Where did the Hatfields and McCoys live before West Virginia?

Where did the Hatfields and McCoys live before West Virginia?

Long before the former state existed as a separate entity, the Hatfields and McCoys lived along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in what is now West Virginia (the Hatfields) and Kentucky (the McCoys). Both family earned a living from lumber and moonshining and had lived happily together for decades. In 1871, federal agents arrested several members of the family on charges of murder. This set off one of the most famous feuds in American history.

The trial that followed was an international sensation. News reporters from all over the world came to Charleston, West Virginia, to cover it. The families' lawyers argued about who was more guilty based on which one of them used better guns or knives. But most people thought that violence was wrong no matter who started it. So both families were found not guilty by reason of insanity. They were sent away to mental hospitals where they would be cared for until they recovered.

After their release, the families got together once a year at some location near their homes for a reconciliation dinner. But this only made things worse because now they were able to fight again!

In 1900, another arrest warrant was issued for several members of the McCoy family. This time, they were charged with murdering two men during a robbery attempt. Again, both families were found not guilty by reason of insanity. This time, however, there was no reconciliation dinner because everyone knew that such meetings only led to more bloodshed.

Where did the Hatfields come from?

The families lived on opposing sides of the Tug Fork, a boundary stream—the McCoys in Pike County, Kentucky, and the Hatfields in Logan County (or Mingo County, founded from a section of Logan County in 1895). The first record of fighting between these families is said to be over a woman. After the murder of his wife by Frank McCoy, John Hatfield left Kentucky for Virginia with his children. There he met another family suffering under the same kind of persecution: the Lee family. When the Lees moved to West Virginia, so did the Hatfields. Here they made their living by hunting and farming until 1890, when they too went to Virginia where they joined other families in forming more Hatfield-McCoy gangs.

These days most people know the Hatfields as mountain bikers who had a huge impact on the sport, but that's not what they were originally known for. In fact, they're more commonly known for being completely insane. The family name comes from an incident when one of the first Hatfields was shot by one of the first McCoys. As you can imagine, this started a whole lot of trouble between them that has never really gone away.

Today there are still members of the Hatfield clan working to keep the family name alive and well known. The oldest living Hatfield is Libby Hatfield, who was born on March 24th, 1867.

Where are the Hatfields and McCoys located?

Hatfield-McCoy feud/West Virginia location

The families lived on opposing sides of the Tug Fork, a boundary stream—the McCoys in Pike County, Kentucky, and the Hatfields in Logan County (or Mingo County, founded from a section of Logan County in 1895).

Where did William McCoy live in West Virginia?

In its upper course, the Tug Fork River travels through a particularly desolate alpine terrain. It was here, in the river valley between Pike County, Kentucky, and Mingo County, West Virginia, that William McCoy landed with his family, and it would become the epicenter of the historic Hatfield-McCoy dispute in the late 1800s. The town of Tug Hill is located within this valley and today is known as Minty Mountain after the mine that once operated there.

Tug Hill was founded by a man named John Henry Tuggle who came from Tennessee with $12,000 in gold coins that he had stolen from the bank where he worked. This was a huge amount of money at the time and could only be used to start a new life in the untamed west. Mr. Tuggle was a wealthy man and bought land on both sides of the Tug Fork River where he built himself a mansion. He also brought in other wealthy people from back home and had parties every night for many months until they all got sick of each other and went home.

After Mr. Tuggle died, his wife moved into their mansion with her two children. They were not happy there and wanted to go home, but Mrs. Tuggle's health was failing and she could not travel so they stayed in West Virginia instead. When Mrs. Tuggle died, the kids went back home to Tennessee without anyone knowing what happened to the money.

How many children did the Hatfields and McCoys have?

Hatfield family The Hatfields in 1897. The Hatfields were led by William Anderson ("Devil Anse") Hatfield (1839–1921), while the McCoys were led by Randolph ("Rand'l") McCoy (1839–1921). Both families had 13 offspring (some sources claim 16 for McCoy).

They had eight sons and five daughters.

The oldest son, John Henry "Curly" Hatfield, served as a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Another son, Wilson Lee "Willie" Hatfield, became an influential outlaw in West Virginia. A third son, Alexander "Sandman" Sandidge Hatfield, was an infamous gang leader in Kentucky. A fourth son, Preston Burton "Preston" Hatfield, was also an outlaw who killed several people in West Virginia. A fifth son, James Patton "Jay" McCoy, was an attorney who helped create modern civil rights law. Two daughters died before reaching adulthood: Mary Ellen Hatfield was shot by her husband, William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield; Elizabeth McCoy was stabbed to death by an uncle, Randolph McCoy.

The youngest son, Frank Charles "Frankie" Hatfield, served in the Virginia House of Delegates. Another son, Garland Robert "Bob" Hatfield, became a federal judge.

About Article Author

Sandra Henley

Sandra Henley is a teacher, writer and editor. She has a degree in English and Creative Writing from Yale University and a teaching certificate from Harvard Divinity School.

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