Appalachia, Cap Hatfield, Coleman Hatfield, Devil Anse Hatfield, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Jeff McCoy, Kentucky, Logan County, Mingo County, Nancy E. Hatfield, Perry Cline, Pike County, Pikeville, Preacher Anse Hatfield, Ron Blackburn, Tom Dotson, Tom Wallace, West Virginia, William S. Ferrell
Logan County, W.Va.
December 26, 1886
Mr. P.A. Cline
I had to answer your Letter in regard to the Late Trouble. We are all very sorry that the Trouble occurred but under Somewhat aggravated circumstances it hapened. but I know and solemnly affirm that if such could have been prevented by me I would have stoped the Trouble. but it has gone by & cannot be ___. Cap was away from Home and Jeff went there to his house in the presents of his wife lying on her sick bed and had been under Treatment of the Doctor for three or four weeks and in undertaking to arrest Wallace shot into the House and when Cap came home he went and arrested Jeff to hand him over to a peace officer. & he met with Tom Wallace, and Wallace went with him and at William S. Ferrell’s he Broke loose in the presents of Wallace, and swam the river and Wallace followed shooting at him. I hope that if their is any question Relative to this affair that it will be ___ by a fair statement of the case.
William S. Ferrell statement
At the time Jeff started Cap was of conversing with me some 40 or 50 yds and I never seen Cap Hatfield fire a single shot. You can write to Wm S. Ferrell for now in conclusion I will say to all the relatives of Jeff McCoy that neither one of the Hatfields has any animosity against them and very sorry that such has occurred and sincerely Trust that there will be no more Trouble in regard to the matter. Perry the very Bottom of this crime is nothing more nor less than Mary Daniels and her girls. Now Bill is gone and says he won’t come back. No person is going to Trouble him let him come back.
NOTE: Ron G. Blackburn owns the original letter. A copy can be seen in Thomas Dotson’s The Hatfield & McCoy Feud After Kevin Costner: Rescuing History (2013), p. 232-233. Coleman Hatfield said that Nancy E. Hatfield, wife of Cap, wrote the letter, while Tom Dotson feels that Preacher Anse Hatfield wrote the letter.
Appalachia, county clerk, crime, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Jacob Smith, James H. McCoy, John Dils, Kentucky, merchant, Pike County, Pleasant McCoy, Randolph McCoy, S.K. Damron, Sallie McCoy, Sam McCoy, sheriff, William McCoy, William P. Johnson
NOTE: This case is most definitely unrelated to the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. I included it here because of the involvement of John Dils. The William McCoy involved in the case is likely the brother to Sallie (McCoy) McCoy, wife of Randal McCoy.
Altina Waller, Appalachia, Brandon Kirk, Cap Hatfield, Coleman Hatfield, Democratic Party, Devil Anse Hatfield, Dyke Garrett, feuds, Frank Phillips, genealogy, Hatfield Cemetery, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Hatfield, history, Jean Hatfield, Jim Vance, Joe Hatfield, John Ed Pearce, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, Levisa Hatfield, Logan Banner, Logan County, Otis Rice, Pikeville, Republican Party, Rosa Browning, Roseanne McCoy, Sarah Ann, Tennis Hatfield, The Hatfield and McCoy Feud After Kevin Costner, The McCoys: Their Story, The Tale of the Devil, Thomas Dotson, Truda Williams McCoy, West Virginia
In 2001-2002, I wrote a series of popular stories for the Logan Banner that merged aspects of well-known Hatfield-McCoy books written by Otis Rice and Altina Waller in the 1980s. I had previously enjoyed Rice’s narrative and Waller’s analysis; I did not conduct any new research. Even though I believed the definitive Hatfield-McCoy Feud book remained unwritten, my purpose in writing these stories was not a step toward writing a book; my purpose in writing these stories was to revisit the narrative with some analysis for Banner readers. My hope was that readers would see what I saw: first, fascinating history (or folk story) for its own sake; second, the power of history to create a popular type of tourism.
I was fortunate during this time to meet Jean Hatfield. Jean, born in 1936, operated a Hatfield family museum at Sarah Ann, WV. Jean was not a native of West Virginia but had lived her entire adult life locally and had personally known several of Anderson Hatfield’s children. I really appreciated her desire to promote regional history. She “got it.” She inspired me. Anytime that I drove up Route 44, I stopped to visit Jean at the museum. She was always welcoming. Knowing her reminded me that every Hatfield (and McCoy) descendant is a source of information–-and that for the most part they have yet to tell the story in their own words. Three notable exceptions include The McCoys: Their Story by Truda Williams McCoy (1976), The Tale of the Devil (2003) by Coleman Hatfield and Bob Spence, and The Hatfield and McCoy Feud After Kevin Costner: Rescuing History (2013) by Thomas Dotson.
What follows is Part 3 of my interview with Jean, which occurred on August 7, 2001:
What kind of shape is the [Hatfield] cemetery in?
Pretty rough right now because Henry’s been gone two years and he was sick two years before so he didn’t get to take care of it the way he normally did. It’s pretty well growed up. The main part of the cemetery, the family part, is pretty good. It’s just where the hill’s growed up.
There are unmarked graves in there.
There’s a bunch in there. Well, the main part of the cemetery is just the Hatfield people. And there’s a lot of graves up there, neighborhood people that couldn’t afford to buy grave plots and things like that. They just let them be buried up in there. So they’re not all Hatfields. I think all of the Hatfields now are marked up there, because we put Aunt Rosie’s up last fall and she was the last one in the family not to be marked. And we got that done. But there’s a lot of neighborhood people up in there and a lot of friends that Tennis and Joe made and they died off and they wanted to be buried close to the family.
What about Devil Anse’s politics?
Well, Henry’s father [Tennis] changed. Grandpa [Devil Anse] was a Democrat. The way I can understand it, the Democrat Party was so closed they wouldn’t let Tennis in when he wanted to run for sheriff so he ran for sheriff on the Republican ticket and won. Surprised the heck out of them, I imagine. And then Joe carried on as a Republican. But my husband was a Republican until he died. Me, I vote for both sides. Depends on the person that’s running. You know how politics is. Once you’re out of favor then you live a pretty rough life. And that happened in the family, too. Kind of wild back in those days. Even back 30-40 years ago, it was wild. I think we’re about to get civilized.
I don’t know. If they don’t get a handle on these drugs there’s not going to be much hope. We’ve got problems here with the drugs. I just wish they could get them settled so people could get back to normal. When we built our house up there… We went on vacation we left the house wide open. Nobody bothered anything. Neighbor went in and let my little dogs run for a while, fed ‘em, put ‘em back in the house. Never even thought of locking the door. But you wouldn’t do that now. I think there’s been like five break-ins up here in the last couple of weeks. I think you can probably trace it right back to drugs. People trying to get stuff to sell for drugs. Which is pitiful.
What about Dyke Garrett?
Uncle Dyke? He was with the family most of the time, off and on. He done the burying and the marrying. Of course, the picture back there shows him baptizing Grandpa. He was a circuit preacher. He traveled everywhere.
Do you have a favorite character in the story? Anyone you feel attached to?
Well, all of them.
Even on the McCoy side?
Well, I think Roseanne is my favorite on the McCoy side, of course. And I think Grandma. Because think of what she went through. How many nights did she set up worrying about those reckless boys of hers? And every picture you see of them together, they look like love. Their body language shows it. They care for each other. And I think he took a lot of her advice and things like that. And if he was half the man that the people he helped and things like that, I think he must have been a pretty great person, too. There’s one of the pictures there… There was a Chafins boy that they just took in and raised. He didn’t have no family. Evidently his mother and father died when he was young and they took him in and raised him. They done several people that way. If they didn’t have a job, he’d work them, timbering and things like that so they could have a little bit of money along. That’s another thing about Altina Waller’s book I liked because she told the people who worked for him. There was a lot of McCoys who worked for him, too.
Have you read John Ed Pearce’s book about feuds in eastern Kentucky? I think he was unfair to Devil Anse.
Well, maybe he had ties to the McCoys or something.
I think Cap and Uncle Jim Vance are the two who…
They were the instigators.
Devil Anse, he really didn’t…
He wasn’t in the major things. If you notice, all the incidents that happen, he wasn’t there. But Uncle Jim and Cap were. So I think they kind of pushed it and Frank Phillips pushed it on the other side. Frank Phillips was the type of man who would kill you for fifty cents bounty. He was a bounty hunter. Back at that time, five dollars was a big bounty. They had a five-hundred-dollar bounty on Grandpa and Johnse’s head back in 1887. Usually like Jesse James and them, theirs didn’t go over one hundred dollars.
Was that in Kentucky?
Uh huh, right.
I’m hoping someone will link all of these historical sites together…
Well, that’s what they’re trying to do out in Pikeville but Logan County is not interested in it. There’s no driving force behind it, more or less. I was reading in the paper where the county commission was talking about taking over the cemetery, but it won’t do no good unless they clean it up and fix it so people can get up there. There’s a lot of people who can’t walk up the hill. And we need a road and a bridge up through there so people can get up there.
I was told the Cap Hatfield cemetery is not supposed to be visited. Is that true?
I don’t know. Neighborhood people go up in there so I really don’t know.
How would you describe his ‘set’ of the family?
They were more private people. They didn’t mix with the public like… Well now, Henry’s father [Tennis] was always in the public so I think it just come naturally for his children to be that way, too.
Alex Messer, Anderson Hatfield, Appalachia, Blackberry Creek, Bud McCoy, Cap Hatfield, Charley Carpenter, Chuck Murphy, constable, crime, Devil Anse Hatfield, Doc Mayhon, Elias Hatfield, Floyd Hatfield, Floyd McCoy, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Jerry Hatfield, John Hatfield, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, Pharmer McCoy, Pike County, Pikeville, Plyant Mayhon, Tolbert McCoy, Tug River, Valentine Wall Hatfield, West Virginia
The killing of Tolbert, Pharmer, and Bud McCoy by a Hatfield-led gang on August 8, 1882 represented one of the most sensational events of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. What follows is Randolph McCoy’s deposition regarding the affair:
The Court of Ky
Anderson Hatfield & other Defts.
Pltffs Bill of Exceptions
Be it remembered that on the trial of Doc Mayhorn and Plyant Mahon under the above styled prosecution the following proceedings was had.
The Commonwealth introduced and has worn as a witness Randolp McCoy, who proves that he is 63 years old that he is the father of Tolbert, Pharmer, and Randolp McCoy, they are now dead, was on Blackberry Creek in Pike County Ky at the August Election 1882 says that the boys in custody about 2 oclock on that day staid on the Election grounds about two hours they then went up to Floyd McCoys and staid until nearly night and then went to John Hatfields house and staid all night. They were in custody of Tolbert Hatfield a Justice of the Peace and Floyd Hatfield special Constable. Defents Doc and Plyant Mayhon are sons in law of Wall Hatfield. My boys was next morning started toward Pikeville in Pike County under a guard of six or seven men and was taken by Wall and Elias Hatfield and then turned back down [page torn] stopped at the mouth of Dial [page torn] his boys was then placed in a large corn sled while there. Anse Hatfield and his squad come up. Defendants was with them when they come up. they had with them country Rifle guns. Dials branch is from a ¼ to ½ miles from where Wall Hatfield came to them. Defendants were there all the time from the time they come to the corn sled. the crowd stopped at old Jerry Hatfield and Charley Carpenter got a rope and tied my three boys together. then went down the creek to Rev. Anderson Hatfields and defendants and all stopped there and got dinner. Knows Ance, Cap & Johnson Hatfield. they was there. Alex Messer was there. After Dinner Devil Ance stepped out and said “all of Hatfields frirends form a line” Ance Cap Jonce two Defts. Alex Messer Chuck Murphy was all in the line. Defts had arms (Guns I think). this was Aug 8 1882. My boys was then by this squad marched down the creek toward the river. This is the last time I ever saw them alive. I was on the road from Pikeville home they day my boys was buried. There was quite a crowd at the corn sled. There were a great many persons who were not interested several had guns. If I am not mistaken the first time I saw defendants was at the mouth of Dials branch. I may be mistaken but do not think I am. I saw no one catching horses in pasture at Rev. Anderson Hatfield’s. If I did I do not know who they were. The defts. were present when my boys were tied at Jerry Hatfield’s above Rev. Anderson Hatfield’s. When Devil Ance at the Rev. Anderson Hatfield’s called for the Hatfield friends to fall into the line the defts. went into the line and they were I think both armed with rifles and guns. The boys were then taken down the creek toward Tug river still tied together. I never saw them alive again.
Appalachia, barber, Big Creek, Big Creek Coal Company, Black Hawk Colliery Company, C&O Railroad, C.C. Spriegel, Cyrus Elkins, D P Crockett, genealogy, history, Huntington, J.W. Carver, jeweler, Kentucky, L.J. Manor, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Millard Sanders, Peach Creek, Peter M. Toney, Pikeville, Standard V. Rousey, stenographer, W.F. Stone, W.H. McKinney, Washington D.C., West Virginia
An unknown correspondent from Big Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on January 27, 1922:
JAN. 25–Millard Sanders has just completed a nice two story building and is going to open up a store in the store room building.
Mr. Cyrus Elkins, car repairer of the C. & O. at Big Creek, has been laid off from work for the past ten days or two weeks on the account of an abscess on his shoulder due to a bruise while repairing bad order cars, but will resume duty again next week.
Mr. P.M. Toney, of Big Creek, has been in Huntington for a few days attending to business matters and visiting his family.
Mrs. L.J. Manor, wife of the general manager of the Big Creek Coal Co. and Black Hawk Colliery co., gave a dance and farewell party last week in honor of Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Spriegel who left recently for Washington, D.C.
Mr. and Mrs. W.H. McKinney from Pikeville, Ky., are visiting friends and relatives in Big Creek.
Mr. W.F. Stone, who has been living in Big Creek and working at Peach Creek as train dispatcher, is moving to Huntington to accept another position with the C. & O. Railway Company.
Mr. S.V. Rousey, supervisor of the C. & O., has been in Big Creek several times in the last week or so on business for the company.
Mr. J.W. Carver, local barber and jeweler, of Big Creek has recently built a new barber shop and jewelry store.
Mr. D.P. Crockett, stenographer for England and Hager of Logan, was in Big Creek last Saturday.
Abraham Lincoln, Appalachia, Barnabus, Ben Creek, Betty Caldwell, Betty Hatfield, Bob Hatfield, C.C. Lanham, Cap Hatfield, Charles Dardi, Charleston, deputy sheriff, Devil Anse Hatfield, E. Willis Wilson, Elias Hatfield, Elliott R. Hatfield, F.M. Browning, Fayette County, feud, genealogy, governor, Halsey Gibson, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry D. Hatfield, Hibbard Hatfield, history, Holden, Huntington, Island Creek, J.O. Hill, Jim McCoy, Joe Hatfield, John Caldwell, John J. Jackson, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, L.W. Lawson, Levicy Hatfield, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lundale, Marion Browning, Mary Howes, Mate Creek, Matewan, Matilda Chafin, Mingo County, Nancy Carey, Nancy Mullins, Nathaniel Chafin, Omar, Pike County, Pikeville, Pittsburgh, pneumonia, R.A. Woodall, Randolph McCoy, Rebecca Hatfield, Rose Browning, sheriff, Tennis Hatfield, Tom Chafin, Troy Hatfield, Tug River, W.R. Eskew, West Virginia, Wharncliffe
The following news items from the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, provide some history about the final years of Levisa Hatfield, widow of Anse Hatfield:
MRS. HATFIELD BETTER
Mrs. Levicy Hatfield, widow of Ance Hatfield, continues to recuperate from a serious illness and is now able to walk about the home of her daughter, Mrs. F.M. Browning, of Holden, where she has been cared for. She is 84 years old.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 03 June 1927
Mrs. Hatfield Hurt
Mrs. Lovisa Hatfield, widow of the late “Devil Anse” Hatfield, is suffering from injuries received in a fall at her home on Island Creek Sunday. She hurt her hip and shoulder and forehead and her condition was such as to cause some concern, yet she was able to sit up yesterday. Two or three of her daughters are helping to take care of her. She is 85 years old.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 20 September 1927
DEVIL ANSE’S WIDOW, AGED 86, RECOVERS FROM PNEUMONIA
In recovering from her recent severe illness Mrs. Levisa Hatfield, widow of the late “Devil Anse,” has again demonstrated her remarkable vitality. Though in her 87th year, she is now recovering from pneumonia with which she was stricken on December 28. Monday of this week her lungs began to clear up, and her son, Sheriff Joe Hatfield, said yesterday that she seemed to be assured of recovery.
So critical was her illness for several days that half a dozen physicians were summoned to her bedside. These included Dr. H.D. Hatfield, L.W. Lawson, J.O. Hill, Brewer and Moore as well as Dr. E.R. Hatfield, of Charleston, a son of the aged patient.
Mrs. Hatfield celebrated her 86th birthday at the Hatfield homestead near the head of Island Creek on December 20.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 18 January 1929.
Devil Anse’s Widow Died Early Today
Mrs. Levisa Hatfield Succumbs Unexpectedly In 87th Year
10 Living Children
Hers Was Life of Storm And Stress for Several Decades
Funeral services for Mrs. Hatfield will be held at 2:30 Sunday at the Hatfield cemetery on Island Creek.
Mrs. Levisa Hatfield, widow of “Devil Anse” of Hatfield-McCoy feud fame, died at the family homestead up near the head of Island Creek at about 8 o’clock this morning. Though she was frail and had been in ill health all winter, the news of her passing caused much surprise and regret among relatives and friends outnumbered. Still, her condition yesterday was unsatisfactorily, indicating she had suffered a backset.
Mrs. Hatfield celebrated her 86th birthday on December 20. Eight days later she was stricken with pneumonia, and for several weeks her condition was alarming. Despite her advanced age, her indomitable grit and wiry strength and endurance triumphed, having as she did the tender, constant care of her children and other kinfolk, neighbors, and friends.
Hers was a stout heart, otherwise it could not have, withstood the storms that raged about her home and her family for many years. But long before her interesting career ended, peace and contentment had come into her life, and her declining days were brightened by the successes that had come to her children and grandchildren.
The decedent was born and reared on Mate Creek in what was then Logan county but now in Mingo. She was a daughter of Nathaniel Chafin. In her teens she was married to a neighbor youth, William Anderson Hatfield, who shortly thereafter entered the Confederate army and attained the rank of captain. That was a trying experience for a bride, but a longer and more terrifying one came in the early ‘80s when her family became involved in a now historic private war with the McCoys, a large family living on the Kentucky side of the Tug River. Even after the feud ended and a tacit agreement was carried out whereby her family moved back from the Tug and over the county divide and their foes went farther away from the Tug in the opposite direction, tragedies cast their shadows across her pathway. Chief of these was the slaying of her sons Troy and Elias by a drunken miner in Fayette county in 1911. The miner, too, was riddled with bullets after his victims had fallen mortally wounded.
Ten children survive Mrs. Hatfield and three are dead, Johnson, the oldest, having died in 1922 on Ben Creek, Mingo county. The living are: William A. (Cap), who shared with his father the leadership of their clan in the days of the feud, now a deputy sheriff and living at Stirrat; Robert L., Wharncliffe; Mrs. Nancy Mullins, living just above the Hatfield place; Dr. Elliott R., Charleston; Mrs. Mary Howes, at home; Mrs. John (Betty) Caldwell, Barnabus; Sheriff Joe D. Hatfield; Mrs. Marion (Rose) Browning, Holden; Willis, deputy sheriff at Lundale; Tennis, former sheriff.
She is survived by two sisters and a brother: Mrs. Betty Hatfield, widow of Elias Hatfield and mother of U.S. Senator H.D. Hatfield; Mrs. Rebecca Hatfield, of Logan, mother of Hibbard Hatfield, and Tom Chafin, who lives on Mate Creek.
Mrs. Hatfield and devoted to her home and family. And her home as well as herself was widely known for hospitality. There the friend or wayfarer ever found a welcome. She was a member of the Church of Christ and was baptized along with her husband by Uncle Dyke Garrett some years before her husband’s death.
No announcement was made this forenoon as to the funeral arrangements. Squire Elba Hatfield, a grandson, said he supposed the funeral would be held Sunday. Burial will be in the family cemetery.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 15 March 1929
Great Crowd At Funeral of Mrs. Hatfield
Throng Surpassed That of Any Previous Funeral In County
Pictures Are Taken
News of Death of “Devil” Anse’s Widow Travels Far and Wide
Hundreds of relatives and friends and neighbors paid their last tribute of affection to Mrs. Lovisa Hatfield Sunday afternoon. It is declared to be, by persons capable of judging, the largest funeral crowd ever assembled in the county. Perhaps the maximum attendance of the afternoon was no larger than that at the funeral of Charles Dardi last November, but on Sunday people were coming and going for an hour or more before the hour set–2:30–for the services and until the services were concluded.
Early in the afternoon a crowd began to form both at the Hatfield cemetery and the homestead. A cool, steady, stiff breeze made it uncomfortable for those who gathered at the cemetery, with the result that they did not tarry long there; and on account of weather conditions a great many did not leave their cars, which were closely parked along both sides of the highway from Sheriff Joe Hatfield’s home up to and beyond the home of the decedent.
The attendance at Sunday’s rites exceeded that of the funeral of Mrs. Hatfield’s widely known husband, “Devil Anse,” which was held on Sunday, January 9, 1921. At that time there was but a semblance of a highway up toward the head of Island Creek and most of those who attended the rites of the old feudist chieftain rode on a special train that was run that day or walked for a great distance.
At the homestead there were scripture readings, sermons, and tributes by Rev. Joe Hatfield, a nephew of the decedent, of Matewan; Rev. Halsey Gibson and Rev. C.C. Lanham, pastor of the first Methodist church of Logan. Before the cortege left the house R.A. Woodall, local photographer, took pictures of the body at rest in a beautiful metallic casket and of the grandchildren and perhaps others who were grouped on the porch.
At the grave the services were conducted by Rev. W.R. Eskew of Omar and a solo by a Mr. Woods of Huntington featured the singing. Mr. Eskew paid a tribute to the generosity and hospitality of Mrs. Hatfield, to her love of home and her devotion to her children and other loved ones.
As related in Friday’s paper, Mrs. Hatfield died at about 8 o’clock that morning, after having nearly recovered from pneumonia. Her age was 86 years, two months and 25 days. She was a daughter of Nathaniel and Matilda Varney Chafin and was born on Mate Creek, now in Mingo county. Her sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Hatfield of Huntington , Mrs. Nancy Carey, Pittsburgh, and Mrs. Rebecca Hatfield of Logan, and her brother Tom Chafin of Mingo were at the funeral.
All over the country the news of Mrs. Hatfield’s death was flashed and it called forth much comment on the old Hatfield-McCoy feud that for a long time held the close attention evidently of millions of newspaper readers.
An old sketch of “Devil Anse” says he had none of the attributes of “bad men” in his character. He was always recognized as a loyal friend of the many who had some sort of claim to his friendship. Numbered among those who believed he had been right in the position he took during the feud days were the late Judge John J. Jackson, known as the “Iron Judge,” who was appointed to the federal bench by President Lincoln, and the late Governor E.W. Wilson, the former protecting Hatfield when he was called into court, and the latter refusing to honor a requisition of the Governor of Kentucky for the arrest of Devil Anse on a charge of killing some particular member of the McCoy family.
Detectives, real and alleged, had arranged for the capture of Hatfield, spurred by a reward, after they had seen to it that he was indicted on a charge of whiskey selling; in 1888, Judge Jackson, hearing of these plans, sent word to him that if he would appear in court voluntarily the court would see that he had ample protection until he returned to his home in this county.
Uncle Anse appeared and was acquitted of the charge against him. Some of the detectives pounced on him soon after he left the court room, but Judge Jackson summoned all of them before him, threatened to send them to jail, and directed special officers to see that Hatfield was permitted to reach his home. After Hatfield was well on his way, Judge Jackson told the detectives that if they wanted to get him they could proceed, just as the McCoys had been doing for a number of years. They never went.
Captain Hatfield spent the last 20 years of his life peacefully on his farm then in an isolated section of the county. Once he was prevailed upon by some enterprising amusement manager to go on the vaudeville stage but the lure of his home in the mountains soon proved stronger than the lure of the footlights.
In the splendid account of the death of Mrs. Anderson Hatfield, estimable woman who passed away at her home Friday, it was stated that Mrs. Hatfield was one of the last of either the Hatfield or McCoy family directly connected with the feud and that all the McCoy principals are believed to be dead. This last is in error as James McCoy, who resided in Pikeville for many years and latter came here, where he lived with his family for a number of years, and after the death of his wife only a few years ago again returned to Pikeville and is now living there. He is a highly respected and esteemed citizen and was the eldest son of the late Randall McCoy, of Pike county, and was one of the main principals of the feud.
Catlettsburg cor. in Huntington Advertiser
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 March 1929.
Abington Virginian, Appalachia, Big Sandy River, Cabell County, Chapmanville, civil war, Confederate Army, genealogy, Guyandotte River, history, John B. Floyd, John Clarkson, John Dils, John Letcher, Kanawha River, Kentucky, Levisa Fork, Lincoln County, Logan County, Ohio River, Pigeon Creek, Pike County, Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Smyth County, Tazewell County, Union Army, Virginia, Virginia State Line, Washington County, Wayne County, West Virginia
Confederate General John B. Floyd composed this letter detailing military activity in the Guyandotte and Big Sandy valleys in late 1862, which was published by the Abington Virginian on January 2, 1863.
OFFICIAL REPORT OF GEN. FLOYD
Headquarters Virginia State Line,
Camp Clarkson, Tazewell Co.,
December 17, 1862
His Excellencey, John Letcher,
Governor of Virginia—
SIR: After my last communication to you I prepared an expedition consisting of a strong force of Cavalry under Colonel John Clarkson, to operate against the enemy in the counties of Wayne, Cabell, &c. He set out from Chapmansville on the 14th November, in the direction of Cabell down the Guyandotte river, over a rough and difficult road. The following day he fell in with a detachment of the enemy which he quickly routed and dispersed. He continued the march until a few miles of the Ohio river, breaking up the “Home Guard” organization of the enemy, which are very numerous in all that country, and taking prisoners every day.
A strong guard of Yankee troops, acting as a guard for the Pierpont Assessor for the county of Wayne, was attacked and dispersed after a short skirmish, in which was killed and wounded some of the enemy and took a few prisoners. Col. Clarkson proceeded then, according to the previous directions given him, to the Sandy river, to attack a large and formidable organization of the enemy composed mainly of the native population, and very strong posted amidst the cliffs and forests upon the precipitous banks of that river. He succeeded in taking them by surprise completely, and after killing and wounding a number of them, took a large number of prisoners, and surprised entirely the rest of the force. This force and organization were formidable and extremely dangerous to the peace and quiet of all the country round about for many miles, the loyal people were nearly all driven from their country and all were robbed. After that, Col. Clarkson, according to previous understanding, made a junction with me at the mouth of Pigeon Creek, in Logan county, on the Kentucky border, whither I had gone with the infantry and a section of the mounted howitzer battery.
I learned from Col. Clarkson that the enemy had started a number of boats with valuable supplies, from the mouth of Sandy to a post recently established at Pikeville, a point at the head of navigation on the Louisa Fork of Sandy. These boats were in charge of a strong guard, and were intended to furnish a complete outfit for a force deemed sufficient for them, by their commander, to march upon and destroy the salt works in Smyth and Washington counties.
I determined at once to attack this train, and from its distance, being more than forty miles off, it became necessary to send mounted men. Besides this reason, I found it inconvenient to move the infantry in that direction, on account of the number of prisoners with which we were encumbered. The cavalry and mounted men were put in motion within an hour and proceeded upon the march, which was uninterrupted, day or night, until the enemy were overtaken, attacked and routed.
Our people captured ten of the enemy’s transport boats, laden with valuable supplies. A great deal of these supplies was distributed amongst the men, and much of them was brought off; but a very large amount of most valuable supplies was necessarily destroyed for want of transportation to bring them away. A train of one hundred pack mules would have brought away a very large amount of extremely valuable stores, which were committed to the fire and the river.
The night following the capture of these boats (indeed, just twelve hours after the attack upon the boats,) our forces engaged that of Col. Dils, posted in an extremely strong position on the summit of a mountain on the road leading from Prestonsburg to Pikeville. This position was taken and held without any knowledge on our part, and as the attack was made after the night, and entirely unexpected, we were taken at a great disadvantage. But our men behaved with great steadiness and resolution, received the attack and charged the enemy, driving him from his position, and dispersing them entirely. The rout was complete, and the post at Pikeville, consisting of a thousand men, was entirely broken up. The prisoners and the Union people in that neighborhood reported Colonel Dils as killed in the fight that night.
For more detailed statements of this expedition I refer you to the report of Col. Clarkson. In our operation through the country, we made a number of recruits in the counties of Cabell, Wayne, Logan, &c.
My object in this campaign was, as far as possible, to prevent the occupation by the Yankee forces, of the country between the Kanawha Valley and Kentucky border, as well as to destroy the military organization of the country under the traitor government in Wheeling. Both objects were fully attained, as long as I was able to remain in the country. The military organizations, very numerous and well appointed in every particular, were almost entirely destroyed, and the attempts to set up the spurious government were entirely failed.
I was compelled to leave the country, held by me for more than three months alone, for the want of Quartermaster’s supplies. We were without tents, or clothing, or cooking utensils, or axes; and after the inclement weather of winter set in, we could no longer remain in the field. With these stores supplied, I would have remained in that country throughout the winter months. We were able to procure food (meat and bread) in the country, nearly all of it taken from the enemy.
The campaign, from first to last, was one of hardship and privations; but they were borne without complaint by the men, who are unsurpassed in hardship, activity and capability to endure privations. They deserve great praise for their constancy and general good conduct.
The officers generally deserve commendation, but to Col. Clarkson too much credit cannot be given for his energy, activity and courage. The obstacle she encountered, of every sort, throughout these expeditions, were of the most formidable character, but they were also most gallantly surmounted.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
JOHN B. FLOYD,
Maj. Gen. Commanding Va. State Line
NOTE: I bolded Gen. Floyd’s description of activity in the Guyandotte Valley that occurred between Chapmanville and the lower section of the river near present-day Huntington.
Anderson Hatfield, Appalachia, Blackberry Creek, Bud McCoy, Doc Mayhorn, feuds, G.W. Pinson, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, justice of the peace, Kentucky, Pharmer McCoy, Pike County, Pikeville, Tolbert Hatfield, Tolbert McCoy, Valentine Wall Hatfield, West Virginia
The killing of Tolbert, Pharmer, and Bud McCoy by a Hatfield-led gang on August 8, 1882 represented one of the most sensational events of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. What follows is Tolbert Hatfield’s deposition regarding the affair:
COMMONWEALTH VS DOC MAYHORN &C
Bill of Exceptions
FILED Sept. 1889
G.W. Pinson, Clk
Tolbert Hatfield testified that he was one of the Justices that had charge of the McCoy Boys. They were in our custody until about 12 o’clock next day. They were in the crowd that moved to Pikeville with the Prisoners. We were stoped (sic) by Wall. I Don’t remember where I first saw the Defts. Seen them some where between Anderson Hatfield and where we turned back Down Blackbery. One of them had arms. Don’t know which. The McCoy Boys were given up by the authoritys because they could not help themselvs (sic). It is not far from where the McCoy Boys was killed to the road on on the Virginia shore opposite the place where they was killed. Some 200 to 250 yards. The Defs. Were not Present when the McCoy Boys were Turned Back Down Blackbery. Theire were a grate many People theire.
For more information about this incident, follow these links:
39th Kentucky Infantry, African-Americans, Ann Dils, Appalachia, Basil Hatfield, cemeteries, civil war, Dils Cemetery, genealogy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, John Dils Jr., Kentucky, Martha Hatfield, Martha McCoy, National Register off Historic Places, photos, Pike County, Pikeville, Randolph McCoy, Roseanna McCoy, Sam McCoy, Sarah McCoy, slavery, Union Army
Alifair McCoy, Appalachia, Beech Creek, Calvin McCoy, Chafinsville, crime, Dan Cunningham, Devil Anse Hatfield, Dollie Hatfield, feud, feuds, Floyd County, Frank Phillips, genealogy, George Hatfield, Gilbert Creek, Greek Milstead, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Clay Ragland, history, Huntington Advertiser, Johnse Hatfield, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Matewan, Mingo County, murder, Nancy Hatfield, Norfolk and Western Railroad, Oakland Hotel, Pikeville, Portsmouth Blade, Prestonsburg, Southern West Virginian, T.C. Whited, Thomas H. Harvey, true crime, Vanceville, West Virginia
From the Logan County Banner of Logan, WV, and the Huntington Advertiser of Huntington, WV, come the following items relating to Johnson Hatfield:
We are glad to see that Johnson Hatfield, who has been confined to his room for the last ___ weeks, is able to be on the street again.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 2 March 1893.
There was an unfortunate difficulty at Matewan on Sunday last in which Mr. Johnson Hatfield was severely wounded through the hand. His son had become involved with an officer which drew his father into the trouble.
Source: Southern West Virginian via the Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 1 January 1896.
Johnson Hatfield, accompanied by his daughter, Miss Dollie, left on Monday last for a visit to friends and relatives in Mingo county.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 23 January 1897.
Johnson Hatfield and daughter, Miss Dollie, have returned from a visit to friends on Sandy.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 6 February 1897.
Johnson Hatfield, the genial proprietor of the Oakland Hotel, is visiting friends at Pikeville, Kentucky.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 28 August 1897.
Johnson Hatfield has returned from a visit to Pikeville, Ky.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 9 October 1897.
Johnson Hatfield is at Williamson this week.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 23 October 1897.
The many friends of Mrs. Johnson Hatfield will regret to learn of her serious illness. She has a very bad attack of rheumatism.
Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 13 November 1897.
Johnson Hatfield and wife, of Mingo, passed through here [Chafinsville] last Sunday en route for Vanceville, where they will make their future home.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 21 April 1898.
TAKEN TO KENTUCKY ON A SERIOUS CHARGE–NOW IN JAIL.
Johnson Hatfield was arrested yesterday and taken to Pikesville, Kentucky, and lodged in jail on a charge of being an accomplice in the murder of Alifair McCoy on New Years night about nine years ago. This murder was committed during the feud of the Hatfields and McCoys.
Source: Huntington (WV) Advertiser, 20 July 1898.
NOTE: Not all of these stories may pertain to the Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield of Hatfield-McCoy Feud fame. For instance, items relating to the Oakland Hotel and a daughter named Dollie relate to a Johnson Hatfield (born 1837), son of George and Nancy (Whitt) Hatfield.