The Feud as a Community
Throughout the book Feud, Altina L. Waller debunks the old myths of two families at war and shows us that not only was the Feud a family feud but there were many people not in the Hatfield and McCoy families that were involved also. Altina L. Waller looked at the Feud like nobody else had ever looked at the Feud. Her words support the facts that capitalism brought fuel to the Feud. Her perspective on Feud may change your views about the Feud.
Everyone thinks that the Feud that happened in the late eighteen hundreds was simply a family feud between the Hatfield?s and the McCoy?s. Altina L. Waller has a different view on the Feud. She believes that the Feud was not just a family feud but it involved the community. The timbering business brought a lot to the Feud as shown on page forty-one when Waller states ?Where once wooded mountain slopes had been proudly owned yet open to all for hunting and fishing, now neighbors became hostile and possessive about their boundary lines. (Pg. 41) This passage shows how the timbering business added to the Feud by bringing boundaries into the picture as a strong reason to fight. Boundaries were also more strongly applied because of the increase of population in the Tug Valley so land was becoming scarce and if you had some you had to make sure nobody was on your land. Food was becoming less abundant and people were protecting their land and their family?s food. People were also worried about people stealing their timber, which was many families? only income in the Tug Valley. Tensions at this time between people in the Tug Valley grew rapidly. In the third and forth chapters of Feud Altina L. Waller speaks about William ?Devil Anse? Hatfield and his part of the Feud. Devil Anse was a wealthy man in the timbering business, which brought many people from the community closer to him and his side in the Feud. The graph on page seventy-nine shows the supporters of Devil Anse on the Hatfield side of the Feud. This shows how the community was involved including some of the McCoy?s with the Hatfield side of the Feud. People such as the schoolteacher, Charlie Carpenter, Moses Christian and Frank Elem all of whom were of no relation to Devil Anse. Also being in the timbering business Devil Anse had to have many men on his timbering crew. These men all backed up Devil Anse and many of them were of no relation to him either. Of the thirty-one total supporters behind Devil Anse, seventeen of them were of no relation at all. On that note twenty-six of them were business-related friends or relatives. So as you can see it was not only the Hatfield?s against the McCoy?s.
The whole community was not behind the Feud. Many of the people in the community tried what they could to get the Feud to a stand still. It finally took the community taking legal action to stop the Feud or should I say they choose not to take legal action. ?In September, the Pike County Court indicted Anse and twenty others for the murder of the McCoys, but no attempt was made to serve the warrants, extradite the Hatfields from West Virginia, or arrest them. (Pg. 76)? This passage suggests that the law let the murder of the three McCoy?s slide by in hopes that the Hatfield?s would feel like they got retribution after the murder of Ellison Hatfield by these three McCoy men. ?To antagonize Devil Anse any further would be to invite violence of frightening proportions. (Pg. 76)? This action taken by the community of the Tug Valley was able to quiet the Feud for the next five years. The lack of legal action here was able to do what they had wanted it to do.
As you can see the community was a major part of the Feud. Waller makes her statement of this very clear throughout this Historical Monograph. After reading Feud my ideas about the Feud have changed tremendously. I look at the Feud in a totally different way now and I think you may too.