Bob Powell Published

Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin Died: August 9, 1954

Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin

On August 9, 1954, former Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin died in Huntington at age 67. Chafin had been elected Logan County assessor at the young age of 21 and sheriff at 25. After a term as county clerk, he was reelected sheriff in 1920.

Sheriff Chafin bitterly opposed labor unions, and, with funding from coal companies, used his deputies—including ones hired off the street—to keep the United Mine Workers of America out of Logan County.

He was hated so much by labor that he was once shot on sight by a union leader when he walked into UMWA headquarters in Charleston. The union man stated that his only regret was not using a more powerful pistol.

In 1921, Chafin led the resistance to the miners’ armed march on Logan County. He organized forces to combat the marchers at the Battle of Blair Mountain and had homemade bombs dropped on the miners.

Supposedly, Don Chafin received 10 cents for every ton of coal mined in Logan County. At the time of his death, he was a millionaire living in a Huntington penthouse.