During the early spring of 1920, unorganized coal miners in Mingo County, West Virginia began looking to join the UMWA.
On May 19, 1920, twelve men were killed at Matewan, West Virginia in a gun fight in which would later be known as the “Matewan Massacre”. The local police and the people of Matewan faced a group of hired guns hired by the Baldwin Felts Detective Agency.
During the Matewan battle, Albert Felts, wearing a “deputy sheriff”badge, fired the first shot but was struck down by Matewan Chief of Police Sid Hatfield.
Sid Hatfield had previously warned that they had no legal warrants to evict the citizens of Matewan and that he would not permit eviction without proper legal procedures. Felts then attempted to forcibly arrest the Chief of Police.
Sid Hatfield, a hero to West Virginia miners, was killed in August of 1921 in Welch, West Virginia by C. E. Lively, a Baldwin Felts gunman. Hatfield’s murder was in all likelihood a set-up.