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Although tensions existed prior to the Civil War, the first recorded outbreak of violence between the two families occurred in January of 1865, when returning Union soldier Asa Harmon McCoy was murdered.Members of each family had been active participants in the Civil War, but Asa Harmon McCoy opted to fight for Union forces.
Devil Anse, on the other hand, was a strong Southern sympathizer, even leading a band of local guerrilla fighters known as the “Logan Wildcats.” When Harmon returned home from the war due to a broken leg, he received numerous threats from the Wildcats.Heeding the warnings, he sought refugee in a nearby cave; despite receiving daily food and aid from his former slave, he was eventually discovered and murdered. Devil Anse was never charged with anything. No one was.
Other incidents later followed. In 1878, the Hatfields and McCoys went to the justice of the peace over a debate about a pig; the Hatfields believed it belonged to them since it was on their land, while the McCoys claimed original ownership.The matter was settled when Bill Staton, who was related to both families, gave testimony favoring the Hatfields, who later won the case. Staton, however, wasn’t so lucky; two years later, he would be killed by Sam and Paris McCoy, who claimed self-defense in the matter. West Virginia courts agreed and the two were released.Around the same time, a McCoy daughter named Roseanna became involved with Devil Anse’s son, Johnson, even living with him for a time. She became pregnant, but returned to her family, abandoned by Johnson, who would go on to marry her cousin just a few months later.After the Roseanne-Johnson debacle, tensions between the families reached new, more violent heights.Ellison Hatfield was killed by three of Roseanna’s brothers, who stabbed him 26 times during an election day fight that got out of hand.Devil Anse & Co. returned the favor, viciously shooting three McCoy brothers after Ellison passed away.
The violence culminated in 1888 with the so-called “New Years Night Massacre,” when several members of the Hatfield family drove the McCoy family from their home with fire and attacked those who fled. Two children of Randolph and Sarah were shot to death and Sarah was left for dead after she had been beaten in the head with a rifle by Johnse Hatfield.At this time, given state-border issues, the U.S. Supreme Court became involved in what had been a local issue. Newspapers across the nation were splashed with lurid details about the matter and people were transfixed by the feud.Nine men were eventually brought to trial in Kentucky and convicted; eight received life sentences, while Ellison Mounts was sentenced to hang. Thousands attended the hanging.In 1891, the families unofficially agree to stop fighting and many members moved away.
This historic marker is in Matewan West Virginia. The Hatfield McCoy Feud centered around the area near this small country, adorable town.
This location ins accessible to most anyone. If you are in a wheelchair you can get close enough to this one to enjoy it still.
There are nearby parking spots to enjoy this little spot along the way.
Be sure to go over into the town of Matewan to get a photo with the sign at the corner of Hatfield & McCoy Streets :)
You can click this button to get google driving directions to the Hatfield McCoy Feud Marker in Matewan West Virginia.
GC3QEQB HMGT #08 Hatfield McCoy Feud Marker - Matewan
Alifair McCoy (1857 - 1888)
The body of Alifair McCoy was discovered frozen in the snow beside the family well today. She was murdered during a raid by several Hatfield men on New Year’s Day.
The Hatfields set the McCoy cabin on fire and Alifair went to get water to put it out. She was shot in the attempt.
Miss McCoy was the daughter of Feud leader Randolph McCoy.
Also killed during the raid was her brother Calvin.
Alifair was preceded in death by her brothers Tolbert, Pharmer and Bud who were also killed as a result of the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families.
Surviving Alifair are her parents Randolph McCoy and Sarah McCoy and her siblings Roseanna, James, Samuel, William, Trinvilla, Adlade, Fannie and Floyd.
She will be buried beside her three brothers on a small family plot near the now destroyed home.
~ Obituary written by Bill Richardson
While in the area of Matewan you will want to take the time to stop by and visit the Matewan Mine Wars Museum. So well done.
The museum is located at 336 Mate Street in Matewan, in a building that still bears the scars of bullet holes from the Matewan Massacre shootout. Its offerings include exhibits about coal camp life, the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-1913, the Matewan Massacre, the Miners’ March, and the Battle of Blair Mountain. Housing the largest exhibited collection of Mine Wars Era artifacts, oral histories, digitized film reels, maps, and historic photos, the museum simulates the journey that many mining families took as they organized together for their rights.
~Mine Wars Museum
Matewan sits at the heart of West Virginia's Magnolia district. The magnolia district, along with the Harding and Lee districts, came together to form Mingo County in 1895. The naming of the small Magnolia town is a story in itself.They say it started with a bear hunter and his favorite dog, Mate. Out on a hunt, the hound chased a particularly large bear onto the fragile ice of an unnamed creek. Giving way to the combined weights of the animals, the ice broke and both were lost. To remember his friend, the creek was memorially dubbed Mate Creek.
Years later, as the Norfolk & Western Railroad began breathing life into the region, a town was laid out by a young, homesick engineer. To pay homage to his roots, he suggested naming the town after his home, Mattewan, New York.Throughout the years, the spelling and pronunciation of Mattewan has evolved to match the creek, already named Mate.Matewan is the home to some of America’s most colorful history.
The town sits at the heart of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud country and hosted the beginnings of a movement to reform fair working conditions and the right to unionize following the Mine Wars, Matewan Massacre and Battle of Blair Mountain in the early parts of the twentieth century.Today, the small town of Matewan, West Virginia, sits along the Tug River, nestled between West Virginia and Kentucky. Hatfields and McCoys still inhabit the area. Experts in the field and passionate about their home, the people of Matewan have a story to tell about the town’s living history.
~ Historic Matewan Site
These adorable metal coins are about the size of a nickel and you get both the Team Hatfield and Team McCoy tags for 10.00 shipped to you. Order yours today before they are gone and display on your key chain, a necklace or add to your collection of Pathtags :)
We love our customers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours. You can also drop us a line if you want to bring a group or visit the museum off season or during closed hours. We would love to make accommodations for you.
801 Alderson St, Williamson, West Virginia 25661, United States