With History Channel’s upcoming Hatfields & McCoys miniseries, we at Pike County Tourism CVB thought it would be a great idea to introduce some of the feud’s most interesting character’s in a series of articles titled “Faces of the Feud.” If you would like to learn more about the Hatfield and McCoy feud, as well as other great stories from appalachian culture, visit the Big Sandy Heritage Museum, located in the heart of Hatfield and McCoy feud country, Pikeville Kentucky. This article focuses on the forbidden love of Roseanna McCoy and Johnse Hatfield.
In spite of Hatfield-McCoy hostilities, Roseanna McCoy fell in love with Johnse Hatfield during a passionate encounter at the Spring election of 1880. Johnse was known for being a romantic, and fixated his attention on the beautiful Roseanna, despite the potential consequences of their relationship. Promising marriage, Johnse convinced Roseanna to come to live with him, but Devil Anse did not agree to their union. Roseanna was torn between her family and her lover, and returned to the McCoy clan for but a short time, allegedly because of Johnse’s infidelity. Later on, Roseanna sought to rekindle her relationship with Johnse, even going as far as to lead a band of Hatfields to rescue him from her own family that had arrested him for outstanding bootlegging warrants. Despite her clear defiance of her own family, Johnse did not resume his relationship with the pregnant Roseanna, and chose instead to marry her cousin, Nancy McCoy. Having lost everything she held dear, it is said that Roseanna died of a broken heart.
Shepherd, J. S. (2012, March). The Hatfields & McCoys: A war of two families, Back Home In Kentucky magazine, Spring 2012 issue.