The Hatfield Cemeteries of West Virginia

The Hatfield Cemeteries of southwestern West Virginia consists of two cemeteries, both called “Hatfield Cemetery” located approximately 7 miles from one another in Logan and Mingo Counties, West Virginia. These two cemeteries are significant as the burial ground of members of the famous Hatfield family, participants in the world famous Hatfields and McCoys feud of the late nineteenth century. This family is also significant as being among the early settlers in this region and for having had a significant role in the political events of the this period, as well as later periods. The life-size statue of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield that marks his grave is also significant as an unusual work of funerary sculpture for this region of the state.

Hatfield Cemetery

Hatfield Cemetery in Sarah Ann, West Virginia

The two Hatfield Cemeteries, the oldest being located near New Town in present day Mingo County and later one 7 miles away near Sarah Ann in Logan County, are the final resting place of nearly all the major figures of the Hatfield Family, participants in theworld famous Hatfields and McCoys feud. This famous feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky flared into murderous fury with the murder of Ellison Hatfield on August 7, 1882 by three McCoy brothers, and the subsequent,”execution” of the three McCoy brothers, by Capt. Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, brother of the slain Ellison, and others of the Hatfield family. The feud soon gained national and international attention, started a bitter exchange of letters of recrimination between West Virginia Governor E. Willis Wilson and Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner, and brought about the stereotype of the “feuding hillbilly”, the image of which lingers today. This feud has been the source of innumerable books, scholarly articles, newspaper accounts, stage plays and several motion pictures and is unquestionably the most well known family feud in American history. There is, therefore, no need to go into the details of the various events leading up to and occurring because of this feud. Rather, we will deal with, briefly, some of the more prominent individuals involved who are buried in the Hatfield Cemeteries.

It has been determined that for the principal Hatfield family members who participated in the feud no extant structures, excepting their  graves, remain of the buildings that were associated with their lives.

The Hatfield Cemetery near New Town in Mingo County was the first  Hatfield Cemetery and contains the older burials. There are 21 burials in this cemetery, which, when aid out in the early 1880’s, was in Logan County (Mingo County was formed from Logan in 1895). Ephraim Hatfield (1812- 1881) was the first Hatfield buried here. He was the father of Anderson “Devil Anse” and Ellison Hatfield, both of whom played central roles in the feud. Their mother, Nancy Hatfield, is also buried here among others.

 

Grave Of Devil Anse Hatfield

Grave Of Devil Anse Hatfield

The Hatfield Cemetery at Sarah Ann, in Logan County, is the result of Captain Anderson”Devil Anse” Hatfield’s removal from the Tug Fork Valley to Sarah Ann around 1906. “Devil Anse” Hatfield, a captain in the Confederate army during the Civil War, was the principal figure, along with his enemy Randolph McCoy, in the famous feud. Head of the “clan” and patriarchal-like leader, “Devil Anse” Hatfield (1839-1921) lived a long and, in his later years, peaceful life until his death at 82 in 1921. Both of his homes, the one in Mingo County and his Sarah Ann residence, are no longer extant. His funeral was attended by a vast throng of relatives, friends, and curiosity seekers and he was buried in the solid steel coffin he had purchased for $2000.00 some years prior to his demise.

Other Hatfield family members buried in the cemetery include: Levicy Chafin Hatfield (1842-1929), wife of “Devil Anse”, Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield (1862-1922), eldest son of “Devil Anse” and Levicy and a central figure in the feud being, among other things,the lover of Roseanna McCoy of romantic legend fame, Dr. Elliot R. Hatfield, M. D. (1872-1932), a locally prominent physician, and “Devil Anse’s” two sons, Detroit “Troy” Hatfield (1881-1911) and Elias M. Hatfield (1878-1911) both of whom were shot to death in a gun fight over liquor sales in Boomer, Kanawha County, West Virginia. Several other Hatfield relatives are also buried here.

Hatfield’s were among the early settlers of this region. Ephraim Hatfield I settled in this area, near present day Matewan, Mingo County, in the late 1790’s. His son Valentine “Wall” Hatfield married Elizabeth Vance and their children included Ephraim Hatfield II (1812-1881). Ephraim Hatfield II raised 10 children to adulthood, among them William Anderson “Devil Anse”, Ellison Hatfield, and Elias Hatfield. Elias was the father of Gov. Henry D. Hatfield (1875- 1962) . As indicated above, the feud sparked a controversial exchange of correspondence between Gov. S. B. Buckner of Kentucky and Gov. E. Willis Wilson of West Virginia, with the former demanding the extradition of the Hatfields to Kentucky and the latter refusing to do so. One result of this exchange was that “Devil Anse’s” youngest son, born in 1888, was named Willis after the West Virginia governor.

Several members of the Hatfield family, in addition to Gov. H. D. Hatfield, rose to local prominence, several holding office as county sheriff, several ministers and several physicians.

From My West Virginia Home

Here’s an amateur video that focuses on Devil Anse’s grave by a woman who grew up in the area:

Follow this link for more information about West Virginia Cemetery Preservation.

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