Going back realizing they were helpless against the power of these warrants the Hatfields sought the protection of West Virginia law convincing Logan County officials to form a posse of their own in order to arrest bad Frank Phillips for the murder of family member Jim Vance by this time the Hatfields were prepared they were ready they had pulled together.
Their own posse they even had a sheriff with him said the law in West Virginia is on their side the two opposing posses one from Kentucky favoring the McCoys and the other from West Virginia favoring the Hatfields finally came.
Face-to-face at grapevine Creek in West Virginia on January 19 1888 Jim McCoy comes leading the posse around the corner and they start shooting at Jim McCoy in and pretty soon they’re an all-out battle.
Historically this land was significant to both parties it was the exact parcel of timber rich land the young Perry Cline had lost to Devil Anse Hatfield during their logging dispute in 1872 there’s a group of Hatfields on one side and a group of bad Frank Phillips men on the other side and they had this gunfight Jim’s first shot.
Felled the deputy sheriff that’s there with the Hatfields a man named MC the Hatfields fight for a while but they realized they’re they’re outnumbered and they’re not gonna win this battle if they stay they retreat up into the hills but not before bad Frank Phillips took the opportunity to once again send.
A message to the Hatfields as if what they’re doing isn’t bad enough bad Frank Phillips comes up to Dempsey who’s wounded in the leg and Dempsey’s pleading for his life and says you know I’m a deputy sheriff you know I’m not a Hatfield Phillips paid no.
Heed and killed Dempsey on the spot Frank Phillips just went out of his way to say and this is what we do to those who support bad feels the.
Feud had taken a new turn the Battle of Grapevine Creek while.
Massive in scale yields little in the actual.
Capture of Hatfields or McCoys what does make itself clear is that bad Frank Phillips working.
For the McCoy side has established himself as a ruthless killer based on the blatant execution of West Virginia deputy bill Dempsey this is when the McCoys realized that bad Frank is not necessarily an agent for good and they will later say that you know they’re scared of this man now and bad Frank eventually is gonna lose his support from from everybody so now.
The Hatfields have gone from the really bad guys to well maybe the McCoys aren’t so good either it took five years but finally some justice for the 1888 New Year’s Day McCoy murders the captured Hatfield clan members and supporters were rounded up by Frank Phillips and brought to Kentucky but it was unclear if the men could be legally held and tried in Kentucky as they were all captured in and citizens of.
West Virginia in those days it was illegal to cross state lines in in pursuit of a fella each state had its own laws and for bad Frank to to cross into West.
Virginia and arrest a Hatfield was actually illegal this ended up causing a lot of consternation of Between the States there were actually militias that were sent in by both governor’s on each side of the state both governors really had to get a grasp on what was going on down here this little mini war on their border was becoming a.
Big headache so both of them sent emissaries down to that what was going on down there governor Wilson sent a man named WL Mahone down and governor Buckner sent the adjutant general of Kentucky down a guy named Sam Hill hints.
Comes to saying what in the Sam Hill is happening you know what in the Sam.
Hills going on because Sam Hill went down there to find out what was going on between the.
Hatfields and McCoys attorneys representing the states of West Virginia and Kentucky met in Louisville and federal court to determine if the Hatfield prisoners could be legally tried in the state of.
Both states were keenly aware of the importance of this meeting and took an active role in making sure each of their states rights were protected so the.
Judge in Louisville said I’ll hear this case he ordered the jailer in Pikeville to send the the Hatfield nine to Louisville the district court judge heard the arguments and made a death decision there were many arguments you know is this place that this.
Should be adjudicated Kentucky said no you know this is clearly a case between two states you know this belongs he’s straight in the Supreme Court what it started out as a feud between two families in an isolated region of.
The American frontier moderated by the laws and conventions of local justice now became a national issue one to be handled by the highest court in the land the United States Supreme Court they ruled that while the arrest was technically illegal and that West Virginia could press charges against bad Frank Phillips the holding of the prisoners was not illegal Kentucky was holding the prisoners.
Wanted for murder in their state legally so it doesn’t matter how the Hatfields got to Kentucky they’re there so they can be tried seven long years after the executions of the three McCoy boys in August 1889 the Hatfield family members and supporters were put on trial.
In Pikeville Kentucky there were actually two trials one for the McCoy executions and one for the New Year’s Day murders of Calvin and alifair McCoy a total of nine men would stand trial once the Supreme Court case was finished they began to prosecute the the Hatfields were arrested devil Anse was not one of.
Those many of his sons and many of his friends were but he was not one of the people that was put on trial they were facing life sentences for the New Year’s Day raid from which they beat his wife nearly to death and they killed a daughter in a son but these guys honestly thought that they would get off after two and a half weeks of often intense discussion.
Deliberation the jury returned its verdict against the Hatfield nine guilty eight were sentenced to life in prison one would receive the death penalty the only person given a life sentence who actually died in prison was Valentine Hatfield who was devil Anse his brother he also was the only person.
Who was completely innocent of any of the charges really in addition to Ellison mounts came out the worst of anybody he ended up getting convicted he ended up getting a life sentence and he wasn’t a man who could last in prison he died within two years the toughest verdict handed down was against.
Ellison cotton-top mounts mounts was considered to be slow of less than average.
Intelligence and unlike the other men on trial mounts gave a full confession detailing his actions.
During the execution of the McCoy boys in 1882 and the murder of alifair McCoy in 1888 during the New Year’s Day Massacre.
Some say that his accounts of both murders provided the prosecuting attorneys key evidence against the other men because of his relationship to the Hatfields because he was a Hatfield even though his lessening his amounts he was related to the Hatfield family getting him to confess to the murder of alifair into the attack on the McCoy family that allowed the McCoys to point at the half and so he was the.
Perfect scapegoat but the jury had a detailed confession from mouse the.
Only confession had had and it sentenced him to death by hanging it’s really impossible to know the real motivation but it just seems as though so many people thought someone should be hanged it was obvious that people wanted blood and he just happened to be the person that became the sacrificial lamb there was a newspaper article where he who was interviewed at the time period and he said he was forced by the Hatfields to go on this raid with the rest of.
And and you know he was a just a product of circumstances crowds from the Pikeville Kentucky area gathered on a hillside to witness the hanging of Ellison mounts the first hanging in the county in over 40 years it.
Would also be the last it was an event that was sort of made for the media made for the people and it was as you might expect a pretty momentous occasion and hundreds of people came from all over it was it was a cold winter day the officials there wanted to make a statement however so what they did was they set up the gallows in a hollow but if you were sitting on the hill you could.
You can see the the scaffold there was all these rumors after he’d been sentenced and before he was hanged that oh the Hatfields are gonna ride into Pikeville and shoot up the place and rescue him and everyone was waiting for that to happen and it was just no some accounts claim that mounts wasn’t.
Fully aware of the gravity of the situation and that he met his fate in a confused state he seemed very confused as to what was happening to him he seemed surprised am I going to die and am I going to go.
To hell and and all of those things seem to be a surprise to him at the very last moment he shouted out the hatfields made me do it that was kind of his parting parting words Ellison mounts was hanged on February 18th 1890 he was the only person in the entire 25 year long hatfield-mccoy feud who would be executed for any of the murders and it was the last.
Official death attributed to the battle between these two clans the idea that possibly an innocent man was executed has lived in the psyche of that era this area for quite a while there is a historic marker for the execution of Ellis amounts it is still controversial following the hanging death of Ellison mounts in 1890 the feud all but stopped he sort of took the fall for the Hatfield clan in you know I think it was it was.
An event that was sort of made for the media made for the people and it brought a sort of closure to the feud after nearly 25 years of on-again off-again raids murders intimidation and attacks the Hatfield and McCoy families gradually began to go about their respective lives in West Virginia and.
Kentucky there are various stories about what sparked the feud between the families headed by devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy many believe it grew out of the Civil War resentments with the murder of Randall’s brother ASA Harmon setting off two and a half decades.
Of revenge and retribution I think it’s clear when you when you.
Research the record that the hatfield-mccoy feud along with the the white feud the whole feud.
Many other feuds in this area they were just a continuation of the Civil War the civil war ended and we came back together as a nation pretty quickly except for this area others claim it didn’t really begin until the killing of Ellison Hatfield and devil and his revenge.
Three McCoy brothers the 25 years of feuding brought the deaths of 11 Hatfield and McCoy family members in their orders a Siham and McCoy murdered bill Staton murdered Ellison Hatfield stabbed 27 times then shot to death Tolbert McCoy executed farmer McCoy executed Randolph bud McCoy jr. executed alifair McCoy murdered Calvin McCoy.
Murdered Jim Vance shot at point-blank range Ellison Mouse death by hanging but an untold number of bounty hunters private detectives and others went missing during this feud.
Era rumored to have been bushwhacked and buried in unmarked graves and sporadic fringes of mountain justice the legend is hundreds of people over years with no reason and you know even 12 people from thinking the legend it’s like oh that’s nothing compared to the hundreds but you know I would argue that for the people living in that region at the time to have 12 murders or people killed was astounding you still had the matter of the outstanding warrants for bad.
Frank Phillips for John C Hadfield for cap Hatfield devil Anse.
So you still had bounty hunters and and there were prices on on the heads of these men so they were.
Hiding out in the hills or some of them fled out west Johnse Hatfield went out west and he was hunted down out there and came all the way back to Kentucky West Virginia area and he was arrested there and tried and put in prison he was actually a fairly model prisoner and one day one of the inmates had attacked the warden and John C tackled him and actually killed the attacker and so.
The warden went to bat for him and John C was given a pardon in left prison after I think six or seven years Frank.
Phillips who was living sort of a wild life he had two wives living in the same house with kids from each of the marriages and he finally got in a battle with a young man over another woman that both of them were pursuing and that guy shot him and he died from that wound the patriarchs of the two clans.
Men who had seen so much violence both lived.