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West-virginia-encyclopedia-text

SharePrint Media File

Type: Video


Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD

Transcript

In the fall of 1878, near Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River, the border between West Virginia and Kentucky, Anderson Hatfield sued his neighbor Perry Cline for cutting timber on his land.

The settlement awarded Hatfield all of Cline’s property, five thousand acres of virgin forest. Overnight, Hatfield became one of the largest landowners in the Tug Valley.

Tall and formidable with gray eyes and a flowing black beard, Hatfield was known for his marksmanship and the bear cubs he kept as pets. It was said that he had fought off a mountain lion as a boy, leading his mother to say he was not afraid of the devil himself. The name Devil Anse stuck.

Hatfield married a neighbor’s daughter, Levicy Chafin, on the eve of the Civil War. After the war, they settled on a corner of his father’s land near Mate Creek. The couple raised thirteen children.

Aggressive and ambitious, Hatfield borrowed money from local businessmen to expand his timber business. He hired friends and relatives from both sides of Tug Fork. At the age of forty Devil Anse Hatfield was the envy of many in the Tug Valley, including Randolph McCoy, a poor, cranky farmer from the Kentucky side of Tug Fork.

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