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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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In 1887, Cline convinced the governor of Kentucky to issue a reward for the capture of Devil Anse and the others indicted in the McCoy murders. He brought in "Bad" Frank Phillips to assist in the capture of the fugitives, and Phillips led raids into West Virginia to get these men. He was able to capture several of them,
including Devil Anse's brother Valentine.
Some of the Hatfields decided that the best way to end the indictments against him and his supporters was to get rid of the witnesses. Experts are divided on whether Devil Anse was the mastermind of this plot. On New Year's Day, 1888, Hatfield supporter Jim Vance led eight other men, including Johnse and Cap Hatfield, to Randall McCoy's home in Kentucky. Johnse accidentally fired at the house before they were ready to attack, giving Randall and his family a warning of what was to come. The two sides exchanged gunfire, and then Vance lit the house on fire. McCoy's daughter Alifair was shot to death as she tried to flee, and his wife Sally was badly injured when she attempted to comfort Alifair. McCoy's son Calvin was also killed, but Randall was able to escape the house and hide in a pigpen. Two of his daughters, Adelaide and Fanny, also survived the attack.
Reports of the attack made newspaper headlines across the country, and the Hatfield-McCoy feud became a subject of great interest to many. Reporters traveled to this remote region to get more on the story, and the press exaggerated the details of the conflict. They also followed the ensuing trials as some of the conspirators in the McCoy brothers' murders and the New Year's Day attack were brought to justice.
Ellison Mounts was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Alifair McCoy in 1889. Valentine Hatfield and eight others were tried that same year for the McCoy brothers' murders. They were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Randall McCoy was disappointed in the verdict. He reportedly tried to get a group together to enact some vigilante justice of his own, but he failed to garner enough support to pull it off.
After the trials, Randall seemed to live a quiet life in Kentucky. He operated a ferry in Pikeville for some time. He died in 1914 from injuries he suffered after falling into a cooking fire. Once a leading player in one of history's most notorious family feuds, McCoy seemed to slip from this world without much notice. He was buried in the Dils Cemetery in Pikeville, Kentucky.
Since his death, however, McCoy has received some notoriety. The Hatfield-McCoy feud has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, films and even a musical. Most recently, these two feuding families became the subject of a 2012 television miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys, with Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy and Kevin Costner as Devil Anse Hatfield. Mare Winningham also appeared as Randall's wife Sally.
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