Addison Vance, Admiral S. Fry, Basil Frye, Big Creek, Billy Adkins, Brandon Kirk, Burbus Dial, Cain Adkins, Chapmanville, crime, Essie McCann, Ferrellsburg, feud, Fry, George Fry, Green McCoy, Green Shoal, Harts Creek, history, John Hartford, Lincoln County Feud, Martha Dial, Milt Haley, West Fork, writing
I told Brandon that I would be coming to Harts at the end of July. In the meantime, he contacted Basil Frye, a grandson to George Fry. Basil, a resident of North Carolina, was old enough to know about the Haley-McCoy killings (he was born in 1925) but admittedly knew very little. He had heard through the family that his grandfather George agreed to let three “guards” stay overnight at his house with two prisoners (Milt and Green). That night, a mob of drunken vigilantes arrived with guns and demanded possession of the prisoners. The three guards allowed the gang to take Milt and Green outside where they were tied to a bush and eventually shot several times. The next morning, after daylight, the Frys and guards went outside and found the dead bodies.
Brandon asked Basil about the location of the old A.S. Fry-George Fry family home. He said he wasn’t sure of its location but always figured it to have been a short distance up Green Shoal, not at its mouth. He based that on the fact that his father, a son of George Fry, had been born in that vicinity in 1888 (a year before the killing). Billy Adkins had always heard that the old Fry home was up in that area, too, which caused a little doubt on our assuredness that the Milt and Green murders had taken place in the Lambert home at the mouth of Green Shoal. Brandon became even more confused when he went back to the Fry history and read how A.S. Fry (father of George) had two homes in the area: “a log cabin at Fry” (a.k.a. the mouth of Green Shoal) and “a stately house near Harts Creek, across the river from the log house.”
A little later, Brandon visited Essie McCann, an elderly neighbor in Ferrellsburg. Essie had been born on West Fork in 1910. She said her mother Martha Dial almost bumped into the 1889 mob as she rode toward her home on Big Creek with her husband. Upon hearing a troop of horses approaching their direction from Chapmanville, she and Mr. Dial knew it was the mob that had been recently sent out to capture Milt and Green. They hid in a patch of weeds near the riverbank and watched the mob ride by doubled up on horses. Essie said her mother recognized Addison Vance (a brother-in-law to Cain Adkins) riding in the group. Afterwards, Haley and McCoy were held in a house at Green Shoal where a group of men came and shot out the lights before killing them.