Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky

Overview

Among the darkest corners of Kentucky's past are the grisly feuds that tore apart the hills of Eastern Kentucky from the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth. Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky untangles the threads of conflicting testimony to present true, engrossing accounts of six of the most notorious, long-running feuds-those in Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Perry, Pike, and Rowan counties.

Each of these feuds arose from distinctive circumstances, ...

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Overview

Among the darkest corners of Kentucky's past are the grisly feuds that tore apart the hills of Eastern Kentucky from the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth. Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky untangles the threads of conflicting testimony to present true, engrossing accounts of six of the most notorious, long-running feuds-those in Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Perry, Pike, and Rowan counties.

Each of these feuds arose from distinctive circumstances, but all shared one trait-a determination to settle disputes by the gun rather than by the rule of the law. Most began with petty grievances and ended only when most of the feudists were dead. Neither law enforcement officials nor the state militia occasionally sent in by an exasperated governor had much effect in stopping the bloodletting.

Kentucky journalist John Ed Pearce interviewed descendants of feuding families, examined skimpy court records, and sifted through often fictional newspaper accounts to uncover the true stories of some of the state's most infamous family battles. His accounting of events brings to light new evidence and questions commonly held beliefs about the feuds, putting to rest some of the more popular legends.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A blow-by-blow historical account of the infamous and grisly feuds that tore apart the hill country of Eastern Kentucky from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Pearce, a well-known Kentucky journalist, pieces together the social, political and financial forces which drove the feuds, through scanty court records, conflicting newspaper accounts and interviews with the descendents of the feuding families. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"A study of the feuds of Eastern Kentucky — six in all — and how the violence and brutality they were known for influenced the perception of the Appalachian region of Kentucky." — Chevy Chaser Magazine" —

"Recounting shatters old myths — feuds did not result from insignificant squabbles, and many feuders were not ignorant 'hillbillies,' but rather prominent businessmen and college graduates." — Kentucky Monthly" —

"Pearce untangles the loose threads of conflicting testimony to present the reader with the real truth on six of the bloodiest and longest-running feuds in the history of Kentucky." — Lone Star Book Review" —

"While the Hatfield-McCoy feud received the most notoriety, there were a number of other similar family conflicts going on in the mountains of eastern Kentucky during the period 1875 to 1920.... You can learn more about all these feuds and more."—Modern Mountain Magazine" —

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813126579
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 362,888
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Ed Pearce worked on the staff of the Louisville Courier-Journal for forty years and was a widely published columnist. He was co-recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in 1967.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps vii

What This Is All About 1

Harlan County: The Turners Meet the Howards

Choose Your Outlaw 11

The Turners Meet the Howards 15

The Trap that Didn't Spring 25

Breathitt County: A Talent for Violence

Almost a Romantic Journey 31

Captain Strong's Last Ride 41

The Last and Bloodiest Feud 45

Pike, Perry, and Rowan Counties: Mayhem Everywhere

No Romeo, No Juliet, No Heroes 57

The Woman in the Case 75

A Nice Little College Town 95

Clay County: The Hundred-Year War

The Incident at the Courthouse 115

Drawing the Lines 129

A Legacy of Violence 139

The Fatal Clash on Crane Creek 151

Trouble on the Burying Ground 163

The Best Men in the County 172

The Turtle Calls for Bad Tom 180

Bloody Time in Frankfor 187

The Feuds Wind Down 196

Surcease 209

Sources 211

Index 215

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Fascinating book; excellent effort to be factual as possible fro

    Fascinating book; excellent effort to be factual as possible from sketchy historical records, and beautifully paints an accurate picture of eastern Kentucky. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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