James Morgan Huff was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, February 2, 1841. He was reared in Fleming County, and learned blacksmithing under his father. He followed the trade about seventeen years and in 1872 removed to Ashland, where he was engaged in the mercantile business. In 1879 he relinquished the business and established a newspaper, The Ashland Republican. His six presses and six regular hands were necessary to meet his circulation of over 1500, taking it to the front of journalism in Kentucky. As the Ashland Tragedy unfolded, beginning in December 1881, Huff chronicled much of the proceedings in a booklet titled, "The Ashland Tragedy: the crow-bar and ax, the silent witnesses."
Having witnessed several of the events during the time of the tragedy, and acquainted with many persons directly involved, his public domain account has been regarded as the most trusted of any summaries written about the tragedy until now. Huff was appointed secretary at the initial citizens meeting which met immediately following the crime. His writing was typical of the time, and his command of the English language permitted him to present authentic word pictures so his readers could visualize the actions as they took place. James Huff passed away on January 2, 1926 in Boyd County, Kentucky at the age of 84.
Herbert E. "Joe" Castle was born in Ashland, Kentucky and worked in that place for 28 years. His bachelor's degree from Morehead State University allowed him to focus his efforts on creative writing and history. His interest in the Ashland Tragedy was peaked after reading Huff's account several years prior to the printing of this book. He believed there was more to the story than what Huff had written. After years of extensive research, he found that to be true. Rather than re-write what Huff had already written, he felt it practical to preserve Huff's account and augment it with the additional facts and details necessary to complete the history of this incredible story.
Years of technical writing helped Mr. Castle become detail-oriented and create a welcoming writer-reader relationship giving the reader clear, precise and easy-to-understand language. Mr. Castle has previously published a short story in the anthology series, "A Cup of Comfort for Fathers," edited by Colleen Sell.
Mr. Castle currently resides in Paintsville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Nancy, have three children and six grandchildren.
The book, "The Ashland Tragedy" is published by The History Press; Charleston, SC www.historypress.com .
It is printed in 6"x 9" paperback form and contains 156 pages.
Copyright 2021 by H. E. Castle