Henan & Calvin

                                                                                      The Fleming Brother's


 


The search for the Fleming's

 

After  the  hanging  of   Marshall Benton "Doc" Taylor,   a  reward  was  still  in  effect  by  the  county of Wise for the 
capture of the Fleming brothers, who were also accused in the slaying of the Ira Mullins family at Pound Gap.
 
Two years  afterward  "Big" Ed Hall, "Gooseneck" John H. Branham  and  A. J. Doc Swindall had not given up their 
hunt for the wanted men. In their search for  their whereabouts  they  began  to  intercept  and  check  letters.  In  this 
manner  they  at  last obtained  the  information  that the fugitives were at a logging job at Boggs in Webster County, 
West Virginia.          

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

It was a cold Friday, the 23rd day of January 1894 as "Big" Ed Hallís posse approached the town of Boggs. Still a distance from the town and several hours before dark, one of the newly enlisted men was sent ahead to learn if Henan and Calvin Fleming were still working at the logging camp. He returned to say he was informed the Fleming brothers were still at the campsite and usually came into town for their mail on Saturday. The three Wise officers thought it would be best to make a reconnaissance of the post-office, which also housed the General Store, before they met the two Fleming's the next day. 

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

 It was a cold Friday, the 23rd day of January 1894 as "Big" Ed Hallís posse approached the town of Boggs. Still a distance from the town and several hours before dark, one of the newly enlisted men was sent ahead to learn if Henan and Calvin Fleming were still working at the logging camp. He returned to say he was informed the Fleming brothers were still at the campsite and usually came into town for their mail on Saturday. The three Wise officers thought it would  be best to make a reconnaissance of the post-office, which also housed the General Store, before they met the two Fleming's the next day.

Accordingly, on the following day the posse quartered themselves across the street from the Post Office and General 
Store.  It was  "Dock"  Swindall  that was the first of the men to see the fugitives as they rode into town. He had been 
watching at the window when he saw the men and now there were moving down the street toward the post-office.
 
"Dock" turned to John and "Big" Ed saying, "I see them coming."
 
Talking between themselves they confirmed the  men  coming  down  the  street  were  indeed the desperadoes they 
had come to arrest. Guns primed, they impatiently waited as the Fleming Brothers approached the post office, where 
Calvin Fleming had some trouble hitching his horse, creating quite a racket.
 
"Dock" was to comment, "I thought he would kill him."
 
The posse watched as the outlaws  opened  the  door  and  went inside. Waiting  only  until the door was again closed,
five of the lawmen dashed out of the house and raced across the street. Inside  the  General Store the  building  was  a 
14 X 18 structure with a post office window at the front and at the end of a long counter.  Their  weapons  were cocked 
and ready when they shoved open the door.  The  lawmen had  not alerted the citizens to the circumstance  that might 
arise so thirteen other people, various loggers and residents were also sitting or standing around in the room.
 
Cal  Fleming  stood at the post office window opening a letter with Henan standing  near  him. The officers immediately 
ordered the outlaws to drop their guns and surrender. Though  astonished  by  the frenzied ambush,  neither of the men 
complied with the demand to comply and abandon their weapons. Instead, the two Fleming brothers, without delay and 
drawing their guns  as  they went, instantly maneuvered toward the rear of the store. Firing from the both sides erupted 
almost simultaneously as smoke from the black powder impeded their sight. The  local  residents bounding for the door 
caused considerable confusion as they scurried out of harms way, with several moving between  the Fleming's and the 
officers fire. The two outlaws, eight lawmen and the thirteen civilians congested the small room. Amidst the frantic rush 
of people to shield themselves Calvin Fleming, standing against the counter, swept his hand down to draw his gun. 
 
One of the first bullets struck "Big" Ed Hall in his head.   "Big"  Ed  said he managed to pull himself up from the  floor to 
aim his gun at Cal Fleming and fire point blank. The bullet struck home and the outlaw Calvin Fleming  was dead when 
he slumped to the floor. In only a matter of seconds, the report of guns filled the room with Ed Hall and "Dock"  Swindall
being severely wounded. Branham was fatally shot and Calvin Fleming'sí dead body, covered in blood,  lay in  the  floor. 
Henan Fleming, suffering from his wounds and bleeding badly,  swung around,  but  encountered  "Big"  Ed  Hall's  gun 
leveled square in his face.
 
"Big" Ed swore, "Blast you, Henan, you have killed all my men. Give up or I'll finish you! I'll kill you like I killed Cal!"
 
One of the Boggs men stepped forward to stop Hall, telling him that he could tie Fleming up. Henan saw the battle was 
at an end and with his gun hand useless, dropped his weapon. There was  no  other  choice,  the  fugitive was forced to 
surrender. 

"Dock" Swindall  was  bleeding  profusely with blood spouting from each bullet hole and from his mouth as he stepped outside for air. "Dock" later commented, "I thought I was a gone sucker for a moment." 

There was a little creek running to the corner of the building and Swindall stooped down and threw some water on his head. The cold water stopped his bleeding and may have saved his life. Later the men looked at the letter Calvin Fleming had received but had not had the opportunity to read. It was from Jarvey Caudill in Wise county. It was a very brief note which said only, "Look out. John Branham, Dock Swindall and Ed Hall are after you." 

Calvin Fleming was buried at Boggs by his logging mates, with whom he had recently been  employed.   "Gooseneck" John H. Branham died nine days later. Newspapers of the area gave their thoughts that his body would be brought back to his home for final internment. He was, however, also buried in Boggs at the same cemetery where Calvin Fleming was buried.

"Big" Ed Hall wounded, but recovering, remained in Boggs nine days until "Gooseneck" Branham died of his wounds. 
A. J. (Albert John Wesley) "Dock" Swindall also remained until Branham's death.Henan Fleming, who had confessed
his part in the slaying of the five people, went on trial, July 24, 1894. By this date the main witness to the "Killing Rock
Massacre", Mrs. Jane Mullins, widow of Wilson Mullins, was dead.
 
For  six  days  the  Commonwealth's  attorney  made  an  effort  to  establish the guilt of the remaining killer. However, 
without Mrs. Jane Mullins' positive identification, the court was forced to find him not guilty, free him of all charges and 
dismiss the case. Henan Fleming was set free. He went back to West Virginia to live the life of  a  law  abiding  citizen, 
serving several years as an officer himself.
 

Henry Adams, was born May 20, 1862 and died February 12, 1935 of pneumonia. He was buried at the Pendleton Cemetery, Pine Mountain Junction, at Whitesburg, Kentucky. He had been indicted as the fourth member of the mountain killer band. Though the rifle used in the "Killing Rock Massacre" was believed to have belonged to Henry Adams,  he was never brought to trial for the murders. The case remained on docket until 1901, when the charge was dismissed by the court on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

"Big" Ed Hall had married Mrs. Catherine "Cat" Franklin. They lived at Pound, Virginia. "Big" Ed's demise came about in the same style as he had lived, under the hot burning fire of a bullet.  On  the  31st  of  January  in  1895 he decided to haul some firewood.  As  he  came  by  the  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 Hall's wife, Cat, ran to him screaming that someone was 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 shootingand either could have done the 
shooting. Isaac Cantrell said he would take an oath and swear  that  it  wasn't  Robinson,  because he 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  Ed  Hall. The murder was 
never solved.
 
"Big" Ed Hall, "The Mountain Man Hunter" was buried on Pound River, near  the  village  of  Pound.  His  wife, "Cat", 
moved to Kentucky, died in 1920 and was buried at there.
 

 

                       

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