Harts News 01.14.1927

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An unknown correspondent from Harts in Lincoln County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on January 14, 1927:

After all the sadness and sorrow Harts has mingled back again.

Mrs. Ward Brumfield met the county court in Hamlin Monday to be appointed Ward Brumfield’s administrator.

Mrs. Charles Brumfield is looking after business matters in Logan this week.

Miss Cora Adkins spent Saturday in Huntington.

Herbert Adkins was a business caller in Huntington Monday.

Mrs. Hollena Ferguson spent several days in Logan visiting friends.

Hawkins Perry is our new operator here this week.

Mrs. Toney Johnson from New Orleans is here visiting her mother, Mrs. Chas. Brumfield.

Wonder why Dr. Ferrell of Chapmanville is so interested in Harts now?

Mr. and Mrs. Dallas McComas spent Saturday and Sunday in Huntington.

Mrs. Beatrice Adkins from West Fork was in Harts Saturday.

Miss Jessie Brumfield is progressing nicely with her school at Atenville now.

Bill Adkins will leave here soon for Valparaiso, Indiana where he will be engaged in school for some time.

Mrs. Jeff Mullins of Big Creek spent Saturday visiting relatives here.

Robert Dingess of Whirlwind was a business caller in this town Monday.

Robert and Joe Brumfield are looking after business matters in Logan this week.

Fisher B. Adkins was in Hamlin Monday looking after his contest which will come off the March term of court.

Mrs. Herbert Adkins has purchased a fine radio.

Tom Brumfield seems to be very much pleased these days. Wonder why? Guess the wedding bells will ring soon.

Bill Adkins from Coal Branch City was in town Monday.

Battle of Curry Farm (1864)

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This entry compiles information relating to the Battle or Skirmish at Curry Farm, which occurred as part of the War Between the States in May of 1864 just north of Hamlin in present-day Lincoln County, WV. It is a working entry and will be updated based on the discovery of new information.

On May 29, 1864, Confederates commanded by Captain John L. Chapman of Company B, 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, attacked a detachment of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, Company G, commanded by 1st Lt. John W. Harshbarger at Curry Farm on Big Buffalo Creek in present-day Lincoln County just north of Hamlin and twelve miles south of Milton. H.H. Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, West Virginia, compiled in c.1883, provides the only known account of the battle: “The Federals had marched from Hurricane Bridge and were proceeding up Mud river when they were fired upon by the Confederates, who were concealed on the opposite side of the river. The Federal commander at once ordered a charge and the Confederates retreated without loss. The Federals had one killed, a man named Mathias Kayler from Raleigh county, and two wounded — one being Isaac Jackson, who was shot through the left arm; and another, a member of Company K” (98-99).

Prior to the battle, on May 10, 1864, Capt. John Chapman had been sent with a detachment of dismounted men from the area of Russell County, Virginia, into Cabell and Logan counties “to gather up absentees and deserters from the 34th Battalion” (Cole, 80). Capt. Chapman had been wounded in action at Brandy Station, Virginia, on August 14, 1863 and at Blountsville, Tennessee, on March 10, 1864 (Cole, 147).

Isaac Jackson, one of the two Union soldiers wounded at Curry Farm, was a private in Company G, 3rd WV Cavalry, formerly commanded by Captain John S. Witcher (who had been promoted to major in April 1864). Hardesty cites Mr. Jackson as “wounded in action at Currys Farm, May 29, 1864” (98). Following the battle, on July 6, 1864, 1st Lt. Harshbarger was promoted to captain of Company G. On December 7, 1864, an Adjutant General’s Report shows Company G, 3rd WV Cavalry, stationed near Winchester, VA. The muster roll shows 108 names, citing Private Isaac Jackson as “Wounded in skirmish, May 5, 1864. In hospital since this date.” (Note how this record provides a different date of his wounding from the date provided by Hardesty, who compiled his history about 1881.) http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wvwayne/roster3G.htm

Curry Farm, according to Hardesty, was located 1/4 mile above Hamlin (90, 98). Hamlin Chapel (later Curry Chapel), located on Curry Farm, is important for the role it played in the creation of Lincoln County in 1867. “The first meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held on the 11th day of March, 1867, in what was known as Hamlin chapel, an old church which stood on the Curry farm, about one-fourth of a mile above the present county seat. There were present: William C. Mahone, of Carroll District; John Scites, of Sheridan, and William A. Holstein, of Duval. W. C. Mahone was made president, and Benjamin F. Curry, clerk, the latter giving bond in the penalty of $2000, with James A. Holly and Jeremiah Witcher as his securities. It was then ordered that the Board of Supervisors have the White Hall,  a Southern Methodist church one-fourth of a mile below where the county seat now stands arranged for holding the courts until the proper buildings could be erected, George A. Holton and a majority of the trustees consenting thereto” (Hardesty, 90-91)

Curry Chapel no longer stands but its former location can be found near the intersection of Route 1 and Route 3/11 above the mouth of Straight Fork of Big Buffalo Creek on Mud River. Curry Chapel Cemetery is located on site. While Hardesty cited the battle site as 1/4 of a mile above Hamlin, the church–located on the Curry farm–was located over four miles north of Hamlin “as the crow flies.”

Capt. John Chapman left Cabell and Logan counties and rejoined the 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry in the vicinity of Pound Gap, Virginia, by the end of June 1864 (Cole, 82).

Capt. John W. Harshbarger (1836-1909) is buried here: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35761174

Selected Sources:

Scott C. Cole, 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, Inc., 1993) 80, 82, 121, 147.

Michael Graham, The Coal River Valley in the Civil War (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014) 150-151.

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Curry Chapel Cemetery, 18 July 2017.

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Granville Curry grave, 18 July 2017. Photo by Mom.

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Curry Chapel Cemetery, north of Hamlin.

Whirlwind News 12.18.1914

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An unknown correspondent from Whirlwind in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on December 18, 1914:

We are glad to note that our people are busy, happy and peaceful in these parts.

Will Farley has added a new industry to our town, a gasoline grist mill.

Our drummer, Sol Riddle, has just returned from a trip through his territory.

Revs. Adams and Fry preached at Head of Heart last Sunday.

Mrs. Vinson Collins is very ill at this writing.

Joe Blaine has moved from this place to Holden.

Forest fires are very frequent here of late.

Rev. Charley Curry was elected pastor of the church at McCloud school house recently.

Revs. Border and Vance will preach at McCloud school house the second Sunday.

Luke Curry has returned home from Rum, where he has been working for some time.

Cholera has been raging among the hogs in this vicinity. Several people have lost hogs.

John Workman will move back to his farm in the spring, he says.

Good luck to The Banner and a happy Xmas to its readers.

Whirlwind News 11.20.1914

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An unknown correspondent from Whirlwind in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on November 14, 1914:

Forest fires have done considerable damage in this section recently.

Drs. Carter and Ratcliff were Whirlwind visitors one day the first of the week.

Mrs. James Baisden of Dingess died at her home Thursday, November 12th.

Miss Burlie Riddle was shopping at this place on Tuesday last.

Misses Julia and Roxie Mullins were Whirlwind visitors one day this week.

Miss Mamie Adkins was visiting at Uncle Tom Smith’s Friday.

W.J. Bachtel transacted business in Mingo county the first of the week.

T.J. Carter is on the sick list at this writing.

Mrs. David Tomblin of Buck Fork was here Wednesday.

J.M. Adams transacted business at Whirlwind Friday of last week.

Mose Tomblin, Jr., made a business trip to Bulwark Friday.

Jacob Alperin of Charleston was here on business one day recently.

Rev. N. Barber returned Sunday from a business trip to Mingo county.

Miss Ethel Chaffin of Wayne is visiting Naaman Borders at this place.

Little Earsel, the five-year-old child of Will Farley, took the croup last Saturday and died in a few hours. The bereaved ones have our sympathy.

Miss Dora Workman of this place visited relatives at Breeding last week.

The schools of this place taught by Mr. and Mrs. Borders are progressing nicely.

James Mullins, our prominent merchant, bought a fine span of mules recently.

Revs. Vance, Curry, and Border preached at McCloud school house Sunday.

The folks on Buck Fork have organized a Bible school, which all the folks are invited to take a part. That begins to look like the good people of that place are moving in the right way. If all our neighbors would do the same, our young men would find it even more interesting that the disgraceful card table or Sunday baseball. And I am sure it would do more to elevate our country. People are going to engage in something on Sunday, if it is things that are sinful. So let us interest them in something that is elevating and has a wholesome moral uplift. Where we have a Bible school or Sunday school we have a sort of round table in which all may have a say in the subject. There are a thousand and one things that are intensely interesting in the Good Old Book that many educated people are wholly ignorant of, and I am surprised to see so few school teachers that take such little interest in these things. How long will things be thus?

Now that the election is over and the lucky ones are happy and the unlucky ones have bid their loved ones at home goodbye and are on their way up the hated Salt River we wish the dear fellows all a safe voyage.

‘Lasses makin’ is over and the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

“Ben Bolt” Not Written in Logan (1926)

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Thomas Dunn English (1819-1902) was a Pennsylvania-born writer who lived briefly in present-day Logan, WV, before the Civil War. At one time, many Loganites believed he wrote his famous work titled “Ben Bolt” while a resident of Logan, then called Aracoma. For more information about his biography, follow this link: https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/2205

The following story appeared in the Logan Banner on November 23, 1926:

“Logan gains quite a bit of notoriety from the fact that the song ‘Ben Bolt’ was written here,” said G.T. Swain in his short history of Logan county, published in 1916. Dr. English wrote “Ben Bolt” for the New York Mirror about 10 years before he ever came to Logan. So here explodeth another nice literary myth–if a myth concerning “Ben Bolt” may be called a literary one. They even tell how Dr. English laid aside his law and medicine practice, his novel writing, and his duties as assistant postmaster and politician and dreamily to go to the shades of certain elm trees overlooking the Guyandotte and there wrote the poem to a sweetheart of other days. The truth is that English wrote the poem while in the east at the request of “The Mirror” and while trying to compose a sea song he suddenly hit upon the sentimental mood and dashed it off, tacking the first four lines of the sea song-in-the-making onto the one in question. He sent it to the editor and told him the story and remarked that if it was not worth using to burn it. It was always a matter of chagrin to Dr. English that it was the best received piece he ever wrote and his prestige in congress was largely due to his fame from the song.

“For information relating to Dr. English we are indebted to Mrs. Vicie Nighbert, who gave us the information as told to her by her mother, and to Mr. Bryan [who] was personally acquainted [with English, now in his] 80th year and living at present in Straton street,” said Mr. Swain. “Mr. Bryan was personally acquainted with Dr. English, having at one time been postmaster of the town and employed Dr. English as assistant postmaster.”

English was mayor of Logan, according to Swain, in 1852. Mr. Swain said that Dr. English suddenly disappeared while living in Logan and showed up again with a woman and two children. Dr. English announced at the time that he had married a widow but rumors around the Logan chimney corners had it that the versatile gentleman had added that of wife stealing to his accomplishments. He did not permit the woman to visit or receive but a few friends “and she always carried a look of apprehension.” It is known that English, by act of the general assembly, had the names of the children changed to his own.

Although the whole thing is not worth refuting or proving, English did not write his “Ben Bolt” as told in Logan county. Mrs. Nighbert told the author of this historical sketch that “Dr. English used to often visit the large elm trees that stood by the bank of the Guyandotte near the woman’s residence. It was beneath the shade of the elm that stands today by the railroad bridge that he composed the song ‘Ben Bolt.'” Dr. English was a frequent visitor to the home of the Lawson’s, but the story to the effect that this song was dedicated to Alice Lawson is only imaginary for there was at that time none of the Lawson children bearing the name of Alice, nor were any of the girls at that time large enough to attract the attention of Dr. English.

The “Ben Bolt” myth is comparable to the story around Charleston that Poe wrote some of his works at St. Albans. Poe was never at St. Albans. It is like that pet tradition of the Huntington D.A.R. that George Washington surveyed lands in the Savage grant, the first grants involving the present site of Huntington.

Dr. English wrote a thousand rimes and jingles and couplets but no poems. “Ben Bolt” is a spurt of sentimentality of which the author was ashamed. Its popularity began when the German air was adapted to it, and has lived only on the strength of the music which is a sort the folk will not forget.

BEN BOLT

Don’t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt…

Sweet Alice whose hair was so brown.

Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile.

And trembled with fear at your frown?

In the old churchyard in the valley, Ben Bolt.

In a corner obscure and alone,

They have fitted a slab of the granite so grey,

And Alice lies under the stone.

And so forth. English was at a loss how to open the verses when he hit upon the idea of tacking the first four lines of a sea song he was trying to compose for Willis, editor of “The Mirror,” and his last lines reflect the influence of the idea:

Your presence a blessing, your friendship a truth.

Ben Bolt, of the salt sea gale.

English wrote “Rafting on the Guyandotte” and two other “poems” while waiting on the return of a friend he was visiting, taking about an hour to [write] the poem. The opening to his poem is:

Who at danger never laughed,

Let him ride upon a raft

Down Guyan, when from the drains

Pours the flood from many rains,

And a stream no plummet gauges

In a furious freshet rages

With a strange and rapturous fear

Rushing water he will hear;

Woods and cliffsides darting by,

These shall terribly glad his eye.

He shall find his life blood leaping

Feel his brain with frenzy swell;

Faster with the current’s sweeping;

Hear his voice in sudden yell…

And so on for a 100 lines or more he describes the thrills of rafting. It would be interesting to have the collectors of West Virginia verse to rise up [illegible] now and tell exactly their reaction to this “beautiful verse” and why they like it, or why they attach importance to the scribbling pastimes of Dr. English, politician, physician, and lawyer.

Although he went to congress on “Ben Bolt,” there is no legitimate claims to list him as a West Virginia poet. Karl Myers writes much better verse than English ever achieved. A sixth grade pupil of native brightness a notch or two above his classmates can write pages of rhymes as good as the rafting poem. It is the sort of rhyme that is easier to do than not to do, once you establish the swing of it. Youngsters have been known to turn in history examination papers done in rhyme as good as this. But West Virginia is so anxious to claim some poets. Why this should worry the state is a mystery, for European critics say that the whole of America has produced but a poet and a half… Edgar Allan Poe the poet and Walt Whitman the half poet. So why should we feel sensitive about it?

Source: Charleston Gazette via the Logan Banner, 23 November 1926.