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In late 1800s, Randall McCoy and his kin engaged in a bitter and deadly dispute with another Appalachian family in the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.
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Hatfield and Cline had been fighting over some timber that Cline had reportedly cut from lands belonging to Hatfield. The court ruled in Hatfield's favor, and Cline had to sign over some of his property as a result. Randall McCoy, who had a reputation for being a gossip and a complainer, also may have resented Devil Anse for his success in timber and real estate businesses.
Two of McCoy's nephews, Sam and Paris McCoy,
had a deadly encounter with Staton in 1880. Staton saw the two McCoys while out hunting and shot Paris. Sam, in response, shot and killed Staton. Sam McCoy was tried in West Virginia and acquitted in the case.
With his existing resentment of the Hatfields still simmering, McCoy found new reasons to hate Devil Anse and his kin in 1880. McCoy's daughter Roseanna met up with Johnse Hatfield, Devil Anse's son, at that year's Election Day celebration near Blackberry Creek, Kentucky. Election Day was treated as a holiday of sorts, with people gathering together to eat, drink and be merry. Much to Randall's dismay, his daughter Roseanna ran off with Johnse, living with him and his family for some time. She eventually realized that he wasn't going to marry her, and she went to live with an aunt in Kentucky. Roseanna had Johnse's child, but the baby died young.
Some of the McCoys caught Johnse and Roseanna together. They told Roseanna that they were going to take Johnse to jail for moonshine-related crimes, but she believed that they meant to kill him. She rode out to the Hatfields and told them of Johnse's capture. The Hatfields then confronted the McCoys and freed Johnse.
Two years later, tensions between the Hatfields and McCoys again boiled over. Many locals, including McCoys and Hatfields, gathered at the polling place in Pike County, Kentucky, on August 7, 1882. Unfortunately, the joyous festivities of this Election Day soon turned sour. A fight broke out between Randall McCoy's son Tolbert and Devil Anse Hatfield's brother Ellison. Tolbert stabbed Ellison several times, and he also received some help in the assault from two of his brothers, Pharmer and Randolph Jr. Ellison was also shot once in the back during the attack. The three McCoy brothers were arrested.
As they were on their way to jail, the McCoy brothers were taken from the lawmen by Devil Anse Hatfield and his supporters. Hatfield took the boys to West Virginia, where he waited for word about his brother Ellison. Randall's wife Sally traveled to the place where the boys were being held and begged for the lives of her sons, but she could not sway the Hatfields. After learning his brother had died, Devil Anse and his men tied the McCoy boys to some pawpaw bushes and shot them. An indictment was issued against Devil Anse and 19 others for these killings, but no one was willing to arrest the Hatfields and their kin for the crimes.
Oddly enough, Randall McCoy did not immediately strike back at the Hatfields in retaliation for his sons' deaths. It was his friend and relative by marriage Perry Cline who ignited another wave of violence in the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
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