Among the darkest corners of Kentucky's past are the grisly feuds that tore apart the hills of Eastern Kentucky from the late 19th century until well into the 20th. Now, from the tangled threads of conflicting testimony, John Ed Pearce, Kentucky's best-known journalist, weaves engrossing accounts of six of the most notorious accounts to uncover what really happened and why. His story of those days of darkness brings to light new evidence, questions commonly held beliefs about the feuds, including long-running feuds - those in Breathitt, Clay Harlan, Perry, Pike, and Rowan Counties.
What caused the feuds that left Kentucky with its lingering reputation for violence? Who were the feudists, and what forces - social, political, financial - hurled them at each other? Did Big Jim Howard really kill Governor William Goebel? Did Joe Eversole die trying to protect small mountain landowners from ruthless Eastern mineral exploiters? Did the Hatfield-McCoy fight start over a hog? For years Pearce has interviewed descendants of feuding families and examined skimpy court records and often fictional newspaper articles. Now he puts to rest some of the more popular legends.
The book is published by University Press of Kentucky.