Frank and Nancy McCoy Phillips

Historical Marker #2434 is dedicated to Frank and Nancy McCoy Phillips.

“Bad” Frank Phillips was appointed by the Kentucky governor to arrest members of the Hatfield family. Phillip’s appointment followed the resumption of violence in the long-dormant feud. It occurred after McCoy supporters including Perry Cline convinced Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner to offer rewards for the arrest of William “Devil Anse” Hatfield and other members of the Hatfield clan who had been indicted for the murders five years earlier in the pawpaw tree incident described by marker #2047. The prospect of a reward enticed men across the Tug River into West Virginia in pursuit of the Hatfields. With Phillips leading a group of McCoys and allies, the ensuing “Battle of Grapevine Creek” led to the capture of eight Hatfields who were charged, tried and convicted in Pike County for the parts they played in the feud (trial covered by marker #1866).

Interestingly, Frank’s strongest, lasting connection to the McCoy clan came through his wife, Nancy McCoy, who was the daughter of Randolph and Sarah McCoy. Nancy’s first husband was Johnse Hatfield whose ill-fated relationship with Nancy’s cousin Roseanna had failed years before (covered on marker #2176). Nancy left Johnse after he continued to have affairs with other women and took up with Frank Phillips soon after the Battle of Grapevine Creek, where he had earned a reputation as a hero to the McCoy cause. The two had a child together and married in 1895. They both died young, Frank was shot to death in a fight at the age of thirty-six in 1898, while Nancy passed away from tuberculosis three years later.

Historical Marker #2434 was dedicated in 2014 through the efforts of Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

The marker reads:

Frank and Nancy McCoy Phillips
Frank Phillips was instrumental in the capture of the Hatfield family and allies involved in the 1882 shooting death of three McCoy brothers. In 1888 Governor Buckner appointed Phillips, former deputy sheriff, as special envoy to arrest indicted Hatfields hiding in W.Va. He later left law enforcement to raise a family. He died at age 36. 

(Reverse) Nancy McCoy was the youngest daughter of Asa Harmon McCoy, the first man killed in Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Despite the feud, at age 15 she married Johnse Hatfield, son of Anderson Hatfield. Although they lived in W.Va., she later returned to Ky. and married Frank Phillips. Combined family of twelve children lived in Pike Co. She died at age 36.