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Jim Vance

Feudist James ‘‘Jim’’ Vance, born about 1832, was the grandson of Tug Valley pioneer Abner Vance and the uncle of William Anderson ‘‘Devil Anse’’ Hatfield. Jim Vance was a leading protagonist in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Described by historian Otis K. Rice as a ruthless, vindictive man, he helped to keep the conflict going and took part in some of its bloodiest episodes. Vance, like Devil Anse a Confederate guerrilla during the Civil War, was suspected in the 1865 murder of Union veteran Harmon McCoy, one of the feud’s precipitating events.

Vance led the 1888 New Year’s Day arson attack on the McCoy family cabin, resulting in the death of Calvin and Alifair McCoy, the grown children of patriarch Randall McCoy. In this incident, Vance bludgeoned Randall’s wife Sarah McCoy with a rifle butt as she tried to reach her dying daughter. A week later, on January 8, 1888, Vance and Cap Hatfield, Devil Anse’s son, were surprised by a larger party of Kentuckians near Vance’s Logan (now Mingo) County home. Vance was wounded in the shootout, then killed in cold blood and at close range by McCoy partisan Frank Phillips.