The author of the latest book on the Hatfield-McCoy Feud was in Logan on Monday to do a signing at the new Logan County Chamber of Commerce office.
Anne Black Gray, author of “The Devil’s Son: Cap Hatfield and the End of the Hatfield and McCoy Feud”, signed books and talked about doing the research with the crowd gathered at the Chamber office. Gray said she talked to her relatives, who grew up around Cap Hatfield, and read all the books, newspaper clippings and memoirs on the feud that she could find.
“I wanted to learn more about Cap Hatfield, the person. I didn’t want all this historical information about the feud. I wanted to learn about him and his family,” Gray said. “I tried to get everything I could to find out as much as I could about their personalities. My family called him Uncle Cap. But, what I wondered was, how could this be, when he was probably the most savage killer of all the Hatfields.”
Gray grew up in Parkersburg, but her family was all from Logan. She said her grandfather was Robert Bland, a lawyer and former mayor of Logan. She said she tried to take down all that she could from the tales of Cap Hatfield from her family’s recollections.
Gray said Cap Hatfield was taught to follow in Devil Anse’s footsteps. She said Cap was taught to be a good shot and not to take any prisoners.
“Cap was taught what his father wanted him to know,” Gray said. “He couldn’t read or write. Cap’s wife taught him to read and write and he decided to take a different path than what he’d been taught by Devil Anse. Cap hated how his father had manipulated him, so he had to change what was going on, which put him into a father-son battle.”
Gray said she took what was written down and what she was told and tried to make a map of Cap Hatfield’s life.
“I portrayed how all this affected the family. They had a hard time in this feud, too,” Gray said. “I wanted to learn everything I could about the whole person.”
Gray said she researched the book for three or four years before starting another book, and then she came back and finished “The Devil’s Son.”
“It took me about five years to write,” she said. “I didn’t get a lot of help from my relatives. They knew Cap Hatfield as this man they called ‘Uncle Cap’ who was nice and sweet as pie. I wanted to give people a better understanding of the Hatfields as people and not just these figures in the feud and the great changes in their lives that they had to make.”
The book’s summary on www.woodlandpress.com says: “You think you know who they were, why they fought, why they died. You know only the legend—now experience the real feud. The Devil’s Son is a vast historical epic that breathes life into the individuals and families on either side of the Tug River. At the center of the tale is Cap Hatfield, son of Devil Anse, the seminal figure in the feud. While the battle rages, Cap wrestles with coming of age in the shadow of the Devil.”
Several county officials met and greeted Gray at the signing. Logan County Commission President Danny Godby and Commissioner Willie Akers both stopped in to welcome Gray to Logan and Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti, as well as Police Chief E.K. Harper all came to see Gray and to listen to her stories.
The softcover book is 352 pages and is available for sale at the Chamber office and on the Woodland Press website at www.woodlandpress.com.
Gray now resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Ed.