- Born: Cir 1834, Lawrence Co., Ohio
- Marriage: Nancy Ann Haskins on 12 Aug 1858 in Lawrence Co., Ohio
- Died: 2 Apr 1889, Lawrence Co., Ohio at age 55
- Buried: Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery, Greasy Ridge, Mason Twp, Lawrence Co., Ohio
Check on names of these individuals...According to Bob Hill (July 2004 interview), they were killed by the farm hand...probably Coal Grove, Ohio / Ashland, Kentucky area.
The following is research that concludes an adoptive relationship between Willard Massie and Denison and Nancy Ann Haskins Massie. It is of particular interest that: 1) The 1880 census records Williard Williams (4) as a servant in the household of Denison and Nancy Massie; 2) The Lawrence Co., Ohio Marriage Index Willard S. Haskins marrying Anna Hailey in 1896; 3) the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census records list the surname as Massie (ie Willard Massie):
Mary Lou and I had a fun time researching the information below. She is the one who found the transcribed newspaper stories. She really got into the research and together we probed the 19th century records. We hope Ruthie and Bob Hill, Willard's grandson, will enjoy... still lots to write on the Melvin side ... like great grand daddy Cornelius ... or is it Camilus ... even found one record that described him as Cornwallis!!! but we'll do that another time.
With the story told to me by Bob Hill in July 2004 -
Bob Hill, son of Robert and Mary Alice Melvin Massie, believes Robert's father was named Grady [actually Gravy ... see general notes for Willard Gravy Massie. He is believed to be from Coal Grove, Lawrence Co., Ohio / Ashland, Boyd Co., Kentucky area.
Grady was probably born a Haskins and took the name of Massie, his adoptive parents.
Bob Hill remembers Robert's father was a policeman in Ashand, Kentucky ... he was alive as of 1938.
According to Bob Hill (July 2004 interview), the parents of "Grady" Massie (Willard) were killed by the farm hand...probably Coal Grove, Ohio / Ashland, Kentucy area.
Also told by Bob Hill concerning his grandmother Massie: She was changing a tire along the road and a car came up from behind and collided with the parked car killing Robert's mom...Coal Grove, Ohio / Ashland, Kentucy area.
Tiffany Massie Shriver told me the same story about the car accident in a telephone conversation August 27, 2004. Tiffany related that her father, Robert Carroll Massie had a brother Earl and a mother named Anna. This fits the Willard Massie family of early 1900s Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio thus Willard, the policeman and detective in census records, became a most likely candidate for "Grady".
Below is some research that enhances the conclusions for the family:
Ohio Marriages, 1803-1900
Marriage records from various counties in Ohio for the years 1803 through 1900.
Name Spouse Marriage Date County State
MASSIE, DENISON HASKINS, NANCY ANN 12 Aug 1858 Lawrence OH
These people have the family where Willard Williams/Haskins/Massie is living in 1880.
***note below that the 1880 census where Williard Williams is living (as a servant) with the Denison/Nancy Massie Family. A 4 year old servant!!???!! Wonder what the story is there? I believe this child becomes Willard Massie who married Anna Hailey around 1896. Willard is Robert Massie's half brother/adoptive brother/whatever ... the Robert Massie who was killed with his mother, Nancy, and sister, Mary Ann, in 1914. Robert Carroll Massie was born 2 years later and Willard probably named him for his murdered brother.
***note also the maiden name Haskins ... it fits the story from Bob Hill as described above.
working my way back to 1850 I find:
1850 Federal Census, Mason Township, Lawrence Co., Ohio page 355B
Jeptha Massie - 47
Lucy - 44
Robert - 19
Dension - 16
Matida - 13
Rachael - 12
Eveline - 10
Jesse - 8
Waterman - 6
Ephram - 4
Pelina - 1
Living next door to the Jeptha Massie family:
Sartain McComas - 48 (Hey!!! Wow!!! This is the father of Pharaby McComas, wife of Franklin E. Melvin. Robert Franklin Hill gets his name from his father and grandfather ... but look a little farther and you find the Franklin E. Melvin's mother, Viola B. Higgins, had a big brother by the name of Franklin ... back to the Massie story ... the Melvin story is for another time!)
Henrietta - 48
Nancy - 16
Emeretta - 12
Rebecca - 9
Milton - 10
James Howard - 80 (Henrietta's father)
Thomas Howard - 42 (brother of Henrietta)
1850 Federal Census, Mason Township, Lawrence Co., Ohio page 363B
William Haskins (3rd) - 30
Eliza - 30
Nancy - 12
Emily - 10
Letha - 8
John - 6
Eliza - 4
Living next door is
William Haskins (2nd) - 28
Rosanna - 27
Thomas - 16
Nancy - 13
Tennessee - 9 (female)
Anna - 6
William - 4
John - 1
Living one house up from these two Haskins families is
William Haskins - 74
Nancy - 70
Sugar - 27
Nacny/Nancy/Nancy...pick a Nancy Haskins... anyway, not important for now!
1860 William (49) and Rosanna (44) Haskins family
includes Eliza J. - 24
Tennssee - 18
Anna - 16
William - 14
John H. - 11
Joseph - 9
William Haskins - 48
Eliza - 39
Emily - 20
John L. - 16
Eliza J. - 14
William J. - 8
Lucy E. - 5
Sarton McComas - 59 (Henrietta has died)
Nancy - 41 (Nancy was married to Jackson Wilson living in [West] Virginia and had 7 children before he died...that's another story...forget it for now!)
Mary A. Wilson - 18
Lindsay Wilson - 16
James Wilson - 14
Elizabeth Wilson -12
Samuel Wilson - 10
Feribe [Pharaby] Wilson [McComaws]- 2 (Pharaby is the child Nancy has by Sartain...she is actually a McComas. The other children listed above are Nancy Wilson's by her first marriage.)
1860 Fed Census, Mason Township, Lawrence Co., Ohio - page 99B
Denison Massie - 27
Nancy Ann - 23
Missouri A. - 1
1870 Fed Census, Mason Township, Lawrence Co., Ohio - page 442A
Denison Massie -37
Nancy Ann - 33
Missouri A. - 11
Avilla J. - 8
William E. - 6
Robert J. - 4
Mary A. - 2
1880 Fed Census, Mason Township, Lawrence Co., Ohio - page 250B
Denison Massie -46
Nancy Ann - 44
Arvilla J. - 18
Elmer - 16
Robert - 14
Mary A. - 12
Williard Williams - 4 servant
Samuel Davis - 19 servant
The Lawrence County Marriage Index records Willard S. Haskins (Williams? Massie?) marrying Anna Hailey in 1896.
The 1910, 1920, and 1930 Federal Census records confirm Willard and the correct family...details if you want...but for now the rest of the story!!!!.....
Massie Murder Case of 1914
Submitted by Jeff Hayes
The following articles relate to the infamous Massie Murder Case of 1914. The articles are from the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.
A FOUL AND BLOODY CRIME
Aged Woman and Daughter Butchered in Farm Home And Son Clubbed to Death Wednesday Night at Lecta
Nancy Massie, 76, throat cut
Mary Massie, 40, throat cut
Robert Massie, 44, skull crushed
John Beard, 18, farm hand
Scene of Crime:
Farm house and yard near Lecta,
half a mile from Gallia County line.
The Suspect Captured:
Word comes from Lawrence County this afternoon that Beard was captured by the Chicago police this morning and has agreed to return without requisition papers. [from Fort Wayne Journal of May 16, 1914: Beard was arrected at the home of his sister, Mrs D.E. Day at 1331 West Madison Street in Chicago.] He will be taken to the jail at Ironton.
At some time Wednesday night, Nancy Massie, aged 76, her daughter, Mary, aged 40, and her son, Robert, aged 44, were brutally murdered at their farm home near Lecta in Lawrence County, half a mile from the Gallia County line. The aged lady and her daughter had their throats cut with a butcher knife, and the son's skull was crushed with a club. All the rest of the night, all day Thursday and all Thursday night the stiffening and bloody remains lay unattended, not being discovered until this Friday morning. Meanwhile, John or Howard Beard, a rover from Chicago, aged 18, who has lived with the Massies for two years, had left the place. On a big bay mare, he rode to Gallipolis, arriving here at 2:30 o'clock Thursday morning. He put up the horse at the Sheets livery stable where it still remains. He was well dressed but excessively nervous when he arrived at the stable, being unable to keep still for a moment. Orville sheets took him (unintelligible) with him for the rest of the night, but Beard could not stay even that light restraint, and left the place at 4 o'clock, inquiring for the first train he could get out on for Chicago. At 8 o'clock Beard showed up at the Hocking Valley station, still very nervous, and inquired about tickets to Dayton and Chicago. finding he could not touch Dayton over the K & M route, he bought a ticket to Chicago and left on a train that would put him in Chicago at 1 o'clock this Friday morning. When news of the tragedy reached Gallipolis through an inquiry of the Ironton Register to the Tribune, these facts were rapidly gathered by Mayor Kuhn and Sheriff Myers, the Tribune also receiving much information through W. Gomer Jones at Cora. Prosecuting Attorney Merriman immediately wired the chief of Police of Chicago the particulars, and if Beard went to his people in that city he will be arrested and charged with the terrible crime that has shocked everybody who has heard of it. Lecta lies about six miles south of Sandfork and eight miles west of Mercerville. The unfortunate women were slain in the house, but the body of Robert was found out in the yard. Presumably the crime was committed after the women went to sleep. There may have been a struggle when Robert was clubbed to death, else his body would not be out in the yard. Beard was apparently well supplied with money when he was at the railroad station, and robbery seems the only possible motive for the crime. We learn that he told Sheets so many different stories as to where he came from and where he was going, that sheets became doubtful about his sanity. In talks with Ironton, Huntington and Cora, Beard's first name is given as both Howard and John, but John seems to the correct name. The Massies were inoffensive, law-abiding people, distant relatives of the Rev. J. B. Massie of this county. The sheriff of Lawrence County is reported on his way to Gallipolis this morning.
SOURCE: Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Friday, May 15, 1914, page one.
THE MURDERER CONFESSES
The Story Beard Told the Chicago Police
I started in to work for Massie last September and worked with him all winter," he said. "I got along pretty good with them, but as a whole they treated me rather roughly. I got along with the mother and daughter pretty good, but Bob kept on fighting with me. Monday morning about 3:30 or 4 o'clock, Bob got (unintelligible) so did Mary and myself. We hitched up the horse and wagon for Bob, and Bob said he was either going to town or to Arlington to buy some furniture. After Bob went, I returned to my room. Mary followed me and when I ordered her out, we quarreled. Then her mother came and scolded me and when I tried to answer back that I was not at fault she wouldn't listen. Bob got home about 11 o'clock that night. Mary told him I had come into her room. I didn't know she had told him until at supper time; Tuesday. Then Bob came up to me and laid a hand ax up against my cheek and said: "If you ever bother my sister again, I'll cut your head off." I told him I didn't bother his sister. Bob turned around and started toward me. He raised the ax and I thought he was going to hit me. I had a long stake in my hand which I had been using in bailing hay. It had a heavy ring in one end. I hit him with the stake and busted his head in. Mary came out and when she saw Bob on the ground , she jumped at me. I hit her on the head. Then the old lady came out and I hit her too. I thought I saw the old lady move a little, so I went and got Bob's razor and cut her head off. But, I did not cut Bob's head off. I didn't look at him after I hit him the first time. I came to my sister's home, in Chicago, to get away, but you arrested me. Police say they found a gold watch and $20 in Beard's pockets. he is alleged to have admitted the watch belonged to Miss Massie, while the money was taken from her brother. The police say the boy is a degenerate.
SOURCE: The Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Saturday, May 16, 1914, page one.
THE MASSIE MURDERS
How the Bodies Were Found by John Clary, a Neighbor
Lying face downward in a clump of weeds, the back of his head reduced almost to a pulp, Robert Massie, aged 48, one of the wealthiest farmers of Lawrence County was found a few yards from the front door of his home on Greasy Ridge, Friday morning by John Clary a neighbor. Within the house, Clary found Mrs. Nancy Ann Massie, aged 76, mother of the farmer, her head crushed and Mary Ann Massie, aged 44, a sister, with her throat cut. All were dead when found. Massie is known to have had almost $2,000 in the house on the day before the triple murder. The money could not be found this morning. Clary went to the Massie home early this morning to borrow a bridle. He wondered at the absence of activity about the house and a moment later stumbled over the body of Massie. Blows rained upon the back of the murdered man's head has reduced it to a mere mass of pulp. The body was covered with blood and the ground marked with signs of a desperate struggle. Horrified, Clary returned for aid. The searchers pushed open the door of a front room and found the aged woman's body on the floor. She had been beaten in the same manner as had her son and her face was almost (un)recognizable. In the kitchen, the men found Miss Mary Massie. The woman's hands were tied behind her while the floor was spattered with blood. Her head had been almost severed by a sharp instrument supposed to have been a razor. Throughout the house were evidences of the struggle which occurred before the fiendish murderer succeeded in taking his toll of three lives. Chairs were overturned; curtains torn down and dishes broken.
SOURCE: Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Friday, May 15, 1914, page one.
FUNERAL OF THE MASSIES
Draws Great Crowd Sunday to Scene of Triple Murder
A throng of people variously estimated at from one to three thousand, with over a hundred automobiles and unnumbered vehicles of other kinds, gathered at the Greasy Ridge Baptist Church Sunday to attend the funeral of the three victims of Harley Beard. Because of the mutilation of the bodies they were not uncovered at the church. Mrs. Nancy A. Massie, Miss Mary Massie, her daughter, and Robert Massie, her son, were buried side by side in the Massie lot in the cemetery on Greasy Ridge, near the little church. Much feeling was expressed against the confessed murderer by the Lawrence county people at the funeral. The Massies were among the most prominent farmers in the county. Robert Massie and his brothers were also prominent in politics. The family has lived in Lawrence County for more than a century. Late last night, Sheriff Sloan had not returned from Chicago with Beard. It was expected by the authorities there who had not been advised of the sheriff's intentions that the man would be spirited into Ironton and placed in the jail sometime during the night or early morning, in order that there would be no demonstration. The Ironton police said there is no feeling noticed in that city, but understood in Mason Township the people were still at a high pitch of excitement. It was rumored in Ironton yesterday that Sheriff Sloan would leave the train with the prisoner in Portsmouth. Whether he was on the Norfolk & Western or Chesapeake & Ohio road was not known. If Sheriff Sloan left the train at Portsmouth he was expected to bring Beard in by way of motor car. A telegram from Chicago says the Sheriff will not take Beard to Ironton until the feeling has subsided.
SOURCE: Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Monday, May 18, 1914, page one.
MASSIE DELIVERED ORATION
Further Particulars of the Big Funeral of Murdered Family
At the funeral of the victims held Sunday in the Baptist church near the crime scene, Judge Corn was in the throng and acting for the surviving members of the family, mounted the steps of the church and addressed the great crowd. He explained that it was always better to allow the law to take its course, that in this particular case there would be no delay, that justice was certain. He spoke calmly and with dignity, and in no way compromising himself. He had made arrangements for a grand jury investigation and there was nothing in sight to indicate a delay in the trial. He assured the people that the truth would be learned by the grand jury investigation. Judge Corn said that it was the personal request of Mr. Elmer Massie that no violence be attempted, but that the law be allowed to take its course. The words of the judge seemed to meet with the approval of every one and sober second thought indicates that there will be no attempt at violence. It is now believed the youthful fiend can be brought here in perfect safety. More than 2000 persons filed past the caskets containing the bodies of the three members of the Massie family. By actual time noted by the undertaker it took one hour and thirty-five minutes for the people to file past the coffins for a last look upon the faces of the victims. As early as 6 o'clock Sunday morning Ironton people in machines and other vehicles began to leave for the scene of the funeral and a constant stream of humanity flowed through every road leading to the little church where the services were to be held. At 10:45 there was at least 3,500 people around the church and the four roads leading away from the little building were choked for a mile in every direction with automobiles and rigs. Ironton sent at least 75 automobiles, while Jackson, Wellston, Huntington, Gallipolis, Cattlettsburg, Ashland and Portsmouth each sent a limited number. Country people came from every direction and while some persons who viewed the great crowd estimated it at seven or eight thousand, a conservative estimate places the number about 3,500. J. B. Massie, a relative of the deceased, delivered the funeral oration, and his address was most impressive and solemn. At the conclusion of the services the caskets were opened and the friends invited to look the last look. The people in the church filed past the caskets first and then those from the outside came in and by actual count 1750 persons came from the outside and timed by Undertaker Chas. Jones it took them an hour and thirty-five minutes to pass. Harley Beard, the eighteen year old farm hand who has confessed to murdering three members of the Massie family of Mason Township. He is charged with first degree murder. Thirteen witnesses were examined, Sheriff Sloan to whom Beard confessed, John Clary, the neighbor who found the bodies, A. C. Neal, a nephew of Mrs. Massie, and others. It is understood that the trial will not take place for thirty days.
Portsmouth, O., May 21. -- Harley Beard, confessed murderer of the Massie family of Lawrence County, broke down and wept bitterly today when visited by his sister. The sister, said to be his only living relative, was also much affected by the meeting. Beard will not be taken to Ironton for some days. He was informed of the action of the grand jury today and paled at mention of the crime. A prisoner developed smallpox in the Scioto county jail today. All prisoners including Beard were vaccinated. SOURCE: Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Friday, May 22, 1914, page one.
BEARD PLEADS GUILTY
To Charge of First Degree Murder Without a Tremor
"GUILTY" -- The fateful word fell from the lips of Harley Beard this morning at 10 0'clock in answer to the query of Judge Edward E. Corn at the conclusion of the reading of the indictment charging him with first degree murder upon his arraignment in Common Pleas Court. The indictment charging him with the killing of Mrs. Nancy Massie, was the only one read to the prisoner and standing with his eyes fixed upon the Judge he answered "guilty" without a tremor.
Is your client ready for arraignment?" inquired the court of Attorney P. C. Booth. He is, your honor," replied Mr. Booth. Stand up," ordered the court and the young man walked half way up to the judge's bench and leaned on the jury box. The handcuffs had been removed from his hands and the deputy sheriff stood directly behind him. Clerk Mountain then read the indictment and at the conclusion of the reading the court inquired of the prisoner:
"What is your plea, guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty", was the simple reply, yet how fraught with significance to this young man. The case will be passed for the present," said the judge, "until the degree of guilt can be determined. That is all" said the judge, and Deputy Sheriff Hutchinson took charge of the prisoner. Beard pulled up one sleeve of his coat while the officer adjusted the cuff and offering his other arm raised it in the air so the sleeve would fall back from his wrist. As he held out his hands and arms there was no tremor or shaking. He was as steady as a clock and seemed absolutely unconcerned in the things going on about him. Beard is a very small lad, and has been confined long enough to acquire the pallor of prison. His face is deathlike in color. There is no doubt of the low order of they boy's mentality. His hair grows low on his forehead and the forehead is not more than three inches across. His head is exceptionally small and tapers to the top.
SOURCE: Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Tuesday, June 2, 1914, page one.
Additional newspaper articles on reporting the murder and execution can be found on line. These are usually image files and can not be easily transcribed.
PS....Nancy Ann Haskins Massie (Mrs. Denis Massie) was a widow at the time of her death in 1914 at the age of 76 or so. The 1910 census lists her as head of household (widow) and children William, Robert, and Mary Ann are living with her. Willian E. Massie was a tax collector for the county.
Harley Beard was sentenced to die in the Columbus Ohio Penetentary electric chair October 2, 1914. Judge Thomas of Portsmouth passed sentence. After many impassioned pleas to Gov. Cox of Ohio to have the death sentence comuted to a life in prison sentence, 18 year old Harley Beard was executed shortly after midnight, Dec 3, 1914.
Additional census records for the Willard Massie family appear below:
1910 Fed Census Ohio, Lawrence Co., Ironton City, ED# 99, page 135B
Williard Massie, 33, married 14 years, City Policeman - living at 238 Buckhorn Street
Anna, wife, 31, 4 kids of which 3 are alive.
Williard, Jr., 10
William Chamber, 80, grandfather-in-law, widow
NEXT DOOR IS - living at 236 Buckhorn Street:
Mary Haley, 54, born in Pa. / parents born in Ireland
This must be Anna's family! (see 1930 census)
It is of much additional interest...this is how research evolves on families... that the following is recorded:
1900 Fed Census, Ohio, Lawrence Co., Ironton City, ED#82, page 82B
William Chamber, born Jan 1840 in Ireland (age 60), married 39 years, moulder- living at 238 Buckhorn Street, immigrated in 1850
Mary , born May 1830 in Ireland (age 70), married 39 years,, immigrated in 1850 (Mary is listed in earlier census records as born in 1820/William in 1835)
NEXT DOOR IS - living at 236 Buckhorn Street
Mary Hailey, 49, widow, born Aug 1850 in Pa. / parents born in Ireland, 7 kids with 7 alive
Harry, Sept 1877, 22
Clarence, Oct 1879, 2
Frank, Jun 1882, 18
Celia, Jun 1885, 15
Sam, Aug 1888, 11
NEXT DOOR IS - living at 232 Buckhorn Street
Mary A. Hogan, March 1858, widow (she is the widow of James Hogan and Uncle to Anna Hailey Massie, wife of Willard - Anna Hailey's mother is actually a Hogan not a Chambers. William Chambers married the widow Hogan in 1861.)
James, Sept 1884
Mattie, May 1887
Frank, May 1889
Charles, May 1891
Mary, March 1876
husband James Hogan died June 26, 1897
James and Mary Ann Cannon Hogan had other children:
and Florence, 1880
1880 United States Federal Census for Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio, District 89, page 147A
Henry P. Haley, 29, painter, born in Kentucky (as are his parents)
Morris B., 7
ON page 147B:
William Chamber, 45, moulder
NOW - In the 1870 Federal Census for Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio, page 364, dated June 24, 1870 we find: William Chambers (35 - Ireland), with his wife Mary (46 - Ireland) and children Mary (21 - Ohio), James (18 - Ohio), Eliza (14 - Ohio), and William (9 - Ohio). William and his son, James, are working in a foundry.
1920 Fed Census Ohio, Lawrence Co., Ironton City, ED# 113, page 155A
Willard Massie, 40, detective with G ???????? T?????? (can't read) - living at 722 Buckhorn Street
Anna, wife, 39
Williard, Jr., 20, machinist with the railroad
Robert, 3 7/12
1930 Fed Census Ohio, Lawrence Co., Upper Township, Ironton City, District 20, page 92A&B
Williard Massie, 51, no employment
Williard 28, working at the steel mill
Gordon, 22, working at the steel mill
Earl, 20, electrician's helper
Sam Haily, 40, brother in law, iron worker in construction
Robert Massie, 13
Additional Massie Family Story of 1873:
MASSIE AND CORN FAMILY
Submitted by Sharon M. Kouns
Ironton Register, February 27, 1873
A couple of weeks ago the Ironton Register stated that there were in one family in Lawrence county, four men known as Big Jep, Little Jep, Old Jep, and Young Jep. Also, men named Green Corn, Yaller Corn and Pop Corn. The Jeps were evidently the Massie family, who formerly lived in this county. I knew four men known by the same names, but as Old Jep has been dead many years, others no doubt have taken the names. Big Jep was sometimes as "Long Mountain Jep."
When I can first remember, Moses Massie lived half a mile west of the place where McDaniel's Switch, is now located. Thomas Massie lived where Henry Thomas now lives, in Oak Hill, Robbin Massie lived where Joseph Phillips now lives, and a few years afterwards, Jeptha Massie settled on the Evan O. Davis farm, half a mile south of the place where Jefferson Furnace is now located. These men were all brothers, and they came from West Virginia, perhaps from Monroe county. Their father's name I think was Jeptha, or as they pronounced it, Jepter. I think there were twelve brothers of them in all. The four who lived in this county were large, healthy men, and all had large families. Thomas Massie's wife was a McDaniel, the Baptist preacher. Moses Massie's wife was a sister of Bazil Lewis, a man of considerable talent, and perhaps the first Baptist preacher who ever resided in this county. He had many a controversy with Old Dr. McNeel on Baptism. Robbin Massie's wife was a sister of James Phillips, father of Joseph Phillips, while the wife of James Phillips was a sister of Bazil Lewis and Rebecca Massie, wife of Moses Massie.
The Massie's were quiet, good citizens, and most kind and obliging neighbors. Old Tom Massie was the laziest man (except his brother-in-law Jim Humphreys,) who ever lived in Jackson county. He was so lazy that when he went to a neighbor's house, instead of sitting on a chair, he would at once lie down on the floor.
When cutting wood at the furnace, I have spent many a night in the "shanty" with Old Jep Massie and his five sons, Tom, Aleck, Bill, Jep and Ed. - Old Jep was just the man with whom a boy liked to camp out. Always kind and agreeable, he would for hours tell marvelous hunting and fighting stories, the scenes of which were laid in West Virginia. It was, to me, vastly more interesting than the best written novels, not excepting the wonderful writings of Dickens.
Well, there was Old Jep and his son, Young Jep. Little Jep was the son of Moses Massie, while Big Jep was the son of Old Robbin Massie. The families all removed to Greasy Ridge, Lawrence County, thirty to thirty-five years ago.
I knew Green Corn, but I never heard of Pop Corn or Yaller Corn. Jesse Corn was for some years our nearest neighbor. He had five sons by his first wife, named Harrison, Henderson, Henry, Hiram and Harvey. He would commence the names of all his boys with the letter H. He wanted to call the oldest son of his second wife Hamilton, so as to go through with (h)is favorite letter, but his new wife objecting, he was called Greenville. This is perhaps the Green Corn of the REGISTER. He then had Clark, and other sons, whose names I forget.
Big Jep Massie married Lucy Corn, sister of Jesse, and I was at the wedding when I was a little boy. I intended to describe this wedding, as it was conducted as all weddings then were among the more respectable citizens of the south part of this county; but as this article is long enough, I must wait until next week.
Ironton Register, March 6, 1873
It was perhaps as early as 1826 that old George Corn settled on the hill about a mile south of the place where Jefferson Furnace is now located. He came from Old Virginia, and he had a large family. I have often heard him remark that he was the father of twenty children. He was a small man, but his sons were all remarkably stout, healthy men. William Corn, one of his sons, married Pollie Massie, a daughter of Robin Massie, and Peter Corn married Rebecca, another daughter, while Big Jep their brother, married Lucy Corn.
It had been known in the neighborhood for some time that Big Jep and Lucy were going to be married, and as our family and the Corns and Massies were on very friendly terms, we were all invited to the wedding. We went soon after breakfast, and found the women busily engaged in making arrangements for dinner. It was about a mile from George Corn's residence to that of Robbin Massie, the path running along the top of the ridge most of the way. - About eleven o'clock we heard a shout a distance of half a mile down the ridge, and soon we heard the clatter of horses' feet, and here came two men, their horses at full speed. The men had red spotted cotton handkerchiefs bound around their heads and they were leaning forward their faces nearly on the necks of the horses. As there was only a narrow path through the woods, the man who got before had much the advantage, as it was somewhat difficult for one horse to pass the other; but about a hundred yards from the fence, the hind most man struck through the woods, and his horse jumped over a large log, and he stuck in ahead of the other, and secured the bottle in much triumph. The people at the house were all standing out waiting and watching. One of them held out the bottle to the successful horseman, who took it and both trotted their horses back until they met the wedding party, consisting of about forty persons, men and women, Big Jep and his "attendance" being in front. - The bottle passed all the way back along the people, each taking a taste of the whisky it contained. The bottle was what is called a decanter, holding about a quart, and having flanges around the neck and mouth. It was dressed off with red, white and blue ribbon. The wedding party then rode up to the house. The fence was torn down, and they all rode around the house three times, when they alighted and went in. Big Jep shook hands with Lucy and took a seat by her side, and in a short time they were married. Big Jep was a fine looking man. He must have been six feet, three or four inches high, straight and well made. He was a very quiet man, and an inoffensive, good citizen.
I will not describe the manner in which the parties were dressed, nor the dinner. The afternoon and night were enjoyed by all. Everybody appeared to be in a good humor. The old men sat on the logs near the house, and told stories about Indian wars, bear hunts, &c. The young folks as now, said and did many things that were not the most wise; but young folks will have their ways. I remember one performance which interested me, and the other little boys immensely. Pete Corn went through a performance which he called "Pattin Juber." He slapped both hands on his thighs in rapid succession, patted his feet, whistled and groaned all at once, and in regular time, while a lot of young folks danced to this original music.
See general notes on son Willard.
Denison married Nancy Ann Haskins, daughter of William Haskins and Rosa Sowards, on 12 Aug 1858 in Lawrence Co., Ohio. (Nancy Ann Haskins was born on 22 Oct 1837 in Lawrence Co., Ohio, died on 13 May 1914 in Lawrence Co., Ohio and was buried on 17 May 1914 in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Lawrence Co., Ohio.) The cause of her death was Murdered: Throat Cut.