McCoy was shot to death whether the motivation was that he was a Union soldier in a sea of Confederates or something else isn’t clear and it remains in dispute whether this killing was the catalyst for the hatfield-mccoy feud it wasn’t until the fall of 1878 that one of the most famous feud events took place it involved the ownership of a single hog which pitted the two clans.
Against each other for the first time in a court of law Laurie Hatfield was a cousin of devil Anse but he was more related to the McCoys he had more blood relationships to the McCoys than he did to the Hatfields it was the season for the Hogs to be returned.
To their pens for slaughter Floyd Hatfield had rounded up his when.
His neighbor Randall McCoy stopped by Randall McCoy comes in and he sees these hogs in a pen of guy named Tom Stafford Tom Stafford said okay Randall if you say so they’re they’re your hogs.
Well that same evening Floyd Hatfield comes across the river and tells Tom hey those are my hogs and Tom says you know what Randall was just here you said they.
Were his hogs pigs roamed free in the mountains they notched their ears but the notches could be changed easily sometimes pigs would fight.
And the ear would be damaged so.
It was difficult to tell whose pig was whose Floyd said no those are my hogs and I’m gonna take him right now and so Randall came back the next day the hogs were gone he was furious he went into a rage and went straight to the justice of.
The peace preacher Anse Hatfield one of the things that I think is is often interesting when we look at the feud is people have an image of vigilante justice with weapons and and all of the dramatic things and in fact the Hatfields in particular were exceptionally.
Litigious they went to court for everything the courthouse is packed with records land deeds court minutes these folks went.
To court at the drop of a hat they didn’t pick up their guns they went to court and over and over I found them going to court to try to settle their differences they weren’t uncivilized you know the.
Way that we came to think of them in the way that the sort of the muckraking journalists portrayed them they weren’t savages now a lot of people think that it’s funny that you could have a trial over a hog but you’ve got to remember these are subsistence farmers and the only source of protein that they had were the Hogs that they raised and the and the that they killed.
And so a hog was actually a very important and part of what people needed to be able to survive and it was one of the reasons that it was a big enough.
Issue that there was actually a trial over it while the majority of the Hatfields were residents of the West Virginia side of the valley Floyd Hatfield happened to live.
On the Kentucky side which is where the case would go to trial this area.
Was by all accounts McCoy country so the selection of a jury of his peers was a delicate matter there was only one justice of the peace in the area and he was a Hatfield preacher hands Hatfield was known to be a temperate an honest man respected by both clans there is no.