Author Brandon Kirk will discuss his book Blood in West Virginia: Brumfield vs. McCoy, which chronicles the Lincoln County Feud, a brutal family war that occurred in the Harts Creek community during the 1880s. During its hey-day, the Lincoln County Feud commanded headlines in newspapers all over the country. Journalists hyped the Lincoln County trouble as something even more awful than the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. For the most part, while managing to chronicle some of the feud's major events, they largely missed the real story. It is only now that the true story of this once-famous West Virginia feud is told.
About the Author: Brandon Kirk
Brandon Kirk, a descendent of feudists from Lincoln County, West Virginia, is an avid scholar of Appalachian feuds and Southern violence. An assistant professor of American history at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Kirk gives daily lectures on Appalachian history and has traveled to schools and colleges as a guest speaker. In addition to having written more than fifty Appalachian-themed articles for regional newspapers and books, Kirk has contributed to the PBS series West Virginia and offered expertise for participants in the History Channel series Hatfields and McCoys.
His diverse career has included working as a university library assistant at Marshall University’s Morrow Library Special Collections Department, writing for the Lincoln (WV) Independent and Lincoln (WV) Journal, researching and writing for Hartford Music, Inc., writing and reporting for the Logan (WV) Banner, and teaching advanced placement history at Logan and Lincoln County Schools. He was appointed to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Civil War Commission by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and is a past member of the honor societies Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Alpha Theta. Kirk has appeared on The Friendly Neighbor Show, a local radio program. A close associate of the late John Hartford, Kirk co-authored the Ed Haley biography and contributed to an upcoming John Hartford documentary.
Kirk is a graduate of Marshall University where he specialized in social studies education and Appalachian and Southern history. An enthusiastic collector and compiler of oral histories, he spends his spare time researching at courthouses and archives, collecting old photographs, mapping cemeteries, and conducting field recordings of traditional Appalachian music. When he is not traveling through the American South or visiting old homes, museums, battlefields, antique stores, and music festivals, Kirk studies and preserves the culture of the Guyandotte Valley from his home in Harts, West Virginia.
By Brandon Ray Kirk
“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
“This book brings a deadly story to life: As the Hatfield-McCoy Feud was finally coming to a close in the Tug Valley of West Virginia and Kentucky, another bloody vendetta was underway in nearby Lincoln County, West Virginia. Here it was Brumfields versus McCoys—and Haleys and Runyons and Adkinses and others—with results that were equally fatal. 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