One thing I've found out about my writing is that there sure are a great many former Logan Countians who read the newspapers on line, or in some other manner, such as posted stories on Facebook. What I've also come to realize is that most of these people have been around for a while. In other words, they are aged - just like fine wine.
Even the vast majority of folks on the local level whom I happen to run into at various stores, speak with by phone, or engage with at my work habitat concerning local history, all are generally "seasoned" persons who like to share their knowledge of what "used to be" in Logan County. Often, they bring pictures, books, etc., that they enjoy sharing with someone like myself, who just happens to care about such nostalgic items.
When it comes to nostalgic places in Logan County, however, it's difficult to beat a little place in the town of Logan that has survived and even thrived since 1928. It has seen the coming and goings of a bus terminal, a state-operated whiskey store, a furniture store, and a music store operated by former Logan High School band director Don Elkins - all of which were located in the same building that was opened 91 years ago on Main Street.
Of course, I'm speaking of the barber shop known today simply as "Choppers" that is operated on the corner of Dingess and Main streets directly across from the disintegrating structure known by many as the Sayer's building, and by others as the former Midelburg Theatre.
The shop that remains pretty much the way it looked when it was first opened in 1929 by Herschel Williamson has had only three names in all of these years - Williamson's Barber Shop, Grant's and Chopper's. Williamson, who walked to and from work from High Street every day until he finally retired at the age of 90, handed over the barbering reigns to Grant Dunford, who operated the shop for 20 years prior to Chad Browning, who now is the lone barber at the historic shop that once featured three full-time barbers, including my own father.
At one point in Logan's city history, there were nine barber shops, at least four beauty shops, five boarding houses, 10 hotels, six general stores, three jewelry stores, two movie theaters, and four banks, as well as several taxi cab operations, several billiard parlors (pool halls) and numerous taverns, generally known as "beer gardens."
If you enjoy listening to tall tales, true stories, and especially local gossip, then you've probably been drawn to a barber shop or a beauty shop at one time or another. Frankly, sometimes one can learn more news at such "hairy" places than you can in a newspaper or via radio and television.
So, here's an interesting true story that is centered from a local beauty salon in Logan that has a different twist to it. You might say it is a "hair raising" tale that involved former Logan Circuit Judge C.C. Chambers when he was mayor of Logan in about 1926.
The newspaper account had to deal with an incident that occurred at a local beauty parlor. A woman by the name of Josephine Kitts entered the Sanitary Beauty shop and feloniously assaulted Ruby Adams, who was in charge of the parlor, and Lee Chambers, part owner of the place.
According to her story in court, Miss Adams had previously cut the hair of the cousin of Miss Kitts. Kitts later came into the shop enraged over the haircut and attacked Adams, pulling out a handful of hair and knocking her to the floor. When Chambers tried to stop the fight, he said the woman proceeded to viciously bite him and then tear off his shirt before local police arrived.
She was taken before Mayor Chambers, who at first chose to turn the case over to a grand jury, but it wound up in front of a justice of the peace who fined Miss Kitts $100, which was a healthy amount of money in the 1920s. Upon hearing of the fine, the hair-pulling "lady" threw an ink bottle at Chambers, and - still possessing the hair pulled from Mrs. Adams' head - tossed it to Chambers, saying, "Go get a wig."
The story does not indicate any further legal actions being taken by the man who would become judge in 1936.
BITS and PIECES
I have numerous stories and interviews that I hope to share with readers. It's just a matter of having the time to actually do them. For instance, I have planned stories about the many people who have left Logan County and became very prosperous and/or well-known in various ways: music, movies, sports, politics and business.
In addition, I would like to relate how just about every community in Logan County received its names, which I find to be pretty interesting.
I've also concluded several interviews with various persons of interest, and I have quite a few other people I've yet to sit down with, but will do so as soon as possible for various stories.
One story that interests me was brought to my attention by Man area resident Bobby Frazier, whose grandfather was at one time mayor of Man. To give you a hint as to the story, it seems his grandfather, who promised to clean up the town of Man from all the alcohol and dens of iniquity, decided to take a ball bat to all of the windows of such businesses in the town of Man. I'm sure readers would like to know how that ended.
Of course, there are many stories of murder and political scandals that can be told, as well as other matters involving even athletics. And, with the 87th anniversary of Mamie Thurman's murder coming up this month, I plan a special series that just may surprise readers who have over the years shown interest in that story. So, to coin an old television expression, "Stay tuned in."
Speaking of Mamie, I understand that Aracoma Story Inc., is planning a new production of "Mamie," which will be played in October at the Coal Field Jamboree in Logan. That's probably a better setting for the play, which previously was displayed at Chief Logan State Park. Folks should look forward to this production.
DID YOU KNOW that there are more people dying in America than they are babies being born? Or that the greatest number of births occur in August; the least in February?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "We don't want to be like the leader in the French Revolution who said, "There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them." - John F. Kennedy
CLOSING NOTE: Congratulations are in order to all of the students in our area, especially Lake resident Brandon Akers, who received a nice scholarship to American University in Washington, D.C., a thriving school for those choosing the lawyer profession. Brandon's mother, Brandi, serves as my magistrate assistant and his father is a former major league shortstop, Chad Akers.
While on the subject of graduating students, how about this possibility for two local prep basketball stars from Logan and Chapmanville. Since the Tigers' Obinna Annochili-Killen and the 'Cats' David Early are such really good friends, how about both of them agreeing to scholarships at Marshall University where I believe both would receive playing time this coming season as freshmen. I know Marshall Coach Dan D'Antoni sure wouldn't hold either one of them back from shooting the basketball in his high powered basketball scheme. I may be thinking crazy, but at least former Logan High cager and Logan Health Dept. supervisor Steve Browning agrees with me, and I know nobody who believes him crazy. His son Stevie, who starred this past season in the European League, currently is spending time working with MU players in Huntington. I hope to get an update on how he fared in Europe soon.
Dwight Williamson is a former writer for the Logan Banner. He is now a magistrate for Logan County. He writes a weekly column for HD Media.