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 Randolph “Randall” McCoy

Randolph “Randall” McCoy

Birth
Kentucky, USA
Death 28 Mar 1914 (aged 88)
Pikeville, Pike County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Pikeville, Pike County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 7422518 · View Source
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Folk Figure. He was the patriarch of the McCoy clan involved in the infamous American Hatfield-McCoy feud that occurred in eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia for almost 30 years. He was born the 4th of 13 children in the Tug River Valley, Kentucky. He served in the Confederate Army during the early years of the American Civil War and was a prisoner of war from 1863 to 1865. In the late 1870s the Hatfield family patriarch, Devil Anse Hatfield, was involved in a land dispute with Perry Cline, whose siblings had married members of the McCoy family, over a 5,000 acre tract of land that both held title to. Hatfield eventually brought a civil suit against Cline and Hatfield won in what was seen by the McCoys as a Hatfield friendly court. In the fall of 1878 Randolph McCoy brought charges against Floyd Hatfield for stealing one of his hogs. This allegation was a very serious offense at the time, as hogs were extremely valuable to the farming economy. Due to the statements made by Bill Staton, who was related to both families, the case was decided in favor of the Hatfields. The ruling further inflamed the feud, as he viewed the outcome as unfair. Later, brothers Sam and Paris McCoy were accused, tried, and acquitted of the death of Staton when the judge ruled Staton's death an act of self-defense by the McCoy brothers. The peak of the feuding occurred when three of his sons killed Ellison Hatfield, brother of Devil Anse, on election day in 1882. Devil Anse retaliated for the killing of his brother by killing his Randolph's sons Tolbert, Pharmer and Randolph Jr. McCoy near present day Matewan, West Virginia. On New Year's Day 1888 his house was burned to the ground and numerous family members were slain by the Hatfields, including two of Randolph's children, son Calvin and daughter, Alifair. His wife Sally was badly injured when she attempted to comfort Alifair, suffering several broken ribs and skull fractures. He and his remaining family members were able to escape to the woods and during the ordeal, his children suffered frostbite as they fled unprepared for the cold weather. Shortly after the massacre, Kentucky deputy Frank Phillips and a posse of McCoys chased down Jim Vance and Cap Hatfield, killing Vance. Phillips' posse rounded up nine Hatfield family members and supporters and incarcerated them. The feuding and warfare brought in political leaders of Kentucky and West Virginia. The Governor of West Virginia, E. Willis Wilson, accused Kentucky of violating the extradition process and appealed the matter to the US Supreme Court. Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner sent his Adjutant General to Pike County to investigate the situation. In May 1889 the US Supreme Court decided against West Virginia (Mahon v. Justice) and the nine Hatfields would be tried in Pikeville. Private detectives hunted down many Hatfields, though Devil Anse was never tried nor jailed. In 1890 Ellison Mounts was executed in Kentucky for his part in the McCoy killings and the feud began to wind down with Mounts' execution. He then moved his family to Pikeville, Kentucky, where operated a ferry and lived out the remainder of his life in bitterness and grieving and died there at the age of 88 after catching fire from a cook stove. On June 14, 2003, the McCoy descendants partnered with Reo Hatfield of Waynesboro, Virginia, to author an official truce between the families. The idea was symbolic, in order to show that Americans could bury their differences and unite in times of crisis. The Hatfield-McCoy feud has been the subject of a number of books and films, most recently the television miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" (2012).

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 7 May 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7422518
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Randolph “Randall” McCoy (30 Oct 1825–28 Mar 1914), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7422518, citing Dils Cemetery, Pikeville, Pike County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .