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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Harrison Blair, an early sheriff in Logan County, WV:
Harrison Blair Was First Democrat Sheriff In Logan
Son of Namesake Of Town Of Blair Served Shortly After Civil War; Democrats Held Office Continuously Until 1924
John Blair, namesake of the little mining town which nestles at the foot of Blair Mountain on the headwaters of Laurel Fork, was the father of Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff.
He was a native of Powells Valley in Virginia and first settled just above the present site of Williamson. He married Polly Baisden and later settled near his father-in-law, Jean Schmidt Baisden, at the Mouth of Laurel.
Blair died in 1860 after rearing a family of three sons and three daughters. His son, Harrison, was Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff after the Civil War.
Harrison was married twice. He first married a Miss Johnson and later a Miss Chafin. His brothers Anderson and Joe married McCoy sisters and made their home near their brother and father on Laurel Fork.
Jean Schmidt Baisden, father-in-law to John Blair, was one of the first settlers at the Mouth of Laurel. He came with Lafayette to America and served under him during the Revolution.
After the war he located at Richmond, Va., and then moved to Reeds Island, New York, where he married a Miss Burnham. At the beginning of the 19th century he moved to the mouth of Laurel and reared a family.
He had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Joseph, who married Lucinda Osborne; Solomon, who married Mary Chafin; and Edward, who married Susan Bennett.
His daughters were Polly, who married Harrison Blair; and Frances, who married Thomas Copley.
John Blair’s daughters were Mahulda, who married Anderson Dempsey; Chlorina, who married John McCoy; and Rhoda, who married Moses Parsley.
The Blairs and Baisdens are a well-known family on the Laurel Fork side of Blair Mountain, though few have crossed the divide and settled on the Guyan river watershed.
Early county history has it that the Blairs were active politically in the county following the Civil War, but no definite facts can be found of individuals holding any official position other than Harrison, who was the first of a long line of Democratic sheriffs, which ruled the county up until 1924, when the Republicans broke the power of Democrats and began their regime which ended in 1932.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 4 May 1937.
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My name is Deanna Hatfield and tonight I would like to share with you a West Virginian, Allen Hatfield, who the community of Beech Creek honored and loved. Allen was born October 11, 1877. He was the youngest child of the pioneer couple, Wall Valentine Hatfield and Jane Maynard Hatfield, who settled on Beech Creek in 1861, the year that the Civil War broke out in this country. His parents had settled at the mouth of Grapevine Fork of Beech Creek. They had occupied a log cabin near the present site of Lawrence Hatfield’s home. He was the nephew of Captain Devil Anse Hatfield, clan leader in the famed Hatfield-McCoy Feud, and a first cousin of Willis Hatfield, the only surviving child of that family.
Almost until the day of his death, Allen carried a sadness in his heart over the death of his father in the days of the famous feud. His father, a peaceable man, was not an active member of the fighting group of the Hatfields during the trouble between his family and the McCoys but was named in warrants along with two of his sons-in-law, Doc and Plyant Mayhorn. Allen Hatfield, but ten years old at the time, remembered that his father Wall, thinking that he had nothing to fear in the courts of Kentucky, wrote the prosecuting attorney of Pike County that he and his sons-in-laws wished to surrender in Pikeville and stand trial for crimes for which they were accused. Allen Hatfield recalled the incident from his boyhood, including the feud. His father did go to Pikeville to voluntarily stand trial and clear his name but he was convicted by a prejudiced jury, the son remembered, and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Kentucky State Prison in Frankfort. After sentencing, he lived about one year and his burial place is still unknown today. The two Mayhorns served several years and were later pardoned.
One of his fondest memories was that of his mother Jane who took over the management of the home and did a good job of raising a large family after her husband was taken from her. She did chores around the homestead. A great and interesting conversationalist in his adult years, he liked to tell of how he and his friends made bows and arrows–arrows consisting of straight pieces of wood with a horseshoe nails attached as the spike. He became an excellent marksman with the bow and arrow and later with his first rifle as he helped to provide squirrels and other wild game for the family table.
The early years of Hatfield’s life were marked by sadness as a result of the loss of his family in the feud. But his hours spent in the great outdoors hunting and fishing provided a therapy that led to his development to splendid manhood. He was several years old when the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company built an extension from Virginia to southern West Virginia and Mingo County, which still was Logan County at that time.
In 1899, Hatfield was married to Martha Bell Murphy, daughter of Joseph and Eliza (Steele) Murphy. She had just turned fourteen when he proposed and her family thought she was too young to wed. The young couple sort of eloped the night of April 8, 1899, to Allen’s home where they were married by Allen’s brother, Ellison, a country preacher and a granny doctor, as he later recalled. Late that summer, he amassed enough lumber to build their first home—a one-room abode that was erected next to the hillside just north of the present homestead. Allen Hatfield made most of his furniture and his wife tended a garden and dug ginseng to help the family fortune.
During the ensuing years, the Hatfields had eleven children, two of whom preceded them in death. Lawrence Hatfield, who married Dollie Kiser, is now retired and lives with Dollie on Beech Creek at the mouth of Grapevine Fork. Estel Hatfield, who married Virginia Varney, lived with his dad and still lives in the old homeplace. Estel is an agent for the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company. Major Hatfield, who married Mildred Friend, is employed as an agent also for the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company in North Tazewell, Virginia. Rosa Hatfield, married Wayne Simpkins, lives on Beech Creek on Right Hand Fork. Goldie Hatfield married Gordon Smith, and they make their home below Grapevine Fork on Beech Creek. Mamie Hatfield married Charlie Simpkins and makes her home in Rockville, Maryland. Glendeen Hatfield married Douglas Berlin, and they make their home in Louisiana. Etta June Hatfield, never married and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Erma Hatfield married Forest Baisden, and she lives in Williamson, West Virginia. Milda Hatfield, deceased, was a retired school teacher and was never married. Joseph Chester Hatfield, died at six months old.
In 1914, Allen bought from his brother Smith a grocery store at the old homeplace and moved the merchandise to a small building at his home. He built a large home later and it was there that most of the children were born. He expanded his business to a larger store building, which still stands, and then he erected the present homeplace. During his early merchandising days, Hatfield was compelled to haul his goods from the railway station at Devon by team and wagon for the roads had not been built and most of the rough team tracks was through the creeks. It was a problem in the wintertime to get through the streams as they were filled with ice. After the county built a road up Beech Creek, he retired his team and wagon and switched to a gasoline-powered vehicle to haul and deliver his goods. He learned carpentry in the early years of his marriage and continued this art until 1964 when he retired. Hatfield was a 57-year member of the Hugh C. Boyd Lodge No. 119 AF & AM at Matewan and received his 50-year service award from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia in 1970. The lodge, when he became a master mason, was known as Thacker No. 119. It was located at Thacker, West Virginia. It later was moved to Matewan. He also belonged to the Beni Kedem Temple of Charleston, being a 50-year member of the Shriners. He also received the honorary commission of a Kentucky Colonel on April 10, 1972. He had been a member of the Devon Church of Christ since 1916 and sponsored the building of the present church that stands near his home on Beech Creek.
In his years of selling groceries, Hatfield said he never lost but 50 dollars in bad debts. He was proud of his heritage, a leader in his community, and in his active life a crack shot with a rifle, pistol, and shotgun. His hunting and fishing kept the table supplied with food. He won beef, hogs, turkeys, and chickens in the old-time rifle matches that were so popular in the Beech Creek area years ago. He and the former Martha B. Murphy were married 71 years before her death on May 25, 1970. His life might have been used as the subject by the poet who wrote, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” Allen Hatfield had spent a lifetime doing just that, living beside a little country road on Beech Creek and being a friend to mankind. On March 2, 1975, Allen was taken to the Williamson Memorial Hospital for ailments associated with his advanced age. He then was released and re-entered the hospital on April 18 in critical condition. On Friday, May 2, 1975, the community of Beech Creek lost one of the dearest old-timers that was ever known. Allen Hatfield, 97, prominently-known Mingo pioneer citizen, retired merchant of Beech Creek, died at 3 a.m. in the Williamson Memorial Hospital of a lingering illness. Funeral services were scheduled at the Chambers Funeral Home Chapel with his beloved ministers Clyde Kiser and Raymond Hatfield officiating. Burial took place in the family cemetery behind the homeplace on Beech Creek. His grandsons and great-grandsons were his pallbearers. Allen would have wanted it this way. Simple.
NOTE: Some of the names may be transcribed incorrectly.
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Appalachia, Atlanta, Barnabus, Blue Goose Saloon, Democratic Party, Don Chafin, genealogy, history, Huntington, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mine Wars, Mingo Republican, sheriff, Tennis Hatfield, Wallace Chafin, West Virginia, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, come these small items relating to former Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin, a prominent figure in the Mine Wars:
Chafin’s Petition For Parole Now In Hands of Sargeant
Attorney General Sergeant has placed the application for parole of former sheriff Don Chafin “on file,” indicating that it has been shelved temporarily according to reports received here.
It is understood, however, that the federal pardon board, sitting at Atlanta prison has recommended Chafin for parole.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 11 June 1926.
Don Chafin Freed From Prison Is Due Here on Wednesday
Don Chafin, former Logan county sheriff, received his parole from the federal penitentiary at Atlanta this morning at 10 o’clock, according to word received here at noon by Wallace Chafin.
The last obstacle for his parole was removed several days ago when an indictment against him in the federal court at Huntington was nollied.
Chafin left Atlanta immediately upon his release and is expected to arrive in Logan Wednesday night.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 24 August 1926.
Ex-Sheriff Chafin Returns to Logan Friday From Prison
“Don” Greeted At Station By Many Friends As He Comes Back on Federal Parole.
Don Chafin, former sheriff of Logan county, returned Friday to Logan from the federal penitentiary at Atlanta, after serving eight months of a two-year sentence imposed by Judge McClintic in federal court for violation of the prohibition act.
The former sheriff was paroled after months of strenuous work in his behalf by relatives and friends who contended his conviction was largely political.
A large number of friends met Chafin at the station in Logan on his arrival. At his request there was no demonstration here to greet him. Plans to meet him with a brass band, which had been widely broadcast, were abandoned at his request.
The former sheriff gained weight during his absence and arrived here looking well and hearty. He has consistently refused to make any statement to the press since his release at Atlanta. His only public statement in Logan for the newspaper was as follows:
“I have nothing to say for publication. All I ask is to let and be let alone.”
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 31 August 1926.
Don Chafin Visits Williamson Friends In Trip On Tuesday
Don Chafin, ex-sheriff of Logan county, motored to Williamson last Tuesday morning and spent the greater part of the day here visiting friends. His visit was entirely social, says the Mingo Republican.
He stated that he was in the best of health and was glad to get back with his family and friends.
On the eve of the general election held in 1924, Chafin was indicted and tried in the Federal court at Huntington upon a conspiracy to violate the prohibition law. He had been a dominant figure in Democratic politics for many years, having held respectively the offices of assessor, county clerk and sheriff, to which latter office he was elected twice. He was sheriff of the county during the time of the armed march and gained national prominence because of his stand for law and order. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention held in New York City in July 1924.
It was alleged at the trial that the presiding judge was prejudiced against Chafin and several affidavits were filed to prove this. However, the judge did not permit the affidavits to be filed and the case proceeded to trial resulting in the conviction of Chafin. The principal witness against him was Tennis Hatfield, the present sheriff of Logan county, who gained the office by virtue of a decision of the Supreme Court.
The most damaging evidence introduced against Chafin was an alleged receipt which Hatfield testified Chafin had given him showing the payment of a certain sum of money which was supposed to represent the proceeds derived from operation of the once famous Blue Goose Saloon at Barnabus. Chafin alleged this paper to be a forgery and applied for a pardon on this ground.
Pending the application for pardon the Parole Board recommended Chafin’s parole and while Judge McClintic strenuously opposed it the pardon was approved by the Attorney General on Tuesday August 24, and Chafin arrived in Logan on Friday, Sept. 3. He was greeted at Huntington by several hundred of his friends and when he arrived in Logan an enthusiastic reception by friends in his home county.
It was first planned to stage a monstrous celebration but after Chafin learned of this he requested that this not be done and said that he wanted his home-coming to be of a quiet nature and to be received informally by his friends.
Throughout all of his trouble his friends proved their loyalty to him and steadfastly maintained his innocence. Many of those who met him here Tuesday have known him since boyhood.
He expressed to his friends here the intention of devoting his time to his private business. He has many large and various interests which will require constant attention and most of his time. He returned to Logan Tuesday afternoon.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 10 September 1926.
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In 1912, Logan Banner editor George A. Dean married the former Lena Gross, who soon thereafter disappeared. Here are a few stories about the event:
Editor Dean Married
On Monday, Nov. 11 in the minister’s study, Geo. A. Dean and Miss Lena Gross of Virginia, were united in marriage by Rev. W.L. Richardson.
Mr. Dean is the hustling editor of the Logan Banner and is well-known in this city and surrounding country as a man of push and energy, while the bride was one of the charming dining room girls at the Hotel Jefferson.
Mr. and Mrs. Dean will be at home to their friends after Nov. 18.
Source: Logan (WV) Democrat, 14 November 1912.
Editor of “Most Fearless Weekly” on the Trail
West Virginia editors who have failed to receive the Logan Banner on their exchange tables during the past three weeks, no doubt, marveled at its absence. But there is a reason–a tragic, gnawing reason which has caused the editor, Geo. A. Dean to suspend temporarily editorial duties and to embark upon a quest which means more to him than journalistic honors or the mere touch of hollow gold.
Readers of the Banner will remember that there appeared graven upon its front page four months ago Mr. Dean’s and his wife’s own announcement of their marriage. The paragraph attracted more than usual attention, partly because of its unique construction and partly because of the unusual manner of its presentation, but more than all because Mr. Dean was very prominently in the editorial limelight because of recent rather prominent mention in Collier’s Weekly. But that is history, and in mere prelude to the situation which now confronts him: to-wit: that of a married man, wifeless, disconsolate, yearning for the things that were.
Mr. Dean, who has been in Huntington and vicinity for two days seeking a trace of his evanished spouse, speaks frankly of his bereavement, and is importunate that the home-loving public shall, if possible, assist him in finding and restoring his lost treasure. In brief, Lena Boyd Nelson Dean has gone away and, some fear, forever departed. She went without the tender formality of a farewell husband’s kiss. She went away surreptitiously, mysteriously. She went, and Mr. Dean, who has sounded the very depths of heaven and earth, is no whit the wiser whither. Descriptive circulars, telling her height, weight, complexion, color of eyes and hair, manner of dress, and all that pertains to accurate and dependable description have been scattered broadcast all over the territory in which it might be surmised that she would be obscuring herself from the eyes of love and yearning. Mr. Dean stated last night, in conversation with the Herald-Dispatch, that he had absolutely no heart for business, that he had known no rest, no surcease from the terrible heart-longing that had seized upon him and held with tenacious grip from the morning of his wife’s departure. He has searched high and low. He has communicated with every known relative of his wife, without being able to get even the shadow of a clue tending to lead to the discovery of her whereabouts. He gives the following verbal photograph, which is almost as good as the ordinary studio product, and much better than a tintype:
Lena Boyd Nelson Dean, formerly of Williamson and Matewan and Bluefield. Four months ago she served as waitress, cook, and house girl at Logan, W.Va. Last seen at Kenova on Sunday morning, March 2. Physical description: Age 26. Height 5 ft. 2. Coal-black eyes given to starry twinkle. Raven black hair. Rather full lips. Gold filling in front teeth. Deep, well modulated musical voice, with a tendency to coarseness in time of cold. Can not read or write much as her early education was neglected. Her costume is described as being strict in the style of today. Raincoat, drab-colored; blue-serge, two piece coat suit. Beaver hat, embellished with four black ostrich plumes. Leather suitcase, canvass trunk and gold-headed umbrella.
Mr. Dean feels that his wife may have returned to one of the three occupations ascribed to her in the opening paragraphs.
He has important mail for her, both registered and ordinary, and is awaiting anxiously any news of her, and his arms are open to her return. The Logan editor’s plight is positively pitiful. He has grown emaciated, hollow-eyed, faded, wan. The tireless vigil, the ceaseless search, the anxious waiting hours, have all played their part in preying upon his splendid vitality. He is discouraged but not defeated, and will continue the search as long as human endurance will permit, or else sooner find the partner of his joys and immediate cause of his great and overpowering grief. His plight has elicited much sympathy. For what is life without a partner?
Source: Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch via Logan (WV) Democrat, 13 March 1913.
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In 1912, Floyd Allen and other members of his family participated in a sensational gunfight during a trial at the Carroll County Courthouse in Hillsville, Carroll County, Virginia. The incident resulted in the death of Judge T.L. Massie, Prosecutor W.M. Foster, Sheriff L.F. Webb, juror Augustus Fowler, and witness Nancy E. Ayres, while seven others were wounded. In 1927, Frank Allen–a reputed relative of Carroll County Allens–was captured on Harts Creek in Logan County, WV.
Frank Allen Caught On Murder Charge
“Bad Frank” Allen was captured on Harts Creek last night and was lodged in jail here at 6 o’clock this morning. An hour or so later he was taken to Williamson to answer to a murder charge.
State police from Williamson, accompanied by Trooper Wilson and Constable Frank Adams, made the capture. They went to a house where he was known to be and called him to the door. As he appeared in view he was “covered” by high powered rifle and was commanded to drop a pistol he held in his hand. He refused to let go but one of the officers walked up to him and took possession.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 11 November 1927.
“Bad” Frank Allen Moved to Welch Jail for Safe-Keeping
Charged With Murder, He Eluded Officers from October 1 Until Captured on Harts Creek Week Ago–Kinsmen of Allens of Carroll Court House Fame.
“Bad Frank” Allen, who was captured on Harts Creek a week ago last night, to answer to a murder charge in Mingo county, was subsequently moved from the Williamson jail to the Welch jail for safe-keeping. Boys with hard heads or big feet are in the habit of kicking holes in the Williamson bastile, but a ball bearing nutmeg grater will be presented to the first one who bumps his way to freedom through the thick walls of the McDowell prison.
Allen is accused of killing Wallace Dillon at a horsetrading carnival held near the Baptist Association meeting on Shanklin Creek October 1. Stories of the affray are conflicting. It is said Dillon and others had a whale of a fight, after there had been much imbibing of strong liquor. In the free-for-all Dillon was a star performer, upsetting friends and foes with little regard for consequences. Allen missed the “party,” but when he heard that Dillon had beat up the other participants in the affray, he is said to have construed it as a challenge. Saddling his horse he rode to the scene of the fight and presumably without any provocation fired at Dillon with fatal effect. He escaped after the shooting and officials of both Mingo and Logan county waged a strenuous man hunt in an effort to capture him.
The arrest was made at the home of Leonard Conley in a wild and isolated corner of Harts Creek. His captors were Deputy Sheriffs Bill Driver and Ben Bartram, of Williamson; State Police Wamsley and McClure, of Delbarton, and State Trooper C.S. Wilson, of the Logan detachment.
Conley, wanted on a liquor charge, was not at home, but the officers had a tip that “Bad Frank” was there. One yelled for him to come out and he appeared in the doorway, pistol in hand, and ready to “shoot it out,” until he saw several high-powered rifles leveled at him. Even then he ignored the command to drop his gun, but stood motionless as an officer approached him and took possession of the weapon, which proved to be of 45-calibre.
Allen told his captors that during the six weeks he was a fugitive he had slept in caves and barns and had nearly starved at times. It is thought he fared much better in the hospitable hills of Harts, altho he said that was the first night he had sought shelter in a human habitation.
Big Shoot Recalled
Allen hails from Wythe county, Virginia, and is said to be a kinsmen of the Allens who shot up the Hillsville court house on March 14, 1912. Two of the clan were executed for the crime and Sidney Allen was released from prison on a conditional pardon a year or more ago, the first fusillade in the court upon Judge T.L. Massie and Sheriff Lew F. Webb fell dead. Augustus Fowler, a juror was shot through the head and died two days later. Commonwealth’s Attorney Forst was also shot. Andrew Howlett, another juror, was shot through the _____st. Another juror and Clerk of the court Dextor Goad were wounded but recovered. Miss Elizabeth Ayres received a death wound. Sidna and Allen Floyd were wounded also.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 18 November 1927.
Penitentiary Awaits “Bad” Frank Allen
“Bad” Frank Allen, whose recent capture under dramatic circumstances on Harts Creek, will be recalled by Banner readers, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the circuit court at Williamson this week. Sentence has not been pronounced but that offense is punishable by from one to five years in the penitentiary.
This desperado of a picturesque type killed Wallace Dillon at a horse-trading gathering near Kirk, on October 1. State’s evidence indicated he rode on the scene when the crowd was watching a fight between Dillon’s brother and another man and shot Dillon without any provocation. Allen testified he shot in self-defense, claiming there was no ill feeling between them and that they were unacquainted.
Allen is 28 and said to be related to the Allens of Hillsville court house fame.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 16 December 1927.
“Bad” Frank Allen Escapes from Pen
“Bad” Frank Allen, said to be one of the Hillsville Allens and known in these parts, has escaped from the penitentiary and is at large. W.M. Ray, a Boone county man serving a two-year sentence for moonshining, escaped with him. They were missed at the prison mine Monday.
The usual reward of $50 has been offered for Allen’s recapture, but those familiar with his record are likely to believe the reward is too small to be tempting.
Allen entered the pen last December 26 to serve a term for shooting and killing Wallace Dillon at a horse-trading carnival near the Baptist Association meeting on Shanklin Creek, Mingo county, October 1. After that affray he escaped but late in November was captured at the isolated home of Leonard Conley on Harts Creek. State policemen armed with rifles and pistols surrounded the house and several were pointed at the front door when Conley, .45 pistol in hand, opened the door in response to a knock. He ignored commands to drop his gun but allowed an officer to seize it.
During the six weeks preceding his capture, Allen stayed in the wilds, subsisting on nuts and fruits largely, he told his captors, though he fared better after getting into the hospitable Harts Creek country.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 24 April 1928.
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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…
A.J. Shepherd, Appalachia, Calico, Devil Anse Hatfield, Dewey Boaz, Elias Hatfield, genealogy, Greenway Hatfield, history, Horse Pen Fork, hunting, Huntington, Island Creek, jailer, Joe Hatfield, John Totten Vance, Joseph Hatfield, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Logan Democrat, M.K. Diamond, Melvin Runyon, Mingo County, Moundsville, New River, Omar, Stirrat, Tennis Hatfield, Thacker, Tom Hatfield, West Virginia, West Virginia Coal & Coke Company, Willard Hatfield, William E. Glasscock, William Hatfield, Williamson, Willis Hatfield, Wyoming County
From the Logan County Banner, the Logan Banner and the Logan Democrat of Logan, WV, come the following items about the Hatfields:
In some way our watchful jailor Elias Hatfield learned that some week or to days ago, the wife of Melvin Runyon, who is confined in jail here for the murder of John Vance at Thacker had been trying to get a pistol in the jail to him. On Monday, Mrs. Runyon, with a brother of Runyon, and Mr. A.J. Shepherd came over to see him. Mr. Hatfield thought it was his duty to search Mrs. Runyon before she was allowed to go into the jail, which he did at once, and found a hatchet under her dress. The hatchet was taken from her and she was not allowed to go in. Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Runyon were, however, allowed to go in and talk with the prisoner. The jailor is commended by all for his action.
Source: Logan County Banner, 17 April 1895.
Tennis Hatfield is reported on the sick list.
Source: Logan Democrat, 23 January 1913.
Tennis Hatfield, who has been confined to his room for several weeks, is improving under the care of Dr. Steele.
Source: Logan Democrat, 30 January 1913.
Tennis Hatfield who has been confined to his room for two months at Calico left last week for New River.
The many friends of Willis Hatfield here are glad to hear that Gov. Glasscock paroled him from a four year sentence at Moundsville for killing Dr. Thornhill in Wyoming county.
Source: Logan Democrat, 20 March 1913.
Mr. Hatfield caught five ground hogs Tuesday and said that it was not a good day for them either.
Source: Logan Democrat, 24 April 1913.
Joe Hatfield, of New River, visited his parents at Calico last week.
Source: Logan Democrat, 15 May 1913.
Postmaster Willard Hatfield of Williamson was bound over to court yesterday following a row in which Police Officer Dewey Boaz was shot in the foot. Hatfield waived examination and his bond for $1,000 was signed by his father, Greenway Hatfield.
Source: Logan Banner, 5 August 1927.
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Martin County Courthouse in Inez, KY. 3 March 2018. Photo by Mom.