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True American Folklore


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True American Folklore


 
 

It all began in 1862....

 This two prominent rural families lived next to each other on the West Virginia-Kentucky border along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in the years 1862–1891. The Hatfields of West Virginia were led by William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield while the McCoys of Kentucky were under the leadership of Randolph "Ole Ran'l" McCoy. The feud has entered the American folklore lexicon as metonym for any bitterly feuding rival parties. More than a century later, the feud has become synonymous with the perils of honor, justice, and vengeance.

 

Actually photos of Anse "Devil" Hatfield (center-left) and Ole Ran'l McCoy (center-right).

 
 
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FAMILY


The majority of the Hatfields, although living in Mingo County, West Virginia, fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War; most McCoys, living in Pike County, Kentucky, also fought for the Confederacy; with the exception of Asa Harmon McCoy, who fought for the Union. The first real violence in the feud was the death of Asa Harmon McCoy as he returned from the war, murdered by a group of Confederate Home Guards called the Logan Wildcats.

FAMILY


The majority of the Hatfields, although living in Mingo County, West Virginia, fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War; most McCoys, living in Pike County, Kentucky, also fought for the Confederacy; with the exception of Asa Harmon McCoy, who fought for the Union. The first real violence in the feud was the death of Asa Harmon McCoy as he returned from the war, murdered by a group of Confederate Home Guards called the Logan Wildcats.

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CIVIL CONFLICT


Between 1880 and 1891, the feud claimed more than a dozen members of the two families.  Eventually, the Hatfield men were tried in Kentucky and all were found guilty. Seven received life imprisonment, while the eighth member of the Hatfield clan, Ellison "Cottontop" Mounts, was executed by hanging.  Thousands attended the hanging in Pikeville, Kentucky.   Fighting between the families eased following the hanging, but court trials continued for years until the 1901 trial of Johnse Hatfield, the last of the feud trials.

CIVIL CONFLICT


Between 1880 and 1891, the feud claimed more than a dozen members of the two families.  Eventually, the Hatfield men were tried in Kentucky and all were found guilty. Seven received life imprisonment, while the eighth member of the Hatfield clan, Ellison "Cottontop" Mounts, was executed by hanging.  Thousands attended the hanging in Pikeville, Kentucky.   Fighting between the families eased following the hanging, but court trials continued for years until the 1901 trial of Johnse Hatfield, the last of the feud trials.