"Bad Jim" Vance

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James Vance

Birthdate: (56)
Death: January 8, 1888 (52-60)
Logan, West Virginia, United States (Murdered in Hatfield-McCoy feud)
Immediate Family:

Son of Unproven Father
Husband of Mary Vance and Barbara Vance
Father of Jane Ferrell; Elizabeth Vance; James Vance, Jr. and Aimy L. Vance

Occupation: farmer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About "Bad Jim" Vance

James "Bad Jim" Vance is 2nd from the right in the profile picture. 2n from left is William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield. The other two men are not identified. "Bad Jim" was an uncle to "Devil Anse"...

Feudist James ‘‘Bad Jim’’ Vance, born about 1832, was the son of Elizabeth Vance, grandson of Tug Valley pioneer Abner Vance and the uncle of William Anderson ‘‘Devil Anse’’ Hatfield. Jim Vance was a leading protagonist in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Described by historian Otis K. Rice as a ruthless, vindictive man, he helped to keep the conflict going and took part in some of its bloodiest episodes. Vance, like Devil Anse a Confederate guerrilla during the Civil War, was suspected in the 1865 murder of Union veteran Harmon McCoy, one of the feud’s precipitating events.

Vance led the 1888 New Year’s Day arson attack on the McCoy family cabin, resulting in the death of Calvin and Alifair McCoy, the grown children of patriarch Randall McCoy. In this incident, Vance bludgeoned Randall’s wife Sarah McCoy with a rifle butt as she tried to reach her dying daughter.

A week later, on January 8, 1888, Vance and Cap Hatfield, Devil Anse’s son, were surprised by a larger party of Kentuckians near Vance’s Logan (now Mingo) County home. Vance was wounded in the shootout, then killed in cold blood and at close range by McCoy partisan Frank Phillips. According the article in the Decatur (Illinois) Review, Vance was shot seven times. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the forest where he fell.

He is also believed to be the guilty party in the 1865 murder of his rival Asa Harmon McCoy, who had fought for the Union Army and was waylaid by The Wildcats on his return home. The blame was orignally placed on nephew Anse Hatfield but he had been home ill at the time of the killing. Jim Vance. This may have sparked the beginning of the notorious feud between the two families that claimed many lives on both sides.

James Vance appears on the 1850 US Census for Logan County, Virginia, listed as an 18 year old male living in the household of Elizabeth Vance. Also in the household are Mary Vance, age 19, and Jane Vance, age 1. He had married Mary Collins about 1848. Their daughter Jane was born in 1849.

James Vance appears on the 1870 US Census for Magnolia, Logan County, West Virginia, listed as 40 year old farmer, born in Virginia. He is living with his wife Mary, also age 40, and with three children - Elizabeth, James and Aimy.

James Vance appears on the 1880 US Census for Magnolia, Logan County, West Virginia, listed as 50 year old farmer, born in Virginia, to parents born in Virginia. Also in the household are wife Mary, age 49, born in Virginia to parents born in Virginia; daughter Betty, age 24 and born in Virginia; son James Jr., age 20, working on the farm, and born in Virginia; and daughter Amy, age 18 and born in Virginia.

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"Bad Jim" Vance's Timeline

Age 17
Logan, Virginia, United States
Age 23
Age 25
Age 27
January 8, 1888
Age 56
Logan, West Virginia, United States