chafin offered himself as a candidate in the fall of 1920 for the office of Sheriff he was elected by an overwhelming majority in keeping with the choice as expressed by a majority of the citizens of the county. The Banner accepted the result and resolved to extend to the incoming Sheriff all the assistance within our power in fulfilling the duties of his office. Since that time we have had no occasion to regret our course. The previous term of Sheriff Chafin had satisfied us that the duties of the office would be fulfilled honestly and faithfully and the short time that he has served during the present term has justified our faith.
Logan county is in many respects far different from any other county in the state. We are in one sense of the word isolated from other sections of the state inasmuch as we are situated on a branch of a railway system with only one outlet. Consequently it is no easy matter for the mining operators in this field to secure labor. In their efforts to supply their mines with labor it is necessary for them to draw on the supply of raw labor of the larger cities. This brings into our midst an element of labor that is not always of the most lawful type but in many instances the men are of foreign birth and of various races hence we are sometimes so unfortunate as to admit many men of criminal tendencies.
Not one tenth of the labor required in the various industries of the county are of native birth, the other 90 percent being men who have no interest here other than the wages they may receive. Thus if may be seen that it requires constant attention to duties by the authorities of the county to maintain the law and prevent crime. To do this not only requires courage but tact and diplomacy as well.
How faithfully Don Chafin has performed the duties of the office the world is well aware. When thousands of armed men had banded themselves together with the avowed intention of invading our peaceful county last fall it was he that said, “They shall not pass.” They did not pass. Don Chafin stood like a stone wall and while the army of angry men stormed at the gates of our county he firmly held his men on the defensive and saved our county from invasion. Ho well he performed this duty is attested by commendation from all parts of the nation and needs no repetition here.
This is the second term of Don Chafin as Sheriff of this county. The citizens to the county called him to serve. While the routine of his duties may prove most irksome and perplexing we trust that he may exercise the fullest measure of patience and continue to serve the citizens of Logan county during the remainder of his term. The Sheriff needs the cooperation not only of his official family but of every law abiding citizen of the county and we should be quick to express our appreciation of duties well performed by giving to him all the assistance within our power.
A.C. Rouse, A.R. Browning, Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, Bill Blizzard, Blair Mountain, Charleston, crime, deputy sheriff, District No. 17, Don Chafin, Ferndale, Frank Keeney, George Munsy, H.M. Miller, history, Hubert Ferrell, J.E. Wilburn, J.L. Workman, John Gore, Lens Creek, Logan, Logan Banner, Madison, Marmet, merchant, Mine Wars, Mother Jones, Savoy Holt, sheriff, T.C. Townsend, United Mine Workers of America, Warren G. Harding, West Virginia
Here is one article from the Logan Banner relating to Bill Blizzard and the Armed March on Logan County, WV, popularly remembered today as the Battle of Blair Mountain:
Blizzard Gloated at Gore’s Death, Said
“That’s fine! What’s the matter you haven’t killed any others?” William Blizzard, mine workers’ officer, was quoted as saying after he heard of the death of Deputy Sheriff John Gore and two companions at the hands of a party of union miners, according to testimony Monday at Blizzard’s trial upon an accessory to murder indictment growing out of the armed march against Logan county in 1921. Blizzard is charged with having participated in the plans that caused the death of George Munsy, one of the Logan defenders killed with Gore.
Hubert Ferrell, of Ferndale, the witness who quoted Blizzard’s words, declared the mine workers’ office made the statement in a speech to the armed miners gathered at Blair on the afternoon of the day after they had returned from Blair mountain where the Logan “defenders” were killed.
“It don’t seem like it would take any more nerve to kill Don Chafin (Logan county sheriff) and his thugs than it would a sheep-killing dog,” Ferrell testified Blizzard continued in his speech. “Right tomorrow I want you to fix up to go over the top. It don’t matter about losing a few men. I want you to go over to Logan and let the men out of jail and tear the thing down to the ground.”
Under cross-examination Ferrell added that Blizzard had told the men he wanted them to eat dinner the next day “on the jail house step.”
Ferrell, according to his testimony, failed in his first effort to visit the men who participated in the armed march when he was stopped by guards at the mouth of Lens Creek where the marchers first assembled. He denied that he had ever desired to join the march and said he went there only to see if there were any men there whom he knew. T.C. Townsend, one of the defense attorneys, cross-examined Ferrell vigorously upon that point. The witness said he was on his way to Charleston to buy clothing at the time. Later he said he went to Blair intending to go on to Logan and visit his half-brother, but was prevented by the armed men in Blair from either going on or returning and eventually returned home on a special train after federal troops took charge of the situation.
While he was at Marmet at the mouth of Lens Creek and unable to go farther up the creek because he could not give the guards the password and did not belong to a union, Ferrell said Fred Mooney, secretary treasurer of District No. 17, United Mine Workers, and a man who was said to be C. Frank Keeney, the district president, were there in an automobile. Mooney, the young man told the jury, asked the guards if any guns and ammunition had arrived and on being told he had none informed them that two truck loads had left Charleston. The man pointed out as Keeney told the men he did not believe they were sufficiently prepared and that they would do better to go home, “get prepared and then go over and get Don Chafin and his thugs.”
On the day before Gore and Munsy were killed, Ferrell said Blizzard also made a speech from the porch of the school house that served as base for the armed forces on the union side at the mountain and asked what was the matter that they were not having more success and told them they ought to go over and “get Chafin and the thugs and get it over with.”
Mrs. J.E. Wilburn, wife of the miner-preacher who was one of the principal witnesses for the state now serving a sentence of 12 years for his part in the killings on Blair mountain, testified that guns and ammunition were stored in the parlor of their home. She did not know Blizzard, she said, but men who took the arms into the house said Blizzard had brought them, she testified.
A.R. Browning, a merchant at Blair, told the court that members of the armed forces there got merchandise at his store and told him to charge it to the United Mine Workers of America. The things they got, he said, included shoes, overalls, and other clothing and also some women’s clothing, which he thought, they got for their wives and daughters.
H.M. Miller, a constable at Madison, said that just before Keeney made a speech at the ball park near there which he counselled the marchers to return to their homes, he had a conversation with the union president in which Keeney said that “if the federal troops would keep out he would take these men and go through Logan with them.”
Earlier in the day, J.L. Workman and A.C. Rouse of Marmet had testified as to the occurrence during the assembling of the men on Lens Creek. Workman told of “Mother” Jones’ efforts to get the men to go back to their homes and her declaration that she had a telegram from the President of the United States, which he said Keeney called a “fake.” Later that day both Workman and Rouse said Savoy Holt in a speech from the running board of an automobile said the union officials were their but could not address the men and that he had been instructed to tell them that the telegram was not genuine and that they were to “go on.” Rouse said Keeney and Mooney were in this automobile and that Blizzard was in another nearby. A man he did not know spoke from the running board of the automobile in which Blizzard was riding, telling the men to go on, and Blizzard’s car drove up Lens Creek followed by the armed hordes.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 6 July 1923
Appalachia, assistant postmaster, Big Creek, Cabell County, Charles Spurlock, Cheat River, Cincinnati, civil engineer, civil war, doctor, genealogy, gunsmith, Hamlin, history, Jane Spurlock, John Spurlock, Lifas Spurlock, Lincoln County, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan Post Office, Marshall Spurlock, Midkiff, Montgomery County, Omar, Pete Spurlock, preacher, Ranger, Robertson Spurlock, Seth Spurlock, Sheridan, sheriff, Spurlockville, Stephen Hart, surveyor, Union Army, Virginia, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Stephen Hart and Harts Creek in Lincoln and Logan counties, West Virginia. The story is dated April 14, 1937.
Stephen Hart Settled at Cheat River, Pete Spurlock, A Great Grandson, Reveals
P.A. (Pete) Spurlock, assistant postmaster at the Logan post office, this morning revealed the destination of Stephen Hart, who went went after he had lived for a short time at the forks of the creek in the lower end of Logan county which now bears his name.
Spurlock said that Hart went to the Cheat River and settled permanently there to hunt deer and rear a family. He said the family name of Hart is as familiar there as the name Dingess is familiar in Logan county.
A daughter of Stephen, Jane, was Spurlock’s grandmother. She lived until 1913 and told her grandson much of the early history of the family which made its home in and around Spurlocksville, Sheridan, Ranger, and Midkiff.
Charles Spurlock, the progenitor of the Spurlock family, came to what used to be the Toney farm below the mouth of Big Creek in 1805 from Montgomery county, Virginia.
“Uncle Charley was a funny old cuss,” his great grandson Pete said this morning. “The story is told that a sheriff of Cabell county was given a capias to serve on the old codger for some minor offense when he was growing old and rather stout.
“Meeting him in the road one day, the sheriff informed Uncle Charley he had a capias to serve on him.
“None abashed, the old man informed the sheriff he was a law-abiding citizen and laid down in the middle of the road and told the sheriff to take him to jail.
“The ruse worked, for the sheriff chose to look for less obstinate prisoners,” Uncle Charley’s grandson said, chuckling.
Another story about the eccentric “Uncle Charley Spurlock” which has gone down in history, whether true or not, was that he lived for a short time below Big Creek under a rock cliff (known as a rockhouse) during the early summer while he was getting his cabin in shape for winter.
The tale is out that “Uncle Charley” explained his strange dwelling place in this way to his neighbors:
“Well I took Sarah (his wife) in a good substantial frame house in Virginia and she wasn’t quite satisfied. I took her to a log house and she wasn’t satisfied. I took her to a rail pen and still she grumbled. Then I took her to a rock house built by God Almight and still she wasn’t satisfied.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with Sarah.”
Sarah evidently became accustomed to “Uncle Charley” for the couple reared four sons. They were John, Seth, Lifas and Robertson. There were no daughters.
Seth was P.A. Spurlock’s grandfather. His father, Marshall, is 78 and lives on his farm near Cincinnati.
Spurlock says “Uncle Charley” is buried on a point at Spurlocksville overlooking the haunts of his early manhood.
Robertson was a gunsmith and lived near Hamlin. Seth was a civil engineer and helped survey much of Logan county. He was a Union soldier. John was a country doctor who practiced at Ranger.
Lifas was a preacher for sixty years and lived at Sheridan.
Charles Spurlock, of Omar, is a distant cousin, the assistant postmaster said. He is the only relative that lives in this section of Logan county, Spurlock said.
Spurlock, at Omar, was born at Spurlocksville and is a grandson of one of the original “Charley’s” boys.