Feudin History

All this fightin’ started out one Sunday morning
When old grandpa Coy was full of mountain dew
Just as quite as a churchmouse, he stole in the Martin’s henhouse
Cause the Coys they needed eggs for breakfast, too.

Oh, the Martins and the Coys they were reckless mountain boys
And they took up family feudin’ when they’d meet
They would shoot each other quicker
Than it took your eye to flicker
They could knock a squirrel’s eye out at ninety feet.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Hatfield clan New Year’s attack on Randolph McCoy’s cabin marked a turning point in America’s most famous feud—the homestead was set ablaze, and two McCoys were gunned down. Hatfield family members and supporters were soon thrown in jail.

Artifacts recently unearthed appear to pinpoint the location of the 1888 ambush in the woods of Pike County in eastern Kentucky. Excavators found bullets believed to have been fired by the McCoys in self-defense, along with fragments of windows and ceramic from the family’s cabin.

“This is one of the most famous conflicts in American history, and we’ve got bullets fired from one of the key battles. It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Bill Richardson, a West Virginia University extension professor who was part of the recent discovery.

The discoveries come amid a surge of interest in the feud that spanned much of the last half of the 19th century. The fighting claimed at least a dozen lives by 1888 and catapulted both families into the American vernacular, becoming shorthand to describe bitter rivalries.

The History Channel aired a three-night miniseries about the feud that set basic cable viewing records. The drama starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the patriarchs—William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in West Virginia and Randolph “Ole Ran’l” McCoy in Kentucky.

The New Year’s attack was one of the bloodiest episodes in the feud.

“It was a turning point,” Richardson said. “The feud had lasted 23 years up until this battle. And then 20 days later it’s virtually over.”

Now, descendants of both families live peacefully among each other in the Appalachian region. And officials in both states see the potential to reap a financial windfall because of the public’s fascination.


Posted by Drew458    United States   on 01/02/2013 at 01:21 PM   
  1. I dont know how historically accurate the mini series was, but it was quite enjoyable. Some pretty unpleasant people on both sides of that feud.

    Posted by LyndonB    United Kingdom   01/02/2013  at  07:30 PM  
  2. My oldest (step) grandchild is a Hatfield - this particular family - leaves a lot to be desired - in so many ways. I did not watch the mini-series - unless you know someone from that area - you won’t ever understand the mindset - and hollyweird can only be trusted to screw up the motivations and truth - bit time.

    Posted by wardmama4    United States   01/03/2013  at  01:59 PM  
  3. oops - that should be big time.

    My Dad’s beloved mother had kin up in the woods - my granddad used to go up there to do free surgery. They are NOT what many believe them to be. Just sayin’

    Posted by wardmama4    United States   01/03/2013  at  02:01 PM  
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