Appalachia, Charley Gore, Democratic Party, deputy sheriff, Don Chafin, H.S. Walker, history, Ira P. Hager, Joe Hatfield, John Morgan, Kistler, Logan County, Malinda Carlton, Mattie Marley, Mine Wars, Pearl Anderson, Republican Party, Tennis Hatfield, United States Commissioner, West Virginia, Will Lancaster
Political history for Logan County, West Virginia, during the 1920s was particularly eventful; it included the latter years of Sheriff Don Chafin’s rule, the Mine Wars (“armed march”), Republican Party ascendancy, and the rise of Republican sheriffs Tennis and Joe Hatfield. What follows are selected primary source documents relating to this period:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Before the undersigned authority, Ira P. Hager, a United States Commissioner in and for said county and State, personally appeared this day Mattie Marley, who after being by me first duly sworn, deposes and says:
That she resides at Kistler, Logan County, in said District; that on or about the 2nd day of November, A.D., 1924, at Kistler, in said District, Charley Gore, Deputy Sheriff said to affiant that after the election he was going to give some of them hell; that he was then in affiant’s house, and pulled his revolvers and said that if we would not permit him to give a supper there he knew of plenty of houses where he could get a free supper. He also said when he put his pistol back into his pocket that if his special did not get them his machine gun would.
Taken, subscribed and sworn to before me this the 3rd day of November, A.D., 1924.
Ira P. Hager
United States Commissioner as aforesaid.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Before me, Ira P. Hager, the undersigned a United States Commissioner in and for said District, personally appeared this day John Morgan, who after being by me first duly sworn, deposes and says:
That affiant voted a Republican ticket on election day November 4th, 1924, and H.S. Walker, receiving clerk tore the same up and destroyed it. That there was no justification for his destroying said ballot. Affiant further says that the other election officers of the Junior High School Precinct saw the said Walker destroy said ballot.
Taken, subscribed and sworn to before me this the 4th day of November, A.D., 1924.
Ira P. Hager
United States Commissioner as aforesaid.
Appalachia, Aracoma, Barnabus, Barnabus Curry, Boling Baker, Buffalo Creek, Cham, Chapmanville, Chauncey, Chauncey Browning, coal, Crystal Block, Curry, D.E. Hue, Dehue, Dingess Run, Edward O'Toole, Gilbert Creek, Guyandotte River, history, Horse Pen Mountain, Huff Creek, Island Creek, Jim Gilbert, Litz-Smith Coal Company, Logan Banner, Logan County, Main Island Creek Coal Company, Mallory, Micco, Mountain View Inn, Native American History, Native Americans, Omar, Omar Cole, Peter Huff, Rum Creek, Sarah Ann, Sarah Ann O'Toole, Stirrat, Twisted Gun Lick, West Virginia, William Dingess, William S. Madison
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Logan County place names:
Naming of Logan County Towns and Creeks Related By Logan Banner Reporter
While the first white settlers who entered the county near the middle of the 18th century had to have names for the creeks and runs in order to locate their homes, the children of these first settlers had to have names for each large settlement in order to have their mail delivered to them. Both groups used interesting methods of naming the landmarks.
Early Indian fighters who had contact with Boling Baker and his horse-thieving found little trouble naming the mountain which rises behind Mountain View Inn at the head of Island Creek. Because of the renegade’s custom of using one of the steep hollows for a corral, Captain William S. Madison, an early pioneer, named the mountain Horse Pen. Likewise, Gilbert Creek was named for Jim Gilbert, an Indian scout, who was killed in an Indian skirmish on that tributary of the Guyandotte. Near the place where he was killed there is an old salt lick which is named “Twisted Gun Lick.” The story is told that Gilbert, before he died, hit his gun barrel against a tree to keep the Indians from using it on his comrades. His friends, coming to the lick several hours later, found Gilbert scalped and the twisted firearm lying nearby.
Huff Creek was similarly named for a Peter Huff, whose scouting party was ambushed by a roving band of redskins and Huff was killed in the ensuing battle. They buried Huff on the banks of the creek near the present town of Mallory.
Buffalo Creek, however, received its name in an entirely different manner. The first settlers who hunted in the valley of the Guyandotte found buffalo herds so plentiful on this creek that they called it Buffalo Creek.
Dingess Run was named for a pioneer family of Dingesses which settled in its broad bottoms. William Dingess was the patriarchal head of the family and his children named the run in memory of him.
Island Creek received its name from the Indians who were awed by the beauty of a large creek flowing into the Guyandotte with such force as to cut an entirely separate bed, thus forming an island in the middle of the river. Old timers say that in the early days of the county Island Creek entered the Guyan river at the upper limits of Aracoma. Only during flood time did the creek meet the river at its present point.
As for the towns which have sprung up in the county since coal became king, many were named for prominent people living in them at one time or another or for pioneer families who lived in the towns when the coal companies first came in.
A unique method was used, however, in naming Micco. It received its name from the first letters of the Main Island Creek Coal Co., which formerly operated the mines there.
Omar was named for Omar Cole who was closely associated with the development of the town. The Cole family held, and still holds, extensive mining leases in the vicinity of that mining town.
Sarah Ann acquired its name from the wife of Colonel Edward O’Toole, who was manager of the coal company when the town applied to the government for a post office. The town is generally known as Crystal Block.
Barnabus received its name from Barnabus Curry, a pioneer settler whose home was near the town.
Stirrat was named for Colonel Stirrat, who was manager of the Main Island Creek Coal Company at one time.
Chauncey was named for Chauncey Browning, well-known son of a pioneer family who owned much of the land near that town. For many years the town of Chauncey was not large enough to be made a post office, but after the Litz-Smith Coal Company opened its mines there the town grew to proportions large enough to warrant a post office.
Dehue was given its name in honor of D.E. Hue, the first superintendent who operated the mines there.
Cham, a small place about two and one-half miles above Dehue, got its name from a Chambers family who lived on Rum Creek.
Chapmanville was named for the Chapmans, Curry for the Curry family and Aracoma for the famous Indian princess.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 25 March 1937
Appalachia, coal, Franklin D. Roosevelt, free trade, history, John D. Battle, Logan Banner, Logan County, National Coal Association, protectionism, Reciprocal Trade Agreement, tariffs, U.S. Congress, United Mine Workers of America, United States, Venezuela, West Virginia, White House
An Editorial: Blow at Coal Industry
We are all dependent upon the coal industry for a livelihood. Therefore anything that is injurious to the coal industry is of vital interest to us—whether we are in the newspaper business, a merchant, a clerk in a store, coal miner—or whatnot. It is a well known fact that for years, under the Roosevelt administration, reciprocal trade agreements with other countries have been striking at the very heart of the coal industry. We are all aware, too, that because of these trade agreements and because of regulatory measures, the demand for coal has been considerable less. In other words, to make a long story short, coal has been replaced to a large extent by cheap imported oils and natural gas. There was a time when high protective tariffs kept the cheap imported oils out of the United States—much to the benefit of the coal industry.
That is why it is of particular interest to refer to a recent Reciprocal Trade Agreement made with Venezuela which permits cheap imported oil to flow freely into the United States to replace coal as a fuel. John D. Battle, executive secretary of the National Coal Association, recently made some pertinent comment in regard to this agreement, that should be carefully diagnosed by all those engaged in and dependent upon the coal industry for a living. Said Mr. Battle: “The reciprocal trade agreement with Venezuela which the state department has announced is certain to increase the pressure upon Congress to terminate the entire trade treaty authorization. The Venezuela Agreement caps the climax of a tariff reduction policy which largely ignores the needs and concerns of American industry and American labor. This agreement cuts in half the existing excise tax on oil imports, notwithstanding the strong and unanimous opposition which had been registered with the state department by coal operators from coast to coast, both bituminous and anthracite, and by the United Mine Workers and by the spokesmen for the independent oil producers. Congress imposed a half-cent per gallon excise tax on oil imports in 1932 for the protection of our own fuels in our own markets. This tax so far failed to afford the needed protection that bills are now pending to increase the excise tax to 3 cents per gallon. The Venezuela Agreement not only reduces the excise tax to one-quarter cent per gallon, but ties the hands of Congress and prevents any increase in this tax so long as this trade agreement remains in force. The five per cent quota which the treaty drafters have inserted as a sugar coating is without practical effect and is a palpable subterfuge. The present taxable imports of crude and fuel oil, which come principally from Venezuela, large as they are, are nevertheless considerably below this five per cent quota limit. That means that as a result of the Venezuela Agreement oil imports may largely increase at the expense of United States coal, and at a time when the oil wells of many United States producers are shut in for want of markets. Existing oil imports represent a displacement of some ten to twelve million tons of bituminous coal annually, which takes from twelve to fifteen million dollars out of the pay envelopes of mine labor and takes more than twenty million dollars away from the railroads. Our industry will not suffer this blow in silence. We shall renew our protests to the state department and to the White House to make the record clear, and we shall carry this fight to Congress with the expectation that Congress will heed the protest and be moved to put a stop to this policy of delegating to the executive branch of the government law-making and treaty-making functions, which policy has in practice proved so destructive.”
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 14 November 1939
African-Americans, Appalachia, Aracoma High School, Aracoma Junior High School, board of education, Coal Branch, education, history, L.E. Farnsworth, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan District, Republican Party, West Virginia
THE COLORED ARACOMA SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Now In Course of Erection, is the result of the vision and enterprise of the Logan District Board of Education to meet a need in the life of the colored citizens of this district, which need has been existing for a long period of years, and has equally as long been neglected.
The moving spirit, in the board of education, toward bringing this new school to a successful issue, is Dr. L.E. Farnsworth, and it is to him in particular that the colored citizens of this district owe a lasting debt of gratitude. Early and late, at times seasonable and times unseasonable Dr. Farnsworth worked in the Aracoma colored system, and that the shame against the intelligence and liberality of the white citizens of this district might be removed by in replacing the makeshift which existed with a decent colored school building.
The contribution of the space and picture of the proposed building, shown in this progress section devoted to colored citizens, is made by the Board of Education. This is a further evidence of their generous attitude toward our people, encouraging their efforts to improve themselves and advance their welfare. Such liberality merits our thanks and unstinted praise, and it is hereby extended generously and thankfully.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 16 April 1929
New School Building
Ground was broken last week in Coal Branch for the new Aracoma Junior high school. A large force of men with scrapers, picks and shovels are busy doing the excavating work, and delegations of patriot citizens of color are visiting the scene daily and watching the rapid progress that is being made on this long needed and prayed for school building. The site is ideal, with a large play ground and when completed and furnished, it will be one of the best in the state. The new Aracoma Junior high school building is the fulfillment of some of the pledges and campaign promises made by Republican candidates and party workers, to the colored voters during the last election. The bringing into existence of this long promised school will be a lasting credit to the members of the Logan district Board of Education and should also standout as another important reason why the Negro should vote the Republican ticket.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 April 1929
Ammar Brothers, Appalachia, Bell Department Store, Democratic Party, Don Chafin, history, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan Jewelry Company, Logan Jewelry Store, Nate Rosensweig, New Eagle Restaurant, Nick Savas, sheriff, Stratton Street, West Virginia
The Logan Banner of Logan, WV, offered these items relating to former sheriff Don Chafin in 1927:
Don Chafin In Another Realty Deal
Announcement was made today by Don Chafin of the disposal of more of his Logan property, following the sale of his oil and gas business and service stations consummated last week. The deal just closed disposes of two business buildings on Stratton street, one the three-story brick block occupied by the Bell Department Store, the other the adjoining one-story brick structure containing two store rooms, one occupied by the Logan Jewelry Company, the other by the Army and Navy Store of Nate Rosensweig. The consideration of the two sales is about $127,000. New owners of the properties are Nick Savis, of the New Eagle Restaurant, and Ammar Brothers. The Bell Department Store will continue to occupy the ground floor of the three-story building in its present location under the existing ten-year lease, while the Logan Jewelry Company and the Army and Navy Store will remain in their rooms in the other building until their present leases expire, at least.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 23 August 1927
DON CHAFIN WILL NOT BE A CANDIDATE FOR SHERIFF NEXT YEAR
Former Sheriff Decides Family and Business Need Him More Than Politics
STATEMENT IS FINAL ONE
Will Take No Active Part In Primaries; Asks That Insistence Cease
Under no circumstances will Don Chafin, former sheriff and recognized Democratic leader, be a candidate for sheriff at the next election. This was the text of a statement made to a Banner reporter this morning.
“Please tell my friends in both parties that my several business interests prevent me from making the race,” added Mr. Chafin. “I appreciate the many kind offers of support, and I know every person who has approached me is sincere in wanting me back in political action, but my family and business interests require my entire time, and I would not be fair to either if I neglected them to make the fight that would be necessary.”
Asked if he would take active part in the support of the Democratic candidate, the former sheriff said, “I will make no active campaign for any one in the primaries, but successful party nominees may expect my untiring support for their successful election in November, provided they are of the proper material.”
Mr. Chafin also wanted it made plain that his friends would be doing him quite a favor if, after this statement is made, they will take it as his final word, and make no further insistence. “It really takes up much of my time and distracts me from my work to have so many callers each day insisting I make the race,” he said.
This announcement of Mr. Chafin’s will cause more surprise from those who felt he positively would make the race at the proper time. No Democratic announcements for sheriff have been mentioned outright, each waiting to see what Don had in mind. This settled now, it is expected the field will be immediately flooded with the many who have looked with longing eyes on that important office.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 23 December 1927
African-Americans, Appalachia, Atlanta, Augusta, genealogy, Georgia, history, J.H. Burns, Logan Banner, Logan County, Morehouse College, Sharples, Shiloh Baptist Church, Walker Baptist Institute, West Virginia
In April of 1929, the Logan Banner profiled numerous prominent African-American residents of Logan County, West Virginia.
Rev. J.H. Burns
Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Sharples
The Reverend Burns has been pastor for five consecutive years. The church of his charge has an enrolled membership of 175, and is one of the best organized congregations in the field. All of its departments, missionary society, Sunday school, B.Y.P.U. and other branches are active and effective. His services in the community and county, as a moral and spiritual influence, are constructive and uplifting. Rev. Burns has been in the ministry for twenty-one years, covering numerous fields of activity in his long period of service to the cause of religion among his people. The reverend’s educational qualifications embrace studies at Walker Baptist Institute, Augusta, and Morehouse College, Atlanta. All matters pertaining to the welfare of his people, enlist Rev. Burns’ support and he wields a large measure of power among his people in the community and county.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 16 April 1929
A.P. Benjamin, A.R. Duty, Al Chafin, Appalachia, Chapmanville, Chapmanville Church of Christ, Dollie Dingess, genealogy, history, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mont Butcher, N.E. Lowe, O.C. Winters, S.A. Ferrell, W.A. McCloud, Wallace Chafin, Z.T. Taylor
An unknown correspondent from Chapmanville in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on March 26, 1929:
At a called meeting of the members of the Church of Christ of Chapmanville Friday night the church as reorganized. New officers, who will assume their duties at once, were chosen as follows: Elders—O.C. Winters, Al Chafin and W.A. McCloud, for one, two and three years, respectively. Deacons—Mont Butcher and Wallace Chafin, one year each, and S.A. Ferrell and N.E. Lowe, two years each. Deaconesses—Mrs. Dollie Dingess, Mrs. A.R. Duty and Mrs. Z.T. Taylor, three years, two years and one year, respectively. Trustees—S.A. Ferrell, Al Chafin and N.E. Lowe. Associate trustees—Wallace Chafin and O.C. Winters. Those officers who were elected for one year will hold office until the annual business meeting, which will be held the Lord’s Day previous to the Logan-Mingo convention next fall. At this business meeting the new officers will be elected for three years, for the elders and deaconesses, and two years for the deacons. The official board will meet the first Friday night of each month at 3:30 o’clock, unless there is prayer meeting on that evening, when the official board meeting will be held after prayer meeting. S.A. Ferrell was continued as clerk of the church and secretary of the board. O.C. Winters was selected chairman of the official board. Rev. A.P. Benjamin was chairman of the Friday night meeting.