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Randolph McCoy’s testimony in the Johnse Hatfield murder trial provides one version of the Hatfield raid upon McCoy’s home on January 1, 1888:

Q. “How old are you?”

A. “I was born in 1825.”

Q. “Begin in your own way, and tell all about the case that you know.”

A. “The first thing I knew about it the dogs woke me up. My boy came to the bed and said, ‘Pa, they are coming. Get up.’ And by that time I was up on the floor, and they had surrounded the house and 1 heard one of them say, ‘God damn ye, come out and surrender yourselves, prisoners of war.’ We never spoke. By that time, they had come past the upper house as we called it. We got behind that door that broke. They fired a volley each way in the house and I moved for I saw that I could not stay there. Next, I went to the fireplace. Calvin went to the back of the house. They shot cross shots from each side of the door, through the doors. I stayed there a good while. They kept shooting and, finally, I went into the loft. The firing kept up a long time. I thought it a long time. Finally, they fired the house, the room that I was in, me and my wife, Calvin, and Melvin was in the same room. I took a cup and when the blaze would come through the house I would throw water on it and it out. Finally, the water gave out. The boy had gone up in the loft and I went up where he was. We stayed in the house until three of the joists had burned and the end of the joists had fell down before we had attempted to leave the house. The boy then came to me and said, ‘Pa, ye stay here, I can out-run you and I will go to the barn and try to attract their attention in that direction and maybe I can save you.’ He started and got past the corner of the house when they began firing again. He never got to the barn. The little boy hung onto me but I shoved him loose at the door and went out among them. I stepped out of the house and saw Johnson Hatfield standing eight or ten steps from the rest of them, and just as I stepped out of the house and looked up his gun fired in the direction of Calvin. I discovered that his gun had caught fowl and he was humped down working on it. I fired into the crowd then turned and fired at Johnson. I aimed to shoot him in the neck, but I aimed too low and shot him in the shoulder. The burning house made it as light as day and I know that it was Johnson.”

Q. “What did you do when you shot Johnson, the defendant?”

A. “I ran down the creek.”

Q. “Where did you go then?”

A. “I crawled into the shuck pen.”

Q. “Did you have on your night clothes?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Where was Alafair McCoy?”

A. “She was in the upper part of the house. They did not fire that until the shots were fired at the other—the room we were in.”

Q. “What did you hear at that time?”

A. “I heard Alafair say, ‘Cap Hatfield and Hence Chambers, you would not shoot a poor innocent woman, would you?’ Then they said, ‘Shoot her, God damit, shoot her down. Spare neither men nor woman,’ and they shot her in the left breast. I heard her fall and struggle near the door. This was all before I came out of the house.”

Q. “Where did you stay that night?”

A. “In the shuck pen, I went back at daylight.”

Q. “What did you find?”

A. “I found my son lying there dead. My daughter dead with her hair froze in her blood to her heart.”

Q. “Was the house there?”

A. “No sir, it was burned up. The little girl had dragged her sister off from the house.”

Q. “How far from the house?”

A. “About thirty yards.”

Q. “How many shots did they fire?”

A. “No man could count them. They came in volleys and platoons.”

Q. “Did you have a gun too?”

A. “Yes sir.”

Q. “Was your wife in her night clothes?”

A. “Yes sir, they thought they had killed her, no doubt, or I think they would have done so.”

Source: Bill of exceptions at the office of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals in Kentucky, Frankfort, KY.