To understand the Hatfields and McCoys and their feud, is really to understand the politics and economics of the Civil War era in America. The families lived on the border of the North and the South. The McCoys lived in Pike County, Kentucky and the Hatfields in Logan County, West Virginia. The Tug River is in the middle. The Hatfields had more money and political connections than the McCoys. When the Civil War began the McCoys fought with the Union army and the Hatfields fought with the Confederacy. While this sounds like a recipe for disaster, it was nothing special during the Civil War to have neighboring counties fighting on opposite sides. In fact there were families that were divided. But with the Hatfields and McCoys, this was the beginning of a fissure that would eventually end in violence so hateful, that it would force two state governments to become involved. Eventually the Hatfield and McCoy saga would land in the Supreme Court.
What Started the Hatfield and McCoy Family Feud - How Many People were Killed?
The Hatfield-McCoy Feud has it's roots in the Civil War. It escalated over a pig and then took off over an illicit relationship. Eventually about a dozen family member were killed.
The Three Incidents that Fueled the Beginning of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud
Joining the Union Army, Finding a Pig, and Love
As I learned about the facts of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, I was astonished at some of the things that fueled this hatred and resentment. It seems that it was a combination of big things like the Civil War and then smaller irritations like the ownership of a pig that combined into a version of "road rage." But through all of this I expected more than a dozen or so people to have died in this legendary feud.
Real Story of the Hatfields and McCoys
Video and Book
|Biography - Hatfields and McCoys: An American Feud|
The tale of their epic feud is a staple in American folklore-but what really happened between the Hatfields and the McCoys? They lived along the Tug Fork River on the Kentucky-W...Only $15.55
|Kingdom Of The Hollow, The Story Of The Hatfields and McCoys|
Imagine a story of an epic dispute, which has become a part of our American Mythology. "Kingdom of the Hollow, the Story of the Hatfields" and McCoys is an incredible tale of th...Only $15.82
|DVD History's Mysteries Family Fued: THE HATFIELDS AND McCOYS AAE-72343 THE HISTORY CHANNEL|
|Feud: Hatfields, McCoys, and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900 (Fred W. Morrison Series in S...|
The Hatfield-McCoy feud, the entertaining subject of comic strips, popular songs, movies, and television, has long been a part of American folklore and legend. Ironically, the e...
The Asa Harmon McCoy Murder of 1865
Asa Harmon McCoy was discharged from the Union Army after being wounded and returned home. Rumors reached him that Jim Vance and his nephew Devil Anse Hatfield, would be hunting for him because of his Union affiliation. He went into hiding but was found and shot.
During the investigation both Vance and Devil Hatfield would be considered suspects. But because of Asa McCoy's service in the Union Army, many believed he was to blame for any violence. Eventually the case was forgotten.
Hog Ownership 1878
Seriously? Yes the next recorded skirmish between the two families was over the ownership of a hog. A pig was found on Floyd Hatfield's property and he said it was his. Randolph McCoy said the pig was his because it had markings showing it belonged to him. The dispute went to the Justice of the Peace (who just happened to be Preacher Anse Hatfield), where the most important witness was Bill Staton. He had the dubious distinction of being related to both families. No surpsie the McCoys lost the pig. Staton was later killed by two McCoys who were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.
Love Affair Goes Bad in 1881
Well it took a few years, but here's where the Hatfield and McCoy feuding gets juicy. Roseanna McCoy took up with Johnson Hatfield (who just happened to be Devil Anse Hatfield's son). You just know it didn't set well when she left the McCoys to live with the Hatfields. And no, they weren't married. So you can see where this is heading. To get her back the McCoys arrest Johnson on a bootlegging warrant. But Roseanna went and got Devil Anse Hatfield to rescue him. The ill-fated couple never did marry. Roseanna had a baby who died and shortly thereafter Johnson took up wither her cousin and married the cousin instead. It wasn't long before Roseanna died, with many claiming it was a broken heart.
Learn About the Hatfield-McCoy Feud from a Descendant of Devil Anse Hatfield
How did the Feud End?
Hatfields and McCoys Driving Tour
I started all this research on the Hatfields and McCoys, because I love visiting regional museums and attractions and festivals. I'm the kind of person who likes driving to south Georgia (from Maine) to visit the Vidalia Onion museum. So I'm thinking that I'll love to visit Kentucky and West Virginia to see the actual locations of the Hatfield and McCoy feud. You can only imagine how happy I was happy to see that there is indeed an official driving tour of the feud. You can download a map from the Pike County, Kentucky website.
Where did the McCoys and Hatfields Live (and Fight)?
Historic Sites along the Hatfield-McCoy Driving Trail
- Dills Cemetary and Gardens
Randolph and Sarah McCoy are buried here as well as their daughter Roseanna and son Sam.
- Old Courthouse and Square
- Old Jail
The site of murder trials and where the accused waited for trial
- Hanging site of Ellison Mounts
He was convicted of murder on a raid of a Hatfield home where two people were killed.
- Randall McCoy Home
He was the leader of the McCoy Clan.
- Site of Hog Trial
This escalated the feud
- Site of Election Day Fight
Ellison Hatfield (brother of Devil Hatfield) killed by three of Roseanna's brothers.
- Site of McCoy Home
- Site of Shooting of Three McCoy Boys
Also known as the PawPaw site the three boys were tied to trees and shot
- Site of Uriah McCoy House
Sone of Randolph McCoy
- Burial Site of Roseanna's Baby
Child if ill-fated romance between Roseanna McCoy and Johnson Hatfield
- Site of Killing of Asa Harmon McCoy
The first person killed in the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
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