Appalachia, Bank of Huntington, Bob Greever, Bud McDaniel, C.W. Jones, Cabell County, Frank James, Henlawson, Henry Lawson, history, Huntington, Island Creek, Jesse James, Logan, Logan County, Merrill Mines, Robert T. Oney, Tennessee, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the James Gang’s robbery of a Huntington bank…and the fate of a safe:
Historic Safe In Offices Merrill Mines, Henlawson
Bank Safe Robbed by Jesse James’ Gang at Huntington in 1875 Now in Fire-proof Vault at Henlawson
Used As Storage For Old Files
The Merrill Mines at Henlawson have a safe in their payroll office which has a unique history.
The safe is being used by the company as a storage place for old records and is in a fire-proof vault.
But it was not always thus.
According to Bob Greever, payroll clerk, who became interested in the history of the safe and clipped a news story from a Huntington newspaper to support his story, the depository was once in the old Bank of Huntington on Third avenue and Twelfth street and was robbed by members of Jesse James gang, who made their getaway with $14,500 on Twelfth street to Fourth avenue, thence to Tenth street and out Tenth street to the hills, closely pursued by a hastily formed posse.
Old-timers in Logan still remember the posse which followed the gang to Logan and lost its trail at the forks of Island Creek long enough for the gang to make their escape to Tennessee.
Reports came back to Logan that the posse overtook the band in Tennessee, killed one of the gang, Bud McDaniel, and arrested another by the name of Webb or Keen. The man the police arrested was brought back to West Virginia and was sentenced to the penitentiary for 20 years. Most of the money was recovered.
An excerpt from the news article describing the bank robbery reads:
“On Monday, September 6, 1875, between the hours of 1 and 2 o’clock a group of men later discovered to have been members of the dreaded James gang, descended on the Bank of Huntington and, at the point of a pistol, forced Robert T. Oney, cashier, to open the bank’s safe in order that they might rifle the contents.
“They complimented the cashier on his courage and insisted on restoring to him an amount of money shown to be his by a credit slip on the counter.
“Reaching the outside of the bank the four men sprung into their saddles, brandished their pistols in the air and galloped away, yelling like Comanche.”
“It was definitely learned that Jesse James was not among them, but there was uncertainty as to whether or not Frank James was in the party. Colder Young was present and may have been leader of the detachment.”
C.W. Jones, general manager of the Merrill Mines, said that the old safe, which weighs every bit of two tons, was first owned by Henry Lawson, lumber operator at Henlawson.
Lawson brought the safe from Huntington by pushboat and put it in his lumber offices on the site of the Merrill Mine offices.
When the Merrill Mines opened their workings, the safe was left near its original site and a fireproof vault was built around it.
The safe is showing the ravages of nearly a century of service. The combination is broken, it squeaks on its hinges, and some of the cement which is encased between steel plates on the safe doors is beginning to crack.
However, the safe is in its final resting place, the door of the vault is too small to get the safe through.
Logan (WV) Banner, 13 May 1937
Andrew Fowler, Appalachia, Chapmanville, Chilton Chapman, coal, Ed Turner, Elliott Bryant, Eva Barker, genealogy, Harriet Hill, Harts Creek, Henlawson, history, Kimball, L.T. Hicks, Logan Banner, Logan County, Maud McCloud, Millard Brown, Pete Ferrell, Seamon mines, Susie Hill, Ula Barker, Washington DC, Wayne Brown, West Virginia
A correspondent named “Mutt & Jeff” from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on October 6, 1922:
We are having some cool nights. Soon be time for Jack Frost.
Mrs. Dingess returned Monday after a few days visiting on Harts Creek.
We understand that Mr. Ula Barker is the proud owner of a gray mule.
Mr. Pete Ferrell is tipple boss at the Seamon mines.
Mr. and Mrs. L.T. Hicks are spending their honeymoon in Washington, D.C. We all wish them a happy life.
We see there is another new house going up in town.
Chapmanville is getting more like New York every day.
Miss Maud McCloud gets more letters than anyone else. Who is it that thinks so much of you, Maud?
Andrew Fowler wears a fifty cent smile these days. What is up, boys?
All of our boys have gone to work after a long vacation during the strike.
Mrs. Wayne Brown, Miss Harriet Hill, Chilton Chapman, and Susie Hill were out car riding Sunday. All reported a good time.
Millard Brown and his best girl were out walking Sunday.
Ed Turner and Miss Havner were seen out walking Sunday.
Eva Barker seems to get letters from Kimball real often.
Quite a number of the boys and girls of Henlawson visited Chapmanville Sunday. Come again. We are glad to have visitors.
Elliott Bryant was wearing a seventy-five cent smile Sunday. Who is she, Elliott?
Fanny, where was Cecil Sunday?
If this escapes the waste basket, will call again.
This site is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and promotion of history and culture in Appalachia.
Genealogy and History in North Carolina and Beyond
A site about one of the most beautiful, interesting, tallented, outrageous and colorful personalities of the 20th Century
For Readers, Writers, and Lovers of Historical Fiction