Randolph McCoy - Grave of a Famous Person on Waymarking.com (2022)

Long Description:
Randolph "Randall" or "Ole Ran'l" McCoy (October 30, 1825 – March 28, 1914) was an American pioneer and the patriarch of the McCoy clan involved in the infamous American Hatfield–McCoy feud. He was born the fourth of thirteen children to Daniel McCoy (1790–1885) and Margaret Taylor McCoy (1800–1868) and lived mostly on the Kentucky side of Tug Fork, a tributary of the Big Sandy River.

During the almost thirty-year feud with the Hatfield clan under their patriarch William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield, Randolph would lose five of his children to the violence and another to what most considered "a broken heart."

Randolph McCoy married his first cousin, Sarah "Sally" McCoy (born 1829; died in the 1890's), daughter of Samuel McCoy and Elizabeth Davis, on December 9, 1849 in Pike County, Kentucky. They had 16 children together. Their children were as follows:

Josephine McCoy, daughter (1848 –?)
James H. "Uncle Jim" McCoy, son (1849 – 1929)
Floyd McCoy, son (1853 – 1928)
Tolbert McCoy, son (1854 – 1882)
Lilburn McCoy, son (1855 –?)
Samuel McCoy, son (1856 – 1921)
Mary Kathrine McCoy, daughter (1857 –?)
Alifair McCoy, daughter (1858 – 1888)
Roseanna McCoy, daughter (1859 – 1888)
Calvin McCoy, son (1862 – 1888)
Pharmer McCoy, son (1863 – 1882)
Randolph "Bud" McCoy, son (1864 – 1882)
William "Bill" McCoy, son (1868 –?)
Trinvilla "Trinnie" McCoy, daughter (1868 –?)
Adelaide McCoy, daughter (1870 –?)
Fannie McCoy, daughter (1873 – 1943)

The family settled on a farm of 300 acres of land in what is now Pike County, Kentucky, and it was here that the seeds of the future feud were sown.

During the American Civil War, the feud leaders from both families were staunchly pro-Confederate, and Randolph himself served in the Confederate Army during the opening years of the war and was a POW from 1863 to 1865 However, Randolph's younger brother, Asa Harmon McCoy, enlisted in the Union Army as "Asa H McCay" in Co E of the 45th Kentucky Infantry USA. He was discharged from the Union Army on December 24, 1864 after suffering a broken leg, and returned home. Soon after his return, Jim Vance, uncle of Devil Anse Hatfield, and a member of the "Logan Wildcats" (a Confederate home guard organized by Hatfield) put Asa Harmon on notice that they (the Wildcats) would soon be paying him, "a visit. Asa Harmon McCoy tried to escape by hiding out in a local cave where he has being brought food by his Slave that was caring for him, but his Slave was tracked in the snow to his hideout where Asa was killed. No charges were ever filed but it was widely known that Vance and members of Hatfield's Wildcats were directly responsible for his death.

In the late 1870s, Devil Anse Hatfield was involved in a land dispute with Randolph McCoy's cousin, Perry Cline over a 5,000 acre tract of land that both held title to. Hatfield eventually brought a civil suit against Cline. Hatfield won in what was seen by the McCoys as a Hatfield friendly court.

In the fall of 1878, Randolph "Randall" McCoy brought charges against Floyd Hatfield for stealing one of his hogs. This allegation was a very serious offense at the time, as hogs were extremely valuable to the farming economy. Due to the statements made by Bill Staton, who was related to both families, the case was decided in favor of the Hatfields. The ruling further inflamed the feud, as Randolph McCoy viewed the outcome as unfair. Later, brothers Sam and Paris McCoy were accused, tried, and acquitted of the death of Staton when the judge ruled Staton's death an act of self-defense by the McCoy brothers.

His daughter Roseanna (born 1859 - died 1888) McCoy romanced "Johnse" Hatfield and later became pregnant with Johnse's child. Upon learning of the affair, Randolph became extremely upset and disowned her. Roseanna, unwanted by both families, moved in with her aunt Betty Blankenship. Johnse later married Roseanna's cousin, Nancy McCoy. Roseanna's baby died before her first birthday and the abandoned Roseanna died at the age of 28.

The peak of the feuding occurred when three of Randolph's sons (Roseanna's brothers) killed Ellison Hatfield, brother of Devil Anse, on election day in 1882. Devil Anse retaliated for the killing of his brother by executing, without trial, Tolbert (born 1854), Pharmer (born 1863) and Randolph Jr. (born 1864), three sons of Randolph McCoy near present day Matewan, West Virginia. This part of the feud is known as the Paw-Paw tree incident because the McCoy's here tied to Paw-Paw trees and executed by the Hatfield's.

On January 1, 1888, Randolph's house was burned to the ground and numerous family members were slain by the Hatfields, including two of Randolph's children. His son Calvin was killed in the shootout as was his daughter, Alifair, who was shot to death as she tried to flee the burning house. Randolph's wife Sally was badly injured when she attempted to comfort Alifair, suffering several broken ribs and skull fractures. With his house burning, Randolph and his remaining family members were able to escape to the woods; unfortunately, his children, unprepared for the elements, suffered frostbite. He moved his family to Pikeville, Kentucky, where he lived out the remainder of his life in bitterness and grieving. He operated a ferry in Pikeville for some time. By the end of the feud, he had lost seven of his children and his wife.

Shortly after the New Year's massacre, Kentucky deputy Frank Phillips and a posse of McCoys chased down Jim Vance and Cap Hatfield, killing Vance. Phillips' posse rounded up nine Hatfield family members and supporters and hauled them off to jail.

Randolph McCoy died at the age of 88 after catching fire over a cook stove/fire. He is buried in the Dils Cemetery in Pikeville, next to his wife who died in the 1890s.

In 1888, Wall Hatfield and eight others were arrested by a posse led by Frank Phillips and brought to Kentucky to stand trial for the murder of Alifair McCoy, who was killed during the New Year's Massacre.

The feuding and warfare brought in political leaders of Kentucky and West Virginia. The Governor of West Virginia, E. Willis Wilson, accused Kentucky of violating the extradition process and appealed the matter to the Supreme Court of the United States. Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner sent his Adjutant General to Pike County to investigate the situation. In May 1889, the Supreme Court decided against West Virginia (Mahon v. Justice); the nine Hatfields would be tried in Pikeville. Private detectives hunted down many Hatfields, though Devil Anse was never tried nor jailed. In 1890, Ellison Mounts was executed in Kentucky for his part in the McCoy killings. He was one of the men captured along with Mahon. The feud started to wind down with Mounts' execution.

On June 14, 2003, the McCoy cousins partnered with Reo Hatfield of Waynesboro, Virginia, to author an official truce between the families. The idea was symbolic: to show that Americans could bury their differences and unite in times of crisis.

Perry Cline was not a cousin of Randolph McCoy. His relationship to the McCoys was through marriage. He had four siblings married to McCoys. Most importantly, his sister, Martha "Patty" Cline was married to Asa Harmon McCoy. Asa Harmon was killed in 1865, by Devil Anse's uncle, Jim Vance. In 1886, Martha and Harmon's son, Lewis Jefferson "Jeff", was killed by Cap Hatfield.

Sources other than my own research: (visit link)

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Note*
Because of the semi- or non-permanent nature of these markers, many of these markers erode or corrode away. Waymarking them is a way of recording their existance and sharing these tributes for the future. In no way was this Waymark intended as part of a game, but for historic and genealogical purposes only.

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