“The Death of Fan McCoy”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939 (Thomas)
Keywords: feud death mother children revenge
Found in: US(Ap)


"On her death bed lay Fan McCoy, Her child standing near." She reminds her son, "The Hatfields got your pappy, Jed," and tells the history of the feud, bidding him carry it on. Judge and jury are urged not to treat him harshly because of his history

Supplemental text

Death of Fan McCoy, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Jean Thomas, Ballad Makin', pp. 12-13.

On her death bed lay Fan McCoy,
Her child was standing near;
She knew that she was dying fast
But her black eyes held no fear.
She said, "My boy, you're most a man,
Pay heed to what I say.
For you must take the clansman's oath
Before I pass away.

(4 additional stanzas)


The Hatfields of West Virginia were a clan mostly of Democrats and Confederate sympathizers; the McCoys, from just across the Kentucky line, were Unionist Republicans. Their feud began in 1880, and some have claimed that 200 people died in the eight years before Kentucky police suppressed the Hatfields and functionally ended the conflict. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references


  1. Thomas-Makin', pp. 12-13, "The Death of Fan McCoy" (1 text)
  2. Burt, p. 248, "(The Death of Fan McCoy)" (1 excerpt)
  3. ST ThBdM012 (Partial)
  4. BI, ThBdM012