Angeline Lucas, banjo, Boney Lucas, Brandon Kirk, Cain Adkins, Daisy Ross, Eustace Gibson, Faye Smith, fiddler, Green McCoy, guitar, Harts, Harts Creek, history, Huntington Advertiser, John McCoy, Kenova, Lincoln County, Milt Haley, Oscar Osborne, Paris Brumfield, Sherman Boyd, Sherman McCoy, Spicie McCoy, Tug Valley, West Fork, West Virginia, Winchester Adkins, writing
Meanwhile, as I churned up new details about Ed Haley, Brandon was busy chasing down leads on the Milt Haley story in West Virginia. One crisp December day he visited Daisy Ross, the aged daughter of Spicy McCoy, who lived in a nice two-story house at Kenova, a pretty little town just west of Huntington. It was Brandon’s first face-to-face contact with Green McCoy’s descendants and he was anxious to hear more about their side of the tale. Daisy was white-headed and a little hard-of-hearing — but full of information about Green’s family. Her daughter Faye played hostess during Brandon’s visit.
Daisy said Green McCoy was originally from the Tug Fork area. He came to Harts playing music with his brother, John McCoy. He always kept his hair combed and wore a neatly trimmed mustache. Spicy used to have a tintype picture of him with Milt Haley. He and Milt met each other in the Tug Valley.
Daisy said her grandfather Cain Adkins was a country doctor. He was gone frequently doctoring and was usually paid with dried apples or chickens. He feuded a lot with the Brumfields, who killed his son-in-law, Boney Lucas. Boney’s widow Angeline was pretty wild: she had two illegitimate children after Boney’s death. One child belonged to a man named Sherman Boyd and the other belonged to John McCoy — Green’s brother.
When Green McCoy came to Harts, Cain discouraged Spicy from marrying him because he was divorced from a woman living in Kentucky. Spicy didn’t believe the family talk of “another woman” and married him anyway. She and Green rented one of the little houses on Cain’s farm. Green made his living playing music and he was often gone for several days at a time. When he came home, Spicy, ever the faithful wife, ran out of the house to hug him and he would playfully run around the yard for a while before letting her “catch” him. Daisy had no idea where Green went on his trips because he never told her mother. Spicy didn’t really care: she always said she would “swim the briny ocean for him.”
Brandon showed Daisy an 1888 newspaper article he had recently found, documenting Cain’s trouble with Paris Brumfield.
“Paris Brumfield was indicted for felony in five different cases by the grand jury of Lincoln county at its last term,” according to the Huntington Advertiser on June 23, 1888. “He fled the county, not being able to give bail, which was fixed by the Court at $5,000. Brumfield’s latest act of violence was his murderous assault upon Cain Adkins, a staunch Democrat, one of THE ADVERTISER’S most esteemed subscribers. The last act was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the county became too hot for Paris. Gibson & Michi have been retained by Brumfield’s friends to defend him when brought to trial.”
Daisy blamed Green’s murder on the Brumfields. She said Green once got into a fight with Paris Brumfield and “pulled his eyeballs out and let them pop back like rubber bands.” Brumfield had to wear a blindfold for a while afterward.
After Green’s death, Cain Adkins and his son Winchester fled Harts, probably on horses. Winchester was one of the best local fiddlers in his day. He mostly played with his nephew Sherman McCoy (banjo) and Oscar Osborne (guitar).