That fall, Brandon and Billy drove to Trace Fork to inspect the “Ed Haley home” — or at least what we wanted to be the Ed Haley home. It was, of course, most likely the Ewell Mullins home since Mullins bought Ed’s land in 1911 and reportedly built a new house there. Billy and Brandon spoke with Von Tomblin, Ewell’s daughter who lived next to the old home. Von said she was born in the back part of the home in 1935. As far as she knew, the front part of the house was torn down years ago, but not the back. Upon inspection, the back portion of the house did appear older than the front.
Von recommended that Billy and Brandon talk to Cas Baisden about the house, since he helped tear some of it down.
They found Cas down the creek.
Baisden said he helped push Ewell’s store against the front of the house when he was a boy. Later, they tore the entire home down, then built an almost-exact replica on the same spot.
Before Brandon and Billy left, Cas told them that Ewell Mullins had three stores in his life. The first one was built when Cas was a small boy near Ewell’s home. The second one was built around 1940 near the original one. The third one was built at the mouth of Ticky George Hollow just prior to Ewell’s passing.
Cas also remembered Ed Haley and his family well. He said Ed had the meanest boys he’d ever seen and probably drank himself to death.
Later that night, Billy and Brandon visited Pete and Gaie Adams near the mouth of Trace Fork. Gaie, who is a niece to Bob Dingess, had a lot of old photographs and said she remembered Ed and Ella spending weekends with her grandma, Alice Dingess. There was a little more confusion about the Ed Haley place: Gaie thought Ewell’s house had been completely torn down, while her husband said the back part was original. Oh boy.