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Hatfield-McCoy Feud


Wheeling Register
August 14, 1882

Bloody Results of an Election Row.

CATLETTSBURG, Ky., August 13. – News has just reached here of a bloody affray, which began at the Blackberry precinct of Pike county on election day, in which three brothers by the name of McCoy killed Elliston Hatfield. The McCoys were arrested, and pending their examining trial, Hatfield’s friends, fifty in number, took the prisoners from the guard, and taking them to the woods tied them to a tree and riddled their bodies with bullets. There is great excitement in the vicinity, and the difficulty is not ended.


Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
January 9, 1888

A Terrible Story
Of A Family Feud And Murder.

The ___ Between West Virginians and Kentuckians – The Hatfield-McCoy Vendetta – The Murder of the McCoy Family – A Desperate Gang.

CINCINNATI, O., Jan. 8. – The Enquirer prints the following special from Catlettsburg, Ky.:

Intelligence has just reached this place of one of the most wanton and diabolical cases of arson and murder ever committed in the State of Kentucky. The scene is on the Blackberry Fork of Pond Creek, in Pike county. The crime is the outgrowth of an old feud, and is laid at the door of the notorious Hatfields and their gang. About five years ago there was an election held on that creek and one of the Hatfields came across the river from West Virginia and during the day engaged in an altercation with one of the McCoys. Two of the McCoy brothers came to his rescue and fatally stabbed Hatfield. Hatfield was taken home, and his relatives swooped down on the McCoy boys, took them captives and held them prisoners until Ellison Hatfield, whom they had stabbed, died, when the Hatfield’s conveyed the three McCoy boys to the scene of the altercation, stripped them, tied them to a pawpaw bush,

SHOT THEM TO DEATH,

and left their dead bodies in that position. Since that time a regular war has been waged between the Hatfields and their gang, who reside in Logan county, West Virginia, and the McCoys and their gang, who reside in Pike county, Kentucky – all in the same neighborhood – the east fork of Sandy River dividing them.

So much for the beginning of the trouble, and now for the last and most horrible scene.

A few nights since the Hatfield party visited the residence of Randall McCoy and set fire to the house. Alafara, his eldest daughter, was the first to open the door and make her appearance, and in the glaring light she was shot dead by the fiends outside, who were concealed. His son Calvin next appeared, and he was shot dead. His wife made her appearance in escaping from the burning building and was shot through the head, and although she was still alive at last accounts she will die.

RANDALL M’COY ESCAPED

from the burning house with his shotgun, and although a volley was discharged at him he escaped unhurt, and opened fire upon the attacking party. He is known to have killed one of the gang by the name of Chambers, and, it is said, shot Cap. Hatfield in the shoulder, and putting the rest to flight. So ends this chapter.

There are rewards aggregating $2,700 offered by the State of Kentucky for the arrest of Hatfield and their delivery to the jailer of Pike county, for the murder of the three McCoy boys, but no one seems anxious to make the attempt to take them, as they are strongly

BARRICADED IN THE WILDS OF WEST VIRGINIA.

One of their number constantly stands guard, and they defy the authorities, but retributive justice is now likely to follow, as their last acts have stirred up that whole section. This gang of outlaws have killed Mr. McCoy’s wife, three of his sons and one daughter, besides burning his house, leaving him only three daughters; but, if the Hatfields are ever taken, dead or alive, the men who undertake the job will experience some fun, as this set of West Virginia toughs is a determined and desperate band.


Greenbrier Independent
January 26, 1888

AWFUL WEST VIRGINIA TRAGEDY. Charleston, W. Va., January 19. – Word reaches here from Oceana, Wyoming county, that the Hatfield gang made a raid Saturday night on the house of Sim McCoy, brother of Randall, whose house was burned and a portion of his family killed several days ago, and taking Mrs. Randall McCoy to a tree, tied her to it and then shot her to death, together with her eldest son. The house was set on fire and McCoy and his two youngest children burned to death.


Wheeling Register
January 26, 1888

BORDER VENDETTA.

The Hatfield Side Of The Logan County War.

The McCoys Again the Aggressors – A Letter from the Seat of Trouble – How Dempsey Was Killed – The Kentucky Gang Was Resisting Arrest.

Special Telegram to the Register.

CHARLESTON, W. VA., January 25. – To-day’s mail brings more information from Logan county concerning the trouble growing out of the Hatfield-McCoy trouble in Pike county, Ky., and Logan county, W. Va. Senator J. B. Floyd received a letter from Logan Court House this evening, from his brother, which fully explains the erroneous account of the last fight between the Kentucky outlaws and the West Virginia officers, which occurred Saturday last. It was not the Hatfield gang, as the Enquirer of the 24th has it, who was concerned in the fight, but a posse of men armed with the authority of the law, through the Sheriff of Logan county, who had made a raid on the Kentucky gang, who were known and charged with the late murder of old man Vance on West Virginia soil. It must be remembered those outlaws had

INVADED WEST VIRGINIA SOIL,

bent upon murder and destruction.

The writer of the letter was a member of the posse of the Logan county officers, and knows what he is writing about. The letter is under date of January 22, 1888. Governor Wilson has been in telegraphic communication with Governer Buckner, of Kentucky, and it is likely if some steps are not taken by the Kentucky government to prevent further invasion by the crowd from Pike county, the Governor of this State will deem it necessary to adopt some means for the protection of the people of Logan county.

MR. FLOYD’S CORRESPONDENT SAYS:

“We are about to get into a war with the Kentucky gang who killed James Vance some days ago. Warrants are issued for the arrest of some six of the gang who committed the murder and were placed in the hands of Constable J. R. Thompson to be executed and he summoned a guard of thirteen men to make the arrests. We were over the mouth of Grapevine, in this county, and there we were fired upon by about thirty men with Winchester rifles. We were in an open field and the balls just hailed around us until we charged on them. When the firing began Henry Thompson and I were in front on our horses. We all jumped from our horses and returned the fire with our Winchesters and the firing kept up for about thirty minutes, when we started for some trees about 175 yards away.

At this time they fired another volley and killed one of our men, Wm. Dempsey, shooting him three times. They were behind a fence all the time and we could see nothing but the heads of their gang.

BUD M’COY WAS KILLED

and another man was wounded whose name I do not know. They all had Winchester rifles and said they had started to Logan C. H. to take Elias Hatfield and burn the town. Three of their horses were killed during the fight. You must go and see the Governor at once and have a stop put to those desperadoes coming over here and killing men and robbing them after they are killed. They people of the county are going to hold a mass meeting here to-morrow, asking the Governor to send men over to put a stop to this thing. If the State would furnish us a hundred Winchesters and plenty of ammunition we would not need the men. See the Governor as soon as you get this and let us know what can be done. I can tell you that I heard many a Winchester ball pass my head. It is almost a young war over here. People are laying out from their homes on account of those Kentucky desperadoes. See to this matter at once and let me hear from you.

[Signed]
W. P. FLOYD.


Wheeling Register
January 28, 1888

KENTUCKY OUTLAWS.

Recruited From Their Last Raid Into West Virginia

And Encamped Along the Border – The Story Told by Citizens of Logan County – A Petition Presented to Governor Wilson – Troops Desired.

Special Telegram to the Register.

CHARLESTON, W. VA., January 27. – Wm. P. Floyd and J. A. Sheppard, of Logan county, arrived here this evening for the purpose of presenting a petition and resolutions from the citizens of Logan county. Mr. Floyd was among the officers who were fired upon on the 22d by Frank Phillips and his Kentucky gang. His description of the battle is a very interesting and lively one. They report nothing new since the last trouble. The citizens of Logan are very much disturbed and business along the border is practically suspended. One of the largest lumber dealers on Tug river has abandoned the business for the present; and these gentlemen predict financial ruin to the country if the outrages are not abated.

The visitors say the latest information from the border is to the effect that the Kentucky people have been largely recruited and now number over one hundred and are camped along the river bank. It is said they are backed up in their efforts to invade Logan county and capture the Hatfields by the county officers of Pike county, and must have the moral support of the Kentucky government, since their outrages are so bold and numerous. They are supplied with ammunition and provisions from the county seat of Pike.

Mr. Shipp, of Logan, who is here now, says it is the unanimous wish of the people of Logan for both States to

PLACE TROOPS ON THE BORDER

and suppress the law-breaking tendencies on both sides along the border, and when the trouble is quelled, for each State to quietly investigate the matter and exchange those who are wanted on either side. These gentlemen claim that few persons of this State, in fact, but one or two are needed in Kentucky to subserve the ends of justice, while at least twenty men will be wanted for the killing of old man Vance, Dempsey and others.

The Governor is considering the papers presented from Logan and will probably take some action to-morrow. Governors Wilson and Buckner have been in communication, and it is likely there will be consort of action between the two Governors.

The Kanawha Riflemen promptly tendered their services to the Governor to-day, but the Governor said he thought it would be unnecessary to send troops.


Wheeling Register
January 30, 1888.

CALLED OUT.

An Order for Troops on the Kentucky Border.

GOVERNOR WILSON TAKES ACTION.

Auburn and Goff Guards to go to the Seat of War.

PROTECTION FOR LOGAN COUNTY

Against the McCoys and Their Band of Ruffians – Governor Buckner’s Probable Action – Another Account of the Last Bloody Action.

Special Telegram to the Register.

Charleston, W.Va., January 29. – The West Virginia militia have been ordered out to quell the border war.

Governor Wilson last this afternoon sent the following order to Adjutant General E. L. Woods:

Charleston, January 29. Sir: -- It appearing that a combination of armed and lawless persons from the State of Kentucky have for weeks past been making incursions into the County of Logan this State, and have murdered two of the citizens thereof and a deputized officer of the law while in the discharge of his official duty, and that such incursions still continue and that said combination endangers the peace and safety of the people and obstructs the execution of the laws, and is too powerful to suppressed by the civil authorities, therefore you will immediately order Co. R. H. Freer to report to you at Charleston not later than Tuesday night next, 31st inst., with sixty men, thirty each, from the Auburn Guards and Goff Guards, for duty and for further orders.

(Signed.)
E. W. Wilson,
Governor.

To E. L. Woods, Adjutant General.

The Governor, after due consideration of the resolutions and petitions from the people of Logan county, and from further advices, decided to-day to place

TROOPS ON THE BORDER

in Logan county, between Kentucky and West Virginia. The information telegraphed the REGISTER that over one hundred of the Kentucky crown were encamped on Tug river is confirmed and is the reason for the Governor’s action. The threats made by the Kentucky crown and the McCoys are bloodthirsty in the extreme. They have threatened to kill more prominent citizens of Logan, and proposed to proceed to Logan Court House and burn the town.

The Governor did not call out the Kanawha Riflemen for the reason that they had not mustered in. The men under Colonel Freer, have been mustered in the longest and are the most experienced. Only thirty of each company under Colonel Freer were ordered out. The order of Adjutant General E. L. Wood was sent to Colonel Freer this afternoon at 5 o’clock. The Governor says he will order more men from old companies already organized, if necessary. It is understood that Governor Wilson has requested the Governor of Kentucky to take like action in placing of troops on his side of the river.

LOGAN MASS MEETING.

A mass meeting of the citizens of Logan county was held on January 23, at which a series of resolutions were adopted.

After referring to the feud, the resolution says:

WHEREAS, Said feud or trouble is likely to involve innocent people and their property and cause them great trouble; and

WHEREAS, It has already cost the lives of two innocent men, and the civil authorities of this county are unable to cope with the armed forces which have already invaded our county; and

WHEREAS, The civil authorities of this county have attempted to check the invasion of said armed forces from Kentucky, which resulted in the death of one of our officer’s posse, and a failure to arrest any of the parties; and

WHEREAS, We, the people of Logan county, in mass meeting assembled, desiring that peace should be established and our people relieved from the annoyance and troubles of what seems to be an intestine ware, therefore be it.

Resolved, That we do appeal to the Governor of West Virginia, and to the Governor of Kentucky to furnish sufficient troops to prevent West Virginia from crossing the Tug river on the Kentucky side, and Kentuckians from crossing to the West Virginian side; and that the troops be stationed along the border of said two States and that both Governors agree to and with each other as to how this matter is, and how it can be settled.

Resolved, Further, that we denounce and protest against any and all movements which are calculated to keep up this trouble, and that we will not countenance anything nor any person who agitates this trouble any further.”

(Signed)
John A. Sheppard,
Jas. H. Stewart,
L. H. Thompson,

Committee.

On motion the Secretary is directed to make out and furnish the Governors of both West Virginia and Kentucky with copies of these proceedings.

ANXIOUS FOR PEACE.

It will be seen from the above that the people of Logan county are very anxious that the trouble be abated, and to that end make the same request for the Kentucky Governor as they do of Governor Wilson.

The petitioners further say:

“The object of this meeting is to consult as to the best means of executing the laws and quieting the troubles between the McCoys, of Pike county, KY., and the Hatfields, of this county, which has already caused a great deal of trouble and bloodshed, and is likely to involve innocent people and their property and cause them a great deal of trouble, unless there is some means adopted where be properly adjusted by the laws of the land. The civil laws of the country direct how this can be done, and it is the object of the meeting to appeal to the civil authorities of both West Virginia and Kentucky to see that these troubles be settled by the constitution and civil laws of the land and not by harsh and barbarious means. It is not our object to make personal references as to what has been done already, but our appeal is, that it be settled at once on account of the future troubles that are likely to grown out of it.”

THE LAST BATTLE.

The following account of the battle in Logan county between the Sheriff’s posse and the McCoy gang is taken from a letter written to Senator John B. Floyd, under date of Logan C. H., January 25:

“A few days ago a warrant was issued by a justice of this county for the arrest of Frank Phillips and the McCoys for the killing of James Vance and placed in the hands of J. R. Thompson, a constable, with instructions to summon a sufficient...NEED THE REST OF THE STORY.

February 2, 1888.

The Logan County Vendetta.

The citizens of Logan county in mass meeting assembled, claiming that the authorities of the country are powerless to suppress the feud existing between the Hatfields of Logan and the McCoys of Pike county, Ky., have petitioned the Governor for military aid. The petition sets forth that two citizens, one of whom was a deputized officer of the law in the discharge of his official duty, had been shot down like dogs without provocation; that invasions into our State are still being made by Kentucky outlaws destroying the peace and endangering the lives of our citizens, and that these incursions are too powerful to be suppressed by the civil authorities. Governor Wilson, after a careful consideration of the matter, has ordered two companies of infantry, the Goff and Auburn Guards, to report at once at Charleston for duty, and these companies, under command of Col. R. H. Freer, will be sent at once to Logan county. The Camden and Clements Guards of Mannington have offered their services to the Governor, but they will hardly be needed. Governor Wilson has requested Gov. Buckner, of Kentucky, to send troops to the scene of the trouble on the Kentucky side and has been assured that the civil power of that State will be employed to prevent any further invasion of this State by the lawless bands of Kentucky. The military will render good service to both States by shooting the leaders of the vendetta on both sides.

Gov. Wilson has probably acted for the best in sending the military to suppress the horrible outrages that have been so common in Logan county of late, and yet it seems strange that the Sheriff, with the whole power of the county at his command, should be unable to put down a private fued.

War of Extermination. – A special from Catlettsburg, Ky., dated January 24th, says: “The war of extermination between the Hatfields and McCoys is still going on the wilds of West Virginia. The steamer Frank Preston arrived from Pikeville yesterday and brought intelligence of the encounter between the pursuing party and the Hatfields on last Saturday. On Thursday last the capturing party, numbering twenty, left Pikeville for Tug river: After crossing the river, when nearing the residence of Capt. Hatfield, they came across a woman in the road who was standing picket and who immediately gave the alarm. The capturing party when turning a point in the road were fired upon by a squad of eight from the Hatfield gang. Bud McCoy was shot through the shoulder and dangerously wounded. Two of the posse were detailed to care for him and take him home. The capturing party immediately returned the fire, and Will Dempsey, of the Hatfield gang, fell to the ground shot through the bowels. At this juncture the Hatfields beat a hasty retreat, throwing away their blankets, overcoats, &c. The posse went up to where Dempsey was although he was in a dying condition and begged piteously to be saved as he would not live long, despite his cries, for mercy, the man that killed Jim Vance on the first raid put his gun against Dempsey’s head and almost blew it off. At this inhuman and sickening act one of the pursuing party became angry, left the posse and returned home. The Hatfields were organizing for a raid over on Peter creek, in Kentucky, the scene of their new years night deeds, to murder people, burn property and kill stock. The Peter Creek Guards, 20 strong, have joined the capturing party, which now numbers forty odd, and are in hot pursuit of the Hatfields. – The excitement throughout Pike county, though intense, is increasing daily, as the Hatfield’s 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 now in jail there. The jail is strongly guarded day and night and pickets are sent out in all directions from the town every night. – Judge Waggoner, county judge of Pike county, and J. Lee Ferguson, attorney, came down on the Frank Preston from Pikesville en route to Frankfort, where they go to lay the case before the Governor and ask him for arms to protect themselves and their property.

Later. – Since setting the above we learn that the agent sent by Gov. Wilson to Logan county has returned to Charleston and reports the war ended, the belligerents having disbanded. The marching orders to the military were, therefore, countermanded.


Wheeling Intelligencer
January 30, 1888

The Vendetta.

Military Companies Tender their Aid to Protect the Citizens of Logan County.

Charleston, W. Va.., Jan. 29. – The committee of citizens from Logan county, who arrived here Friday night, had a conference with Gov. Wilson yesterday. They claim that they [sic] lives of persons in that county are in jeopardy, and that the civil authorities are powerless to enforce the law and sustain order, and ask the aid of the State Militia. The Governor has the matter under advisement, and says that while he still hopes that order may be restored without resorting to extraordinary means, he is determined to employ prompt and adequate means to maintain the honor of this State.

The Kanawha Riflemen, of Charleston, and Goff Guards, of Ritchie county, have tendered their services.

A dispatch from Louisville says: Adjutant General Hill this morning telegraphed to the Lexington Guards of Lexington to prepare to go to Pike county to preserve order between the McCoys of that county, and the Hatfields, of Logan county, W. Va. This afternoon he recalled the order with a view of going first personally to investigate the feud between the border clans.


Wheeling Intelligencer
February 1, 1888

From The Frontier.

The Commissioner’s Report

On the Condition of Affairs in Logan County – The Trouble Between the Hatfields and McCoys Temporarily Over – A Fresh Outbreak May Occur.

Charleston, W. Va., Jan. 31. – Col. W. L. Mahon, the emissary whom Governor Wilson sent to Logan county a week ago to inquire into and report upon the now famous Hatfield-McCoy vendetta, made his report to Governor Wilson to-day, and it is as follows:

“I visited all the Hatfields, and found them to be good, law-abiding citizens, who have the respect and confidence of everyone in the neighborhood; that while many depredations have been committed and the whole surrounding country has been in a state of excitement and tumult bordering on a genuine young war, peace has again been restored and the belligerent parties on both sides have disbanded and no further trouble is anticipated. The strangest part of the whole affair is the fact that the Hatfields and McCoys are related.

“The recent outbreak seems to have been caused by parties in Pike county, Kentucky, resurrecting old indictments against the Hatfields, which were found five years ago. The Pike county parties went to Frankfort, Kentucky, and had rewards offered for the Hatfields, and came into West Virginia under the guise of officers of the law, when in reality they had no requisition, and arrested (or rather kidnapped) Thomas chambers, Andrew Varney, Shelkirk McCoy, D. D. McCoy, Moses, Christian, Samuel, D. D. and Pliant Mahon, and Valentine Hatfield, took them over to Kentucky and placed them in the Pike county jail, where they are still confined. They party, headed by Frank Phillips, fired on and killed old man Vance, without as much as calling on him to surrender, and are the same parties who came over into this State and fired upon Constable Thompson and posse, at which time a deputy and another man were killed.

“The citizens of Logan state that had any parties other than these sent been called upon to make the arrest, no blood would have been shed, but the McCoys, who came with Phillips to make the arrest, had sworn to kill the Hatfields, and would have done so after they were disarmed.”

Peace has been temporarily declared, but it is feared by the law abiding people of the two counties that hostilities will be renewed before a great while. The trouble began during the war. The Hatfields were in the Confederate army and the McCoys in the Union army.


Wheeling Intelligencer
February 4, 1888

Mr. Howell Replies Vigorously to the “Register’s” Editorial.

Sir: - The newspaper allegation at present at the head of the Register is out in one of those characteristic editorials (that are the admiration of all Democrats from ex-Senator Camden to “Bush” Price) on my history of the trouble between the Hatfields and McCoys. He assumes that the circulation of these letters will do the State an irreparable injury, and characterizes them as “nonpareil lies.” In my humble way, Mr. Editor, I have done the very best in my power to give the truth in regard to the murder, pillaging and arson that has characterized the conduct of the Hatfield clan, and am willing to await the arbitrament of official history in the matter. There are two things, however, that must not be lost sight of in this matter, justice to the McCoys and to the State of West Virginia. Not one of the Hatfield gang, not even one of the nine murderers now in jail in Pike county, could be found on the occasion of my visit, to justify the murder of a single McCoy. That five of the McCoy family have been killed under circumstances that have few parallels in criminal history there is no question. Why then have not these murderers been punished? Simply and solely because Governor Wilson has baffled the efforts of Governor Buckner, of Kentucky, for their apprehension. He has had the requisitions for their apprehension and extradition since September last. Repeated demands have failed to stimulate him to action in the matter. It were better, in his opinion, to allow the State to bear the burden of shame that she is bearing, than to alienate from himself the support of one county solidly Democratic.

It were an act of justice both to the McCoys and Hatfields to determine in a court of justice upon whom the responsibility for these infamous crimes should rest. The solution of it is in the hands of Governor Wilson.

I have no disposition to embargo the progress of West Virginia. I have done as much in my humble way to advance her material interests as any other of her natives. It is not apparent to me, however, how the coddling of a gang of murderers, incendiaries and thieves by the chief magistrate of a State will do anything toward fostering present interests or encouraging valuable immigration. West Virginia needs developing agencies. Capital, energy, enterprise, are all essential to her development. Is the fate of the merchant Glenn any inducement for men of capital to come into West Virginia? In this instance a man of means and energy had gone so far as to marry one of the Hatfield blood, but it availed him nothing, as he was shot at the very feet of his wife, whom his supposed murderer made haste to marry himself.

What West Virginia needs is a Governor who will do all in his power to rid her of such men as the Hatfields (even if he should jeopardize his Senatorial prospects in the effort). Expel the Hatfields; relegate to obscurity the demagogue who sustains and encourages them; make murder a crime and punish the murderer; make the State safe as a habitation for respectable people, and the growth of West Virginia will not be problematical.

Chas. S. Howell.
Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 3, 1888.


Wheeling Intelligencer
February 2, 1888

New Developments in the Hatfield-M’Coy Feud.

The Results of an Investigation by a Newspaper Man – Governor Wilson’s Action Criticized Severely – Quiet That May be Followed by a Big Storm.

Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 1. – The Times this morning contains five columns concerning the Hatfield-McCoy feud in Logan county, West Virginia, and Pike county, Kentucky – written by Charles S. Howell, a member of the staff of the paper, who has spent some time at the seat of war gathering the facts upon which the letter is based. The correspondence is of a most interesting and thrilling nature and purports to be the first true statement of the affair which has yet appeared. The correspondent says that twenty lives have been sacrificed in the feud, and that women and children were not spared. He alleges that the Hatfield-McCoy troubles, meager reports of which have been current for a month, have been threatening for several days to develop into serious inter-state complications. Governor Buckner, of Kentucky, and Governor Wilson, of West Virginia, have had portions of the troops of their respective States available for operations on the banks of the Tug river, ostensibly to take care of the interests of these “Sovereign States.” The soldiers, according to last reports, have been ordered back to their homes, but that is no indication that the troubles are ended.

The Hatfield-McCoy war, divested of the coloring with which assiduous correspondents have clothed it, and of all the sentiment with which the representatives of the two States have invested it, is simply a succession of cowardly murders by day and assassinations and house-burnings by night. All of the murders have been cruel, heartless and almost without the shadow of provocation. Given, on the one hand, a family with its contingents of the same blood, allied and cemented by a common desire to avenge an imaginary affront, and on the other another family, small in the matter of alliance and collateral sympathies, doomed to destruction by the larger one, and the case is stated.

Interesting Conclusions.

Several columns of “history” relating to the feud follow, based upon information derived from reputable sources, and the details of all the murders and outrages and recent capture of some of the participants are given minutely. Nearly all these facts have already been published in a fragmentary way and the correspondent’s report confirms them in detail.

The most important developments in the correspondence, are at its conclusion as follows:

The Crowning Piece Of Deviltry

In connection with the feud was reserved for the night of January 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 the son and daughter, beat the mother over the head with the butt of a gun till they thought she was dead, and left the little children to die in the cold on the mountain side 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 of the gang are known to be wounded.

After burying the dead, McCoy removed his family to Pike Court House last week. The story was obtained principally from Mr. and Mrs. McCoy, who show unmistakable evidences 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. That was 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.”

The killing of Calvin and Alfara on the night of January 1st became known the next day at the County Court house. Measures were taken at once to capture or kill a portion of the Hatfields. Twenty or thirty men under Deputy Sheriff Trask Phillips crossed the Tug near Pond Creek, in Pike county, Kentucky, on January 6. Within thirty yards of the house Mrs. Vance hailed Phillips with “Who are you and where are you going?”

“Who are you and where are you going?” was his rejoinder.

“I think they are after you, pap,” shrieked the bold woman, and a moment later Old Vance arose from his concealment behind her. During the shooting which followed Vance was killed.

On the night of January 9, Phillips and posse arrested Valentine Hatfield, three Mayhorn brothers, Tom Chambers and Rew Yancey, Selkirk McCoy and Moses Christian. Others of the Hatfields were captured in McDowell county, West Va., about the same time, and landed in Pike county jail.

On January 19, Sheriff Phillips and posse charged old “Ance” and companions, and all fled except Jim Dunpany, who was killed by Jim McCoy, an uncle of Randall McCoy.

Mr. Howell then proceeds with his narrative as follows:

The Prisoners In Jail.

I saw all of the prisoners this morning in the Pike jail. They are all confined in two small cells. The jail is a small one, but is is as well built as any in the country and all appliances for the detention of prisoners are as good. The prisoners are good types of their locality. Old “Wall” Hatfield is a tall, powerful, well-proportioned man. He has iron-gray hair and moustache to match, while a pair of rough, shaggy eyebrows almost conceal eyes of a greenish gray that are forever evading the the [sic] person with whom their owner may be talking. Cool and self-possessed at all times, “Wall” never allows himself to be led into making any entangling statements. Two of the three Mayhorn brothers, confined with him, are his sons-in-law, and are highly spoke of in the matter of bravery and cunning.

Mose Christian and old Selkirk McCoy are of the Hatfield gang, but live in McDowell county, West Virginia. The captures are all important, as all are under three indictments each for murder.

“Wall” was not engaged in the killing of McCoy’s son and daughter on the night of January 1, nor were the Mayhorns. He advised against it, and is said to have fallen out with his brother “Ance” in consequence of his refusal to participate.

Suffering For His Earnestness.

Frank Phillips has made himself so conspicuous in his efforts to capture and suppress the Hatfield gang that he has been removed from his position as Deputy Sheriff. The Sheriff of Pike county is Basil Hatfield, a connection of the heads of the Hatfield gang, and himself is charged with giving them aid and comfort in removing Phillips and substituting his own son. Phillips, however, has been appointed agent of the Governor of Kentucky to recover the Hatfields, for whom requisitions were issued. He says he will capture them all eventually and do all in his power to bring their punishment.

The Hatfields evidently thing [sic] that Phillips is in earnest, as “Ance” and his sons “Cap” and “Johns” have moved into Logan Court House, while others have gone across into Virginia, until the Pike county authorities shall have had time to “file the indictments” against them.

The Demon Of The Prosecution.

The demon of the prosecution, however, is Perry Cline, the uncle of the murdered Jeff McCoy. He is prolific of resources, patient, brave and untiring. He went into the Hatfield settlement and learned all the facts in relation to the murder of his nephew. Tall, gaunt, with long black hair and beard, with a face across which consumption’s signature is written, broad and deep, he appears the very apecure of vengeance, instead of a man trying to appease the angry demands of blood and give peace to a distracted community.

Warned By The Hatfields.

Recognizing his abilities and fearing his pursuit, the Hatfields sent him the following last August:

Logan C. H., W. Va., August 29, 1887

Perry Cline, Pikeville, Ky.

My name is Nat Hatfield. I am not a single individual by a good many, and we do not live on Tug river, but we live all over this county. We have been told by men from your county that you and your men are fixing to invade this county for the purpose of taking the Hatfield boys, and now air, we 49, in number at present, do notify you that if you come into this county to take or bother any of the Hatfields, we will follow you to hell or take your hide, and if any of the Hatfields are killed or bothered in any way, we will charge it up to you, and your hide will pay the penalty. We are not bothering you and neither are the Hatfields, and as long as you keep your hands off Logan county men, we will not do anything, but if you don’t keep your hands off our men there is not one of you that will be left in six months. There is present at this time 49 of the men who regulated matters at this place a short time ago and we can get as many as we need in six hours. We have a habit of making one-horse lawyers keep their boots and we have plenty of good, strong 7/8 rope left from hanging Williams, and our hangman tied a knot for you and laid it quietly away until we see what you do. We have no particular pleasure in hanging dogs, but we know you and have counted the miles and marked the tree.

Yours peacefully so long as you keep hands off, but with hell in our necks as soon as you make the brake.

President And Secretary Of The Logan County Regulators.

Mr. Cline disregarded the threat and at his instance new requisitions were issued and additional rewards offered.

Gov. Wilson’s Interest.

The conduct of Governor Wilson, of West Virginia, in the matter all through has, the correspondent alleges, been strange. He has had the requisitions from Governor Buckner since last September, but has refused to issue warrants for the apprehension of the men named in the demand. Logan, McDowell, Wayne and other counties abutting on the Kentucky and Old Virginia State lines are all Democratic. The Hatfields are Democrats, and easily sway Logan and McDowell counties. John B. Floyd, of the State Department at Charleston, is an attorney for the Hatfields. A United States Senator is to be elected next year and Governor Wilson is a candidate to succeed Senator Kenna. The State is close and will be closer.

The ordering out of the troops was not a sincere move on the part of Governor Wilson. It was a mistake on his part. He knows that troops could do no good in the mountain passes of Logan, or in the defiles of the hills and mountains, or in the narrow bottoms of the Tug and its influent creeks. Special detectives must do the work. Governor Buckner’s ignorance of the country must also be co-equal with Governor Wilson’s insincerity in the matter, or he would not have issued his call. Patient detective work is the only solution and none of the fakirs of Charleston, Fairmont, and other West Virginia towns should be employed. Twenty or twenty-five trained men would arrest the suspected persons without noise or comment and land them in their proper prisons.

The Gangs And Their Differences.

There is a gang in West Virginia banded together for the purpose of murder and rapine. There is a gang in Kentucky whose cohesive principle is the protection of families and homes of men and women. An unresisting family has been deprived of five of its members, a father and mother of five of their children, their homes burned, their effects sent up in smoke, their little substance scattered to the wind, themselves forced out at midnight as wanderers on the bleak and inhospitable mountain side, almost naked in the blasts of winter. A mother stands by and sees her son killed before her very eyes without being allowed to speak to him. Farms are destroyed, religious meetings are broken up, men and women whipped. State and county elections interfered with and terror holds complete sway. To repress the gang that has committed all these crimes was the Kentucky gang organized. These are the gangs, their respective histories, objects and achievements.

I have set forth nothing but what I have obtained by careful investigation, extenuated nothing, magnified nothing. I am confident that everything in the matter of statement of fact and incident is correct. I have talked with scores, adherents of both sides, and have given the substance of their statements. Many refused to allow the use of their names, fearing the venge[a]nce of the Hatfields.

Charles S. Howell.

Gov. Wilson’s Requisition.

Charleston, W. Va., Feb. 1. – The civil authorities have now hold of the remnants of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, and upon a petition from Will Floyd, a citizen of Logan county, this State. Governor Wilson to-day issued a requisition upon Gov. Buckner, of Kentucky, for the safe delivery of Tom Chambers, A. H. Vadney, Selkirk McCoy, L. D. McCoy, Moses Christian, David Mahon, D. D. Mahon and Pleant Mahon, who are alleged to have been implicated in the recent trouble and who are citizens of Logan county, now confined in the jail of Pike county, Kentucky, awaiting trial.

The petition further states that the parties above mentioned, as he is informed and believes, were taken from this State without any legal process whatever and in violation of the laws of the State.


Wheeling Intelligencer
February 4, 1888

THE HATFIELDS-MCCOY FEUD.

Mr. Howell Replies Vigorously to the “Register’s” Editorial.

To the Editor of the Intelligencer.

SIR: -- The newspaper allegation at present at the head of the Register is out in one of those characteristic editorials (that are the admiration of all Democrats from ex-Senator Camden to “Bush” Price) on my history of the trouble between the Hatfields and McCoys. He assumes that the circulation of these letters will do the State an irreparable injury, and characterizes them as “nonpareil lies.” In my humble way, Mr. Editor, I have done the very best in my power to give the truth in regard to the murder, pillaging and arson that has characterized the conduct of the Hatfield clan, and am willing to await the arbitrament of official history in the matter. There are two things, however, that must not be lost sight of in this matter, justice to the McCoys and to the State of West Virginia. Not one of the Hatfield gang, not even one of the nine murderers now in jail in Pike county, could be found on the occasion of my visit, to justify the murder of a single McCoy. That five of the McCoy family have been killed under circumstances that have few parallels in criminal history there is no question. Why then have not these murderers been punished? Simply and solely because Governor Wilson has baffled the efforts of Governor Buckner, of Kentucky, for their apprehension. He had had the “requisitions for their apprehension and extradition since September last. Repeated demands have failed to stimulate him to action in the matter. It were better, in his opinion, to allow the State to bear the burden of shame that she is bearing, than to alienate from himself the support of one county solidly Democratic.

It were an act of justice both to the McCoys and Hatfields to determine in a court of justice upon whom the responsibility for these infamous crimes should rest. The solution of it is in the hands of Governor Wilson.

I have not disposition to embargo the progress of West Virginia. I have done as much in my humble way to advance her material interests as any other of her natives. It is not apparent to me, however, how the coddling of a gang of murders, incendiaries and thieves by the chief magistrate of a State will do anything toward fostering present interests or encouraging valuable immigration. West Virginia needs developing agencies. Capital, energy, enterprise, are all essential to her development. Is the fate of the merchant Glenn any inducement for men of capital to come into West Virginia? In this instance, a mane of means and energy had gone so far as to marry one of the Hatfield blood, but it availed him nothing, as he was shot at the very feet of his wife, whom his supposed murderer made haste to marry himself.

What West Virginia needs is a Governor who will do all in his power to rid her of such men as the Hatfields (even if he should jeopardize his Senatorial prospects in the effort). Expel the Hatfields; relegate to obscurity the demagogue who sustains and encourages them; make murder a crime and punish the murderer; make the State safe as a habitation for respectable people, and the growth of West Virginia will not be problematical.

CHAS. S. HOWELL.
Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 3, 1888.


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 17, 1888

The Hatfield Gang.

Awful Confession of one of its Members now in Prison.

The Most Terrible Crime

In Connection with the Feud is Related by one of the Participants.

Heavy Rewards Offered.

Their Mountain Den.

Pittsburgh, Oct. 16. – The Times today publishes a letter from Mr. Charles S. Howell, who has been at the scene of Hatfield-McCoy vendetta on the borders of West Virginia and Kentucky. While at Catlettsburg he secured the confession of one of the West Virginia gang who is now in prison there. It is a thrilling recital of bloody deeds, and makes some startling developments. Following are some extracts from Mr. Howell’s letter:

Within thirty days after they had burned the cabin home of old Randall McCoy, shot his son and his daughter, and almost killed his aged wife last January, “Cap” and “Johns” Hatfield were in the far West and as fearful of detectives in Washington Territory as they were in the brush of Pond creek.

A Youthful Cain.

They, with old “Jim” Vance, had been the prominent figures in that night’s massacres and, fearing the vengeance not only of the McCoy connections, but that of their own neighbors and friends, they fled. Within a day or two another of the gang left his father’s house, for the first time, to escape the officers and at the same time to get out of sight and sound of the scenes and talk of that midnight of horror. Scarcely nineteen years of age, Charley Gillespie had been allured by the representations of “Cap” Hatfie[l]d of the “fun” incidental to a Kentucky raid and had promised “Cap” to go with him if opportunity offered. He went and found that, instead of enjoyin[g] a night of fun and devilment, he had been an accessory in the view of the law in two murders and a case of house burning under the most revolting circumstances. All of these things struck him with all of their horror and, busily gathering together a few things, he lost himself, as he thought, in a sparsely settled county in Old Virginia. He went to work and for months he was undisturbed and unharmed, when one day early in September, two of Alf Burnett’s detectives came upon him and handcuffed him before he could think of resistance. Waiving the formality of a requisition for him, they hurried him to Charleston, where he was kept in Captain Burnett’s house for several days. He refused to talk to the detectives, or even to Captain Burnett himself, but Mrs. Burnett talked kindly to him, and, in a burst of confidence, he told her his story.

“On the first day of last January I was at home, when ‘Cap.’ Hatfield came along and said: ‘Charley, we are going over into Kentucky to-night to have some fun. Get a horse and meet us and go along.’ Well, I did not know what was up, but I told ‘Cap.’ I would be on hand, after a little trouble I got a horse and was at the rendezvous, where I found ‘Cap,’ ‘Johns,’ ‘Ellis,’ ‘Bob’ and Ellett Hatfield, ‘Old Jim’ Vance, Ellison Mounts, and a man who goes by the name of both Mitchell and Chambers, whom I know by the name of ‘Guerilla.’ ‘Jim’ Vance was in command of the party, and it was agreed at the start, before the real object of the trip was disclosed, that all should yield to everything he said and to do all that he might order us to do. It has been claimed that the whole Hatfield neighborhood was with us that night. This is not true. There were just nine of us, and the nine I have mentioned.

The Plan Of Attack.

“Arriving at a convenient distance from the McCoy house I was first made acquainted with the real object of our trip. Vance told us that if old Randall McCoy and his son ‘Cal’ were out of the road, every material witness against the men who had taken part in the murder of the three McCoy boys would be removed, and there could be no conviction of any of them, even if they might at some time be arrested for it. All had become tired of dodging the officers of the law, and wished to be able to sleep at home beside better bed fellows than Winchester rifles, and to occasionally take off their boots when they went to bed. This was the reason that ‘Old Jim’ Vance gave us, and ‘Cap’ and ‘Johns’ Hatfield agreed with him.

“Well, we determined if the family would not come out when we should warn them to, to shoot through the windows and door of the house from the ends and sides with our Winchesters, volley after volley, until all inside would be dead or disabled. The only reply the McCoys made to our demand to come out was to bar and barricade the doors and prepare to fight us till the last. We shot through the windows and doors, and our shooting was responded to by ‘Old Ran’l’ and ‘Cal,’ the former with a double-barreled shot gun and the other with a Winchester. We had to be very careful, as both were good shots.

Only Stood On Guard.

“I must tell you right here that I was not one of those who were doing the shooting. Me and one of the other Hatfields was put out along the road to act as guards, to see that no one came up, or that no one got past us. We never went near the house until the house was burning, and all was on their way back to Hatfield’s house. When they came up Ellison Mounts said to me: ‘Well, we killed the boy and girl, and I am sorry of it. We have made a bad job of it. We didn’t get the man we wanted at all (meaning ‘old Ran’l’). If we had got him it would have been all right, and our work would not have been lost. There will be trouble over this.’ I asked him about the fight as we went along home, and he told me how Chambers had crawled upon the roof to get at those inside and to fire the house, when ‘Ran’l’ McCoy heard him, and firing at him through the shingles, shot his hand off behind the knuckles. He said Chambers got down, tied his hurt hand, and, taking his Winchester, began shooting again. It took some time to get the McCoys out, but finally the door opened and ‘Cal.’ Ran out at the top of his speed toward a corn crib. Several banged away at him, but none of the shots took effect, and one or two more shots were fired, when he was seen to jump up and fall forward. We went to him and found him dead, with a big hole in the back of his head. The girl came out of one of the two dwelling houses and wanted to get into the one where the family was, as some of the men told her to go back, but she knew them and named them, and she was killed. ‘Cap’ was blamed for this, but I think Mounts did it. I could not find out who struck old Mrs. McCoy with the butt of the revolver, but I think Mounts did this, too. The hammer of the revolver penetrated her skull, and when she fell several of the men jumped upon her, breaking her ribs, and when they left her thought she was dead.

“I had let my horse go on the way to the house of the McCoys, and had to get up behind Mounts, better known as ‘Cotton-Top’ and ‘Cotton-Eye,’ because he has white hair and white eyes. On the way home he talked a great deal. Once he said, ‘If John Hatfield had not shot before we were ready, there would not have been one of the McCoys in that house alive now. That shot gave them inside a correct idea of the location of some of the men, and they kept us well in sight right along thereafter. They kept us so far away that it was a long time before we got up to the house, and unable to do anything.’

Taking Care Of Gillespie.

From Charleston Gillespie was taken to the house of Detective P. A. Campbell, at Wellston, Ohio, where he told his story again to Mrs. Campbell, who wrote it out and had Gillespie swear to it before the Mayor of Wellston. He was then committed to jail at Ironton, where he was visited by J. Lee Ferguson, Prosecuting Attorney of Pike county, Pa., and to him the story was retold. On last Saturday he was removed to Catlettsburg jail, in the State of Kentucky, and on Monday taken to the jail at Pike county by James McCoy, son of Randall McCoy.

I saw Captain Alf Burnett, Chief of the Eureka Detective Agency, yesterday at Charleston, the Capital of West Virginia.

“Where are the Hatfields?” I asked Captain Burnett.

“All of the name, I think, are in Logan county. Some of those connected with the gang have left the country and are in hiding in various places, but I think the greater portion of the gang is in its old haunts. ‘Cap’ is back from the southwester, and ‘Johns’ got back ten days ago from his wandering. ‘Cap’ is the one especially wanted by the Kentucky authorities, and next to him ‘Johns.[‘] The Guerilla and old ‘Ance’ are also badly wanted and will eventually find their way into the Pike county jail.

“Have you heard of ‘Johns’s’ trouble?” continued Captain Burnett. “Well, some time ago his wife tired of him and she left him and went over into Kentucky and took up with Frank Phillips, and has been living with him ever since in a cabin in the woods of Pike county. She is a McCoy by birth, but not a daughter of old Randall. She is a handsome, well-developed young woman, and says she will go no more to the Hatfields.”

Big Rewards Unearned.

“What reward is there out for the Hatfields?”

“Here is a curious and interesting condition of things. Within a radius of twenty miles are all of the people concerned in these murders. Kentucky has a standing offer of $1,200 for ‘Cap’ Hatfield, $1,000 each for ‘Ance’ and ‘Johns,’ $600 each for Ellet, Elias and ‘Bob’ Hatfield and the ‘Guerilla,’ while smaller rewards await the captors of some of the smaller fry.

“On the other hand, West Virginia offers $100 for each of twenty-eight of the McCoy contingent and $500 for Frank Phillips, to which the Hatfields have added $600 more. In this same area of territory are at least ten men who are wanted for various crimes, principally murders. They are refugees and know they are in the safest place in the country.”


Wheeling Intelligencer
November 23, 1889

DEVIL ANSE

TELLS THE TRUE HISTORY

Of the Famous Hatfield-McCoy Feud to an Intelligencer Representative,

And Puts His Mark to the Statement When Read to Him.

A VERY THRILLING RECITAL.

The Famous Head of the Hatfield Family Not So Blacking as Painted

By Sensational Reports – How Marshall White Got His Consent to go to Charleston – A Conspiracy by Kentucky Detectives Frustrated by the Court.

Special Correspondence of the Intelligencer.

CHARLESTON, W.Va., Nov. 21. – One of the greatest sensations Charleston has experienced for many years was created night before last when the word was passed around “Devil Anse” Hatfield, the chief of the Hatfield vendetta of Logan county, this State, and a part of his gang were in the city. Just how they came, or who brought them, no one could ascertain, as it seemed there was some sort of a secret about it. Your reporter set out to get at the facts. The first trail he struck led him to the office of U. S. Marshal H. S. White, who was presumed to be responsible for bringing Anse into the land of civilization.

In a few words Marshal White informed me that he had sent his Chief Deputy, William J. White, after Anse, and that he had instructed his Deputy to tell “Anse” if he would quietly come to Charleston, and stand his trial, he should have the protection of the Government against any State authority, and that no requisition from Kentucky, or any other State should be served upon him while he was in Charleston. The Deputy being a big, broad-shouldered, good natured looking fellow, “Anse” frankly told him he would go with him, and he came; be before leaving home, be summoned in five of his main backers, who loaded up their Winchester rifles, and said they would come along. They came.

When the posses reached Charleston, Marshal White took them into custody, appointed about twenty-five special deputy marshals, and instructed them not to allow anybody to disturb Hatfield or any of his crowd during their stay in Charleston.

A WHEELING MAN ON DECK.

There was a flutter from one end of the city to the other. Everybody wanted to see old “Devil Anse.” Some seemed to think he had hoofs and horns. When found, he turned out to be rather a good looking old citizen. He is fifty-two years old; is six feet in his stockings; round shouldered, slightly stooped; has deep set eyes; long shaggy beard, with heavy mustache; wore a suit of navy blue, with his pants in his boots. The latter were by no means neat. Major Alderson, who is a good friend of Anse, ordered a Ruffner hotel porter to undertake the contract of giving them a patent leather shine. It took him twenty-two minutes and ten seconds by the Major’s watch, to complete the job, and cost the good natured Major a half Jewish shekel, which he cheerfully paid.

So much has been written of the Hatfield vendetta that is pure fabrication, I secured a two hours séance with Devil Anse and took from his own mouth the following statements for the INTELLIGENCER:

DEVIL ANSE TELLS THE INTELLIGENCER HIS STORY.

“My grandfather, Valentine Hatfield, was born in Russell county, Va. My grandmother, Elizabeth Vance, was a native of the same county. Eight boys and three girls were born to them. My father was Ephraind Hatfield, who was born in Logan county, Virginia, in 1812. He married Nancy Vance, of Russell county, Virginia, in 1837, and to them were born eighteen children, eight of whom died when young. Six boys and four girls lived to manhood and womanhood. These six were Valentine, Anderson (they call me Anse), Ellison, Elias, Smith, Patterson, Martha, Elizabeth, Emma and Biddy.

“I was born September 9, 1838, and married Lavisa Chapin, April 18, 1861. Twelve children were born to us, viz; Johnson, William A., usually called “Cap;” which nick name was given him when a small boy and has hung to him ever since; Robert E. Lee, Elliott, Elias, Detroit, Joseph, Willis Wilson. The daughters are Nancy B., who was captured by John t. Vance May 16, 1889 – the only one of my family ever captured by anybody dead or alive (He meant she married Vance), Mary, Elizabeth and Rosada.

“I served in the militia in 1861, and regularly enlisted in 1862 in the Confederate army, as First Lieutenant in the Forty-fifth Virginia Infantry. I resigned in 1863, and then recruited a company which was kept in service in Wayne, Cabell and other border counties of West Virginia and Kentucky.

“Jonse, Marion and Tom McCoy (who are now trying to kill me), were members of my company during the war.

ORIGIN OF THE FEUD.

“When the war ended we all went home and were goods friends, until in 1873 or ’74, when a difficulty arose between my cousin, Floyd Hatfield, and Randolph McCoy, who had married sisters, over a sow and pigs. A lawsuit followed McCoy was loser, and accused his brother-in-law of swearing falsely, for which he struck McCoy with a stone. Soon after Stratten was waylaid and killed by Paris and Sam McCoy. His brains were shot out. My brother Ellison prosecuted them for murder. He swore out a warrant for their arrest and asked me to execute it. I refused to do it because the McCoys and I had always been good friends.

Some time subsequently my son Johnston and Rosanna McCoy, a daughter of Randolph McCoy, ran away from home to get married. The McCoys headed off the fleeting couple, and Rosanna, bare-footed, bare-headed, riding a bare-backed horse, made her way to the Hatfields under cover of darkness and informed them that Jonse Hatfield had been scooped in by the McCoys. The Hatfields formed an armed posse, headed by Anse, who went a near way through the woods, caught up with the McCoys, overpowered them without a fight, and rescued Jonse, returning home with him. They were then happily married. In a few years, however, Rosanna deserted Jonse, and is now living with Phillips, the leader of the McCoy outlaws, in Pike county Kentucky.

MURDER OF ELLISON HATFIELD.

“Some twelve months after the above occurrence, Tolbert Farmer, and Randall and Floyd McCoy, who were still angered over the hog suit already described, and more so on account of the prosecution for the murder of Stratton, went to the election precinct where by brother Ellison voted, and murdered him by cutting and shooting him literally to pieces.

“For the offense they were arrested, and when they were taken to the mouth of Blackberry creek for trial, by the Hatifields as guards for the officers, the McCoys gathered a posse to rescue them. They were taken across Tug river in a skiff to keep them from being rescued by the McCoy mob. Charles Carpenter, Alexander Messer, Daniel White and some others were the guards. To get them in a still safer place, they were taken to a point up Mate’s creek in Logan county. They were ordered by the Hatifields to take the prisoners to the Pike county jail in Kentucky. After they got them across Tug river, while Charley Carpenter was bossing the job, on the Kentucky side of the river, three of the men were killed, Floyd was the only one who made his escape. Soon afterward Alex, Messer, Ellison Mounts, three of the Mahones, and Valentine Hatfield were arrested for the murders .

“Mounts has been tried and sentenced to be hung, out the time has not been fixed as yet for the execution. Four others were sentenced to the penitentiary for life; among the number is Valentine Hatfield, who was absolutely not on the Kentucky side of the river when the murders were committed, but the McCoys swore him through.

KNEW NOTHING OF THE MURDERS.

“Seventeen other West Virginians have been indicted on the charge of being parties to that murder, myself and my sons, Jonse and Cap, being among the number, although as a matter of fact we knew nothing of the murders until several days after they had been committed.

“Nothing was done with these indictments for five years or more, until a lawyer named P.H. Cline, of Pike county, got up a petition, carried it to Governor Buckner, and induced him to offer a reward of $1,500 for the arrest of the Hatfields. We know what the McCoys will swear to if they should ever get us. They will do anything to accomplish their purpose, and that is why we don’t intend them to catch us. We never intend to be taken by any such a crowd. You hear that!

“Frank Phillips gathered up a posse of upwards of twenty men, armed to the teeth. They came across into West Virginia and killed an old man by the name of Vance, whom they claimed had killed Harmon McCoy some time during the war. Deputy Sheriff Thompson

SUMMONED A POSSE

and started in pursuit. They met on Grape Vine creek, near the State line. The Phillips men refused to surrender and opened fire on the officers. Little Bill Dempsy, one of the Sheriff’s guards, was shot in the leg. McCoy was wounded in the shoulder. Dempsy crawled into a shuck pen with his broken limb, and was crying for water, when Dave Stratton, James McCoy, Sam Miller, Frank Phillips and two other men came up. They began to abuse the wounded man. He told them he was summoned by the Sheriff as a guard, and had to pursue them. Frank Phillips walked up close to where he was lying, drew his revolver and shot his brains out with one shot from his revolver. This is a straight statement of the feud up to this day, (November 21, 1889). Every man in Logan county who knows me will tell you I am a peaceful, law-abiding man, and no man will say I ever told a falsehood. In this contest I have only defended myself, as any man would do under similar circumstances.

His Mark.

(Signed)

Anderson X. Hatfield.

I have given you almost literally what Anse said to me in my two hours conversation with him. All I did by way of change was to “doctor” his grammer in a few places. I read it over to him, and he told me to sign his name to it, and then made his mark, as he could not write. I may say he can neither read nor write. He, however, is a man of large common sense and is a good judge of human nature.

When Marshal White took him into custody for the offense for which he had been indicted, that of selling liquor without having paid the special tax, Anse had him send for Hon. G. W. Atkinson, of your city, whom he knew personally, and employed him as his attorney, General C. C. Watts was also employed as assistant counsel. He said to his attorneys, “Gentlemen, this is a trumped up job. I never sold any man a drop of liquor. I want you to go to the bottom of the charge and you will find it us I tell you.”

When the case was called the court house was packed with people. All were anxious to catch a glimpse of Devil Anse. The case took the greater part of a day to dispose of it.

PROTECTED BY JUDGE JACKSON.

The evidence showed that the detectives had agreed with one Dan Stratton, a bitter enemy of old Anse, to go before the United States grand jury last May and indict Anse, so as to get Marshal White and his force to capture him and bring him to Charleston; then they would hook on him and take him to Kentucky and scoop in the reward offered by that State. When the conspiracy was laid open, the jury cleared Anse, and Judge Jackson stated from the bench that no State officer should lay hands upon him, and ordered Marshal White to send enough of his deputies with the old man to keep anybody from hurting him. The Marshall put him in charge of Will J. White, who had brought him here, who with Special Deputies Frank Stanhagon, Col. John L. McDonald and two or three others, started to the wilds of Logan with him whom the mouth of the State officers watered to get their clutches on. Judge Jackson remarked, as the procession left the Court room, “When Hatfield gets back to his house, I certainly have no objections to any of you arresting him that may want to try it.” (Laughter.)

MARSHAL WHITE’S SHREWDNESS.

I asked Marshal White how he succeeded in getting Anse into custody without great danger and trouble.

“Oh!” said he, “ I have been at work on the case for two of three months. I finally got him to a point where all I had to do was to send a cautious deputy for him and escort him to Charleston, which I did, and you see with about what results.”

I said, “Well done good and faithful servant. The first time I see Benjamin, who is surnamed Harrison, I will tell him, and swear to it if he wants me to, that he hit the right fellow for Marshal of West Virginia when he appointed you, and don’t you forget it.”

He smiled a big Marshall county Radical smile, got red way round behind his ears, remarking gravely and suavely: “Young man, don’t mention it, don’t mention it.”

It has been many months since there has been any trouble on the border between the families in the feud, and it is not probable that there will be any soon. It is said by reliable persons that there are no apprehensions among the citizens.

If Anse Hatfield and his friends are left alone in posse by the Kentuckians it is safe to say that the public has heard the last of hostilities.

No more hospitable, honest or peacefully disposed people live than the Hatfields. Their enemies were the aggressors, and the blows they have struck have been in revenge for the unprovoked butchery of their nearest and best loved relatives.


Weston Democrat
November 10, 1888

The Hatfield-McCoy Vendetta.

Detectives Go Into the County Where the Killing was Done and Arrest the Murderer of Alfara McCoy.

As is well known heavy rewards have been offered for the arrest of any or all of the notorious Hatfield-McCoy gang of outlaws which infests portions of Logan county, this State, and Pike county, Kentucky. For several months detectives have been in that section endeavoring to make arrests, and not until last Monday was any arrest of an important nature made, at which time three members of the Eureka Detectives of this city succeeded in caging Ellison Hatfield, the murderer of Miss McCoy.

The report made to Capt. Alf. W. Burnett, Chief of the Eurekas, from Dan Cunningham, says; Early this morning (Oct. 29, 1888) near the head of Mate creek, T. M. Gibson, Kentucky Bill and Dan Cunningham made the attempt to arrest Thomas Mitchell alias Chambers and Ellison Hatfield. Our men, says Cunningham, hid behind two large trees near a path where the out laws came along, Hatfield being in the lead carrying

A Winchester Rifle.

We quickly decided to arrest him first, as he is a powerful and vigorous man, and when the outlaws came up near our hiding place, Cunningham stepped out and commanded Hatfield to surrender but he refused, and when in the act of presenting his Winchester, Gibson knocked him on the head with a billy which fell him to the ground, where he was, after a struggle, hand-cuffed by Cunningham. In the meantime Kentucky Bill was engaged in a

Shooting Match

with Mitchell alias Chambers, who finding it too warm for him, started to run, and owing to the fact that Bill who had been shot in the leg some time since was unable to follow Mitchell, Detective Gibson followed the escaping man and when about to overtake him, Mitchell stopped and drew a revolver and fired at Gibson three times, but the bullets missed their aim. Gibson returned the fire, shooting six times at Mitchell. One of the bullets took effect and Mitchell fell, but before he could be caught he recovered sufficiently to get on his feet, and escaped to the mountains. The leaves being so dry that he could not be tracked the detectives took Hatfield to Pike county Ky., where he was lodged in jail and the detectives paid $500, the amount offered by the Kentucky authorities for his arrest. After being arrested, Hatfield made the following confession of the part he took in the Hatfield McCoy vendetta.

Confession Of Ellison Hatfield.

Edgar, Pike County, Oct. 29. – This is my true and honest statement concerning the Hatfield-McCoy trouble which I propose to make at any and all times: “In 1882 Wall Hatfield, who was a Justice of the Peace in Logan county, West Va., organized a band and administered an iron-clad oath to each. Alex Messer, ‘Anse,’ ‘Capt.’ And Johns Hatfield, Chas. Carpenter, myself and many others whose names I cannot tell at present, took three of the McCoy boys across Tug River. Charley Carpenter tied them to bushes, when ‘Capt,’ ‘Johns,’ Anse and some of the others fired on them. Anse Hatfield shot Tolbert McCray with a rifle and with a revolver. Alex Messer killed Randolph McCoy, a boy of thirteen years. Elias Hatfield opposed the killing of the boys; I did not aid the Hatfield gang in any way further, until New Year’s night 1888, when nine of us, viz: James Vance, Sr., Cap. Johns, Bob and Black, Elliott Hatfield, Chas. Gillaspie, French Ellis, Thos Mitchell alias Chambers, and myself went from Cap. Hatfield’s house in Logan county, W. Va., to Randal McCoy’s house in Pike county, Ky., and attacked the inmates by firing through the door. Old Jim Vance fired the house with lighted matches put in under the roof near the loft; about then I moved my position to the chimney end of the kitchen, in company with French Ellis; Cap and Elliott Hatfield fired into the loft at noises supposed to be made by Calvin McCoy. The girls, who slept in the kitchen, got up and said they were going to put out the fire. Jim Vance, Cap and Johns Hatfield ordered me to kill them if they showed themselves. Presently

Miss Alfaria McCoy

peared, being dressed in black. She begged Cap Hatfield to spare her life. I then shot her with a Winchester rifle, the ball passing through her body, she falling in a lifeless condition on the floor. Her sister Addie asked her if she were killed; her only answer was one word,

‘Yes,’

which was the only word uttered by her after being shot. Addie remarked, ‘farewell, sister, I hope to meet you beyond the grave.’ Presently I got shot from the loft above. My arm being broken, I changed my position and quit fighting. About this time Johns Hatfield knocked Mrs. Randall McCoy down and kicked her until life seemed extinct. Tom Mitchel alias Chambers, got three fingers shot off and a lot of bird shot in his body. Johns McCoy was shot in the shoulder. The fire drove Calvin McCoy out of the house and he was killed, both Cap and Johns Hatfield claiming, in a bragadocia manner that he did it. The fight lasted about an hour and a half, and when the house was in flames all over, we left, going through the mountains to Peter Creek, thence across the river into West Virginia. I fainted once from the loss of blood, so the crowd left me next morning at Jake Ferrell’s, on Pigeon Creek. I managed to get to Harvy Duty’s where I remained over night and then went to my home, Sand Lick Creek, on Guyandotte river where Dr. Will Brown dressed my wounds. Dr. Hudgiss of Logan C. H., dressed Tom Mitchell’s hand.

“Anse” Hatfield started with us to the McCoy house, but backed down. He said it was absolutely unnecessary to kill old Randall McCoy and his family. After we left, “Anse” went to Evans Ferrell on Thacker’s Creek and insisted that Ferrell go coon hunting with him so that he could prove an alibi if necessary. I was led into this scrape by the older Hatfields and have seen no peace since I killed the McCoy girl.

The Hatfields made me work all day and then aid them in meanness at night. The Winchester with which I killed Alfaria McCoy, I gave to Dan Cunningham for his kindness to me since my arrest – signed Ellison Hatfield. Witness T. M. Gibson, D. W. Cunningham, Mary M. Daniels, Jane Blackburn and Margaret Blackburn.

Detectives are still on the hunt of other members of this gang of outlaws and it is expected that new arrests will be made in a few days. The men who are after the desperados are determined to rid the county of them and now that several of the parties have been caught, the good people of that section are beginning to believe that lawlessness will soon be suppressed.

- Charleston Gazette.


Crime and Punishment

West Virginia Archives and History