Tag Archives: feuds

Curt Jett, the wild dog of the mountains

“Curt Jett was a member of the Hargis clan in the Hargis-Cockrill feud. Once he was under sentence of death, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed the verdict and he accepted a life term without appeal. That was for the killing of James Cockrill, July 20, 1902, near the courthouse at Jackson. He claimed […]

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Dean King’s Feud Fable

Of the scores of whoppers in Dean King’s ‘Feud’ book, some are extremely maddening to me, as a descendant of both Hatfields and McCoys, while others made me literally laugh out loud. Many of King’s yarns conflict directly with the sparse documentary record, while others are so egregiously exaggerated that they could not be believed by any sentient reader.

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Bloody Breathitt Finds Its Scapegoat

In the past, violent death had been a divider, but now it was a uniter. Bad Tom Smith had been a “feudist,” but as part of an affair in another county, and it was probably a relief to many that the crime of passion for which he was hanged was unconnected to past power struggles. Unlike so many killings before it, Bad Tom Smith’s execution was a civically consensual, apolitical killing. Almost no one questioned it as a legitimate form of violence.

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John Amis starts a feud with the North Forkers

(part 2 of 2) In April 1806 John Amis, who lived along the Kentucky River’s Middle Fork, went elk hunting in the area where his cattle were wintering. He discovered some cattle from North Fork farms grazing in what he thought were grass fields reserved for him and his cohorts. Amis proceeded to stab about […]

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John Amis settles on Kentucky River’s South Fork

“That’s a god-damned lie!” cried out Joel Elkins as John Amis spoke to those gathered in the Clay County court. He reached behind the door, grabbed William Strong’s gun, purposely loaded and placed there, then shot and killed Amis. Accounts differ as to why John Amis was in that Kentucky court on August 5, 1807, […]

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