Hatfield-McCoy Feud


Study of the Hatfield-McCoy feud results in information as interesting and as complex as was the feud itself. Theories on the cause of ill will between the Hatfield and McCoy families and the subsequent feud range from lingering Civil War hostilities, the alleged theft of a pig, an ill-fated love affair, and an election-day murder an its revenge. Other theories include jealousy between the families and the economic and social changes brewing on both sides of the Tug River in Logan County, West Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky. Some and perhaps all of the theories contain truth and can be backed up by research. In addition, a study of the Hatfield-McCoy feud uncovers more than pure history of the feud itself; stereotyping of the Appalachian mountaineer and storytelling, music, and film based on the feud live on long after guns, knives, and harsh words have been abandoned by the two families.

Introductory Text: 

A good introduction to a study of the Hatfield-McCoy feud appears in:

Rice, Otis K, and Stephen W. Brown. West Virginia: A History. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993. Print. ASU SPEC APP COLL F241.R515 1993

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

Hatfield McCoy Feud (Use of this heading will bring the most resources.)

Hatfield McCoy Feud Drama

Hatfield McCoy Feud Fiction

Hatfield McCoy Feud Juvenile Fiction

Hatfield McCoy Feud Legends

Hatfield McCoy Feud Psychological Aspects

Hatfield Family

Hatfield Family Drama

Hatfield Devil Anse

McCoy Family

McCoy Family Drama

McCoy Roseanna

Also Relevant:

Guyandotte River Valley (W. Va.) History

Logan County (W. Va.) History

Kentucky History

Tug Fork Valley (W. Va.) History

Vendetta Kentucky

Vendetta West Virginia

West Virginia History

Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 


Library of Congress Call Numbers: 

Highly Relevant:







Also Relevant:







Z1349.1 F6



Crawford, Theron C. An American Vendetta: A Story of Barbarism in the United States. New York: Belford, Clarke and Co, 1887. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL HV6452.K4 C8 (First book published on subject; promoted stereotypical ignorant hillbilly image.)

Hatfield, Coleman, Coleman A. Hatfield, and Robert Y. Spence. The Tale of the Devil: The Biography of Devil Anse Hatfield : from Original Manuscripts by Grandson Coleman A. Hatfield. Chapmanville, W. Va: Woodland Press, 2003. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL HV6452.W42 H372

Jones, Virgil C. The Hatfields and the Mccoys. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1948. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL HV6452.K4 J6

Rice, Otis K. The Hatfields and the McCoys. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1978. ASU APP SPEC COLL HV6452.K42 H35 (This work is often referred to in other books and articles about the feud as a very reliable resource for research on the subject.)

Waller, Altina L. Feud: Hatfields, Mccoys, and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL HV6452.A128 W35 (Provides a comprehensive study of the feud; Waller uses the overall economic condition of the mountaineers and the upcoming radical change in the area’s industry to explain underlying reasons for the feud.)

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Abramson, Rudy, and Jean Haskell. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. Print. ASU SPEC APP COLL F106.E53

Comstock, Jim. West Virginia Women. Richwood, W. Va: Comstock, 1974, pp. 149-154. Print. ASU SPEC APP COLL F241.W64 vol. 25

Note: View of feud and aftermath through memories of Nancy Hatfield, wife of Devil Anse Hatfield’s son Cap Hatfield.

Sullivan, Ken. The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Charleston, W. Va: West Virginia Humanities Council, 2006. Print. ASU SPEC APP COLL F241.W47

West Virginia, a Guide to the Mountain State. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL F241.285


Appalachian Bibliography. Morgantown, W. Va: West Virginia University Library, 1980, pp. 434-437. Print. ASU SPEC APP COLL Z1251.A7 A6 1980

Forbes, Harold M. West Virginia History: A Bibliography and Guide to Research. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 1981, pp. 159-161. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL Z1349.1 F6 W6

Shetler, Charles. Guide to the Study of West Virginia History. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1960, pp. 64-65. Print. ASU APP SPEC COLL Z1349.S45

Abstracts and Indices: 

Academic OneFile

Academic Search Complete



There are no journals that regularly offer articles on the Hatfield-McCoy feud.


This following site gives overview of the feud, good information for people wanting to visit the area of the feud, and information on the popular Hatfield McCoy ATV trails:

Hatfield-McCoy Country, n.d., 10 November 2012, http://hatfieldmccoycountry.com/.

A web site offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service, the Hatfield & McCoy Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Coal House, the City of Williamson, and the Great Kanawa Resource Conservation and Development Area. Site gives overview of the feud, sites to see relating to the feud, and information on the popular Hatfield McCoy ATV trails.

This site, while not up to date, gives pictures and an overview of the feud, plus information on Matewan, WV:

The Feud. Matewan, 2000. 10 November 2012, http://www.matewan.com/

Compiled by: 

Compiled: Jo Harris, 20 November 1998

Updated by: 

Updated: Brittony Fitzgerald, 9 October 2008

Updated: Jo Harris, 15 November 2012