William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield

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William Anderson Hatfield

Also Known As: "Capt. William Anse Hatfield", "Devil Anse", "The Devil", "Anse"
Birthplace: Logan, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Stirrat, Logan, West Virginia, United States
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Place of Burial: Sarah Ann, Logan, West Virginia, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Ephriam 'Big Eph' Hatfield and Nancy A. Hatfield
Husband of Levisa Hatfield
Father of Johnson "Johnse" Hatfield; Capt. William Anderson "Cap" Hatfield; Robert E. Lee Hatfield; Nancy "Belle" "Nannie" Arvella Hatfield; Dr. Elliott Rutherford Hatfield, dr. and 8 others
Brother of Martha Varney; Judge Valentine "Wall" Hatfield; Elizabeth Simpkins; Ellison Mounts Hatfield; Elias Prater Hatfield and 6 others

Managed by: Charles Douglass Brown
Last Updated:

About William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield

What was the fate of Old Randall and Devil Anse, reputed leaders of the infamous Hatfield and McCoy Feud? Old Randall died of burns from a fire in the home of his nephew on March 28, 1914. He was 88. Devil Anse would live another 7 years after Old Randall's death. He died on January 6, 1921 of pneumonia at the age of 80. To this day his funeral ranks as the largest attended funeral in Logan County, West Virginia. His death was reported in newspapers as far away as Tokyo. His grave has now been dedicated as a National Monument.

Devil Anse Hatfield died in 1921, with a clear and forgiving conscience. His great enemy, Randall McCoy, died before him, still full of bitterness. He once said that Anderson Hatfield was "six foot of devil and 180 pounds of hell."

William Anderson Hatfield was born in Logan, Virginia (now Logan, West Virginia), the son of Ephraim Hatfield, of English descent, and Nancy Vance, of Ulster Scots descent. He ran a successful logging operation, and was considered wealthy for his times.

There are a number of stories about the origin of his nickname, "Devil Anse": that it was given to him by his mother or by Randolph McCoy, or earned from his bravery during battle in the American Civil War, or as contrast to his good-tempered cousin, Anderson "Preacher Anse" Hatfield. He was frequently in trouble with the law, and could have earned it by his behavior.

A Southern sympathizer, Hatfield formed a Confederate guerrilla fighting unit during the Civil War that he named "The Logan Wildcats." In 1865, he was suspected of having been involved in the murder of his rival Asa Harmon McCoy, who had fought for the Union Army and was waylaid by The Wildcats on his return home. Hatfield had been home ill at the time of the killing, which was probably committed at the instigation of his uncle, Jim Vance. This may have been one of the intial sparks in the notorious feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families that claimed many lives on both sides.

Hatfield was baptized on September 23, 1911 in Island Creek and converted to Christianity (he had maintained a largely agnostic or anti-institutional view of religion prior to this conversion). He went on to found a Church of Christ congregation in West Virginia.

William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield married Levisa "Levicy" Chafin (December 20, 1842 – March 15, 1929), the daughter of Nathaniel Chafin and Matilda Varney, on April 18, 1861 in Logan County,Virginia (later West Virginia). Their 13 children were as follows:

  • Johnson "Johnse" Hatfield (1862 – 1922)
  • William Anderson "Cap" Hatfield (1864 – 1930)
  • Robert E. Lee Hatfield (1866 – 1931)
  • Nancy Hatfield (1869-?)
  • Elliott Rutherford Hatfield (1872 – 1932)
  • Mary Hatfield Hensley Simpkins Howes (1874 – 1963)
  • Elizabeth "Betty" Hatfield Caldwell (1876 – 1962)
  • Elias M. Hatfield (1878 – 1911)
  • Detroit W. "Troy" Hatfield (1881 – 1911)
  • Joseph Davis Hatfield (1883 – 1963)
  • Rose Lee "Rosie" Hatfield Browning (1885 – 1965)
  • Emmanuel Wilson "Willis" Hatfield (1888 – 1978)
  • Tennyson Samuel "Tennis" Hatfield (1890 – 1953)

Hatfield died on Thursday, January 6, 1921 in Stirrat, Logan County, West Virginia at the age of 81 of pneumonia at his home along Island Creek. He is buried in the Hatfield Family Cemetery in southern Logan County. His grave is topped by a life-sized statue of himself made of Italian marble. Levicy outlived her husband by eight years. The story goes that he picked out the spot for the cemetery because it tended to be dry enough for graves. He then ordered the marble statue and hand it hauled up the mountainside by mules to the spot he picked for his own eventual grave. A photo of this statue is in his media file.

Links to additional material:


Birth: Sep. 9, 1839 Virginia, USA Death: Jan. 6, 1921 Sarah Ann Logan County West Virginia, USA

Folk figure. Born William Anderson Hatfield in what is today Logan County, West Virginia, he grew up in the hill country along the Tug Fork and developed a formidable reputation as a marksman and horseman. With his wife, Levicy, he produced nine boys and four girls. He owned considerable land and ran a successful lumbering operation. In 1863 West Virginia became a state and was admitted to the Union. A Confederate sympathizer, Hatfield formed the Logan Wildcats guerrilla band. Some historians believe the beginning of the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud found its beginning in 1865 When Asa McCoy, Ranel McCoy's brother, and Union Army veteran was found shot to death. Others point to an 1878 complaint filed by Ranel McCoy against Floyd Hatfield, Devil Anse's cousin, for stealing his hogs. Popular perception, however, favors the ill-starred romance between Anse's son, Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy. Devil Anse refused his permission for them to marry, the end result was a woman pregnant and abandoned by her lover and her family. Two years later, Anse's brother Ellison was killed by McCoys, Anse responded by killing his brother's murderers for which an indictment was issued but no further action taken. Tension between the two families remained high. On New Years Day 1888 Hatfield supporters burned the McCoy's homestead, killing two adult children, Alifair and Calvin, and seriously injuring Mrs McCoy. A reprisal raid netted nine Hatfield supporters but Devil Anse slipped away. The sides were drawn into a pitched battle two weeks later, during which a deputy was killed. In September 1889, the captured Hatfields were tried for the death of Alifair McCoy, eight went to prison, a ninth hanged. Anse spent the last years of his life quietly on his farm. He was once asked to go on the vaudeville stage, but it came to nothing in the end. He was baptized a born-again in 1911. Never wounded, despite his violent life, Anse succumbed to pneumonia ten years later. His funeral was, at that time, the largest ever held in Logan County. (bio by: Iola)

Family links:

 Ephraim Hatfield (1812 - 1881)
 Nancy A. Vance Hatfield (1813 - 1895)

 Levisa Chafin Hatfield (1842 - 1929)*

 Johnson Hatfield (1862 - 1922)*
 William Anderson Hatfield (1864 - 1930)*
 Robert E. Lee Hatfield (1866 - 1931)*
 Nancy Arvella Hatfield Vance Mullins (1869 - 1939)*
 Elliott Rutherford Hatfield (1872 - 1932)*
 Mary Hatfield Howes (1873 - ____)*
 Elizabeth Hatfield Caldwell (1876 - 1962)*
 Elias M. Hatfield (1878 - 1911)*
 Detroit Hatfield (1881 - 1911)*
 Joseph Davis Hatfield (1883 - 1963)*
 Rose Lee Hatfield Browning (1885 - 1965)*
 Emmanuel Wilson Hatfield (1888 - 1978)*
 Tennyson Samuel Hatfield (1891 - 1953)*

 Martha Matilda Hatfield Varney (1831 - 1910)*
 Elizabeth Hatfield Record (1835 - 1917)*
 William Anderson Hatfield (1839 - 1921)
 Ellison Hatfield (1843 - 1882)*
 Elias Hatfield (1846 - 1908)*
 Emma Hatfield Smith Reeves Roush (1848 - 1929)*
 Biddie Hatfield Mitchell (1850 - 1924)*
 Patterson Hatfield (1853 - 1902)*
 Smith Hatfield (1853 - 1937)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Hatfield Family Cemetery Sarah Ann Logan County West Virginia, USA

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William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield's Timeline

September 9, 1839
Logan, Virginia, United States
January 6, 1862
Age 22
Logan Co, WV
February 6, 1864
Age 24
Logan, West Virginia, United States
September 1866
Age 26
West Virginia, United States
August 13, 1869
Age 29
Logan, Logan, West Virginia, United States
November 12, 1872
Age 33
Delbarton, Mingo, West Virginia, United States
May 9, 1874
Age 34
Logan, Logan, West Virginia, United States
May 15, 1876
Age 36
Logan Co., West Virginia, United States
November 2, 1878
Age 39
West Virginia, United States