Hog Trial

Historical Marker #2066 commemorates the site of the 1878 Hog Trial and the 1882 election fight (covered in Marker #2047). In the fall of 1878, William “Devil Anse” Hatfield’s cousin, Floyd Hatfield drove his hogs into pens for fattening on the Kentucky side of the Tug Fork River. The hogs had roamed the hills around the Tug and Blackberry Forks throughout the spring and summer, though each hog bore its owner’s marking because of the animal’s value as a commodity and food source. Soon after Floyd Hatfield had rounded up his hogs, Randolph “Old Ranel” McCoy was near Hatfield’s pigpen and claimed one of the hogs bore his mark. Wasting no time to hear an explanation, McCoy accused Hatfield of theft and brought suit against Floyd Hatfield. Reverend Anderson Hatfield, a local Justice of the Peace, convened a jury of six Hatfields and six McCoys to adjudicate the situation. Many witnesses were called, but the key testimony came from William Stanton, a McCoy relative with two Hatfields as brothers-in-law. Stanton claimed he saw Hatfield’s mark on the hog. Stanton’s testimony was enough to persuade Selkirk McCoy, who voted to acquit Floyd Hatfield.

William Stanton was eventually killed by Sam and Paris McCoy, nephews of Randolph McCoy. The circumstances of his death are tied up in legend, but Stanton’s body was left in the woods after the McCoy brothers fatally shot him while hunting. Sam was tried for murder, but a Hatfield-picked jury ruled that Sam acted in self-defense. The overlapping loyalties demonstrated by people like William Stanton, who had family and friends on both sides of the conflict, complicate the simplistic idea that the feud can be explained solely by family animosities and hint at the personal relationships involved.

Historical Marker #2066 was dedicated on June 10, 2001 through the efforts of Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

The marker reads:

Hog Trial

In 1873 Randolph McCoy accused Floyd Hatfield of stealing his hog. A trial followed, presided over by Reverend Anderson Hatfield, justice of the peace. To be fair, the jury consisted of six Hatfields and six McCoys. One witness, William Staton, stated he had seen Floyd mark the hog's ear. This resulted in Floyd's acquittal. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism. 

(Reverse) Election Fight - In August 1882 an election was held near Jerry Hatfield's house. A fight broke out between Tolbert McCoy and Elias Hatfield. Tolbert's brothers joined in the fight as did Ellison Hatfield, who was stabbed and shot. He later died in West Virginia. The McCoy brothers were captured and killed in the "pawpaw tree" incident. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.