Albert Simpkins, Ambrose Guzlin, Anderson Ferrell School, Blackberry Creek, Bob Williams, Charles Carpenter, Coon Branch School, Delorme School, Devil Anse Hatfield, Dials Branch School, Dick Bachtel, education, Elias Hatfield, Elias Hatfield School, Ella Hatfield McCoy, feud, feuds, Hatfield School, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Head of Blackberry School, Henry D. Hatfield, history, Homer Claude McCoy, Jackson County, Johnnie Rutherford, Kate Ray, Kentucky, Lee Rutherford, Logan County, Mate Creek, Mate Creek School, Matewan, Mike Clingenpeel, Mingo County, Mud Fork, Pharmer McCoy, Pike County, Ransom, Sam Jackson, Scott Justice, teacher, Tolbert McCoy, Tug River, Upper Mate Creek School, W.A. McCoy, West Virginia, Will Bachtel
From “The Rise of Education and the Decline of Feudal Tendencies in the Tug River Valley of West Virginia and Kentucky in Relation to the Hatfield and McCoy Feud” by Homer Claude McCoy (1950):
The following list of school houses are given to determine the location of schools at the time of the feud. Most of the information obtained in regard to the existence of schools and their teachers have been received from interviews. These people were actual students at the schools or had brothers or sisters who went to school there. This information has been verified when possible from different interviews.
Mate Creek School: Mate Creek School was located about a mile up Mate Creek from Matewan which is located at its mouth. It was a log structure and had only one room. The schoolhouse was used during the feud as a prison to retain the three McCoy boys in. David Ross was the teacher of the school during the time of the feud, 1882, just a few days after the boys were held there, and there is a possibility that there was school there before the incident and that David Ross was the teacher.
Upper Mate Creek School: It is believed that there was a school at the head of Mate Creek, but the information is not strong enough to be substantiated.
Coon Branch School: Coon Branch School was located in Kentucky across from the site of Matewan. The teacher of the Coon Branch School was Ambrose Guzlin, and was attending in 1887.
Anderson Ferrell School: This school was located on Anderson Ferrell’s farm a mile below Matewan and came into use when the Mate Creek School was closed about 1883. The teacher of this school was Johnnie Rutherford.
Hatfield School: This school was located on the farm of Elias Hatfield in a hollow behind his home. It was a log structure and came into use when the railroad made it necessary to eliminate the Anderson Ferrell School.
Delorme School: The Delorme school was located near the home of Devil Anse, it was believed, for Charles Carpenter mentioned as a schoolteacher taught in that neighborhood. It is doubtful that there was a school there, for no definite record has been found. Charles Carpenter was said to be a teacher in that locality.
The Dial’s Branch School: This school is not substantiated by any strong evidence as being in operation during the early days of the feud, but was known to exist in the latter days of the feud.
Head of Blackberry School: This was at what is known today as Ransom. This school was some distance (about 15 miles from the mouth of Blackberry). Bob Williams taught school there. Dr. H.D. Hatfield attended school at this school.
Kate Ray who was a teacher at the Elias Hatfield School in 1893, says that she went to school there and when she graduated from the fifth grade she took an examination and taught the next year. She says the examination was not hard, and all the teachers gathered at Williamson. Other teachers that taught there were Albert Simpkins, Dr. Rutherford, Lee Rutherford. Scott Justice taught school at Mud Fork. Mike Clingenpeel was another teacher at Mud Fork.
Mrs. Ray stated:
I went to my first school on Mud Fork in 1888. I was only four years old. They didn’t mind for I didn’t give them any trouble. I learned a little at that age. Lee Curry was the teacher that year. He made improvements in the log school. His first improvement was to put backs on the seats. We did not have any desks or any blackboards. Dick and Will Bachtel also taught school at Mud Fork. They came from Jackson County. They stayed at Sam Jackson’s. They paid about $8.00 a month for board. Scott Justice, now a resident of Huntington, West Virginia, taught school on Mud Fork. So did Mack Clingenpeel. Every one liked Mack. He could explain the lessons so well.
When I was in the fifth grade I went to the Hatfield School below Matewan. When I graduated, I took the teachers examination and taught the next year there at the school on Elias Hatfield’s farm about the year 1895.
Derived from these interviews by Mr. McCoy:
Ella Hatfield McCoy interview (she “lived on Blackberry Creek during the time of the feud”) (c.1949)
W.A. McCoy interview (c.1949)
Kate Ray interview (c.1949)
Leslie Rivers said:
In 1961, I briefly went to the old Omar High School, in 61 an elem sch. My father had briefly gone to school there in the 1930s. One of his classmates was James Howe’s father. My father wasn’t there long. He was sent to the Greenbrier Military School. My grandmother, Helen Moore, wanted him away from the influence of the Hatfields who lived nearby. My grandfather, Dr Moore, said Daddy frequently ran away from the military school, often beating Dr Moore back to Stirrat by way of his thumb. By age 16, my grandparents gave up on making Daddy go to school. When Daddy was 18, he joined the Air Force. Daddy qualified as an expert marksman in the AF, thanks to the years of learning about guns from Henry Hatfield. When Daddy (Bill Moore) left the AF, he went to West Tex Univ and got a degree in geology and engineering. WTU said my father was a mathematical genius. If anyone has ever driven on I-85, my father was the geologist who located possible rock quarries along the 85 interstate route in the private plane for the Co that had the interstate contract. As for me, my attendance was short lived at the Omar School. By 1961, the school was old and had been poorly maintained. It was dark on the interior and frightened me. My grandfather, Dr Moore, home schooled me as he made house calls for the rest of the year. I have been told that my grandmother (a ceramic hobbyist with her studio on the 3rd floor of the Omar house they lived in across the street from the Omar School) made Santa Claus cups for every child with their names on the cups at the Omar School at Christmas. She then filled them with candy for the children.