Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Hatfield and McCoys

Thought Number One...The Hatfields and the McCoys weren't familiar with concept of compromise.

Did anyone...other than me...catch the mini-series on the History Channel about the Hatfields and the McCoys?  NO...really??? No one?  OK..so we have established I am a dork. 

I have to tell you I thought it was an interesting bit of history.  I knew zilch about the actual feud before watching the movie. Then I had to stop and do Internet searches on  everything to get the whole story and make sure Bill Paxton and Kevin Costner weren't taking creative liberties with the story.  Some of the story line just seemed too brutal to be fact.  Turns out the movie was pretty true (with a few minor exceptions) to the real story.

Thought Number Two...The Hatfield and McCoy women had a lot of reasons to be angry.

After the first half hour of the first episode, it became extremely clear to me, that I would have lasted about a minute before it was obvious to the world that I had no business being a housewife of that era.   I can't emphasize this enough.  I am doing figurative cartwheels that I didn't have to live in a log cabin with 16 or 13 children depending which family you are talking about.

I could barely take my eyes off the characters of of the two wives. In every scene these women were cleaning, cooking, farming, mending, tending, sweating, crying...ok, maybe they weren't crying but they should have been.

Think about it.  No bathrooms, no running water, no electricity.  A cabin with lots and lots of children and  again... just so we are clear here...no bathrooms. West Virginia and Kentucky in the summer with no running water and no air conditioner. AND if all of that wasn't making their lives perfect enough, the men were busy killing each other at every available turn. Really, all of it seems fairly close to  Hell on earth.

Clearly, these women had to be strong and fearless to survive the times.

  Reproduction of the home that belonged to Rev. Anderson Hatfield, who presided as the judge in the "hog trial"
 Sarah "Sally" McCoy had 16 children with Randall McCoy, the lead figure on the side of the McCoy family.  Sally was Randall's first cousin so she was a McCoy on both sides as it were.  Talk about family loyalty.  There seems to be some confusion as to what happened to Sally.  In most historical accounts she ran out of her house that had been set fire by the Hatfields and was hit in the head with the butt of a rifle by Johse Hatfield and then nearly beat to death by his uncle, "Bad Jim" Vance.  What happened to her after that differs a bit.  According to the movie,  she went to an asylum and later died. According to some history books, she and Randall moved from the area and she died at home several years after the attack on their home.

Note: I am currently reading Blood Feud by Lisa Alther who is native of the Appalachian area where the feud took place and is a descendant of the McCoys.  She says in the book that Sarah was weakened by the beating and lived a few years in a house in Pikeville, KY before dying at the age of 65.

Levicy Hatfield had 13 children with Anderson  "Devil Anse" Hatfield.  Now don't you just have to wonder about a woman that would marry a man named Devil. Supposedly, Devil Anse got the name from his mother for his somewhat "contrary" personality.  His first cousin who was much more pleasant got the name Preacher Hatfield.  Anyway Levicy Chafin married a Hatfield and her sister Sarah Chafin married a McCoy.  There seems to be a lot of branches on this family tree that don't fork. Levicy died on pneumonia in 1929 and was buried next to Devil Anse in the Hatfield Cemetery.

The Hatfields
There are no pictures of the McCoy clan. Here is a picture of Randolf "Randall" McCoy.
There are no know photos of Sarah McCoy.

The bulk of the feud lasted from 1863 until 1891 but trials relating to the feud didn't end until 1901.
The two families signed a truce that officially ended the feud in 2003.

If I would have had 16 kids in a small cabin with no modern appliances,
it wouldn't of taken a chunk to my head with a butt of a rifle
to make me crazy.

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Chubby Chatterboz said...

Other than the two names and the reference to their feud, I know nothing about these people. It does all sound interesting. Those certainly were hard times.

Cheryl P. said...

Every time I see something like that program, I try to imagine not having a heat source other than a wood stove or no indoor plumbing. But even beyond that, the washing clothes by hand, plucking a chicken for supper, no modern medicine....can I just say I am so spoiled.

L.C. Griffith said...

I guess Sally, being a McCoy on both sides, was a real McCoy. *grin
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Yeah, what a nightmare of an existence. I would have taken that rifle and hit myself in the head with it.
Interesting post Cheryl!

Cheryl P. said...

Very clever, Leah. I didn't think of that!!
I am with you. It sounds like a nightmare. Maybe it is what you get used to, but I can't imagine having that many children under those circumstances.

Nicky said...

You're not the only dork :-)

Trina said...

Holy freaking crap! 16 kids?!?! 13 Kids!?!?! That's just pure insane! I couldn't imagine all those mouths to feed... now-a-days that would be a reality TV show!

And what a feud? Thirty years with a final truce almost a hundred years later? That's a nasty fight.

Great post!

Paul Barnes said...

Hi Cheryl,

If I had 13 or 16 kids in that era, I think I just might give a gun fight a good try LOL I can't imagine living during those times, it must have really been rough!


Cheryl P. said...

Perhaps, I should start of club. Dorks Among Us or something. We could meet to watch docu-dramas together.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree...all those kids, yikes! In a cabin...in a hot cabin. When did they find time to have or for that matter...make...babies.

Cheryl P. said...

I was thinking the same thing. If I had to cook, clean, (including cleaning the "hunted" stuff, Pa brought home) I would try to catch whatever plague was circling the area.
These women must of been just crazy strong...or just crazy.

babs (beetle) said...

I would never have lasted in that life. Women were tough in those days. Come to think of it, women were tough in my mum's day. Seven kids with no hot water. No labour saving devices. She had a 24 hour a day job looking after us all. I don't know how she did it.

Susan, Super Earthling said...

Interesting post! And a great
big amen on not wanting to be a woman living in that era, Cheryl! I didn’t see
that particular show on History but would love to. I have read about the feud in
the past and seen other documentaries about it. Those people were crazy! :-o

Cheryl P. said...

Wow, even 7 sounds like a lot when you factor in how the chores were down back then. The upside is having a large family with siblings. That sounds fun...or at least some of the time.

Cheryl P. said...

The Hatfields and McCoys certainly had more than their fair share of crazy :-o
I found the story behind the feud really twisted. Today they could of gotten rich with a reality show....of course the cast would keep getting smaller as they shot and killed their kin folk off.

meleahrebeccah said...

I did NOT catch the mini-series on the History Channel about the Hatfields and the McCoys - nor did I know ANYTHING about them until I read this post!

*lives under a rock*

Cheryl P. said...

I hardly ever watch anything on the History Channel but that looked kind of interesting. Those families really knew how to hold a grudge. Can you even imagine having 16 kids in a small cabin without electricity or water? I would have opted to be in one of the shootouts.

meleahrebeccah said...

No fucking way.

Perry said...

I live in Pike county, Kentucky and the cabin you have pictured is not the McCoy home reproduction. It is actually the site of the hog trial at Blackberry.

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Perry, It's been so long, I can't say for certain where I found that info, saying that was a reproduction of the Hatfield's cabin but I thought it was on a blog of a McCoy ancestor. Anyway...you are right and I was wrong. I corrected it.

I would love to see your part of the country. I have been to Kentucky but not to that section of KY. It looks beautiful in pictures.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. For the most part it is pure silliness but it's always fun to meet new people.