Historical Marker #1866 marks the Pike County Courthouse and Jail, where members of the Hatfield family were tried and found guilty of the murders of Tolbert, Randolph, Jr., Pharmer, Alifair, and Calvin McCoy.
In September 1889, the bloody results of the feud brought many of the participants into the courthouse in Pikeville. Here, eight members of the Hatfield group were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. One, Ellison Mounts, who pled guilty to the murder of Alifair McCoy, the daughter of Randolph and Sarah, was sentenced to death and hanged the following year (covered in marker #1913).
These legal proceedings effectively moved the feud from the hills and hollers into the judicial system and newspapers. Working through legal channels clashed with stereotypes that emphasize interpersonal violence, yet the McCoy’s sought justice in courts by the end of the 1880s. This speaks to the expanding cast of characters involved in the drama, which by this point had embroiled the governors of both Kentucky and West Virginia. The growing outside interest in the feud reflected a more general expansion of interest in southern Appalachia generally as the region became increasingly incorporated into the national economy. The violence of the feud was viewed as antithetical to progress and an obstacle to economic prosperity. Bringing the feud under the authority of the state, then, would make the region safe for outside investment and economic modernization.
Historical Marker #1866 was dedicated in 1990.
The marker reads:
Pike Co. Courthouse and Jail
Courthouse erected 1888-89 by McDonald Bros.; later renovated 1932-33. Here was scene of Hatfield clan trials for murders of Tolbert, Randolph, Jr., Pharmer, Alifair, and Calvin McCoy. The defendants lodged in adjacent jail; found guilty and sentenced to life in prison except Ellison Mounts, hanged February 18, 1890. Courthouse and jail part of Hatfield-McCoy Feud Historic Dist.