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Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield’s relationship with Nancy McCoy represents one of the more interesting components of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. I recently located Hatfield’s 1890 divorce record, which I transcribed as follows:


State of West Virginia

County of Logan to wit

In the Circuit Court of said County

The Bill of Complaint of Johnson Hatfield filed in the Circuit Court of Logan County against Nancy L. Hatfield.

To the Hon. Thos. H. Harvey, Judge of the Circuit Court of Logan Co.

Humbly complaining your orator Johnson Hatfield would respectfully ____ unto your Honor that on the 14th day of May 1881 he intermarried with the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield, then Nancy L. McCoy, that he was at all times to her a kind and affectionate husband, that some time in 1888 he was forced to leave his home in Logan County West Virginia, and that shortly thereafter the said defendant abandoned his home and went to the state of Kentucky where she has since that time been living in adultery with Frank Phillips, and ____ other lewd and lascivious _____.

Your orator further represents that he cohabitated with the said defendant for the last time on or about the 8th day of March 1888 in Logan County West Virginia and that they last lived together as husband and wife in said County within five years from the institution of this suit.

Your orator further represents that he be informed and so believes that some time in the month of December 1889, the said defendant was delivered of a child, which was as a ____ of more than twelve months since he had last had any sexual intercourse with her.

Your orator further represents that the adultery complained of was not committed by his consent, connivance or procurement or knowledge. He therefore prays that the bonds of matrimony existing between your orator and the said Defendant be dissolved, and that your orator be restored to his ________ rights, and as is duly bound he will ever pray

Johnson Hatfield, By Counsel


State of West Virginia

To the Sheriff of Logan County, Greeting:

We command you that you summons Nancy L. Hatfield if she be found in your bailiwick, to appear before the Judge of our Circuit Court for the County of Logan at rules to be held in the Clerk’s Office of said Court on the first Monday in February next, to answer a Bill in Chancery exhibited against her in our said Court by Johnson Hatfield

And have then and there this writ.

Witness: T.C. Whited, Clerk of our said Court at the Court House of said County, on the 1st day of February 1890, and in the 27 year of the State.

T.C. Whited, Clerk


Order of Publication.

State of West Virginia, Logan County, T0-Wit:

At Rules held in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of said county on Monday the 3rd day of February 1890

Johnson Hatfield v. Nancy L. Hatfield, In chancery

The object of this suit is to obtain a divorce from the bonds of matrimony. This day came the plaintiff by his Attorney and on his motion it appearing from an affidavit filed with the papers of this suit that the defendant is a non-resident of this State, it is therefore ordered that she appear here within one month from the first publication of this order and do what is necessary to protect her interest herein.

Teste: T.C. Whited, Clerk

H.C. Ragland, Sol.


I, U.B. Buskirk, one of the Publishers of the Logan County Banner, a newspaper published in Logan County, West Virginia, do hereby certify that the annexed notice was duly published in said paper for 4 successive weeks, ending on the 27 day of February 1890.

Given under my hand this 28th day of February 1890

U.B. Buskirk

Printer’s fees: $6.00


State of West Virginia

Logan County to wit:

Johnson Hatfield the plaintiff whose name is signed to the forgoing bill being first duly sworn upon oath says that the facts and allegations contained in the forgoing bill are true except so far as the same are ______ stated to be upon information and that so far as the same are stated to be upon information he believes ___ to be true.

Johnson Hatfield

Taken, __________ and sworn to before me this 10th day of March 1890.

T.C. Whited, Clerk


Notice to Take Deposition

To Nancy L. Hatfield. You will take notice that on the 10 day of October, 1890, between the hours of 8 o’clock A.M. and 6 o’clock P.M., at the house of Anderson Hatfield, in Logan County, West Virginia, I will proceed to take the deposition of myself and others to be read as evidence in behalf of myself in a certain suit in chancery now pending in the Circuit Court of Logan County wherein you are Defendant and I am plaintiff and if from any cause the taking of the said deposition be not commenced on that day, or if commenced and not completed on that day, the taking of the same will be adjourned and continued from day to day or from time to time, at the same place, and between the same hours, until completed.

Respectfully, &c., Johnson Hatfield


The depositions of Johnson Hatfield and others taken before Pleasants Chafins a notary in and for the county of Logan and State of West Virginia  at the house of Anderson Hatfield on Friday October 10 in 1890, to be taken and consider as evidence in a certain chancery cause pending in the Circuit Court of said county wherein Johnson Hatfield is a plaintiff and Nancy L. Hatfield is a defendant.

Present Johnson Hatfield in person and by counsel , no appearance for the defendant.

Johnson Hatfield a witness of lawful age after being first duly sworn deposes in answer _____ as follows:

Q. What is your name, age, and where do you reside?

A.  Johnson Hatfield. I am 28 years old past. I was born and raised in this county.

Q. What relation do you have to this suit?

A. I am plaintiff.

Q. When were you and the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield married?

A. It was on the 14th day of May 1881.

Q. How did you treat her during the time that you and she lived together as man and wife?

A. .I always kept her plenty of everything she wanted and was always good and kind to her.

Q. State about when it was that you and your wife separated.

A. It was on the 18 of March 1888.

Q. Have you lived with her since that time or had sexual intercourse with her?

A. No, sir.

And the next came Alex Varney, witness of lawful age being by me duly sworn, deposed and say as follows:

Q. State your name, age, and residents.

A. Alexander Varney, Age 56 years. Residents Logan County, West Va.

Q. State wither or not you are acquainted with the partys in this suit.

A. I am.

Q. State whether or not you know anything about the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield living in adultery with Frank Phillips or anyone else since her separation from the plaintiff.

A. I saw her in Pike Co. Kentucky on the 13 day of September 1890. She was staying at the house of frank filips and she told me that she was living with him. She showed me her baby and told me that frank filips was its father.

Q. How old do you suppose that the child was.

A. She told me that the child was 9 month and 4 days old and I suppose it was about that old as it was still sucking.

[Deposition of John B. Gillespie]

Q. State whether or not you know anything about the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield living in adultery with any person.

A. I was at a house in Pike County  Ky. Frank Phillips and Nancy L. Hatfield were there. They called it their home.

Q. State whether or not it was the general impression throughout the community that they were living together as man and wife.

A. No, sir. Not as man and wife. It was that they were living together in adultery.

And further this _________ saith not.

John B. Gillespie

[Deposition of Johnson Hatfield]

_______ ________ __________ recalls and deposes as follows:

Q. State whether or not the acts of adultery committed by your late wife Nancy L. Hatfield with one Frank Phillips ______ in the two foregoing depositions were committed by or with your consent, knowledge, __________, or __________.

A. They were not.

And further this _________ saith not.

Johnson Hatfield, Jr.

State of West Virginia

Logan County, to wit:

I, Pleasants Chafins a notary in and for the county and state aforesaid do certify that the foregoing depositions were duly taken, sworn to, and subscribed in my presence at the time and place _____ in the notice here to _____.

Pleasant Chafin, a notary for Logan Co., W.Va.

Notary’s Fee

2 hrs work as notary     $1.50


Johnson Hatfield v. Nancy Hatfield, In chancery

This day this cause in which the defendant is prosecuted against as a nonresident and it appearing that the order of publication has been duly published and posted as required by law, came on to be heard upon the plaintiff’s bill and the depositions there with filed in support thereof together with the argument of counsel for plaintiff and the same being considered and inspected by the court the court is of the opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief therein prayed for, whereupon it is adjudged, ______, and decreed that the said plaintiff Johnson Hatfield be and he is hereby divorced absolutely from the defendant the said Nancy L. Hatfield and that the bonds of matrimony now existing between himself and the said defendant be dissolved and the said plaintiff Johnson Hatfield be and he is hereby restored to all the rights, privileges and immunities of an unmarried man. And this cause having performed its object, the same is ordered to be stricken from the docket and it appearing that this order was made at the October 1890 term of this Court, and by _________ not entered, it is ordered that the same be entered now as for ____.

Source: Logan County Circuit Clerk’s Office, Logan County, WV, Case No. 33, File No. 35