I have recently completed Lisa Alther's book entitled Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance. While the feud may have arisen from lingering animosity from the Civil War, or allegations by Randolph McCoy of a Hatfield relative, Floyd Hatfield, having stolen one of his pigs, there is no denial that the violence that stretched across these two families from 1865 to 1891 has made this the ultimate family feud.
The first official casualty of the Hatfield/McCoy feud was Harmon McCoy on January 7, 1865, recently returned from Union's service in the Civil War. Harmon's brother, Randolph (Ranel) and later Harmon's children would seek vengeance from the Hatfields since it was widely held that Jim Vance, and uncle to the Hatfield clan, was responsible for this murder. Eventually three of Ranel's sons, Bud, Tolbert, and Pharmer McCoy would murder Ellison Hatfield, younger brother of Devil Anse Hatfield (who orchestrated the Hatfield side of the feud). The three McCoy boys were captured by the Hatfields and, following Ellison's death, would be tied to trees and executed by the Hatfields on August 9, 1882.
|William Anderson (Devil
||Randolph (Ranel) McCoy|
A 1888 New Year's Day raid by the West Virginia Hatfields against Ranel McCoy's Kentucky cabin would result in the death of two more of Ranel's children, Alifair and Calvin. Ellison Hatfield's illegitimate son, Ellison Mounts, would hang for the murders of Alifair McCoy on February 18, 1890 with the feud drawing to a close in 1891.
This is just a general outline of a very interesting story. But it did leave me wondering if, and how, these tragic events may have impacted our distant family relatives. After doing some digging I wanted to introduce you to the family of David and Mary Bragg. David was born about 1834 in Virginia, the son of David and Susannah Martin Bragg. Mary Meadows is thought to have been born in Virginia (also around 1834). The couple married on April 28, 1852 and this union would bring about at least five children. Sometime prior August 1882 the family seems to have moved into the feud area because on the 9th of that month (the day that the three McCoy brothers were murdered) their daughter, Sara Bragg, was married to Sanford Hatfield, a first cousin of Devil Anse. Sanford and Sara would produce nine children.
Another of David and Mary's children, however, was Francis G. Bragg (born in Virginia in 1853). Frank would marry his first wife about 1870, and would be blessed with seven children. He would also have seven additional children with his second wife (whom he married on June 15, 1889). Her name was Mary Polly McCoy, you guessed it, she was the first cousin of Ranel McCoy.
One of Frank and Mary Polly's children, Elzie Bragg, would also marry a Guy McCoy (he was born in 1900, almost a decade after the feud officially came to an end). Guy McCoy was also a first cousin (2 times removed) of Ranel McCoy.
A third child of David and Mary Polly Bragg, Mary Susan Bragg, also had three children (apparently out of wedlock as each child bears the Bragg name but Mary Susan had no known husband). Her oldest son, Julius O. Bragg, was born in April 1879. He would grow up to marry, on November 4, 1897, Mary E. Hatfield. Mary was the granddaughter of "Preacher" Anse Hatfield (a local Justice of the Peace widely respected for his honesty and clear sense of justice), the first cousin of "Devil" Anse, making her the second cousin of the latter of the two Devil Anse Hatfield (late in his life Devil Anse was baptized into Christ and became a member of the Church of Christ).
The following table illustrates the intermarriage of David and Mary Bragg's family with both primary agitators of the Hatfield and the McCoy families:
|David and Mary Bragg's Children||Their Spouses|
|Sara Bragg||Sanford Hatfield, first cousin of Devil Anse Hatfield|
|Francis G. Bragg||Mary Polly McCoy, first cousin of Ranel McCoy|
|David and Mary Bragg's Grandchildren||Their Spouses|
|Elzie Bragg||Guy McCoy, first cousin (2 times removed) of Ranel McCoy|
|Julius O. Bragg||Mary E. Hatfield, first cousin of Devil Anse Hatfield|
So, how is David Bragg, the father of Frank, Sara and Mary Susan, and the grandfather of Elzie and Julius Bragg, related to our Bragg family? David and our Dad are third cousins three times removed. The following chart illustrates the connection.
|Joseph B. Bragg|
|Joseph B. Bragg (b.1719)||John Bragg Sr.(b.1733)|
|Joseph B. Bragg (b.1756)||Richard Bragg (b.1762)|
|David Bragg ( b.1803)||Hugh Lewis Bragg (b.1795)|
|David Bragg ( b.1833)||William Bragg (b.1834)|
|Frank Martin Bragg (b.1867)|
|Orval Bishop Bragg (b.1895)|
|Don Cicero Bragg (b.1920)|