Al Brumfield, Albert Neace, Blood in West Virginia, Brandon Kirk, Burl Farley, Cole and Crane Company, crime, distilling, Fourteen Mile Creek, Green McCoy, history, Kentucky, Lincoln County, Lincoln County Feud, Logan County, merchant, Milt Haley, Pigeon Creek, Sulphur Spring Fork, Ward Adkins, West Virginia, Will Headley, writing
Not long after talking with Mr. Dingess, Brandon went to see his good friend Ward Adkins, an elderly resident of nearby Fourteen Mile Creek. Ward said his grandfather Albert Neace used to help Al Brumfield make whisky, barrel it, and ship it downriver on flatboats. Making whiskey was Brumfield’s major source of income.
“You know dern well he didn’t make his fortune in a little old store up there at that day and time,” Ward said. “About all he sold was soap, salt, and soda — a little sugar.”
When Albert quit the business, Brumfield said, “You won’t tell nothing will you, Albert?” to which he replied, “No, you know better than that.”
Albert knew it wasn’t smart to cross Al because “the people who worked around” him “had a way of dealing” with his enemies.
“When they took a notion to kill somebody, they’d go out the day before and dig the grave,” Ward said. “Then they’d play up to whoever it was they aimed to kill…talk them into going squirrel hunting with them. They’d squirrel hunt around close to that grave. Kill them, roll them in it, and cover it up.”
Ward’s step-grandfather, Will Headley, had told him about witnessing Milt’s and Green’s murder.
“They stood them up beside of a house and shot them in public because they wanted to teach people a lesson,” Ward said.
Will’s uncle Burl Farley went with the Brumfields to fetch them in Kentucky. Ward knew a lot about Burl.
“He started out in timbering,” Ward said. “He worked for Cole & Crane Timber Company up on Browns Fork of Pigeon Creek. Uncle Burl was pretty well to do. He was dangerous mean. He was an Atheist. He felt you just did what you wanted to do on this earth and then died and that was the end of it so he didn’t have nothing to fear. Of course, I liked the old man. If he liked you, he was good to you. He ruled over his domain down there. What he said went. It was just strictly law. There wasn’t no bucking him. There wasn’t no law to fool with Uncle Burl.”