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Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield led his family in their notorious and bloody feud with the McCoys during the late 1800s along the Kentucky-West Virginia border.
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Roseanna went to live with her aunt back in Kentucky. She kept seeing Johnse and gave birth to his baby, who later died. One night, some of the McCoys caught up with Roseanna and Johnse. They said that they were going to take him to jail for moonshining, but she thought that they were going to kill Johnse. Roseanna went off to tell the Hatfields, and Devil Anse organized a rescue party. The Hatfields met up with the McCoys and secured Johnse's release.
The bloodshed associated with the McCoy-Hatfield feud began on another Election Day in Kentucky. On August 7, 1882, Devil Anse's brother Ellison got into a fight with Randall McCoy's son Tolbert. Tolbert repeatedly stabbed Ellison, as did his two brothers, Pharmer and Randolph Jr. Ellison was also shot once in the altercation. The McCoy brothers were arrested, but they never made it to the jail. When Devil Anse heard of his brother's shooting, he rounded up a group of supporters and took the McCoys from the lawmen.
Devil Anse brought the McCoys back to West Virginia and held them prisoner. Their mother, Sally McCoy, came to plead for the Hatfields to spare her sons' lives. But when Devil Anse learned that his brother had died of his injuries, he had no mercy. He and his men tied the three McCoys to some pawpaw bushes and executed them. While Devil Anse and several others were indicted for this episode of vigilantism, the authorities were unwilling to arrest them and bring them to Kentucky for trial.
For five years, Devil Anse and his co-conspirators went about their business unhampered by the charges against them. Perry Cline, however, changed all that in 1887 when he convinced the governor of Kentucky to put up a reward for the capture of Devil Anse and the others. Cline also brought in "Bad" Frank Phillips to help round up these wanted men. Other bounty hunters and detectives also joined in the pursuit, hoping to get that reward money. Phillips was able to capture several of the Hatfields, including Devil Anse's brother Valentine.
The Hatfields -- some believe it may have been Devil Anse -- came up with a devious plan to end the hunt and prevent the trials of their imprisoned relatives. Believing if the McCoys were dead that the murder case would fall apart, the Hatfields organized a group to attack the McCoys at their home on New Year's Day 1888. Devil Anse's sons, Johnse and Cap, and his uncle Jim Vance, among others, conducted the raid. Some reports state that Devil Anse stayed home because he was ill. Others claim that he didn't know about the plot. The attack proved to be only partly successful. The group killed several members of the McCoy family, but Randall McCoy, his wife and two of their daughters managed to survive.
Reports of this savage assault made national news, and the brutal feud turned into a media frenzy. The ensuing court battles received a lot of press attention as members of Hatfield's family and his supporters were eventually brought to trial. Nine of them, including his brother Valentine, were found guilty in 1889 and given life sentences.
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