Clabe Jones

James Claibourne "Clabe" Jones was born on February 14th,1826 on Arnold Fork, a branch of Beaver Creek. He was the first of seven children born to John Ray Jones born 1810 in Hawkins County, Tennessee and Rebecca (Arnold) Jones, born 1823 in Virginia. Shortly after Clabe was born the Jones family moved down Beaver about fifteen miles, to settle on another small creek. His father was the first man to live on this creek and gave it the name of Jones Fork. At that time this section known as Beaver Creek was sparsely settled, with only five other families living near them.
Clabe was a farmer and lawman by way of occupation to support his family. Possibly it was his Military background or his approach to law enforcement that lead to his eventual life as a mountain feudist. His sharp-witted management and ability to take charge in the face of adversity was one of his most outstanding skills.
In battle he was an intense soldier, finely honed in the way of warfare. His observant nature is no doubt one of the reasons that Clabe survived the feuds to outlive many of his foes.
After the Civil War many of the men coming out of the conflict drew on courses of action they had employed in combat, taking advantage of the circumstances availed to them. In the March term 1872 of the Bath Circuit Court, Clabe was tried and convicted to a term of five years in the Penitentiary for a charge of horse stealing. He spent several years in the state penitentiary. During this time he said his circumstances were that he said he was a very poor man. He said that many years ago he was married to a woman whose conduct made his life almost a burden, and who long before this conviction separated from him. Before their separation she bore to him five children, who at that time were all alive, living with him and he was now seventy two years old.
The numerous incidents between Claiborne Jones and Devil John Wright resulted in disparity that last for decades. One of their Conflicts began when Clabe obtained warrants for the parties thought to have murdered Frank Salyer. The suspects were Talton Hall, Bates and _______ Johnson _____ . But Jones had difficulty getting the sheriff, or for that matter, any of the county officers, to execute the warrants. Finding no one else agreeable he went to his old friend Dick Vance, who readily agreed to get some men and attempt an arrest.
Dick Vance was born Richard R. Vance in 1855, the son of John Wesley & Martha Hall Vance. Oddly enough, Martha Hall was a daughter of William John "Gunsmith Billy" and Margaret Johnson Hall and a sister of William J. Captain "Bolen Bill" Hall who had married Florence Jones, daughter of Claiborne & Milly Martin Jones. To show how inter-mingled these families were, you can go one more generation back to find Gunsmith Billy Hall was the son of Anthony and Rutha Butler Hall and a brother of Dave Hall, who was Talton’s father.
Vance had a score to settle with Talton Hall, since he felt Hall had made an attempt to kill him. Vance was at Federal Court in Catlettsburg, in Boyd County, Kentucky, over a matter of moon-shining. He was staying at a hotel when he claimed he saw one of Halls men quietly enter the sleeping rooms, strike a match and examine the faces of the sleeping men. When he passed the bed where Vance was sleeping, he went back out. Vance, expecting trouble, had moved to another bed in different part of the building when three men returned. They picked up the man they thought was Vance and tossed him out a third story window to hit the brick pavement below, breaking his neck and killing him instantly. The man tossed out the window proved to be John Adams of Letcher County.