Ashland, Boney Lucas, Cain Adkins, Catlettsburg, crime, Daisy Ross, Ed Haley, Eden, Fry, Goble Fry, Harts Creek, history, John Hartford, Kenova, Kentucky, Laurel Creek, Mariah Adkins, Milt Haley, murder, music, Sherman McCoy, Spicie McCoy, Wayne County, West Virginia, Winchester Adkins, writing
Excitedly, I next called Spicie McCoy’s daughter Daisy Ross who lived in Kenova, a small city near Huntington, West Virginia. Daisy’s voice was weak — she said she’d been down sick with a cold for the past week. I told her that we were trying to find out about Green McCoy’s death and she said, “My mother married Green McCoy and he was murdered. She married Goble Fry after he died. My mother was Spicie. She talked about Milt Haley. She just said they played music together, him and Green McCoy. They were good friends. I don’t know whether he was rough or not. I never heard Mom say nothing against Milt Haley.”
To our surprise, Daisy had no idea why Milt and Green were killed by the Brumfields.
“The Brumfields was rough: they had a mob,” she said. “The Brumfields first killed Grandpa’s son-in-law Boney Lucas, and when Mom married Green McCoy they said they had another’n they was gonna kill. Said they were gonna kill everything from the housecat up. They was just kindly mean people, I reckon.”
Daisy said Milt and Green tried to hide out from the Brumfields somewhere in Eden, Kentucky. She wasn’t sure where that was, but knew why they went there.
“Green McCoy had been married and had his wife and two children down there,” she said. “Yeah, Mommy didn’t know that, you see. Just before she got married, she got news that he had a wife and two children down there. He had told her that he had divorced her and Grandma said that hurt her awful bad and she couldn’t make Mommy understand it. Said Mom loved him so good she went ahead and married him anyhow.”
It didn’t take long for the Brumfields to locate Milt and Green.
“They went down and got them,” Daisy said. “The law was afraid of them, you know. They killed them there at Fry. And when the Brumfields killed them, they wasn’t satisfied with that. They took a pole-axe and beat their brains out and their brains splattered up on the door, Mom said. That hurt Mom so bad.”
I was chilled to the bone.
After Milt’s and Green’s murder, Daisy’s mother and family fled Harts Creek.
“The murder was in October and Grandpa and Uncle Winchester, his son, had to get out to Wayne County because they said they was gonna kill everything from the housecat up, the Brumfields did,” she said. “Grandma and Mom and the girls rented a boat and put all their household stuff and barrels of meat and come down on the river in January to Laurel Creek here in Wayne County. It was in January, but the peach trees was in full bloom, Mom said. Come a little warm spell and they all budded out in bloom. They didn’t have no menfolks to row the boat; the women had to do it. Mom said they was looking every minute to be drowned ’cause they was all kinds of stuff on the river. It was up from bank to bank.”
I asked Daisy if she knew Ed Haley and she said, “Yeah that’s the one played music with my brother, Sherman McCoy. My brother, he played the banjo. That was Green McCoy’s son you know and that was my half-brother. Ed Haley and Sherman McCoy — they was good friends. They got together and played music together down in Kentucky somewhere. I guess maybe in Catlettsburg or maybe in Ashland. He was Milt Haley’s son. And they said their fathers was killed together.”