Charles Brumfield

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Charles Brumfield

Birthdate:
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Son of Paris Brumfield and Annie Brumfield
Brother of Allen Brumfield; Rachel Brumfield; Amy Brumfield; Martha J Brumfield; John Brumfield and 3 others

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About Charles Brumfield

Charlie Brumfield was 59. Ten children survivie him, they are as follows, beginning with the oldest: Mrs. Toney Johnson, who lives in Florida and Kentucky: Robert, Joe, Lace, Mrs. Herbert Adkins, Jessie, Mrs. Robert Dingess, Ethel, Howard and May, all of Harts.

INTENSE INTEREST IN HARTS CREEK DUEL

Feuds and Violence In Many Forms Recalled Since Tragic Death of Charles and Ward Brumfield-Ferguson "Plays Possum" After Capture-News Held Back From Brumfield Clan.

Taken From The Logan Banner December 17, 1926

With every indication that Eustis Ferguson will soon cease to be a patient at the Logan hospital and become a prisoner at the county jail, charged with the murder of Charles and Ward Brumfield, he has been guarded night and day since Tuesday night by a deputy sheriff. Some of the deputies have been taking their turns at this task, but the vigil is at no time relaxed. Its purpose, it will be sufficient to say, is twofold. Prosecuting Attorney Chafin said this morning he had been advised that Ferguson's condition is so favorable that he may be transferred to the jail today or tomorrow. Ferguson, described as a man of iron nerve and exceptionally fine physique, despite his prematurely gray or white hair, is believed to have realized better than anyone else that his injuries would not prove fatal. Much information relative to this conduct after the terrific battle on Harts Creek on Sunday night, as well as the part he played in the battle, has been obtained by the sheriff's aides. The story that has been pieced gether is a story of "life in the rough." It is a tale of "men of blood and bowels" at their worst__ of smouldering grudge against an individual that flamed up under the stimulation of corn whiskey into a wild passion of hatered for an entire family. Before a shot was fired in the little log-cabin home of George Adams (the scene of many a fight to the death) incidents occurred and remarks were made that now seem to have foreshadowed bloodshed. Still, Ferguson was related to the Brumfield clan, lived among them much of the time, and had received financial aid from various members of the family numerous times, it is said.

Families Intermarried Wesley Ferguson, brother of Eustis, married Ward Brumfields mother. She was the widow of the late Al Brumfield, who was Charlie Brumfield's oldest brother. More information as to relationships will be divulged later, but this bit may be helpful in tracing the events leading to the dual tragedy. It may be added here that Wesley Ferguson and family live at Brumfield’s homestead at mouth of Harts. Ward lived about a half-mile up the creek but on the same farm. Charlie's home is half a mile or so below the mouth of Harts and on the west side of Guyan. He owned more than 1,000 acres of land, it is said. All those named live in Lincoln county, as was stated in Tuesday's Banner. (Ferguson's family live in Wayne county but near Huntington, but he stayed at Harts most of the time). Sunday morning Charlie and Ward mounted horses and started up Harts. Their destination was Tom Mullin's home, seven or eight miles up the creek (Mullins being a relative and neighbor of George Adams) and on the Logan side of the county line. Their mission, it seems clear from all that has been heard, was to persuade the Mullinses not to prosecute a son of Bill Brumfield, who was arrested in Lincoln county a few months ago, for the shooting of a son of Tom Mullins. (Bill Brumfield, a brother of Charlie, will figure incidentally in later paragraphs of this narrative.) Ferguson, observing the departure of the two Brumfields, got astride a mule, bareback, and started up the creek behind them. Whether he overtook them on the way or joined them at the Mullins home was not learned by the writer. Witnesses say, however, that all three were at George Adams' about three hours before the pistol fight started. Joe Martin and Herbert Thompson, neighbors, were also there. Mrs. Adams had gone to a neighbor's home to help take care of a child that was ill. And her daughter left home hurriedly just as soon as she had prepared supper for the men. Officers who investigated the affair say that most, if not all, the men were drunk, and they believe the girl sensed trouble in the air.

Ferguson's Outburst Joe Martin is quoted by the officers as saying that sometime during the afternoon while he and Ferguson were standing in front of the house and the others were indoors. Ferguson said to him: "See this scar on my neck that's where Bill Brumfield shot me-- and I could just kill a whole string of Brumfields." A little later Ferguson reminded Charlie of the wound he had received at the hands of Bill. Charlie is reported to have replied. "Well, of course, I had nothing to do with that." There were other remarks, too, it is said that indicated that Ferguson was nettled and resentful. When George Adams invited them all to break bread with him, Ferguson refused and remained in the front room. ( The house has two rooms and a kitchen, the dining rooming being about 10 by six or seven feet and with the ceiling so low that the average-sized adult must stoop upon entering.) Charlie a Ward sat on the same side of the table and faced the door leading into the main room. They were close, especially Charlie, to the back door. After eating, Ward, silent and sleepy, supped his coffee and nodded. Charlie seized him by the arm or shoulder and said. "Hurry up, let's start home." Ferguson stepping to the door, or already there, protested saying, "Let him alone!" Previous to this, possibly soon after the Martin-Ferguson conversation refered to, Ferguson appeared in the doorway with his pistol in his hand. Charlie then asked him what he meant by that and told him to put it back in his holster. He did so, at the same time disclaiming any intention to "start something." Efforts of Charlie to arouse Ward finally resulted in Ferguson, "covering" Charlie and compelling him to raise up his hands. Three times, some of the witnesses say, Charlie held his hands aloft at Ferguson's command. All this time, though, Charlie remained seated. Once, between commands, he tried to slip a hand below the table top,bt Ferguson noticed the movement and again, required him to "lift 'em high." Meanwhile, Charlie was coolly reminding Ferguson that they had always been friends and there was no occasion for trouble. What if anything else was said by either at this time is by no means clear, but the conversation, however brief or pointless, culminated in a shooting that cost two lives, left seven bullet marks on the alleged aggressor, and jeopardized the lives of three others.

Three Eye-Witnesses

Joe Martin, according to the statements attributed to him by officers, was standing in one door and saw all that happened in that fateful second. George Adams was just behind him and Herbert Thompson was close by. There seems to be little or no doubt among them that Ferguson succeded in firing several shots, all of which must have taken effect, before Charlie Brumfield could draw his gun and bring it into action. He was dying as he fired and when the last cartridge from his 32 special was gone his huge body (he weighed 246) crumpled and fell to the loose plank floor. Meanwhile Ward had darted toward the back door, probably in a much stooped position to make his exit, for the rear doorway is considerably lower than the dining room ceiling. Then he reeled and fell to the floor, dead, his head lying near that of Charlie's. A bullet had entered his back just below the right shoulder blade and came out near his right collarbone, making a gaping wound at the point of exit. His own gun was not fired-a circumstance at can not be accounted for by those who know him best on any other theory than that he was too drunk to have normal control of his trigger finger. He had a 38 Smith & Wesson.

More Guns Appear

Before the smoke of battle had cleared away George Adams and Joe Martin, each with a pistol in his hand, compelled Ferguson to give up, his pistol. It was a 32-automatic; and strange and significant as it may be, this pistol, it is stated on good authority, belonged to a son of Ward Brumfield and had been borrowed by Ferguson. After he surrendered, Ferguson was searched and a pair of handcuffs was found in his pockets. With another flash of guns and threats of more violence. Adams compelled Ferguson to produce the key to the handcuffs, which were then put on him. There-upon his captors decided to summon a constable and to withhold news of the double tragedy from the Brumfields. Here it may be explained that the handcuffs had been turned over to Feerguson by a Lincoln county prohibition officer who had deputized him to arrest someone on Mud River). Ferguson finally lay down on the sitting room floor, seemingly in great agony. Apparently he lapsed into unconsciousness for a time, but his captors suspected heas "playing possum." They stood guard until Constable Frank Adams and a few others arrived. Two horses were hitched to the a wagon, Ferguson was lifted to the rear end of the vehicle, and a hard journey down Mud Fork was started. After Hart Creek was in the distance, Ferguson 'rallied" and asked Constable Adams and Herbert Thompson to take off the handcuffs and let him sit on the driver's seat with them. They refused. They drove to Constable John Pack's home on Mud Fork and as told in Tuesday's paper the remainder of the journey was made in an automobile. Ferguson requested that he be taken to the jail instead of a hospital because of his suspicion that friends of Brumfield might be on his trail. Jailor George Hooker, believing the man needed immediate attention and special care, sent him to the hospital. That was about 4 o'clock Monday morning. Not much before that did the families of the slain men learn of the shooting affray.

Scites Makes Splash

Deputy Sheriffs Scites, Maynard and Kimmel, who left for Harts Creek Monday afternoon, to make an investigation, did not return until Tuesday night. Much of the foregoing information was obtained from them. They spent Monday night at the home of Ward Brumfield's mother, where his body lay. Many others were there, too. On the following morning they rode, horseback up the creek to the Adams home and talked to members of the family, eye-witnesses and others. On the way Scites horse got into quicksand and under the weight of his ponderous rider the horse sank down rapidly. (Scites weighs 247 without his stogies) Scites abandoned his mount to recover his hat and incidentally caused the biggest splash that ever occurred in that section. The horse was rescued finally and the journey resumed. Monday night, Dr. Ferrell of Chapmanville made an examination to determine the number and nature of the wounds. As stated only one bullet struck Ward. Seven bullets entered Charlie's body as follows: One in his left arm; one rough his jaw; two or three passed through or close to the heart, and the others through the chest and abdomen.

Recall Old Grudge

Friends of the Brumfields profess to believe that Ferguson had carefully planned a fight with Charlie Blankenship; that he stayed out of the dining room because he did not wish to be cramped in case of hostilities, and that he hoped to separate Charlie and Ward before committing any overt act. ---------theory, that Ferguson had desired vengeance on Charlie ever since he (Ferguson) was shot by Bill Brumfield at the mouth of Harts more than a year ago. After he was wounded he fell to the ground and lay there Charlie, it is said, believing he was not hurt much, twitted him for not getting on his feet: and though Ferguson is believed to have concluded that discretion is the better part of valor he never forgave the "kidding," it is declared. These same friends of the Brumfields say, too, that Charlie did not often carry a pistol, but on Sunday morning for some reason picked up his wife's pistol and put it in his pocket. Since he shot he shot his father, Paris Brumfield, in 1892, to protect his mother, from threened violence, he had not been in any serious trouble. He was a jolly, generous soul and had a host of friends up and down Guyan and through out Lincoln and Logan counties. Ward Brumfield had been a deputy sheriff of Lincoln county and had been an officer of one sort or another most if not all the years since he was old enough to vote. He was 44 years old and is survived by his wife and two sons, Tom and Ed, both living at Harts. Charlie Brumfield was 59. Ten children survivie him, they are as follows, beginning with the oldest: Mrs. Toney Johnson, who lives in Florida and Kentucky: Robert, Joe, Lace, Mrs. Herbert Adkins, Jessie, Mrs. Robert Dingess, Ethel, Howard and May, all of Harts. Rev. Charles Curry conducted both funerals, Ward's at 11 o'clock Tuesday and Charlie's at 2 that afternoon. Burial took place in separte family cemeteries near the respective homes of the decedents. A large crowd of relatives and friends attended these rites; in fact, they were about the largest funerals ever held in the cmunity, despite bad roads made worse than usual by the rain on Sunday and Monday. Sundays duel has served as a reminder of unnumbered thrilling events in which many of the Brumfields have had a part, to say nothing of the Brumfield-Conley fued. (That fued is a whale of a story in itself.) The last clash was on July 4, 1900, at Chapmanville when Charles Conley killed John Brumfield.

 

 

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