Bena Mae’s Kitchen: A colorful piece of Kentucky history
A colorful piece of Kentucky History
All our lives we native Kentuckians have heard about the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. But do we know what started it?
While referencing another subject I ran across one version of it from the West Virginia Archives and History. Here is an abbreviated account of the now famous saga.
The Hatfields lived on the Kentucky side of the Tug river while the McCoys lived on the West Virginia side. Both families were large, 13 kids each. And the boys in each family were wild and rowdy and usually bruising for a fight.
In 1873, two brothers-in-law had a lawsuit over a sow and some pigs. Rand’l McCoy claimed the hogs but Floyd Hatfield said they were his’n. But the hogs went to Hatfield. Witnesses were accused of lying in Squire Hatfield’s court which was held in his house. From then on, it was plain to see that the devil was to pay sooner or later. A man with only one eye and half sense could see that.
August 7, 1882 fell on a Monday and they were having an election. If you are up on the history of Kentucky you are well acquainted with the fact that an election in Kentucky is an occasion on which anything can happen.
Drinking was rife that day and those with old grudges were carrying chips on their shoulders. It seems everyone was looking for trouble. Beneath a big tree was a table and about it sat the election officials.
Suddenly an open quarrel flared up back under other trees at the rear of the polling spot. It seems that Tolbert McCoy, 31, had jumped “Bad Lias” Hatfield to pay him the dollar seventy-five he owed him for a fiddle Tolbert had sold him.
Tolbert’s two brothers, Phamer and Randolph McCoy, Jr. joined in the quarrel and backed up their brother Tolbert. At this juncture, up jumped Ellison Hatfield, drunk, and in a foul mood. Tolbert told him “I’m Hell on earth.”
A fight ensued and Ellison Hatfield was stabbed and shot. Guns leaped from pockets and other shots were fired in anger. Those three McCoy boys, Phamer, Randolph, and Tolbert were arrested and taken to Pikeville jail when Ellison’s brother, Anse Hatfield, and his friends took them away from the law officers.
After being taken to the home of Anderson Ferrel in Warm Hollow at Matewan, W. VA, in the back of the depot, Ellison Hatfield expired the afternoon of August 9, 1982.Those 26 stab wounds and gunshots were too much for him.
That night, the three McCoys were taken across the Tug river at Matewan and shot to death in a paw paw thicket. From then on, for years, there was open warfare and feuding between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.
Note: It would be interesting to know if there are any surviving members of either family who have their own tales to tell about this saga.
Chicken Pot Pie
4 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Finely Diced Onion
1/2 cup Finely Diced Carrot
1/2 cup Finely Diced Celery
3 cups Shredded Cooked
Chicken Or Turkey
1/4 cup Flour
3 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth,
Plus More If Needed
Splash Of White Wine (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Chopped Fresh Thyme To Taste
1/4 cup Half-and-half Or Cream
1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust
1 whole Egg
2 Tablespoons Water
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir them around until the onions start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the chicken or turkey and then sprinkle the flour over the top and stir it until it’s all combined with the turkey and vegetables. Cook for 1 minute, then pour in the chicken broth (and wine if using) and stir it around and let it cook and thicken.
Once it starts to thicken add the turmeric, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Add the half-and-half or cream, then stir the mixture and let it bubble up and thicken, about 3 minutes. If it seems overly thick, splash in a little more broth. Turn off the heat.
Pour the filling into a 2-quart baking dish. Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface and lay it over the top of the dish. Press the dough so that the edges stick to the outside of the pan. Use a knife to cut little vents here and there in the surface of the dough.
Mix together the egg with 2 tablespoons water and brush it all over the surface of the crust. (You will have some egg wash left over.)
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbly. To prevent the crust from getting too brown, you might want to cover it lightly with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking time.
Serve up servings by the (big ol’) spoonful!