Henan & Calvin Fleming

 

 

 

The crime for which, Dr. Marshall Benton Taylor, Calvin Fleming, Henan Fleming and Henry Adams were indicted was for the killing of Ira Mullins, his wife, Louranza Estep Mullins, Ira Mullins' sister's husband Wilson Mullins, John Chappel, hired hand of Ira Mullins, and Greenberry Harris, an errand boy. Doc Taylor went to trial and was sentenced to hang by Judge Samuel W. Williams on December 10, 1892. These three other men indicted with Doc Taylor for the "Killing Rock" murders, were Calvin Fleming, Henan Fleming, and Henry Adams. Calvin and Henan Fleming were already dodging the law because of warrants out for their arrest, presumably for illegal whisky or liquor violations, so naturally they were on alert and ready to climb to the high the country when the appalling murder of the Mullins family was made known to the public. And indeed, the brothers did head to the foothills, leaving Doc Taylor to bear the brunt of the whole ordeal alone. The three outlaws, Calvin Fleming, Henan Fleming and Henry Adams, all lived over the mountain in Kentucky, so when the frying pan became too hot, they headed to Webster County, West Virginia, where they lived under assumed names.

From the day the murders were discovered it was noticed that Henan and Calvin always traveled well armed. From all descriptions, Doc Taylor had during most of his adult life always carried an assortment of guns and ammunition, so being an arsenal of his own was not a unusual thing for Doc. What brought Doc to attention was that after the murder he followed the lead of the Fleming Brothers and took to the high peaks. Area residents began to talk about the crime behind their hands in whispers. Homes that never locked their doors before now took care to lock and bolt them, turning the lamps out early. They began to ponder the fact that after the slayings Doc Taylor and the Fleming brothers no longer traveled alone, but in a group. They also noticed the brothers now traveled as heavily armed as Doc.

There was sufficient evidence presented during Doc's trial to connect the Fleming brothers to the massacre. Miss Mary Branham & Logan Nottingham both testified that they saw and Calvin Fleming with Doc Taylor on Sunday night before the killing. They said they were riding fast and sitting up straight in their saddles,  going in the direction of Pound Gap. In addition, George E. Roberson and John Centers also testified to seeing Calvin & Henan Fleming in the company of Doc Taylor that same night.  Furthermore, he testified that all the men were well armed with Winchester rifles.  The time, place, motive, means, opportunity and conduct, both before and after the killing, all concur in pointing to the Fleming Brothers involvement in the murders.

Doc Swindall remembered that Doc Taylor had come to him unexpectedly and told him to keep Ira Mullins located until a certain trouble had cleared up and that he would be at Swindall's house every other night till it was over. The certain trouble had to do with a loose woman staying at Ira Mullins house. But Doc never returned to the Swindall house, because Ira, along with his entire family, was slain at a lonely spot on the mountain. Eventually Doc Taylor was apprehended by the law and placed in the Wise County jail. He was found guilty at his trial and sentenced to hang. He died October 27, 1893.

After Doc Taylor's trial and subsequent hanging, a reward was put into action against the Fleming brother's, Henan and Calvin. A reward was offered by the county of Wise, Virginia, which at one time was up to $700.00, for the capture of those accused in the slaying of the Ira Mullins family. This was a sizeable amount of money and it was still in effect two years later. In their search for the whereabouts of the Fleming brothers, Big Ed Hall, Gooseneck John H. Branham and A.J. Doc Swindall,  who had not given up their hurt for the men, began to intercept and check letters.  In this manner they at last obtained the information that the the fugitives were at a logging job at Boggs in Webster County, West Virginia.

In January of 1894, Ed Hall and his heavily armed posse, boarded a train at Norton, Virginia and headed for Bluefield, West Virginia. Granville Cox, Clifton and Tandy Branham were members of the famous Big Ed Hall posse that attempted the arrest of the outlaws, Henan and Calvin Fleming.  Both Cox and the Branham brothers had been called as witnesses for the Mullins defense in the Killing Rock Massacre.

Henan (aka Samuel McHenan Fleming) and Calvin Fleming were sons of Robert Jefferson Fleming, who  was born September 1, 1825 1825 in Floyd County, Kentucky and Margaret 'Peggy" Rose Fleming. Robert Jefferson Fleming was a son of Robert & Elizabeth Stambaugh Fleming. Robert was born about 1773 in County Meath, Ireland and died December 27 1852 in Pike County, Kentucky. A blood kinship that could easily go unnoticed is that Robert & Elizabeth Stambaugh Fleming's son Frederick Nelson Fleming, aka "Fightin' Fred" had married Nancy Wright, daughter of Joel & Susannah Wright. Nancy Wright was an aunt of Devil John Wright, being a sister to his father Joel Ellis Wright.

Henan Fleming was born June 24, 1865 in Dickenson County, Virginia. Henan married  September 8, 1887 in Dickenson County, Virginia to Catherine Vanover, a daughter of Henry & Sarah Jane Bentley Vanover. Catherine was born in November of  1869 in Pike County, Kentucky. She died about 1926 in Camden, Webster County, West Virginia.

Here again is another connection between these families, Catherine's brother Sam Vanover, born December 17,1879 had married Eliza Wright, who was a daughter of Devil John & Mary Bentley Wright. Sam Vanover married second to Tilda Mullins Wright.

Henan Fleming had confessed to his part in the slaughter of the Ira Mullins family and after his capture was brought back to Wise County to stand trail, July 24, 1894. Doc Taylor had been hanged for his connection to the murder. Henan Fleming's brother Calvin had died resisting arrest at the shoot-out in Boggs. Henan was badly wounded, leaving a hole Henan's back large enough to place his fist in,  at the same time but recovered sufficiently from his wounds to stand trial.

Would Henan would be the third of four to pay for his crime? Sadly, the only eye witness to the appalling deed, Mrs. Jane Mullins, widow of Wilson Mullins, had died by this date. No one was left to testify against him. For six days the Commonwealth's attorney made an effort to establish the guilt of the remaining killer, but without Jane's positive identification, the court was forced to find him not guilty.  The case against Henan Fleming was dismissed, the charges were dropped and he was freed from custody. Governor McKinney had offered a reward of $200.00 for the arrest and conviction of Calvin & Henan. Therefore, according to the terms of reward the governor was not authorized to pay.

Henan Fleming went back to Cottle, West Virginia to live the life of a law abiding citizen, serving several years as an officer himself where he died November 18, 1843.

After the murder Charges against Henan were dismissed, he and his wife Catherine Vanover Fleming moved to Richwood, West Virginia, where Henan served as a police officer. They were the parents of five known children: Henry Fleming, Maude Fleming, Myrtle Fleming, Jesse Fleming, Margaret Fleming.

Preston McCalvin "Calve" Fleming was born in 1869, in Buchanan county, Virginia, a brother to Henan Fleming, both being sons of Robert Jefferson  &  Margaret 'Peggy"  Rose Fleming. Calvin married Cordelia Cook born 1876, in Floyd County, Kentucky, a daughter of Soloman and C. Cook.

On their marriage bond they gave information that Calvin was 20, a farmer and single and Cordelia was 13 and single. They were married July 11, 1889 in Dickenson County, Virginia by J. C. Swindall.

Henan and Calvin were living in Dickenson county, Virginia when they were involved in the killing of the Mullins Family at Pound Gap, Virginia.

 

 

 

 

MULLINS FAMILY MURDERERS
THE FLEMING BOYS IN HIDING NEAR CLINTWOOD
Clintwood, VA., February 22 - The Fleming boys, Cal and Henan, who together with Doc Taylor
murdered the Mullins family at Pound Gap last spring , are now in the vicinity staying with
relatives. They keep themselves concealed as much as possible, but are occasionally seen. They
are both desperate characters and are feared by the whole community. No attempt in now being
made to arrest them.
~~~
 
THE MULLINS TRAGEDY
It has now been more than a year since the murder of which the Flemings are
accused  was committed and they have avoided arrest, living most of the time
in the woods in which they allegedly confessed their guilt and said that their arrest meant the
worst to them; that they would rather die rather than submit to being
arrested, and so they have grown desperate.
~~~

 

ARE THEY MORTALLY WOUNDED?
Indirect Reports for the Hiding Place of the Fleming Outlaws
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch]
 
Clintwood, VA., July 12 - The two Fleming boys, who were shot by detectives
from Big Stone Gap yesterday, are said to be mortally wounded.  Henan, the
eldest, is shot through the body with a 43 caliber Winchester ball, the ball
entering his back and passing out at his
breast.  Cal is shot in the same manner, except the ball did not pass
through him.  It is not generally known where they are, but some of their
friends and relatives are caring for them.  Dr. Phipps, of this place, has
gone to attend them.  Parties who have seen them say
they cannot possibly live.  They believed they had killed four of the
detectives and the report was circulated through the community, but it is
now learned they escaped unhurt except a slight flesh wound that one of them
received.
~~~
 
 
Taylor's accomplices, the Fleming brothers, have never been apprehended, 
though they have made several narrow escapes form the hands of the Wise County 
officers.  Three battles have been fought with them since the arrest of Taylor, 
but each time they escaped injury and are today at large in the mountains 
of Virginia or Kentucky, a menace to the peace of the community.
  
THE TWO FLEMINGS HIDING IN DICKENSON
 
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch]
 
Clintwood, VA., August 1 - The two Fleming boys, Calvin and Henan, who, together with
Dr. M. B. Taylor, were indicted for the murder of Ira Mullins and others near Pound
Gap, where they have relatives.  There is an old farm-house in a secluded spot near
here, where it is thought they hide themselves, their friends carrying provisions to them
at night.  The authorities of Wise county have been prosecuting a vigorous search for
them there, and they had to change their haunts.
 
               ...together with Doc Taylor, are charged the murder of Ira Mullins, and others, left here 
               and it is thought they have gone to Lawrence County, Kentucky, where  they have 
relatives living. They were hiding in this place for about three weeks, but finding they 
could not escape arrest long, they left here.  They are young, neither of them being 
over 25 years of age...since their boyhood they have been known as desperate characters.

 

Ira Mullins was a merchant and one of many moonshiners that made a living selling illegal whiskey in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and western Virginia. 

Henan Fleming was taken back to Wise where he stood trial.  Unfortunately, the main witness to the killings at "Killing rock", Wilson's wife Jane was dead.  Insufficient evidence resulted in a not guilty verdict and Henan Fleming went free.

                                                            ~~~

 
NO NEW TRIAL
E. M. Fulton, of Wise Courthouse, who was one of the prosecuting attorneys in the trial of Doc
Taylor, is here now and was asked as to whether Taylor will get a new trial, and his prompt
response was, "I think not." It will be remembered that a writ of supersedas (?) was granted in
his case and that the Supreme Court will pass upon the petition for a new trial. Mr. Fulton was
the leading attorney for the prosecution in the trial and is confident that no new trial will
be granted. The people here have had only one mail during the past week on account of high water. 
The streams have been higher in this section than for many years and some damage is reported.
George W. Robinson, whose illness was noticed in this correspondence a few days ago, died on
Monday and was interred yesterday. He was about 90 years of age-perhaps the oldest man in the
county at the time of his death.
~~~
 
 

 

WAS A FLEMMING THE ASSASSIN?
 
HE KILLED A WOMAN


Reported Murder of the Widow Mullins by "Orb" Fleming This Young Desperado Following in the Footsteps of His Brothers
 
CLINTWOOD, VA., Feb. 15 - The TIMES correspondent has just learned that "Orb" Fleming, a
brother to the outlaws, Cal and Henan, shot and killed a woman in the vicinity of Pound Gap,
where the Mullins family was murdered in the spring of 1892. This woman was the widow of Wilson
Mullins, one of the murdered parties of that family.
 
The report says that she was about the premises of her home, and was shot by some one secreted
in the brush some distance from the house, and circumstances point to Fleming as the
perpetrator of the foul crime. The theory of the motive is that, as Mrs. Mullins was the
material witness against Henan Fleming, she was killed to destroy evidence against him.
~~~

 


IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS

Young Fleming is a desperate character, and is following in the footsteps of his brothers, despite their terrible fate, and his course will inevitably bring him to the same end. He is not more than ? years of age.

Mr. I.E. French, a prominent merchant of this place, has purchased a farm a short distance from town, and will remove to it as soon as he can have the necessary improvements put upon it. Mr. French intends to devote most of his time to the farm as he thinks it will prove more satisfactory.

~~~

Robert Jefferson Fleming, the father of Henan and Calvin was thought to have been connected with the Pound Gap murders. The  Clintwood, Virginia Newspaper carried the following obituary: 

The Father of The Famous Mullens Outlaws GoneSketch of His Life

Clintwood, Va. August 21, 1893.

 

Jefferson Fleming, the father of the Mullens outlaws, Cal and Henan Fleming died at his home at the upper end of this county on Friday last, after an illness of several weeks duration. Jefferson Fleming was born in Kentucky, and was therefore 73 years old. He always lead a reckless inconsistent life and was dreaded by his neighbors as an ill natured and disagreeable man. He has been married twice. His first wife was married when he became acquainted with her, and after a brief acquaintance, her husband was missing and to this day the fate of the poor man has not been revealed; but Fleming and this woman were married in a short time after this occurrence.

They lived together for some time but at length another woman crossed his path and he deserted number one, secured a divorce and married number two. He is said to have been the father of thirty one children, several of them being illegitimate. His first wife is yet living near here, an old gray headed woman, who is said to have entertained the same regard for his -------- that she did in other days.

Fleming was charged to have been connected with the Pound Gap murder, for which his sons are indicted. He was indicted as an accomplice; but when the trial was called the witness was absent, having left for parts unknown through fear, and therefore the case was dismissed.

~~~
The Father of The Famous Mullens Outlaws Gone
Sketch of His Life
Clintwood, Va. August 21, 1893.

Jefferson Fleming, the father of the Mullens outlaws, Cal and Henan Fleming died at his home at the upper end of this county on Friday last, after an illness of several weeks duration. Jefferson Fleming was born in Kentucky, and was therefore 73 years old. He always lead a reckless inconsistent life and was dreaded by his neighbors as an ill natured and disagreeable man. He has been married twice. His first wife was married when he became acquainted with her, and after a brief acquaintance, her husband was missing and to this day the fate of the poor man has not been revealed; but but Fleming and this woman were married in a short time after this occurrence. They lived together for some time but at length another woman crossed his path and he deserted number one, secured a divorce and married number two. He is said to have been the father of thirty one children, several of them being illegitimate. His first wife is yet living near here, an old gray headed woman, who is said to have entertained the same regard for his -------- that she did in other days. Fleming was charged to have been connected with the Pound Gap murder, for which his sons indicted. He was indicted as an accomplice; but when the trial was called the witness
was absent, having left for parts unknown through fear, and therefore the case was dismissed.

~~

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