The Daily State Journal Parkersburg, West Virginia Wednesday Evening, February 1, 1888
Lawless Acts That Have Caused a Blot on the Name of the Two Great States of Kentucky and West Virginia --Serious Interstate Complications Feared. PITTSBURG, Feb. 1 --In the Times this morning appears in detail the first true statement published of the famous HATFIELD-McCOY outrages that have for six - years continued without any serious attempt being made to punish the outlaws. The story from start to finish is a tale of horrors rarely equaled, and has caused a blot on the name of the two great states of Kentucky and West Virginia. Charles HOWELL, of the Times editorial staff, returning from a personal investigation reports to his paper that the HATFIELD - McCOY troubles threaten to develop into serious interstate complications. Although Governor BUCKNER, of Kentucky and WILSON, of West Virginia, have ordered their militia to return to their homes, it must not be understood that the troubles are ended. The HATFIELD - McCOY war, divested of all sentiment with which the representatives of the two states have invested it, is simply a succession of cowardly murders by day and assassinations and house burning by night. All of the murders have been cruel, heartless and almost without the shadow of provocation. Given on the one hand, a family with it's contingents of the same blood, allied and cemented by a common desire to avenge an imaginary affront, and on the other hand, another family, small in the matters of alliance and collateral sympathies, doomed to destruction by the larger one, and the cases stated. The scene of nearly all of the murders and assassinations of the years named is the narrow bottom of Tug river, above and below the mouth of Pond creek on the Kentucky side. Randal McCOY, with wife and thirteen children six years ago lived in a log hut near the mouth of Pond creek. To-day his home is in ashes; four of his sons and one daughter lie in bloody graves, and himself and family wander in the mountains homeless and well nigh penniless. In 1881 a warrant was issued for the arrest of Johnson HATFIELD, a son of Anderson, who alluded the officials for several months. Talbot McCOY was deputized to serve the warrant. McCOY captured HATFIELD and started with him for Pike court house, twenty miles distant, McCOY'S two brothers acting as guards. A friend apprised the HATFIELD'S of the arrest and the older HATFIELD, accompanied by his allies, intercepted the McCOY'S and rescued his son at the point of their guns and returned to West Virginia. A year later, at an election in Kentucky, Elias and Ellisson HATFIELD engaged in a quarrel with Talbot McCOY over an alleged debt, during which McCOY stabbed Ellison HATFIELD in the back. HATFIELD began pounding McCOY'S head with a stone, whereupon McCOY'S younger brother stabbed and shot HATFIELD inflicting fatal wounds. All parties were arrested. Thirty of HATFIELD'S friends promptly assembled and a compact was made to release the prisoners which was done. They took the three McCOYS with them, keeping them prisoners two days and a night, pending result of Ellison HATFIELD'S injuries. They refused to allow a justice to give the McCOYS a hearing, saying they would take care of both trial and punishment. The McCOYS--father, mother, brothers and sisters--appeared on the scene and begged for the lives of the three boys, but were told to leave or they would be killed too. That night Farmer and Talbot McCOY were taken into the timber and shot. Randal was tied to the dead bodies of his brothers and the party started home. Old Ance HATFIELD said: "Boys, dead men tell no tales," and stepping near the boy discharged both barrels of his shot gun into the boy's head, bursting it open. The bodies remained tied to the bushes for hours, their friends fearing to remove them. No concentrated effort was effort was ever made to capture the perpretrators of the crime. Anderson HATFIELD Sr., styling himself "Devil Ance," purchased firearms in large quantities and organized an absolute monarchy, himself taking command. Comparative quiet remained for another year, when in mistake for Randal McCOY and one of his sons, John and Henderson SCOTT were waylaid and permanently crippled by a volley from the HATFIELD Winchesters. Following this mistake came a period of "stock-raising" by the HATFIELD gang. About one year ago, Jeff McCOY, a cousin of the murdered men, was waylaid and shot by "Cap" HATFIELD and Sim WALLACE. The history of this crime has more elements of hellish fiendishness, if possible, than the first, the shots being fired while the victim's aged mother, groveling at their feet, arms entwined about their limbs, shrieked for pity. Spurning her with their boots, the fatal shots were fired. The old lady waded the stream to where he son lay dead and fell in anguish upon his body. Jeff McCOY'S father had some years previously been assassinated by the HATFIELD'S within a few yards of where his son fell. Perry A. CLINE, uncle of Jeff, attorney, secured requisitions for the arrest of the band. At an election in August last, Louis VARNEY was beaten almost to death by "Cap" HATFIELD. The HATFIELDS took possession of the polls and broke up the election. The crowning piece of deviltry was reserved for the night of January 1, 1888, when thirteen of the HATFIELD gang, headed by James VANCE, surrounded the Paul McCOY homestead near the mouth of Pond Creek, burned the house with its contents, killed his son and daughter, beat the mother over the head with the butt of a gun till they thought she was dead, and left the little children to die in the cold on the mountain side among the bushes, to which they had escaped in their night clothes. While the house was burning the father and husband fired two shots with telling effect. Three new made graves are to be found in the HATFIELD settlement and a number are known to be wounded. After burying his dead, McCOY removed his family to Pike court house last week. The story was obtained principally from Mr and Mrs McCOY, who show unmistakable evidence of the intensity of their sufferings, and is fully corroborated by others. No one knows why the fiendish maliguity should have been kept up. But once has McCOY attempted to retaliate, and that but a few days ago. Even now no feeling of resentment is manifest. He spoke like a man who had been bent and almost broken by the weight of his afflictions and grief. " I used to be on very friendly terms with the HATFIELDS before and after the war. We never had any trouble till six years ago," he continued. " I'll be glad when its all over." The killing of Alfara on the night of January 1, became known the next day at the county court house. Measures were taken at once to capture or kill a portion of the HATFIELD gang. Twenty or thirty men, under Deputy Sheriff Trask PHILLIPS, crossed the Tug near Pond creek in Pike county, Kentucky, on January (6?). Within thirty yards of the house Mrs. VANCE hailed PHILLIPS with "Who are you, and where are you going?" "Who are you, and where are you going?" was his rejunder. "I think they are after you, pap," shrieked the old woman, and a moment later old VANCE arose from his concealment, thirty or forty yards behind her. During the shooting which followed VANCE was killed. On the night of January 9, PHILLIPS and posse arrested Valentine HATFIELD, three MAYHORN brothers, Tom CHAMBERS and Rew YANCEY, Selkirk McCOY and Moses CHRISTIAN. Others of the HATFIELD'S were captured in McDowell county, West Virginia, about the same time and landed in Pike jail. On January 19, Sheriff PHILLIPS and posse charged old "Ance" and companions, all fled except Jim DUNPANY, who was killed by Jim McCOY, an uncle of Randal McCOY.
THE HATFIELD - McCOY WAR --------- A TALE OF HORROR AND OUTRAGES RARELY EQUALED ----------
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