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An American Vendetta


An American Vendetta was a collection of articles by Theron C. Crawford concerning the Hatfield-McCoy Feud of 1882–90. The articles were originally written for the New York World newspaper, and published as a book in 1889. Crawford arrived in West Virginia in 1888, and was led from Charleston to Logan County by John B. Floyd, a state senator. The pair arrived during the third week of October and stayed at Devil Anse Hatfield’s home one night.

Crawford’s articles contained the first known interview with Hatfield. During his conversation with Crawford, Hatfield stressed that he wanted peace with the McCoy family but would not disarm and would not surrender to law officers without guarantees of his family’s safety. Crawford described Hatfield as ‘‘a jovial old pirate.’’ Crawford’s lurid writing, his awkward attempt to re-create mountain dialect, and the accompanying illustrations of menacing and sometimes slouching and unkempt mountaineers did much to create the hillbilly stereotype.

Written by Robert Y. Spence