The Outlaw and his Lady

       Thomas Talton "Bad Talt" Hall & Lucinda Roberts

                                                     

                                  

                                                Thomas Talton Hall

 

 

Thomas Talton Hall was born in 1846 on Little Carr Fork or Trace Fork of Rockhouse Creek, a branch of Beaver Creek in Letcher County, Kentucky, the son of David and Anna (Johnson) Hall. He was the grandson of Anthony (1752-1846) and Rutha Butler (1770-1855) Hall.  Talton Hall married Marinda "Rinda" Triplett October 12, 1868, in Letcher County, Kentucky.  Marinda was born in 1846, a twin to Marilda Triplett and adaughter of Wilson and Eleanor (Isaac) Triplett. Marinda died 07 Jun 1888, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. Marinda Triplet, who was Talt Hall's legal wife, was his first  cousin. His birthplace, a simple log cabin, is still to be seen on the banks of a small mountain stream, appropriately named Troublesome Creek.

 

Many of the families involved in these disputes had intimately woven family bonds, which made for fused family connections or sometimes blood feuds. Arminda Baker was born 1855 in Scott County, Virginia, the daughter of James & Nancy (Triplett) Baker and was a second cousin to Talt Hall’s wife, Marinda Triplet.  Arminda Baker married John Franklin Pierce Salyers, born 13 Jul 1853, Copper Creek, Russell County, Virginia and died 06 Mar 1887, Perry County, Kentucky. He was the son of Samuel & Lydia (Culbertson) Salyers.  Arminda (Baker) Salyer had passed away giving birth to their child Ida Bell, born September 1, 1873 in Perry County, Kentucky, so Frank then married Lucinda Roberts in Wise County, Virginia. 

 

Lucinda Roberts was the daughter of Shadrack and Martha (Courtney) Roberts. Shadrack Roberts was born about 1825 in Grayson County, Virginia and married 13 Dec 1849 in Scott County, Virginia Martha Courtney born 1833 in Scott County, Virginia. Frank and Lucinda later moved to Knott, County, Kentucky. Lucinda was 16 when she married Frank Salyers and was about 21 when he was murdered.

 

The death of Frank Salyers is one that Talton Hall was charged with, and one that he denied being guilty of until his death at the gallows. Talton said, “Even now some believe I am guilty of the murder of Frank Salyers, in Knott County, Kentucky, though I've stood trial and was acquitted.”

 

Talt said, “It was said that I killed Frank and ran off with his wife. Frank moved from Wise County, Virginia, to Knott County, Kentucky, in the year of '84. It seemed that he did not like Kentucky and was talking of going out West. One day as I was passing there I saw Frank's wife and I asked her if they were going away.”

 

Lucinda said, "Frank has been talking of it and I suppose he will go."

 

I said, "Ar'nt you going with him?"

 

She replied, "I don't know; he don't care what becomes of me just so he gets away."

 

Talt told her if Frank went off and left her he would take care of her, and just about that time Frank came up. After talking a short while he and the fellow who was with him, Wilburn Hall, went away. About 3 o'clock Frank sent his wife to get Talt. He told her he would be up in a day or two and sent the same message back to her husband. When he saw Frank Salyer the next time he said he intended to go west and leave his wife. He said he wanted me to give him $40 and he would let her keep what she had on the place. I told him he had a very sweet woman and a very good one and that he had better keep her.

 

He said "No. I'm going to take a woman by the name of Lucy Hall and go to Texas."

 

Lucinda begged Talt to give Frank the $40, and said she would pay him back as soon as possible. He felt very sorry for her and paid the man the money. He said when he went off he was going alone and was coming back the 1st of March, 1885 to get the Hall woman, and went on to show Talt some letters he had from her. 

 

Now, about this time Salyers swapped horses with some fellows by the name of Johnson and traded them a horse that was blind. After the Johnson’s discovered the horse was blind, they were very mad and came to Frank and told him they had to have some boot, as he had cheated them and swapped them a blind horse. In addition to the row about the horse trade, Frank had loaned a pistol to a man to kill Johnson. Johnson said he would kill Frank for giving the pistol to the man who was another of his enemies. Talt told Salyers that he was in danger and he had better look out and stay in the house at night or he would be killed. Mr. W. W. Adam's wife and her two brothers heard me tell him.  Talt  was in Salyer’s  house one night and he walked to the door when some one from the outside shot him down.

 

Talt said, “Every one knew it was the man who had threatened him, and had I wanted him killed I would not have warned him so often; and I also asked Johnson not to harm Frank, as it would make things hard on me. After all my precautions to save the man's life and my appeals to him not to desert his wife, I was jerked up and tried for murdering him or having it done, but came out all O.K.”

 

Frank’s sister, Hattie Salyers, was the wife of Sylvan Taylor.  Further more, Sylvan was the son of  Marshall Benton ‘Doc’ Taylor.  To complicate matters more, Hattie was a sister to Enos Hylton's wife. Her name was Helen C. Salyer.  and after Enos Hylton's death, Helen married Judge Solomon E. Baker of Letcher County, Kentucky.  Possibly for that reason, controversy arose over the death Frank Salyers, as he was a man Talton was accused though not indicted of killing. Lucinda went to stay with Talt Hall at Vicksburg, Mississippi and from there she went with him to Memphis. Talt Hall's downfall might have originated with his obsession with Frank Salyer's wife.

 

As a very young man Talton became accustomed to the murders which happened almost daily.  Gunfights and bloodshed were the general way of life in the feud ridden area of Beaver Creek.  His father, Dave Hall, was a strong willed man in his own right who had killed several men in individual disputes. Hall had grown to a stature of six feet in height, straight and squarely built. His eyes were dark gray and set far back in the skull with a heavy, firm jaw, a high forehead and there were periods of time when Talton wore a full beard.

 

Talton became well known for his ability with his guns.  When the man with the gun was Bad Talton Hall, proceeding with an argument was not only dangerous, but could be suicide.  It was a well known fact that Talton did not shoot to bluff and did not miss when he shot. A close associate, Anderson Belcher, stated, "Talt's guns are anything but good to look at, but when it comes to shooting they are dead center."

 

Supported by his relatives Talton Hall became a deputy sheriff.  It was his boldness with a gun which enforced his  desire for an official capacity and carried him forward to the position of United States Marshall for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  In his biography Talton claimed that from the year of seventy-eight or seventy-nine into the eighties, he was a United States Marshal, and was constantly having little "bouts" with moonshiners and outlaws. The bouts did not amount to much, except that it made him enemies who quickly allied themselves with others to get him out of the way. He said that when he was marshal he always treated his prisoners as kindly as possible, and had all due regard for their families. He stressed that many was the time when he went to arrest a man his wife would put her face in her apron and cry, while the little children would cling to him and say:  "Papa, don't leave us."

 

This was enough to touch his sympathies, or even move a man with a heart of stone, and he would tell the man to meet him at another place to get him away without such a pitiful scene. Time and again he did this to save, to some extent, the feelings of the wife and little children left to their own efforts.

 

The more powerful station of Marshall also elevated prospects for others of the Hall family.  Already well organized, they then traveled together, armed to the teeth and protectively under the shield of the law. They were in all appearance deputies, if not officially, then unofficially. Talton was credited with the killing of near 100 men, though the number was probably much less.  Not counting those he killed during the Civil War, he confessed to the killing of only five men.  He confirmed he killed Henry Maggard, Henry Houk, Mark Hall, and a man named Triplett.  He was acquitted of murder in all these cases.

 

It was generally thought that Talton Hall killed Frank Salyer, March 6, 1885 , yet this was not one of the killings he admitted doing when taken into custody for the murder of Police Chief Enoch B. Hylton.  Talton had become romantically involved with Salyers' wife, and shortly afterward, Salyer was murdered by ambushers. The circumstances of this murder, as well as the actual killing, were what brought about the end of Talton Hall's life.

 

History has it Talton Hall began his career of crime at a very early age. When he was thirteen years of age his brothers, John S. and Marshall Hall were killed by George Houk. They were Confederate soldiers and Houk commanded what some referred to as a bush-whacking company, known as the 10th Kentucky Mounted Infantry. Talt's brothers were returning to the army from a furlough, when Houk took them prisoners for purposes of robbery and revenge and then killed them. Talt swore revenge, and started off by killing his brother's assassins. Hall was a Kentucky feuds man, known by many as one of the mountain-border ruffians who do their deeds of deviltry on one side of the State line that runs the crest of Black Mountain, then stepped over to the other side to escape the laidback arm of mountain-justice. He was little sorry for what he had done, except, doubtless, for the reason that the deed would hamper his freedom.

 

Talt & Marinda had the following children:

 

Maryland Byrd Hall

Marion Hall

Sophia Hall

Annie Hall

Eva Hall

 

 

Talt’s plights in his youthful years left a shadow that would go before him to adulthood, even till the time of his death.

 

The material on this webpage holds a copyright © 2010 by Nancy Wright Bays &  Patty May Brashear

 

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