Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register


SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


On August 7, 1882, an election day in Kentucky, residents of the Tug Valley gathered at polls in Pike County. Late in the afternoon, Randolph McCoy’s son, Tolbert, attacked Ellison Hatfield, Devil Anse’s brother, with a knife. Two of McCoy’s brothers joined in stabbing Hatfield twenty times before shooting him in the back.

Friends carried Hatfield back to West Virginia and laid him in a cabin near Mate Creek. Devil Anse captured the three McCoys and told them their fate depended on whether his brother lived. Two days later Ellison died.

At dusk, a band of Hatfields, led by Devil Anse, took the McCoys to the Kentucky side of the river where they were blindfolded and tied to pawpaw bushes. Then the Hatfields opened fire.

Pike County indicted Devil Anse and nineteen others for murder but made no other effort to have the Hatfields extradited to Kentucky.

Randolph McCoy badgered officials to arrest Devil Anse to no avail. McCoy’s family urged him to drop the matter. In a way, they said, justice had been served.

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2024 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.