Big Ed Hall
Big Ed Hall
The "Mountain Man-hunter"
Big Ed Hall was born 26 June 1858, Otter Creek, Floyd County, Kentucky, the son of John William 'Wash' Hall ( born April 1829, Floyd County, Kentucky--Died 28 October 1915, Floyd County, Kentucky) & Lucinda Hall (Born 15 Feb 1839, Beaver Creek, Floyd County, Kentucky--Died 23 Sep 1909, Floyd County, Kentucky). John William 'Wash' Hall, was the son of Randolph Hall & Catherine Johnson. Lucinda was the daughter of Riley Hall & Janet Jane Cook.
Today steep hillsides line the narrow valley's of Left Beaver in Floyd County just as they did back in the 1850's when Big Ed Hall was born in what would be known in 1916 as the mining town of Wheelwright. It was the Elk Horn Coal Company that established and transformed this section of Floyd County. At the time of his birth this area was known as Hall or Branham Branch of Otter Creek, on Left Beaver Creek. Big Ed, "The Mountain Man-Hunter", was a terror of fleeing killers". He lived with a gun in his hand and died by a gun in another's.
Big Ed Hall, a man of considerable size, weighing 212 pounds, was noted locally in Floyd County for his fleetness of foot. Using all resources at hand, Big Ed was as deadly accurate with a rock as with a gun and he observed practice regularly with both.
In the late 1880's Big Ed moved from the rugged hill sides of Eastern Kentucky to the Pound River section of Virginia, making his home near Donkey, a rip-roaring, pistol-flashing, whiskey-beset hamlet. Big Ed Hall had married Mrs. Catherine "Cat" Franklin and they made their home at Pound, Virginia.
Big Ed followed his occupation of logging until the law beckoned for his service. He was appointed a deputy United States Marshall and with his associates, Bill Edwards and Billy Renfro, began to search and seize. He became a hated and feared lawman, but the town of Donkey breathed a bit easier and there were fewer nights when guns barked incessantly through the dark nights. At this time Ed Hall had not quite earned his reputation as the "Mountain Man-Hunter", but with his considerable size people appropriately called him "Big" Ed Hall.
Big Ed's demise came about in the same style as he had lived, through the action end of a pistol. On the
31st of January in 1895 he decided to haul some firewood. As he came by the Martin Sowards store the
crack of a rifle filled the air, and the impact of a bullet smacked into Ed's back. he instinctively turned,
trying to grab his Winchester from the sled. Looking back he saw the smoke of a gun coming from the
upper story of the store.
Ed's wife "Cat", ran to him screaming, "Someone is shooting from the store!"
He knew he was a target in the open and attempted to make his way to the Swindall house seeking
cover. He fell dead at the porch and was carried into the house.
Some say Melvin Robinson and Arch Hopkins were upstairs at the time of the shooting and either
could have done the shooting.
Isaac Cantrell said, "I would take an oath and swear that it wasn't Robinson, because I saw Melvin
and another man standing on the porch when the shots were fired."
Not one of the men in the store could or would take an oath as to who fired the shot killing Big Ed Hall.
The murder was never solved.
Big Ed Hall died 31 January 1898, at Donkey, Wise County, Virginia. "The Mountain Man Hunter" was buried on Pound River, near the village of Donkey, Virginia, now the peaceful little town of Pound. His wife, "Cat", moved to Kentucky, died in 1920 and was buried at Lackey, Floyd county, Kentucky.