Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hatfields and McCoy trivia!!!

The world famous Hatfield-McCoy Feud has created a lot of myths and legends....So much so that sometimes the actual history of the feud participants gets lost....

Lets have a little fun with an installment of Feud Trivia!

Did you know the world famous Hatfield-McCoy Feud was NOT caused over a pig, or a star crossed Romance???
Yes, because of television shows, bad books and folklore lots of people come to Hatfield-McCoy Country thinking the fued was caused over a lawsuit over a pig, or the waaay too similar to Shakespeare story of Johnse Hatfield and Rosanna McCoy and I have even heard people claim it was over a dispute over a fiddle. But the reality is far more grounded in the grim reality of the 1860s....

Was it caused by?
A. A Civil War assassination attempt on a general.
B. A lawsuit over timber rights.
C. A gun battle on election day.

Guess which one????

It was "A". Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy's brother were Confederate snipers who shot a Union General (William France) that Randall admired. Randall was so angry he never forgave Anse and blamed him for his brother being involved.
Randall apparently nursed this grudge for many years eventually leading to the lawsuit over the pig. Which he lost, leading to even greater animosity. Still later of course there was a fight on election day which lead to some "vigilante justice" which indeed did spark the actual interfamily violence of the feud.
BUT - it all began with the death of Gen. France, who was releiving his bladder ont he back porch of his cabin when shot by a Hatfield and a McCoy who were working together!

The lawsuit with Perry Cline came later, and set off a lot of the actual gunplay.
Cline was distantly related to Randall McCoy and used that animosity to his advantage.Cline had lost a timber rights lawsuit in court to Devil Anse, which got his goat, considering that Cline was an attorney and Anderson Hatfield was not. When Devil Anse proceeded to do well in the lumber trade, Perry Cline filed a lawsuit in court in Pike County, and he also got ahold of his political contacts in Frankfort and got warrants for the arrest of several Hatfield family members - as well as hired Bounty Hunters to go into West Virginia and bring them back. This was the actual peak of the feud.
Later, when Devil Anse agreed to give in to Cline's lawsuit, the Bounty Hunters were called off and the warrants for the Hatfields were dropped.

The election day shootout referred to was later still when Cap Hatfield got into a gun battle on election day. In those days, shootings between Union sympathizers - who were generally Republicans- and Confederate sympathizers- who were generally Democrats, were common. Right into the 1920s!
Cap Hatfield was one of the last of the old timey gunfighters,(very much like Wild Bill Hickock or Clay Allison) but few movies ever focused on him. He even lived in the West for awhile (peacefully under an assumed name) when he left WV following one shooting scrape.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great! Was always led to believe it was over romance and was raised in WV...

Anonymous said...

does anyone have any pictures of Cap's and or his father's signiture? We have a rifle that we beleive is Cap's or possibly his father. A high resolution picture of the rifle is available upon request.

Anonymous said...

This account is a crock. It has no bases in fact and can not be supported with any real evidence. Virtually everything stated is wrong.

Anonymous said...

You need to do some researching of the true facts Mike before you are known as a 100% liar and destroy your business and reputation. it was not Randolf McCoy. It was his brother Asa Harmon McCoy that was a friend to Bill France. Ole Randolf McCoy and Devil Anse Hatfield killed Bill France. Randolf and Devil Anse fought as confederates and Asa and the Clines fought for the union. Devil Anse also killed Ashbury Hurley and his son Fleming because they caught Devil Anse butchering the Hurleys Cow. The death of Asa Harmon McCoy came next.

Gen said...

None of us were there...we all have heresay, I don't think people should be so quick to discount something when they weren't there. I wasn't there either, so I don't know for sure. But what I DO KNOW is that my grandmother always said that Devil Anse Hatfield killed my great great grandfather, William Francis, who also was known as Bill France. So some of you are wrong with your crticism as at least part of the account IS true. And I don't put a lot of stock in what people say when they won't even leave their name. -Geneva France Burton Coleman, great great granddaughter of "Bill France".

Anonymous said...

Seems like everyone is related to the Hatfields and McCoys. So I'm gonna say I am too. I think it's been so long that time erases memories and twisted the truth. No one knows the truth unless they were there, no use in fighting about the reality of the truth because none of you were there.

Anonymous said...

If you are REALLY interested in HISTORICAL accounts of Devil Anse's interactions with his neighbor's during the war, paste this link: http://books.google.com/books?id=nMXvLW3XUIEC&pg=PT99&lpg=PT99&dq=bill+france+killed+hatfield&source=bl&ots=OqX83fcgdL&sig=VgAXe0igwYaKRMmEJUtcnihwH5g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=A4_wT93jH6ft0gGh-rH7Ag&ved=0CFMQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=bill%20france%20killed%20hatfield&f=false It is a GOOGLE book called "Virginia at War". Answers some of the questions about why he did some of the killings.