May 28, 1962: Labor Spy C.E. Lively Dies in Huntington

May 28, 2019

Labor spy C. E. Lively died in Huntington on May 28, 1962, at age 75. Lively first came to Matewan in Mingo County in 1920 and joined the union during the drive to organize Tug Fork miners. He also befriended Sid Hatfield, the police chief of Matewan, who became a hero to miners after the 1920 Matewan Massacre.

Lively coaxed details from miners about the Matewan shootout, while secretly reporting to the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, which was working for the coal operators. Lively revealed his true identity when he testified against Hatfield and the miners in the Matewan Massacre trial; nevertheless, all were acquitted.

On August 1, 1921, Hatfield arrived at the McDowell County Courthouse in Welch to stand trial for allegedly leading a raid on the town of Mohawk. As he and his friend Ed Chambers climbed the courthouse steps—unarmed and with their wives by their sides—Lively and a half dozen other Baldwin-Felts detectives gunned them down in broad daylight. The shooting helped incite the miners’ armed march several weeks later. Lively was acquitted of murdering Hatfield and Chambers the following year.