Floyd Dingess Murder Site
During the Lincoln County Feud, Billy Hall shot and killed his brother-in-law Floyd Dingess at the mouth of Rockhouse Fork of Harts Creek (Lincoln County) on November 15, 1888. At the time of this incident, the Lincoln County Feud had been underway for several years, largely without involvement by the Hall family. The Floyd Dingess killing escalated violence, brought more persons into the feud, and added complexity to alliances among the various factions. Reportage relating to the Dingess-Hall troubles appeared in newspapers located as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah, and Los Angeles, California.
Backstory and Context
Background: Floyd Dingess (1856-1888), son of Henderson and Sarah (Adams) Dingess, was the husband of Eveline Hall, daughter of Hiram. Floyd and Eveline married in 1877 and were the parents of seven children. In 1884, Hiram Hall provided Floyd Dingess with 150 acres of land on Rockhouse Fork.
Source of Conflict: Floyd and Eveline Dingess suffered marital problems. Floyd Dingess reportedly abused her. Eveline returned to her parents' home. Floyd also bullied Eveline's younger half-brother, Billy "Little Bill" Hall (born c.1862). Floyd and Little Bill reputedly courted the same married woman. They also suffered a disagreement over timber.
The Killing: Most oral history agrees that Floyd Dingess provoked a fight with Little Bill, unaware that Little Bill carried a revolver. On November 15, 1888, Floyd Dingess attacked Little Bill with a hand spike while working timber at the mouth of Rockhouse Fork. As Dingess chased Little Bill, he dropped the hand spike. When he bent over to retrieve it, Little Bill shot him in the mouth with a revolver. One newspaper account asserted that Hall had stabbed Dingess in a dozen different places before shooting him. Another story passed down orally claimed that Hall hit Dingess over the head as he timbered. Supposedly, Eveline rushed to the scene and Floyd died in her arms.
Aftermath: Two of Floyd Dingess' younger brothers, Harvey and Dave Dingess, witnessed his killing and reported it to their family on Smokehouse Fork. Billy Hall fled the community, initially relocating among kinsmen at Robinson Creek, Kentucky. Hugh Dingess, brother to Floyd, pursued Hall but was unable to successfully track him. Hugh and his brother Charley Dingess thereafter killed some of the Halls' cattle. Eventually, the Dingess family learned of Hall's whereabouts and chased him into Tennessee. Little Bill's family never heard from him again.
Additional Notes: Hiram Hall died on March 18, 1889 and was buried at Hall Point, near the mouth of Rockhouse Fork. Al Brumfield, merchant brother-in-law to Floyd Dingess, swore to avenge Floyd's killing. At least one serious row occurred between Brumfield's faction and the Halls at a country store on Harts Creek. In September of 1889, Brumfield pummeled Alfred Hall after Hall's cattle had damaged his land. Trouble persisted throughout the fall and winter of 1889, receiving wide newspaper coverage.
“A Bloody Feud Which is Now Existing in West Virginia,” Sacramento (CA) Daily Record-Union, 9 October 1889.
“A Double Lynching,” Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal, 28 October 1889.
“A Family Feud in West Virginia,” Lancaster (PA) Daily Intelligencer, 8 October 1889.
Margelene Adams. Interview by author, Spottswood, WV, 11 September 1996.
Margelene Adams. Interview by author, Spottswood, WV, 9 March 2013.
Bob Adkins. Interview by author, Hamlin, WV, n.d.
Ceredo (WV) Advance, 3 April 1889.
Henderson Dingess Family Bible (copy). Author's collection.
John Dingess. Telephone interview by author, 8 December 1996.
Maude Dingess. Interview by author, Shively, WV, September 1995.
Maude Dingess. Interview by author, Shively, WV, 20 December 1995.
Brandon Kirk. Blood in West Virginia: Brumfield v. McCoy (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2014).
Land Book (1879-1885), Lincoln County Clerk’s Office, Hamlin, WV.
“Lynched!” Wheeling (WV) Register, 28 October 1889.
Marriages-Births-Deaths (1872-1892), Logan County Clerk’s Office, Logan, WV.
“Murder and Moonshiners,” Pittsburg (PA) Dispatch, 4 January 1889.
“Quick Justice Done,” Wheeling (WV) Register, 29 October 1889.
“Southern Civilization,” Salt Lake (UT) Herald, 8 October 1889.
"West-Virginia’s Feud,” Louisville (KY) Courier Journal, 16 November 1889.