Hatfields & McCoys: Could genetics have contributed to the feud?

I ran across this article years ago, and thought those watching the Hatfields & McCoys may find it interesting.

The most infamous feud in American folklore, the long-running battle between the Hatfields and McCoys, may be partly explained by a rare, inherited disease that can lead to hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.

Dozens of McCoy descendants apparently have the disease, which causes high blood pressure, racing hearts, severe headaches and too much adrenaline and other “fight or flight” stress hormones.

No one blames the whole feud on this, but doctors say it could help explain some of the clan’s notorious behavior.

You can read the article in its entirety at http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-04-05-hatfield-mccloy-disease_N.htm


Hatfields & McCoys: A comparison with the oral family history [Updated]

As previously stated, I hail from the Hatfield clan, of the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud, and have heard the oral family history since I was a young child.  I thought it might be interesting for viewers of the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries if I compared the series to the family oral history, as well as history in general.

Devil Anse was a very tough character, that much is undeniable.  There is a reason they called him six foot of the devil and 180 pounds of hell, after all.  What they did not show at all is that he had a great sense of humor, and loved to play practical jokes.  He also looked absolutely nothing like Kevin Costner in the miniseries, as you can see in the photo at left.

The actors portraying the family are far more attractive than the actual Hatfield family (naturally, since they are actors), which is something my family finds endlessly amusing.  Not only did Anse look absolutely nothing like Kevin Costner, but Vicey was actually short and plump, and Johnse did not look like the dreamboat he is portrayed as being.  Roseanna McCoy was not even a blonde.  The offensive thing about that is, there is nothing wrong with not looking like a Hollywood actor, and in fact most people do not look like a Hollywood actor, so why did the actors not look anything like the actual people involved?  You can see individual photos of Johnse and Roseanna by clicking the link below to my post about their relationship.  The following is a photo of Devil Anse and his wife Levicey, to show you just how much they did not look like the actors in the miniseries.

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The true story of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy

Roseanna McCoy

The story of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy has been romanticized for years, and it is indeed a tragic love story akin to something Shakespeare might have devised.  However, the story as it is usually told is far from the truth, and since the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys is currently being aired on The History Channel and seems to be repeating those stories, now is as good a time as any to clear it up for those interested in the feud.

The story as it is usually told is that Johnse and Roseanna fell in love at first sight, and were kept apart by their families.

Bear in mind, I am descended from Devil Anse Hatfield.  I therefore heard various feud stories directly from elderly Hatfields many times while growing up, but the story of Johnse and Roseanna was never even once relayed to me as a love story.  This is not because they were painting Johnse in a better light, either – far from it, in fact.

I absolutely believe the story I have always been told, especially since it does not reflect at all well on Johnse.  As far as I am aware, the truth about the relationship between Johnse and Roseanna has never before been spoken outside the Hatfield family.

So what follows is the true story of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy, as it was told to me many times over many years, by several different elderly family members.  If you prefer to believe the oft-repeated love story between Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy, however, you probably want to stop reading now.

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Devil Annz? No, Devil Ants.

Dear Mr. Costner,

Thank you for making the documentary miniseries Hatfields & McCoys for The History Channel.  As a direct descendant of Devil Anse Hatfield, and as a fan of your work as an actor (I especially enjoyed A Perfect World), I am very pleased that you chose to make this film, and I am hoping it fulfills its promise of historical accuracy.

The reason I am writing is for the purposes of historical accuracy, in fact.  While watching the trailer for Hatfields & McCoys, I noticed that you are mispronouncing the name Devil Anse.  It is not pronounced Devil Annz.  It is pronounced Devil Ants.  His given first name was Anderson, so it was a play on that name, intended to be a reference to the oldtime name for fire ants.  Just as fire ants attack without mercy, so would Devil Anse during the Civil War.

My concern is this, simply stated.  Since you produced the series and play the part of Devil Anse, I fear that the mispronunciation is in the miniseries itself, and will annoy me to no end while I am watching it.  Worse, it will cause all of America (and eventually the world as well) to start mispronouncing his name, though no one mispronounced it before.

I sincerely hope that will not be the case.  While I realize that you may have made an assumption about the pronunciation based upon what you have heard elsewhere, you must always remember (if in fact you ever even knew) that people in these parts tok uh lil difernt.

(And I can write that completely without humor or insult, since I freely admit that I talk like that as well.)

At any rate, I look forward to watching.

UPDATE:  After watching the program, I am happy to note that my fears were unfounded.  Not only did they pronounce Devil Anse correctly, they also pronounced Randall correctly (it is pronounced as Ranol, and he was also called Ole Ranol).

Now if only all the characters spoke with an authentic accent for this region, that would be great, since it is hard for even us to understand some of them.  I can therefore only imagine how difficult they are for others to understand.

Devil Anse and Vigilantism in West Virginia [Television]

The History Channel will be airing a three-episode historical miniseries on the Hatfield/McCoy feud starting tonight, starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton.  I have a unique interest in the miniseries, since it is actually reenacting part of my family history.

As a direct descendant of Devil Anse Hatfield (my great-great-great grandfather), of course I have heard stories about the feud for my entire life. It will be especially interesting to see to what extent the miniseries corresponds with that oral family history.

My great-grandmother remembered Devil Anse fondly. She said that he had a great sense of humor and loved to play practical jokes, that he always had a twinkle in his eye, and that he absolutely doted on his children and grandchildren.  She also said that he was fiercely protective of his family, as history is very well aware.

She once told me that no one was surprised when Anse kidnapped the McCoy boys and ordered their execution after they murdered his brother Ellison, and that no one really cared that he did it because they considered it justice done. This does not surprise me at all, even today.

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What Hath Denton Wrought? [Insane Internets]

I am an avid longtime reader of Gawker.  However, something has gone fundamentally wrong at Gawker.  Very, very wrong.  Horribly wrong.  And I suspect it is already too late to fix it.

The problems started when they got hacked in 2010, and the hackers not only stole login information, they also posted conversations between the writers, which angered many commenters when they saw that writer Richard Lawson referred to them as ”peasants”.  As if that was not bad enough, Gawker then had to roll out its new format early, since the hackers had stolen their source code as well, and many readers hated it.  It has only gone downhill from there, but the latest problems are completely self-inflicted.

They replaced well-liked editor Remy Stern late last year with AJ Daulerio, editor of Deadspin (a related blog which covers sports).  Yet there is absolutely no comparison between Gawker and Deadspin, other than that they are owned by Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media.  While Deadspin did occasionally make some interesting posts – all sports-related, obviously – the audiences for the two sites could not be more different.  In other words, what worked great on Deadspin would never work on Gawker.

That was the beginning of the end for Gawker.  It was not long before Dauliero started posting some very, very strange stuff which seemed intended to provoke ire from the commentariat.  For example, he would make posts which said merely not to comment there, left the comments open, then banned everyone who commented.  He even banned many of the respected starred commenters who had been on Gawker for years.

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What Really Happened In The West Virginia Primary Election [Insane Politics]

Well, I guess I need to address the Keith Judd issue, since I live in West Virginia.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I am a lifelong registered Democrat, which is really not unusual in this state.  I voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election, but I also have questioned some of his decisions.  Nevertheless, since I have far less confidence in those who would run against him, I will vote for him again.  For the purposes of this discussion, I guess I should also state that, being a redhead of Scots-Irish descent, I am one of the whitest-looking people you are ever going to meet.  That said….

When I was voting in the primary, expecting no one to be running against Barack Obama for President, I noticed that there was an opposing name on the presidential ballot which I had never heard before in my entire life: Keith Judd.

Of course I did not vote for someone I had never heard of before in my entire life.  He could be anything.  He could be a criminal, or an insane person, or a convicted felon, or even a prisoner.  As it turns out, he is all those things.

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