Crime History, Jan. 7, 1865: Hatfield-McCoy feud begins with the murder of Union soldier

On this day, Jan. 7, in 1865, Asa Harmon McCoy was killed in West Virginia in the oldest-known violence between the Hatfields and McCoys.

The family feud was the most famous in American history, lasting decades and nearly leading to a war between two states.

Asa Harmon McCoy

Asa Harmon McCoy

The families generally lived on opposite sides of the Tug Fork River, the McCoys in Kentucky and the Hatfields in West Virginia. Both families made moonshine and were proud Confederates.

The fighting after Asa Harmon McCoy ran off to fight for the Union in the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, a wounded McCoy returned home to a chilly reception. He was told that the a pro-Confderate militia dubbed the “Logan Wildcats,” led by William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, planned to kill him because he had fought for the North.

McCoy hid in a cave and had a servant bring him food. The Southern sympathizers tracked the servant’s tracks and and shot McCoy dead.

The second known instance of violence occurred 13 years later, over a stolen hog.

The fighting lasted for decades, resulting in numerous killings, a Romeo-and-Juliet-like love affair and a near war between Kentucky and West Virginia. After the deaths of at least 12 Hatfields and McCoys, the National Guard was called in.

The families signed a truce in 1891. They have since had joint family reunions and today help promote Hatfield-McCoy Feud sites to attract tourists to the hills where their ancestors fought.



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  2. Richard M Nixon (Deceased) says:

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

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