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 to 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.
A reproduction of the McCoy cabin as the real one was burned down by the Hatfields.
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.
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.