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Hatfields answer, burn McCoy cabin

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JOHNathan CAPPS
Ellis County Press
Continuing with our account of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, we learned the governors of Kentucky and West Virginia threatened military action against each other as a consequence of the feud.

The two governors threatened a military standoff at the border of Kentucky and West Virginia, but it never occurred.

Both governors cooled their fire after realizing how dangerously close they were to an all-out war.

The matter took on national significance, and the Supreme Court intervened, ruling the matter was best left to the local courts. A war between states was averted, but Frank Phillips and other bounty hunters continued their quasi-legal raids into West Virginia.

A day came, specifically New Years Day of 1888, when Jim Vance and Cap Hatfield urged Devil Anse to allow a raid on the cabin of Ranel McCoy in Kentucky. After a long discussion and repeated urging by the two, Devil Anse relented.

Devil Anse was ill, so he remained at home while 'Bad Jim' Vance led the raid. A posse of nine mounted riders was quickly formed, and in the light of a cold bright moon they rode into Kentucky.

When they reached the Randel McCoy cabin, they quietly surrounded it so there could be no escape.

One disputed report of that event asserts Johnse Hatfield believed Roseanna McCoy, his former lover, was inside the cabin. Presumably, Johnse fired a premature shot to warn her.

Upset at Johnse's independent action, Bad Jim Vance ran to the side of the cabin and set it afire.

As the McCoys ran from the cabin toward the safety of the woods, the Hatfields let loose a barrage of gunfire. Ol' Ranel, carrying a grandchild, was the last to flee the cabin.

The following morning, the surviving McCoys found Ranel's daughter Allister (sic) shot to death. Then the body of Calvin McCoy was discovered near a corn crib. Ranel's wife Sarah was alive, but beaten almost to the point of death, her bloody hair frozen to the ground.

Roseanna McCoy was not in the cabin at the time of the raid.

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Nelson Propane

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