October 30, 1825: Feudist Randolph McCoy Born in Logan County

Oct 30, 2017

Randolph McCoy, often called Randell or ‘‘Old Ranel.’’
Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Feudist Randolph McCoy was born in Logan County on October 30, 1825. He married his cousin, whose father gave the couple a small farm in neighboring Pike County, Kentucky. There, they raised 13 children.

Some date McCoy’s hatred of “Devil Anse” Hatfield to the Civil War. The beginning of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, though, is generally considered 1878, when McCoy accused Devil Anse’s cousin Floyd Hatfield of stealing a hog. McCoy lost the case after his own relative testified against him. From then on, McCoy’s anger mounted—so much so that he rejected his own daughter, Rose Anna, when she fell in love with Devil Anse’s son, Johnse Hatfield.

In 1882, three of McCoy’s sons killed Devil Anse’s brother Ellison in a drunken election day brawl. The Hatfields took revenge by executing the three McCoy boys. On New Year’s Day 1888, the Hatfields attacked and burned the McCoy home, killing two more of McCoy’s children and bludgeoning his wife.

Defeated, McCoy lost interest in the feud, moved to Pikeville, and became an embittered man.

Randolph McCoy died tragically in 1914 at age 88 while tending a cook fire.