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 Plyant Mayhorn’s deposition regarding the affair:
COMMONWEALTH VS DOC MAYHORN &C
Bill of Exceptions
FILED Sept. 1889
G.W. Pinson, Clk
The Commonwealth then introduced as a witness James McCoy who proves that he is brother to Tolbert, Randolp (sic) Jr. and Pharmer McCoy. Saw them Aug 9, 1882 on Mate Creek in the state West Va. Saw them on Blackberry Creek on Election day. Jo Hatfield, Mathew Hatfield and Floyd Hatfield had charge off them on that day. First saw them next day at Rev. Anderson Hatfield about 12 o’clock. They were tied arm and arm and all tied together. Saw several persons there. Saw Defendants there. They had guns. I think Rifle guns. Soon after I got there Bad Ance formed a line and said let all Hatfield men or friends fall into line. Deft. fell in to line. Doc had a gun. Am not sure that Plyant had any gun. Ance said when the Prisoners were brought out we will take charge of them now. The whole crowd then went down Blackberry Creek toward the river. Witness went along about 1 ½ miles. Ance said to me I had no business further down and I stopped. Ance further said that he had a notion to tell the officers along that he had no further use for them. I went to Mate Creek in West Va. where my brothers was in a School house Wednesday Aug 9th 1882. I saw Bad Ance, Cap, Jonce Hatfields Defendants Doc & Plyant Mayhorn, Alex Messer, Tom Mitchell and some others. Defendants had guns some times. I left there about 3 o’clock p.m. Went down to mouth Mate Creek, staid a few minutes at Sam Simpkin’s. Then went to Asa McCoy’s at mouth Sulphur. I saw Wall with a papers. Do not know what it contained and heard Wall call for signers. Saw Plyant walk up to Wall but can not say whether he signed it or not. Saw Plyant with Wall & Elias Hatfield and Elijah Mounts that evening late at the mouth Mate Creek. They went up river. Saw them again just after dark pass down by the mouth of Sulphur. I was there and they had not been gone by perhaps 20 minutes when I heard a volley of guns or pistols fired on the Ky side of the river about ½ way between Mouth Sulphur and Mate Creek but on the opposite side of the river from Sulphur. My brothers was dead when I found them. Anderson Ferrell went with him to find them. Found on the Ky shore short distance from river in a sink or flat all tied together and to two Paw Paw Bushes. Tolbert had one hand over his head. Made an examination of my brothers and found Pharmer shot 16 times. Randolph with the whole top of his head shot off. Six or seven shots in Tolbert. We removed them in a sled. They were all burried in one coffin. Elias Hatfield had a gun as they passed me at the mouth of Sulphur, there was one horse in the crowd was considerably excited at times. The officers had the boys in charge for murdering Ellison Hatfield. There were a great many men along who had guns that are not indicted. There was six or seven guards and some that were not guards along with my brothers. I do not know where any one objected to my brothers being brought to Pikevill or not. I can not tell all the parties who had guns. Ellison Hatfield died about 2 ½ or 3 oclock Wednesday Aug 9, 1882. The men who taken the corps of Ellison Hatfield to Elias Hatfields was a part of the men he had seen at the school house. My brothers were found dead in Pike County Ky. Wall Hatfield is the brother of Ance, Elison & Elias Hatfield, and the father in law of the defts. When I saw my brothers at Rev. Anderson Hatfield’s there was also present Ance, Cap, Johns, Wall & Elias Hatfield. Carpenter, Dan Whitt, Messer, Murphy, Mose Christian and defts. When I found my brothers dead they were tied together and to two paw paw bushes. When Wall, Elias, & deft. Plyant Mahorn found me near the mouth of Sulphur at dark they were passing from the direction of Joe Davis’ at mo. Blackberry and going in the direction of the mouth Mate. From Jo Davis’ to mouth of Sulphur is about ½ mile, and from Sulphur to mouth Mate is about ½ mile. From the point where my brothers were found dead in Pike Co Ky is _____ in WVa immediately opposite is about 125 yards. As soon as they passed me near the mouth of Sulphur I ___ my horse pulled some grass and fed him, went back and sat down on the porch, and the firing directly began. I think it was 20 minutes after they passed until the firing began. I think I heard 50 shots. After the volley ceased there was one loud shot.
Written in the margin: Soon after this I went down to Ferrell’s and ___ Simpkins and myself went and found my brothers.
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