It’s getting to be that time of the year when people come from all parts of the world to visit a small rural section of Logan County simply for one reason only—to see the life-sized marble statue of world famous feudal leader Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield; his wife, Leviacy, and nearly all of the Hatfield clan’s gravesites.
Without delving into matters too deeply that I’ve previously addressed, like: — “Why can’t a better roadway be built to this historic site?” and “What happened to the $275,000 that West Virginia Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin announced was approved for upgrading of the road?”— I shall quickly move on. But, first:
In a news release provided to The Logan Banner in 2000, State Department of Highways Commissioner Sam Beverage advised in a letter to Tomblin that “I am pleased to advise a project, in the amount of $275,000, has been approved for upgrading the road.” Beverage’s letter noted that “the project will provide for upgrading of the road to eliminate the necessity of annual clean-up projects and weed clearance.”
In the news release, Senator Tomblin was quoted as saying, “This will not only enhance our ability to attract tourists to the region, but it will become a major stop for those visiting the area after the opening this fall of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail System. Visitors and guests of the Chief Logan State Park Conference Center will also find the cemetery an important stop on any visit to Logan County.”
Commissioner Beverage was quoted as writing, “Since the Hatfield Cemetery road is on private property, the road has been accepted into the State Highway System allowing us to perform the work.”
Now, I don’t know what happened to those plans, and there undoubtedly is a plausible answer out there somewhere, but, as I continue to beat on a dead horse, allow me to tell you the stories of two lesser known individuals who are buried at the Sarah Ann location.
Moss Hatfield, described as Devil Anse’s “favorite” grandson, and who was practically raised by his grandfather, was in March of 1936 brought to Logan from Man by police officers who thought Moss had become insane. According to the newspaper account, “Every effort was made to obtain a lunacy warrant for him from County Clerk J. Green McNeely.”
However, it turns out that McNeely had known Hatfield for many years; therefore, he informed the officers that he doubted that the man had “lost his mind,” so he told them to take him to the county jail and to have him examined by a physician. That was done, and it was discovered that Mr. Hatfield was suffering with pneumonia and was in serious condition.
Moss Hatfield was the first of seven children born to Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield, who many will recall in the famous feud as the lover of Roseanna McCoy, who he never married, but fathered a child by; the baby later dying. Johnse, the oldest son of Devil Anse, was married four times before he died in 1922; one year after his father succumbed. He is buried very near his dad.
Described as living on a farm about three miles this side of Gilbert at what was known as Silver Creek, Moss Hatfield was 43 years-old in 1936, and was a widower. County Clerk J. “Green” McNeely, a highly respected preacher at the time, and the person who originally leased his farm to be used as what became The Logan Country Club and golf course at Chapmanville, said that as a young man, he had spent as much as a week at a time with Moss at his grandfather’s home at Sarah Ann. “We often hunted together in those days,” said McNeely. “And we stayed at Devil Anse’s home place.”
Seven days after officials thought Moss Hatfield to be insane, he was pronounced dead at the Logan hospital, the result of a losing battle with pneumonia. Funeral services were held at Chauncey and his body was then removed to the Hatfield Cemetery where he was buried amongst others of his clan.
Survivors included his six children: Cora Hatfield of Chauncey; Mrs. Georgia Bower and Don Hatfield of Man; Jonce Hatfield, Mrs. Violet Hatfield and Troy Hatfield, all of Chauncey.
Another lesser known individual who is buried at the Hatfield Cemetery met an untimely death when he was murdered by his young wife, just five days before Moss Hatfield was laid to rest. Jim Easton, 32, died of wounds he received from his 20-year-old old wife, Juanita (Lowe) Easton, after the couple had been married for just three weeks in March of 1936. Ironically, Rev. McNeely was who officiated the wedding of the young couple.
Mrs. Easton, who was the daughter of Tom Lowe of Verdunville, was arrested and placed in the county jail for stabbing her husband just above his heart with a butcher knife on a Saturday evening. Doctors said that the knife pierced the left lung and that Mr. Easton “could not live” because of the lung injury.
The wounded man was also suffering with a fractured skull, which his wife told officers, was caused by a blow on the head about a week before, when another woman, supposedly hit him with a beer bottle. Doctors, however, said they believed the fracture was caused from a blow struck more recent than what Mrs. Easton said.
Mrs. Easton, described by The Logan Banner account as a “woman of charm and beauty,” talked freely of the things that led up to the stabbing. She told State Police that she stabbed her husband “after he had forced her to drink a bottle of beer with another man and had slapped her several times about the face.”
Although the fiery young woman claimed she only stabbed her husband in self-defense, police said witnesses at the scene said the woman had thrown a knife at her spouse before she grabbed another butcher knife and did the dastardly deed.
Relatives of Mrs. Easton said they tried to keep her from marrying Mr. Easton, but their pleadings were to no avail.
Funeral services were held for Jim Easton at a boarding house known as “Stanley’s Place” at Sarah Ann, which is where the couple had spent their honeymoon just a few weeks before. The Logan Banner reported that Harris Funeral Home of Logan was in charge of interment at the Hatfield Cemetery. It was not disclosed then, or known now, if there was any direct connection to the famous Hatfield family.
BITS and PIECES
A great-grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield, who visits Logan County annually, tells me in an e-mail that he believes the name of his great-grandmother, Leviacy Hatfield, has been misspelled in various ways over the many years…..Joe Browning said he believes his great-grandmother’s name should be spelled Louvisa because of a keychain ID tag that was given to him by his Grandmother, Elizabeth, many years ago…..the metal tag that was stamped in 1922 clearly shows his great-grandmother’s name spelled as LOUVISA…..Joe’s great aunt, Rosa Hatfield Browning, Devil Anse’s daughter, also had a son named Joe, as well as a daughter she named Louvisa, which would seem to support the North Carolinian’s belief of the correct spelling of his great-grandmother’s first name…..anyway, I look forward to seeing Joe again sometime this summer when he comes in to clean up parts of his family cemetery…..now, a few words from former Loganite Jim McDonald, who I mentioned last week as being a former photographer/reporter with The Logan Banner back in the 1970’s…..like so many other former Logan Countians, Jim reads The Banner on line, and he saw an article I recently wrote in regard to Scouting in Logan County…..Jim, who says he was a Boy Scout from the time he was a kid until he aged out at 18, and has lived in Muncie, Indiana for almost 29 years, spent about four years on staff at summer camps at Garrett’s Fork, where he got to know a lot of Scouts and Scoutmasters from around the region…..McDonald said Scouts came to the camp from places like Alum Creek in Lincoln County, Racine in Boone County, as well as Chattaroy, Williamson, etc. in Mingo County, for the four week long summer sessions…..he recalled what he termed as the “colored” camp that was located between Verner and Gilbert…..quoting Jim’s e-mail, he said: “…..I can remember when almost every town on Buffalo Creek had a separate scout troop, as well as Main Island Creek, etc. There was no troop in Stollings; because we all belonged to the troop at First Presbyterian (Wilbur White was a longtime leader, then Bill Herman). I remember Doug Witten in Justice Addition, Bob Padgett in Holden, Andy Emoody in Williamson, and I can see tons of faces but time has erased most of the names.”…..Jim added that at one time, in the City of Logan, there were two troops—one at the First Presbyterian Church and one at the Nighbert Methodist Church—and mentioned that he remembers many of the restaurants that were in Logan, specifically the Smoke House, Franklin’s, Coney Island and Nick’s…..in another e-mail, Jim recalled in the ‘70’s the then oldest living World War I veteran in Logan County as being Tom Moore of Cora, who older folks will remember as the African-American who was always wearing a uniform when flagging traffic during local funeral processions…..good to hear from Jim, as it is to hear from another former Banner photographer/reporter, Emery Jeffrey, who, along with McDonald, made a dynamic duo for the newspaper…..oh, how the newspaper industry has changed…..DID YOU KNOW that Randall McCoy, the leader of his family in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, was married to his first cousin, who was Sarah “Sally” McCoy?…..before you put a frown on your face, one best do a historical look at their own family lineage…..if your genealogy leads you back to the hills of either Kentucky, the Carolinas, Virginia or Tennessee, well, just don’t be surprised, “Cuz”….. do you need a new house?…..no joking, PRIDE Community services of Logan has two brand new homes located at Peach Creek, which are appraised at $120,000 each, but can be purchased for many thousands less to a qualified low income person, or couple…..the three-bedroom and two bath units can be had, providing potential buyers meet the criteria of currently paying at least $450 per month rent, and have a credit score of 640 or better…..the monthly payment is all but guaranteed to be lower than the purchaser’s current rent…..interested prospects can go to the PRIDE website or telephone 752-6868 for more info…..just another great low income service provided by the local organization…..over the years, many local Cincinnati Reds and Bengals fans may have stayed overnight at the former Travelodge Motel in Covington, Ky., which was just across the Ohio River from the sports stadiums in Cincy…..personally, I enjoyed the short walk from the hotel to the bridge that led right to the ball park….just to let you know, the old motel was torn down and replaced last year by a Hampton Inn, which opened Dec. 2, 2016 …..it seems every Tuesday at the local Kroger store, I see many “old” acquaintances taking advantage of senior discounts that amount to 5% deductions for every dollar spent at the store on Tuesdays…..for those who may not know it, the discounts will be discontinued on May 23, according to the Kroger people…..the Kroger company, which originated in Cincinnati, has a long history with Logan, including at one time being located on Main Street across from the courthouse…..last Thursday turned out to be a pleasant day for yours truly as two buddies dropped by the office, both with sweet offerings…..fellow 1971 Logan High graduate Roger May, who probably should open up a local bakery because of his baking talents, first left me some delicious bread, while Chapmanville’s Carl Bledsoe, who is well known for his beekeeping, later on dropped off some absolutely delicious honey….since I was expecting Carl, I provided him with a quart of my homemade garlic kraut, which adds a sour touch to his pleasant personality…..seriously, the arts of beekeeping, preserving foods and homemade baking are local crafts that are slowly disappearing in our high tech society…..QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor.”—Hubert H. Humphrey…..I am planning a story in regard to the shocking number of “legal” immigrants that helped make Logan County prosper during its formative years, but I was surprised to find out that West Virginia ranks last in the nation in the number of illegal immigrants (0.2 %) it has, compared to other states…..my conclusion is that, as the legislature and governor continue to battle over a state deficit that is the worst since the Great Depression, not even illegal immigrants want to come to our mountains, which doesn’t exactly present a problem to me, or, I suppose, anybody else…..CLOSING NOTE: After speaking with Logan Mayor Serifino Noletti, whose immigrant family certainly played a key role in the making of the town of Logan into a City, it turns out that Logan Police Chief E.K. Harper did not suffer a heart attack, as previously thought. The Boone County native did, however, have stints inserted after blockages were found when he visited a doctor concerning another physical problem that was ailing him; that problem being the result of an automobile accident from years past. So, in reality, instead of having a heart attack, Harper actually was saved from having a heart attack, which, of course, comes as good news.
Dwight Williamson is a contributing writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner. He currently serves as a Logan County Magistrate.