Hatfield and McCoy Feud–The Real Thing

The real Hatfields, 1897. Source.

The Hatfield and McCoy feud is legendary in the United States, having become the subject of film and television drama. However, the events do have a root in a real feud, which took place across the Tug River, which forms the boundary between West Virginia and Kentucky in the latter half of the 19th century.

The origins of the feud are vague. Squirrel Huntin’ Sam McCoy, one of the feudists, later wrote his memories of the time, but could not remember why the feud started, but his descriptions of general horseplay and boisterousness in the context of a trial over the ownership of hogs come closest to being a general explanation.

Depending on how you count, the resulting feud left between 12 and 20 dead between 1882 and 1900, and as many wounded…

h/t HBD Chick, who blogs about — among other things — tribes and clans.

One of her readers left a comment linking to an article saying that the feud was greatly exacerbated by a genetic disorder that leads to “hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.”

  • disqus_W6sfZCiOd8

    “between the Hatfields and McCoys, may be partly explained by a rare, inherited disease that can lead to hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.” Good grief, that sounds like me. What the heck am I doing here. I should be over there fighting those jihadists!

    • El Martyachi

      They say it as though it’s a bad thing…

  • So, free will doesn’t ever into this?

    And no one save the bold would suggest that Pakistani cousin-marrying is ever a problem.

    • Frau Katze

      The two clans were quite intermarried apparently.

  • mauser 98

    two Winchesters pictured ..worth a bundle$$ if you had one and could prove its past

    • Minicapt

      Don’t see any Hard Drives …


      • mauser 98

        Hillary swept them

  • Uncle_Waspy

    Sam McCoy couldn’t remember what the triggered the big feud? It couldn’t have been that significant. At least in the Flintstone parody, there was a reason for the feud….


    Bonus: The man behind the voice of Fred Flintstone, Fred Reed…..

  • andycanuck

    Darn! They cropped most of their dog out of the photo. :^(