Before Christmas, I visited The Hearty Artisan in Hardy, Kentucky. The Hearty Artisan features locally-crafted items of superior quality. Conveniently located on Highway 319 just outside of Williamson, WV, and situated in Hatfield-McCoy Feud country, the shop is a perfect destination for tourists seeking unique gift items.
Alexander Dalton, Appalachia, Bithenia Estep, Corbin Estep, Elizabeth Dennison Elkins, Fourteen, Fourteen Mile Creek, genealogy, H.H. Hardesty, Harts Creek, Harts Creek District, Henry H. Hardesty, history, John Stephens, Kentucky, Lawrence County, Lincoln County, Matilda Dalton, Nancy Elkins, Overton Elkins, Richard Elkins, Sylvanus Elkins, West Virginia, William Floyd Elkins, William Overton Elkins
From “Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, West Virginia,” published by H.H. Hardesty, we find this entry for William Floyd Elkins, who resided at Fourteen Mile Creek in Lincoln County, West Virginia:
Is a son of Overton and Nancy Ferguson (Estep) Elkins, who lived here at the formation of Lincoln county, and he was born in Cabell county, May 2, 1856. December 26, 1872, the Rev. John Stephens joined in wedlock, W.F. Elkins and Sarah, daughter of Alexander and Matilda Farley Dalton. Mrs. Elkins died October 15, 1875, leaving one child, Sylvanus, born October 9, 1873. In Lincoln county, July 13, 1876, Elizabeth Dennison Estep, daughter of Corbin and Bithenia Crocket (Elkins) Estep, became the wife of William Floyd Elkins, and to them one son has been given: William Overton, July 25, 1880. Elizabeth D. Elkins was born in Lawrence county, Kentucky, January 25, 1861, and came to Lincoln county with her parents in 1867. Richard Elkins, great-grandfather of William, came to the mouth of Big Hart creek, in the year 1816, and settled there, raising a large family of children, who are scattered throughout Hart Creek district. William Floyd Elkins is a farmer in this district, owning 45 acres of land on Fourteen-mile creek, 20 acres of which is cultivated. The land is well timbered and coal and iron ore abound quite largely, and there is upon the farm a lead mine, which makes the land more valuable. His post office address is Fourteen, Lincoln county, West Virginia.
Source: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Vol. 7 (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 134.
On December 7, 2016, I visited the Betty McCoy House at Stringtown, Pike County, Kentucky. According to tradition, Roseanna McCoy gave birth to her child by Johnse Hatfield here at Aunt Betty’s residence in 1881. The romance between Johnse and Roseanna represents one of the more familiar events of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. NOTE: The present-day house includes the original log structure. Until recent years, this home stood across the highway and faced the river.
Appalachia, Brandon Kirk, Diggers, feud, feuds, Frank Phillips, George Wyant, Hardy, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Kentucky, National Geographic, Neil Warren, photos, Pike County, Randolph McCoy, Tim Saylor
On December 7, 2016, I visited the Randolph McCoy Home Place in Hardy, Pike County, Kentucky. Neil Warren provided a friendly welcome to the property and offered detailed historical insight into the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. If you are following the Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour brochure, this is Site 3.
Alexander Varney, Appalachia, Devil Anse Hatfield, Elza Phillips, Frank Phillips, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Clay Ragland, history, John B. Gillespie, Johnson Hatfield, Kentucky, Logan County, Nancy L. Hatfield, Pike County, Pleasants Chafin, T.C. Whited, Thomas H. Harvey, U.B. Buskirk, West Virginia
Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield’s relationship with Nancy McCoy represents one of the more interesting components of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. I recently located Hatfield’s 1890 divorce record, which I transcribed as follows:
State of West Virginia
County of Logan to wit
In the Circuit Court of said County
The Bill of Complaint of Johnson Hatfield filed in the Circuit Court of Logan County against Nancy L. Hatfield.
To the Hon. Thos. H. Harvey, Judge of the Circuit Court of Logan Co.
Humbly complaining your orator Johnson Hatfield would respectfully ____ unto your Honor that on the 14th day of May 1881 he intermarried with the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield, then Nancy L. McCoy, that he was at all times to her a kind and affectionate husband, that some time in 1888 he was forced to leave his home in Logan County West Virginia, and that shortly thereafter the said defendant abandoned his home and went to the state of Kentucky where she has since that time been living in adultery with Frank Phillips, and ____ other lewd and lascivious _____.
Your orator further represents that he cohabitated with the said defendant for the last time on or about the 8th day of March 1888 in Logan County West Virginia and that they last lived together as husband and wife in said County within five years from the institution of this suit.
Your orator further represents that he be informed and so believes that some time in the month of December 1889, the said defendant was delivered of a child, which was as a ____ of more than twelve months since he had last had any sexual intercourse with her.
Your orator further represents that the adultery complained of was not committed by his consent, connivance or procurement or knowledge. He therefore prays that the bonds of matrimony existing between your orator and the said Defendant be dissolved, and that your orator be restored to his ________ rights, and as is duly bound he will ever pray
Johnson Hatfield, By Counsel
State of West Virginia
To the Sheriff of Logan County, Greeting:
We command you that you summons Nancy L. Hatfield if she be found in your bailiwick, to appear before the Judge of our Circuit Court for the County of Logan at rules to be held in the Clerk’s Office of said Court on the first Monday in February next, to answer a Bill in Chancery exhibited against her in our said Court by Johnson Hatfield
And have then and there this writ.
Witness: T.C. Whited, Clerk of our said Court at the Court House of said County, on the 1st day of February 1890, and in the 27 year of the State.
T.C. Whited, Clerk
Order of Publication.
State of West Virginia, Logan County, T0-Wit:
At Rules held in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of said county on Monday the 3rd day of February 1890
Johnson Hatfield v. Nancy L. Hatfield, In chancery
The object of this suit is to obtain a divorce from the bonds of matrimony. This day came the plaintiff by his Attorney and on his motion it appearing from an affidavit filed with the papers of this suit that the defendant is a non-resident of this State, it is therefore ordered that she appear here within one month from the first publication of this order and do what is necessary to protect her interest herein.
Teste: T.C. Whited, Clerk
H.C. Ragland, Sol.
I, U.B. Buskirk, one of the Publishers of the Logan County Banner, a newspaper published in Logan County, West Virginia, do hereby certify that the annexed notice was duly published in said paper for 4 successive weeks, ending on the 27 day of February 1890.
Given under my hand this 28th day of February 1890
Printer’s fees: $6.00
State of West Virginia
Logan County to wit:
Johnson Hatfield the plaintiff whose name is signed to the forgoing bill being first duly sworn upon oath says that the facts and allegations contained in the forgoing bill are true except so far as the same are ______ stated to be upon information and that so far as the same are stated to be upon information he believes ___ to be true.
Taken, __________ and sworn to before me this 10th day of March 1890.
T.C. Whited, Clerk
Notice to Take Deposition
To Nancy L. Hatfield. You will take notice that on the 10 day of October, 1890, between the hours of 8 o’clock A.M. and 6 o’clock P.M., at the house of Anderson Hatfield, in Logan County, West Virginia, I will proceed to take the deposition of myself and others to be read as evidence in behalf of myself in a certain suit in chancery now pending in the Circuit Court of Logan County wherein you are Defendant and I am plaintiff and if from any cause the taking of the said deposition be not commenced on that day, or if commenced and not completed on that day, the taking of the same will be adjourned and continued from day to day or from time to time, at the same place, and between the same hours, until completed.
Respectfully, &c., Johnson Hatfield
The depositions of Johnson Hatfield and others taken before Pleasants Chafins a notary in and for the county of Logan and State of West Virginia at the house of Anderson Hatfield on Friday October 10 in 1890, to be taken and consider as evidence in a certain chancery cause pending in the Circuit Court of said county wherein Johnson Hatfield is a plaintiff and Nancy L. Hatfield is a defendant.
Present Johnson Hatfield in person and by counsel , no appearance for the defendant.
Johnson Hatfield a witness of lawful age after being first duly sworn deposes in answer _____ as follows:
Q. What is your name, age, and where do you reside?
A. Johnson Hatfield. I am 28 years old past. I was born and raised in this county.
Q. What relation do you have to this suit?
A. I am plaintiff.
Q. When were you and the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield married?
A. It was on the 14th day of May 1881.
Q. How did you treat her during the time that you and she lived together as man and wife?
A. .I always kept her plenty of everything she wanted and was always good and kind to her.
Q. State about when it was that you and your wife separated.
A. It was on the 18 of March 1888.
Q. Have you lived with her since that time or had sexual intercourse with her?
A. No, sir.
And the next came Alex Varney, witness of lawful age being by me duly sworn, deposed and say as follows:
Q. State your name, age, and residents.
A. Alexander Varney, Age 56 years. Residents Logan County, West Va.
Q. State wither or not you are acquainted with the partys in this suit.
A. I am.
Q. State whether or not you know anything about the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield living in adultery with Frank Phillips or anyone else since her separation from the plaintiff.
A. I saw her in Pike Co. Kentucky on the 13 day of September 1890. She was staying at the house of frank filips and she told me that she was living with him. She showed me her baby and told me that frank filips was its father.
Q. How old do you suppose that the child was.
A. She told me that the child was 9 month and 4 days old and I suppose it was about that old as it was still sucking.
[Deposition of John B. Gillespie]
Q. State whether or not you know anything about the defendant Nancy L. Hatfield living in adultery with any person.
A. I was at a house in Pike County Ky. Frank Phillips and Nancy L. Hatfield were there. They called it their home.
Q. State whether or not it was the general impression throughout the community that they were living together as man and wife.
A. No, sir. Not as man and wife. It was that they were living together in adultery.
And further this _________ saith not.
John B. Gillespie
[Deposition of Johnson Hatfield]
_______ ________ __________ recalls and deposes as follows:
Q. State whether or not the acts of adultery committed by your late wife Nancy L. Hatfield with one Frank Phillips ______ in the two foregoing depositions were committed by or with your consent, knowledge, __________, or __________.
A. They were not.
And further this _________ saith not.
Johnson Hatfield, Jr.
State of West Virginia
Logan County, to wit:
I, Pleasants Chafins a notary in and for the county and state aforesaid do certify that the foregoing depositions were duly taken, sworn to, and subscribed in my presence at the time and place _____ in the notice here to _____.
Pleasant Chafin, a notary for Logan Co., W.Va.
2 hrs work as notary $1.50
Johnson Hatfield v. Nancy Hatfield, In chancery
This day this cause in which the defendant is prosecuted against as a nonresident and it appearing that the order of publication has been duly published and posted as required by law, came on to be heard upon the plaintiff’s bill and the depositions there with filed in support thereof together with the argument of counsel for plaintiff and the same being considered and inspected by the court the court is of the opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief therein prayed for, whereupon it is adjudged, ______, and decreed that the said plaintiff Johnson Hatfield be and he is hereby divorced absolutely from the defendant the said Nancy L. Hatfield and that the bonds of matrimony now existing between himself and the said defendant be dissolved and the said plaintiff Johnson Hatfield be and he is hereby restored to all the rights, privileges and immunities of an unmarried man. And this cause having performed its object, the same is ordered to be stricken from the docket and it appearing that this order was made at the October 1890 term of this Court, and by _________ not entered, it is ordered that the same be entered now as for ____.
Source: Logan County Circuit Clerk’s Office, Logan County, WV, Case No. 33, File No. 35
Appalachia, civil war, Confederate Army, Cumberland Mountains, David Stuart Hounshell, E.H. Perry, From Youth to Old Age, history, James Stephens, John B. Floyd, Kentucky, King Salt Works, Louis Bledsoe, Prestonsburg, slavery, Thomas H. Perry, Virginia
About 1910, Rev. Thomas H. Perry reflected on his long life, most of which was spent in the vicinity of Tylers Creek in Cabell County, West Virginia. In this excerpt from his autobiography, Mr. Perry recalled his participation in Civil War activity in eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia.
After the night fight, above Prestonsburg, we knew the Federals were above us and we would have to fight if we ever got back to Dixie. The cold weather and deep snow and timber across the road and Federals to contend with, we moved very slowly. One morning we stopped, as I thought for breakfast, and as I was almost frozen I rejoiced because I thought we will all get warm and some beef, as I saw one man shoot down a cow. But just at that time the Federals run in our pickets and began shooting at us, but I was so hungry I ran to the cow and cut two or three pounds out of the hind-quarter and took it with me. We ran about one mile and there we saw Colonel Hounshal’s regiment in battle line, who held the Federals off us until we could get our breakfast. I took my beef without salt and put it on the end of my ramrod and held it to the fire and cooked an ate it, and it was good.
The next day my company was the rear guard and it was reported to the captain that the Federals had got between us and our command. The captain said: “Men, we will have to fight or we will be taken prisoners.” There was a preacher with us that day. He said: “Captain, I did not intend to fight, but rather than be a prisoner I will fight. Give me a gun.” When I saw him shoulder his gun, it did me good. I thought if a preacher could fight it was not bad for me to fight, as I was only a prospective preacher.
One very cold night I was detailed on the outer picket post, the orderly said: “You can not have fire as they are likely to slip upon you and shoot you.” I said to the orderly: “I cannot stand it without fire.” I thought I would freeze to death. The orderly said: “I cannot excuse you.” Just at that time Louis Bledsoe said to the orderly he could stand more cold than Perry could and he would go in my place and I could go in his place some other time. Never did I forget the kindness Mr. Bledsoe showed me that night.
When we were within fifteen miles of the Cumberland mountains, our army cattle, prisoners and all we had was on one creek; that creek led to the main road across the mountains into Dixie. On either side of this creek, the mountains were high and very rough and covered with snow. The Federals cut timber across the creek above us, and had a strong army below us, and held us here three days and would have captured us and all we had if General Floyd had not come with his artillery and drove the Federals away from the head of the creek, and let us out. The first night after we crossed the mountain into Dixie, E.H. Perry, one of my brothers came to my captain’s tent and said: “Captain, are my brothers all here?” He said: “Yes.” Then my brother exclaimed: “Thank the Lord for that.” Never will I forget the tone of my brother’s voice that night for he knew we had been gone for forty-one days, and it was by the hardest work that we landed back in Dixie.
Once more after this we went into winter quarters near the King Salt works, and they sent me to a farm house to nurse three sick soldiers. We had a large nice room, well furnished and the landlord was rich and good to us. He and his good wife would help me in waiting on the sick; he furnished us with everything we could ask for to eat. We stayed there more than three months. I saw in the beginning that I would not have much to do, and as I had the money and there was a book store at that place, I bought a complete set of school books and studied them hard that winter and it did me good. It helped me to keep down the roughness of a soldier’s life, and also to educate. Along the back yard there was a row of one-story brick buildings in which the negroes lived. Some nights I would go and hear them tell ghost stories, and they knew how to tell them for they had seen a great many ghosts. I deny superstition, but I noticed when these negroes had told me some of the most fearful ghost stories, if it was a very dark night I would ask some of them to go apart of the way home with me.
Mr. James Stephens, one of my patients, died; the other two got well. We left that place about the first of May. I saw then that the south could not gain her independence, and I told these negroes I thought they would soon be free and advised them to learn to read and write. I talked with a good many old men in the south about the war. They said they should have raised the “Old Flag” and contended for the constitution, and as for slavery, they said it was dying out in the south anyway.
Source: From Youth to Old Age by T.H. Perry, Chapter 8, p. 20-22.
Appalachia, Battle of Big Ugly Creek, Big Ugly Creek, Cabell County, Chapmanville, civil war, Confederate Army, From Youth to Old Age, Guyandotte River, Hamilton Fry, history, Kentucky, Lincoln County, Logan County, Mason County, Prestonsburg, Six Mile Creek, T.E. Ball, Thomas H. Perry, Union Army, Virginia, Wayne County, West Virginia, William Jefferson
About 1910, Rev. Thomas H. Perry reflected on his long life, most of which was spent in the vicinity of Tylers Creek in Cabell County, West Virginia. In this excerpt from his autobiography, Mr. Perry recalled his participation in Civil War skirmishes at the Forks of Ugly and Six Mile Creek in present-day Lincoln County, WV, and military activity around Prestonsburg, Kentucky:
In 1862 my company was ordered to move from Chapmansville down the Guyan river. About three o’clock that day we ran into a company of Federal soldiers at the forks of Big Ugly creek, and as neither company was expecting trouble at this time, we were not ready for the fight, but our captain ordered his men in line, and we marched around the hillside, fronting the creek, and the Federals formed a line up the creek, fronting us. Here we tried our bravery for a few minutes, but as we had the advantage of some timber, the Federals broke ranks and went into the woods, except ten or twelve that lay flat upon the ground, and we captured them, and all the rations the company had, such as coffee and sugar, which was a treat for us in that country. About this time another company came up and followed the Federals into the woods. I never knew what became of them until after the war. Mr. T.E. Ball, of Mason county, told me after the war that he was a member of that company of Federals, and he was in the fight at the forks of Big Ugly, and that he was in the closest place that day of any time during the war. he said he was certain there were more than fifty shots fired at him as he ran through the field, and of the eighty-four men in his company, there was not a man that returned with his gun, and but few that had hats or shoes, for they were scattered in the woods and every man looked out for himself. The next day, we had six men in the advance guard. I was one of them, and as we turned the point at the mouth of Six Mile creek, six miles above the falls of Guyan river, we ran into a squad of seven Federal soldiers, who fired into us and killed William Jefferson, one of our bravest soldiers.
The next day we crossed the river at the falls of the Guyan and went through Wayne county into Kentucky. Here we were fired into every day and night for about three weeks. It was December and we had some very cold weather. Several times I have seen men and horses lying on the side of the road frozen so stiff they could not travel.
We had about fifteen hundred men with us at that time. We had several hundred prisoners and a great deal of army supplies that we had captured, and the cold weather and the Federals and so many bushwhackers to contend with, that we had no rest day or night. Just below Prestonsburg we captured seven flat boats that were loaded with army supplies, such as clothing and food, and many of us needed both, but we paid dearly for them, for many of our men on both sides lost their lives in this fight. For two hours and thirty minutes they poured the hot lead into each other as fast as they could. The battle lines of both armies extended from the river to the top of the mountain. I was on top of the mountain when the Federals broke rank. Our major ordered his men to go down both battle lines and gather up the dead and wounded and take them to the foot of the mountain.
I went down the Federal battle line in front of our men, and when I saw the dead and wounded and the guns and blood and clothing that was scattered from the top to the bottom of that mountain, I was perfectly disgusted with war. About half way down this line we found their major; he was shot through the heart. He was a nice looking gentleman; he had a long black beard. Our men seemed to have great respect for his body, because he was an officer, and gave special directions for his burial. Some of the prisoners cried aloud like children, while others cursed and said they were see every rebel in hell before he would cry. Just how many men we had killed and wounded in this fight I never knew. Some of our wounded we took with us, and some was so badly wounded we left them in private homes. From this places we turned to the south for winter quarters. My company was the rear guard that night. We thought the rear guard would suffer more than any other part of the army, but to our surprise after we had gone a few miles above Prestonsburg we heard considerable shooting and disturbance in our front about two miles from us. It was a very dark night, and when my company came up to about where we thought the shooting was, we heard horses and men groaning. After we had gone about two miles farther, we went into camp until morning. That morning one man told me one of our men that was killed last night lived in Parkersburg. The great question with us at this time was, can we ever get back to Dixie with our cattle, goods and prisoners? The Federals were above us and below us.
Source: From Youth to Old Age by T.H. Perry, Chapter 7, p. 18-20.
Note: As of 1862, Lincoln County did not exist and the surrounding area remained a part of Virginia. Big Ugly Creek was then located in Logan County and Six Mile Creek was located in Cabell County.
Note: The “forks of Ugly” references the mouth of Laurel Fork, at or near the old Hamilton Fry homeplace.