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 William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield

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William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield

  • Birth 9 Sep 1839 Logan, Logan County, West Virginia, USA
  • Death 6 Jan 1921 Sarah Ann, Logan County, West Virginia, USA
  • Burial Sarah Ann, Logan County, West Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 3061

American Folk Figure. Nicknamed “Devil Anse”, he was the patriarch of the Hatfield Family of West Virginia during the famous “Hafield and McCoy Feud” of 1881 to 1891. Born in what is today Logan County, West Virginia, he grew up in the hill country along the Tug Fork River and developed a formidable reputation as a marksman and horseman. With his wife, Levicy, he produced nine boys and four girls. He owned considerable land and ran a successful lumbering operation. A Confederate sympathizer after the start of the Civil War, he formed the “Logan Wildcats” guerrilla band after West Virginia became a state and was admitted to the Union in 1863. Some historians believe the beginning of the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud found its beginning in 1865 when Asa McCoy, brother of McCoy family patriarch Randolph McCoy's brother and Union Army veteran, was found shot to death. Others point to an 1878 complaint filed by McCoy against Floyd Hatfield, Anse Hartfield’s cousin, for stealing his hogs. Popular perception, however, favors the ill-starred romance between Anse's son, Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy. William Hatfield refused his permission for them to marry, the end result was Rosanna being pregnant and abandoned by her lover and her family. Two years later, Anse Hatfield’s brother Ellison was killed by McCoys, with his responds being the killing his brother's murderers for which an indictment was issued but no further action taken. Tension between the two families remained high through the decade. On New Year’s Day 1888 Hatfield supporters burned the McCoy's homestead, killing two adult children, Alifair and Calvin, and seriously injuring matriarch Sarah McCoy. A reprisal raid netted nine Hatfield supporters but Anse Hatfield escaped. The sides were drawn into a pitched battle two weeks later, during which a deputy was killed. In September 1889, the captured Hatfields were tried for the death of Alifair McCoy, eight went to prison, a ninth hanged. The trials and verdicts effectively ended he active feuding. Anse Hatfield spent the last years of his life quietly on his farm. He was once asked to go on the vaudeville stage, but it came to nothing in the end. Converted to Christianity in 1911 after a lifetime of being agnostic, he was never wounded, despite his violent life, and succumbed to pneumonia ten years later. His funeral was, at that time, the largest ever held in Logan County.

Bio by: Iola





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3061
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield (9 Sep 1839–6 Jan 1921), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3061, citing Hatfield Family Cemetery, Sarah Ann, Logan County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .