McCoy Family Genealogy

   The McCoys trace their origin back to Scotland. The family was first found in Sutherland, where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Their origin there is possibly Lowland, but they had intermarried with the Highland Celtic strain, giving some a slight olive complexion and some dark or auburn hair. They were in general tall and lithe and handsome. They had a great deal of family pride and clannishness.
   The McCoy Coat of Arms is a Blue with a silver chevron, on which there are two daggers pointing at a buck's head, all between three silver bears' heads. The family motto: "Manu forti," means "With a strong hand." The McCoys were in Scotland until around 1700 A.D. at which time they migrated to Ireland. In the early 1700s, the McCoys started to migrate to America, which was a British Colony.
   The earliest known ancestor is a Jacobite in Ireland named JOHN McCOY, whom was (according to some sources) the son of Alexander McCoy and Francis Katherine Sutherland, born in 1690, in Sutherland Shire, Scotland. The Jacobites were loyal supporters of the Stuart King, James II. It is believed that John migrated to Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland, after a failed rebellion in 1715, which was to return King James II to the English throne. John worked as a mercenary for English Lord Berresford (as did his brother).
   John married a woman with the last name of MARTIN. The family then migrated to America, traveling from Belfast, Antrim County, Ireland, to America in 1732. John's brothers, James and Daniel, may have come from Ireland with him.
   In 1737, he received a land grant in Charles County, Maryland, which was a 150-acre tract. (Located today outside of Funkstown, Washington County, Maryland.)
   John purchased another 50-acre plot in Prince George's County, Maryland, on 11/09/1742 that he named "Neglect" (with 129 more acres in Queen Anne County, on 12/01/1748), and on 08/17/1747, he purchased 54 acres in Charles County, Maryland, which was referred to as "Slatford's Roost Extension."


  • ARCHIBALD McCOY was born on 12 Jul 1732 in Washington Co. Maryland. Married ELIZABETH BLAIR (b: Abt 1734) in @ 1751. Death: 19 Apr 1810 in Washington Co. MD.

  • Blair
       John died in Washington County, Maryland, in 1762, having become a prominent land owner in the Colonies. Land was extremely important to this family, and would be the underlying source of their later battles with the Hatfield family, which became the most famous feud in American history.
       Very little has been recorded on the next generation of the McCoys. Upon John's death, his property was divided amongst the children, each son getting a large tract of land. If there were any daughters, their names weren't recorded.
       The next ancestor in our line, ARCHIBALD McCOY, was born in 1732 in Washington County, Maryland. He inherited the plantation called "Neglect," which had been his father's property, with its imposing stone mansion. It is also believed he is buried there.
       Archibald married ELIZABETH BLAIR (b: Abt 1734) around the year 1751 in Washington County, Maryland, and they had the following children:


  • WILLIAM McCOY was born @ 1752 in Washington Co., Maryland. He was married to CORDELLA CAMPBELL @ 1772 in Maryland. William was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He served in the Virginia Continental Line and was given a land grant in what is now Pike & Floyd counties, KY. He and Cordella had 13 children. Died in Pike Co., Kentucky, in 1822.
  • JOHN W. McCOY was born in 1755, in Washington Co., Md. He married Rebecca Blair - 12 children. Alexander, Sussanah, James, Brice, John W., Joseph, William, Edmund, Mary, Agnes, Archibald & George. He died in 1818, in Bedford Co., Pa.
  • JAMES McCOY was born on 26 Mar 1757, in Washington Co., Md. He married Mary Cheney, and they had seven children: Jeremiah, John, Archibald, Naomi, James, William & Andrew. He died on 14 Feb 1838.
  • RACHEL McCOY was born in 1758, in Washington Co., Md. She married Joseph Powell Abt. 1780 in Md. - 16 children. Mary, George, Archibald McCoy, Joseph, Sarah, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, Rachel, John, Jonathan, William,Robert, Susannah, Nancy & David.
  • MARY McCOY was born in 1759, in Washington Co., Md. She married George Powel or Powell June 19, 1779. They had two children - Mary & Rachel.
  • SUSANNAH McCOY was born in 1762, in Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland. She married Daniel South (1760-1819) in Hagerstown. They had the following children: Mary Jane (1788-1830), Thomas (1789-1865), Elizabeth (b. 1789), Benjamin (1792-1844), Archibald (1794-1855), Susannah (1794-1868), John N (1795-1856), Benjamin C (1797-1868), Henry (1800-1865), James Daniel (1800-1865) and Elizabeth South (1805-1866). Susannah died on 18 Mar 1824 and is buried with her husband in the Daniel South Family Cemetery in Clermont County, Ohio.
  • LAVINA McCOY was born in 1764, in Washington Co., Md. No further information.
  • LYDIA McCOY was born in 1766, in Washington Co., Md. She married a man named Elverston. No further information.
  • ELIZABETH McCOY was born in 1768, in Washington Co., Md. She married an unknown "white man." No further information.
  • NANCY AGNES McCOY was born on 11 Jan 1769 in Washington Co., Md. She married Brice Blair August 28, 1779 in Bedford Co., Pa. - 13 children. John, Archibald, Susannah, Mary Polly, Rachel, Rebecca, Susanna, Sarah, Edmund, James,Nancy, Elizabeth & Brice. She died in 1829.
  • ARCHIBALD McCOY was born in 1772, in Washington Co., Md. He married Ann Grower May 31, 1806 & Mary Ferby January 12, 1812.
  • EDMUND McCOY was born on 8 Aug 1776, in Washington Co., Md. He married Mary Bond February 29, 1796 - 12 children. John, Mary, Elizabeth, Archibald, Jelia/Jelis/Jelas, Edmund, George V., James Bond, Nancy, Susan, Walter & David. Death: 29 Feb 1828.

  • Campbell
       WILLIAM "OLD WILLIAM" McCoy was born between 1750-1755. His birthplace is unknown, but he was the progenitor of the McCoys of the Kentucky-West Virginia border, and the forefather of all the McCoy's that were involved in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   William McCoy
    Township:   North Milford
    County:   Cecil
    State:   Maryland
    Year:   1790
    Roll:   M637_3
    Page:   --
    Image:   054

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    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1790 United States Federal Census. Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1790 Federal Population Census. M637, 12 rolls. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.
       It is thought that the "William McCoys" came from Maryland, and there is evidence that two sons, John and Samuel, were born there.
       Some descendants say that William lived near Cumberland, Maryland, and one descendant was told many years ago by an older McCoy relative that the McCoys once lived where the Antietam Battleground now stands.
       William and his wife (probably named CORDELLA CAMPBELL of Giles, Virginia) were married in @ 1772, and became the parents of 13 children: ten sons and three daughters.
       The names of those children were:


  • WILLIAM McCOY was born in 1773, in Maryland. He married Barbara Tollinger on November 23, 1796 in Montgomery County, West Virginia. Children: A son, Thomas (b. 1800); maybe another John 1823. Was living in Gallatin County, Illinois, in 1820. He served in the War of 1812.
  • EZEKIEL McCOY was born in 1775, in Maryland. He married Nancy Davis on April 7, 1798 in Ranger, West Virginia. She was probably the sister of Elizabeth Davis, who married Ezekiel's brother, Samuel. Ezekiel also ended up in Gallatin County, Illinois.
  • WALTER McCOY was born in 1777, in Maryland. Walter migrated west early in his life, with brothers William and Ezekiel. No further information.
  • SAMUEL McCOY was born in 1782, in Maryland. He married ELIZABETH DAVIS on August 12, 1801, and they had 17 Children. The 1850 United States Census has a Samuel McCoy living in Ohio: Year: 1850; Census Place: Washington, Carroll, Ohio; Roll: M432_664; Page: 112; Image: 225. Died in Stringtown, Pike Co., Kentucky, on 28 July 1855. Family listed below.
  • NANCY McCOY was born in 1784, in Maryland. She married Thomas McColley June 7, 1803 - 7 children. James, Elizabeth, Nancy, Margaret, Barbara, Charles & Thomas. Died in 1823.
  • ELIZABETH McCOY was born in 1786, in Maryland. She married William Scott and they had 10 children: Mary, Nancy, Andrew, John, Acton or Axton, Daniel, Barnabus, Evan, James T. & Rebecca. Charles Manson is a descendant, through son Andrew Scott.
  • JOHN "BUTTERMILK" McCOY was born on 24 Apr 1788, in Maryland or Virginia. He married Margaret Jackson Abt. 1808 in Knoxville Tn. - 10 children. Nancy, Rachel, Wiilliam, Andrew, Pleasant, Randolph, John, Margaret, Elizabeth & Asa Peter. Death: 8 Sep 1872 in Pike Co., Ky. Burial: McCoy Cemetery, Kentucky.
  • DANIEL McCOY was born in 1790, in Montgomery Co., Va. He married Margaret "Peggy" Taylor (b: 12 Nov 1800 in Russell Co., Va.) on 12 Feb 1817. Daniel And Margaret divorced in 1872. It is believed he Married Mary Ann "Polly" Varney in his later years. Note: THE HATFIELDS AND THE McCOYS by Otis K. Rice, 1982, Univ. of KY Press, pedigree chart, and p. 4: Williams' son Daniel married Margaret Taylor in Floyd Co., KY, prob. in the part that became Pike Co. They had 13 children, including Randolph, who became the leader of the McCoy side of the feud. In 1840, Daniel McCoy and his wife moved to Logan Co., VA/WV, where they lived until their deaths. Death: 1885 in Logan Co., WV.
  • RICHARD McCOY was born in 1793, in Virginia. He married Betsy Adkins, Mary Ann Chaney & Jane Allen. He had 13 children with Jane Allen: William, Phoebe, Barbara, Elizabeth, Louisa, Frances, Nancy, John, Margaret, James A., William, Lewis & Harrison.
  • JOSEPH McCOY was born in 1795, in Virginia. He married Mary Maynard July 7, 1816 in Floyd Co., Ky. They had the following children: Sarah & Mary.
  • BENJAMIN THOMAS McCOY was born in 1798, in Virginia. He married Melia Maynard on April 17, 1821, in Floyd Co., Ky. They had the following children: William, Lockey, Samuel, Elijah, Elizabeth, Nancy, Leannah, Rebecca & John.
  • RANDOLPH McCOY was born in 1801, in Virginia. He married Mary Ann Stafford on November 20, 1823, in Pike Co., Ky. They had the following children: John R., Malinda Ellen, William & Marion. Possibly another daughter named Louisa.
  • Female McCoy (Nothing known)
  •    Most census records give either Maryland or Virginia as the birthplace of William's children. After leaving Maryland, William lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, and some of his children were probably born there. Several of his older children seem to have married there. Two sons, Ezekiel and Walter, lived in Tazewell County, Virginia, just prior to following their father to a new home, when William was awarded 200 acres of Land in Virginia in what is now Floyd and Pike County, Kentucky, for services in the Virginia Continental Army during Revolution (Land Office Military Warrant #3348):

    Warrant ID 3348.0 for William McCoy; Assignee: Nancarrow, John; Vaughan, John & January, Peter. Acres: 200. Rank: Soldier. Unit: Virginia Continental Line. Date: 7/22/1784. Note: Used in Ohio Military District. See VA Grant Bk 16, pgs 348-9. SOURCE: West of Tennessee River Military Patents.

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   William McCoy
    Township:   North Milford
    County:   Cecil
    State:   Maryland
    Year:   1790
    Roll:   M637_3
    Page:   --
    Image:   054

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    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1790 United States Federal Census. Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1790 Federal Population Census. M637, 12 rolls. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.
       William Scott, who married William's daughter, Elizabeth, probably came to Kentucky first. Then William and his family settled on John's Creek, near a Scott settlement (now Gulnare) about 1804. He brought a large family of ten sons and two daughters to the Tug Valley region. Four of his sons continued their migration westward, but the eight other children settled there, and many descendants still call the area their home, 200 years later.
       The six remaining sons settled near William, on both the Kentucky and West Virginia sides of the Tug River, just to the north and south of present-day Matewan.
       The Tug Fork is a tributary of the Big Sandy River, 154 miles long, in southwestern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, and eastern Kentucky in the United States. It rises in the Appalachian Mountains of extreme southwestern West Virginia, in southern McDowell County, near the Virginia state line. It flows in a meandering course through the mountains generally northwest, past Welch. It forms part of the boundary between West Virginia (east) and Kentucky (west), flowing northwest past Williamson, West Virginia. It joins the Levisa Fork at Louisa, Kentucky to form the Big Sandy.

    William McCoy's Revolutionary War Bounty Card Voucher, from 1784, signed by Lieut. J. Brown and Br. Genl. James Wood (courtesy of June White).

    The Tug Fork at Williamson, West Virginia. Pike County, Kentucky is at left.
       The Tug Fork river flows through an especially remote mountainous region in its upper course. It was here in the river valley between Pike County, Kentucky and Mingo County, West Virginia, that William McCoy settled with his family, and it would be ground-zero of the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud in the late 19th century.
       William McCoy first appeared in the Floyd County, Kentucky, census of 1810 with several of their sons living with or nearby them. William and his wife then appeared alone in the 1820 Floyd County census. They are missing in the 1823 Pike County tax list, and it is assumed that they died before that time.

    Personal Information
    1810 Census Image
    Name: William McCoy
    Township: Floyd
    County: Floyd
    State: Kentucky
    Roll: M252_6
    Page: 102
    Image: 110.00
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    Personal Information
    1820 Census Image
    Name: William McCoy
    Township: Not Stated
    County: Floyd
    State: Kentucky
    Roll: M33_22
    Page: 31
    Image: 40
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: United States Federal Census. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC

       Our next ancestor is their son, SAMUEL McCOY, born in 1782. He held 1500 acres of land on the river, the most of any of William's sons, but they were all fairly prosperous for the region. On 15 Apr 1823, he bought 50 acres at Tug Fork, Sandy River; A day later, on 16 Apr 1823, another 100 acres at Tug Fork (Source: THE KENTUCKY LAND GRANTS Volume 1 Part 1 CHAPTER VI, pages 651-656); On 31 Jan 1839, 100 acres of Mud Lick; On 10 Sept. 1839, 50 acres at Blackberry Fork; On 5 Feb 1849, 1,200 acres at Tug Fork, Big Sandy River; On 10 Feb 1850, 50 acres at Pond Creek.
       Samuel married ELIZABETH DAVIS on 12 Aug 1802 in Tazewell County, Virginia. Samuel and Elizabeth lived in that portion of Floyd County, Kentucky, which later became Pike County, near William in the Stringtown area. He appears with William in the 1810 census (above), He would live in the area for the next forty years (1820 Census; 1830 Census; 1840 Census), and have an astounding eighteen children. Samuel married a second time, to the widow NANCY MAYNARD on 12 Sep 1841. They're listed on the 1850 census together, but it's doubtful that they had any children. He's buried in the McCoy cemetery at Stringtown (Note: His will is on record in Pike County—Will Book A, p.42: 6 Jul 1855).
       Altogether, Samuel had the following children:


  • HIRAM McCOY was born in 1803, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Chloe Sansom (b: 1807 in Virginia) in 1837, and they had the following children: Julia Ann McCoy b: 1831 in Logan Co., WV; Lewis J. McCoy b: 1833 in Logan Co., WV; William Johnson McCoy b: 1836 in Lawrence Co., Ky.; and George Thomas McCoy b: 1844 in Logan Co., WV. Hiram died in 1860, in Logan, Virginia.
  • REBECCA McCOY was born in 1805, in Pike Co., Kentucky. No further information.
  • JOHN McCOY was born in 1807, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Margaret Burress (b: 1815) on 2 Dec 1827 in Pike Co., Ky., and they had the following children: William T. McCoy b: 1831 in Pike Co., Ky; Samuel McCoy b: 1833 in Pike Co., Ky; Mary Jane McCoy b: 1835 in Pike Co., Ky; Phoebe McCoy b: 1837 in Pike Co., Ky; Jemima McCoy b: 1838 in Pike Co., Ky; Addison McCoy b: 1840 in Pike Co., Ky; Lucinda McCoy b: 1842 in Pike Co., Ky; Mary McCoy b: 1844 in Pike Co., Ky; Daniel McCoy b: 1846 in Pike Co., Ky; Ellen McCoy b: 1849 in Pike Co., Ky; Elizabeth McCoy b: 1830 in Pike Co., Ky; and Keziah McCoy b: 1828 in Pike Co., Ky.
  • ASA McCOY was born in 1810, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Eleanor Burriss (b: 1808 in Virginia) on 14 Sep 1832 in Pike Co., Ky, and they had the following children: Selkirk McCoy b: 1833 in Paw Paw, Pike, Kentucky; Alex McCoy b: 1832 in Pike Co., Ky; Alafair McCoy b: 1835 in Pike Co., Ky; Parlee J. McCoy b: 1834 in Pike Co., Ky; William McCoy b: Feb 1840 in Pike Co., Ky; Andrew B. McCoy b: Dec 1837 in Pike Co., Ky; Elizabeth Ann McCoy b: 1839 in Pike Co., Ky; Emily McCoy b: 1842 in Pike Co., Ky; Sarag McCoy b: 1844 in Pike Co., Ky; Uriah McCoy b: 23 Jul 1847 in Logan Co., WV; Albert Gallatin McCoy b: May 1848 in Logan Co., WV; and Mary McCoy b: 1849 in Logan Co., WV.
  • WILLIAM McCOY was born Abt 1811 in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Mary Ann Burress (b: 1821 in Virginia) on 27 Apr 1837, and they had the following children: Elizabeth McCoy b: 1838 in Pike Co., Ky; Pleasant McCoy b: 1840 in Pike Co., Ky; James H. McCoy b: 1841 in Pike Co., Ky; Rachel J. McCoy b: 1843 in Pike Co., Ky; Careless McCoy b: 1845 in Pike Co., Ky; Anderson McCoy b: 1847 in Pike Co., Ky; and Robert McCoy b: 1849 in Pike Co., Ky.
  • ELLENDER McCOY was born in 1815, in Pike Co., Kentucky. She married Compton Stafford (b: 1805 in Kentucky) and they had the following children: Sarah A. Stafford b: 1838 in Pike Co., Ky; Harrison Stafford b: 1839 in Pike Co., Ky; Thomas Stafford b: 1843 in Pike Co., Ky; Montville Stafford b: 1845 in Pike Co., Ky; and Levisy Stafford b: 1849 in Pike Co., Ky.
  • PHOEBE McCOY was born in 1816, in Pike Co., Kentucky. No further information.
  • PLESANT McCOY was born in 1818 in Pike Co., Kentucky. No further information.
  • BENJAMIN McCOY was born in 1820 in Floyd, Pike, Kentucky. He married PHOEBE McCOY on 31 Oct 1839, and had three children. In the 1850 census, he is listed as living with Letta Prater and her kids. Then he married NANCY ROBINETTE in 1851. Family listed below.
  • LUCINDA McCOY was born in 1821, in Pike Co., Kentucky. She married Henderson Maynard (b: 1814 in Kentucky) on 17 Mar 1842, in Pike Co., Ky. They had the following children: Tabitha Maynard b: 1843 in Kentucky; Elizabeth Maynard b: 1845 in Kentucky; Caroline Maynard b: 1846 in Kentucky; Samantha Maynard b: 1847 in Kentucky; Lewis Maynard b: 1850 in Kentucky; Virginia L. Maynard b: 1851 in Kentucky; Clarinda Maynard b: 14 Nov 1853 in Kentucky; Ira Maynard b: 25 Nov 1855 in Kentucky; Henderson Maynard b: 1858 in Kentucky; Florence Maynard b: 1863; and Andrew J. Maynard b: 1866
  • ALLEN McCOY was born in 1823, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Elizabeth Blankenship (b: 1827 in Kentucky) on 9 Sep 1841, and they had the following children: Sylvester McCoy b: 1843 in Pike Co., Ky; Easter McCoy b: 1844 in Kentucky; Jane McCoy b: 1847 in Kentucky; Henderson McCoy b: 1848 in Kentucky; Hannes McCoy b: 1850 in Kentucky; Leonidas McCoy b: 1852 in Kentucky; Larkin McCoy b: 1854 in Kentucky; and Marrietta McCoy b: 1856 in Kentucky.
  • PYRRUS (PIERCE) McCOY was born in 1824, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Malinda Hunt (b: 1833 in Russell Co., Va.) on 5 Nov 1846, and they had the following children: Martha McCoy b: 1848 in Kentucky; Pricy McCoy b: 1850; and Eva McCoy b: 1862 in Kentucky.
  • LETTA McCOY was born @ 1826, in Virginia. No further information.
  • ULYSSUS McCOY was born in 1826, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married a woman named Rebecca, abt. 1847. No further information.
  • URIAH McCOY was born in 1827, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married Elizabeth Rutherford (b: 1829 in Kentucky) and they had the following children: Andrew (Acy) McCoy b: 1854 in Kentucky; Asa McCoy b: 16 May 1854 in Kentucky; John Wesley McCoy b: 12 Feb 1856 in Kentucky; Reuben McCoy b: 5 Jun 1858 in Kentucky; Thomas McCoy b: 1861 in Pike Co., Ky; Polly McCoy b: 1866 in Pike Co., Ky; Howard McCoy b: Dec 1869 in Pike Co., Ky; Sarah "Sally" McCoy b: 1872 in Pike Co., Ky; Arizona McCoy b: 1875 in Pike Co., Ky; and Elliott Alexander (Uncle Doc) McCoy b: 1860 in Pike Co., Ky.
  • SARAH "SALLY" McCOY was born in 1829 in Pike Co., Kentucky. She married her first cousin, RANDOLPH "OLD RANDALL" McCOY, the leader of the clan in the Hatfield/McCoy feud (b: 30 Oct 1825 in Pike Co., Ky.). They were married on 9 Dec 1849 in Pike Co., Ky., and had the following children: Joseph b: Abt 1848; James H. b: Mar 1849; Floyd b: 4 May 1853 in Pike Co., Ky.; Tolbert b: 16 Jun 1854 in Pike Co., Ky.; Samuel b: 10 Dec 1855 in Pike Co., Ky.; Lilburn b: Abt 1856 in Pike Co., Ky.; Female unnamed b: 1 Feb 1857 in Pike Co., Ky.; Allifair b: 10 Jun 1858 in Pike Co., Ky.; Rosanna b: 21 Mar 1859 in Pike Co., Ky.; Calvin b: Abt 1862 in Pike Co., Ky.; Pharmer b: Abt 1863 in Pike Co., Ky.; Randolph "Bud" b: Abt 1864 in Pike Co., Ky.; William b: Abt 1866 in Pike Co., Ky.; Trinvilla "Trinnie" b: Abt 1868 in Pike Co., Ky.; Adelaide b: Abt 1870; and Fanny McCoy b: Abt 1873 in Pike Co., Ky.
  • JANE McCOY was born in 1833, in Pike Co., Kentucky. married Risley? or Riley Roberts. No further information.
  • THOMAS McCOY was born in 1839, in Pike Co., Kentucky. He died on 25 Sep 1857. Never married. No further information.
  • Personal Information
    1840 Census Image
    Name: Samuel & Benjamin McCoy

    Not stated

    County: Pike
    State: Kentucky
    Roll: M704_122
    Page: 276
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: United States Federal Census. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC.
       So what we can see happening is that this region on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky was overrun with McCoys: siblings, cousins, second cousins, etc. Life was harsh, and outsiders were distrusted, so the families became their own communities, their own corporations. Pretty much the only other people a McCoy could hang out with would be other McCoys (or descendants of a female McCoy), and because of this, there were a lot of McCoy/McCoy marriages.
       Samuel's son BENJAMIN McCOY married his cousin, PHOEBE McCOY (probably the daughter of his uncle Richard McCoy and Betsy Adkins) on 31 Oct 1839. They lived on the farm next to Samuel's in the 1840 census, and they had three children:


  • JOHN R. McCOY, b. Abt 1840 in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married RACHEL BLANKENSHIP (1846 - Mar 1870) on 3 Jun 1859 in Pike, Kentucky, and had a daughter, Polly (b. 1860). After Rachel's death he married LETTA "Letty" E. ELSWICK on 3 Mar 1870 in Pike Co., KY. They had the following children; Benjamin (b: Abt 1870); Frances (b: Abt 1873); Mary Emily "Emma" (b: Abt 1875); and James (b: Abt 1878).
  • ELLEN J. McCOY, b. Abt 1845 in Pike Co., Kentucky. She married WILLIAM WASHINGTON BLANKENSHIP on 13 Jun 1866 in Pike Co., KY. They had the following children: Almeda (b: Abt 1867); Rhiburn (b: Abt 1868); Daniel B. (b: Abt 1872); Ulisses (b: Abt 1874); Elzara (b: Abt 1877); and James M. (b: Abt 1879).
  • ULYSSES McCOY, b. Abt 1846 in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married NANCY BLANKENSHIP (b. 1852) in Mar 1868, and they had Sarah (b: Abt 1879) and John (Oct 1882 - 30 Apr 1959). Ulysses died on 24 Jul 1897 in Gary, McDowell, West Virginia
  • Robinette
       Phoebe then disappears from the record. She probably died, but there's no record of it. Meanwhile, Benjamin was acquiring more land. On 7 Jan 1846, he purchased fifty acres at First Fork, Blackberry Creek. On 29 Nov 1847, he bought 100 acres at Camp Creek. Now on top of improving hundreds of acres of land, Benjamin was now forced to raise three children on his own, so he needed a wife at home to raise his children. So he married a second time.
       Apparently running out of Blankenships, he was betrothed to NANCY ROBINETTE, on 28 Sep 1851 in Pike County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of NATHAN ROBINETTE (1794 - 1870) and his wife NANCY (1799 -1860).
       Not only did Nancy raise Benjamin's three children with Phoebe, she had another FOURTEEN with him, nearly breaking his father's record! The last child came in 1879, when Benjamin was almost sixty. Meanwhile, Benjamin's land holdings increased: On 31 Jan 1853 he bought 100 more acres at Big Fork, Camp Creek, and on 1 Apr 1866, 262 more acres on Our Forks, Camp Creek.
       Benjamin and Nancy had the following children:


  • BENJAMIN McCOY, JR., b: 17 Mar 1852
  • NANCY McCOY b: 25 Apr 1853. She died in 1901.
  • ADDISON "ATT" McCOY b: Jul 1855 in Virginia or Kentucky. He married ELIZABETH ESTEP on 8 Dec 1877 in Pike County.
  • NATHANIEL McCOY b: ABT 1856 in Kentucky. He died on 6 Jun 1858 in Pike, Kentucky.
  • ELIZABETH McCOY b: 26 May 1858 in Pike Co., Kentucky. Married Joseph Estep on 13 Jul 1876 in Pike County, Kentucky.
  • PRICY McCOY b: ABT 1860 in Kentucky. She married Joe Simpkins, then Anderson Jude, then another Simpkins.
  • PHOEBE McCOY b: ABT 1862 in Kentucky. She married John Rhiburn McCoy (b. 1858), son of Pharmer McCoy and HIS cousin, Sarah McCoy (b. 1842), on 28 Jun 1880, and they had a daughter, America McCoy (b. 1878).
  • NATHANIEL McCOY b: ABT 1866 in Kentucky. Married (Unknown) in 1880 and had Elza (b. Feb 1888); then he married Malissa McCoy on 12 Oct 1891 in Pike County, Kentucky, and they had Evaline (b. Nov 1891), Laura Lina (b. Apr 1893), Mary (b. Jul 1894), Ben (b. Feb 1898), Polly (b. Feb 1900), Christoper (b. 1901), Sally (b. 1904), Tina (b. 1905), and Euel (b. 1909). Nathaniel died in 1920.
  • DANIEL H. McCOY b: ABT 1868 in Kentucky. He died in 1870.
  • HARRISON McCOY b: ABT 1871 in Pike Co, Kentucky
  • POLLY McCOY b: ABT 1872. in the 1880 census, she lives with the McCoy family in Peters Creek, Pike, Kentucky. She then married Mitchell Hurley on 27 Aug 1887 in Pike County, Kentucky.
  • CORDELLA McCOY b: ABT 1874
  • BETTE (ZETTA?) McCOY b: ABT 1875
  • MARY F. McCOY b: ABT 1879

  • Randolph "Old Randall" McCoy, the leader of the feud for the McCoys.
       Kentucky was a neutral state during the Civil War, but Benjamin registered for duty in the Union Army on 30 Oct 1863, in Kentucky, at the age of 40. This area of the country was particularly violent, and it was often neighbor against neighbor, and even brother against brother. Those rivalries would linger even after the war, and result in the McCoys fighting in the most famous family feud in American history. Benjamin's first cousin (and brother-in-law), Randolph "Old Ranel" or "Old Randell" McCoy (1839-1921), by way of his uncle Daniel and his sister Sarah helped start the feud that would engulf the entire family until the 1900's.
       The Hatfield & McCoy feud took place in the mountain terrain of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. At the head of the hostilities on the Hatfield side was William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield (1825-1909). He was once described as "6 foot of devil and 180 pounds of hell." On the McCoy side was Randolph, who was known as "Old Randall" McCoy. The McCoys lived on the Kentucky side of the Tug River and the Hatfields lived on the West Virginia side. For several years these families crossed over the river and courted, married and were friends. That is until the Civil War, and that "damnable pig!"
       The border battles of neutral state Kentucky and West Virginia began when Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers for the Union Army, asking states to furnish their quotas of regiments. State leaders organized Home Guard Units to keep local law and order. The men of the mountains heard the call and had to ask themselves which side to fight on. Some stayed neutral as Kentucky had voted to do. Some went Confederate and some went Union, like Benjamin. As time went on, the Home Guard Units continued to exist without broad state supervision or restraint, and they became lawless and disorderly bands, bent on murder, robbery, and revenge. They and other more criminal elements became known as Bushwhackers and committed such crime and sin and destruction that the people even now only say, "They caused the most awful times that ever was."
       Both families were pre-dominantly Southern sympathizers. All, that is, except for Old Randall's younger brother, Asa Harmon McCoy. Harmon waited two years after the war started to enlist in the Union Army where he served for twelve months. After suffering a broken leg, he was discharged on December 24, 1864. Asa Harmon was then warned by Devil Anse's uncle, Jim Vance, that The Logan Wildcats (Confederate Raiders formed by Devil Anse) would be "visiting him." They shot Harmon to death on January 8, 1865, while he hid in a cave. But since Harmon's military service was considered an act of disloyalty, even his family believed the man had brought his murder on himself. No one was ever brought to trial but it was always felt that Jim Vance was involved.

    LEFT TO RIGHT: Sitting ducks—Hatfield and Vance, who reportedly killed Harmon McCoy to start the feud; The Hatfield clan moves in next door; Old Randall finally at rest in 1914.

       Over the next decade there was no retaliation, but grudges were held and dislike grew stronger. Especially when the Hatfield's started moving across the river, into McCoy territory. "Old Ranel" dominated the Kentucky side of the Tug River, putting Pike County on the Kentucky map. "Devil Anse" ruled the West Virginia side of the Tug in the area of Matewan and Mate Creek which was then known as Logan County. Then, in the fall of 1878, Old Randall thought he spotted one of his pigs being stolen by one of his wife's Hatfield relatives, Floyd Hatfield. Old Randall was enraged and demanded Floyd be brought to trial. In the end, the final verdict hinged on the testimony of Old Randall's nephew, Bill Staton. Staton swore it was Floyd Hatfield's pig. The "jury of his peers" for Floyd's trial was made up of six Hatfields and six McCoys. Old Randall would lose the case. It seems one of the McCoy jurors, Selkirk McCoy, had bad feelings for the family and sided with the Hatfields. As a result, the Hatfields were acquitted of the crime with a 7-5 verdict in their favor.
       From that date on Bill Staton's fate was sealed. Within a few months Staton was shot to death by Paris and Sam McCoy. The pair was tried for Staton's murder but they were acquitted with a plea of self-defense. It was felt that in order to keep peace between the families, Devil Anse had arranged for the acquittal. Instead of being grateful, the McCoys were enraged that Sam and Paris were tried at all.
       In August, 1882, three of Old Randall's sons, Randall, Jr. (Bud), Pharmer and Tolbert, attacked Devil Anse's younger brother, Ellison Hatfield. According to many accounts of the incident, the attack was apparently unprovoked. They stabbed Ellison 26 times and then Pharmer McCoy shot him in the back. The Hatfields ambushed the posse that was taking Pharmer, Tolbert and Bud to jail and held them in a school pending Ellison's recovery or death. Devil Anse had said if his brother lived he would allow Pharmer, Tolbert and Bud to proceed to trial. If Ellison died, he would seek retribution. Ellison lived for 3 days after the attack. After he died, The Hatfields dragged the three McCoy brothers across the Tug River, tied them to paw-paw bushes and shot them to death. Devil Anse was the prime suspect until it was determined that he was ill in bed when the three McCoy brothers were killed.
       Soon after this incident, the Hatfields broke into the home of Mary McCoy Daniels and whipped Mary and her daughter with a cow's tail. Even though she was married to a Hatfield relation, they thought she was leaking information to the McCoys. Her brother, Jeff McCoy, tried to seek revenge for the whippings. He was promptly shot to death on the banks of the Tug River.

    This feud featured "The American Romeo & Juliet." Old Randall had a daughter named Roseanna. In the spring of 1880, she fell for Devil Anse's son, Johnse Hatfield. At 18, Johnse was already a well-established bootlegger and womanizer. Roseanna slipped off into the bushes with Johnse and the rest is history. Instead of returning home, she went to live at Devil Anse's house. But Johnse refused to marry her, and she went home at the pleading of her mother. Because of her affair with Johnse, she was an outcast in Ol' Randall's house. One night as the lovers lay in each other's arms, Roseanna's brothers surrounded them and took Johnse prisoner. Roseanna borrowed a neighbor's horse and rode bareback, hatless, and coatless to tell Devil Anse. Anse rallied his sons and neighbors and rescued his son. Johnse never reunited, but the damage was already done. She was pregnant. Per Truda McCoy in The McCoy's: Their Story, Roseanna had a daughter, who died as an infant. To add to her shame, Johnse married Roseanna's 16 year old first cousin, Nancy McCoy. She died a few years later, "of a broken heart." PHOTOS, LEFT TO RIGHT: The real Roseanna (another image); The real Johnse; The Hollywood version—Samuel Goldwyn's "Roseanna McCoy," starring Farley Granger and Joan Evans (1949). Sample dialogue: "Don't talk with yer knife in yer mouth!" Theme song by Frank Loesser: "Roseanna, Roseanna, the wind sings her name; And all night through, all chilly night through, she sets my heart aflame!"—© Copyright 1949 (Renewed) Frank Music Corp.

    Sarah McCoy beaten by Hatfields.
       It took five years for the case to go to trial, and the Hatfields thought if they eliminated Old Randall McCoy, there wouldn't be anyone to testify and bring them to trial. So on January 1, 1888, the McCoy home was raided by the Hatfields. The raiding party consisted of Johnse Hatfield, Ellison "Cotton Top" Mounts (a suspected illegitimate son of Ellison Hatfield), "Wall" Hatfield, Selkirk McCoy and several other Hatfield sympathizers. They set the McCoy cabin on fire and waited outside with rifles. When the New Year's Day raid was over, Old Randall's son Calvin and daughter Alifair were dead and his wife, Sarah, had been savagely beaten. THE HATFIELDS AND THE McCOYS by Otis K. Rice, 1982, Univ. of KY Press, p. 4; pp. 62-63 describes the slaughter of the McCoy family and the beating of Sarah by the Hatfields on 1 Jan 1888. Sarah begged to be allowed to tend her dying daughter Alifair (pictured at right), and was beaten severely in the head with a gun butt by Johnse Hatfield. Her skull was crushed and her arm and hip broken. She is buried in Dills Cemetery, Pike County, Kentucky. According to the newspaper articles of the time, Sarah's bloody head had been frozen to the ground with her own blood. When help arrived the next morning, Old Randall's daughter Adelaide was found sitting on the floor cradling her dead brother's head in her arms. On the bed was the body of her dead sister, Alifair, and her unconscious mother. The February 16, 1888 article in the Ironton Register stated Adelaide had "gone stark raving mad."
       Eight Hatfields were kidnapped and brought to Kentucky to stand trial for the murder of Alifair. Because of issues of due process and illegal extradition, the Supreme Court of the United States became involved. Eventually, the eight men were tried in Kentucky, and all eight were found guilty. Seven received life imprisonment, and the eighth was executed in a public hanging (even though it was prohibited by law), probably as a warning to end the violence. Thousands of spectators attended the hanging in Pikeville, Kentucky. The families finally agreed to disagree in 1891.

    McCoy headstone in the Dill Cemetery, Pike County, Kentucky.

    "Old Ranel" later in life.
       Between 1880 and 1891, the feud claimed more than a dozen members of the two families, becoming headline news around the country and compelling the Governors of both Kentucky and West Virginia to call up the United States National Guard to restore order after the disappearance of dozens of bounty hunters sent to calm the bloodlust.
       The Hatfields claimed more lives than the McCoys did by the time order had been restored. According to "The West Virginia Encyclopedia" (which may be a little biased, after all), "Defeated, McCoy moved to Pikeville. From then on, Cline was the effective leader of the McCoy forces in the feud and Ranel McCoy became an embittered old man, running a ferry in Pikeville and talking to anyone who would listen about his sufferings at the hands of the Hatfields. He died while tending a cook fire at the age of 88. He and Sarah McCoy are buried in the Dils Cemetery in Pikeville."
       Fortunately, the next McCoy in our lineage survived: Samuel McCoy had died on 28 July 1855, and was buried in the McCoy Cemetery in Stringtown. His will is on record in Pike County (Will Book A, p. 42). So not only did he miss out on the feud and the Civil War, he also missed the birth of a grandson, the next in our line...

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Addison McCoy
    Age in 1870:   14
    Birthplace:   Kentucky
    Home in 1870:   District 7, Pike, Kentucky
    Occupation:   Farm Laborer
    Post Office:   Mouth Pond Creek
    Roll:   M593_
    Page:   92
    Image:   187
    View image
    View blank 1870 census form
     (PDF 136K)
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Atison Mc Coy
    Age:   25
    Estimated birth year:   <1855>
    Birthplace:   Kentucky
    Occupation:   Farmer
    Status:   Married
    Home in 1880:   Peters Creek, Pike, Kentucky
    Father's birthplace:   Kentucky
    Mother's birthplace:   Kentucky
    Read/Write:   No
    View image
    View blank 1880 census form
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration.

       ADDISON "ATT" MCCOY, was born in July of 1855, in Virginia. Att became a farmer and married ELIZABETH "BESTSY" ESTEP, daughter of John Frazier Estep (1812-1896) and Mary Ann Rains (1815-1858), who was born in Pike, Kentucky, on May 8, 1857. John Frazier Estep of Pike County, Kentucky was the son of Sarah Frazier. It is not certain who was his father. In the 1850 census he is John Frazier (his mother's maiden name), but in the later census he is known by John Estep. His adopted name, "Estep," is a name that pops up quite a bit in this genealogy over the 18th and 19th Centuries, marrying into various lines of our family tree. It's a proud family, dating back to the earliest days of the American Colonies.
       They were wed on the eighth of December, 1877, in Pike County, Kentucky, right in the middle of the feud.
       Fortunately for us, Elizabeth was crazy enough to marry a McCoy in the middle Pike County, Kentucky, at ground zero of the largest feud in American history. (Later Att married Melvina [UNKNOWN] in 1908).
       Att and Betsy had the following children:


  • BETTIE McCOY was born in 1877 in Pike, Kentucky. She's in the 1880 census, then no further record.
  • VANDORA McCOY was born 31 Oct 1879. Married Samuel McCoy (Nov 1854 - 1941), son of Samuel and Benina Phillips-McCoy, on 2 May 1897, and they had: Leander Lee (b. 20 Feb 1898); Nancy Eizabeth "Nina" (b. 20 Dec 1898); George (1 Dec 1899 - 1944); Hobert (b. 9 Nov 1900); James (1 Feb 1904 - Aug 1904); Amanda (12 Jun 1906 - 21 Mar 1974); Lark (b. 23 Mar 1909); William Wilson (10 Apr 1910 - Jan 1974) and Surrilda (10 Feb 1919 - 1919). Vandora died in 1919 in Coffeyville, Montgomery, Kansas.
  • PERRY McCOY was born in Pike, KY 25 Nov 1881, and is in the 1900 census, age 18. No further record.
  • MARY McCOY was born in Pike, KY 24 Feb 1883. She died before 1895, when the McCoys had another daughter whom they named Mary.
  • SALSBERRY McCOY was born 15 Mar 1884. He married AMERICA "AMMIE" McCOY (b. 1890) in 1907 and they had Perry (b. 1908); Dorathy (b. abt. 1912); John (b. abt. 1914); Eddy (b. abt. 1916); and William (b. abt. 1918).
  • ROSETTA McCOY was born in Pike, KY ca 1884. She married ELIAS DOTSON (1874 - 8 May 1959) on 7 May 1903 ln Pike, Kentucky, and they had: Pricy (18 Feb 1901 - 19 Feb 1989); Myrtle (b. abt 1903); John (b. abt 1905); Mary (b. abt 1907); Sallie (b. abt 1908); and Lallie Dotson, (b. abt 1909).
  • NANCY McCOY was born in Pike, Kentucky, on 6 May 1886. She married WILLIE DOTSON (18 May 1884 - 29 Dec 1966). Family listed below. Nancy died on 31 Aug 1960 in Pike, Kentucky.
  • JOSEPH FRANK McCOY was born in Pike, Kentucky, on 25 Dec 1888. He married an unknown person bef 1912.
  • POLLY McCOY was born 30 May 1891. She married WILBURN "WILLIE" WOLFORD (7 Feb 1884 - 12 Dec 1963) on 27 Mar 1909 in Pike, Kentucky. He was the grandson of DANIEL BOONE WOLFORD and SARAH SALLY DOTSON, through their son, DANIEL WOLFORD (1863 - 1932) and NANCY HURLEY (b. 1867). They had: Robert (21 Feb 1911 - 17 Aug 1984); Nancy (12 Jul 1912 - 24 May 1986); and Omar (26 Oct 1917 - 1972). Polly died on 7 Jun 1972 in Freeburn, Pike, Kentucky.
  • MARY McCOY was born in Feb 1895 in Pike, Kentucky. No further record.
  • CORA McCOY was born in Pike, KY Jan 1897. She's in the 1900 census, then no further record.

  • Dotson
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Nancy McCoy
    Age:   14
    Birthplace:   Kentucky
    Home in 1900:   Magisterial District 5, Pike, Kentucky
    Relation:   Daughter
    View image
    View blank 1900 census form
    SOURCE: 1900 US Census data; National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, DC. Magisterial District 5, Pike, Kentucky; Roll: T623 548; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 83.
       Addison passed away after 1900 but before 1917, and Elizabeth spent her last days as a widow living in Columbus, Ohio (according to a R.L. Polk and Co.'s 1917 Columbus, Ohio, City Directory).
       Their daughter, NANCY McCOY, was born in May of 1886, attended school into her teens (three months of schooling are reported in the 1900 census). She married WILLIE DOTSON, an extremely colorful character. He never learned to read or write, according to the census, but he was a pretty slick operator. They became moonshiners—hiding the 'shine under their fence posts (so the revenuers wouldn't find it) and delivering it together by riding horses around the mountains. It sounds unseemly, but bootlegging was one of the few ways a farmer could still make a living in the area.
       Willie and Nancy had the following children:


  • GREEN J. DOTSON was born 23 Feb 1921. He died mysteriously sometime around 21 Dec 1957
  • DREWY DOTSON was born on 14 Nov 1908. He died on 25 Jan 1989 in Freeburn, Pike County, Kentucky.
  • CHARLEY DOTSON was born in 1917
  • WALTER DOTSON was born on 4 Aug 1917
  • ROY DOTSON was born on 11 Nov 1911 in Pike County, Kentucky. He died in Mar 1978 in Phelps, Pike, Kentucky.
  • JAMES DOTSON was born on 14 Feb 1915 in Pike, Kentucky, but died before 1920.
  • HOMER DOTSON was born in 1915
  • HARRISON DOTSON was born on 28 Jan 1905 in Pike County, Kentucky. He died on 9 June 1972 in Phelps, Pike, Kentucky.
  • LOUISA "ELSIE" DOTSON was born on 8 Feb 1907 in Pike County, Kentucky.
  • ONA DOTSON was born in 1919
  •    In 2003, a symbolic peace treaty was signed by 60 descendants from the McCoys and Hatfields, 138 years after the feud began. But the feud really ended in 1979, when descendants appeared on the TV game show Family Feud and vied for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes including, of course, a pig.


    JOHN McCOY (1690 - 1762) married (Unknown) MARTIN and begat...

    ARCHIBALD McCOY (1732 - 1810), who married ELIZABETH BLAIR (b: Abt 1734) and begat...

    WILLIAM McCOY (@ 1750 - 1822), who married CORDELLA CAMPBELL and begat...

    SAMUEL McCOY (1782 - 1855), who married ELIZABETH DAVIS and begat...

    BENJAMIN McCOY (b. 1820), who married NANCY ROBINETTE and begat...

    ADDISON "ATT" McCOY (b. 1855), who married ELIZABETH ESTEP and begat...

    NANCY McCOY (1887-1960), who married WILLIE DOTSON (b. 1884) and begat...

    GREEN JR. DOTSON (1921-1957), who married JACQULENE BALDRIDGE (1926-2003) and begat...

    TERRY LEE DOTSON (b. 12 May 1950), who married CYNTHIA ANN PALMER (b. 03 Jan 1951) and begat...

    LORI ANN DOTSON (b. 07 Oct 1973), who married JEFFREY HAUSE (b. 07 Jun 1961).


    • "The McCoys: Their Story," by Truda Williams McCoy. Preservation Council Press of Pike County, Inc. Pikeville, Kentucky. 1976.
    • "The real McCoy genealogy reference book: The Descendants of Archibald McCoy and Old William McCoy the Feuding McCoy's and Oh, those Famous Ancestors, "notes" and much, much more" by Donald Lee Blankenship; Published by Donald Lee Blankenship, Sr; First edition (2001). 1496 pages.
    • Barry McCoy and the great people on "The Hatfield McCoy Jury" group on Facebook.
    • Rod Hatfield (, who alerted me to incorrect information on his family, and Jerry Hatfield's heavily-researched family tree data on the WV and KY Hatfields.
    • "Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, 1775-1783" by the Archives of Maryland; Publication: Clearfield Company by Genealogical publishing 1996. Page: 139: Lists Musters of Maryland Troops Vol I: William McCoy, Private, Enlisted 30 April 1778 Discharged 16 Aug 1780, Prisioner.

    The McCoys, reborn.
    UPDATE: Hatfields & McCoys, a massive three-part, six-hour dramatic miniseries, premiered on the History Channel over the nights of May 28-30, 2012, to monster ratings. The series, with the tagline, "NEVER FORGIVE. NEVER FORGET", starred actors Kevin Costner (as Devil Anse) and Bill Paxton (as Old Ranel), and was produced by Thinkfactory Media, with Leslie Greif executive producing, and Costner, Darrell Fetty and Herb Nanas producing.
       Hatfields & McCoys, quote, "tells the true American story of a legendary family feud that spanned decades and nearly launched a war between Kentucky and West Virginia," according to publicity material, and recieved generally favorable reviews: "Directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by Ted Mann and Ronald Parker, Hatfields & McCoys is a star-studded, gorgeously produced and astonishingly nuanced look at America's most famous family feud," said critic Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times. But Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter griped, "Hatfields & McCoys is less dark and dramatically difficult than it is pointlessly trying to tell each side of the story and ultimately making the case for neither. Hatfield vs. McCoy vs. Hatfield vs. McCoy vs. Hatfield vs. McCoy ad nauseam isn't dramatic. It's tedious. Somewhere around the three-hour mark, all you want to do is have both families line up opposite each other, pull the trigger and fade to black." David Hinkley of the New York Daily News said, "producer/star Kevin Costner and his team have done well. Hatfields & McCoys doesn't just explain a feud, it humanizes the people on both sides and reminds us how differently some of our ancestors lived just a few generations back."
       Historians also weighed in. Altina Waller, professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, and the author of Feud: Hatfields, McCoys and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), said: "The film perpetuates the myth that the Hatfields and McCoys were two different entities, very clearly defined. In reality, there was a LOT of intermarriage—Roseanna and Johnse were not unusual in that regard." As to the performances, she said: "Paxton, although portrayed as younger than he actually was at the time of the feud, is good at showing his obsession with Devil Anse and the irrationality he had in regard to the pig incident and his daughter's affair with Johnse. Roseanna is well portrayed although she was a stronger person than you might think. In fact, she made the decision to leave Johnse when she discovered his affairs with other women and Johnse was certainly not a devoted or faithful lover/spouse."¹

    Mare Winningham drew critical praise for her portrayal of Lori Ann Dotson's 3rd great grand aunt, Sarah "Sally" McCoy.

       One thing that everybody could agree on was that the miniseries was wildly popular. The premiere episode drew a staggering 13.9 million total viewers (it showed twice that night and combined, the two airings had 17 million viewers). "With all the success we have had at History, we felt strongly for some time that we should own historical drama, and in true History fashion, we have done it, with—pardon the pun—guns ablazin," said History's president and general manger Nancy Dubuc. While the show was criticized by some critics for being so relentlessly violent, Dubuc disagreed. "It's a gruesome story and it's easy on the surface to judge it as a violent western," Dubuc said. "But it has these very emotional threads about love and protection of family, losing your children, which are very relatable."²
       Night three of the miniseries was the highest-rated of all, with 14.3 million total viewers (6.3 million adults 25-54 and 5.1 million adults 18-49), making it the most-watched entertainment telecast of all time on ad-supported cable (breaking the record previously held by... night one of the same miniseries). Overall, over the three nights it premiered, Hatfields & McCoys averaged 13.8 total viewers—presumably split evenly between 6.9 million Hatfields and 6.9 million McCoys.


      ¹—How Realistic is 'Hatfields and McCoys'? by Christopher John Farley, Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2012

      ²—'Hatfields & McCoys' is a History-changing success, By T. L. Stanley, Special to the Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2012.

    Sorry, moonshiners, this is the official beverage of the annual Hatfield/McCoy reunion in Pike County, Kentucky. (Click here for another view.)