THE DRAMATIC STORY OF A MOUNTAIN FEUD Click on the link to the left to read this article.
A Well Known Feud Click on the link to the left to read this article.
CRIMES OF ONE FAMILYBloody Records of the Hatfields in Kentucky and West Virginia.A History of Cold-Blooded Murders and Midnight House Burning.Three McCoy Boys Tied Together and Shot - Women The Into Insensibility, and Children Left to Freeze on the Mountain-Old Man McCoy's Sufferings. [Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Thursday, February 2, 1888 - Transcribed by]
NOTED FEUDIST DEADRANDALL McCOY After Turbulent Career, Dies in Bed
Desperate Deeds of the Hatfield-McCoy Factions Enacted in the State of Kentucky - Early Incidents of the War
Louisville, Ky - Randall McCoy nonagenarian and one of the leaders of the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud, which for years terrorized the border districts of the states of Kentucky and West Virginia, died at the home of his grandson in this city recently. Death was caused by burns which he suffered last fall and from which he never recovered.
The life history of McCoy is the history of a period when the reign of law was forgotten for many years. The original trouble between the McCoy and Hatfield families began during the Civil War, when Harmon McCoy brother of Randall McCoy was killed by "Jim" Vance, a relative of Anderson Hatfield, known far and wide as "Bad Anse," whose mother was a member of the Vance famil
Hatfield had several sons, the most notorious being "Cap" and Johnson Hatfield. So notorious was the reputation of this family that they were the practical rulers of Logan County, Kentucky respecting neither man nor the law.
In 1881 Johnson Hatfield eloped with Randall McCoy's daughter. After the girl had returned to her parents Johnson Hatfield again induced her to go with him. They were surprised by members of the McCoy family who took Hatfield prisoner. "Bad Anse" Hatfield and other members of his family immediately organized an expedition and rescued Johnson Hatfield.
Things were fairly quiet then for two years until on election day in August, 1883, Ellison Hatfield attempted to murder three of Randall McCoy's sons - Floyd, Talbert and Richard - the eldest being twenty-four years old and the youngest nineteen.
In the fight, Ellison Hatfield was mortally wounded and the McCoy boys escaped harm. Floyd McCoy escaped while the other two boys were arrested by the authorities. A crowd of "Bad Anse" Hatfield's desperadoes captured Talbert and Richard McCoy along with Randall McCoy Jr., fourteen years old and held them pending the outcome of the injuries to Ellison Hatfield. Immediately after the death of Hatfield, the Hatfield clan tied the three McCoy boys to trees and shot them to death.
Following the insistent demands of law-abiding citizens, Governor Buckner of Kentucky commissioned Frank Phillips to go to West Virginia to take charge of the Hatfield clan who had been accused of the McCoy murders. Phillips took his work seriously and to the surprise of the Hatfields landed his prisoners in the mail at Pikeville.
A few days later on the night of January 1, 1887, others of the Hatfield clan attacked the house of Randall McCoy and killed a son and a daughter besides fatally wounding his wife. McCoy made a desperate fight and killed three of the attacking party before he fled for his life. One of his daughters went mad as the result of the sight of her dead brother and sister.
When Kentucky heard the story of this attack there was such an outcry that the fearless Phillips again organized a posse and invaded West Virginia, the stronghold of the Hatfield clan. He captured the other members of the band and lodged them in Pikeville jail. They were all indicted for murder. (Abbeville Progress, Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, La) May 2, 1914, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)
BLOODSHED IN WEST VIRGINIA
CATTLESBURG, Ky., Jan. 24 - The war of extermination between thestill goes on in the wilds of West Virginia. Saturday a pursuing party numbering twenty overtook the Hatfield gang near Capt. Hatfield's house. During the fight which ensued Bud McCoy, of the pursuing party, was dangerously wounded and will die. Dempsey,of the Hatfield gang, was killed. The capturing party, which now numbers forty, is still in pursuit. Excitement throughout Pike county is increasing daily, as the Hatfields have warned the people that they propose to kill them and burn their property. They have sent word that they propose to burn Pikeville and extricate their six comrades in jail there. The jail is guarded strongly day and night.
[Source: The Quincy Whig, Thursday, January 26, 1888 - Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]
THE HATFIELD-McCOY WAR ENDED
CHARLESTON, Jan. 30 Gov. Wilson has ordered sixty armed militia of the state to report in this city to-morrow night for further orders. The order was given as a result of the resolution calling on the governors of West Virginia and Kentucky by citizens of Logan county, W. Va., to suppress the combination of armed men who have come from Kentucky. Gov. Wilson to-day requested the governor of Kentucky to send soldiers to the front from that state. The armed parties are the Hatfield and McCoy gangs.
This evening Gov. Wilson's representative returned from Logan county and reported that belligerents on both sides in the Hatfield-McCoy affair have disbanded and the trouble is ended. The governor has countermanded the order for militia.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Tuesday, January 31, 1888 ' Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]
THE HATFIELD-McCOY WAR
CHARLESTON, W. Va., Feb. 1 - Civil authorities have now taken hold of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, and upon a petition from citizens of Logan County, Gov. Wilson today issued a requisition upon Gov. Buckner, of Kentucky, for the safe delivery of several men who were alleged to have been implicated in the recent trouble and who are citizens of Logan County, now confined in a jail of Pike County, Ky., awaiting trial. The parties above named were taken from this state without any legal process whatever, and in violation of the laws of the state.
PITTSBURG, Feb. 1 - The Times this morning published in detail the first true statement published of the famous Hatfield-McCoy outrages that have for six years continued without any serious attempt being made to punish the outlaws. The story from start to finish is a tale of horrors rarely equaled. Although Gov. Buckner, of Kentucky, and Gov. Wilson, of West Virginia, have ordered their militia to return to their homes, it must not be understood that the troubles are ended. The Hatfield-McCoy war, divested of all sentiment with which the representatives of the two states have invested it, is simply a succession of cowardly murders by day and assassination and house burning by night. All of the murders had been cruel, heartless, and almost without the shadow of provocation. The scene of nearly all of the murders and assassinations of the years named is the narrow bottom of Tug river, above and below the mouth of Pond creek, on the Kentucky side. Randall McCoy, with his wife and thirteen children, six years ago lived in a log Hut near the mouth of Pond creek. Today his house is in ashes, four of his sons and one daughter lie in bloody graves, and himself and family wander in the mountains, homeless and well-nigh penniless.
In 1881 a warrant was issued for the arrest of Johnson Hatfield, a son of Anderson, who eluded the officials for several months. Talbot McCoy was deputized to serve the warrant. McCoy captured Hatfield and started with him for Pike courthouse, twenty miles distant, McCoy's two brothers acting as guards. A friend apprised the Hatfields of the arrest, and the elder Hatfield, accompanied by his allies, intercepted the McCoys and rescued his son at the point of their guns and returned to West Virginia. A year later, at an election in Kentucky, Elias and Ellison Hatfield engaged in a quarrel with Talbot McCoy over an alleged debt. McCoy stabbed Ellison Hatfield in the back. Hatfield then began pounding McCoy's head with a stone, whereupon McCoy's younger brother stabbed and shot Hatfield, inflicting fatal injuries. All parties were arrested. Thirty of Hatfields friends promptly assembled, and a compact was made to release the prisoners, which was done. They took the three McCoys with them, keeping them two days and a night, pending the result of Ellison Hatfield's injuries. They refused to allow a justice to give the McCoys a hearing, saying they would take care of both trial and punishment. The McCoys-father, mother, brothers and sisters-appeared on the scene, and begged for the lives of the three boys, but were told to leave or they would be killed, too.
That night Farmer and Talbot McCoy were taken into the timber and shot. Randall was tied to the dead bodies of his brothers and the party started home, when old Ance Hadfield said: "Boys, dead men tell no tales," and, stepping near the boy, discharged both barrels of his shotgun into his head, bursting it open. The bodies remained tied to the bushes for hours, their friends fearing to remove them. No concentrated effort was ever made to capture the perpetrators of the crime. Anderson Hatfield, Sr., styling himself "Devil Ance," purchased firearms in large quantities and organized an absolute monarchy, himself taking command.
Comparative quiet reigned for another year, when, in mistake for Randall McCoy and one of his sons, John and Henderson Scott were waylaid and permanently crippled by a volley from the Hatfield Winchesters. Following this mistake came a period of "stock raising" by the Hatfield gang. About one year ago Jeff McCoy, cousin of the murdered men, was waylaid and shot by "Cap" Hatfield and Sim Wallace. The history of this kind has more elements of hellish fiendishness, if possible, then the first, the shots being fired while the victim's aged mother, groveling at their feet, arms entwined about their limbs, shrieked for pity. Spurning her with their boots, the fatal shots were fired. The old lady waded the stream to where her son lay dead and fell in anguish upon his body. Jeff McCoy's father had, some years previously, been assassinated by the Hatfields within a few yards of where his son fell. Perry A, Cline, uncle of Jeff, an attorney, secured requisitions for the arrest of the band. At an election in August last Louis Varney was beaten almost to death by "Cap" Hatfield. The Hatfields took possession of the polls and broke up the election.
The crowning piece of Deviltry was reserved for the night of Jan. 1, 1888, when thirteen of the Hatfield gang, headed by James Vance, surrounded the Paul McCoy homestead, near the mouth of Pond creek, burned the house with its contents, killed his son and daughter, beat the mother over the head with the butt of a gun till they thought she was dead, and left little children to die in the cold on the mountainside among the bushes, to which they had escaped in their night clothes. While the house was burning the father and husband fired two shots with telling effect. Three new made graves are to be found in the Hatfield settlement, and a number are known to the wounded. After burying his dead, McCoy removed his family to Pike Court House last week.
The story was obtained principally from Mr. and Mrs. McCoy, who show unmistakable evidence of the intensity of their sufferings, and is fully corroborated by others. No one knows why the fiendish malignity should have been kept up. But once has McCoy attempted to retaliate, and that but a few days ago. Even now no feeling of resentment is manifest. He spoke like a man who had been bent and almost broken by the weight of his afflictions and grief. "I used to be on very friendly terms with the Hatfields before and after the war. We never had any trouble till six years ago," he continued, "I hope no more of us will have to die. I'll be glad when it's all over." [Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Thursday, February 2, 1888 - Transcribes by Debbie Gibson]
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 10-Arguments were heard to-day in the United States district court on motion for writ of habeas corpus in the case of Valentine Hatfield and eight other citizens of West Virginia confined in the jail in Pike county. Attorney for West Virginia claimed these men were seized without due process of law. Judge Barr granted a writ returnable Monday week.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Saturday, February 11, 1888 - Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]
HATFIELDS AND McCOYSTHE WARRING FAMILIES OF PIKE AND LOGAN COUNTIES
A Long Series of Bloody Murders Which Have Become a Scandal in Two States. Map of the Region and Portraits of Some of the People Interested.
Pike county, Ky., and Logan county, W. Va., separated by a little stream called Tug river, have for many years been the scene of warfare, bloodshed and murder, such as one might rather expect to find among the Rocky mountains thirty years ago than in a country which has been settled more than a century. Two factions, the Hatfields of Logan county, and the McCoys, of Pike county, have been engaged in murdering each other for twenty-five years.
In 1863 Capt. James Vance, a Hatfield, an officer of the Confederate army, made a raid, during which he met one of his former friends, a McCoy, whom he shot. This was in the Hatfield-McCoy war what the firing on Sumter was to the nation. Some time after three McCoys lurked near Vance's house for the purpose of filling him with lead. Vance's wife, however, pretended to look for cow, spied out the enemy's camp and
MAP OF THE SCENE OF THE TROUBLE
informed her husband. Vance slipped out the back door, got in the enemy's rear, killed two of them and put the third to flight. Then the McCoys met one Stratton, a Hatfield, a son of Capt. Anson Hatfield, met and wooed a McCoy girl. One night he ran her off. He lived with her till be became tired of her, and then let her go.
By this time Winchester rifles became plentiful, and the warfare began to be practiced on a large scale. One day after an election three McCoys knocked down a Hatfield and cut him up into mincemeat. Whereupon Capt. Ans. Hatfield raided Pike county and carried off three offending McCoys. These McCoys, one of whom was but 15 years old, they tied to trees and amused themselves in pouring bullets into them till they were dead.
After a good many more murders, the state of Kentucky concluding that if she did not interfere there might be bloodshed, offered heavy rewards for Ans. Hatfield and several of that gang. Frank Phillips, a McCoy, was then deputy sheriff of Pike county, Ky. Taking the warrants, he led a gang into Logan county and captured the stepfather of a man for whom he had a warrant. Soon after another raid was made into Logan county, W. Va., resulting of the capture of more prisoners. Then the Logan county "regulators" gave notice that if there was any more "fooling" somebody might get hurt. This kept the peace for a while, but not long. On New Year's night about a dozen Hatfields surrounded Randall McCoy's log cabin and called on him to come out and surrender. McCoy was naturally timid about obliging them, whereupon they set the house afire. All the occupants of the house except one, including an old woman and a young girl, were shot down. The escaped man was Randall McCoy, whose wife, four sons and a daughter have been killed.
Capt. Vance, of the Hatfields, was the next to fall. The McCoys went to his house when he was away and robbed it. An old woman, Mrs. Vance, Capt. Vance and Capt. Hatfield, were returning home, when they met the McCoys. Capt. Vance ran down the mountain side he was descending at the time. As soon as the McCoys saw him they opened fire, which the captain returned. Mrs. Vance was about half way between the two. She held her ground, the bullets flying by her thick and fast. The McCoys yelled to her to sit down, but she wouldn't. They called out that they would shoot her, and she told them to shoot. Presently she heard Vance shout: "Rally on the top of the hill boys." Then she knew he was hit and delirious. The old lady told them they needn't fire any more. It is supposed that this murder was not inspired by the noble purpose of the former ones, but that it was simply to acquire possession of the captain's rifle.
And it is supposed that the fight will go on yet many years, or until some one in authority with nerve puts a stop to it.
But the violent death of the last Hatfield and the last McCoy may occur in the meantime.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Wednesday, February 15, 1888 - Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]
MRS. VANCE CAPT. VANCE
FRANK PHILLIPS CAPT. ANS. HATFIELD
THE KENTUCKY WAR
LOUISVILLE, March 3 - In the United States district court this morning the judge remanded the West Virginia prisoners, the Hatfields, to the charge of Pike county officials. This is a victory for Kentucky.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Sunday, March 4, 1888 - Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]
THE HATFIELDS ACQUITTED
LOUISVILLE, Sept. 7 - News comes by way of a Mountain county paper that the Hatfields, of Logan county, W. V., charged with the murder of old man McCoy and family, near Pikesville, Ky., had their trial at Pikesville and are acquitted.
[Source: The Quincy Daily Whig, Saturday, September 8, 1888 - Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]
Bloodshed Not Connected With the Hatfield-McCoy Feud
An Election Ground Twice Wet with Blood - Bill France's Blood Sprinkled in his Wife's face - Jim Vance's Death Due to Sinful Habits - Scared by A Mere Cow
The murders committed by the Hatfields and McCoys in their feuds as already told in The Sun, by no means comprise all the unlawful blood-spilling done in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia near Tug River, where the Hatfields and McCoys lived before they were frightened out and compelled to move back.
Dave New was shot to death at the same election grounds on Blackberry Creek where the good Deacon Ellison Hatfield was killed by the McCoy boys, and in the August following New had a quarrel with a man named Smith belonging to the Hatfield crowd, and Smith got whipped in a fair fist fight - one of the very few known in Pike County. But Montgomery Hatfield, Smith's chum, would have none of that and mounting a horse he chased New down the creek and shot him, mountain fashion in the back. Hatfield was eventually arrested for this, and tried here at Pikeville and convicted. He was sent to the penitentiary although no clearer case of premeditated murder was ever known.
Old Randolph McCoy and Bad Anse before the feud began, killed a man when out together. His name was Bill France, and he lived on Peter Creek. France was standing in his cabin door and his wife was tying his neck tie previous to his going to an election. Bad Anse and Old Rand'l' came along behind a stone fence and shot him as he stood unsuspicious of danger. But one bullet struck him. It spattered his life blood in the face of his wife as she stood before him. Both Bad Anse and Old Rand'l' have always claimed the credit of firing the fatal shot. France was killed because he was going to oppose the candidate favored by the murderers. No arrests were ever made.
Uncle Jim Vance shot Harmon McCoy on the West Virginia side of Tug River a number of years ago on account of a political dispute. It was only a common bushwhacking murder. McCoy being shot in the back from the woods.
There is one thing that made the Hatfields particularly anxious to retain Lawyer Perry Cline of this town. Cline had a favorite colored servant when he lived over near Tug River and Uncle Jim Vance shot him. Uncle Jim being a brother-in-law of Bad Answe Hatfield, the Hatfields thought Cline might be mad at the whole family. The killing was only a bit of a joke, however, and did not make a lasting impression on any one. Uncle Jim Vance and Riley Sampson were out on a lark one day going to a country gathering of some kind when they happened to "meet up" with the colored man. They thought it would be fun to scare "the coon" and so began to shoot over and around him. The pleadings of the man for mercy proved so intensely amusing that they could not resist the temptation to make a complete job of it and so they gradually shot him to death.
This whetted their appetite for blood and they went off and hunted up Charley Mounts with whom they had had a political dispute, and shot him. This Charley Mounts had a sister who was too friendly with the good Deacon Ellison Hatfield. The son who was born in consequence is known as Ellison Mounts. It was he who shot Miss Allaphare McCoy at the burning of old Rand'l McCoy's house on the night of Jan. 1.
Then there was the murder of Joe Glen on Mate Creek in Logan county. Joe was one of the few thrifty young men of the county. He saved the money he earned in logging on the river and began buying logs on his own account. He married the handsomest girl in the county and built a double log house for her. He eventually accumulated $2,000 in cash. Such prosperity at once excited his own pride and the envy of his less prosperous neighbors. Bill Smith was one of these neighbors and without even the shadow of a previous quarrel he waylaid Glen and shot him through the back. Glen fell and Smith started to go to him, the people say, to rob him. But Glen got up as smith appeared and thereupon Smith turned and fled into the woods. However, Glen died inside of ten minutes.
Smith was one of the Hatfield gang. Nevertheless, the Widow Glen married Cap Hatfield inside of a year after her husband was murdered and Cap has since used Glen's money in buying rifles, revolvers, and cartridges to shoot McCoys with.
The murder of Henry Davis by Ryer Mccoy and of Mose Christian (not the Mose indicted for killing the three McCoy boys), by Pleasant Prayter, were devoid of incident further than the ordinary quarrel followed by the waylaying of the murdered ones.
Nor are these all the murders committed within a radius of ten miles from the mouth of Blackberry Creek. A Sun reporter who was in that district three days found that people spoke of these murders much as Adrirondack guides talk about killing deer. No one would expect a guide to know all about the incidents of the killing of a deer by his neighbor nor could he remember all about every deer he had killed himself.
To print a list of stabbing and shooting affrays which did not end fatally would be like printing a list of all the people ever charged with simple assault in a New York police court. Nobody in Pike County can remember a quarter of them. Now and then a man is arrested and punished for that sort of thing but the law has so few terrors for the guilty that no one is restrained from following his bloodthirsty inclinations.
While infractions of the law which are the result of passion are seldom punished (Pike county has never had a legal hanging) other infractions meet with certain reward. A man who deliberately obstructs a public highway, even of the sort graded only two feet wide, may be fined $2,000 or imprisoned 2,000 days in default of the money. If a tree falls across the road and the landowner fails to remove it he will certainly be indicted and fined for, under Kentucky law, every Grand Juror must report and indict his neighbors for all infractions of the law which he has observed and he will do it every time except in case of murder or assault with deadly weapons. He will often do it then, but such indictments are not usually pressed.
Not only do the mountaineers have loose notions about the shedding of human blood, they do not have an orthodox reverence for the marriage tie. The death of Uncle Jim Vance who was shot by Frank Phillips during a McCoy raid into West Virginia, has been already described. When a Sun reporter spoke to the widow of Uncle Jim, she said:
"Poor old man; he's dead now. If it hadn't been for a woman he'd have been alive yet, and so would Allsphare McCoy, I reckon."
Uncle Jim although the brother-in-law of Bad Anse Hatfield kept out of the Hatfield-McCoy feud until last fall. He was considered a good friend by the McCoys. But a little over a year ago he fell in love with a Pike county woman and took her home to live with him in the one-roomed cabin on his farm on Thacker Creek in Logan County. Contrary to the mountain custom, Mrs. Vance made a big row, and her oldest boy, Jim, sided with her. Now, while Uncle Jim was able to control his own family when he was in the house, he could not prevent their making life a burden for his new woman whenever he went away. So she refused to stay there with him and he took her to the house of his son John on the same creek. But John and his wife refused to receive her and so Uncle Jim put her up behind him on his mule and rode off to Bad Anse's opposite the mouth of Peter Creek. Bad Anse at once received her and Uncle Jim was at liberty to visit her whenever he chose.
This delighted the sinful old man and he became anxious to show his gratitude. Bad Anse was willing and suggested that they kill old Rand'l' McCoy. Uncl Jim was pleased with the idea and the result was the awful tragedy already described in The Sun.
Young Cap Hatfield, the most cold-blooded and at the same time cowardly of the Hatfield gang, is described in the circular issued by Alf. Burnett's detectives as having a scar on his abdomen corresponding to one on his back the result of a bullet passing clear through him. The wound would not have been received had he regarded his marriage pledge. He was at a frolic over on Mate Creek with a fair young mountain woman not his wife. A young fellow named Jake Spaulding stole her away from Cap by fair means which was something remarkable considering the heroic standing which men like Cap have in the eyes of mountain maidens. However, Cap ran for his rifle and Spaulding had to run to save his life. Then Doc Baysden a friend of Spaulding took up the quarrel and shot Cap through the body. The bullet pierced the stomach and portions of undigested food passed through the wound; but Cap recovered nevertheless. It is a singular fact that none of the Hatfields has ever gone hunting Baysden and the explanation probably is that they are afraid to do so.
As told in the story of the feud one of the nine men who burned old Rand'l's house and shot Calvin and Miss Allaphare has been arrested. It is Charley Gillespie. Old Bad Anse fell in love with Charley's mother last winter and at once gave Charley's father notice to leave the country. The old man left and then Charley having expressed disapproval of such a proceeding was told to leave also which he did. Then Anse divided his time between the Gillespie farm and the one he has rented on Island Creek.
Charley went to the house of a cousin in Knapp's valley and Detective Dan Cunningham while hunting for a man on another charge, happened to hear of the Charley Gillespie who had been run away by old Bad Anse. He wrote a letter to Charley and then carried it to the house of the cousin. The letter said that two of Charley's sisters were dying from the scourge of the mountains, flux. The letter was read by the cousin's wife and suspicion disarmed, but Charley was not at home. He said he would be there that evening. So Cunningham went down the road and waited till the lad he is only 17 came. The boy weakened at once and told the whole story.
The only hope of clearing out the criminals and ending the feud is in the efforts of detectives working for the rewards, aided by the evil passions of the criminals themselves. The detectives do not find it so easy to arrest the indicted people who stay at home as to arrest those who flee. Dan Cunningham who is called Long Tom by the Hatfields; John Knapper, known as Wild Bill and T. M. Brown made a raid into Kentucky after one of the McCoy gang of raiders named Peter Smith in August last. They were armed with repeating rifles. As they walked along the road that follows Peter Creek and when withwo two miles of their victim's house, Cunningham heard a voice behind him. Turning around he saw a gang of men crossing the road into the creek bed. At the same moment another gang appeared in the road ahead and a third on the opposite side of the creek abreast of the detectives.
The moon was just sinking and the detectives were in plain sight, but the friends of Smith for such the three gangs were evidently wished to torture as well as kill the detectives for they did not shoot immediately as they might have done. Led by Cunningham the three detectives jumped under a beech tree and thence over a low fence into a corn field on their left. It was thirty yards across that field to the foot of the mountain and thirty hotter yards were seldom seen than those were for the fleeing men. There were forty-three men among Smith's friends and all were firing at the waving cornstalks and in the direction of the noise made by the detectives. The detectives stopped however, at intervals and returned the fire until they reached the mountain and then they climbed its steep side among the timber in comparative safety. It was a bee hive shaped peak and on the very top they sat down to rest until daylight while the friends of Smith placed a line of pickets all around the mountain's base and up in the gaps that separated it from the two adjoining peaks.
At the first peep of day the detectives started down toward the gap on the east side. Near the bottom they were halted and the firing began anew. Away ran the detectives down a dry brook bed that wound away to the south and east, while the Kentuckians cut across through the woods so as to head them off. After running 500 yards the detectives stopped and walked back up the stream over the other mountain and escaped. Dan Cunningham had nine bullet holes in his clothes and the other two nearly as many. Wild Bill had a knapsack full of biscuit shot off his back and the three men lived on raw pork and onions during the two days it required to get out of danger.
Cunningham was once captured by Frank Phillips and a McCoy gang. They drove him up a small branch into the woods as is the custom there, so that his remains would not prove offensive to people passing on the highway. But before killing him they gave him a chance to talk and he told them he was in Pike county only to make arrangements for arresting the Hatfields and they let him off. He was again arrested in Pikeville and held three days but got his liberty with the same story. Although nominally in the hands of the legal authorities it is admitted in Pikeville that he would have been murdered had he not cleared himself. He was arrested on the charge of kidnapping a McCoy raider into West Virginia. It was T. M. Brown who had kidnapped the raider, however.
That the evil passions of the chief criminals will eventually get all of them into jail and possibly hang them is apparent from incidents of the conflict.
Frank Phillips as already told is in the power of Jonce Hatfield's wife. Quite as foolish was his quarrel with Sam Hurley, a desperado from Buchanan county, West Virginia. Hurley was one of a class of men who make their living by fighting for other people. They act as body guards for outlaws. He came over to Kentucky and being handy with a gun and of stalwart frame was hired by Phillips. He once saved Phillips from Detective Dan Cunningham who was in ambush but dared not attack the two.
Early in September Phillips met Jim Hurley on Peter Creek. Jim was an uncle of Sam and a fugitive from justice in Buchanan county. To get the reward of $100 offered for him Phillips arrested him and took him to the authorities in Buchanan. It took a lot of nerve to do this in the face of the $1,000 offered for Phillips and which Buchanan constables would have been glad to collect but that is the sort of a man Phillips is. He got away clear but a gang of Jim Hurley's friends chased him clear to Peter Creek. They were guided by Wild Bill Knapper and eventually joined by Sam Hurley. Phillips's body guard who was disgusted at the arrest of Jim. Wild Bill got a ball through his heel in the fight that followed and Budd Hurley was shot through the body, but will recover although reported dead. The fight occurred on the Pawpaw fork of Knox Creek as the Virginians were retreating. The fight occurred on Friday night, Sept. 21. Phillips has lost in Hurley an able friend and made of him a determined enemy.
The effect of such a feud on the community at large is not pleasant to contemplate. When the McCoy raids first began to bring prisoners to Pikeville jail a guard of seven men heavily armed was kept around the jail while everyone that owned a gun looked it over to see that it was in order for a raid from Bad Anse's Logan Regulators were expected every night. Men sat around the corners with rifles in their hands and but one subject ? the probabilities of a Hatfield raid - was discussed.
Jim McCoy says that one night as about twenty men sat on the corner opposite the Court House telling what they would do when the Hatfields came, fingering the levers of their repeaters, meantime the sound of hurrying hoofs was heard up the road. Everyone stopped talking and then a wild yell was heard above the sounds of the hoofs.
"Great Lord, it's the Hatfields!" said a trembling voice in the crowd on the corner and with that the twenty men fled over fences and across gardens wild with terror. One man stubbed his toe and fell headlong. Before he could get up again the hurrying hoofs were abreast of him and getting on his knees he began to pray. Then hearing no guns he ventured to open his eyes. Instead of the Hatfield Regulators he beheld an irate citizen on a mule trying with much profanity to head off a runaway cow.
Old Rand'l' McCoy was the head of the guard over the jail. He received $1.50 a day for his services. The guard has been discontinued since it has been learned that the Hatfields were quite as much frightened by the McCoy raids as the McCoys had been in anticipation of counter raids, while Cap Hatfield had tried twice to kill the son of his Uncle Elias Hatfield for refusing to take part in the New Year's night burning of Old Rand'l's house, thus dividing the Hatfield forces.
The effect on the children is particularly bad. They all want to go killing McCoys or Hatfields, according to the county they live in. Lawyer Perry Cline has a bright boy of five called Jake. One day two of the wives of the Mayhorn boys (of the Hatfield gang now in jail in Pike) came to Pikeville to see their husbands. They dined with Mr. Cline, who is attorney for their husbands. The conversation at dinner was altogether of the trouble. When it was over Mr. Cline moved his chair back from the table and dropped his revolver from his hip pocket.
"Pap," said little Jake, "give me yo' 'volver."
"Why," said Mr. Cline, "what for"
"I want to shoot a Hatfield."
The child was thoroughly in earnest. The children listen to the stories of bloodshed with rapt attention. The boys vow they will become bushwhackers as soon as they can get the weapons, and the girls learn to form their ideals of heroes out of such materials as Cap Hatfield and old Bad Anse. It is far worse than reading Indian killing stories, for here the youth not only hears the shedding of human blood spoken of approving, but he often sees the corpse that has been shot to death.
When I reached Tug River I noticed that Bill Hunt's boy was rather nervous in his way of looking around but as he said nothing I paid little attention to him until I asked how far it was to the spot where the McCoy boys had been tied to the bushes and shot. Then he said "reckoned he didn't know." Jim had told me the boy had been to the place often. I saw then that the boy was terribly excited about something.
A short distance down below was a log school house, with the children enjoying the noon hour. We went there. Somehow the children lost interest in their play as the stranger approached and went behind the building while the teacher stepped inside the building and kept out of sight. I told Bill Hunt's boy to invite him out, but the lad had to tell who I said I was before the teacher would appear. I said I wanted to see the ground where the boys were killed and showed him my credentials. He looked t my guide a moment and then made a diagram of the ground by which I easily recognized it. When I got within about twenty rods of the place my guide stopped his horse. He said he didn't care about seeing it. So I went on alone. When I got back to him I said:
"Now, then, we'll go to Shang Ferrall's."
"Yaas, she." He said. "Jest go over yon side and three mile up."
"All right." I said. "Go on."
But he did't move. I looked at him and his face was wrinkled up like the face of a schoolboy who expects a whipping.
"Well." I said. "aren't you going."
No one could mistake his manner. He was so frightened at the thought of going into West Virginia with a stranger who, if not a detective, was likely to be taken for one by any stray band of Regulators we might meet that he was all in a tremble. I was sorry for him.
"My boy, you aren't afraid are you" I asked.
"N-no, she: not to say afraid, she. I-I' this yeres a borryed horse, she and I've got ter git him home. I'm right smart late now, she."
I paid him the dollar I had agreed with Jim to give him and he rode away on a gallop. I walked up the road as far as the school house and crossed over the river on some rafts of saw logs stranded on a sand bar. Bill McCoy lived opposite. Bill is a storekeeper. His stock is kept hanging on the walls and piled in the corners of the log cabin of one room in which he lives. He said trade was "tol'ble." And that I could "get to eat dinner, if the ole woman is willin". Which she was.
After a dinner of bacon and string beans, hot corn bread and hot biscuit, I invited Bill to show me the way to Shang Ferrall's. I was getting anxious to have a guide for I thought that in case I met the Logan Regulators they would be more likely to welcome me if I were accompanied by a friend of theirs. I didn't like the idea of being mistaken for a detective by men who were said to shoot at detectives from the brush.
Bill said Shang lived in the third house right up the river and it was't but three miles there. All right; I'd give him half a dollar to go there with me. Half a dollar is the price of a day's work in the corn field in that country.
"I kain't," said Bill. "Fact is stranger, I hain't got time. I've a heap o' work to do; I have, shore."
Bill had been holding a wooden bench down all the time I was eating and I do not know how much longer for he was there when I arrived and when I left and when I returned two hours and a half later.
I walked up the road alone. As the mountaineers would have said it was tol'ble lonesome after finding two natives who were afraid to go with me. Two miles up the road I met three men carrying surveyor" instruments, who said, "How do you do, sir" instead of "Howdy!" Besides this their faces and dress showed that they were not mountain people. I was "right" glad to see them. We sat down and talked. They were running a line for the extension of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, I said I was a New York Reporter.
"You'll find this the devil's own country, but they won't disturb you. You're all right if they don't mistake you for a detective. They are suspicious of strangers, though."
The surveyors all wore heavy leather leggings.
"Plenty of rattlers in the mountains," said one. "We have them biting into the leggings every day. Sometimes their teeth stick and we have them dragging to our legs. But after you've learned all about these mountain bushwhackers you'll feel like shaking hands with the next rattler you meet. The rattler never strikes without first warning his victim."
Shang Bill Ferrall was at home and a big hearty fellow, quite different from ordinary mountaineer, he was. Shang was really at work and he was sorry he could not go with me; but he would get me a guide and sent a messenger at once for George Duty.
"Tell him," said Shang, "that I said the gentleman is from New York, and he is all right."
George came with two horses. He wanted to know all about the reporter's mission. What did he want to see the Hatfields for? What was the use of going where the fights had taken place? Of course if the gentleman must why it was all right. He reckoned he could find the Hatfields over Logan way. So that was decided on, although George said the Hatfields had been bothered right smart and a heap of detectives was coming into the mountains and he reckoned people were getting suspicious of strangers.
We rode back down Tug River and up Mate Creek. The school house where the McCoy boys had been confined and tortured before they were murdered had been burned down. George didn't know how it happened. He heard people say that likely enough somebody from Pike had set it on fire; perhaps one of the McCoys did it, though he wasn't going to accuse any gentleman of violating the civil law. As he said this Mr. Duty screwed his face up exactly as Bill Hunt's boy had done, so that he looked like a boy who expected a whipping. It was a fashion among the majority of the mountain men whom I met between Tug River and Logan Court House. They were undersized in body and mind. They had the bearing of men accustomed to being imposed on. An able-bodied fellow like Shang Ferrall or Steve Atkins with whom I stayed that night, could break one of them in two across his knee. It appeared to me that the few big fellows of the country were not only able but willing to domineer over their pusilianimous neighbors and thus two very distinct classes of mountain men had been developed. But even the big one might be contaminated as I thought after I had stayed over night with Steve Atkins by the pulsillanimous spirit of their puny neighbors.
We went to bed early as is the fashion there and after having walked some eleven or twelve miles and ridden on horseback twelve or fourteen more, a species of transportation wholly new to me, I was ready to go to sleep quickly. Mountains are comfortable, anyhow. Besides a stranger is made to feel at home wherever he stops. At midnight I was awakened by the loud barking of the dogs and the next minute there was the clatter of a gang of galloping horses stopping before the cabin. George Duty who had been sleeping with me was awake and trembling so that the bed quivered. I was in a condition to quiver myself for I supposed it was the Regulators.
Steve jumped from his bed and rushed to the door.
"Hello, Steve!" said a voice.
"Hello! We've got the long feller here." said Steve.
As I was the only stranger there and was over six feet tall I was justified in supposing Steve referred to me. Steve thought it was a gang of McCoys after me, as he acknowledged next morning and that I was a detective travelling as a reporter. He was willing to betray his guest before he was asked to do so. The next minute the horsemen relieved both Steve's and my suspense.
"We done stole a gal," he said. "and want to git ter stay with ye while yo' go to Logan for a license." It was a runaway wedding party of eight men and a girl. Bill Hunt's boy was in the party. Had they been either Hatfields or McCoys seeking for the blood of "the long feller." Steve would not have raised a hand to explain the reporter's peaceful mission. And yet Steve is big and hearty and courageous in a fight with a bear, or in a hand to hand conflict with a man but when it comes to facing either the Hatfield or the McCoy faction he wilts. He admitted it by saving in explanation next day that "he didn"t want no trouble with ary side."
Steve's house was much better than the average cabin. It was large and comfortable, and there was a smaller cabin in the rear, where the cooking was done. Steve had a stove, too, but at night the family gathered around the coal fire in the fireplace in the main cabin and smoked stoneware pipes with fishpole stems and spit on the hearth, just as poorer families do. The wife smoked and spit as well as her husband but a daughter of 17 who would be called handsome in face and figure anywhere did not smoke so far as I know. George Duty told me next day that while the girls in the mountains generally learn to smoke as soon as the boys do, Miss Atkins was going to be "like city people and not learn." I noticed that none of the mountain girls wore bangs, but that they all combed their hair either down on each side of their foreheads or back over a roll. Pompadour fashion. Their dresses were either of calico or of home-spun cotton and wool goods. Miss Atkins wore the latter. Her dress was not of fashionable cut, but its folds clung to her at every step revealing a shapely form in a way that would have delighted some of the more daring of the tennis players one sees in Central Park and would have delighted as well those most accustomed to such sights. I did not see a woman chewing snuff.
Early on Thursday morning we resumed our journey. We travelled some nine miles and passed over a divide when we came to a little cabin on the mountain side that did not have a hill of corn or beans or sweet potatoes about it. There was a garden patch however, with a quantity of tobacco growing in it. We stopped before the door and I looked in. There was an old man on one side of the fireplace smoking a pipe and playing a fiddle and keeping time with his foot. On the other side was an old woman smoking a pipe and keeping time with her foot. Not another soul, not even a dog was in sight. George called the old man to open the door and asked the road to Logan Court House. That astonished me.
"Have you ever been to Logan" said I after we left the old man.
"You generally go some other way, I suppose"
"Shang Ferrall said the straight road was up Mate Creek and over the divide to the mud fork of Island Creek. We aren't going that way, are we?"
"Why didn't you go that way?"
"We'll shorely git thar' this way."
Bad Anse Hatfield, his son Cap, Ellison Mounts and Tom Mitchell all live on the mud fork of Island Creek and the truth was that George had been afraid to risk going that way and had taken me more than five miles out of my way in order to be "shore to git thar." It looked suspicious to go piloting a stranger along a road from Kentucky straight to the home of these men.
In Logan, however, where I arrived after riding about twenty-seven miles, I had no difficultly in seeing the Hatfields. It was over forty miles thence to the line, and no detective could run a Hatfield that far because a rescuing party would head him off.
Old Bad Anse always comes to town wearing an overcoat no matter what the weather. The coat conceals no one knows how many revolvers, while a rifle is carried openly. He is only about five feet eight inches tall but he weighs 190 and is a man of immense strength. Although over 50 years old his hair is black with gray. He is cordial in his manner and not at all rough in his speech. His most striking feature is his nose which is hooked and gives him with his keen eyes the look of an eagle. It is the universal testimony even of the McCoys that Bad Answe is a good neighbor to a neighbor when not mad at him or in love with his wife.
Bad Anse tells the story of the feud more frankly than either of his brothers, Elias and Valentine and he makes no sort of apology for the outrages of Cap and Jonce his sons.
Elias says as Valentine did at the end of every few sentences that he is unjustly hounded by Kentucky officers because of the misdeeds of Cap and Jonce. Cap has twice tried to shoot a son of Elias for refusing to turn out and help in the raid of last New Year's night.
"Cap is a fool." Elias said. "He don't know no better than to drive away his friends like that damn Phillips. He'll done git shot, shore. I do't ask no mo'n room to pass on the street; I do't want the half the road, but if I kain't have room to pass I won't stand no mo' crowdin!"
That was interpreted to me by a citizen as meaning that if Cap ever again got in the way of the uncle there would be a shooting match in which the uncle on account of superior bravery and greater experience in such matters would probably be the victor. But if Elias kills Cap he will have to shoot his own brother, Bad Anse, the people say, or "git killed up hisself."
The road from Pikeville to Logan as I travelled it is a little over eighty miles long. From nine miles west of Tug River to a point where we struck the north fork of Island Creek about twenty-five miles east of the river, the road is only a bridle path and could not be followed by an ordinary buckboard let alone a carriage. The soil is clay and the valleys are so narrow that for miles one does not see any level patch of land above three rods wide. The farms are wholly composed of fields that lie on the mountain side. They usually rise at angles varying from thirty to fifty degrees, and there are plenty of fields so steep that a mule cannot climb them. They are cultivated solely with a hoe.
The fields all adjoin the streams and brooks, and the tops of the mountains above the upper side of the fields are covered with virgin forests. The mountains all rise either to peaks or edges. There is not a table land in Pike or Logan county.
As the soil is poor and full of stones a stranger wonders how it happens that the country is so thickly populated. The explanation is in the number of children reared in each family. Old Rand'l' McCoy had fifteen children, of whom two died natural deaths. Dan Henseley, a neighbor on Tug River was the father of seventeen daughters, every one of whom lived and go married, and so it goes. It is the family of less than a dozen children, instead of one of a greater number that excites remark in that country. As the boys grow up they buy or settle on the best land to be had and so they have crowded the timber off of nearly every branch in the mountains, but the titles to the land as Judge Dukes of Charlottesville, Va., said to me are "in a chaotic condition."
In Logan I stopped at Buskirk's Hotel. Here is a notice that was posted conspicuously in the hallway:
All that eat at this house must go to the Register and register and after eating call in the office and pay unless you have a special understanding with the proprietor of the house. Many have called and eaten and said they had the money. I suppose they have it yet for they never paid. J. B. BusKirk.
A good wagon road runs over the mountains from Logan to Brownstown, fifty two miles away on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad but although people are travelling over the road both ways nearly every day in the year and the mail is carried both ways every day there is no public conveyance for travelers in Logan there are two saddle horses for hire and the stranger who wants to go to Brownstown can pay in advance for five days use ($5) and take the horse. The mail carrier leads it back. At Brownstown there are two horses and two buckboards to be hired. Prospectors for coal sometimes keep these rigs away for weeks. When I was ready to leave Logan both horses were out of town. The owner was surprised to learn that I preferred walking to waiting a day and a half for one of the horses to get home.
I walked twenty-seven miles the first day and six the next before I was able to get a horse. In every case where a man owned one that he was willing to let, the beast was hired out.
Although Logan has a population of less than 200 and only five stores all told, It sustains a newspaper, the Logan Democrat. I saw the editor and was astonished to find unmistakable evidences of prosperity about him and his office. I asked him where he made his money and for answer he pointed to an advertising page of his paper. The most conspicuous line on it read:
"Protect your Homes."
in type only a little less bold were the words: "The _______ revolver is the best."
The leading manufacturers of firearms in the country were all represented on the page.
(Source: The Sun, New York, N. Y., October 21, 1888, page 8, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)
SOME TRYING EXPERIENCES WITH THE HATFIELD GANG OF OUTLAWS
Through the northern spurs of the Alleghenics the name of Hatfield is a terror. Devil Anse and his clan have for years and almost with impunity ravaged the mountain region of four states, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and TennesseAllegheniesder, arson, and other crimes of violence. The murders perpetrated by them in the Hatfield-McCoy feud are only a small part of their crimes. Nowhere in criminal annals is there another family with so foul and bloody a record.
In their own home region of Southern West Virginia their dominance is complete. There is a saying there backed by a long and grim record that to offend a Hatfield is the surest form of suicide. Even the officers of the law seldom interfere with them and though the aggregate of indictments against the clan amounts up into the hundreds, its members armed to the teeth not only ride free in their own mountains, but even visit the cities unmolested when they choose. If they take a grudge against a man they hunt him to his death and their list of victims was a long one before any man, except the McCoys raiding in reprisal from across the border of Kentucky, dared interfere with them. But now they are being hunted in their own state by a man who has already captured four of them and sent one to the gallows. This is Deputy United States Marshal Daniel W. Cunningham of the district of West Virginia.
Originally Cunningham was a partisan of the Hatfields. He had been a recipient of the surley and dangerous hospitality of Devil Anse and had heard his side of the Hatfield-McCoy history. Shortly after that he stated at the house of Jim Vance, one of the Hatfield leaders, who had been killed while raiding in Kentucky and heard from Vance's widow the story of the butchery of three defenseless children by a force of Hatfields in the first act in carrying out the declaration of extermination against the McCoys. Once convinced of the truth of this the marshal made a resolve to capture and turn over to justice every participant in that crime who should cross his path and within a month he had made his first capture.
This was taking of Charles Gillespie, who after the murders, went to his aunt's home in Tazewell county, Virginia, just across the line. The house stands on a remote mountain reached by a horse trail. Thither Cunningham made his way, pretending to be a friend of Gillespie's. At the house he learned that Gillespie spent his days in the mountain forest coming in only at night. In a clearing of the woods he found the young desperado, carrying the inevitable rifle. Whistling a cheerful tune, the marshal walked along the trail until he met Gillespie, whose suspicions were disarmed for he never supposed that a man hunter would be whistling on the trail. As they came face to face, Cunningham caught the young fellow by the wrists. Gillespie struggled but the marshal's muscles are scarcely less hard than the steel handcuffs which he snapped upon the desperado's wrists, ending the fight. Gillespie confessed to his part of the murders, substantiating the story told by Mrs. Vance. Cunningham took him to Kentucky, where he was tried and convicted, but afterwards broke jail and escaped.
While in Pike County, Kentucky, Cunningham learned of a plot to bush-whack and murder Frank Phillips, a partisan of the McCoy family. Ellison Hatfield, Black Elliott Hatfield and Tom Mitchell, murderers of the McCoy children, and also of Miss Allaphare and Colvin McCoy, in the attack on old Randall McCoy's house, had planned to go from Jim Vance's house, which is a few miles within the West Virginia line, over the border into Pike County and lay for Philips there. Cunningham planned a counter-ambush, in which he enlisted Bill Napper, an experienced hunter and a young man named Gibson of less experience, but equal gameness. The marshal knew that any one of the Hatfield gang would kill him on sight, but that if he killed any of them, he must stand trial for it, as the state administration of West Virginia, was, for reasons of its own, friendly to the Hatfields. It looked like a dubious proposition for the three Hatfield men had Winchesters but Cunningham determined to have a try at it. He picked out Ellison, the biggest and most dangerous of the trio for himself assigning Black Elliott to Napper and Mitchell to Gibson. Concealing themselves behind trees, they waited for their men near a creek bottom along which the bushwhackers were sure to come.
When they came Ellson was in the lead, walking along the bank. Cunningham stood close behind his tree, with a rock in one hand and his rifle in the other. The other two Hatfields were a distance behind, while Cunningham's aids were further up the bank. When Ellson was within a few years of Cunningham, the marshal moving slowly around his tree to keep out of sight, stepped on a crackling twig. Instantly the rifle of the desperado was leveled but before he could fire, the rock took him on the chin and he wavered for a second. In that second, Cunningham was upon him. At the same moment Gibson opened fire and Mitchell and Black Elliott fired back along the creek bed pursued by Cunningham's assistants, who left him in full confidence that he could handle Ellison.
This proved to be a big contract however. The marshal had wrenched away Ellison's gun by which time the outlaw had recovered from his surprise and began to put up a furious fight. The rock had struck him only a glancing blow and had not impaired his powers. He was as big a man as his antagonist, and almost as strong. At the first wrench after they had clinched, both went over the bank. In the rocky creek bed they struggled, now in the water now out of it; never on their feet; the Hatfield tearing and biting at his captor like a wild beast; the marshal striving to get the handcuffs on his man. Endurance and condition won the battle. Moonshine whiskey is bad for the wind and when Napper and Mitchell returned, empty handed, Ellison was tied and handcuffed while Cunningham was washing his bruised and bloody face in the creek. Cunningham took Ellison across the river to Kentucky, where they found Bud McCoy waiting with twelve men. The McCoys called on Cunningham to give up Ellison Hatfield to them and at that Ellison broke down, cried and begged and confessed to the murder of Allaphare McCoy. Cunningham asked Bud McCoy what he intended to do with Ellison.
"Kill him and cut him up into inch pieces."
"Then you'll kill me first," said Cunninham, lifting up his rifle.
After a consultation, McCoy promised to land Ellison Hatfield in jail without maltreatment, a promise which he kept. Ellison was tried, convicted and hung. The Hatfields swore that they would have Cunningham's life he ever came into their country. Within a short time he gave them the chance by going after Ellick Messer, another member of the child-murdering expedition. Young Gibson went with him. They found Messer near the Hatfield settlement sitting on a log with his rifle across his knees and captured him without a fight. At the station where they took the train for Kentucky, they encountered a dozen of the Hatfield clan, fully armed who had heard of the capture and had liquored up and declared their intention of blowing Cunningham to bits. The worst that they did after contemplating the obvious readiness of Cunningham's and Gibson's rifles, was to curse compediously and assure the captive that they would derail the train and get him out. He was taken to Kentucky, confessed and got a life sentence. It was afterward discovered that before joining the Hatfield gang he had murdered the three children of a man against who he had a grudge.
Thereafter whenever Cunningham was in the southwestern part of the state, the Hatfields followed him. That they never succeeded in catching him would seem to indicate lack of zeal on their part, difficult to reconcile with the fervor of their threats. Three years ago the marshal gave them an excellent chance to get him had they been on the alert. In a drunken revel, they had instituted a little sport with a poor woochopper named Duffy, which ended characteristically in their driving him into a pond, where he was drowned. His nine-year-old boy they took to bring up in their clan. The boy's uncle heard of it and advertised a reward for the recovery of the child. Nobody came forward to apply for the job until a friend suggested that Mr. Duffy write to Dan Cunningham. That official took three days off, rode alone into the Hatfield homestead, grabbed him up on his horse and galloped away. If the Hatfield followed, he did not know it. Thus was spoiled an outlaw in the making.
In Gilbert, West Virginia, lives Doc Ellis, a well-to-do timber owner. Against him the notorious Jonce Hatfield had sworn a grudge for some fancied grievance and sent word that he would kill him on sight. As it was a great detriment to Ellis' business to have Hatfield gunning for him, he hired a crack shot, named Hopkins, to keep watch for Jonce and shoot first. Neither Hopkins nor Jonce had any luck in their shooting when Dan Cunningham came to Gilbert and put up at Ellis' house. Ellis told him of Jonce's threat.
"I've got a little business with Jonce myself." Said Cunningham. "Reckon I'll hang around for a few days."
Two evenings later Hopkins came in and said two men with Winchesters were laying out in a ragwood patch near the house. One of them he thought was Jonce Hatfield.
"We'll go out and get them," said Cunningham.
Hopkins was willing and a lumberman who had dropped in volunteered to go along. Counting on Ellis the party was four strong, all armed. But Jonce had a reputation as a dead shot, had killed a dozen men, and he and his companion had all the advantage of the position. Cunningham led his forces out of the house by a rear exit and around a gully to a spot near the ragweed patch. He had made a study of the ground about the home previously and knew just how to go ahead. With Ellis close behind him he crept up close to where Jonce crouched. The outlaw had his gun pointed at a lighted window of the Ellis house, waiting for a figure to show. The curtain was down. It always was in that house, for just such a reason
"Don't reckon we'll get him tonight," the attacking party heard Jonce once mutter to his companion.
"Shall I shoot the d__n murderer?" whispered Ellis
"No, replied Cunningham," Iwant him alive.
Then he broke over and went straight for Jonce. The Hatfield wheeled, but Cunningham's rifle pointed straight between his eyes. The other man dropped on all fours scuttled away through the woods. Jonce stood paralyzed.
"Hands up,"commanded Cunningham. The outlaw hesitated.
"Reach for the stars," "Quick!" came the sharp order.
The outlaw's rifle fell and his hands went up. Cunningham took from him a 44-calibre revolver and a fine English dirk and left him in charge of Ellis while he went after the other man. The man was soon found and captured. He was Auk Dameron and as Cunningham knew nothing at that time against him he was released. This proved to be an error for it was afterwards found that he had broken jail under sentence of death for the murder of a deputy sheriff in Virginia. Cunningham took Jonce Hatfield to Kentucky, where he broke down and confessed. He is now serving a life sentence for the murder of the McCoy children. Naturally that made the Hatfields more savage than ever against Cunningham, and they redoubled their threats. Now, whenever he is in that country he gets warnings that bands of mounted Hatfields are following him. But, as before, they don't catch up. He holds the clan in contempt.
"If they can get you foul they'll kill you," he says, "but in the open they are all cowards."
It is not part of Cunningham's duty as a federal officer to hunt Hatfields. He does it as he would hunt rattlesnakes and as his warrants for moonshine whiskey distillers often takes him to the Hatfield country he is likely to get more of them. Cunningham is not the sort of a man that one would like to have on his trail. He is more than six feet tall, broad in proportion, beautifully muscled, possessed of catlike agility and as swift as he is sure with a rifle or revolver and in that country swiftness is a necessary accompaniment of sureness. He is always in the hardest training as he neither drinks smokes or chews. In manner and appearance he is quiet and unostentatious and when going about the country is commonly taken for an itinerant clergyman.
(Marietta Daily Leader, (Marietta, Ohio) April 17, 1901, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)
KILLED IN A TUNNEL
Elias Hatfield, Noted for His Connection with the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, is Dead
Elias Hatfield, noted for his connection with the McCoy-Hatfield feud, was killed in a tunnel near here Sunday. He was walking through the tunnel when a train overtook him. His body was mangled. That it wasn't a rifle ball which killed him is surprising. None of the Hatfields probably ever expected to die in any other way.
Hatfield was released from jail two years ago after serving part of his sentence for killing Sheriff H. E. Ellis, one of the McCoys. That was one of the last murders of the famous feud, and it was one of the few for which a Hatfield was ever convicted. Since getting out of prison Elias Hatfield has been living near the place at which he was killed.
Elias Hatfield was one of the Hatfield brothers. Their father was "Devil Anse" Hatfield, the leader of the clan. Among the other brothers were "Cap" Hatfield, famous for his break from jail some years ago and subsequent recapture; John, Troy and Ellison. They were all wanted for the Ellis murder, which occurred in 1897, but they got away. Elias Hatfield was the youngest of the brothers, but he had as many murders to his credit as any. He was only 17 at the time of the Ellis murder. He was a good shot and had all the other characteristics of the family, even a hatred for the McCoys.
The Hatfield-McCoy feud started long before the civil war. Local history has it that a dispute over ownership of some hogs engendered the strife. There have been many fights, but perhaps the most famous was on account of Elias. He was accused by one of the McCoys at a reunion of the two families of having stolen money and his brother Ellison defended him. Ellison Hatfield and Talbot McCoy were in a duel when another McCoy shot Ellison. Then came a bloody battle, which resulted in the Hatfields seizing three of the McCoys, taking them over the line into the McCoy's own state, Kentucky, tying them to trees and shooting them full of holes. It was in 1882 when the Hatfields thus wiped out the insult to their younger brother.
The father and the other brothers are still alive. The only one of the brothers who was ever shot by the McCoys was Ellison and that was the fight over Elias back in 1882. Reports have had this feud patched up numberless times, but in that region few deeds of violence ever occur which are not scribed to the hatred of the two families, dating back two generations. Bluefield (W. Va.) Cor. New York Sun.
(The Bee, (Earlington, KY) January 12, 1905, page 4, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)
"DEVIL ANSE" HATFIELD DEAD
"Devil Anse" Hatfield noted leader of the Hatfield-McCoy feud of thirty years ago is dead. Word of his death Thursday night in the Hatfield home at Island Creek, Logan County, West Virginia, was received Friday. Pneumonia caused his death.
Anderson (Devil Anse) Hatfield was one of the leaders of the historic feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families in the mountains of Northern Kentucky. Shot at from ambush and in hand-to-hand combat scores of times with the McCoys, he had always predicted he would live to die a natural death.
The celebrated feud of the Hatfield family with the McCoys was started over some hogs, one of the Hatfields winning a law suit that was brought to determine their ownership.
(The Mt. Sterling Advocate, (Mt. Sterling, KY) January 11, 1921, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)
PARDONS BUT BANISHES HIM
Leader of Famous Kentucy Feudists Released, but Must Leave State
Frankfort, Ky., July 23 - Under promise never again to set foot in the state of Kentucky, Johnson Hatfield, one of the survivors of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, has been pardoned from the Kentucky penitentiary, where he was serving a life sentence for murder.
Hatfield has been in failing health since his commitment four years ago and it is feared he will die. The McCoys, who, the Hatfields assert, tried to exterminate them requested acting Gov. Thorne to pardon Hatfield making an affidavit that the convicted man was not a member of the band that killed some of the McCoys in a famous midnight raid in August 1888. They declared he was ten miles away ill in bed.
Gov. Beckham refused to pardon Hatfield, but acting Gov. Thorne said that as the Hatfields and McCoys after years of warfare desire peace and wish to cross out all old scores and to settle all differences he thought law abiding citizens should lend them a helping hand.
Originated Many Years Ago
It was before the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion that the Hatfield-McCoy feud originated. The case was the disputed ownership of two bristly mountain hogs. Over these Anse Hatfield and Randolph McCoy had a disagreement. They went to law and Hatfield was beaten.
This however did not settle the dispute by any means. All the relatives of both men took sides and shortly after the trial "Bill" Slayton, nephew of Floyd Hatfield son of one of the witnesses was found dead by a bullet wound. Two of the McCoys were tried for the crime and acquitted. Soon afterward Jonce Hatfield became enamored of Rosanna McCoy and kidnapped her.
Occasional deaths occurred on both sides up to 1882, when there was a veritable reign of terror in Kentucky. "Cap" Hatfield son of Anse became the leader of his faction and on election day in that year Ellison Hatfield was shot by one of the McCoys. Several of the latter were arrested and the Hatfields ambushed the sheriff, took from him three of the McCoys and shot them dead.
Jeff McCoy Shot Dead
Two years later Jeff McCoy was captured and shot dead in the presence of his sister. It was a war of extermination. Now and then one or more members of either family were shot but in 1888 came quicker action. The Hatfields burned the McCoys house over their heads and shot one of the women as she tried to escape. In return a Hatfield was killed and then a McCoy.
Eventually most of the leaders on either side were shot and killed until 1893 when the feud was thought to have been ended by the marriage of a McCoy to a Hatfield. Other killings have occurred since, but the case of Johnson Hatfield was virtually the last and the ancient enmity may be said to have burned itself out. (The Saint Paul Globe, (St. Paul, Minn.) July 24, 1904, transcribed by Peggy Thompson )
FEUD AN OLD ONE
The Warring Hatfield and McCoy Factions - Trouble Started 48 Years Ago Over a Pig
The death of Tom Hatfield, the famous mountain feudist, at Louisa, Ky., makes about the sixtieth victim of the Hatfield-McCoy feud that began forty-eight years ago as the result of one of the McCoy razorback pigs swimming Tug from the McCoy place on the Kentucky side to the ancestral home of the Hatfields in West Virginia. Tom Hatfield, a decendant of "Devil Anse" Hatfield, was one member of that murderous family who had been supposed to have a charmed life. He always escaped without a scratch in the scores of murderous battles between the Hatfields and McCoy clans.
As they tell it on Tug river, the wag between the Hatfields and McCoys began just before the outbreak of the Civil War, and it all started over the ownership of a Kentucky razorback hog.
The McCoys at the time were loading a boat with razor backs that were consigned to a Cincinnati pork packer, when one of the pigs jumped over the boat railing into Tug river and swam to Hatfield territory. The McCoy negroes were sent over to capture the pig but they soon returned and told old Randolph McCoy, the head of the McCoy clan, that the Hatfield negroes had chased the animal into a ravine and held it. Old "Rand" sent word to "Anse" Hatfield that he wanted his hog back.
"If you think you have boys enough," old Anse sent back, "why don"t you come and get the old pig?"
It is said that the McCoys were laying out a plan of battle for the recapture of the big, when the news that the Civil War was on reached the West Virginia-Kentucky mountains. All the McCoys shouldered their guns and enlisted for the South, as did most of the Hatfields. Some of the Hatfields, however, it is said, fought for the Union.
When the war ended the Hatfields that had not been killed in battle and the surviving McCoys came back to their homes, the Hatfields to the West Virginia side, and the McCoys to the Kentucky side of the Tug river, and the incident of the pig as was rapidly proved had not been forgotten.
Soon after the warring families returned there was an election in West Virginia, and the McCoys went across the river to help one of the candidates. In the course of the day three of the McCoy boys, the youngest only ten and the oldest about twenty years, met some of the Hatfields, one of whom was "Bad Anse". There was a fight and when it was over, Anse was dead from thirty-one stab wounds. Later the Hatfields, captured the three McCoys, took them to a secluded spot, tied them to trees, and shot them dead.
The McCoys being Kentuckians, the Governor of that State demanded that their murderers be returned to Kentucky for trial. Thereupon the Hatfields got up a petition and made all the neighbors sign it. When some refused to do so, the Hatfields made them to do so, at the muzzle of Winchester rifles. The Governor of West Virginia read this petition and decided that the McCoys had treated the Hatfield very shabbily and they stayed in West Virginia. A few weeks later John Logan and Sam Bird followers of the feudists were found dead on the banks of the Tug river each with a bullet hole in his head.
So the war went on and every now and then the news that a Hatfield or a McCoy had been killed reached the outside world. In 1887 came the bloodiest battle in the history of the feud. In that year the McCoys led by Frank Phillips, raided the Hatfield stronghold. The fighting lasted a week and when it ws over there were several dead on both sides. A few weeks later the Hatfields returned the compliment, and raided the McCoy territory in Kentucky.
They went to old Randolph McCoys home at night and set the house on fire. The smoke drove the McCoys out of the house and when old Randolph opened the door he met a shower of bullets. With his son Calvin the old man retreated to the garret, where they opened a window and began firing through the smoke. In the man time Miss Alophane McCoy a young woman ran out of the house with a churn full of milk to try to put out the fire. She was shot dead. Later old Mrs. McCoy the girl's grandmother was shot, as was also Calvin McCoy. "Old Rand" escaped. French Hatfield also met his fate here, while others of his clan were desperately wounded.
A week later thirteen McCoys met thirteen Hatfields and this time the aim of the McCoys was so good that they secured a temporary victory. Among the Hatfields victims was the notorious Jim Vance. In 1890 the law got Ellison Hatfield and he paid the penalty of his misdeeds on the gallows, the McCoys witnessing the execution. In February, 1890, "Uncle Joe" Johnson a member of one of the gangs was killed while out on bail for killing Phil Tumbler.
In the fall of 1890 there was a story printed to the effect that the Hatfields had hanged Green McCoy and Milt Haley. Later the McCoys retaliated and killed two of the enemy. Then Mrs. James Brown before marriage, a Hatfield, was killed. Next John Hatfield killed Rutherford McCoy. John was sent to prison for life but was later pardoned.
The next most famous battle resulted in the death of Deputy Sheriff "Doc" Ellis. Ellis was trying to make an arrest when Elias Hatfield killed him. For this Elias Hatfield got twelve years, but was soon pardoned, the doctors saying he had consumption. He got well and married a coal operator's daughter and a few months later was run over and killed by a train.
Now comes the death of Tom Hatfield who was found tied to a tree by the McCoys and left to die. His friends rescued him but exposure necessitated the amputation of both legs. He then lived but a short time.
It is said that one of the Hatfield girls wrote on one of the white pillows in front of the Hatfield home this line: "There is no place like home."
Underneath a stranger afterward wrote:
"At least this side of hell." New York Times. (Tazewell Republican, (Tazewell, Va.) April 9, 1908, transcribed by Peggy Thompson
AND DEPUTY KILLED BY DETECTIVE LIVELY AND PARTY
Trouble Ending in Mingo Battle Over Striking Miners has Sequel on West Virginia Courthouse Steps, Where Pistols are Used as Soon as Old Foes Meet
Welsh, W. Va., Aug. 1 "Smiling Sid Hatfield, slayer of men and idol of women, died to-day as he had known he would die some day" from a bullet fired by a quicker gunman than himself. With him was killed his friend and companion, Ed Chambers. The youthful chief of police of Matewan, W. Va., who was the storm center of the battle between miners and private detectives there fourteen months ago, fell dead with a bullet through his chest at the feet of C. E. Lively, a detective on the courthouse steps.
On Hatfield's face as he lay there, say those who saw the body, there still was that smile that had won him his nickname.
Months ago, when he was on trial in Matewan on a murder charge for his part in the bloody moners' war of a year before when ten men were killed and a score wounded, Hatfield had said to a friend.
"I am a marked man. Sooner or later they'll get me. But I'm not afraid."
Today "Theygot him, but it was only by the fraction of a second. He was reaching for his gun when Lively's pistol cracked.
Hatfield was arrested last week in connection with the shooting up of the town of Mohawk, W. Va., about a year ago and brought to Welch, where he was placed in jail. Chambers was to appear in court to-day with Hatfield in connection with the same case. Hatfield was released on bail and was with Chambers this morning, when the two became involved in a quarrel with Lively and some of his friends.
According to persons nearby, Hatfield and his friends approached the entrance to the courthouse just before noon, where they met Lively and a group of companions.
Lively had been a leading witness against Hatfield in the Matewan murder trial in which he was acquitted, but when they met today they smiled and exchanged pretended pleasantry.
"You look worried," Hatfield is said to have said to Lively when they met, Haven't you had your breakfast?"
Lively replied that he had enjoyed a good breakfast and thought he would eat a great many more than Hatfield would.
Hatfield then declared he was not so sure that Lively would eat as many meals as he would. They had more words. Then the shooting began. Chambers attempted to help Hatfield and Lively killed them both in a flash.
A dozen miners stood by during the gun play, but none of them moved to join the fight after their leader had been shot down. Lively also had a number of friends on hand. None of them took part in the shooting, but all were ready to join in a general battle.
Examination revealed that the Hatfield had been shot in the chest and Chambers in the head and breast. One of the guns carried by Hatfield's witnesses said he carried two had been discharged. Shells in Chambers gun also had been fired, it was declared.
Although the shooting caused a flurry, the large crowd in Welch for the trial was dispersed quickly by local authorities.
Lively and four of his companions were placed under arrest.
Mrs. Hatfield and Mrs. Chambers, widows of the slain men, tonight were found at the home of Sheriff Hatfield. Both declined to answer a telephone call from the Associated Press saying through an intermediary that they had nothing to give out for publication. It was Sheriff Hatfield who had gone to Matewan and placed Sid under arrest for the Mohawk shooting.
Ten Killed at Matowan
Hatfield was chief of police in the little mining village of Matewan on May 19, 1920 when private detectives were sent there to evict miners from houses of the Stone Mountain Coal Corporation. He was charged with leading townsmen who battled with detectives as they were about to take a train for Bluefield after the evictions. Ten persons were killed in the fight and Hatfield and Chambers and twenty-two others were indicted for murder.
The trial at Williamstor resulted in the acquittal of Hatfield and his companions.
Governor Morgan tonight ordered McDowell County authorities to make a complete investigation of the shooting.
Hatfield was twenty-four years old. He was born at Matewan and worked in the mines. He was made Chief of Police under Mayor C. C. Tetserman, who was killed in the mines fight, and whose widow Hatfield married less than two weeks later in Huntington. After Hatfield's acquittal he returned to Matewan and transformed the jewelry store which Tetserman formerly owned into a hardware store. He sold, among other things, arms and ammunition. In the spring election he was elected constable of Magnolia District, the township in which Matewan is situated. Being classed as an officer, Hatfield was permitted to carry arms.
Hatfield was a nephew of Anse Hatfield, who was reputed to have killed thirty men. Sid Hatfield was said to have killed fifteen men. He was considered the quickest and one of the most accurate marksmen in the mountain district. He is said to have shot a man's ear off without touching his victim's head at a distance of fifty yards. He had told the man that the next time he had trouble with him he would shoot his ear off. When they met Hatfield kept his word.
Ed Chambers, who was killed by Hatfield's side was the youngest of the defendants in the Matewan battle, being scarcely more than twenty-one years old. He served under Hatfield as a special policemen in Matewan and like him was permitted to carry arms. Both men were looked upon as being able to "draw quick and hit the mark."
(New York Tribune, August 2, 1921, page 1 & 5, transcribed by Peggy Thompson)
Parkersburg, W. Va., Jan. 21. Information reached here today of another outbreak in the Hatfield-McCoy trouble. Simon McCoy, a brother of the one whose family was murdered a few days ago, lives in Wyoming county. The Hatfield gang made a raid on his home and overpowered him and took Mrs. McCoy and her son, a mere boy, out to the woods. The woman was fastened to a tree by a member of the party, the remainder staying at the McCoy house to prevent the escape of the others. After firing at their human target for a time the leader grew tired of mere sport and gave the order for her to be killed. All the rifles were raised at once and the poor woman's body was riddled with bullets. The boy who was taken out with her was also dispatched in a summary manner. By this time the other party had surrounded the McCoy house, having, in the meantime, placed various kinds of combustible material around it. It was concluded to fire the building and give McCoy a chance for his life, if he could run the gauntlet of their bullets. They expected he would leave the house as soon as it began to burn. In this they were disappointed. As soon as the flames shot up McCoy poked his head out of an upstairs window and begged for his life. He was answered with a volley of bullets and made no at tempt to escape, but perished in the flames. The house was totally destroyed, and in the ruins was found his charred body. It is said two small children also were burned, but this is not confirmed.
This family of the McCoys had no connection with the feud, and this attack upon them was unwarranted. The people are demanding that some thing be done by the governor.
[Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan), Jan 22, 1888 - Submitted by Veneta]
THE HATFIELD-MCCOY WARFARE
Wheeling, W. Va., July 27. A telegram from Charleston says there has beenanother serious outbreak of the Hatfield-McCoy feud along the valley of the TugFork of the Big Sandy, between citizens of Pike County, Ky. and Logan County, W.Va. and that a general skirmish occurred Monday at the mouth of Peter's Creek,in which one man was killed and several others wounded. Both parties were armedwith Winchester rifles, and the fight is said to have been stubbornly contestedon both sides. The news was brought to Charleston by Wild Bill, an agent of theEureka Detective agency, who came in with two citizens of Logan County,escorting two citizens of Pike County, who had been captured under the terms ofthe reward offered by the Governor of this state. Wild William had little tosay about this latest fight, but from his statements, exciting news may belooked for shortly.
[Vernon Courier, Lamar County, AL, Aug 3, 1888 - Submitted by Veneta]
HATFIELD -MCCOY: A Desperate Fight in the Dark
Chicago, Nov. 2: A dispatch from Milton, W. Va. says reports of another battlebetween the Hatfields and McCoys have reached here. Friday night a party ofabout thirty of the McCoys came across the Blumfield camp in the woods about sixmiles from Green Shoals. Both bands were bound for the headquarters of theirrespective factions, and were heavily armed. When the McCoys discovered theirenemies they sent out scouts and discovered there were about a scare in thecamp. They crawled up through the dense underbrush and poured a Volley on theirsleeping foes. In an instant it was returned and the Hatfields' although takenby surprise, were so much better armed than the McCoy's, having repeating riflesthat they soon put them to flight. The one volley fired by the McCoys didterrible execution. Half a dozen men were wounded and two were slain. JohnBlumfield, one of the leaders of his faction, was instantly filled. By his sidelay Edwin Brown, son of the woman who was shot in her farm house at Tudgy'sCreek. Two bullets had gone through his body, one piercing his heart. Sixother men were wounded, one of them, whose name is unknown, being fatally hurt. After dawn the Hatfield's found two more dead men, and four desperately woundedmen were captured. Some of the wounded McCoy's must have been carried off bytheir friends, for the trail of their retreat through the woods was marked byblood stains. The prisoners captured are Charles Lamkin, John Cain, and PeterMcCoy. The names of the dead are unknown. Cain, whose first name was not knownwas so badly wounded that his comrades left him to die where he lay, but theother three were compelled to march to Hatfield headquarters, which they reachedabout noon yesterday. As soon as the story of the attack and capture was told,a sort of court marshal was held. The prisoners were not allowed to speak intheir own behalf and after a short deliberation a vote on their life or deathwas taken by the entire Hatfield party. The result was unanimous, and the threemen will be tied to trees, and that today. Nothing can save them unless theMcCoy's can defeat the entire Hatfield party and effect their rescue. This isnot likely, as they are outnumbered two to one, and the Hatfields' are betterarmed. The courier who brought this news was shot at twice from ambush whileriding through Lincoln County.
[Vernon Courier, Lamar County, AL, Nov 7, 1889 - Submitted by Veneta]
The worst of the whole Hatfield gang, in West Virginia, and a ferocious desperado, died last week in Lawrence county, Kansas.
Saturday, January 19, 1889 - The Eugene City Guard (Eugene, OR)
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