The Hatfield-McCoy feud began in the mountainous region of the Tug River valley. William Anderson Hatfield was the well recognized leader of the Hatfields and went by the nickname of “Devil Anse”. The leader of the McCoys was Randle McCoy.
The first event linking the Hatfields and McCoys was at the end of the Civil War. Devil Anse had fought for the Confederate Army for around two years. He and some of his family members had left the army and returned to their home. They then joined a local Confederate militia known as the Logan Wildcats. Randle McCoy’s brother, Asa Harmon McCoy, was a Union soldier. During 1865 Asa was wounded in a battle and returned home. While Asa was recovering, he was killed. However, no one was ever charged for the murder. It was rumored that Devil Anse and the Logan Wildcats were involved.
Then in the late 1870s, Devil Anse Hatfield entered into a dispute over land with Randle McCoy’s cousin Perry Cline. Anse won and was granted Perry’s entire 5,000 acres of land. However, the McCoys felt that Anse had used his political ties to influence the decision of the court.
After a few months later, Randle McCoy accused Anse’s cousin, and best friend, Floyd Hatfield of stealing his hog. A lawsuit was brought against Floyd and the magistrate put together a jury of six McCoys and six Hatfields to hear the case. At the end of the trial one of the McCoys voted with the Hatfields for acquittal. As a result, the McCoys felt like they had been cheated again. This is when the violence between the families began to increase.