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The Hatfield-McCoy Feud

The Massacre in Pike County: 1888


The McCoys suffered another great loss on the night of January 1, 1888, when Hatfields, led by Devil Anse’s uncle Jim Vance, set fire to the family’s Pike County cabin. Calvin and Alifair, Randolph McCoy’s grown children, were killed in the cabin raid, and their mother, Sarah, severely bludgeoned. This atrocity brought matters to a head, putting the Hatfields on the defensive for the duration of the conflict, hunted in their own West Virginia neighborhoods. Vance was soon killed by a posse of Kentuckians led by McCoy partisan Frank Phillips (shown here), and the two sides fought a pitched battle at Grapevine Creek, near present Matewan, on January 19. Eventually four Hatfield sons and others were indicted for the cabin raid, and their cousin, Ellison Mounts, was hanged in Pikeville, February 18, 1890. This ended the family war.

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