Hatfields and McCoys

January 1, 1888: Hatfields Attack McCoy Cabin Killing Two

Jan 1, 2019
Without Devil Anse himself being present, the Hatfields set fire to the cabin of Randolph McCoy, the head of the McCoy family.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

The night of January 1, 1888, marked the worst atrocity in the long-running troubles between the Hatfields of Logan County, West Virginia, and the McCoys of Pike County, Kentucky. That evening, New Year’s Day 1888, Hatfield patriarch “Devil Anse” Hatfield launched a scheme that he hoped would end the feud once and for all. It was led by his uncle, Jim Vance. Without Devil Anse himself being present, the Hatfields set fire to the cabin of Randolph McCoy, the head of the McCoy family. Although Randolph escaped, two of his grown children were killed.

Sept. 15, 1875 - Governor Henry Hatfield Born Near Matewan

Sep 15, 2017
Henry Hatfield
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Governor Henry Hatfield was born near Matewan on September 15, 1875.

While his Hatfield relatives were fighting their famous feud against the McCoys, Henry was away at college. He eventually became a coal-camp physician in McDowell County. Appalled by the lack of medical facilities, he fought to have three miners’ hospitals established in the state and served as director of the Welch hospital for 13 years.

Sid Hatfield
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Hatfields and McCoys mingle peacefully in the mountainous region where their families waged one of America's most famous feuds.

Now a museum near the Kentucky-West Virginia border is showcasing artifacts bringing the feud back to life. The Hatfield McCoy Country Museum opens Friday in Williamson, West Virginia.

Over the years, the performers who have recorded Wheeler’s songs read like a Who’s Who of country music.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 9, 1932, songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County. He started writing and performing songs when he was just a teenager.

Wheeler got his first check in the music business when Pat Boone recorded his song “Rock Boll Weevil.” He would go on to write more than 500 other songs, including the country classics “Jackson,” “The Reverend Mister Black,” and “Coward of the County.”


The Hatfield and McCoy descendants came armed — with digging tools. Working together as volunteers, they helped archaeologists unearth artifacts from one of the bloodiest sites in America's most famous feud.

The leader of the dig says they have pinpointed the place where Randolph McCoy's home was set ablaze in the woods of eastern Kentucky during a murderous New Year's attack by the Hatfield clan. Two McCoys were gunned down in the 1888 ambush. It marked a turning point in the families' cross-border feud in Kentucky and West Virginia.


Theatre West Virginia is preparing to return for its 54th season following a shutdown caused by financial problems.