Appalachia, Bob Bryant, Calvary Bryant, Con Chafin, crime, Cush Chambers, Floyd Bryant, genealogy, Harts Creek, Henderson Bryant, history, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Marion Bryant, moonshine, moonshining, Nellie Bryant, prosecuting attorney, Robert Bland, West Virginia
In a story titled “111 True Bills Found By Grand Jury Which Submits Final Report” and printed in the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, on October 12, 1926, we find this item (excerpted here):
“Concluding a four-day session the grand jury made its final report and was discharged last night by Circuit Judge Robert Bland. There were 111 indictments returned, 66 for felonies and 45 for misdemeanors–a total somewhat larger than the average for Logan county grand juries. Names of those indicted are withheld from publication for the reason that some persons involved are not in custody. Capiases will be issued forthwith for those indicted and not in jail, while those in jail and all who are apprehended without delay will be arraigned very soon. Court attaches are of the opinion that none of these will be tried until next month as there was already a big criminal docket. However, considerable progress has been made so far. Having caught up with the calendar, court adjourned yesterday morning for the remainder of the day, after a short session.
“Victory has come to the Bryants, who live on Old House Branch of Harts Creek, and who were indicted for operating a still last December. The joint indictment embraced Hent Bryant and his sons Calvary, Bob, and Floyd. When the case was called on Tuesday the defendants elected to be tried separately, whereupon Prosecuting Attorney Con Chafin chose to try Calvary first. There was a large volume of testimony for each side. The case was submitted to the jury without argument at 9 o’clock Tuesday night and in a few minutes a verdict of acquittal was returned. C.C. Chambers represented the defense.
“The State’s evidence showed that an official raiding party found a spot about three-fourths of a mile from the Bryant home where a still had been in operation and where a quantity of mash had been poured out shortly before the arrival of the officers. The Bryant premises were then searched, but no still or whiskey was found. However, Marion Bryant, a cousin of Calvary, testified that Calvary had employed him to assist him in the operation of a still.
“From the Bryants there came positive denials of any interest in any still or of any knowledge of a still having ever been in operation at the spot in the woods where the officers thought that they had made a significant discovery. The defense attacked the credibility of Marion Bryant’s testimony, claiming that he was actuated by spite. It was testified by members of the family that Marion, after staying at Hent Bryant’s home for a while and doing odd jobs, had been requested to leave; that he made threats against the family at that time because Nellie Bryant, a daughter of Hent, spurned his love and his proposals of marriage.
“After the jury returned its verdict, the cases against the other Bryants were continued to the next regular term.”