Ben Walker, Blood in West Virginia, Chapmanville, Ed Haley, Green McCoy, Green Shoal, Grimes Music Store, Harts Creek, history, John Hartford, Lincoln County, Lincoln County Feud, Logan, Logan County, Low Gap, Milt Haley, music, Nashville, Robert Ellis, Walker Family Cemetery, West Virginia, writing
That night, I left Harts and headed toward Nashville, where I soon called Robert Ellis, a Logan County man who supposedly had some Haley records.
“Ed used to play some music with my oldest brother that passed away in January,” Robert said. “He’d been to our house a lot of times, where we lived here in Chapmanville, and I’d heard him play a lot on the streets in Logan and around through the county here in different places. He was a good fiddler. One of the best.”
I asked Robert if he was a musician and he said he used to be but gave it up after a hand injury during World War II. He was pretty sure he had some of Ed’s records.
“I believe I do,” he said. “One or two of his records. My grandmother used to buy them here in Logan at the old Grimes Music Store in Logan.”
I never heard anything about Ed selling records like that…but who knows?
Robert surprised me when he started talking about Milt Haley’s murder.
“About where Milt and Green McCoy were buried down there at Harts Creek, a feller told me some time ago that it was there at Low Gap,” he said. “How come me to know about that, we used to do military funerals a lot and we had a flag-raising at that Walker Cemetery there. I asked this feller if we were close to where those men were buried. He said, ‘Yeah, right back up yonder those fellers are buried.’ And this Carver that was with us that day, his grandfather was in with the ones that buried these people.”
Robert heard about the Haley-McCoy murders from his grandmother.
“These Brumfields, they killed these fellers and left them in a big two-story house there at the mouth of Green Shoal,” Robert said. “That two-story house is torn down now. Somebody was supposed to be left to guard them and they all got drunk and carousing around, so someone slipped in — so my grandmother told me — and chopped the boys up with an axe. Some of them found out about it and they said, ‘These men’s gotta be buried.’ So some of the Brumfields — at that time they was a lot of them down in there and they were tough — and they said, ‘Leave them where they’re at.’ This Carver, his grandfather said, ‘We’re gonna bury them. That’s all I’m gonna say and I’ve told you we’re gonna bury them.’ So them Brumfields evidently knew him and wouldn’t bother him and they went up there and buried those boys.”