Pneumonia Ends Career of Devil Anse Hatfield

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 8, 1921

Pneumonia Ends Career of Devil Anse Hatfield

Noted Feud Leader Had Always Predicted He Would Live to Die Natural Death.

Had None of Attributes Bad Man in Character

Spent Last Fifteen Years of His Life Quietly and Peacefully on Small Farm He Owned in Logan County - Will be Buried There Sunday.

Huntington, W. Va., Jan. 7. - Funeral services for "Devil Anse" Hatfield, noted feud leader, who died at his home on Island Creek, Logan county, Thursday night of pneumonia, will be held at three o'clock Sunday afternoon.

Williamson, W. Va., Jan. 7. - Reports reaching Williamson tonight were that Devil Anse Hatfield, leader of the clan in the Hatfield-McCoy feud in the 80's and 90's, had died at his home on Island Creek, Logan county, of pneumonia last night. Relatives here were without word of the death.

Anderson ("Devil Anse") Hatfield was one of the leaders of the historic feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families in the mountains of West Virginia and northern Kentucky. Shot at from ambush and in hand-to-hand combat scores of times with the McCoys, he had always predicted he would live to die a natural death, as he now has at the age of eighty, without bearing any marks of battle.

"Devil Anse" had a reputation as a crack shot, that was known throughout the mountainous region of the two states, and at the age of seventy he could shoot a squirrel out of the tallest timber. He often turned the trick for admirers, with the old rifle that he carried ready for action at all hours, and with which during the early eighties, he would shoot on sight any member of the McCoy family.

The celebrated feud of the Hatfield family with the McCoys was started over some hogs, one of the Hatfields winning a lawsuit that was brought to determine their ownership. Soon after that a brother of "Devil Anse" was shot and wounded in more than fifteen places by one of the McCoys. The feud then started and did not end until the few remaining McCoys went over into Kentucky, where they now reside.

"Devil Anse" had none of the attributes of the "bad men" in his character. He always was recognized as a loyal friend of the many with whom he was acquainted. Numbered among those who believed he had been right in the position he took during the feud days, were the late Judge John J. Jackson, known as the "Iron Judge," who was appointed to the federal bench by President Lincoln, and former Governor E. W. Wilson, the former protecting Hatfield form [sic] capture when he had been called into court, and the latter refusing to honor a requisition of the governor of Kentucky, for the arrest of "Devil Anse" on a charge of killing some particular member of the McCoy family.

Detectives, real and alleged, had arranged for the capture of Hatfield, spurred by a reward, after they had seen to it that he was indicted on a charge of whiskey selling, in 1888. Judge Jackson was on the bench at the time and was informed of the danger that awaited the accused man. Judge Jackson sent word to Hatfield that if he would appear in court with out an officer being sent for him, the court would see that he had ample protection until he returned to his home in Logan County.

Hatfield appeared and was acquitted of the charge against him. Some of the detectives pounced upon him soon after he left the court room, but Judge Jackson summoned all of them before him, and threatened to send them all to jail, directing special officers to see that Hatfield was permitted to reach his home. After Hatfield was well on his way, Judge Jackson told the detectives that if they wanted their man they would have to get him, just like the McCoys had been trying to do for a number of years. They never went.

"Anse" Hatfield spent the last fifteen years of his life quietly and peaceably on a small farm he owned in Logan County. He raised a good many hogs and but seldom left his community. Once he was prevailed upon by some enterprising amusement manager to go on the vaudeville stage. He made all preparations to do so but abandoned the idea when an old indictment was produced, which had been quashed on condition that the old mountaineer agree to remain at home the rest of his days.

Hatfield was born in Logan county, West Virginia, but then in the domain of the Old Dominion, in 1841, a short distance from the old cabin in which he died.

Hatfield-McCoy Fued

West Virginia Archives and History