Reproduced with permission of
John Marion Belt by William J. Belt
copyright 1980 by Johm M. Belt
Who Killed Logan Belt
THE BELT CLAN
Logan's mother and father were Hiram and Averiller Belt. In the census of August 23, 1850, #182, page 13a, Hiram Belt gave his birthplace as North Carolina. He Was born in 1801. Averiller also gave her birthplace as North Carolina. She gave her age as 48 years, evidently being born in 1802. I do not know the time or exact place, but I do know they migrated to Alabama at an early age. Jonathan Belt, my great grandfather, no doubt was the oldest child of the family and married in Alabama to a Mary Wilson. Jonathan and Mary Wilson were the parents of Aunt Harriet Gregory, or Cass, as she was more commonly called. Hiram moved the rest of the family on to Illinois, ahead of Jonathan· Little is known of his activities until he begins to be mentioned in connection with church work. In the History of the First Baptist Church of Elizabethtown Illinois; Illinois' Oldest Active Baptist Church, it is recorded that Hiram and Averiller Belt were early members of the church at the Bassett location.
Let me digress right here to explain the progress of the church. It was originally called Big Creek Baptist Church, which was organized on July 19, 1806, on Saturday This was twelve years before Illinois became a state. The location of its origin is near Griffith cave, and has sometimes been known as the Griffith place. Later, about 1839 or 1840, the church moved about two miles east to the Bassett Community, first meeting in the old Bassett schoolhouse, then moving across the road where they had built a meeting house. Several people can remember the church location, but not the church itself. This was where Hiram and Averiller had their membership. Later, in 1877, the membership moved to the new church building in town, where it still remains today. Rev. Ronald L. Nelson is the pastor and also the author of the History of the First Baptist Church of Elizabethtown, Ill. Big Creek Baptist Church, Bassett, and Elizabethtown First Baptist are all one and the same.
Little is known of the family's activities except what is recorded in the church records. It is believed that he was more or less a farmer and minister.
On December 13, 1863, six people met with a Baptist preacher for the purpose of organizing a new church. The six who became the charter members of the new church were: Hiram Belt, Asa Foster, Susan Foster, Asa Mott, Mary Ann Mott, and Cary Tolbert. After hearing a stirring message by the preacher, J. W. Crewdson, the group organized itself into the United Baptist Church at Peters Creek. The exact location of the meeting is unknown, but soon after the constitution of the church, Asa and Susan Foster donated one and one-fifth acres of land upon which to erect the first building. It is upon this site that the Peters Creek Baptist Church still meets to worship God.
The minister who delivered the message at the meeting of organization became the first pastor of the new church. Hiram Belt was elected to serve as the first clerk, and Asa Foster served as the first treasurer. Eleven months later, in November 1864 - scarcely six months before the end of the Civil War - the church ordained as deacons Asa Foster and L. W. Burklow. The previous April of 1864, the church had ordained Hiram Belt to the ministry. Later, in 1898, the church ordained J. R. Palmer to the ministry. These two men are the only ones in the history of the church that have been ordained to preach up to this date. Hiram never did pastor the church. However, we find him a member of Crooked Creek United Baptist Church and a messenger to Little River Baptist Association, held at New Bethel, Caldwell, Kentucky, in August of 1836. Also, associational minutes show that he was a messenger in 1849 from the Cave-in-Rock Baptist Church, along with Luke Hambrink. Hiram was also the pastor.
When the church at Peters Creek was constituted, you will note that Hiram's wife was not a charter member along with him. At this time Averiller was dead, having died January 21,
1853, age 50 years. For some reason or other, Moriah, Hiram's second wife, did not join the church as a charter member. According to the church records however, she was one of the first additions to the church after it was constituted. Hiram was the clerk and this information was taken from his own handwriting.
The census taken August 23, 1850, gives the following record:
(#182, page 13A)
Hiram Belt of the Rock Creek Precinct, age 49, born 1801; occupation, farmer; place of birth,
Averiller Belt, wife, age 48, maiden name of Medford, place of birth, North Carolina.
Children of Hiram and Averiller were:
Jonathan, born in 1821
Hiram, born in 1831
Nancy, age 16, born about 1834
Mary Shade, age 14, born about 1836
Joel, age 12, born about 1838
Logan, age 10, born 1840
The 1870 census shows Josie Bascom, daughter of Joel Belt. She is the grandmother of Hansen, Clarence and the late Edith Wingate Edwards.
As I have already stated, Hiram married his second wife, Moriah Hughes, about the time Peters Creek Church was constituted. According to the 1870 census, Hiram was 69 years of age and Moriah was 45. Their children were as follows:
Elijah, age 14
James D., age 12 (See page 226 in The Life of Logan Belt)
Dellonon, age 10 (not sure of the correct spelling)
William, age 8
George, age 6
Grant, age ?
Jesse, age ?
Arthur, age 17, born July 7, 1853. He died October 9, 1948, and at the time of his death, he was living in the vicinity of Marion, Ky.
The names mentioned here are not too familiar, except James D. and Arthur. Some of the others are mentioned only casually. As far as I know, there are no known descendents in this part of the country today.
Jonathan was born in the year of 1821; the month and day are not known. He no doubt was born in Alabama. We do know that he married his wife, Mary Wilson, and migrated to Illinois. It seems beyond doubt that he was the oldest child of the family. His monument in the Peters Creek Cemetery does not give any information as to birth and death. Most of the Civil War monuments are that way. Neither do the records at the county courthouse disclose anything, as it has been burned twice. Jonathan Belt was the great grandfather of this writer. Little is known of his occupation, except that he practised medicine, according to his daughter Harriet Gregory.
(Picture here of Captain Jonathan Belt with sword and following captain) ... wjb
This is Captain Jonathan Belt in the center with the sword. This picture was made with him and his staff about 1864. They were members of Company "C" Fifteenth Kentucky Volunteer Calvary.
The family of Jonathan and Mary Belt was as follows:
Harriet Cassandra, born Dec. 28, 1843, died July 28, 1935
Dallas, born 1844, died 1923
John Marion, born March 1, 1848, died ?
Claiborn, born March 21, 1850, died ?
Mary Rebecca (Becky), born Feb. 16, 1852, died ?
Sarah, born ?, died ?, married a Palmer in Kentucky
Martha B., born Sept. 9, 1856, died ?, married a Howe
Amanda M., born Jan. 2, 1858, died ?
Melvina, born Dec. 9, 1859, died Feb. 18, 1882.
(in Pencil, the following handwritten notes:
Theodric B. Sept. 14, 1854
died May 8, 1883
Jonathan Belt was still living in Kentucky in 1858. He was a Union man during the war. When Forest was in Marion, Kentucky, purchasing supplies for the Confederate Army, he heard of Jonathan Belt and his outspoken unionism. He wanted to see the man and probably wanted to take Belt into custody. He took a few armed men and went to Belt's house. Belt heard the noise - it was night - and stepped to the door and saw the Confederates. He went into his house and reached down his gun. When he returned, he deliberately shot one of the men dead, and then fled through the back way amid a shower of bullets. He managed to escape, reached Fords Ferry by morning, and came at once to his father's on the Illinois side of the river. This circumstance shows his bravery and daring. It is believed that Jonathan Belt and his family settled on a farm now known as the Tower Rock Recreational Area. We do know for sure that he once owned this farm, as records show that he donated one square acre for the Tower Rock School. This is now a residence owned by Judge Woodrow Frailey. The school originally was located a little over three-fourths of a mile due north.
The first killing recorded in connection with the Belt family occurred in 1863. Houston Belt was shot and killed by Capt. Frank Gibson in a quarrel about something not known. Within a few weeks, Jonathan Belt met Gibson riding on the public highway between two men, and he shot Gibson dead. These two men were the only witnesses. Soon after, one of them was assassinated by an Unknown hand. The other witness, for some mysterious reason, left the country. Belt refused to be arrested. The grand jury indicted him. After at least one postponement, Belt and his friends came into court. It is said they were armed. He plead not guilty; as they had no evidence, he was acquitted.
It is not generally known, but Houston Belt was shot through the billfold. It was either in the inside coat pocket or shirt pocket. Mystery surrounded this story for several years. This writer's father knew the story, and one day a very close friend told him, "I will show you something if you will never tell." This friend was a relative to the Gibsons. In a trunk surrounded by secrecy, there was the billfold with a bullet hole through it. Exactly why this had been kept is not known. Surely not for evidence, as it would have been better to destroy it. However, people in those days were prone to hang on to things like that, even though it could be used as evidence against them. They did not fear of ever being searched in any way.
The first appearance of Jonathan Belt in the narrative of Shadrach Jackson was in a letter signed by Jonathan and Earl Sherwood. It seems as if Earl Sherwood was the spokesman for the so called Ku Klux Klan. It comes to one's mind that they didn't want to be called Ku Klux, however it was given the name at the outset of their organization. They said they organized for the purpose of ferreting out the murderer of Luke Hambrink. The editor of the "Hardin Gazette" took opposite sides with Earl Sherwood "in order to shield the people from danger, and to promulgate the truth." The editor declared he had no malice toward anyone and if he had been disposed to prejudice Logan Belt's case, that would have started long before this time.
The next important event concerning Jonathan was written by a correspondent of the "Louisville Courier-Journal". The reporter had visited Hardin County, and as he wanted to ridicule the Belt family, he talked to the ones who would help him accomplish his purpose. He stated in his article that Belt was the name of a large family living near Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, which for years had been more terrible to the timid than were ever the names of Little and Strong in the kingdom of Breathitt. He even compared the Belts with the Fords of earlier days.
On the 30th day of May, 1870, upon complaint made by Frank Hardin and B. Z. Jenkins, a warrant was issued charging with unlawful conspiracy (i.e. Ku Kluxing) the following parties; Logan Belt, Jonathan Belt, H. J. Belt, James Belt, Arthur Belt, Elisha Morris, son-in-law of Jonathan Belt, Wm. Frailey, brother-in-law of Logan Belt, George Ratcliffe, nephew of the Belts, Frank Justice, Tom Leeper, Robert Sheridan, William D. White, Bill Lyons and Harvey Hollemon. All but the last two named gave themselves up when they learned that a charge had been preferred against them. Judge J. F. Taylor, father of the well-known Richard Taylor, began their trial on the 4th and ended on the 5th day of June. The two principal witnesses were Hardin and Jenkins.
The day the trial began, the sheriff decided he had important business up the river. It has been stated that he informed the county commissioners that he would resign before he would enforce the Belts into a favorable opinion of the law. Sound thinking people did not blame him for taking care of long neglected business up the river while the group was gathering in the county seat. At this time there were three clans involved, according to the Louisville writer: The Belts, Simmons and Oldham factions. It has been estimated that not less than 100 armed men attended the trial. Were they bluffing? Not at all. One of the Belt clan, not one of the defendants, was seen carrying a sack full of pistols into the court room. Logan Belt was the defending lawyer and was noticed now and then fingering a large pistol concealed in his pocket. The defendants proved by themselves that their purposes were lawful and to be commended. The end came at last without bloodshed and the defendants were held, with bail set at $200 each, to answer indictments. They were released on their own recognizance. Naturally the judge was anxious to get rid of them on any terms.
Jonathan-has been attacked by some writers from a religious standpoint. While they placed Hiram J. as the mildest mannered of all the Belts and mentioned the fact that Arthur and James D. were scarcely grown, they didn't hesitate to say anything they could about Jonathan and how he prayed and preached without money and without price. They accused him of having a Colt pistol in his bosom while he talked, getting everyone's full attention and respect. He was of Baptist belief, and it seems the writer of The Life of Logan Belt was prejudiced toward him for being of that belief. One of the last acts recorded by Jonathan before he died was a letter written to the local paper in reply to some articles that had been published in other papers. Jonathan died on December 29, 1882, being 61 years of age. It is a peculiar thing why Shadrach Jackson never mentioned the death of Jonathan or his wife, Mary Wilson Belt. Affidavits from the National Archives reveal that Mary Wilson Belt died on the 21st or 22nd day of September, 1880. This affidavit was made by W. T. Palmer, a great uncle of this writer. Also Mary Etta Palmer, wife of John Palmer, states in an affidavit that she was present soon after the death of Mary Belt, former wife of Jonathan Belt, and saw the dead body and made the shrouding for her. She also states that the death was in September, 1880, about the 21st or 22nd day. W. T. Palmer and John Palmer were brothers and thus Mary Etta and W. T. Palmer were brother and sister-in-law.
On July 21, 1881, Jonathan was married to Hester A. Deweese. Her husband had died also and an affidavit was furnished by L. B, Anderson that Charles A. Deweese had died on the 3rd day of May, 1873.
Jonathan and Hester had a short married life, somewhat less than one year. Very few people ever mentioned the death of Jonathan, nor the marriage. George W. Stalions states in an affidavit to confirm the death of Jonathan that he was present before and at the time of his death. The physician that attended him told him that the "soldier" died of fever, probably pneumonia. Later Hester filed a claim for pension, which was granted and was to commence on the 11th of July, 1890, at the rate of $8.00 per month. The name of the described pensioner was last paid at the rate of $30.00 per month until January 4, 1922. On this day, she was dropped from the roll because of death, March 6, 1922.
Thus Hester was laid to rest beside Charles Deweese in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Elizabethtown. Jonathan was buried in Peters Creek Cemetery, where a Civil War monument marks his grave. No doubt he was buried beside his wife Mary, but no marker is there to confirm her burial. This ended the life of a man that Shadrach Jackson said was rugged and more dangerous than Logan. But it is still amazing why he never did mention the death of Jonathan. He merely stopped writing about him.
The following information is taken from an interview with Mrs. Harriet Gregory, Jonathan's daughter, of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois in 1934, a year before she died.
Mrs. Harriet Gregory was the oldest living member of the well-known Belt family, who took an active part in the making of early history in Hardin County. She was a resident of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, which had been her home for many years. At the time, there was only one other person in the village older than she and that was "Aunt" Sarah Oldham, who had the distinction of being the oldest citizen in Hardin County. Mrs. Gregory was eight years younger than "Aunt" Sarah, the date of her birth being December 28, 1843. She was then almost 91 years of age. The two old ladies were great friends, and at times, when their health would permit, visited each other at their homes not far apart.
Mrs. Gregory was the daughter of Jonathan and Mary Belt, her mother's name before her marriage being Mary Wilson. They were both natives of Alabama. Jonathan Belt was a physician during the early days of Hardin County. The subject of this narrative was the second of eleven children, 6 girls and 5 boys. At this time, she was the only living one of the family.
The daughter of one sister Mrs. Essie Brittain, was a well-known resident of Cave-in-Rock.
Mrs. Gregory was a native of Hardin County. She was born on a hill about ten miles northwest of Cave-in-Rock. Two weeks after her birth, her parents moved across the river to a farm which lay on the edge of Marion, Kentucky, which is where she spent her childhood. On a neighborhood farm, a mile and a half distant, lived a family by the name of Gregory. The father was a General Baptist preacher. Belonging to this family was a lad named John. The two children attended the same school, but as he was five years older than she, he left school and went away to work while she was a little girl of eleven. He remained away for four years. When he returned in 1859, the little lass had grown to be an attractive young miss of fifteen. A rapid courtship commenced, and after one year had elapsed, they were married on the 14th of March, 1860. This was a very happy period in their lives. The occurrences of each day during the following week were very vivid in the mind of the old lady who relived them again and again and still found pleasure in the memory of them. The young husband had provided a nice home on a good farm near Marion. They bought furniture at the town to take with them when they went to their new home, after visiting a few days in the homes of the parents of each.
The first year of their married life passed happily at this place, but the next four years were very different. It was a time of trouble and distress. Countless families were broken and made sad by the Civil War. Among these was the family whose history we are now narrating. A company was organized in the vicinity of Marion to aid in the preservation of the Union. Mrs. Gregory's father became the Captain of this Company, and though her husband entered as a private, he later became 1st Lieutenant. This was Company "C", Fifteenth Kentucky Voluntary Calvary.
Soon after the beginning of the war, the Belt family returned to Hardin County. When they came, Mrs. Gregory came too. She remembered very well the events which took place during this period. At four different times, she was under arrest. At one time, she was forced to carry a light through her father's home while the Confederate soldiers searched for Union soldiers they imagined to be hiding there.
A little son was born while the war was in progress. He was three years of age before he ever saw the face of his father. When the war was over, Lieutenant Gregory, who then belonged to company 48a of the Kentucky Infantry, was mustered out and came to Illinois, where his family was now living. He then had to make the acquaintance of his little son and try to win his love. This he did by allowing him to do the things which a little boy likes to do, such as helping to feed the stock and riding the horses to water. Their home was near Cave-in-Rock on what is still known by many as the Gregory farm. The memories of the life which began there were
very pleasant ones to "Aunt Harriet". After the return of her husband, the couple lived happily together for half a century. To this union, three sons and three daughters were born. The first child, a son, and the sixth, a daughter, died in infancy. The first daughter, who lived to maturity, was Mitty Ellsworth. She first married John Hastings. About the time of the birth of her daughter, who became Mrs. Ethel Dickman, her husband drowned near the cave hole. Later she married Alien Hill and had another daughter, who became Mrs. Roxie Frailey. Mrs. Hill died in Commerce, Texas, on July 22, 1891.
The second daughter was Mrs. I. A. Coltrin, who also lived at Cave-in-Rock. She and her husband are both now deceased. Their granddaughter, Mary Evangeline Hosick, also lived in Cave-in Rock. She now resides in Rosiclare, Ill.
There were two sons; Dr. William Grant Gregory and Dr. John Gregory. Dr. William Grant Gregory was for many years a successful physician and held important positions connected with the Illinois State Department of Health. He retained his home and practice in Cave-in-Rock. He also specialized in the eye, ear, nose and throat. It happens that he cut this writer's tonsils out one beautiful November day. Dr. John Gregory was also a well-known physician. He made his home in Eldorado, Illinois.
When the children were about grown, Captain Gregory bought a lot in town and built a building on it, which was later used as the post office building. The family lived in the second story. The ground floor was used for the family produce business for several years. Later he built a home on another lot, where the old couple lived until death separated them. Captain Gregory died on May 24, 1914.
Aunt Harriet united with a Baptist Church in Kentucky in her early youth and transferred her membership to one of the same denomination in this state upon her removal here. Later she united with the Methodist Church of Cave-in-Rock, where she retained her membership until death.
She continued active and well, and looked after her own household duties until about seven years before she died, when her home was destroyed by fire. Soon after this, her eyesight began to fail and she became weaker physically as well. A nice new home was built for her on the same lot and she received the best of care and attention all the time. On account of her frailness, she had several falls. One day she fell, breaking her right arm and receiving other injuries as well. She partially recovered, but was never able to regain her previous strength and activity. While memories of the past were uppermost in the mind of this fine old lady, she was also interested in the activities of the community, especially those connected with the Methodist Church. She greatly enjoyed the visits of her children and friends. It was a pleasure to receive her kindly welcome and hear her recollections of the events which occurred so many years ago. No doubt other interviews with her brothers and sisters would have been interesting, however, they were never obtained and recorded.
HIRAM J. BELT
Hiram Belt, the second oldest son of Hiram, Sr., is referred to as Hi Belt much of the time in The Life of Logan Belt. Hiram and his wife, the former Ellen Nesbit, had five children, as recorded in the first census report of the family. They were as follows:
John, age 15, a son
Martha, age 10, a daughter
George, age 6, a son
Lazina, age 3, a daughter
Rosetta, age 6 months, a daughter.
In the 1880 census, ten years later, the following is
Hiram J. Belt, brother to Logan Belt, 47 years of age at this time.
Lazina, age 12, a daughter
Rosetta, age 9, a daughter
Jonathan, age 7, a son
Minnie J., age 5, a daughter
Hiram E., born July, 1879, a son.
There were also two sisters that were not recorded in this census named Luvena and Cordelia. In The Life of Logan Belt, pages 218 and 219, it shows that Cordelia married John L. Mott and Rosetta married a Hess. Lucinda is also mentioned on pages 219 and 220.
Hiram Belt was a Captain in Company D, 49th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry, enlisting at the age of 31 years. He was mustered in at Princeton, Kentucky, October 26, 1863. He joined for duty and enrolled July 16, 1863, at Fords Ferry, Kentucky, for 12 months. He was a resident of Hardin County, although he was born in Crittendon County, Kentucky (now Livingston). During the time he was in service, he had a disability develop. In the month of February, 1864, exposure to inclement weather caused a disease of the left leg. The seat of the disease seemed to be in the bone of the leg, which gave him great pain and caused the leg to swell and become enlarged. He was treated for this while in the army, and also after he was discharged. He also suffered two bouts of pneumonia. Hiram died on March 1, 1899. At the time of his death, he was drawing $20.00 per month pension. His wife was Ellen Nesbit and they were married August 18, 1853, by Arthur Belt, who was dead at about 1899. No one knows anything about this Arthur Belt. It is believed by some that this man could be the same Bro. Belt referred to in John Blanchard's autobiography that assisted him in holding the revival meeting at Peters Creek at the time of Logan Belt's conversion. According to all records, Hiram was barely able to look after his company in service. Most of the time, Logan, who was a 2nd Lieutenant under him, was in charge. The author of the book, The Life of Logan Belt, leads one to believe this is Hiram Belt, Sr. This is a mistake, as Hiram, Sr., would have been too old for service' in the war. Census reports also show this to be wrong by the wives' names, etc.
When Ellen Nesbit, the wife of Hiram, made application for a widow's pension, a more complete description of his physical condition was revealed. According to Dr. George Ledford's affidavit, he knew Hiram J. Belt during his life time, and that he examined the said Hiram J. Belt about five (5) years before his death and found that he was badly afflicted with vericose veins, the result of phelebetis of the left leg, extending from the foot over the entire limb and including the hypogastric and left iliac regions. He further stated that Hiram J. Belt was in an entirely helpless condition during the last three (3) years of his life due to paralysis.
Ellen Belt had quite a bit of trouble in establishing herself as a legitimate claimant because the record of their marriage had been destroyed by fire. Also the minister, Arthur Belt, who performed the marriage, was dead. Finally, she obtained affidavits by G. W. L. Nesbit and Martha Gregory, both of Marion, Kentucky, stating they were present at the marriage of Ellen Nesbit and Hiram J. Belt.
The following is the record of Hiram Belt's pension of the U.S. Pension Agency of Chicago,
Illinois, March 20, 1899:
Hon. C. Clay Evans
Commissioner of Pensions
Sir: I hereby report that the name of Hiram J. Belt, Capt. D. 48th Ky. who was a pensioner on the rolls of the agency, and Certificate No. 311752 and who was last paid at $20.00 to 4 January, 1899, has been dropped because of death. Very respectfully,
It seems that Ellen might never have gotten her claim through because of the disadvantage of establishing the fact that she and Hiram were man and wife. If it was granted, no record was furnished from the National Archives. Neither was there shown any record of the death of Ellen. Just when Hiram's family moved to Saline County is not known. It was during the time she was trying to get a claim through, as some of the affidavits gave her address as Hardin County and later Harrisburg, Ill. It is believed that the family moved to Harrisburg before Hiram died. Hiram J. Belt is buried in Saline County Cemetery (Sunset Hill). Records show that he was H. J., Captain, Company D. 48 Ky. Volunteer Infantry, dated March 1, 1899 on lot #4.
(Caption to picture of William Arthur Belt)
William Arthur Belt, born July 7, 1853, died October 9, 1948. He was known in The Life of Logan Belt as Art most of the time. He was a half brother to Logan, Hiram and Jonathan. He was a veterinarian and practised at Marion, Ky.
Arthur was well known, as he was a veterinarian and lived a long life. When I was a teenage boy, I worked for a man by the name of Lummie Fritts. He came from Kentucky and finally bought a small farm. It was here on this farm that I worked. A part of my work was plowing two big horses to a walking plow. That would be a sight today seeing someone plow with a walking plow. But that's the way they did it in those days. The main asset to one plowing was to have good strong legs, and I sure did have them. I walked two miles from where I lived each morning, started working at 6:00 a.m., got my lunch, quit work at 6:00 p.m., and walked two miles back home for $1.00 per day.
The horses I worked to the plow had to be doctored all the time for distemper. Mr. Fritts got his medicine from Art Belt of Marion, Kentucky. I didn't know at the time who he was. I have learned since that Arthur was a half brother to Logan and is mentioned frequently in The Life of Logan Belt. He was first married to Martha Tadlock. This marriage was over in about three weeks. Secondly, he married Polly Anne Ferry. To this marriage, three children were born:
Fronie (Belt) Edmondson
Ferry (Belt) Haycraft
Alma (Belt) Funkhouser
Thirdly, he was married to Ellen Nation. Apparently, this occurred around Marion, Kentucky. To this marriage, the following were born:
William Arthur Belt
Vonie (Belt) Belt
Kitty (Belt) (Joiner) Curry
Pearl (Belt) Hardesty
Clarence (Pete) Belt
Della (Belt) Winders
Marie (Belt) (Gilland) Graham
4 others died (Houston, twins, and one other)
Pearl married Joe Hardesty. They had a daughter, Frankie, who married Carl Birch. A son, James Hardesty, was born and legally adopted by Floyd Hardesty, brother of Frankie, when he was a baby. James lives in Lansing, Michigan.
Donald Higginson of Evansville, Indiana, is a great, great grandson of Arthur Belt. Donald's father was Harley H. Higginson and his mother was Imogene Hardesty.
There is so much we would like to know but no doubt we will never find out. I do know that Grant Belt, Arthur's brother, had a son named Henry.
Arthur (Art) Belt was somewhat younger than Logan, Jonathan and Hiram. He was also just a half brother, as his mother was the former Moriah Hughes. Art is first noticed in The Life of Logan Belt when some fourteen were charged with unlawful conspiracy (Ku Kluxing). Logan, a shrewd villian as he was called by some, conducted the defense. In this case, the judge seemed anxious to get rid of them on any terms, so they were released on their own recognizance. Arthur and his brother James were about grown at this time.
Later on, there were two men named Frank Hardin and B. Z. Jenkins who had been solicited from time to time to join a certain organization, which pretext was to ferret out the murderer of Luke Hambrink. Finally they did join. After they were let in and found out the real reason for its existence (which was to assassinate persons who were important witnesses against Logan Belt in his trial for murder), they turned states evidence. Again Arthur was indicted with about twelve or thirteen others. The sheriff flatly refused to serve the warrants. His reason was that he felt the trial was simply to create public prejudice against the Belts so as to injure Logan Belt in his murder trial. People began to call the sheriff a coward, some a scoundrel, and others said he was in sympathy with the Belts. When the group heard of the sheriff's position, all but two (Bill Lyons and Harvey Hollemon) gave themselves up to J. F. Taylor, county judge. It has been said when they came in, they were all armed. They had a carpet bag, and it was supposed by spectators that its contents were pistols. Again, no one was convicted of any wrong doing.
During the trials, we find frequent references to Art Belt, but no known crime was ever proven on him. Obviously, he was not a target of the law or anyone else. Logan seemed to be the one they were after. Sometimes the editor would give Jonathan a good tongue-lashing in his newspaper. Just how soon Arthur went from Illinois to Kentucky is not known, but it is believed that it was about the time of his marraige to his last wife.
P. M. Pritchard is mentioned only two or three times in The Life of Logan Belt, but probably figured in the relationship more than we realize. P. M. (Pleasant Mitchell) married Mary Belt, a sister to Logan and Jonathan, and the daughter of Hiram and Averiller Belt. Little is known about P. M. Pritchard except that he came to Cave-in-Rock at an early age and settled there. It is said by some of his relatives that P. M. Pritchard's father was a Cherokee Indian Chief. The family had a misunderstanding, and consequently he broke away and was supposedly disinherited. The family was evidently well to do.
(picture of P. M. Pritchard with BIG fish...)... wjb
P. M. (Pleasant Mitchell) Pritchard. Mrs. Faye Maynard and Donald Pritchard are his grandchildren. The big fish was caught June 22, 1922, at Cave-in-Rock, ill. from the Ohio River.
Some years later, a half brother of his came on the scene. He was also mentioned in The Life of Logan Belt as Harry Hollemon. Mrs. Faye Maynard, a granddaughter of P. M. Pritchard, remembers this man spending many a night and day at her home. At the time he is mentioned in the book, page 186, he had been in jail since October. He was charged with burning a house and had been indicted. He was used as a defense witness in the Hambrink trial. According to the story, he set fire to Lucy Sterling's house. It was said that they intended to burn her up with the house, but she happened not to be at home this particular night. He referred to the jail as his boarding house and said a good many people had come and talked with him. The defense asked him how it was that he came to be cared for so well, provided with a hotel, etc. The witness said they had a boarding house connected with the jail. (There was plenty of laughter.) P. M. Pritchard had told him it would be better to tell the truth. He was quite a controversial witness. Finally, the defense asked him if he was not aware he might be fined for contempt of court and remanded to jail. He said No, he was already in jail. Hollemon finally lost his eyesight and lived with P. M. Pritchard the rest of his life.
Andrew Jackson Pritchard was the son of P. M. Pritchard. He was married first to Edith Dutton of Hardin County. Two children were born to this couple; namely, Alma Tabitha and Mitchel Ewing. They were adopted by Riley and Isabelle Hobbs of Cave-in-Rock. Both are deceased. His second wife's name was Susan. Four children were born to this couple:
Faye Maynard of Norris City, Illinois
Donald Pritchard of Hayward, California
Charles Pritchard of Bedford, Indiana
Fred Pritchard of Evansville, Indiana.
Andrew Jackson Pritchard was well known around Cave-in-Rock and was better known as Andy. His father, P. M., was also well known. Many people have the picture of him and the big fish in their possession.
(Picture of Logan Belt...... the picture we have........) wjb
This picture was made of Logan Belt in his younger days, maybe about the time he and Mary Frailey were married. Shadrach Jackson makes mention that his friends refused to furnish him with a photograph. He finally procured one that he considered good, which he used. Evidently it was a sketched picture and not authentic, as is the one on the preceding page.
On the 13th of January, 1860, Logan Belt was married to Miss Mary Frailey, daughter of William Frailey, living some seven miles north of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, and owning a small grist mill known as "The Old Water Mill", of Rock Creek. Two brothers of Mrs. Logan Belt, Alexander and William Frailey, are also figurative characters in the book, The Life of Logan Belt, as mentioned by a news correspondent from the Chicago Times sent into Hardin County to write up the Belt troubles.
In the 1870 census, we find the following information:
Logan Belt, 30, male, white, farmer.
Real estate value $1500 and personal estate $500.
Born in Kentucky.
Mary Belt, 28, wife
Margaret, age 7
Thomas, age 6
Amelia, age 4
Hiram, age 2
(All were born in Illinois.)
There was also a David Ledbetter, age 3, living with Logan and Mary Belt.
In the 1880 census, ten years later, the following information was recorded:
Logan Belt, 40 years old, in prison, born in Kentucky. His
father and mother were
born in North Carolina.
Mary Frailey Belt, 37 years old, born in Illinois
Margaret, age 17 (cannot write) sometimes referred to as Jane
Thomas J., age 15, (cannot write), died when Logan was in the penitentiary.
Averilla, age 14 (cannot write)
Hiram L., age 12
Mary E., age 9 (married a Mott)
Joel, age 6 (buried in Hale Cemetery. He is sometimes referred to as Jody and had an uncle named Joel who is also buried in Hale Cemetery.)
Jonathan, age 5 (He was 12 the day his father was shot.)
Cassie, age 3 (Harriet Cassandra, married a Cullison. This is Manita Cullison's grandmother.)
Laura, age 8 months.
According to the records obtained from the Adjutant General of Frankfort, Kentucky, Logan Belt enlisted in Company D, 48th Kentucky Volunteers on July 16, 1863. Being an Illinois Company but raised for a Kentucky Regiment, Company D joined the regiment at Marion, Kentucky, Aug. 24, 1863, where they went into camp and officers were selected. Logan Belt was selected as 2nd Lieutenant. The first move of the regiment was to Princeton, Kentucky. This regiment never saw active service, doing only guard and skirmish duty.
The regiment next moved to Russellville, Kentucky, where they drilled during the early part of the winter of 1863. Later the regiment was put on detached duty from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Louisville, Kentucky, along the L & N Railroad. Company D was divided, with the principal part stationed at Cave City, Kentucky, and the minor part on detached duty at Bacon Creek in Hart County, Kentucky, guarding a railroad bridge. This was in April, 1864. It was intended that this regiment join Sherman's army, but the regiment was subsequently disbanded and put on detached duty along the L & N Railroad. The regiment was again consolidated in the fall of 1864, and finally mustered out of service on December 16, 1864, at Bowling Green, Kentucky. Shadrach Jackson enumerated a lot of things that Logan was supposed to have done while he was in service, especially taking charge of horses and mules. We do not know how much of this was true, but one thing we do know, that Logan's record in the Army was without blemish, according to the records from the National Archives in Washington D.C. He served as 2nd Lieutenant under his brother, Captain Hiram J. Belt. When the Captain was physically disabled, Logan did a superb job in directing affairs. This information was obtained from the records of Captain Hiram J. Belt.
In 1876, Logan was indicted for the killing of Elisha T. Oldham. He finally gave himself up after some months of defiance. A copy of the indictment is presented as follows:
STATE OF ILLINOIS)
Hardin County) ss:
Of the April term of the Hardin County Circuit Court, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and seventy six, the grand jurors chosen, selected and sworn in and for the County of Hardin and State of Illinois in the name and by the authority of the people of the State of Illinois, upon their oaths present that Logan Belt, late of said county, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, on the twenty-seventh day of December, in the year of Our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and seventhfive with force and arms, at and within the said County of Hardin and State of Illinois, in and upon the body of one Elisha T. Oldham, in the peace of the people then and there being feloniously, willfully and of his malace aforethought did make an assault, and that the said Logan Belt, with a certain pistol, of the value of five dollars, then and there loaded and charged with gun powder and one leaden bullet, which said pistol he, the said Logan Belt, in his right hand then and there had and held then and there feloniously, willfully and of his malace aforethought did discharge and shoot off to, against and upon the said Elisha T. Oldham, and that the said Logan Belt with the leaden bullet aforesaid, out of the pistol aforesaid, then and there by force of the gun powder aforesaid, by the said Logan Belt discharged and shot off as aforesaid, then and there feloniously, willfully and of his malace aforethought did strike, penetrate and wound him, the said Elisha 'I. Oldham, in and upon the left side of the breast of him, the said Elisha 'I. Oldham, giving to him, the said Elisha 'I. Oldham, then and there with the leaden bullet aforesaid so as aforesaid discharged, and that out of the pistol aforesaid by the said Logan Belt, one mortal wound of the depth of four inches and of the breadth of one inch, of which said mortal wound the said Elisha 'I. Oldham, from the said twenty-seventh day of December in the year aforesaid until the thirtieth day of the same month of December in the year aforesaid at the county aforesaid did languish and languishing did live, on which said thirtieth day of December in the year aforesaid, the said Elisha T. Oldham, at and within the County aforesaid of the wound aforesaid died, and so the Jurors aforesaid upon their oaths aforesaid do say, that the said Logan Belt, him the said Elisha T. Oldham, in manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, willfully and of his malace aforethought did kill and murder, contrary to the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the said people of the State of Illinois.
W. S. Morris,
Hardin County, Ill.
STATE OF ILLINOIS,)
Gallatin County,) ss:
I, R. L. Millspaugh, Circuit Clerk, in and for the County and State aforesaid, do hereby certify the foregoing to be a true, full and complete copy of the indictment now on file in my office remaining.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my hand and affixed the official seal of said Court at my office in Shawneetown, Illinois. This 1st day of November, A. D., 1886.
R. L. Millspaugh,