Sally McCoy

Historical Marker #2176 tells the story of the doomed love affair between Roseanna McCoy, Randolph’s daughter, and Johnse Hatfield, son of “Devil Anse” and their daughter Sarah Elizabeth (Sally) McCoy who died only a few months after her birth.

The romance between Johnse and Roseanna took hold amid the festival-like atmosphere of election-day. The eighteen-year-old Johnse and twenty-one-year-old Roseanna had cultivated a bond that prompted Roseanna to leave the election-day excitement with Johnse, leaving the McCoy clan behind. Living with the Hatfields, Roseanna and Johnse soon conceived a child, Sarah, who was known as Sally. However, according to feud legend, William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield refused to allow his son to marry a McCoy. Without a marriage, Roseanna eventually decided to leave the Hatfields, including Johnse, and return to the McCoy family.

Yet, when Roseanna later caught wind of a plot by three of her brothers to ambush Johnse, arrest him for moonshining and carrying a concealed weapon to throw him in jail, she sided with Johnse. She staged a nighttime ride through the difficult Appalachian terrain to successfully warn the Hatfields of the McCoy’s plan. Even with this proof of loyalty, “Devil Anse” continued to forbid the couple from marrying. Sadly, Sally soon died and, in a surprising twist, Johnse eventually married Roseanna’s cousin, Nancy McCoy. Nancy was the daughter of the Unionist Asa Harmon McCoy who had been killed by the Logan Wildcats, led by Hatfields, in 1864 (covered in marker #2068). Nancy and Johnse separated during the heat of the feud; Nancy took up with and eventually married Frank Phillips, one of the leaders of the McCoy clan before an early death (covered by marker #2434).

Historical Marker #2176 was dedicated on June 10, 2005 through the efforts of Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

The marker reads:

Sally McCoy
Sarah Elizabeth (Sally) McCoy was the daughter of Roseanna McCoy and Johnse Hatfield. Her parents' love affair played a role in the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud. Although circumstances prohibited the two from marrying, the child was born in 1881 and lived with her mother and Aunt Betty McCoy. 

(Reverse) Sally McCoy contracted measles and pneumonia, and died a few months after her birth. The death of Roseanna McCoy's only child, Sally, was a contributing factor in the grief and sorrow that led to the untimely death of Roseanna. Sally was laid to rest in the cemetery at top of hill. Grave is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.