|Excerpts from the
above brochure from
Pikeville-Pike County Tourism:
Important events of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud
The first overt act of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud was the murder of Unionist Asa Harmon McCoy in 1865 by Confederate "Devil Anse" Hatfield. McCoy outrage was controlled.
In 1872, "Devil Anse" filed a land ownership lawsuit against Asa Harmon's young brother-in-law, Perry Cline, an orphan. The 13 year old lad accidentally had cut some trees on his neighbor's land while trying to cut his own. Payment wouldn't do. Hatfield walked away from a sympathetic Logan court with the 5,000 acres of Cline in 1877. Cline's sister, Martha McCoy (Asa Harmon's widow), Asa's brother, a Randolph "Ranel" and Asa Harmon's entire McCoy clan were seething for justice.
One offense was plenty, but the second offense was too much. The McCoy pot of anger stewed into a boiling rage.
Anything could start a fight, but Court records indicate that Randolph, now the leader after Asa Harmon, kept his clan in line until the stolen pig incident in 1878.
The murder of Bill Staton by Paris and Big Sam McCoy escalated the feud in 6/1880.
While many writers credit Roseanna and Johnse for the feud, the couple actually did not get together until 8/1880, long after the feud began. Even the movie portrayed this fact incorrectly.
In 1882, Tolbert, Pharmer and Randolph, Jr. stabbed Ellison Hatfield in what is known as the "Election Day Murder," near the home of Reverend Anderson Hatfield. Almost immediately, the three McCoy boys were captured by Hatfields. Held in a school house for a short while, they were taken and tied to three paw-paw bushes and shot until they were dead.
Meanwhile a family friend, John Dils, Jr., had become the legal guardian of Perry Cline, the child whose property loss was a great factor in the feud. Perry had become a sheriff, then attorney. He was ready to avenge the loss of his property.
It was Cline who made legal history in defense of his McCoy side against Hatfields. He was backed by the powerful Dils, who headed the political machine of the time.
Dils knew that the railroaders, miners and timber-men wanted to come into Pike County, but the large companies were afraid of the feuders.
In 1887, with the death of Jeff McCoy, Frank Phillips, another adopted son of Dils, led posse raids on Hatfields. Cline received national attention for gaining the governor's intercession to quiet the feud. Dime novelists flocked into the area.
The feud was not yet over. In 1888, Hatfields burned the home of Randolph McCoy and killed two of his children, Alifair and Calvin.
By 1888, at least 12 lives were lost. The feud ended with the hanging of Ellison Mounts in 1890.
Along with reporters came the stereotype of hillbilly, but it also brought political aid. Soon the railroad arrived and the large companies could at last bring progress to the area.
By June Johnson
Randolph McCoy Home
|Source - WV
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Motives - "Devil Anse"
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2004 Tampa Tribune Article
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BELOW IS A CONDENSED TIMELINE FOR QUICK READING OF
THE EVENTS THAT LED UP TO AND INCLUDED THE FEUD
January 7, 1865:
Asa Harmon McCoy Shot
Ranel McCoy accuses Floyd Hatfield, cousin of Devil Anse, of stealing his hogs and files a complaint. Floyd Hatfield is acquitted by a jury of six Hatfields and six McCoys in the Kentucky trial.
Death of Bill Staton, a witness
Sam and Paris McCoy, still angry over the outcome of the trial, fight with one of the witnesses, Bill Staton. Staton dies in the fight. Warrants are issued for the arrest of Sam and Paris. They are tried in West Virginia with Devil Anse's own brother serving as judge, and acquitted on grounds of self defense.
Johnse and Roseanna's Romance
Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy meet and fall in love. She moves in with the Hatfields, but Devil Anse refuses permission for Johnse to marry her. Pregnant and unwelcome at home, Roseanna goes to live with her aunt and learns of her brothers' plan to ambush Johnse. She races on horseback to warn the Hatfields. Her baby dies of measles - Johnse marries one of Roseanna's cousins.
August 7, 1882
Tolbert McCoy, son of Ranel, fights with Devil Anse's brother, Ellison. Tolbert stabs Ellison several times while other McCoys shoot and critically wound Ellison. Warrants are issued and McCoys are arrested in Kentucky. Devil Anse forms his own posse and overtakes them, forcing them to an empty school house across the Tug River in West Virginia to await the outcome of Ellison's wounds.
Ellison Hatfield dies. The McCoys are taken to Kentucky, tied to a Pawpaw bush and executed. Ellison is buried at the Ellison Hatfield Cemetery.
September 18, 1882
Perry Cline enlisted
Ranel McCoy pursues the case, persuading Perry Cline to influence the governor of Kentucky to reactivate the indictments against the Hatfields for killing the McCoy brothers and begin extradition proceedings. Frank Phillips is appointed deputy and later dismissed, but continues raids.
McCoy's Homestead burned
West Virginia offers rewards for the McCoy "invaders." Hatfields plan revenge. They burn the McCoy home, beat Ranel's wife, Aunt Sally, and kill two adult children, Alifair and Calvin. They are buried at the McCoy cemetery. Frank Phillips' posse pursues the Hatfield supporters and West Virginia's Logan County Court forms a posse to stop the raids of the Kentucky posse.
Jim Vance killed
An article on the raid appears in the Louisville Courier-Journal. Frank Phillips kills Jim Vance, Devil Anse's uncle, the same day.
Hatfield supporters captured
Frank Phillips conducts raids, capturing nine Hatfield supporters, Valentine Hatfield surrenders to Phillips, but Devil Anse eludes him.
Battle of Grapevine Creek
A pitched battle rages near Grapevine Creek between the two posses, resulting in the death of one of the West Virginia deputy sheriffs.
Conviction & hanging
Hatfield supporters are tried in Pike County and convicted of murder. Eight are sentenced to life, Ellison Mounts is convicted of murdering Alifair McCoy and is hung the following February.
First Hatfield-McCoy Reunion
Chuck was anchor man on the far right side
(on the McCoy side)
in this tug of war over the Tug River
To the victor belong the spoils!
Meaning: THE McCOYS WON
Local newspaper headlines
for the first Hatfield-McCoy Reunion