No words are needed. These photos do all the explaining themselves.
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Kentucky mountain blood feuds started around the end of the Civil War and raged on, basically unchecked until around 1915, when organized law and justice finally started to gain control in the rough and tumble mountains of Eastern Kentucky. These ferocious, and dreadful inter-family wars constitute a chapter of American history that is completely astounding, and surprisingly swept under the rug. Sure, we hear about the most famous and probably bloodiest feud, the Hatfield & McCoys (my step-Dad is actually a “McCoy” descended from Randolph’s clan) but few know that we had several bloody battles, and downright wars right here in Hazard, and bordering counties.
What was the cause of these ‘feuds’ and why were they so completely brutal, and out of control? A combination of lawlessness, large families with unpaid debts,and of course, the end of the Civil War, with Kentucky being caught in the cross hairs of all the fighting as a “neutral border state.”
The Civil War proved to be a ‘brother against brother’ war, as well as ‘neighbor against neighbor’. Families who had farmed, went to church together, and known one another their entire lives, all of sudden found themselves on opposing ends of the cause.
Hard times befell those whose husbands, brothers, uncles, and fathers were off at war, and they were trapped in a nation with two armies willing to steal, pilfer, ravage and leave destitute defenseless widows, and fatherless children.
Many lost their homes, their lands, and their lives. Many widows would carry harsh feelings and ill will towards those who they felt had wronged them during the war. Many children would grow up to be vengeful, full of prejudice and hatred, with only retaliation on their minds, and justifying the deaths of their fallen kinsmen. Whatever the reason, Eastern Kentucky, during this period of time was a very wild and dangerous place, fill with rage, murder, thievery, and outlaws.
Harry M. Caudill described this era in the mountains of Kentucky best.
“After Appamatox it was as though mortal enemies had been locked in the same prison without taking away the deadly weapons they knew so well how to use.
Perhaps in no other region of the United States, except the Southern mountains were the lives and property of a great number of pro-Union civilians lost in the war. In Pennsylvania, Kansas, and a few other border areas the people were subjected to occasional Confederate forays, but those areas were comparatively rich and the losses were soon restored. But in the highlands of the modest and slowly built-up accumulations of three generations were destroyed, impoverishing virtually the entire population.
Thus, the curtain rose upon one of the most fantastic dramas in American history….the ferocious Kentucky mountain feuds. Their story has gone largely unchronicled, but in savagery and stark horror they dwarf the cattle wars of the Great Plains and, in contrast, make the vendettas of Sicily look like children’s parlor games.”
During the half-century above mentioned, the nineteen counties of the plateau achieved a maximum average population of 15,000.
Research indicates that one of the counties disclosed between 1856 and 1915, nearly one thousand murder indictments were returned by the local juries.
Nearly 20 homicides per year occurred and many killings must have taken place in which for one reason or another, indictments were never made.
The French-Eversole War
The French Eversole War in Hazard, the county seat of Perry County, involved entire armies, and before long, the two sides were locked in mortal combat over control of the courthouse, and it’s records. The feud nearly caused a total suspension of law courts in the county.
The Eversole clan holed up inside the court house the structure, and the most numerous French were outside, firing at them from doors and windows of various other buildings.
The battle only ended with the arrival of a company of militiamen who forced the besiegers to flee.
Knott County Kentucky
The Terrible ‘Knott County’ War
This war lasted for many years and included the followers of Cap Hayes, and Clabe Jones. Hays was a cavalry Captain in the Confederate army, and Jones, a pro Union guerrilla leader. When these two strong willed men resumed the war in Knott county, most of the population enlisted in one faction or the other, and in a pitched battle at McPhereson Post Office (later Hindman) a half dozen men were shot to death.
When Cap Hayes was not fighting with Jones, he was warring with Bad John Wright, his neighbor in Letcher County. Wright was in the confederate army, captured in the war and imprisoned in Ohio. He escaped, and built his fortune by enlisting in the Union army for the bounties which were paid. With his roll of “Yankee” greenbacks, he returned to his rebel unit , where he remained until the war ended.
He and Hayes eventually ended to war by decimated the Jones clan.
Breathitt county shocked the entire world with how brutal those years were. It was not unheard of for a murder sentencing to be interrupted by a band of belligerent outlaws, the gavel snatched form the Judge’s hand and the court room to be forcefully adjourned at the behest of gun whirling kinsfolk and wild mountain men. Many Judges were not only ran out of town, but shot, on the spot, along with attorneys, sheriffs and even jurors.
A war of attrition where countless men died in gun fights on the dusty streets of Manchester.
Hardly a county in Eastern Kentucky was without a war, or a feud. After the Civil War, a struggle for political power waged within each and every county. Union and rebel forces fought for ascendancy by seeking to capture local offices, and in no more than four counties were the discredited Confederates able to succeed.
Former Unionists, then, would elect their comrades to fill the court houses, and election posts and would set out to charge and convict many an old foe for every crime imaginable, including those committed during war time. Dockets would grow to be full, and even though charges were vast, many soon learned that to convict would also mean putting themselves at risk. Many a Judge and Juror alike subjected themselves to target in handing down indictments.
In a number of counties, the law sought to protect the lives of the sworn Judges by installing steel boxes by the judicial bench. Many were simply too afraid to convict and either resigned or left the area outright. Jurors would become terrified, and shy away from handing down an unfavorable decision, even if all evidence pointed directly at the defendant. Thus brewed an atmosphere of more and more prejudice and hatred than ever before, and blood feuds ran rampant among every county in Eastern Kentucky, and most of the southern highlands.
I touched on only a number of the notable feuds in Eastern Kentucky, with the exception of one. The Hatfield-McCoy feud.
It is interesting, to me, to look back and really try to understand and analyze the reason for these things that happened so many years ago. When you think of Kentucky during the Civil War, you think mostly of it being a “border” state, but do we really ever stop and think what that really meant for the people who lived here during that tumultuous time? Picking a side. Shouldering a cause. Brother to brother combat, the loss of life and land, and frustration with poverty, destitution and lawlessness were all contributing factors brought on by the outcome and the Civil War, and geographical location itself.
Sometimes an enemy does not need to belong to army, or carry a bayonet. Sometimes the greatest enemy lives right next door.
A free spirit is defined as: One who is not restrained, as by convention or obligation; a nonconformist.
I’ve always considered myself a free spirit and I’ve always gravitated towards those who are my fellow gypsies. There’s just something special, almost magnetic about this eclectic, and enigmatic group of people. Let me explain.
A free spirited person can be many different things. One example that quickly comes to my mind from popular culture is the persona of “Penny Lane” (modeled after real-life famous rock and roll groupie, Pamela Des Barres) in Almost Famous. The road tripping, fancy-free, Bohemian mistress of a lead guitarist, and my fellow spirit animal. But not all free spirits are limited to the Penny Lane type. I know librarians who are free spirits. I know many TYPES of people who are free spirits…..
A free spirited person is someone who really knows the real meaning of being free. They have released themselves from the shackles of being pigeon-holed into any certain category. They are the dreamers, the gypsies, the bohemians, and my fellow wanderers.
A free spirit is one who is a free thinker. They think for themselves, and make their own choices and decisions based on their beliefs only, not what is expected of them from friends, family, or even society.
A free spirit is someone who welcomes adversity like an old friend, and looks at it as a challenge. A free spirit is someone who pursues their own passions, and find’s the way in life that will make them the most happy, whether it’s spending a year in Bali, or studying sea turtles off the coast of Florida.
Free Spirited people are more concerned with just ‘being’ rather than impressing people. A free spirited person will always be proud of their accomplishments, but they will never self congratulate, or boast.
A free spirit will let go and cut ties with whatever is holding them back in life. Whether that be a dead end job, toxic friend, or even the way they were raised. They will strip away all the layers and get down to their real selves. They will discover themselves anew, and reflect on the things that make them, simply, “them”.
A TRUE free spirit WILL rebel for a higher purpose. A free spirit will not rebel simply because of a certain “system or class” a free spirit rebels because they truly believe in something. A true free spirit will advocate for an idea, pursue a journey, and not stop until they have arrived at their desired destination.
A free spirit will dance in rain, take an impromptu road trip, or pack all of their possessions and just head out on the road ahead. We prefer the crack of a vinyl to anything else, good drink, simply pleasures and being a tiny speckle on the face of the earth, with limitless possibilities and endless good vibes and energy.
Most importantly, a free spirit is someone who can make the most of any type of situation. Instead of being downcast, or negative about something, a free spirit will always manage to fill their glasses half full, and turn any bad day into a good one. A free spirit ALWAYS makes sure that no matter the weather, they will always adjust their sails, and if it’s raining, they’ll bring the biggest umbrella. That’s why free spirits have the most fun in this life, because they realize you only get one shot to make it count, may as well do whatever the hell you want to. When you’re old, and gone, you can never get it back. Never. As Hunter Thomson said,
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
There’s more to being a free spirit than just breaking hearts, having wanderlust, or dancing on a bar table at your local haunt. It’s an idea, it’s a belief, it’s an enigma. Being a free spirit is a rare, and exhilarating happening, and I would encourage everyone in life to experience that type at living, at least for a little while.
“the free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.” Charles Bukowski, Tales of Ordinary Madness
For my cousin, Cody, who has never been afraid to be a “free spirit” and who is getting the most from life, every single day.
I never knew how much I loved my Husband, until I realized how much he loves our boys.
I am a product of divorce. I know what it feels like to come from a home that’s broken, dismembered, torn apart, and eventually, non-existent. Growing up, when all of my other friends had both of their parents at ballgames, or graduations, banquets, I always felt a little bit envious, and even though I had an amazing Mom and eventually, Step-Dad, it always bothered me that my biological Dad wasn’t around much. How could it not? I know so many people who are in the same boat as me, and it’s both heartbreaking, and sad, but it does make you realize how special family is, and how you must always cherish it.
I’ve witnessed enough bad in my lifetime, to really be able to appreciate something good, and I have managed to acquire something far more precious than any sort of material wealth, any number of possessions, or accolades. I have a genuine family that I can call my own. I’ve managed to finally get what I’ve wanted my entire life. A husband that adores not only me, but our kids.
My husband is the kind of Dad that works long hours, and when he comes home, before he does anything for himself, he makes sure the last few hours my kids are up before bedtime are spent in play. Even if he’s dog-tired, and needs to get other things done.
My husband is the kind of Dad that works hard to make sure his kids have anything they need. Any good parent will tell you that the reason they work so hard is so their kids will have a better life than they had. My husband is that kind of Dad. Every hour spent away from our children is done so because of them, to better them, and to better a life for us.
My husband is the kind of Dad that takes his boys fishing on Saturdays with the entire family. The kind of man who shoots ball in a Fisher Price basketball goal for hours, even when may not feel like it. My husband is the kind of Dad who plays “wrestlers” on the bed, and cleans poop out of the bathtub. My husband is the kind of Dad who reads Cynthia Rylant books until his eyes are about to bug out, or can repeat The Very Hungry Caterpillar by heart so he can tell it to our son, even when he doesn’t have the book on hand.
My husband is the kind of Dad that will do anything to make sure he’s at every soccer practice, and game, and that he has extra time ever evening to kick the ball in the back yard. My husband is the kind of Dad who buys a fishing pole every time we go to Wal mart, or brings home little surprise nick-knacks for the boys because he knows they love when he brings home even the smallest piece of candy.
My husband is the kind of Dad who never leave the house without a goodbye kiss, and making sure he tells the boys he loves them. He lives every second of his life for them, and everything he does is essentially, for them. I know he loves me, but the love he has for the boys is both limitless, and all encompassing. It’s actually pretty easy to love someone who sets such a store on his children. It’s very, very easy.
My husband would never take credit for any of these things. He would simply insist that he does what he’s supposed to do, and would never brag about being a great Dad, even though I brag enough for him. He can be counted as the last of a dying breed of men who put their family above any selfish interest they may have, to him, it’s family first. It’s always been that way.
I could go on forever about the things that my husband does that make him a good Dad. He knows he’s a great Father, Husband and Man in general. But sometimes, it’s very easy to get so wrapped in achieving ‘The American Dream’ and keeping it, that we can forget to stop, and simply say THANK YOU. Thank you for doing all you do to ensure that we, as a family, are happy, healthy, and loved.
So today, I wanted to pen this piece to just simply stop and recognize my husband, and the best Dad I could ever ask for my two boys. Without you, we would be lost. You are what holds us together, and you make life worth it. Parenthood has been a wild, amazing, entertaining, and interesting journey so far, and I can’t wait to learn and experience life, and watch our sons grow older with you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. +
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads out there, be sure to enjoy your special day, and take the time to simply celebrate being ‘you’.
Ladies, be sure to like and share this post, and tell you husbands, boyfriends, or simply the father of your children, ‘Thanks.”
I often talk about downtown Hazard, and the so called ‘glory days’. I speak of when there were no available parking spots, businesses weren’t reserved to just attorneys offices, and people lined our city streets to trade and socialize. One young business owner is not only doing her part to help with downtown restoration, but she is paving the way and setting a shining example to other local backers, entrepreneurs and business owners, that small town, down home places like Tree House, can not only survive in Hazard, but can thrive. Jenn Noble is not only the owner of Tree house, but an active member in InVision Hazard, who has tons of fresh, new ideas for dusting the dirt off of downtown, and making her what she once was. A gem in the mountains, and the Queen City…Did I also mention that Ms. Noble is an amazing artist, with paintings getting ready to be displayed at The Appalachian Artisan Center. She’s also a master at making amazing cakes for any occasion! (
Tree house Cafe and Bakery specializes in a unique menu, and a really quirky, artsy atmosphere. Even if I’m not eating, I’ll pop in just to check out what is for sell (Jenn sells soaps, jewelry, painting and other items from local artisans) behind the counter, or to look at any new paintings or artwork that have went up on display.
My favorite time to go is during lunch hours, even if it is a little hectic, it’s still really nice to see such a pulse going on in downtown Hazard. My favorite is the chicken palm burger, with grilled pineapple and a grilled chicken breast, topped with chips and a pickle.
In addition to having great food and a great atmosphere, Tree House also hosts a number of local poetry readings, get togethers for certain clubs and organizations, trivia nights, and a number of fun activities for the locals. Live bands also play on designated dates!
If you’re ever in the downtown Hazard area, and are interested in a great lunch, atmosphere or food anytime, be sure to stop in and try out Tree House Cafe and Bakery! Do not leave, of course, without getting a cupcake!
I have to say in closing, I think it’s wonderful that such a young person would take a leap of faith in putting a restaurant in downtown Hazard, especially when there’s nothing else of the sort in that area. Jenn and her little spot, should be viewed as an example, and hopefully a precursor of things to come in downtown. Perhaps she’s had a major hand in jump starting a wonderful renewal process for our little town and soon, others will follow suit. Only time will tell, but I have to say, either way, Tree House is a great favorite, and I journey in every chance I get.
Check them out on Facebook:
Treehouse Cafe and Bakery:
426 Main Street Hazard KY
For More Information, Visit The Official Website!
Today’s post is ALL about an amazing little tee shirt company in Paintsville, called Kentucky Brewed Tees! Anytime I have the chance to team up with blogger friends to help spread the word about Eastern Kentucky businesses, I hop right on the bandwagon! I’ll be teaming up with these lovely ladies, Tiff from Bright on a Budget, Jill from Doused in Pink and Becky from BYBMG.
The girls, and myself will be bringing our readers a giveaway, and one lucky winner will receive two tee shirts from this awesome company!
Kentucky Brewed Tees is a custom tee and screen printing company. They specialize is quality, and sell not only Kentucky inspired tees, but fun, uplifting and inspiring tee shirts. The tee shirt I am pictured wearing is a part of their “Love More Hate Less” campaign.
When you purchase one of these tee shirts you get one free. However, there is a catch. KBT wants you to give the tee shirt to someone who needs more love—whether that be a family member, a friend or even a complete stranger. I loved the idea, considering we can never have too much love.
Head on over to the KBT website to pick up a free “Love Never Fails” wallpaper for your IPhone of IPad!
Be sure to check out all of the blogs I listed for some fun info, inspo and general awesomeness, and head over to my Instagram for details on how to enter our giveaway! One lucky reader will win two free tee shirts!
Hat,Editor Pants & Statement Necklace: Express
Tee: Kentucky Brewed Tees
1: The Hazard-Perry Rivalry Is Real Deal Stuff.
2: You know it’s coming a flood when Dipsy Doodle curve is covered.
3: You either live in “the city” or live “out in the county”.
4: The resident doughnut is from The Pantry Shelf
5: Perry Central’s Gym is not just John C Combs arena, it’s also called the “Punkin Palace”.
6: The park is the source for a lot of nostalgic and was once a place where you could cruise with your friends, and socialize.
7: The Icee stand at the park is sacred. Strawberries and cream, anyone?
8: Larry Love is synonymous with the Hazard Herald.
9: Lost Mountain USED to be THE party spot.
10: Fourseam USED to be THE party spot.
11: Big Creek USED to be THE party spot.
12: Red Star USED to be THE party spot.
13: The ‘Thinking Spot’ USED to be THE party spot.
14: Bobby Davis Park is where everyone goes to picnic and have their family pictures done.
15: Homeplace was where you played league softball, or had school field trips.
16: Coastal is where everyone gets arrested for DUI…
17: We are all still mourning the loss of Village Spirits, or maybe that’s just me.
18: Circle T is where you go at 4 am for a Big T Burger and a peanut butter milkshake.
19: France’s is where you go at 4 am for a Buggy Burger and a peanut butter milkshake.
20: Hazard’s gym is not Memorial Gym, but Mem Gym.
21: LO Davis drive is essentially, Gym Hill.
22: The Backwoods is a community, not a description of the boonies.
23: Old Hazard High is in said backwoods, New Hazard High is a completely different place.
24: Bulan is also “Pistol City”.
25: Buckhorn is almost it’s own place, but it’s so beautiful.
26: Our small subset communities are tight knit and like families.
27: We are rebuilding our economy, and trying to re brand Hazard, downtown and perry county.
28: Bill’s Grocery in Bonnyman has the best damn hot dogs you’ve ever had.
29: We can say whatever we want to about our hometown, or county, but, BY GOD, nobody else can!
List your favorite Hazard or Perry County-ism and be sure to share with all your fellow Hazardites and Perry Countians!
I’ve been following this amazing store on Instagram for quite some time. Everything they post, whether it be jewelry or clothing, I want it.
Blue Moon Boutique specializes in “uniquely Southern jewelry and gifts”. They aim to showcase a variety of items made by local artists and artisans and love bringing some of these mom and pop type operations to a larger scale. The ladies at Blue Moon will grab trendy things that Southern girls have an eye for as well. Blue Moon’s customers include women from all over Kentucky, as well as the nation, and one of the main goals is to showcase local Kentucky talent in front of their ever expanding customer base. In July, they will celebrate their one year anniversary.
One of the reasons that I chose to reach out to Lindsay, the owner of Blue Moon, was not only because I love their merchandise. Of course, I’m going to love a store that sells amazing, quality Kentucky themed gifts. There’s more to it. Lindsay is also someone who shares the same love and kinship that I feel in my heart for our home state, and our region. She tells me this while casually chatting about the store, and I think it’s such a wonderful thing for a young business owner to say:
“A lot of people, in my generation especially, have nothing for Kentucky, they can’t wait to get out of here and I just sit back in awe of how beautiful it is and the heritage that comes from this area. I travel and get picked for my accent but I hope it never changes because I am so very proud of where I’m from.”
Be sure to go online, visit Instagram and check out this amazing shop.
Shop Local, Buy Local, Kentucky Proud.
Instagram: @bluemoonofkyboutique https://instagram.com/bluemoonboutiqueky/
A ride or die constitutes the people in your life who are there through thick and thin. They’ll do what it takes to make it through with you, and they will see things through with you until the end.
If you’re lucky, when you hear the phrase, one (or, if you’re truly blessed, several) special person (people) will instantly pop into your mind.
He or she embodies all the qualities that truly matter in friendship: loyalty, honesty, compassion and empathy. In order to qualify as a true ride or die, there are a certain number of factors that come into play.
You must meet certain criteria to be lumped into this group because being someone’s ride or die is no joke. It’s a title to be proud of, and if you’re lucky enough to have one, he or she is certainly to be cherished.
1. You’ve been through some sh*t together.
I mean, honestly, you’ve been through some tough times and good times, and through it all, this person is still right beside you, sorting out this thing we call life.
A true ride or die will be with you at your lowest point and lift you back up. He or she will be there through all the negative times in your life, and try to help you turn them into positives.
He or she will love you despite what you do, what mistakes you make or what crevices of life you fall through. That’s just what a ride or die does.
He or she will also be there during the times you’re soaring at your highest. A ride or die will celebrate your victories, and count them as his or her own victories. A ride or die will rejoice when you reach a personal goal because he or she shares that accomplishment with you.
Ride or die people are one in a million and always love you, despite what sort of life weather you’re having. They will always help you adjust your sails.
2. You’ve probably gotten into a lot of trouble together.
A ride or die will be the person sitting in the cop car with you, shaking his or her head, planning the next round of ruckus.
A ride of die will be your accomplice, your partner in crime. This person will be the Bonnie to your Clyde, the Thelma to your Louise, the Marnie to your Hannah. Bad ideas are never bad ideas to your ride or die; they are only sources for some amazing party stories.
3. They are part of your family, truly.
Chances are, he or she has been part of your family for a long time. Most ride or die people are not only ride or die for you, but for your family as well.
That is the true mark of an amazing friend. When he or she attends family functions, or keeps up with your brothers/sisters/children/nieces/nephews, that’s how you know you will always have a lifelong friend.
Maybe this friend has been around so long that your family automatically includes him or her. Maybe he or she has just come around but is so kick ass that you family has just taken them in.
Your family probably can’t think of you without thinking of your ride or die. Either way, a true ride or die holds it down for your family, and your family loves them equally as much.
4. You share your memories.
When you tell a story or recall a memory, this friend has always been right there beside of you to finish the sentence. Chances are, there hasn’t been a lot of ordeals in your lifetime that have happened without your ride or die being there.
Sometimes, you may even have to call on his or her knowledge to remember certain instances, and that’s nice because you know he or she was right there in the thick of it all with you.
5. You know you can count on them for anything.
You know that if you called this person at 5 am and he or she was at the other end of the world, they’d catch a plane and be right there if you needed them.
There’s no question about that. You know deep down that the bond you share is so tough that no amount of distance could ever come between it.
6. They love you for you.
In our lifetime, we will all encounter fake friends. We will all encounter the kind of friends who use, abuse and throw away. A ride or die will never use you to further themselves. He or she will never purposely hurt you, or abandon you.
A ride or die will love you for just being you. Rich, poor, ugly or beautiful, he or she will not care because they love you for more than your outward shell, your job, your bank account or your education.
A ride or die sees the real person you are and appreciates you for all you nuances, your mistakes, your triumphs or your tragedies. That’s why they’ve always been there, and always will be.
How amazing is it to know that you’ll always have that sort of friendship? It makes it a lot easier to just be, knowing you’ll always have someone to wade through the muck with.
Thank god for our ride or dies.
Share this and TAG your ride or die.