Adams Branch, Ashland, Ben Adams, Billy Adkins, Bob Dingess, Brandon Kirk, Calhoun County, Ed Haley, Eloise Adams, Ernest Adams, Ewell Mullins, feud, Harts Creek, history, Imogene Haley, John Hartford, Logan, Logan County, Luster Dalton, Naaman Adams, Trace Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, West Virginia, writing
After talking with Luster, we drove to see Naaman Adams on Trace Fork. We talked in the yard with Naaman, who wore a straw hat and work clothes. His mother, we knew from Billy’s records, was Imogene Mullins, a first cousin to Ed’s mother and her namesake.
Naaman said his grandfather Ben Adams had lived in an old log cabin at the mouth of Adams Branch on Trace. Ben had feuded frequently with his neighbors and once ordered sixteen rifles for protection — eight .32 Winchesters and eight .38 Winchesters. To our surprise, Naaman said he had one of those very rifles. Disappearing momentarily into his house, he returned outside with a magnificent 1873 model .38 Winchester. Pointing to a dark spot on its butt end, Naaman said it had been caused by rifle fire. Apparently, during a feud, as Ben stood in his doorway shooting at his enemies, someone fired back, striking his rifle and causing the spot. He didn’t know if this incident occurred during the 1889 troubles.
Of the old feuds, Naaman said: “People back then feuded amongst themselves but ganged up on outsiders. People’d be killed and nobody knew who did it.”
Naaman said Ben’s feud “just died out” when a lot of the participants moved away from the area. The law eventually confiscated most of his guns. Someone located one of them in the old Logan Courthouse when it was torn down in the sixties. Bob Dingess had a .32, as did Ernest Adams, while a Hall on Twelve Pole had a .38.
Just before we left, Naaman mentioned that his wife was a daughter of Ewell Mullins, Ed’s first cousin. Ewell, of course, was the man who had bought Ed’s Trace Fork property in 1911. Naaman said when his father-in-law had bought the property, it contained a one-story boxed log house, which stood near a sugar tree toward the branch. Later, Ewell moved the house further up the bottom; old-timers had told Naaman about placing logs under the house and rolling it. In the 1950s, Naaman and several other men demolished the house. They did it in stages: first, the front was removed and rebuilt, then the back was removed and rebuilt. The newer home — the one there now, which we had nicknamed the “red house” — was patterned in its design after the older one.
This was a little disheartening: there didn’t seem to be anything left from Ed’s time on Harts Creek (nor in Ashland or in Calhoun County).