Most of the early articles were exaggerated or grossly inaccurate, according to author F. Keith Davis.
Even today, he says the facts surrounding the feud are often lost in a fog of inaccuracies.
However, a new book entitled, The Feuding Hatfields and McCoys: Timeline And Pictorial History, soon to be released by Chapmanville-based Woodland Press, helps set the record straight.
This volume, authored by the late Dr. Coleman C. Hatfield, a great-grandson of Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield, and Davis, includes a comprehensive timeline of the Hatfield family migration westward and documents the history before, during and following the bloody Hatfield and McCoy feud era.
Interwoven throughout the book are captivating, never-before-published stories that were passed down from generation to generation through the Hatfield family. The stories add color and clarity to this famous American story.
The book also is a pictorial history, featuring more than 100 extremely rare and fascinating photographs from both the McCoy and Hatfield families, some of which originally were published in Life Magazine in 1944.
“Coleman and I were finalizing this manuscript around the time that he unexpectedly passed away,” Davis said. “This was a great loss to all of us, for he was such a great historian, talented individual and, most importantly, a personal friend.
“It is fascinating to me that the core of this project was written by Coleman way back in 1978 and was intended for a television documentary on the feud. For one reason or another, the project never materialized. With that beginning text, Coleman and I continued to research and develop the manuscript. It was a great honor to work with him and his writings. He was truly a gifted storyteller.”
For many, the 192-page book will be a much-anticipated companion to Hatfield’s first statewide best-seller, the biography of Devil Anse Hatfield, entitled The Tale Of The Devil, which currently is in its third printing.
“As a scion of one of the feuding families of the Allegheny and Cumberland hills and one whose forebearers began their trek westward from the Virginia coast, I offer the following for all who may be interested or desire to hear the facts from one who has firsthand knowledge of the people of whom he writes,” Hatfield writes in the foreword of the book.
In addition to its historical significance, the volume is a wonderful keepsake for those who call the Appalachian Mountains home or for those traveling the rugged roadways of West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.
The Feuding Hatfields and McCoys, which retails at $18.95, soon will be available on a pre-order basis at www.woodlandpress.com and, after it is released, at www.wvbookco.com. Interested customers also can call 1-888-982-7472. It will also be available at local bookstores.
Contact F. Keith Davis at email@example.com or 752-7152.