Submitted by: Frank Adams
Source: 1952 Centennial Program Booklet, Published by the City of Logan, WV
By Coleman A. Hatfield
About the year 1800 the territory out of which Logan county was carved, was a vast wilderness and hunting ground of the red men. In the year 1792 a band of Shawnee Indians raided the white settlements of the Clinch River and killed a settler named David Musick at what is now Honaker in Russell country, Virginia. Musick’s widow and five children were carried away by the Indians but were subsequently overtaken by a party of white men who rescued them. One of the rescuers was Ephraim Hatfield, a young settler of Thompson’s creek now in the New Garden District. Some two years before that time Ephraim’s wife, Mary Smith Hatfield, had died, leaving two small sons, Joseph and Valentine.
Sometime after the rescue of the Musick family, Ephraim Hatfield and the widow, Anna Musick, were married and, like many other sturdy pioneers, set out with their families across the mountains toward the Sandy River country, not many miles from the present city Matewan, West Virginia.
The second son, Valentine, later became known as “Wall” Hatfield, who settled on Tug River at the present site of Sprigg in the County of Mingo. “Uncle Walley,” as he was known in later years, reared his family of twelve children, among whom was the second Ephraim. “Big Eaph,” as he was called, was born in 1811 and settled on Mate creek. He became a mighty hunter and once killed a panther with a hunting knife on a rocky hilltop at the head of Mud Lick Branch near Red Jacket.
“Panther Killer” Ephraim’s second son, Anderson, was born in 1839 and became the captain in a company of Virginia militia which trained in Logan from 1856 until 1860. Anderson entered the Southern Army under the command of General Alfred Beckley and early earned a fighting name of “Devil Anse” Hatfield.
Following the Civil War, “Devil Anse” took up a tract of approximately five thousand acres of land on the north side of Tug Fork of Sandy near the mouth of Peter creek. He lived there for some fifteen years when local warfare broke out which has been later known of the Hatfield and McCoy feud. A river which marked the boundary between the states of West Virginia and Kentucky became the deadline, across which it was unsafe for any enemy to pass.
Much has been written and many stores have been exaggerated regarding the conflict, which lasted during the ‘80’s. There were approximately one hundred fifty men who participated at various times and places in the pitched battles along the border. Invading parties from both families would often ride across the line into enemy territory where bloodshed would result. The governors of the two states refused to honor extradition papers for the participants living in the opposing state, it being charged that the sovereignty of both states had been violated by outsiders in quest of the scalps of their enemies.
Few are living who remember the clashes of galloping raiders across the border of seventy years ago. The and McCoys alike as as their neighbors whose ancestors feud days have all come from the pioneer stock who pushed the frontier of civilization across the hills.
Marooned in the wilderness, they engaged in the struggle of subduing the forest and establishing homes for their families. The patriarch settlers established homes for their sons and daughters around the old homestead, so that it is easy to understand how large families developed in many areas with their kith and kin who held the frontier prior to the great industrial development of this century, including mines, highways, schools and churches.
December 15, 2011 Addendum
May 4, 2010 Addendum submitted by Dodie (Smith) Browning
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October 28, 1889
The New York Times, Page 1
Taken From Jail and Lynched
Huntington, West Va., Oct. 27.—Information was brought by courier today from Hamlin, Lincoln County, that about midnight Friday a mob surrounded the Lincoln County Jail, forced an entrance after a short resistance by the authorities took two of the prisoners, Green McCoy and Milton Haley, and hung them to a tree a short distance from the jail building. Haley and McCoy were natives of Kentucky and were allied to the McCoy faction of the outlaws whose murderous feud with the Hatfields is familiar to the public. McCoy was engaged in a shooting scrape with Paris Brumfield of Lincoln County about a year ago, and about a month ago he, in company with Haley, ambushed and attempted to murder Al Brumfield and his wife. This shooting occurred on a Sunday night and both the victims were badly wounded, Mrs., Brumfield being shot in the breast and her husband in the leg. For a time it was thought the woman would die, but she finally recovered.
McCoy and Haley escaped to Kentucky, but not until there had been two more attempts at assassination in the county, in one of which a man named Adkins, a friend of the Brumfields, was wounded. The two would-be murderers were arrested at Benn Post Office, Martin County, Ky., and were confined in jail there. Friday they were locked up in the Lincoln County (West Va.) Jail, and, in the absence of definite information, it is supposed they were lynched by some of the Hatfield sympathizers.
Dr. Coleman C. Hatfield (1927-2008): “My father, Coleman A. Hatfield, the son of Cap Hatfield, spent the majority of his adult life researching Hatfield and McCoy feud history. Besides being a Logan attorney, he was a gifted writer and researcher in his own right. He kept meticulous journals and audiotapes throughout his life about his historical findings, before passing away in 1970. In addition to his research, Dad remembered and recounted many of the stories and tall tales that he personally had heard Devil Anse and his wife, Levicy, tell the grandchildren through the years.”