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C. E. Lively

Labor spy Charlie Everett Lively (March 6, 1887-May 28, 1962) was a coal company agent who befriended Sid Hatfield, the police chief of Matewan. Lively then turned against him in the Matewan Massacre trial and later participated in Hatfield’s assassination. He came to Matewan in early 1920 as the union drive to organize Tug Fork miners began. He joined the union and, after the Matewan Massacre in May 1920, engaged the miners in long discussions of the event, while secretly reporting to the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Lively revealed his true identity and testified against Hatfield and the miners in their trial in early 1921; nevertheless, all the defendants were acquitted.

Hatfield was ordered to stand trial in the McDowell County Courthouse in Welch on the following August 1, on charges of leading a shooting raid on the McDowell County town of Mohawk. As he and his friend Ed Chambers climbed the courthouse steps, unarmed and with their wives by their sides, Lively and a half dozen other Baldwin-Felts detectives killed both Hatfield and Chambers in a fusillade of bullets fired from the top of the steps. The shooting helped incite the miners’ armed march in the ensuing weeks. In December 1922, Lively was acquitted of murder in the deaths. C. E. Lively died in Huntington.

Written by Lon Savage


  1. Savage, Lon. Thunder in the Mountains. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.