"When two proud families collide in the hills of West Virginia, there will be blood. Brandon Kirk's marvelous tale of one of the bloodiest Appalachian feuds is a rip-roaring page-turner! The mountaineers in this book may at times be funny, mysterious, romantic, and deadly but they are always interesting. In Kirk's sure hands, the reader will be transported back to the hills in an era when no judge and jury was required, just fists, knives, and gun powder. Highly recommended for anyone craving a good spirited read." -- Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys"Not only does Blood in West Virginia present a compelling narrative of a little known feud in southern West Virginia, it provides valuable insights into the local politics, economy, timber industry and family life in Lincoln County during the late 1800s." -- Dr. Robert Maslowski, President of Council for West Virginia Archaeology, Graduate Instructor at the Marshall University Graduate College"Kirk's Blood in West Virginia tells a fascinating story that elevates the Lincoln County feud to its proper place in Appalachian and West Virginia History." -- Dr. Ivan Tribe, professor emeritus of history, University of Rio Grande. Author, Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia"Brandon Kirk's Blood in West Virginia is one of the modern community studies that clearly demonstrates that the Brumfield-McCoy feud was a struggle between rival factions to control the area's economic and political development. Blood in West Virginia is an exciting story well-told." -- Dr. Ronald L. Lewis, Professor Emeritus of History, West Virginia University, and Historian Laureate of West Virginia. Author, Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920"This book brings a deadly story to life. Author Brandon Kirk has done remarkable work in untangling the complex web of kinship connections linking both friends and foes, while detailing the social and economic strains of changing times in the mountains. The story he documents in these pages had lasting implications for the families and individuals involved--and, curiously, for the folk music of the region." -- Ken Sullivan, executive director, West Virginia Humanities Council. Editor, West Virginia Encyclopedia
From the Inside Flap
In the small town of Hart in Lincoln County, West Virginia, acres of oak, poplar, walnut, and ash transformed modest farmers into businessmen out for wealth and blood. It was on this stage that an old feud between local clan patriarchs flared anew and the Brumfields delivered a decisive blow to their enemies, setting a bloody precedent for vigilantism and murder that would define the community for more than a half century, even after the feud itself had ended. Enterprising and clever, merchant Al Brumfield worked hard to capitalize on the regional timber boom and provide for his family. However, Brumfield's hard-edged business attitude, as well as his father's long-time quarrel with a neighbor, had garnered him numerous enemies. In September of 1889, someone ambushed and attempted to murder Brumfield and his wife. The Brumfields and their allies stopped at nothing to find the men responsible. Two local men, Milt Haley and Green McCoy, surfaced as the prime suspects. A Brumfield-led gang captured Haley and McCoy and brutally murdered them. The violence was just beginning. In this powerful true story, larger-than-life characters are caught up in vicious acts stoked by personal grievances and economic and social change. Passionate Appalachian historian Brandon Kirk seamlessly weaves oral histories, historical documents, and personal records to present the narrative from each of the main participants' point of view. In this fast-paced, gripping tale, the reader is left to determine who the real villains were. A descendant of feudists from Lincoln County, West Virginia, Brandon Kirk is an avid scholar of Appalachian history. An assistant professor of American history at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Kirk shares his vast knowledge of his ancestors through lectures in the classroom and at historical venues. Through his twenty years of research, he has collected oral histories, music field recordings, photographs, and documents pertaining to his region of Appalachia. He has served as a contributor for the PBS miniseries West Virginia and as a consultant for the History Channel miniseries Hatfields and McCoys. Kirk's diverse career has included working as a university library assistant in special collections; writing for the Lincoln (WV) Journal and Lincoln (WV) Independent; collaborating on writing, musical, and movie projects with the late John Hartford; writing for the Logan (WV) Banner; and teaching advanced placement history classes in Lincoln and Logan County Schools. By governor's appointment, he serves on the West Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Kirk received his training in social studies education, history, and Appalachian studies at Marshall University. When traveling through the American South, he visits old homes, museums, battlefields, cemeteries, antique stores, and music festivals. From his home in West Virginia, Kirk studies and preserves the history and culture of the Guyandotte Valley.