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Clinch Valley Times
St. Paul , Virginia
February 27, 2014     Clinch Valley Times
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February 27, 2014

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Page 8 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES St. Paul, Va. Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 -- Hall----- From Page 1 example of the way law- lessness would be dealt with in the future. During the course of Hall's trial, counsel for the defense had interposed numerous objections and exceptions, most of which concerned hearsay testimo- ny. The trial transcript reveals witnesses' foggy accounts of what they thought they had seen and heard, along with what oth- ers had told them. This is not surprising. After all, the crime had been committed without warning and was over in a matter of seconds. It was the sound of a gun- shot which had initially drawn the witnesses' atten- tion. They had little time to mentally process what was happening. Upon examina- tion, one witness candidly admitted that as soon as she heard the first shot, she ran behind her house and stayed there until it was all over. Talt Hall's execution proved to be very good for business. Accounts varied, but it was estimated that between 2,000 and 5,000 men, women, and children flocked to the town of Wise that day even though the hanging itself was not pub- lic. To shield the execution from the view of curious onlookers, the gallows had been enclosed within a wooden shed. This slab- sided structure resembled an extra-large two-story outhouse. During his incarceration at Lynchburg, Talt Hall was befriended by Father Luckie, a Catholic priest. Father Luckie endeavored to help Hall find peace, accept his fate, and prepare for death. He was a true friend and came to Wise County to administer the Last Rites and absolution on the morning of the exe- cution. Hall's sister, Mrs. Bates, also came to Wise to support her brother. She tearfully kissed him good- bye after he had mounted the scaffold. Only certain people were permitted by the sher- iff to witness the actual execution from within the enclosure. Others would have to content themselves with a glimpse of Talt Hall's corpse after the hanging. Liquor flowed freely and the crowd was noisy and restless. Like apes, people climbed trees and rooftops hoping for a better view. The atmosphere was like that of a country fair. Such situations seldom bring out the best in peo- ple. The army of Kentucky desperadoes who were expected to rescue Talt Hall did not materialize. Hall faced the ordeal of his death like a man and the execution proceeded smoothly. With tears streaming down his cheeks, Sheriff Wilson Holbrook cut the rope that released the platform beneath Hall's feet. Hall dropped and in an instant, the rope grew taut. His body twitched a few times, then became still. The crowd was quiet now. After about 15 minutes, a doctor examined Hall and pro- nounced him dead. His neck had been broken by his fall. Soon, his body would be on its way to its final resting place in Kentucky. The following year, Talt Hall's enemy, Doc Taylor, would stand upon that very same scaffold while a noose was adjusted around his neck. Taylor had been convicted and sentenced to die for the robbery and murder of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Mullins, John Chappel, Wilson Mullins, and Greenberry Harris. Today, this outrageous crime is most often referred to as "The Pound Massacre." The executions of Talt Hall and Doc Taylor served as proof that Wise County had been tamed. The cotin- / ty was now a no-nonsense place - a safe harbor for investment capital, both large and small. And it's possible the execution did have a sobering effect on the population because eight years would pass before another hanging took place - the hanging of John Fugate for the murder of Martha Wells. A UTHORS'S NOTE: I did extensive research for this series and as a result I have concluded that from the day Talt Hall set foot in the Wise County jail in 1891, he had as much chance of being set free as a steer in a slaughterhouse. At trial there was .no irrefutable testimony from witnesses to indicate Talt Hall shot Enos Hylton as the result of premeditation. Instead, Hylton's death appears to have been the result of a chance encounter and a sudden argument. At most, these are the legal components of murder in the second degree; not murder in the first degree. So .... did Hall deserve the death penalty? Probably. But not for the killing of Enos Hylton. Talt Hall seems to have been convicted of his reputation and the unpunished crimes he may have committed in the past. In m'z opinion, Talt Hall's execution was a lynching ruder color of law. If th, was the "case, then I offir a posthumous apology la him for my family's rde in his death. -- Students----- From Page1 A few examples of stu- dents' projects during pre- vious visits include: Helping local people with projects at their homes. Cleaning and painting of portions of the interior and exterior of the Railroad Museum. Helping Charlie Engle with maintenance at the library. Working with Teresa Vencil to effect improve- ments at the Vencil Learning Center. Removing trash and debris from the St. Paul Apartments building. Helping with painting and cleanup at the school, Town Hall, and other pub- lic property. A visit and breakfast with Stonebriar residents which the students pre- pared and served. In their free time, previ- ous APEX groups have vis- ited local points of interest such as Breaks Interstate Park, Lake Estonoa and the Old Russell County Courthouse. Most of all, they enjoyed visiting local stores and talking with local people they happened to meet. Again and again I've heard them say, "We like St. Paul because peo- ple here will TALK to us!" Last year the students asked me to recommend the most beautiful location from which to view the sunrise. Without hesitation I replied, "Sugar Hill." The next morning, they gath- ered near the ruins of the Bickley house to see if I was right...and they loved it. Though they came here as strangers, they departed as our friends. Won't you join us in helping this year's APEX group take home of memories of simi- lar experiences? Kathy Ferguson and Glenda Lane are currently putting together a schedule of events which will be featured in the March 6th issue of the Clinch Valley Times. Meanwhile, if you need help, would like to partici- pate, or if you have any suggestions, please give Glenda Lane a call at the Town Hall (762-5297). -- Calendar----- From Page 1 JOIN THE FRIENDS- Join the Friends of J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library and help promote 9am-3: 30 pm third Thursdays except June. COMMUNITY CEN- TER-The West Dante Community Center meets at 7 pm first Mondays. Call 495-8473. IN CONTROL PRO- GRAMS-In Control, a free diabetes program, meets at Oxbow Center, St. Paul, 5- 6 pm 2nd Mondays. BOOK DISCUSSION- Book Discussion Group GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPORT Del. Ben Chafin Virginia budget prep well underway Last week was very busy for the House of Delegates and the Senate since both bodies complet- ed and passed their pro- posed budgets. The House budget pro- posal is a responsible, con- servative proposal that saves first and spends sec- ond. As required by the Virginia Constitution, it is a balanced budget that invests in the core func- tions of government. Like many Southwest Virginia families, we recognize that we have to make tough choices. That's why our first priority was to save money by setting aside over $380 million in two state savings accounts, which brings the money set aside in the state rainy day fund to nearly $1 billion. The state's rainy day fund had been used, according to plan, during those raini- est days of the recent reces- sion. Since 2007, the General Assembly has cut nearly $7 billion in spending. This cautious, conservative approach has netted Virginia nearly $2 billion in surpluses over the last four years. It is very impor- tant that Virginia remains financially strong and con- tinues to receive the high- est credit rating. We need only to look to what has happened in other states, like California, to appreci- ate what has been accom- plished in Virginia by good, sound money man- agement. One of the most impor- tant roles we have in the commonwealth is to pro- vide a better future for our children by having an out- standing public education system. That is why the House budget includes nearly $531 million in new funding for our students, teachers, and school sys- tems including $7.5 mil- lion for math and reading initiatives. In addition to K-12 public education, the House budget commits over $210 million for high- er education. These dollars will go towards more in- state tuition slots and fund- ing to help moderate rising tuition costs. Like teachers, we rely on the hard work of state employees that are under- paid. Virginia is fortunate to have thousands of dedi- cated state employees who serve the commonwealth and its citizens. If Virginia's economy remains strong and contin- ues to grow, the revenue reserve fund will be used for state employee com- pensation and retirement. The reserve will be used to provide a 2 percent pay raise for state employees in the highest turnover posi- tions like court clerks, emergency service work- ers, and probation officers. It will also provide a 2 per- cent bonus for all other state employees in July of 2015. This money will also be used to fully fund the Virginia Retirement System three years earlier than required by law. Too many times in recent years, Virginians have witnessed a tragedy as the result of failures in our mental health system. That is why the House budget includes $48 mil- lion for mental health treat- ment, intervention, and access services. This fund- ing will help create 17 additional crisis drop-off centers across the state and ensure that a bed of last resort is always available for someone who needs mental health care. The House budget also includes a 50 percent increase in funding for Virginia's free clinics and community health centers, bringing the total to $6 million. We are dedicated to providing the necessary funding for a better mental health system here in the commonwealth. I will continue my update on the budget in my next newsletter. In the meanwhile, thank you for allowing me to be your del- egate in Richmond. I will always strive to represent the issues that are impor- tant to you. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact me. While in Richmond to March 8 for the General Assembly session, my office number is 804/698- 1004. After session, you can reach me in my district office at 276/889-1043. Also, I can always be reached via email at DelBChafin@house.vir- For news and updates, please visit our website at and like us on Facebook at Ben Charm for Delegate. R( bertson to keynote @ women in business event April 23, 2014. The event is for women in business at all levels, and will include a day of networking, pro- fessional development and personal growth opportuni- ties. Robertson and other speakers will share their experience and expertise on a range of topics includ- ing, managing emotions, starting your own business, networking that works, and fitness. This year's theme, "Lead, Learn, Laugh - Own your Own Success," encourages women to take a greater role in changing the course of their own life and careers. Cost of the conference is $89.95, which includes program materials, refresh- ments and lunch. Pre-reg- istration is required and seating is limited. For more information call 276- 889-8180, or visit the improvement of facili- ties and services of the library. Send name, address and phone number, with a $5 membership gift, to J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library, P.O. Box 1976, St. Paul, VA 24283. Make checks payable to Friends of the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library. EASTERN STAR- Clinch Valley Chapter #152, Order of Eastern Star, meets each fourth Tuesday, except for March and December, when the meetings are on the second Tuesday. All meetings are at 7:30 p.m. VETERANS ' CLAIMS- Coeburn-A Dept. of Veterans Services repre- sentative will assist clients and answer questions at the Coebum VFW Post from FREE HIV TESTING- Health Departments in the Lenowisco Health District offer free confidential HIV testing throughout the year. For information, call Wise County 318-8000; Lee Co. Health Dept. 276-346- 2011; or Scott Co. Health Dept. 276-386-1312. FREE GED CLASSES- Free GED classes are offered at the Oxbow Family Investment Center, St. Paul, Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am- 12 noon. Glenna McReynolds is the teacher. Call 1-800-422-3433. GED TESTING-GED Testing is available Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays at the Wise Co. Alternative Education Center, Wise. Call 276-328-8612 for information concerning GED testing. Lebanon, VA - Jeanne Robertson, award winning speaker, will be the keynote speaker at the Women In Business Leadership Conference hosted by Southwest Virginia Technology Development Center in Lebanon, Virginia on April 23, 2014. Robertson utilizes her positively funny style to illustrate how a sense of humor can be an integral part of a strategy for suc- cess. Using original hilari- ous stories from everyday life, she will show us how to laugh at ourselves and accept the things that can- not be changed about us and the people around us. Registration is now open for the conference, which will be held at The Russell County Conference Center on Wednesday, One of the J. Fred Matthews Memorial ISee one of these experienced salesmen Library meets fourth [] Thursdays at the Riverside Joe Fate, Ronnie Stiltner, Jason Musick, Jim Long It's the right thing to do! MORGAN McCLURE Saint Paul, VA morgamncclureford.con (276) 762-5535 Diner at 6 pm. DANTE LIVES ON- The Dante Lives On Board meets at 6:00 pm 3rd Tuesdays at the Dante Museum with the Community Meeting fol- lowing at 7:00 pm. GED ONLINE-The Regional Adult Education Program is offering free GED Classes online. This service is for qualifying and adult learners, with or without their own home computers, in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the City of Norton. For more information, . call GED Online Coordinator Marci Gore, 1-800-422-3433 (in Scott County 386-2433).