About the Author
The author, the late Robert Yie Spence, was a seventh generation Logan Countian, the descendant of Peter Dingess, one of the first men of German descent to cross the rugged Appalachian Mountains and make his home in what is now Logan County, West Virginia. Born in 1950, Spence was a graduate of Marshall University, where he earned bachelor and masters degrees in journalism. A lifelong newspaperman, he began his career at the Logan News, a weekly newspaper in Logan County, at a very early age. As an adult Spence worked for several newspapers over the years, in both West Virginia and Indiana. Spence spent decades researching West Virginia history and wrote many magazine articles, compiled indices of newspapers, and focused heavily on using his computer skills to catalog state newspapers. By indexing front page stories from his vast collection of newspapers, he was able to archive, analyze, and interpret the flow of history in our mountain country. His collection of writings and meticulous research have been recognized statewide and by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Additionally, more than a dozen of his historical articles were published in The West Virginia Encyclopedia, which has been described as the state s primary reference resource. Besides penning this Mountain State classic, Land of the Guyandot, Spence also co-authored the national bestseller, The Tale of the Devil, with Dr. Coleman C. Hatfield. This biography of Anderson Devil Anse Hatfield was critically acclaimed and won the prestigious 2004 Tamarack Book of the Year Award. The volume went on to become a Top-100 Amazon Best Seller in 2012, and was used as source material for the 2012 HISTORY channel documentary, America s Greatest Feud: Hatfields and McCoys, and the hit miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys, starring Kevin Costner. In The Tale of the Devil, Spence was described as a most stubborn soul, who kept working on the history of this land until he ultimately penned a four-hundred-some page manuscript and collected hundreds of vintage photographs of the region. He, in addition to being passionate about his research of the past, was dedicated to his community and its future. Spence once helped lead a vigorous and successful campaign to get a public library established in Logan. Spence was, perhaps most importantly, a free spirit whose main drive was his historical studies and his writings a painstaking researcher who refused to stop at the surface of anything. Robert Y. Spence unexpectedly passed away on December 1st, 2005. It was then that West Virginia and Logan County lost a great historian and friend.
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