The first time I met Steve Hatfield was not under the best of circumstances since it was in the courtroom of Logan Magistrate Court. He, along with his father, Jack Hatfield, was there to bail Steve’s son out of jail. That son, Michael, wound up going to prison. At the time, I had no idea that Steve’s father was the son of Tennis Hatfield. Tennis, of course, was the son of Devil Anse—and we all knew who that was.
To make a long story short, both Jack and Steve could never have passed for anything less than Appalachian mountain men. The country sound in their voices was unmistakably pure hillbilly; much more so than the typical Logan Countian—and I mean this in a kind way, for I am proud to be called a “hillbilly.”
Jack Hatfield died several years back and is buried along with the rest of his family at the Hatfield Cemetery at Sarah Ann. Steve Hatfield will soon join his family at the Island Creek location having died unexpectantly at his home last Thursday. The great-grandson of Devil Anse lived near the cemetery that will welcome yet another family member to the crowded site. His devastated wife, Debbie, was forced to have his body cremated. She said he died peacefully in his sleep from a heart problem. A memorial service is planned for him and she is hoping to obtain a proper headstone to be placed beside his father.
“We were together for 40 years, I just don’t know what to do,” Debbie explained. “I will probably have to move to Florida with my daughter and grandchild because there is just too much here to remind me of Steve.”
When I first started writing about the cemetery and the fact that it should be better taken care of, Steve was one person I spoke with. I knew very little about him, but he was very open with me, especially when speaking about his grandfather, Tennis. Since I had uncovered a great deal of history in regard to Tennis and his brother Joe, both of whom were back-to-back sheriffs in Logan County in the 1920’s, Steve’s comments fell right in line with what I had suspected happened to the Hatfield fortune that Devil Anse had acquired, particularly in timber and real estate. I had planned the story for this summer and will write it later.
I had previously agreed with Steve to do an interview with him in regard to his family and stories that had been handed down through the family. He wanted me to meet him at Claude Yeager’s service station at Switzer on the day I had planned to interview Claude for a story. I did not think I could successfully do two interviews at the same time, so I told him we would get together at a later date. I had hoped to do so before the Hatfield-McCoy reunion and I regret that I did not.
Back in the winter, Steve and his wife, Debbie, appeared at my office with a box of Hatfield memorabilia. He said he wanted me to have it. The box contained mostly pictures that probably belonged to his father. I felt uneasy about accepting the material and told him so.
“Me and my wife both have health problems and we know that you will take care of this stuff,” Steve explained. “We want you to have it.”
The following is from the Facebook page of Amanda Hatfield, the daughter of Steve and Debbie Hatfield.
“I need to raise money for a tragic and unexpected event that has happened to my family. My loving father Steve Hatfield passed away Thursday night unexpectantly. My family is in no way financially prepared for this. My father had no life insurance. My parents basically live month to month with no savings. I’m his daughter and I live in Florida which is 800 miles away which makes this much harder to deal with. Anyone who has ever lost someone close to them and dies unexpectantly and not financially able to deal with it, then it’s just another thing to worry about. If you can find it in your heart to please donate to this go fund me account my family will greatly appreciate any help you can give. Hopefully we can give my father the burial he so greatly deserves. My daddy meant the world to me and so many others. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. God bless.”
To let readers know, according to her Facebook page, in just four days as of the time of this writing (June 1), 33 people had donated a total of $2,949 toward a $5000 goal. I’m sure the cemetery plot is free, so that means the actual funeral expenses is what the money is for. Apparently, an account has been set up by Amanda Hatfield—Go Fund Me. So far, I have not seen a full obituary in The Logan Banner, only a death notice. I do know that Collins Funeral Home at Switzer was handling the funeral arrangements.
The site to donate to is: http/www.gofundme.com/ye67yxce6
I offer my condolences to the friends and members of the Hatfield family. Hatfield is a name that shall forever echo from the shadowy hills of Logan County.
Rest in peace, Steve Hatfield,—in one of the most legendary cemeteries in the nation.
BITS and PIECES
What a grand time it must have been at the Logan Country Club for Don Elkins and his family when he was surprised with a reunion of his former band students from Logan and Scott High Schools where he formerly served as music director…..congratulations are appropriate for those who organized the special event for a very fine individual…..I recently read where there are over 700 teacher vacancies across West Virginia…..this is sad because the teachers are the keys to a child’s success…..I realize that the highway has to be funded, but does anybody else sometimes feel embarrassed for our state when motorists, especially from other states, have to pay the toll fees on the West Virginia Turnpike?…..some people may look at it as a form of begging…..congratulations goes out to Austin Farmer of the Omar area…..Austin, who served as a Court Martial for a while in the courthouse, graduated from the state police academy and is serving in Cabell County…..I expect him to be an excellent police officer…..not long ago I mentioned the Mortgage Lifter tomato plant…..created at Logan by Cletis Byles, who took years to develop the special plant, sales of the plants allowed him to pay off his house’s mortgage…..anyway, I mentioned that Williamson’s Greenhouse in Chapmanville had the plants…..a few days later, I found the plants at Baisden Brothers Hardware and Deskins Feed Store…..I’m sure they probably were at other locations, as well…..neighboring Boone County magistrate Chuck Byrnside has joined the retirement ranks along with Logan’s Jeff Lane and Mingo’s Pam Newsome…..Jeff, who enjoyed a nice luncheon in magistrate court on his final day June 30th, came back down to the dungeon of magistrate court to show off his shiny new probation officer badge on his first day on the third floor…..senior status magistrate Joey Kohari of Williamson will be taking Jeff’s place at least for the months of July…..it is not known who, or when, a fulltime magistrate will be named to fill the vacancy, but Judge Eric O’Briant will be making the appointment…..meanwhile, retired and senior status Cabell County Judge David Pancake will be filling in for recently retired Judge Roger Perry…..Judge Pancake paid a visit to magistrate court Wednesday, and seems to be a very approachable and knowledgeable person of high standards…..he probably will be around for a couple of months until Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appoints a fulltime judge…..the first President to crusade for universal health care was republican President Theodore Roosevelt…..personally speaking, this country needs to catch up with other democracies that have for years provided low-cost universal care for its citizens…..I recently saw where coal production in southern West Virginia counties fell 46 percent between 2008 and 2014, while northern coalfield counties increased production by eight percent from 2011 through 2014…..what is that about?…..the Logan County Magistrate audit has been completed and auditor Orville Wiley reports everything to be good with magistrate court collections totaling $433,281.60 for 2014…..10,945 total cases were handled, including a 1,407 increase in citations from the year before…..a total of 6,021 tickets were written by Logan County agencies…..DID YOU KNOW that there is one Logan individual who has been incarcerated numerous times over the years at Holden for a total of 2,200 days, all of which translates into $114,000 dollars that Logan County taxpayers have paid for his room and board?…..QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “She gave me a list of sixteen.” That was the answer given under oath when Clarence Stevenson was asked how many men Mamie Thurman told him she had been intimate with…..FINAL NOTE—I am working on a story concerning the Logan Memorial Park Cemetery at McConnell. I recently revisited the site and realized quickly that summertime is not the time to visit the graveyard. Between the snakes, poison ivy, and high weeds, the place is pitiful. It’s becoming a garbage dump.