I am likely to be the last person to write about the infamous troubles between the Hatfields and the McCoys who talked to living persons who remembered the events. The testimony of those people, untainted by reading ‘feud books’ was borne out with no significant conflict by the records in the various courthouses and archives, where I have spent more than two thousand hours in research.

A few of the people I talked to remembered the Election Day, 1882 killing of Ellison Hatfield.  Pricy Scott and Jake Blackburn, both born in 1870, and Jeff Hatfield, born in 1874 are three of them. More than a dozen folks who were alive in the 1950’s, while I was in high school, remembered the attack on the McCoy home on New Year’s Day, 1888. Several of them attended the burial of Alifair and Calvin McCoy the following day. My Granny Dotson (a Hatfield on both sides) remembered the scripture that her grandfather, Preacher Anse Hatfield, read over the open graves. It was from the Book of Job, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble…”

When I refer to something I heard as a teenager, it is usually something that I have verified by research in the records. It is always something about which I have found nothing that is contradictory in my research in the records.

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The 1888 book by John Spears, with notes by Ryan Hardesty.

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