The following land information is derived from Land Book 1880-1886, Land Book 1887-1892, and Land Book 1893-1899 at the Logan County Clerk’s Office in Logan, WV:
Anderson Hatfield, Jr.
No property listed in 1865-1885.
1886: Magnolia District
400 acres Grapevine Creek $1.25 per acre no building $[blank]
300 acres Grapevine Creek $1.25 per acre $30 building $315 total
[The 300-acre tract contained this additional note: “redeemed for 1884.”]
1887: Magnolia District
400 acres Grape Vine $1.25 per acre no building $500 total
300 acres Grape Vine $1.25 per acre no building $375 total
1888-1890: Magnolia District
No property listed for Cap.
[Note: In 1888, he transferred with others two tracts on Grapevine Creek, Sandy River worth $1.25 per acre with total value of $875 to J.D. Sergeant of Philadelphia, PA.]
1891: Logan District
Nancy E. Hatfield
75 acres Island Creek $2 per acre no building $150 total
[Note: This property was “transferred from Reece Browning.”]
1892-1893: Logan District
Nancy E. Hatfield
75 acres Island Creek $2.50 per acre no building $187.50 total
1894: Logan District
Nancy E. Hatfield
75 acres Island Creek, $2.50 per acre no building $188 total
attorney general, Battle of Gravepine, Battle of Scary Creek, Cap Hatfield, Charleston, civil war, Confederate Army, crime, Dan Cunningham, detective, Devil Anse Hatfield, Ellison Mounts, feuds, Frank Phillips, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Howard B. Lee, Jim Comstock, Johnse Hatfeild, Kentucky, Logan Wildcats, Nancy Hatfield, Roseanna McCoy, Tug Fork, Union Army, West Virginia, West Virginia Women
Howard B. Lee, former Attorney General of West Virginia, provided this account of Nancy Hatfield (widow of Cap) in the early 1970s:
Our next stop was at the home of Nancy Elizabeth, the same home where I visited with her and Cap during my campaign. For nearly three hours I asked questions and listened to that remarkable woman recount many of her experiences as the wife of America’s most celebrated feudist.
Nancy Elizabeth’s home also held a number of guns, pistols, and other relics of the feud days. But the most interesting item was Cap’s bullet-proof, steel breastplate, designed to cover the entire front half of his body from his beck to his lower abdomen.
“Mrs. Hatfield,” I said, “judging from the three bullet marks on it, this breastplate was a great protection to Cap; but what was to prevent an enemy from shooting him in the back?” Her eyes flashed as she replied: “Mr. Lee, Cap Hatfield never turned his back on an enemy or a friend.”
“I have read two stories, Mrs. Hatfield, each purporting to give the true cause of the feud: One book stated that it was the result of a dispute between a McCoy and a Hatfield over the ownership of a hog. Another book said that it grew out of the seduction of a McCoy girl by Johnson Hatfield, oldest son of Devil Anse. Is either one of these stories true?”
“No, neither story is true,” she replied. “The McCoys lived on the Kentucky side of Tug River, and the Hatfields lived on the West Virginia side. Hogs don’t swim rivers. I never heard the girl story until I read it in a book, written long after the feud was over. Both stories are pure fiction.”
“The truth is,” she continued, “in the fall of 1882, in an election-day fight between Ellison Hatfield, a younger brother of Devil Anse, and three McCoy brothers, Ellison was shot and knifed. He died two days later. In retaliation, Devil Anse and his clan captured and shot the three McCoy brothers. It was these four senseless killings that started the feud.”
In answer to my inquiry, Nancy Elizabeth said: “Yes, there had been ‘bad blood’ between the two families since the Civil War. In that struggle the Hatfields were ‘rebels’,–loyal to their State, Virginia. Devil Anse organized and was the captain of a company of Confederate sympathizers called the ‘Logan Wildcats’. They were recruited for local defense; but they left the county long enough to take part in the battle of Scary, fought along the banks of the Kanawha River, a few miles below Charleston.
“The McCoys, and their mountain neighbors, were pro-Union; and to protect their region against invasion by ‘Virginia rebels’, they organized a military company called ‘Home Guards’. There were occasional border clashes between the two forces, with casualties on both sides. The war ended only seventeen years before the feud began, and the bitterness still existed in the minds of the older generation, and they passed it on to their children. It was the old sectional and political hatreds that sparked the fight between Ellison Hatfield and the McCoy brothers.”
Nancy Elizabeth declined to estimate the number killed on either side of the feud.
“It was a horrible nightmare to me,” she said. “Sometimes, for months, Cap never spent a night in our house. He and Devil Anse, with others, slept in the nearby woods to guard our homes against surprise attacks. At times, too, we women and our children slept in hidden shelters in the forests.
“But these assaults were not one-sided affairs. The Hatfields crossed the Tug and killed McCoys. It was a savage war of extermination, regardless of age or sex. Finally, to get our children to a safer locality, we Hatfields left Tug River, crossed the mountains, and settled here on Island Creek, a tributary of the Guyandotte River.
“No, there was no formal truce ending hostilities. After a decade or more of fighting and killing, both sides grew tired and quit. The McCoys stayed in Kentucky and the Hatfields kept to West Virginia. The feud was really over a long time before either side realized it.
“Yes, Kentucky offered a large reward for the capture of Devil Anse and Cap. The governor of West Virginia refused to extradite them because, said he, ‘their trials in Kentucky would be nothing more than legalized lynchings’. It was then that Kentucky’s governor offered the reward for their capture–‘dead or alive’. Three attempts were made by reward seekers to capture them.
“Dan Cunningham, a Charleston detective, with two Cincinnati detectives, made the first attempt. They came through Kentucky, and crossed Tug River in the night; but the Hatfields soon captured them. A justice of the peace sentenced them to 90 days in Logan County jail for disturbing hte peace. When released, they were told to follow the Guyandotte River to Huntington, a distance of 60 miles, and ‘not to come back’.
“Next, a man named Phillips led two raids from Kentucky into Hatfield territory. In the first, he captured ‘Cottontop’ Mounts, a relative and supporter of the Hatfields, and took him to Pikeville, Kentucky, where he was hanged. But the second foray met with disaster at the ‘Battle of the Grapevine’. Phillips, and some of his followers escaped into Kentucky, but some where buried where they fell.
“This was the last attempt of the reward seekers. However, Kentucky never withdrew the reward offer, and that is why Devil Anse and Cap were always alarmed and on the alert.”
Source: West Virginia Women (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 151-152
Appalachia, attorney general, Betty Caldwell, Cap Hatfield, cemeteries, Devil Anse Hatfield, feuds, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Howard B. Lee, Jim Comstock, Logan, Logan County, Nancy Hatfield, politics, Republican Party, Robert Elliott Hatfield, Sarah Ann, Tennis Hatfield, West Virginia, West Virginia Women, Willis Hatfield
Howard B. Lee, former Attorney General of West Virginia, provided this account of Nancy Hatfield (widow of Cap) in the early 1970s:
Over the years, much has been written about the male members of the Hatfield clan who took part in that early orgy of blood-letting–the Hatfield-McCoy feud. But nothing has been said concerning the indomitable wives of that stalwart breed of men.
My purpose is to pay a richly deserved tribute to one of those pioneer women–the late Nancy Elizabeth, wife of William Anderson Hatfield, common known “Cap,” second son of Devil Anse, and the most deadly killer of the feud.
More than 30 years have passed since I last talked with her; but I still regard Nancy Elizabeth Hatfield as the most remarkable and unforgettable woman of the mountains.
In the spring of 1924, I was a candidate in the primary election for the Republican nomination for attorney general, and I wanted the Hatfield influence. Devil Anse had died in 1921, and his mantle of leadership of the clan had fallen to his oldest living son, Cap–a power in Logan County politics.
I had met Cap, casually, in 1912, but I had not seen him since that meeting. But his sister, Mrs. Betty Caldwell, and her husband, lived in my county of Mercer, and were among my political supporters. To pave the way for my later meeting with Cap, I had Mrs. Caldwell write and ask him to support me.
Later, when campaigning in the City of Logan, I engaged a taxi to take me the few miles up Island Creek to Cap’s home. The car stopped suddenly and the driver pointed to a comfortable-looking farm house on the other side of the creek and said:
“That’s Cap’s home, and that’s Cap out there by the barn.”
I told him to return for me in two hours.
Cap saw me get out of the car, and, as I crossed the creek on an old-fashioned footlog. I saw him fold his arms across his chest and slip his right hand under his coat. Later, I noticed a large pistol holstered under his left arm. Even in that late day, Cap took no chances with strangers. When I got within speaking distance, I told him my name, and that I had come to solicit his support in my campaign for attorney general. He gave me a hearty handclasp, and said:
“My sister, Mrs. Caldwell, wrote us about you. But, let’s go to the house, my wife is the politician in our family.”
Cap was reluctant to commit himself “so early.” But Nancy Elizabeth thought otherwise. Finally, Cap agreed to support me; and, with that point settled, we visited until my taxi returned.
Meanwhile, with Cap’s approval, Nancy Elizabeth gave me the accompanying, heretofore unpublished photograph of the Devil Anse Clan. In 1963 I rephotographed it and sent a print to Willis Hatfield (number 22 in picture), only survivor of Devil Anse, who made the identification. Nancy Elizabeth is number 16, and the baby in her lap is her son, Robert Elliott, born April 29, 1897. Therefore, the photograph must have been made late in 1897, or early in 1898.
A few months after Cap’s death (August 22, 1930), the West Virginia newspaper publishers and editors held their annual convention in Logan. I was invited to address the group at a morning session. That same day, Sheriff Joe Hatfield and his brother, Tennis, younger brothers of Cap, gave an ox-roast dinner for the visiting newsmen and their guests. The picnic was held on a narrow strip of bottom land, on Island Creek, a half-mile below the old home of Devil Anse.
I ate lunch with Nancy Elizabeth and her sister-in-law, Betty Caldwell. After lunch, at the suggestion of Mrs. Caldwell, we three drove up the creek to the old home of her father–Devil Anse. It was a large, two-story, frame structure (since destroyed by fire, then occupied by Tennis Hatfield, youngest son of Devil Anse).
The most interesting feature in the old home was Devil Anse’s gun-room. Hanging along its walls were a dozen, or more, high-powered rifles, and a number of large caliber pistols, ranging from teh earliest to the latest models. “The older guns,” said Nancy Elizabeth, “were used in the feud.”
As we returned, we stopped at the family cemetery that clings uncertainly to the steep mountainside, overlooking the picnic grounds. There, among the mountains he loved and ruled, old Devil Anse found peace. A life-size statue of the old man, carved in Italy (from a photograph) of the finest Carrara marble, stands in majestic solitude above his grave. On its four-foot high granite base are carved the names of his wife and their thirteen children.
Source: West Virginia Women (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 149-151
From the Logan Democrat of Logan, WV, comes this editorial originally printed by the Huntington Advertiser regarding mountain violence. The item is dated January 7, 1915.
From the Huntington Advertiser–
Every time neighbors fall out in the West Virginia or Kentucky mountains, and one of them is killed, the New York newspapers discover a feud, and discourse upon the lack of civilization that permits such things to be.
Yet in this same New York, the constituted authorities have proven themselves helpless in dealing with gangs of “gun men,” and there is more flagrant defiance of the law in certain sections of New York today than anywhere in the Kentucky or West Virginia mountains.
So complete has been the failure of the New York authorities to deal with the problem of the “gun men” in any effective manner, that the business men of the east side are organizing a citizens police force to accomplish the work the New York police have been unable to accomplish. This organization of citizens is no more, no less, than a revival of the vigilance committees in the hurly-burly days in the western gold fields, and that the greatest city on the western continent should be compelled to resort to the methods of the mining camp in dealing with offenders against the law and against the decency is a sorry comment upon the metropolis.
But the New York newspapers will remember nothing of this the next time there is a lynching in the south, or there is a “feud” outbreak in the mountains.
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)