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The John W. Runyon family seems to have headed further south to try their luck elsewhere. In February 1902, Mary Runyon, her recently remarried daughter, Wealthy (Runyon) Hinkle-Fry, and her former son-in-law Clarence Hinkle were listed in Martin County deed records as residents of Buchanan County, Virginia.

John Runyon, meanwhile, soon gave up on his case in Wyoming County. A court entry dated April 2, 1902 and titled “John W. Runyon vs. Buskirk and Wittenberg” mentions how he “failed to give bond for costs as required in an order entered at a former term of the Court.” The Court ruled that “the defendants recover of the plaintiff their costs in their behalf expended in their defense herein including an attorneys fee of $10.00.” Included in this record was a list of thirty-four “Petit Jurors” who were, for some reason, to be paid “out of the County Treasury to wit” for their services in this case, some of them serving as many as nine days and being paid as much as eighteen dollars. It wasn’t clear why jurors served up to nine days, as records indicate that the court dismissed Runyon’s case before it went to trial.

After a short stay in Virginia, the Runyon family returned to Martin County and settled near the old Stidham Post Office on Rockcastle Creek, several miles north of the countyseat of Inez. On June 25, 1903, Wealthy Fry died at the age of 22 years old. Aquillia Porter died on February 20, 1910. A few months later (April 20) her husband remarried to Maude Williamson. Both of the Runyon girls were buried in the Williamson family cemetery at Stidham. Runyon’s legal problems, meanwhile, continued in Martin County as late as the 1910s.

On the bright side, John and Mary Runyon Fork purchased many acres of land around Rockhouse between 1893-1917 and sold at least 1,001 acres in that same vicinity between 1904-1932. Most of it went to their family: Sam Porter got 100 acres in 1910, 50 acres in 1917 and 35 acres in 1925. Various members of the Williamson family also bought tracts from John and Mary Runyon.

In 1920, John W. Runyon was listed in the Martin County Census as a resident of the Stafford Fork Precinct. He was a 65-year-old general laborer. His wife Mary was 55 years old. Asa G. Williamson, age 52, brother-in-law, was also in the household. Next door was the family of grandson John W. Porter, a 23-year-old farmer, with wife Etta M. (age 23). There were two children listed: Analena, age three; and Virginia Lee, age one. Aubrey Lee Porter, 22-year-old brother to John, who was also present in the home and employed as a coal miner.

John Runyon died on January 12, 1925 in Martin County. His widow spent her final years under the care of his niece, Mary (Runyon) Fields, who had been listed with the family in the 1900 Wyoming County Census. Mary was a daughter of John’s twin brother. She married Bill Fields and participated in much of the “family business” (marriage records, land transactions). Mary Runyon was still alive in 1952, when the Runyon genealogy book was assembled and was a source on the Adam Runyon family line.

Back in Ferrellsburg, Brandon called Bill Porter, an 80-year-old man in the Inez-area who was distantly connected to John Runyon’s family. He hadn’t known Runyon personally but said, “He was a well-thought of person. He followed the timber business. Everywhere he went he had bad luck. He was pretty bad to crook people.”

Mr. Porter said the Runyon place sat just above the old Stidham Post Office at Graveyard Point and told all about the Runyon descendants. He said Aubrey Porter married a Williams and raised a family of three children (including one son named Jimmy) in Columbus, Ohio. John W. Porter had two children — Merrill and John, Jr — and lived in Norfolk, Virginia. Hattie (Hinkle) Apney had two daughters: one named Guiniford, who married Russell Goble (an active member of the Inez School Board for years), and Jean, who married Virgil Ramey. Mr. Porter thought Hattie divorced her husband and moved to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where she died.

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