Devil Anse's son Johnse met Randolph's daughter Roseanne. He wooed her. He impregnated her. Then he married another woman, another McCoy.
On the following election day, Roseanna McCoy's three brothers hunted down Devil Anse's brother, Ellison, stabbed him and shot him. When Ellison died a few days later, Devil Anse and his men hunted down those brothers, tied each to a different pawpaw tree near the town of Matewan, W.Va., and shot them repeatedly.
But everyone had had enough, enough of the bloodshed and of the fancy magazine writers who talked about simple mountain people but wrote about savages. The Tug Fork Valley was quiet again for five years.
"What happened in the quiet five years was development," said Altina Walker, author of "Feud: Hatfields, McCoys and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900." "People from the east found this place was rich in coal, rich in timber."
Against the backdrop of rising property values emerged a Pikeville lawyer and McCoy cousin named Perry Cline, who had, years before, lost a court battle and 5,000 acres to Devil Anse Hatfield. Cline persuaded officials to reissue 5-year-old murder indictments against the Hatfields. And he helped organize a posse that briefly captured nine Hatfields.
In retaliation, the Hatfields set out on New Year's Day 1888 to do away with Randolph McCoy for good. They didn't get the old man, but they killed two more of his children.
Two years later, Ellison Mounts was hanged for his role in that raid. By 1900, the fight, finally, was over.
More than a century later, nothing here except maybe a loaded coal train carries as much metaphorical weight as the names "Hatfield" and "McCoy"--names that are more often than not spoken in tandem.
"It's Hatfield and McCoy, always Hatfield and McCoy," said Bo McCoy, still beneath the elms. "But maybe we don't really need to be two separate families anymore."